Cycling in a Toque

Cycling in a Toque: February 2013

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Digital Awesomeness: Stanger

Stanger: 3 Levels by CyclinginaToque
Stanger: 3 Levels, a photo by CyclinginaToque on Flickr.
This afternoon I finished up my last training ride before Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis team camp starts tomorrow. So today marks the beginning of the end of the off-season.

One of my favourite highlights of the off-season was my trip to Walla Walla, Washington in October. This year's trip coincided with the annual cyclocross race at the Stanger farm. Charles always puts on the most unique cx race in the northwest, partnered with a legit Halloween after-party.

This year Charles took this annual "obstacle" of choice to another level, literally. What once was an over-under, now is a three level trick. Pretty awesome! Maybe I'll actually race it this year.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Digital Awesomeness: Plucker

W^2 Camp: Plucker by CyclinginaToque
W^2 Camp: Plucker, a photo by CyclinginaToque on Flickr.
The soft chirp of songbirds, a quiet push of an autumn breeze and a tumbling tumbleweed.

A warm November day in Walla Walla, Washington brings unusual quiet. With the wheat harvest complete and the wine grapes picked, the valley seems to be nestling up for winter.

Yet recent rains have opened up the valley's seemingly limitless maze of gravel roads, washing them clean tire-slashing rocks. Unexpected adventures are now the "soup de jour", Some of the roads serve as connections, while others serve as doorways to forgotten views. Either way, it's quiet.


BIKES: Rain Gear


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Toque Insight: 2013 Styles

CyclinginaToque Vimeo Channel:  Training tips, quick insights and other awesomeness

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Monday, 25 February 2013

CyclinginaToque Photos: Week 2/24

Aimin At Your HeadBIKESBC Project #2: Adams RoadBIKESBC Project #2: Adams RoadBIKESBC Project #1: Adams RoadBIKESBC Project #1: Adams RoadDiggin It
National ColorsUberti & IB-Ball outside of the schoolReynolds2013: Criterium Kit

A collection of photos from this week's training in Athens, GA. We had some new replies arrive from the students as well as some big gravel rides up in Dahlonega, GA. Check out the Strava widget at the bottom of the blog's right table for details or follow me for more updates. It was a heavy duty day with awesome sunshine after a week of less that ideal weather conditions. Ride on!


Divine words for a Monday

Science is Madness FB
Divine words from Science is Madness (Facebook). Rock in a bottle, sand in a bottle type of outlook. Are you holding onto an necessary burden. Have you yet to forgive or process a past experience? Take a moment, this insight may prove helpful.

"A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, "The ......

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Saturday, 23 February 2013

Final Preparations

Since early February I have been living in the lowlands of America's southeast, splitting my time between a short week of orientation and bike fits in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before a semi-permanent move to Athens, Georgia to train with a number of my new teammates. Welcoming me at the airport, I met my new team manager, Jamie Bennett, a fellow Canadian who has run the management team behind Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis for the past seven seasons. With a great support group based out of the small town, I was able to spend a few days casually adjusting to the new time zone and my new equipment. 

With all of the contact points changing: new frame, saddle, handlebar, shifters, shoes and pedals, it was important to avoid hard training efforts during this transition phase. Fortunately our new team mechanic, Chris Kreidle, who just moved over from the TIBCO Women's Pro Team, did an amazing job simulating my setup despite my poor attempts at actually measuring my old bike properly. Thanks Chris! In case you haven't had a chance to watch this quick video, this season my teammates and I will be racing on Wilier frames (straight from Italy) with San Marco saddles, outfit with Reynolds wheels and Maxxis tires. I'll be using SRAM RED components, TRP brakes and Ritchey hardware to control my machine with Champion System clothing and Mavic shoes providing comfort and performance. Lazer helmets and Tifosi eyewear will be the fashions of the year, I hear black is the new neon. The kit design has undergone a nice upgrade with the help of Winsor Creative as well so I'm quite excited to represent our two primary sponsors, SmartStop Self Storage and Mountain Khakis outdoor clothing as I tackle the upcoming year.

February training usually calls for a step up in every department of one's preparations. I've been using the seemingly endless roads around Athens to put in some big miles, while the lack of cars makes it a great location to focus on those hard efforts. Of course this also means that rest becomes increasingly important and staying healthy a top priority. Free tip of the day...better to lose one day of training than lose two weeks to sickness. Riding the fine line between health and performance increase is important but be careful when conditions are inclement and life stress is higher than normal.
Canada Kit

Thanks for continuing to follow my cycling adventures here at the CyclinginaToque blog. I hope you are all enjoying your February days. I've been quite busy recently with training and new coaching clients so although I lost some writing rhythm earlier this month, hopefully you can continue to count on the Toque blog for interesting insights from the world of cycling and beyond. I'll be starting up a short 1 minute video series as an extension of my BIKES videos, so if you have any questions or ideas on areas of my training or experiences that you would like to hear, post a comment below or at our BIKESBC facebook page and I'll be sure to accommodate your question as soon as I can.

Tune it up,



Friday, 22 February 2013

BIKES: Question #2 Replies!

