TUBELESS TYRE'S - A TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT

20/09/2018

"There’s a lot to consider when you’re deciding what tyres to ‘roll’ with. Tubeless is certainly the tyre technology of the future..."

 On our recent travels to Bhutan, both BT and I used the Schwalbe G-One Tyres (without fault.) Fast on the tarmac and grippy on the gravel.

On our recent travels to Bhutan, both BT and I used the Schwalbe G-One Tyres (without fault.) Fast on the tarmac and grippy on the gravel.

Since giving up a conventional life for a life of adventure on two wheels, I’ve had the opportunity to explore some incredible places. But my recent trip to Bhutan was something else entirely (Blog post to follow shortly.) To begin with, the country is extremely remote (TV and the internet were only introduced 11 years ago), and infrastructure is coming up slowly; I visited in the midst of a massive road widening project, which meant I was riding on gravel roads, almost the entire time I was there. It was nuts! I spent eleven days exploring the country, at elevations up to 4,000m, and taking in the majesty of the Himalayan Mountains while being humbled by their sheer immensity.

 Peaks in excess of 4,000m on small gravel roads were the norm.

Peaks in excess of 4,000m on small gravel roads were the norm.

Whilst I was there, I spent a lot of time reflecting over the past three years, about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what I hope to accomplish next. I feel blessed to be on this journey, and I’m extremely grateful for the sponsors and clients that have helped me make this dream a reality. So, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge one of them and discuss a critical component of any bike set-up, the only thing between your bike and the road: tyres

There’s a lot to consider when you’re deciding what tyres to roll with—sorry, I couldn’t help myself—so I’m going to go over my own set-up and why I ultimately decided to make the switch to running tubeless tyres.

My Top Tyres

The three tyres I use, depending on the environment and the kind of riding I’m doing, are all made by Schwalbe, a forward-thinking manufacturer who has enthusiastically embraced tubeless technology. Schwalbe proudly boasts that “tubeless is the tyre technology of the future.” And I’m inclined to agree. After all, technology is high on my priority list in terms of equipment choice, because safety and reliability in remote conditions is pivotal. As an ultra-endurance adventure cyclist, the last thing I want is to be stranded (or worse, injured) because a component failed. This is why I decided to make the switch from the conventional Vittoria tyres I used to ride on, to the more advanced Schwalbes I use now. Specifically, the G-One 38mm for gravel riding, the Pro One 28mm for road riding, and the Durano DD 28mm for long training rides on rough roads. I’ll go over each model in detail below.

Schwalbe.png

Schwalbe Durano DD

The “DD” stands for “Double Defense,” and refers to the combined safeguarding of the RaceGuard protection belt and the snakeskin fabric protector built into the sidewall. This really strengthens up the tyre and regardless of what size you run, there’s very little sacrifice made to weight for this added protection. Wired, the Durano DD’s weight starts at 355g and goes from there. Folding, it starts at 275g. This tyre’s pretty commonly accepted as being a solid all-around any-weather option for general training, and is a popular choice for winter cycling in other countries. They fit a little snug, but not so snug to cause any problems, and offer plenty of grip in wet and dry conditions alike to make up for any delay in fitting.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.10.28 pm.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.21.48 pm.png

Schwalbe Pro One

Grandiose name aside, the Pro One is a staple road racing tyre that really showcases the advantages of tubeless technology (it’s available in both folding and tubular configurations.) To begin with, eliminating the tube reduces rolling resistance since there’s no more friction between the tube and the tyre. Tubeless tyres can also be ridden at a lower pressure than their ‘tubed’ counterparts, which puts more tread in contact with the roads and presents an extra edge going through corners. The Pro One’s lighter than the Durano as well, with the 28mm weighing in at just 245g, and is made with Schwalbe’s OneStar triple compound, which I find exceptionally grippy. Initially I was going to use the ‘Pro One’ for events only, after all, they are touted as an ‘all out race tyre,’ but I’ve been so impressed with the longevity of these tyres that they are now a staple on all of my road bikes.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.10.01 pm.png
Photo 19-9-18, 5 17 58 pm.jpg

 Schwalbe G-One

Everyone’s going nuts for gravel riding these days, and like I said earlier, I was riding almost exclusively on gravel roads for the eleven days I was in Bhutan. That’s why I brought the G-One. Like the One, the G-One is tubeless and is made with the OneStar triple compound. It’s on the gravel roads, that the tubeless tech really has a chance to shine. As I mentioned earlier, tubeless tyres can be ridden at a lower pressure, which makes riding noticeably more comfortable while delivering some extra control in rough conditions. But there’s also the added puncture protection—tubeless means you can say goodbye to pinch flats, and puncture protection fluid can seal incisions almost instantly while you’re riding. They may not be ‘flat-proof,’ but in my experience, a tubeless tyre can take quite a bit more punishment than a conventional one (I’ve been running my Schwalbes for three months now and I have yet to get a flat). If you do happen to get a flat, you’ll find that a tubeless tyre will go down much slower than a tubed tyre, giving you more time to react and maintain control of the bike. Weight-wise, depending on your size and configuration, you could be looking at anywhere from 360g-790g. While this might be a heavier tyre I can definitely say it’s worth it if you’re riding on rougher surfaces.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 5.10.54 pm.png
Photo 19-9-18, 5 17 29 pm.jpg

 Summing Up the Benefits of Tubeless Tyres

•   Reduced rolling resistance

•   Lower pressure means more tread contact and better cornering

•   Lower pressure also means more comfort and control in less favorable conditions

•   So long, pinch flats!

•   More time between a puncture and a flat

At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you select a tyre based on what you want to get out of it. I find that between these three, I’ve pretty much got my bases covered, though the Pro One (tubeless) 28mm is the tyre I ride the most, even for training, and it’s the one I plan on running for my upcoming Taiwan KOM challenge. I know that this is a controversial subject in the cycling community, and I might come off a bit partisan, but I really can’t say enough good things about going tubeless.

Photo 10-6-18, 5 40 18 pm.jpg

If you’re in Perth and you’re looking for Schwalbe tyres, I highly recommend stopping by Cyclemania on Charles Street and checking them out. Schwalbe is widely distributed in Australia by BikeBox so for those on the East Coast, check out their website for an up to date list of all stockists.

EXPLORING THE LIMIT

9/09/2018

"The Taiwan KOM is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world.

Completing it once is an achievement...This October, I'll be completing it FOUR times...Non-Stop..."

  • EXPLORE
  • LIMITS
  • ENDURANCE

As a collection of words, all three excite me, however in attempting to explain ‘endurance limits’ words fail me...

To communicate this concept, my focus moving forward will be on carefully selecting challenges that allow my actions as an ultra cyclist, to demonstrate what the human body is ACTUALLY capable of.

The first such challenge will take place high within the jungle in a landscape recognized by some but travelled by few...

My Obsessive Compulsive Personality, paired with my strong desire to live a life not focused on money, but rather exploration on two wheels, has allowed me to focus my energy,  push boundaries and stray from ‘Societal Norms.’

The Taiwan KOM is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world.  Completing it once is an achievement.

This October, I’ll be completing it FOUR times…Non-Stop. 

Commencing on the 25th October 2018,  I will ascend and descend the 120km climb three times solo, before joining the official Taiwan KOM race for my fourth and final ascent.

THE 'GEBIOMIZED' BIKE FIT PROCESS

18/07/2018

"THE GEBIOMIZED FIT PROCESS HAS ENABLED ME TO PUT MY MIND AT EASE AND CONCENTRATE SOLELY ON PEDALLING..."

There are three main reasons for a bike fit.  To increase comfort, to increase efficiency and to prevent injury.

 Photo Credit @z_w_photography

Photo Credit @z_w_photography

Earlier this year as I transitioned from my AURA bikes across to my new GIANT's I decided that a bike fit was in order, to ensure that my position was optimised on my new steeds.  The AURA geometry is very traditional, and the GIANT geometry is more progressive and sloping.  I spent some time at home trying to dial my fit across from my AURA to the GIANT's but there was always something that wasn't quite right (paired with the fact that whenever I play around with my bikes at home, the lighting is shitty, the temperature suddenly rises, and I end up sweaty and frustrated as hell!)

I had undergone a fit on the RETUL system in February and this had been great in adjusting from my position previous, however, in wanting to reap the most benefit from my fit and test the very latest in 'bike fitting technology' I decided to employ the expertise of the 'gebioMized' fit process with Damian Oldmeadow at Star Physio in West Perth. For what it’s worth, the likes of Trek Segafredo, Katusha Alpecin and Cervelo Bigla also employ gebioMized technicians to look after their athletes.  An impressive list of pro teams if you ask me.

gebiomized_logo.jpg
Fabian_Cancellara_2-1-1030x686.jpg

As a bit of background for you, Damian is a Physiotherapist by trade and highly skilled at his job.  Damian has worked with the likes of Chris Hoy and the Great Britain track team, so his knowledge of all things cycling is up there with the best of the best.  Damian treats athletes from the Mitchelton Scott team, when they are back in Perth, and has fitted several of them to their bikes using the gebioMized fit process.  The likes of Robbie Power, Jai Hindley and Jessica Allen have all been fitted by Damian.  No more needs to be said…their results speak louder than words.

You're probably asking how much a 'fit process' can vary from fitter to fitter or from philosophy to philosophy.  I don't blame you…

Essentially, the desired outcomes are the same, to achieve comfort and efficiency and to prevent injury.  The way each fit process goes about achieving these outcomes varies greatly.

In a nutshell and very much simplified, the RETUL bike fit process has the fitter ask the athlete a series of questions about their riding type and style and couples this with a range of physiological tests to determine any discrepancies in body composition (leg length etc.). Their existing setup is then measured and documented. Following this and equipped with the information gathered during the consultation process, the athlete has a number of nodes placed on their body, at given locations, which then talk with the RETUL computer system.  While pedalling on the stationary trainer, these nodes provide information about how the body is functioning on the bike (angles etc.)  The RETUL system then outlines which (if any) particular movements are out of the 'normal range.'  The bike fit operator, equipped with their knowledge of bike fit, then makes small, incremental adjustments to ensure the riders position is within the 'normal range.'  

The gebioMized system is similar. The fitter explores a series of questions with the athlete and carries out a series of physiological tests to determine if there are any significant issues that will need to be accommodated as part of the fit.  The existing measurements of the athlete’s bike are recorded, and the athlete’s shoes and saddle are fitted with highly advanced and incredibly minimal pressure mapping devices (one of my worries was that these would fill out my shoes and bulk up my saddle, but I was wrong, I didn't even notice that they were there). The athlete then rides for 10-15 minutes and during this time is filmed from both front and side angles.  During this initial ride, a huge amount of pressure mapping data is generated because of the sensors and upon analysis, the fitter can see exactly how the athlete interacts with two of the major cycling contact points (saddle and cleats.)

The fitter then analyses the pressure mapping information to determine where exactly the athlete is sitting on their saddle and how their power is being transferred through the pedals. The film gathered is converted to slow motion and the fitter can measure angles based on the athlete’s position. Based on this package of data, the fitter then makes small, calculated changes to the athlete’s position and carries out the 'data gathering process' once more.  This process continues until the athlete's position is optimised and their position on the bike is as close to perfect as possible.

As you can see from the above, the two fit processes differ quite substantially. Where the RETUL system uses nodes placed on the athlete’s body, the gebioMized system uses pressure mapping on the actual contact points.

The point of this article is not to compare the two fit processes.  As my gebioMized fitter Damian pointed out, there is no wrong or right position on the bike, it is all a matter of comfort, efficiency and injury prevention.

What I will do, is outline what impressed me about the gebioMized system and point out the different outcomes in my eventual fit.

Measurable data is a huge thing for me.  I like to be able to look at numbers and figures and understand exactly what they mean and their possible knock on effect.  The gebioMized system ticks this box.  

In my opinion, the pressure mapping incorporated as part of the gebioMized fit process is by far and away the most detailed piece of 'fit equipment' on the market today.  In my case, by looking at the pressure data gathered from the saddle, we were able to see that I was sitting both off to the left of my saddle and on the nose.  Paired with the slow-motion video capture, Damian could see that this was because my saddle was too high and too far back.  As soon as we dropped my saddle, and moved it forward, I was able to sit entirely square and on the sweet spot of the saddle. The pressure mapping device confirmed this. 

Moving onto the cleats, the way that I was driving through the pedals was inefficient with a huge amount of force coming from behind the cleats themselves.  Damian could see that this was attributed to my cleats being too far forward.  Over the course of the fit we ended up moving them back close to one centimetre, that is huge!!!

 The shot on the left was actually my eventual position (note the increased knee bend and reduction in reach.) The shot on the right was of the Giant prior to the final tweaks.  Because the Giant has an integrated seatpost, we made all of the changes on the Aura and then replicated the position across to the Giant.

The shot on the left was actually my eventual position (note the increased knee bend and reduction in reach.) The shot on the right was of the Giant prior to the final tweaks.  Because the Giant has an integrated seatpost, we made all of the changes on the Aura and then replicated the position across to the Giant.

Outlined below are the changes to three of the major 'bike fit' measures following my gebioMized fit:

Saddle Height
Before - 785mm
After - 775mm

Reach (tip of saddle to centre of bars) 
Before - 491mm
After - 458mm

Saddle Setback
Before - 105mm
After - 85mm

At the completion of the fit, I felt great on the bike and no longer rocked from side to side to compensate for my saddle being too high.  I felt planted, powerful and comfortable.

 Following the fit process I flew directly to Thailand for 3 days of racing followed by a week of touring.  This is not something that most would recommend having made drastic changes to their bike position however my comfort levels were and continue to be at an all time high.

Following the fit process I flew directly to Thailand for 3 days of racing followed by a week of touring.  This is not something that most would recommend having made drastic changes to their bike position however my comfort levels were and continue to be at an all time high.

It's now been a few months since the fit.  I’ve ridden a few thousand kilometres along with a few longer 24hr style rides in excess of 500km and I haven't needed to adjust a thing.  Those that know me well, know that this is outside the norm.  In the past I have always played with my position in search of 'ultimate comfort.'  The gebioMized fit process has certainly found this for me and has enabled me to put my mind at ease and concentrate solely on pedalling.

 602km and 6,316m elevation from Tokyo to Osaka within 24 hours.  I've never felt so comfortable on the bike after such a long stint.

602km and 6,316m elevation from Tokyo to Osaka within 24 hours.  I've never felt so comfortable on the bike after such a long stint.

If you're in need of a fit or would like to put your mind at ease in knowing that you're in the best possible position on the bike, then I recommend giving Damian a call and scheduling in an appointment.

Photo 28-5-18, 3 43 40 pm.jpg
starphysio.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 10.17.50 PM.png

To many happy kilometres ahead!

 

TCR TUESDAY PERTH - RIDE ROUTE & DETAILS

18/06/2018

Come one, come all and enjoy the perks of riding with those that love the GIANT brand in Perth!

Photo 25-5-18, 1 26 25 pm.jpg

DETAILS

A social ride around Perth with like minded riders who love all things GIANT.  Leave the ego at home, the TCR Tuesday rides are designed to be safe and good fun.

Start Time / Point - 5.45am, Narrows Bridge North Side

Finish Point - Brew Ha, Kings Square, Perth

See you there!

RIDE ROUTE

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27828310

DATES

26 June 2018

24 July 2018

28 August 2018

THAILAND TOURING - ROUND 2

20/06/2018

"We made our way back to the army base in Bangkok and settled in for the night..."

Photo 23-5-61, 8 54 10 am.jpg

Having spent an incredible 12 days cycling around northern Thailand earlier this year, when the opportunity presented itself to return to this cycling mecca, I couldn’t help but say 'yes.'

As part of my travels to Thailand in March, I undertook a reconnaissance of ‘The Great Mekong Bike Ride’s’ race route on behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  Due to road works, the race was postponed from March until May.  Whilst I was there, I was asked by the race organisers to provide feedback to help them create a better event.  The fact that the race was postponed was a blessing in disguise as it gave me a reason to revisit the region a second time, so that I could participate in the race.

Photo 26-5-18, 12 13 02 pm.jpg

My most recent travels saw me spend another 12 days in Thailand.  The first 5 days were spent in the North East racing in the official “Great Mekong Bike Ride”, a sportive style event in its third year of operation, which attracts more than 700 riders from around the world.  The remaining 7 days were spent touring ancient wonders, historical sites and culturally rich landscapes in the area just north of Bangkok, with good friend and fellow travel guide Sea Keong Loh from Venture Wander Travel. 

Photo 26-5-18, 11 59 01 am.jpg

The Great Mekong Bike Ride

Having not raced for several years (my focus is now on adventure and exploring the globe) the race acted as a welcome change and was fantastic fun.  Broken into three stages, the race commences in Nakhon Phanom and showcases the very best of the region.  Cities such as Sakon Nakhon are lit up with excitement as the race passes through the city centre and the economy boost this event provides is incredibly positive.  I guided 15 Australians to the race and we agreed, as a group, that it was the best organised event we have ever participated in.  To the organisers ‘Tri-Leage Thailand’ and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) a huge thank you and a big well done!

Some of my favourite things about racing and cycling adventure travel in general, is the cultural immersion that comes from travelling by bike.  The people you meet along the way, the fragrant aromas of the local cuisine and the rich market life.  During the race, the streets were lined with children at every school we passed, making it a truly amazing experience.  Big grins greeted us at the start and finish of the race and many of the locals asked for photographs (a memory of a new friend from afar).  As each racer finished, they were presented with food vouchers, so that they could choose treats from the many food trucks that were there serving us their local cuisine, fresh fruit smoothies and deserts.

The camaraderie between the local and international riders was unreal.  We will certainly be back to race in 2019.  In the meantime, I will do some speed work in the hope of ‘getting away’ in some of the decisive race moves!  Unfortunately, this year my legs were still a little ‘diesel like’ and didn’t have the explosive power required to go with the winning moves.  Seems like a good excuse to go back!

Photo 20-5-18, 12 06 06 am.jpg

After a quick flight back to Don Mueang Airport near central Bangkok and goodbyes with friends, new and old, the second part of my trip began and what a week I was in for!