Adams Road Elementary is crushing it! There are on the fast track to earning their name tags! I guess I should let everyone know just what the details are! The three class questions are 1) Draw, discuss, or write about (depending upon the student's age) about their favourite tree, 2) Share their favourite exercise or non-sport activity (their passion) and 3) Draw a ladder towards their dream goal. You can check out all the responses this this week at the @bikesbc facebook photo theater. If you haven't yet, give us a like!

Hope you and your loved ones have had a chance to ride a bike or spend time outdoors together recently. Have a rock solid Friday!


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Ice Cream is better than yogurt

There is a lot of scary stuff out in this crazy world we live in. I'm going to take a moment today to share some quotes from a recent New York Times exposé on North America's food industry. The comments that struck me the hardest were those of a General Mill's representative at a 1999 meeting where food industry leaders from all of the top selling brands refused to decide upon changes to the ingredients of their most popular products despite their own personal admissions and concerns about the real threat of obesity and ill-health among consumers. "But we are in Canada Ben, we have better regulations". Well unfortunately it doesn't work like this.
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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

BIKES Episode #6: Camaraderie & Coffee

Off to the Musette Cafe!
This week's episode introduces the students to the word camaraderie and briefly discusses how important encouragement and team atmosphere contributes to success. We also visit with Matt of Vancouver, BC's famous Musette Cafe coffee shop, which features an interior steeped with cycling memorabilia. He shows us how he brings his passion for art to his workplace as a barista and introduces the students to the musette bag (a bag used by team personnel to pass food and drinks to riders during a race) and his favorite rider, Robbie McEwen, who is known for a strong fighting spirit.
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Monday, 18 February 2013

'Antique' Space Age clothing available

In need of cycling accessories? In need of some training clothing? In need of some awesome prices on bikes and cycling equipment? I've recently posted some new items to the Cyclinginatoque Buy and Sell. You can see all the items available by following this link including Parlee frames, DMT shoes, Castelli clothing, Orbea bikes and much more.

Ride on!


Thursday, 14 February 2013

BIKES 2013: Student Replies

After introducing the @LookSaveaLife Name Tag Project (funded by the Trademark Sign Company in Boise, Idaho) in episode #5, the students of Adams Road Elementary threw their busy shoes on to skillfully share their thoughts on their favourite types of trees through both colorful drawing and neat writing. Keeping it pretty patriotic, the students reflected upon the maple leaf.  It was great to receive these projects, it made my day. Hopefully it makes yours! You can read some of the projects in detail at the @bikesbc facebook page photo theater.

Nice work on the good spelling and neat writing everyone!


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Toque Torque: New Client Bonanza!

Chris Uberti & I gravel it up in Athens. GA
So whenever I stop blogging it usually means one of two things, I'm either cracked or just overwhelmed. Fortunately recently the latter has dogged by writing time, which is especially important since I better not be cracked...the season is only 20 days away! Why have I been so busy? Fortunately Toque Torque Coaching has welcomed a few new clients as the online registrations open for summer gran fondos and races.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Buy It!
This past autumn, in the midst of expanding Toque Torque Coaching and launching the BIKES program into the stratosphere (with the help of many of course), my evenings were spent discovering Lance Secretan's Castle Principles of attaining oneness as a leader and a person. Centered around creating a life and an experience that you want, the castle principles: courage, authenticity, service, truthfulness, love and effectiveness, connected with me immediately. Since I was spending a lot of effort during that time period "putting myself out there", I was able to review and change my outlook quickly and test it when I visited with new groups of students, teachers or coaching clients. I found immediate success, the direction of my training, my projects and my goals seemed to come into alignment. That which was left over was quickly disregarded as I focused my energy on doing the small things right. Enjoying the present moment.

A recent movie helped stir up my reflections of Secretan's book. I hope you make time to enjoy both this short video and Lance's book found here at Amazon. My favourite passage from his book covers an altercation with one of his corporate clients. After reviewing the status of his client's quarterly report, Lance addresses the board with suggestions based upon his CASTLE principles. One particular board member however became irate that to believe such abstract suggestions would prove fortuitous was an insult to his intelligence and a waste of his companies money and time. His scathing demeanor created an ominous stillness over the board room. Lance's reply...."Can you say what you just said inspiringly " The response from the'll have to read the book!


Monday, 4 February 2013

BIKES: Wilier Cento 1SR

Video Below!
Wow am I super excited! Since last Thursday I've taken a few days off the bike to rest from a heavy January while moving to my new team's service course in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  This means of course that I now have access to a majority of the new equipment I'll be using in 2013. 

Holy moly! Wilier, who has worked with ProTour teams for the past many years, has now invested in Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis and the result, a beautiful red special sprinting bike for yours truly. Unbelievable! The new Wilier Cento 1SR is so light that it feels like the front wheel comes off the ground when I stand out of the saddle! The frame creates it's stiffness with extra material at the bottom bracket and a frame of uniquely boxed-shaped frame tubes. There is no fooling with this machine. It is fast and it is light. Time for SUPER RIDICULOUS SPEED!
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Friday, 1 February 2013


Manual For Speed
π Challenge 5:
Cycling is a combination of physiological talent (ability to utilize oxygen and go up hill) and skill (ability to manoeuvre one’s bike along the course and through the pack). One cannot improve one’s talent; one can only develop their physiological and psychological potential over a long period of time.  However, one can improve one’s skill set very quickly; therefore it becomes a rider’s obligation to become as skilled on their bicycle as possible prior to racing season.  

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