Ancient Wonders of Bangkok

I was collected by my guides Tintin and Patipath, (aircraft mechanics in the Thai Army).  We made our way back to the army base in Bangkok and settled in for the night.  I would never have imagined myself bunkering down in the Thai Army camp dormitory, but it was great fun.  We built my bike and rode off to the local markets for some local cuisine to settle our rumbling stomachs.  Despite most people’s warnings, I am huge fan of sampling the local street food wherever I travel and the Thai food is certainly up there with the best I have tasted. Dinner consisted of a spicy pork broth soup with pork bones and vegetables.  I’ll be honest.  It didn’t look great, but it hit the spot and served as a tasty, hearty dinner the night before our first day of riding.  Tongues on fire from the fresh chilli, we treated ourselves to a fresh coconut smoothie as we wandered around the local craft stalls.  Little did I know that I would later inherit the nickname ‘Mr Smoothie’ from my guides, because of my obsession with the fresh fruit smoothies.

Photo 21-5-18, 9 02 47 pm.jpg

The following morning, we were woken by ‘Army Radio’ being broadcast through the camp.  My guides explained that every morning at 6.30am, the ‘Army Radio’ sounds as an alarm for all the soldiers.  It was great not having to set an alarm, but it was difficult to press the snooze button…!  Tintin whipped up a couple of Thai style omelettes and before long we had hit the road for our first day of riding. 

Photo 22-5-18, 8 32 07 am.jpg

Our destination for the day was Ayutthaya, Thailand’s ancient Capital City.  Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya is home to many ancient ruins and as we arrived into town, we were greeted by spectacular, colourful stone temples.

Photo 22-5-18, 5 29 14 pm.jpg

The ride itself was 80km in length.  Departing Bangkok, although busy, felt incredibly safe.  The drivers in Thailand are courteous, unlike that of the western world.  There is a sense of urgency, but very little risk is taken.  After 20 – 30 km we were out of the mayhem and riding the banks of a small river system en route to our finishing point in Ayutthaya.  There, we visited the floating markets, sampled the famous delicacies (coconut ice-cream, 20c noodles and fresh fruit smoothies) and then continued to our hostel accommodation.  It was nothing like I would have imagined.

Our accommodation for the night was 'The Busaba Ayutthaya Hostel'.  Think 5 star New York Hamptons.  White wood, lots of greenery and views of the river.  An afternoon rain shower saw the hostel staff kindly cover our bikes with ‘rain coats’ before guiding us to our room. The three of us shared an 8-person bunk room so there was plenty of room for our luggage.  After a quick shower and a change of clothes, we set off to visit some of the amazing temples.  If you find yourself in Bangkok and looking for something to do, I would highly recommend Ayutthaya.  The city is rich in history and the temples and monuments are brilliantly preserved.  

Photo 22-5-18, 7 44 18 pm.jpg

The second morning we departed Ayutthaya in the car for around 60km to avoid the busy main roads in peak hour traffic.  We commenced our day of riding on a local velodrome.  I haven’t ridden on a velodrome for a long time.  To say that it felt foreign would be an understatement. I couldn’t help but feel as though I was riding on the Roubaix Velodrome,  Thai style!  We then headed south west towards our destination for the day, Kanchanaburi.  Famous amongst backpackers for the huge number of attractions in the surrounding areas, Kanchanaburi is probably most famous for the bridge over the River Kwai – the start of the infamous World War 2 Death Railway to Burma.

Photo 23-5-18, 9 56 22 am.jpg
Photo 23-5-61, 9 54 45 am.jpg

Our ride was 100km along predominantly flat roads.  It was great chatting with my guide, Patipath as we rolled along the rice fields.  I was intrigued by Patipath’s role in the army, so we spoke at length about how the Thai army operated and his role as a helicopter maintenance engineer.  The topic of army/war was fitting.  Rolling into Kanchanaburi, hot and sweaty from the days ride, I couldn’t help but notice the large war memorial in the centre of town.  Patipath signalled that we would ride on and meet our host for the night Aum, and that we would return later in the afternoon after showers and refreshments.

Photo 23-5-18, 3 37 47 pm.jpg

Aum was a great host and spoke fantastic English.  Racing for the Nich 100+ team, a high-level team within Thailand, Aum looked as though he knew a thing or two about bikes and after introducing me to his ‘bike cave’ at the Hostel 'Baan Ma Fueng' he runs, my suspicions were confirmed! 

That afternoon we explored the war cemetery, the first portion of the Death Railway over The River Kwai and the War Museum.  There was so much information to take in, that I would love to visit Kanchanaburi again and spend more time really getting to understand how the tragic events of WW2 unfolded there.  With my mind full of information, I decided another ride was in order.  Aum was heading off with a bunch of local riders for a fast 50km at 5pm.  I decided to join in on the action.  Unfortunately, due to the rain, the other riders didn’t end up joining us, so Aum and I rolled turns north for 25km and back, behind our scooter riding guides.  As we got closer to the end of the ride Tintin and Patipath ramped up the speed and Aum and I slowly became their victims.  A great ride, although hard and fast, was followed suitably by a chocolate banana smoothie and a large bowl of Pad Thai. It was then time for bed and a good night sleep.

We spent the next day exploring Kanchanaburi by bike and completed 110km through the luscious green landscape.  The highlight of the day was visiting the Death Railway.  Perched high along the banks of the Mae Klong River, the railway was an impressive feat of engineering constructed long, long ago.  The train line, still active, requires visitors to be extremely wary when venturing onto the tracks.  My guides, being local, chose the perfect time for us to traverse along the train tracks, in between trains, and we were able to capture some fantastic images.  Had I been alone, I'm not sure I would have had the courage to walk there in fear of being mowed down by a passing train.  With the signs being in Thai it would have been impossible to make sense of the train timetable!

The second portion of the day, and our finishing point (prior to transfers back to Kanchanaburi) was the Erawan waterfalls.  A spectacular landmark made up of seven, different levelled waterfalls.  We changed into our swimming shorts and set off hiking through the forest.  The legs, a little weary our the morning on the bike, became slower and slower as we climbed higher into the jungle.  We didn’t reach level 7, but decided to stop at level 6 and enjoy a swim in the rock pools.  The views from the Erawan Waterfalls are fantastic and I truly felt as though I was living the life of Tarzan in the Thai jungle.

The next day we headed south toward one of Thailands largest 'Giant' bike stores in the city of Ban Pong.  Working closely with Giant, I was eager to visit one of their flagship Thai stores.  50km under the belt and having sampled coffee at a small coffee shop overlooking rice fields with a magnificent temple in the distance, we arrived at the Giant store.  It was huge, almost like a supermarket and the range of bikes and accessories on offer was mind boggling.  One of my favourite things to do overseas (or at home) is window shop in local bike stores.  I am transformed into a ‘kid in a candy store’ and could quite honestly spend hours just gazing at all the goodies.

Time was ticking, and we had a 2.30pm deadline at the Mae Klong Railway Market.  For those who haven’t heard of this landmark, it is essentially a street market built on top of railway tracks.  What makes it unique is that the railway tracks are still in operation, and every time a train approaches, the stall holders quickly pack up their stalls, allowing the train to sneak through and as soon as the train passes, the markets set up back on the tracks.  We made it just in time to see the train arrive and the market vendors pack up.   Something you would NEVER see in the western world; this memory will stay with me forever.  The local people are so relaxed and blasé about the fast approaching train that quite literally misses their stalls by millimetres daily.  I guess the key message to be taken away for this experience, is to stress less!!  After a walk along the markets and (you guessed it) more food and smoothies, we made our way south to Hua Hin, our destination for the final two nights of the trip.

Hua Hin is a seaside resort on the Gulf of Thailand and located 200km south of Bangkok.  It is one of the most popular Thai holiday destinations for those living in the country’s capital and home to the best 'Mango Sticky Rice' in the country, something I am well averred in sampling!  Hua Hin is like Phuket but nowhere near as busy.  I would say it’s about as busy as you would want a holiday resort to be, without feeling crowded.  There is an array of offerings for tourists such as local craft markets, traditional Thai massage, shopping centres and fitness studios.  Bordered by Myanmar to the west, there is an impressive mountain range, which is famous for  its wine making.  I’m a huge fan of Bali, however some would argue that in recent times certain areas have become too heavily populated with tourists.  Hua Hin is just like Bali was 20 years ago.

Photo 26-5-18, 9 37 32 am.jpg

After checking into the Ibis Hotel, we set off to explore on scooter.  My two guides and I squeezed on to one scooter and shot off to go and explore the streets of Hua Hin.  We came across the main market walk and spent an hour looking around before our stomachs got the better of us.  The food offerings at the markets were quite expensive so we ventured down some smaller lanes and found a local restaurant offering the same food at half the price (the beauty of having a Thai speaking guide.)  Being on the coast, fresh seafood is plentiful and so we indulged in a whole snapper, along with several small side dishes and rice.  Full to the brim (as was the case after most meals in Thailand) we made our way back to the hotel to rest.

DSCF1979.jpg
Photo 25-5-61, 3 54 39 pm.jpg

The next morning, I was joined on the bike by Sea Keong Loh, my good friend and guide from Chiang Rai.  Tintin and Patipath followed us on the scooter as we set off south towards Dolphin Bay Resort and the roads we would complete our training on.  Loh was preparing for the Tour of Korea and needed some harder, faster efforts to help prime his legs for the race.  We completed 4 x 10km efforts behind the scooter.  The final 3km of each effort was at full gas.  Safe to say, following this 'torture,' we were ‘stuffed’ and ready to rack the bikes on the back of our support car and enjoy the coastline. We made our way slowly back to Hua Hin’s ocean shores for a swim and a snack at the Dolphin Bay Resort.  The scenery in this part of Thailand is breathtaking.  It is completely different to Thailand’s mountainous north.  The south is flatter, and the seaside vibes reminded me of being back home on the beach.

In my opinion, a mix of Chiang Rai and Hua Hin is ideal.  Mountains for climbing and a somewhat sleepy seaside town for relaxing.  In saying this, the best thing about having two options is that it makes for a good excuse to visit Thailand at least twice a year!

Photo 26-5-18, 1 29 04 pm.jpg
Photo 26-5-18, 1 24 46 pm.jpg

Our final day was now complete, so we packed our bikes, enjoyed our final dinner together and then made out way back to the hotel for a well-deserved rest.  The following morning, we drove back to Bangkok where I then made my way home to Perth.

Comparing my time in Chiang Rai to my time in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, I can honestly say that both are as brilliant as each other.  The riding in Chiang Rai involves more mountains and lumpier terrain and would make a truly amazing base for a training camp.  Bangkok and the surrounding areas, although not mountainous, make for a different type of riding holiday.  Completing less kilometres each day we had time to visit some of the many attractions that are on offer and for those who enjoy a good mix of riding with culture and history entwined, I would highly recommend a trip such as the one I have just completed.

Later this year, I will be running a series of guided adventures to northern Thailand.  In 2019 I will also run a trip from central Bangkok taking in the many sights I have spoken about above.  If either of these trips are of interest to you then please let me know.

TAT logo.jpg

In closing, a very big thank you to the Tourism Authority of Thailand for affording me the opportunity to return and explore their beautiful country.  The people, food, culture and history are truly amazing, and I look forward to returning to Thailand and sharing the beauty with my guests.

BBB EYEWEAR REVIEW

9/05/2018

"TOP NOTCH EYEWEAR AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE POINT..."

Photo 8-5-18, 3 35 19 pm.jpg

Up until now, I’ve been a fan of Oakley sunglasses when I’m on the bike. They seem to work well, and they look good too.  There’s one problem with Oakley eyewear, almost everyone wears them… Not wanting to conform to cycling norms, I managed to track down a set of custom Oakley Jawbreakers late last year and wore them when I rode across the Nullabor in January.  They looked great, but they cost me an arm and half a leg and then I was forced to pass up the other half of my leg as I needed to buy a set of darker lenses to reflect the extreme Nullabor glare.  I was out of pocket some $600AUD…for a pair of sunglasses!?

Upon arriving in Adelaide, as most cyclists do at the TDU, I made sure to check out all the local bike stores to see what new and exciting goodies were on offer. What caught my eye was a set of the BBB Avenger Sunglasses. 

At first, I was a little confused about what brand the glasses were.  The logo was a modernised ‘B’ and upon closer inspection, it became apparent that the BBB brand had in fact re-branded. The new branding looks slick. Up until this point, I’d never really given the BBB sunglasses much attention, however the Avengers really struck a chord.  The shape and colourways were bold and modern and the fit fantastic.

Crossing the Nullabor isn’t cheap (think $7 meat pies and $10 milkshakes) so I wasn’t in a position to buy a set of BBB’s new glasses off the shelf. (they are seriously well priced, more on this later, but my bank account was badly drained!!)

  BBB's new branding is on trend with the latest in minimalist design. Upon closer inspection, the 'B' is lazer etched finely into the exterior of the lens just above the nose bridge. A nice finishing touch.

BBB's new branding is on trend with the latest in minimalist design. Upon closer inspection, the 'B' is lazer etched finely into the exterior of the lens just above the nose bridge. A nice finishing touch.

Upon arriving back home, I reached out to the guys at BBB, eager to get my hands on a pair of the new shades and was offered support in the form of sponsorship which is fantastic.  I’m now rocking a couple of different pairs of the BBB eyewear range and can say nothing but good things.  The glasses are fantastically priced, are supplied with three sets of different lenses for differing light conditions and conform to my face with a helmet on superbly. 

  The Avenger model shown here in black, with the photochromic lens in a light tint amidst the afternoon shade.

The Avenger model shown here in black, with the photochromic lens in a light tint amidst the afternoon shade.

The nose piece is malleable so those with big honks (you know who you are) are able to widen the nose bridge and those with a slimmer profile are able to squeeze the bridge so that it holds well when in place.

One of my biggest peeves with cycling glasses is when the arms don’t sit well against the retention system of the helmet.  The arms of the BBB glasses are a great length and I’ve not had any issues whatsoever with fit in this regard

Photo 8-5-18, 3 34 01 pm.jpg

If you’re in need of photochromic lenses that will change colour with differing light conditions (fantastic for those that ride before or after work), then you are able buy a specific ‘photochromic’ offering in most styles.  The photochromic lens is hands down the best lens of its kind and the rate at which the lens changes in colour when exposed to light is far superior to that of the Oakley’s I owned previously.

The lenses seem to have a hydrophic style coating applied so that when it rains, the water beads from the surface so as not to blur vision. Again, in the past, I’ve found this to be a gimmick (even with the more prominent brands) but BBB has hit the nail on the head and it actually works. Interestingly, this is not a feature advertised on the BBB site, so I’m uncertain whether it’s an additional coating or built into the lens construction itself, but I tell you…it works.    Just last week I was riding in the rain and where I would normally have had to remove my glasses to squint, I was able to keep them firmly fastened and still maintain a clear  view.

So how do the BBB’s compare ‘cost-wise’ to other glasses on the market?  They’re in a world of their own… This is not because of them being a lesser quality product, but more so to do with that fact that BBB as a brand are looking to gain traction within the cycling eyewear market and by offering top quality eyewear at an affordable price, they are certainly on their way to doing this.

The Avenger model that I’ve been using retails for $89.99AUD with the photochromic offering available for $159.99.

The other models I’ve been rocking include the:

Select XL

$129.99 AUD - A traditional style half frame with a large lens for greater sun protection.

FullView

$129.99AUD - A frameless design with an un-compromised field of view.

Town

$59.99 AUD - As the name suggests, a casual ‘off the bike’ pair of shades.

With a range of different frame models and colours to choose from in all models, even the fussiest of buyers will be able to match their glasses to their socks.

So, next time you’re in the market for a high-quality pair of cycling shades, opt not for the Oakley’s (cue the ‘Baaaaa’ of a sheep) but for something in the BBB range that offers a unique style at a fraction of the price. Top notch eyewear at an affordable price point.

  Photo credit: @z_w_photography

Photo credit: @z_w_photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECIPES FOR ULTRA CYCLING

5/05/2018

Following on from my article on ‘Fueling for Ultra Endurance Cycling,’ I received a lot of interest around the home made nutrition options that were mentioned. These being:

  • The Banana Bread;
  • The Rice Cakes;
  • The Organic Sourdough Bread.

As promised, I’ve put together a series of recipes so that you too, can enhance your performance on the bike and save some money whilst doing so.

Enjoy...

1. David Bryant's ' Bravo Banana Bread'

Makes 1 loaf (10 slices)

Ingredients

- No butter or oil

- 2 eggs

- 3-4 medium ripe bananas

- 200g pot set yoghurt

- 250g wholemeal self raising flour

- 100g pitted dates

- 1tsp cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180'C (Bottom heat, fan forced) and line an 11cm x 21cm loaf tin with baking paper.  Coles sell a brilliant silicon baking 'tin' that requires no baking paper or butter/oil.  Upon completion of baking, it can be placed into the dishwasher safely and cleaned without fuss.

2. In any large blender (I'm lucky enough to have a thermomix - stole it from my folks…;) ), add the dates and chop on a high speed so that they are broken into smaller pieces. 

3. Add the remainder of the ingredients and combine at a high speed (theres nothing worse than a chunk of flour thats not properly blended upon biting into a piece of fresh banana bread.)

4. Spoon into your pre-prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool for 30minutes before turning out and cutting into slices.

6. Tear off 10 pieces of alfoil and wrap each slice of banana bread individually.  

7. Pop into the freezer and enjoy on your next ride.

Note

Each slice takes about 1hr to thaw when in your rear jersey pocket.  Perfect for your next mid-ride snack.

2. Rice Cakes

Makes 16 Rice Cakes

Ingredients

- 8 cups (uncooked) of Japanese style sticky rice

- 3 cups of mixed berries

- 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

- 1/4 cup honey

- 1/2 cup coconut milk

- 10g salt

Method

1. In a rice cooker, cook 8 cups of Japanese sticky rice.  Upon completion, the rice may still appear 'wet' however this is what you want and this will assist in binding the rice cakes.

2. In a large bowl, comine the cooked rice along with all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3. Line 2 x muffin trays with 'patty pans' and scoop the combined mixture into the 'patty pans'

4. Allow to cool for 30min before placing into the freezer. Leave overnight.

5. Remove from the freezer and wrap each 'rice cake' individually in alfoil.

Voila, the perfect mid ride snack for your next long day on the bike.

Note 

Experiment with different ingredients, there are a range of ideas on the internet.  I find this is the best mix for me, as I enjoy the mixture of berries and chocolate and find myself looking forward to eating on the bike as opposed to it feeling like a chore.

3. Organic Sourdough Loaf

Makes 1 loaf (I generally make two loaves at a time.)

Ingredients

- 450g strong organic bakers flour

- 300ml filtered water (the chlorine in tap water will kill the bacteria in your starter)

- 150g of sourdough starter

- 7g salt

- Nut & Seed Mixture

Method

1. In a large blender, gently combine the flour and 290ml of the filtered water.

2. When combined, spoon the mixture (which will be quite stiff) into a plastic bowl.  Cover with glad wrap and allow to rest for 45minutes

3. Add the flour/water mixture that you combined earlier to a well floured surface and add 150g of sourdough starter, the remaining 10ml of water and 7g of salt.  Knead the mixture thoroughly to ensure that it is well combined. The mixture will be quite sticky at this stage.

4. Add the dough to the plastic bowl and cover with glad wrap.  Let rest for 45minutes.

5. Following the 45 minutes of rest, knead the dough for another few minutes and add back to the plastic bowl.

6. Let rest for a further 45 minutes before popping into the fridge for 4hrs.

7. After resting for 4hrs, remove from the fridge and add the dough to a well floured surface.  Knead for a further 5 minutes and then form into the desired loaf shape on a baking tray on a piece of grease proof paper.  I tend to form my loaves into a large ball and bake them 'free form' (not in a tin).  Let the loaf rise for 45minutes 

8. Preheat oven to 235'C (bottom heat, fan forced)

9. Pop into the oven and bake for 15min. Drop the temperature to 215'C and bake for a further 30-35minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and let the loaf sit on a wire rack for about 1hr. (As tempting as it is, try not to eat the whole loaf in it's cooling phase...Im guilty of this!)

11. Slice into the desired thickness and add to the freezer until required.

Note

- Experiment with different nut/seed additives and flour types. Rye flour will produce a slightly different flavoured bread, as will the type of nuts and seeds that you add.

- Always use filtered water, never use standard tap water

- You will find that this bread is far more filling than any store bought loaf.

- Because there are no preservatives added, it will not last as long as your store bought loaf.  I slice and then freeze all of my loaves to ensure nothing gets mouldy and goes to waste.

- You will likely find someone on gumtree selling a sourdough starter (heck, they will generally be happy to give some to you for free!)

- Ive never made my own starter from a kit and so can't comment on the process involved in doing this.  I was lucky enough to inherit a 15 year old starter from an old work colleague of mine.

Caring for your starter

Your starter is essentially a living organism and this is one of the reasons that sourdough bread is in fact so good for you.  As such, you need to look after the starter.  My 'care regime' is as follows:

- Once a week, add a cup full of plain white flour to your starter along with enough filtered water to form a slightly runny consistency.  This is often referred to as 'the feeding process.'

- Following the removal of starter for your loaf, carry out the same 'feeding process' as above.

- I keep my starter in the fridge at all times.  The only time I remove it from the fridge is just prior to forming a loaf (1hr before hand.)

- If you go away for long periods of time and are unable to feed your starter, don't stress!  You will likely find a layer of mould has formed on the starter when you return.  Fear not, I generally scrape the mould from my starter, feed it and voila, its as good as new.  

Photo 4-5-18, 11 50 26 am.jpg

Summary

So there you have it, three simple recipes that require minimal ingredients and minimal time in the kitchen. The beauty of preparing your own food, is that you know exactly what it contains and this allows you to eradicate any nasties.

The trend in cycling seems to be moving more and more towards ‘custom’ and this can only be seen as another form of ‘custom’, that will lead to performance gains (at a fraction of the cost of a new bike!!) Again, a big thank-you to my Nutritionist and fuelling expert, David Bryant.

5.3.2018-287.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUELLING FOR ULTRA ENDURANCE CYCLING

27/04/2018

What is the most important thing that you put into your car to keep it running? Fuel, right?

Fuel is also the single most important thing that goes into any athlete’s body to keep it running.  Fuel or 'food' as we all call it, is what allows us to continue prolonged exercise.  Our bodies are essentially like coal trains.  Like the train operator would feed the train coal in order to maintain a given speed, we as humans do the same with food. 

The problem is that all foods are not created equal, and there are so many different types of food available to us that it can be difficult to determine exactly which food is best to feed our own personal engines and in what quantities.

  One of my favourite things about cycling in Asia is the food options. A little care is needed when chowing into some of the traditional dishes to ensure you don't bite into fresh chilli.  As demonstrated (badly) above!

One of my favourite things about cycling in Asia is the food options. A little care is needed when chowing into some of the traditional dishes to ensure you don't bite into fresh chilli.  As demonstrated (badly) above!

Up until February this year, I ate what I thought was a reasonably healthy and efficient diet that was in line with the extreme amount of exercise that I do.  A goal of mine, for a long time, has been to shed some excess upper body weight that has remained since my previous life as a gym junkie.  I’ve tried high protein diets, high carb diets, fruit diets, paleo diets and vegan diets to name a few, and every one of these diets had their flaws.  The Paleo diet for example had me lose about 6kg from an already pretty lean frame (80kg at the time,) however it all occurred too quickly and I lost a lot of my ‘on bike’ power. Not acceptable in my eyes!

When I tried a vegan diet, I actually put on weight.  Looking back, I attribute this to eating too many starchy carbohydrates and not enough fruit or vegetables.  But hey, it’s all learning.

Fed up with not being able to reach my goal, I caught up with David Bryant, at Catalyst Dietition in Perth, in order to really focus on losing the upper body mass.  Fast forward 12 weeks and I had lost 4kg, with the majority coming from my upper body.  Astonishingly, in doing this, my power figures on the bike have actually increased which is a tell-tale sign that my diet is delivering to my body exactly what it needs and starving it of what it does not.

Outlined below, I have provided the exact details of my diet (as prescribed by David Bryant) to give you a better understanding of what foods fuel me whilst both on and off the bike.  As a word of warning, the diet information provided was formulated specifically for me, based on my training load and personal physiological attributes.  I would highly recommend that you visit David Bryant (if based here in Perth) or a similarly qualified nutritionist in your place of residence, if a personal diet plan is something you would like. 

MEAL 1 - PRE AM RIDE

If I'm training for anywhere up to three hours, I don't eat.  I generally like to wake up an hour before my ride just so that I'm awake and ready to exercise when I leave the house.  There’s nothing I dislike more than having to rush out of bed, into kit and onto the bike, I just hate it!  My morning ritual for a ride up to three hours involves a cup of coffee pre-ride, and that’s it.  Exercising in a fasted state has been shown to increase the rate at which we burn fat.  In addition to this, the caffeine from the coffee also stimulates the metabolism to kick into gear.  For rides upwards of 3 hours I have 3-4 pieces of homemade sourdough toast with peanut butter (my mouth is watering as I write this…peanut butterrrrrr…)

  I enjoy soy milk in a decaf coffee later in the day (I will cover a blog post on decaf shortly) but pre-ride I always keep my coffee's black.

I enjoy soy milk in a decaf coffee later in the day (I will cover a blog post on decaf shortly) but pre-ride I always keep my coffee's black.

MEAL 2 - ON THE BIKE

As noted above, for rides up to three hours, I won't eat beforehand and in addition to this I won't eat whilst on the bike either.  However, If I am planning a longer ride, say 4hrs or more, I will consume food every hour.  To make it clear, if I have a planned ride of 4 hours, I will eat at the end of hour 1, end of hour 2 and so on.  There are a range of different food options that I take with me (even for rides of up to 8hrs, I carry all of my food with me.  I’m not working a 9 to 5 and as such, don't have a spare $50 to spend at the cafe/servo every time I ride!) Food options range from homemade banana bread to “Scratch labs” style rice cakes, LCM bars, bananas and jam sandwiches.  I’m not a fan of Gels as I find that they upset my stomach.  My preference is to eat whole foods and the reason for this is that they actually fill me.  The banana bread and rice cakes are fantastic. I make them in bulk, freeze them and then pop them in my rear pocket first thing in the morning.  When it comes time to eat them, they are generally thawed and super tasty.  I struggle with muesli bars or oat style bars on the bike as I find the oats have a tendency of getting lodge in my throat…The last thing I need mid-way through an 8-minute effort, gasping for air!  

  Mid ride enjoying a cold can of coke and some fresh fruit.  Whilst out on the bike, simple sugars are almost always your friend as they are readily available for your active muscles to burn.

Mid ride enjoying a cold can of coke and some fresh fruit.  Whilst out on the bike, simple sugars are almost always your friend as they are readily available for your active muscles to burn.

Food is important but just as important is hydration.  I've found that in the past I forget to drink whilst riding, I become too preoccupied with the task at hand.  I’m reminded of this later in the day when the headache starts.  A good tip that I recommend, is setting an alarm on your Garmin/bike computer to beep once every 15minutes.  This is the perfect reminder to have a sip of your drink. For rides up to 3hrs I consume only water.  For anything longer than 3hrs I use a carbohydrate drink such as Gatorade paired with BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids.)  The carbohydrate drink replenishes my energy stores and the BCAA's assist in muscle growth and importantly for cyclists, prevent muscle catabolism (breakdown of muscle.) 

7.3.2018-237.jpg

In collaboration with R3 Protein, we are developing an Electrolyte/BCAA mixture that will be perfect for cyclists.  Stay tuned for more on this in the coming months.

MEAL 3 - POST RIDE

I have a ravenous appetite following exercise and this is especially true after a fasted session.  The first thing I reach for is my R3 Protein.  I mix this with 250ml of fluid (milk substitute because I don't enjoy milk) honey and frozen mango.  A quick blitz in the blender and voila, the perfect post ride recovery meal.  Cyclists underutilize protein. 

FACT.  One of the single most limiting factors for athletes wanting to increase their fitness is the ability for their body to recover post exercise.  This is exactly what protein is designed for.  Jump across to r3protein.com and buy what I consider to be the leading protein supplement.  It not only tastes amazing, but it is formulated to include everything you DO need and nothing you DONT.

  Being involved with the development of the R3 range allowed for me to provide valuable input as to what I feel is pivotal in a protein supplement.  R3 protein contains everything you DO need and nothing you DON'T, allowing your body to refuel, restore and revive.     www.r3protein.com

Being involved with the development of the R3 range allowed for me to provide valuable input as to what I feel is pivotal in a protein supplement.  R3 protein contains everything you DO need and nothing you DON'T, allowing your body to refuel, restore and revive.

www.r3protein.com

MEAL 4 - BREAKFAST

My favourite meal of the day and the meal that sets me up for the day ahead.  Skimp on breakfast and you will find that you spend the rest of the day eating or wanting to eat!  My go to is simple and only takes a couple of minutes to prepare. I'll eat four slices of sourdough toast (homemade) paired with 4 tablespoons of ricotta cheese topped with a bag of spinach that I cook on the stove in a little olive oil.  Recently I’ve been adding some curry powder to my spinach just before serving.  This adds some nice flavours. 

  Believe it or not, following a ride I actually have cravings for this breakfast...It's that good!

Believe it or not, following a ride I actually have cravings for this breakfast...It's that good!

MEAL 5 - MID MORNING SNACK

Mid-morning I'll eat a piece of fruit (whatever is seasonal,) one cup of pot set yoghurt and a tablespoon of LSA mix.  I always aim for two pieces of fruit in a day (second piece for afternoon tea) along with two cups of yoghurt (second cup eaten after dinner.)

  The Danone Brand yoghurt tastes unreal, is low in sugar, high in protein and full of good natural bacteria.

The Danone Brand yoghurt tastes unreal, is low in sugar, high in protein and full of good natural bacteria.

MEAL 6 - LUNCH

Veg, Veg, Veg.  I eat a lot of vegetables for lunch…and a lot of rice! I’m a creature of habit and most days eat exactly the same thing.  My favourite is 150grams of salmon, 2 cups of cooked brown rice and 3 cups of sautéed vegetables.  I cook my salmon in the oven for about 20minutes and whilst this is cooking sauté my vegetables.  I don't have time to buy and prepare fresh veg every day and so I find that the frozen veg works well.  I will always have 5 or 6 bags of frozen veg in the freezer so that I never have an excuse not to eat my vegetables.  I microwave them for a few minutes just to thaw them out and then cook them on the stove for about 10 minutes on medium heat with a little olive oil, some garlic and some more curry powder (I love the stuff.) I cook 126cups of rice each week and freeze them in 2 cup portions.  Cooking rice every day is a ball ache!

 A typical lunch or dinner.  The total food weight is around 1kg, made up of rice, vegetables and 150g of meat, in this case, oven baked salmon.

A typical lunch or dinner.  The total food weight is around 1kg, made up of rice, vegetables and 150g of meat, in this case, oven baked salmon.

For most, preparing lunch like this each day isn't viable, however, there’s no excuses.  Meal prep all your lunches over the weekend and pop them in the freezer. 

MEAL 7 - AFTERNOON TEA

Between lunch at noon and dinner at 6pm, I snack 3 times.  I like to spread my snacks out across the afternoon so that I'm never hungry but also so that I'm always feeding myself.  I will always eat a piece of fruit, a slice of home-made banana bread (or home made sourdough) with ricotta cheese and either a cup of yoghurt or 3 carrots and half a cup of hummus.  Like I mentioned above, I’m a creature of habit and so eating the same thing every day doesn't faze me. If I'm still hungry after all of this (generally I’m not hungry but rather bored and just wanting to eat) my go to is a cup of black coffee (decaf) and a few big glasses of water.

  Nothing tastes as good as fresh bread from your own oven.  In addition to the cost savings on outrageously priced, store bought sourdough, by making your own, you are able to eradicate all of the preservatives.

Nothing tastes as good as fresh bread from your own oven.  In addition to the cost savings on outrageously priced, store bought sourdough, by making your own, you are able to eradicate all of the preservatives.

MEAL 8 - DINNER

Veg, Veg, Veg.  Again, three cups of veg cooked on the stove top in a little olive oil with some form of Asian/Indian spice to give it some flavour.  200 grams of protein (after tough days on the bike it's always fish and never red meat) and another two cups of carbohydrate.  At dinner time, depending on the length of my session that day and the length of the session the following day, I will alternate between rice and potato.  If I'm looking for more calories I will eat rice and if I’m looking to fill up but consume less calories I'll eat potato.  Interestingly, gram for gram, potato contains a third of the calories of rice.  For those looking to shed some extra weight, I recommend eating potato in lieu of rice to cut out the calories. As a cyclist who is completing long days on the bike, calories aren't always the enemy, and I find that I will generally reach for the rice instead of the potato.  I keep the potato for rest weeks when I'm not burning as many calories. 

  Two cups of rice, two times per day.  I love rice as a source of fuel and nourishment. Somedays, following a super long ride, I will have two cups of rice with soy milk, honey and a scoop of R3 protein.  This combo ticks all of the boxes for post ride nutrition.

Two cups of rice, two times per day.  I love rice as a source of fuel and nourishment. Somedays, following a super long ride, I will have two cups of rice with soy milk, honey and a scoop of R3 protein.  This combo ticks all of the boxes for post ride nutrition.

  Frozen vegetables are a lifesaver.  They're cheap, easy to prepare and the nutrients are snap frozen as opposed to some of the 'fresh stuff,' which has often been transported and stored for upwards of a week.

Frozen vegetables are a lifesaver.  They're cheap, easy to prepare and the nutrients are snap frozen as opposed to some of the 'fresh stuff,' which has often been transported and stored for upwards of a week.

MEAL 9 - DESSERT

Yes, I eat dessert…but it's generally pretty healthy, Sorry!  A cup of pot set yoghurt with a tablespoon of LSA mix and two squares of 90% dark chocolate hit the spot.  If I've completed a big day on the bike, I'll also have a serve of R3 Protein in water just before bed to ensure enhanced muscle recovery overnight in preparation for the following day's session.

SUMMARY

So, there you have it, everything that I eat in a day.  It might appear like a lot but exercising for 6hrs a day causes the body to burn a lot of calories and so it's important to replenish what is lost.  Again, I must reiterate to you that this meal plan was put together by David Bryant of Catalyst Dietitian specifically for me.  David is an Ironman Triathlete and so understands the importance of fuelling for endurance sports.  I highly recommend booking an appointment with Dave so that he can assist you in building your own specific meal plan.

In closing, here are a couple of additional tips and tricks:

- Drink water and lots of it!  My post ride consumption of water is around 3L/day.  I find water is pretty bland by itself and so mix in some diet cordial to help me get it down in the quantities I need to restore my natural balance.

- Meal prep is king.  If you lead a busy life, then prepare your week’s lunches and dinners and pop them in the freezer.  This way there are no excuses for poor decisions.

- Carbohydrate is your friend, low carb diets are your enemy!

- Protein around exercise is KEY and can be looked upon as a legal performance enhancing supplement. R3 Protein is by far, the best I have used.

- Eat your vegetables, they not only fill you up but are made up of macro nutrients that will replenish the vitamins and minerals that your body needs, on a cellular level.

- If you want to eat out, I find Asian restaurants are the best.  The servings are not only large, but the breakdown of carbohydrate, protein and Veg is generally spot on.

Feel free to leave a question below.  Look upon me as your one stop resource for achieving your endurance/adventure cycling goals.

For those in Perth, jump across to David Bryant's website for details about how he can help you.  I highly recommend making an appointment to go and have a chat about your own, personal, dietary requirements.

http://www.catalystdietitian.com.au/home.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEUROPHYSICS THERAPY - TOTAL BODY ENHANCEMENT

24/02/2018

"The most advanced form of training and rehabilitation in the world..."

What if I told you you’d never have to stretch or foam roll again and you’d be injury free and nimbler than ever before?

Photo 23-2-18, 8 38 34 am.jpg

If someone had explained this concept to me just 18 months ago, I would have laughed.  If they’d then insisted that they were speaking the truth, I’d have whisked them away into a dark corner at gun point (I don’t actually own a gun…) and demanded that they hand over one of the ‘magic pills’ that they spoke of.

If you’re anything like me, then you hate stretching.  There’s nothing worse than coming home from a ride, spending the day at work, returning home for dinner and then realising that you need to stretch before you really feel as though you’re ready to jump into bed (guilt free…) Perhaps you’re not as obsessive about your stretching as I once was?

Photo 23-2-18, 9 26 03 pm.jpg

An overuse injury in my early day’s as a cyclist had me feet up, unable to turn the pedals for close to six months.  I was diagnosed with the dreaded ‘ITB Syndrome,’ a common injury for cyclists in which the Iliotibial Band that run’s down the exterior of the quad, becomes so tight, that it results in the bursa (small, fluid filled sacks that lubricate the joint beneath) becoming inflamed and causing chronic pain.  I spent hours at the physio and hours researching exactly what was causing the grief I was experiencing.  Everything I read explained that I should be foam rolling the band itself, loosening the attachment points at either end and strengthening my glutes.  Eager to jump back on the bike as soon as possible, I turned into an ‘obsessive stretcher,’ stretching for upwards of two hours each and every day, in the hope that this would fast track my recovery.

DSC02755.jpg

Upon slowly emerging from the injury, I soon realized that I had become dependant on stretching.  Any minor niggle (which was becoming more and more common) had me stretching and yet even though I was completing a monstrous amount of stretching each and every day, I still felt tight.  How could this be?

This routine lasted for four years.  Four long years of stretching 1-2 hours each and every day.  If I look back and calculate the time I spent stretching in the four years prior to my introduction to Neuro Physics Therapy, I’d have accumulated approximately 2,200 hours of ‘stretch’…the equivalent to three whole months of stretching 24/7. Ridiculous…

Late in 2016 I was introduced to Kam Wilkinson and Teneal Attard (T) from ‘Chaotic Energy’ in Highgate, Western Australia and this is when my stretching regime stopped abruptly.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 35 02 am.jpg

Kam & T are experts in the field of Neuro Physics Therapy (NPT.)  In a nutshell, NPT is a unique exercise-based program, which activates the nervous system in such a way that stimulates the body to re-organize itself and return to optimal function, through very light and controlled resistance training – Often within incredible timeframes.

Developed by Ken Ware over the past 30 years, NPT has been shown to consistently benefit clients through its ‘whole body approach,’ rather than isolating trouble spots that require ‘fixing.’  This unique form of therapy enables the body to facilitate all of the healing work required to return the body to peak physical and mental form, without the use of medicine, surgery or physical manipulation.

It’s a difficult phenomenon to describe and so what I’ve done, is put forward a series of questions to my therapist Kam, so that he can provide more clarity on the concept behind NPT and how it will benefit you. But first, I want to describe my experience and the outcomes that I’ve achieved through NPT in such a short space of time.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 18 39 am.jpg

As outlined earlier, prior to NPT I always felt tight.  No exceptions. I struggled to reach my toes bending forward, my quads felt as though they were heavy and solid and I always had some form of niggle, be it in my knees, hips, calves or back.  I felt like an old man and yet I was in my mid-twenties, ‘prime time’ as some would argue.

Another thing to note is that in order to feel comfortable on the bike I was required to adopt a ‘duck foot’ position where my heels were in and my toes were out.  My feet were so splayed on the pedals that my heels would rub on my cranks and rear stays with every pedal stroke.  To solve this problem, I purchased pedals with longer spindles but this just led to additional issues. The longer spindles had me feeling as though I was riding a horse.  My stance was so wide and I felt so awkward on the bike that some days I would jump aboard my steed and really question what enjoyment I was getting.  It became a mental battle to overcome how uncomfortable I was.

Photo 23-2-18, 9 34 47 pm.jpg

The above is no doubt news to most, but this was a struggle that I put up with for years and to this day, I sometime question why and how I kept on riding.

Back to NPT…Initially, I completed an intensive four-day program under the guidance of Kam. At the completion of each day, I was not only physically wrecked, but mentally exhausted too, as my body was going through a series of exercises in which I was able to see what was occurring in my system and then set about changing them.  

Photo 23-2-18, 8 28 00 am.jpg
Photo 23-2-18, 8 20 10 am.jpg
Photo 23-2-18, 8 23 04 am.jpg

Exercises ranged from leg press to lat pull down and everything in between with a clear focus of symmetry and alignment.  A few key concepts that were mentioned included being centred, calming arousal down and keeping everything innocent.  All of the exercises were completed without weight and yet the levels of fatigue I experienced were like no other I had ever come across in the gym. All exercises are completed at a very slow pace which enables significant refinement to take place physically and emotionally, I really was experiencing how my body was riding my bike.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 16 33 am.jpg
Photo 23-2-18, 8 17 55 am.jpg
Photo 23-2-18, 8 22 26 am.jpg

To give you an idea of how quickly I noticed results, following the four days of therapy, I had to make drastic changes to the positioning of the cleats on my shoes so that my feet faced squarely forward and in addition to this, I felt improved clarity and had the ability to remain composed when riding at my absolute limits. It was at this point that I realised that Kam, T and the whole of the NPT following worldwide, were onto something...That everyone can fix themselves and learn to be in control through this therapy.

Photo 23-2-18, 9 34 39 pm.jpg
Photo 23-2-18, 8 41 35 am.jpg

So how do I go about completing my therapy when away in a remote location on one of my Adventures without access to a gym?  Simple…by completing just four ‘super slow’ squat repetitions at the completion of each day, I can now realign my body back to optimal function.  I complete this prior to bed and voila, the following morning I jump on the bike and feel like new again. It truly is incredible.

Jack_x_Assos-16.jpg

It may appear as though I'm trying to sell you a concept that is too good to be true, but I can honestly say that NPT has changed me.  It’s not only changed me from a physical sense in that I am now more flexible than ever and able to bend forward and put my whole palm flat on the floor in front, but from a mental/emotional sense too.  I am far calmer than I ever have been.  If a problem arises, be it on the bike or in daily life, I can deal with it in a calm and collected manner.  In addition to this, despite the long kilometres I complete on the bike each and every day, I remain niggle free.  If you look to the other athletes that are now using NPT within Australia alone, it highlights how effective this form of therapy is, in allowing these athletes to reach their optimal performance levels in their chosen sport:

Mark Matthews – Professional Big Wave Surfer

Karla Gilbert - Ironman

Jana Pitman – Two time Wold Athletics Gold Medallist

Jonathon Brown – Ex -AFL Player

Reni Maitua – Ex -NRL Player

Nick Kenny – Ex -NRL Player

Simon Dywer – Ex- NRL Player

Pete Jacobs – Professional Triathlete

Matt Spooner – UFC Athlete/Coach

John Maclean – Professional Triathlete / Rower

If the above list and explanation aren’t enough to convince you that NPT is the way forward, then have a good read of my Q&A with Kam below and book into your nearest NPT clinic for a consultation.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 29 13 am.jpg

Additionally, if you are seeking the validity and creditability of NeuroPhysics Therapy, check out www.neurophysicstherapy.global and view the research tab.  If you’re anything like me, you won’t look back.  Life changing.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 35 38 am.jpg

Q. Can you provide me with a simplistic outline as to who NPT is for, and how it works?

A. NPT is for everyone that wants to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Whether they want to increase sporting performance, better deal with stress, anxiety or general rehabilitation and also for people who have chronic pain/complex disorders.

NPT is about treating the person and not the condition or symptoms. By teaching you to be back in control of your system and equipping you with the necessary skills, you are actually able to fix the system.

NPT works by understanding what we are. We are living systems that perceive and respond to the environment around us. As a living system, we can only be in one of two states, a state of growth or a state of protection. A state of protection is where the stress builds up in our system (physical/emotional tension.) It’s the isolation of stress that creates disease and disorder. NPT enables clients to move into a state of growth, where the communication lines are open, allowing optimal flow of information and optimal nervous system function. As a result, we are able to control our emotions, our sleep patterns and our energy levels.

Using light weights and moving super slow, we are able to see how the client’s system is dealing with stress day-day, whether in their chosen sport, at home/work or in social environments. Your system will indicate to us exactly how it is behaving and interacting in these environments. In understanding the client’s physical and emotional responses to the environment (in the exercises) we can correct the imbalances in the client’s system and this enables reference points to be created which help you deal in the bigger, stronger, faster world!

Photo 23-2-18, 8 21 11 am.jpg

Q. What does a typical session look like?

A. Each client goes through an initial assessment in which we assess how their system is interacting day-day with their environments. They will then start on a Platinum 2 Day Program or complete the 4 Day NPT Intensive therapy.  Following these initial sessions, the client goes onto begin the NPT program. Each session is about continually enhancing and upgrading their system function, so they become better equipped at dealing with their environment.

Q. Does NPT have the ability to fix chronic disease?  Do you have examples?

A. Yes definitely, as mentioned above, NPT is about treating the person. Ken Ware the founder has helped thousands of people for over 30 years in remarkably short time frames. Please see these links for client testimonials:

https://www.neurophysicstherapy.global/research/

https://www.facebook.com/KamWilkinsonNeuroPhysics/

Q. How often will I need to complete NPT each week?

A. Ideally 3 sessions a week, this enables clients to significantly escape the patterns of behaviour that were contributing to their presenting concerns. By continuing the program, you are able to continually enhance and upgrade your system, better deal with stress whilst maintaining composure in all areas of life.

Photo 23-2-18, 8 24 07 am.jpg

Q. In my written piece above, I explained to readers that stretching and foam rolling are now an obsolete part of my daily training regime.  Can you explain why stretching and foam rolling are no longer relevant with the introduction of NPT into one’s regime?

A. When we stretch any part of our system, we are releasing energy and information from the system and losing physical and emotional integrity along with the events/experiences from that training session. Why would we want to lose that information?? The initial release or experience you feel from stretching is because you have lost the information from that session and your system. Your ligaments, tendons and muscles all store energy at different ratios so once you stretch them, they pull back even tighter. Picture stretching a rubber band or pinching a balloon, you are losing integrity from the system. Our systems are far more complex then these examples and as such, stretching has a far greater impact to our physical and emotional states. Everything in the system is affected.

Why do we stretch?? To acquire temporary relief. We need to address what is actually causing the pain and discomfort, rather than isolating the stress in the system to start with. The isolation of stress is what causes disease and disorder in the system.

This is where NPT comes in. By changing the perception and behaviours that are giving rise to the pain in your system, you are addressing the root cause. So rather than a quick fix you are actually solving the entire puzzle.

Q. We watched the video of you completing the super slow squats with 200kg and then go on to chest press 14 plates, calm, composed and with the ability to speak to the camera at the same time.  Incredible. Can you talk us through how this is possible?

A. It’s all about practicing with composure and starting exactly the same way that you start with the super slows. Getting everything physically and emotionally stable, being in control of your arousal, regardless of where the stress is coming from. This is the key benefit of doing NPT as the stress of the machines resemble stress from life. It’s not something to be fearful of and if it does make you feel that way, this perception needs to change as this is a reflection of how the system is interacting day-day. As you practice with varying levels of stress, gaining greater levels of physical and emotional composure, you become very robust to world noise. Obviously, this is something that has to be practiced and the ability to lift this type of weight and remain calm, collected and emotionally sound takes time. Think of a cycling great, Peter Sagan for example.  Sagan didn’t turn into a superstar overnight.  It takes hours and hours of training to perform optimally on the big stage.

If you are interested in learning more about the treatment itself or studying NeuroPhysics Therapy, please follow the link below or contact Kam.

https://www.neurophysicstherapy.global/careers-education/

The choice is yours, you now know all about the magic pill...but will you take it...?

 

 

 

 

WEEKEND ADVENTURE - COLLIE

31/01/2018

“CLEAN HIS CHAMOIS FROM THE INVOLUNTARY DEPOSITS LEFT AS A RESULT OF THE EMU SCARE...”

DAY ONE - 27th January 2018
121km / 1,331m Elevation

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 7.37.52 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 7.36.07 pm.png

What happens when you gather five avid adventurers, load all of their bikes onto the trailer, throw them in the back of your VW Multivan and set off for a weekend of exploration two hours South East of Perth?  You have a bloody good time…

DSC04986.jpg

The destination for this month’s ‘Weekend Adventure’ was Collie and its picturesque surrounds.

A little different to last month’s Toodyay Adventure, this month the start point for Day 1 was 200km south of Perth in the seaside town of Bunbury. Having just picked up my custom 8 bike trailer, (which will be for hire throughout Perth shortly,) I was keen to put it to good use and so the Collie Adventure presented the perfect opportunity.

Departing from one of Perth’s Cycling Hot Spots ‘The Raffles Hotel…’, (For those who don’t know, The Raffles have a lycra ban…so no…we didn’t have coffee there!) we hit the road early Saturday morning.  A quick stop for coffee and cake at ‘The Crooked Carrot’ part way into the drive had us arriving in Bunbury soon after.

A quick transformation into Lycra and we were ready to hit the road.  Bunbury didn’t provide us with the warmest of welcomes…we had a number of ‘registration paying citizens’ advising us that we should also be ‘paying registration’ and should be riding in single file.  Here’s hoping they will one day learn the road rules.

DSC04952.jpg
DSC04953.jpg
DSC04958.jpg

Before long and we were in the country, enjoying the spectacular South West as we rolled turns towards our lunch stop in Harvey.  Like any good ride, we filled up on Bakery tucker before tackling the infamous Harvey Dam Climb.  A long and steady climb winding in and amongst the trees and around the dam itself provided the perfect backdrop for the following hours of riding.

DSC04960.jpg
DSC04963.jpg

The tarmac soon turned to gravel, and for the next 40km we found ourselves tapping along on incredibly quiet, but well-kept gravel roads.  Hat’s off to Frank, who was an absolute demon on the gravel.  Frank’s experience on the mountain bike had him descending like a man possessed!

DSC04970.jpg
DSC04971.jpg
DSC04978.jpg
DSC04982.jpg
DSC04989.jpg
DSC04993.jpg
DSC04994.jpg

All was running smoothly until Zac punctured, and then punctured again and then just for good luck, punctured a third time!  Having followed the pack list closely, Zac was sorted and used three of his four tubes.  No one was game to say out aloud (in fear of jinxing one another) but I know for sure that I was thinking that puncture four could only have been minutes away. Fortunately, I was wrong.

DSC04995.jpg

After a hot afternoon on the pedals and a decent stint of gravel, our talk of Powerade and Coke turned to talk of ice cold beers.  Luckily the Federal Hotel in Collie, (our accommodation for the night) did not disappoint and the first sip provided that welcome refreshment that the lads had been craving all afternoon.

DSC05016.jpg
DSC04999.jpg
DSC05000.jpg
DSC05004.jpg
DSC05005.jpg

Beers turned into dinner but not without humour.  Paul, a great bloke, Indian Pacific Wheel Race Starter for 2018 and all round funny bastard, won the prize for the ‘most interesting footwear.’  A pair of gold and ‘salmon’ coloured loafers matched Paul’s outfit for the night fantastically.  Paul let on to me later in the night that these were the shoes he had worn to his wedding, so I’m certainly eager to see the wedding photos and the ‘matching suit,’ if such a beast exists.

DSC05002.jpg

Ready for bed but still yearning for food, the boys decided a quick trip to McDonalds was in order.  John, aka ‘Terminator,’ was eager for a burger but admittedly had a violent case of ‘the guilt’s’ post meal.  It’s lucky that our second day of riding had more than its fair share of difficult elevation and so luckily for John, in this instance, he was safe ;)

DSC05007.jpg
DSC05009.jpg
DSC05010.jpg

DAY TWO – 28th January 2018
95km / 908m Elevation

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 7.37.05 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 7.37.16 pm.png

We woke on Day 2 to beautiful blue skies and rumbling bellies.  Nothing a trip to the Bakery for a fresh pie and coffee can’t fix.

DSC05017.jpg

A minor detour had us exploring the famous ‘Black Diamond Lake,’ an old Coal Mine that has since been filled with water and now acts as a tourist destination luring visitors from far and wide.  Upon arriving, the sapphire blue water highlighted just why.  With a limestone base, the water appears iridescent blue and juxtaposed against white limestone, creates the perfect backdrop for a weekend away relaxing at the lake.

With kilometres to ride and climbs to tackle, we had a quick look around the lake before setting off South in search of gravel and the infamous ‘River Road Climb.’

DSC05021.jpg
DSC05022.jpg
DSC05025.jpg
DSC05028.jpg

15km out of town we were back on the orange gold (gravel.) The vegetation of Day Two differed greatly from Day One and we found ourselves deep within a pine plantation that reminded us of being deep within the Canadian wilderness.  The terrain was fantastic and the pine provided brilliant cover from the sun.

DSC05029.jpg
DSC05031.jpg
DSC05039.jpg

Frank had a close call with an emu on one of the longer descents and then missed our next turnoff.  My guess is that he kept travelling up the road and away from the other lads so that he could clean his chamois from the involuntary deposits left as a result of the ‘Emu Scare!’

DSC05040.jpg
DSC05054.jpg
DSC05042.jpg
DSC05047.jpg
DSC05058.jpg
DSC05059.jpg

The Wellington Dam Kiosk provided a great refuel point prior to our descent along the Wellington Dam river banks towards ‘River Road.’

DSC05062.jpg
DSC05064.jpg

River Road is a prick of a climb even when the legs are feeling good.  After a few too many shandies the night before, I’m the first to put my hand up and say that I was struggling just a little. With the Nullabor km still in my legs, and not quite enough recovery, I was happy to let the boys dance off up the hills and drag my sorry ass to the top of the climb alone.

At the top of the River Road and with a tough 3km climb in the legs, we were all eager to descend into the Ferguson valley and back towards Bunbury for Lunch.

The final kilometres were some of the most spectacular as we wound our way through the multiple Ferguson Valley farm stays and back to the Collie foothills.  A final gravel sector had us arriving back in Bunbury in time for a hearty kebab and good post ride banter.

DSC05068.jpg

The drive home was far quieter than the drive down with, all but two of the boys nodding off for a nap.  Funny man Paul, who I’ve decided to nickname ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ provided entertainment even whilst asleep. 

DSC05070.jpg

As I dropped the boys home, on our way back through Perth, I recall thinking to myself how lucky I am to be able to take riders off on Adventures and call this work.

Life is good, and this weekend just highlighted what cycling is all about.  Good times with good mates, both new and old.

DSC05069.jpg