Richard Nelson

Archive for July, 2006|Monthly archive page

Sunday’s work-outs, July 16/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 23:10:00

Coach Steve wrote: “Cycle 3.5 hours easy to base pace (aerobic)”.

Another very slow morning, as we had breakfast at the b.&b., got out and on the road. The idea was to start on Wasaga Beach’s River Road. A couple of troubles ensued: I lost the way to Wasaga Beach; then we stopped on the wrong River Road. Wasaga Beach, bizarrely, has two, and we chose the wrong one! In any event, about 11:30 a.m. I swalled a Promax bar in the parking lot of Birchview Dunes Elementary School, and headed, er, east. When I reached the police detachment, I knew I had to turn soon. I got lost and ended up far east of my intended road (Tiny Beaches Road), but found my way to water finally, and for the most part did what Coach Bogie strongly recommended. At Balm Beach I missed the turn again, but I knew it quickly, and asked some folks drinking beer whither to go. When they asked where I was headed, I said Cedar Point. One of them remarked, “But that’s ten miles!”

Bogie had forgotten to tell me to turn at Concession 12. Instead I kept following Tiny Beaches Road, even riding a sandy kilometre, argh! Just north of that I bought a bottle of water from two little girls with a roadside stand. It was a dollar, but breaking my five proved a major project!

On and on I rode. I eventually decided that it couldn’t be far to Cedar Point really, and I’d ride there. I crested my only significant hill, which was quite steep, and rode the boring road into Cedar Point, to find that the convenience store was closed and for sale.

(One of the interesting things about the ride was that while Wasaga Beach and the Tiny Beaches have been fixtures in local culture since I was a child—my friends in high school routinely went to Wasaga on weekends to carouse—this was to my knowledge the first time I’d been in any of these places! But I must have been in Cedar Point once, forty years ago, because it’s the launching point of the ferry to Christian Island, and we once visited the cottage of a co-worker of my father there.)

I’d hit Cedar Point half an hour after my ostensible turn-around, not good. I had no mobile coverage either! I picked a fairly direct route, and ended up at a convenience store slamming water and Powerade (does no one sell Gatorade any more?). I asked a passerby where I was, and found out it was Lafontaine, in the heart of Franco-Ontario. Many of the signs were unilingual French, which made it seem like rural Québec.

I finally connected with Mona, and we agreed to meet near the Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area.

At this point I’ll admit I was hating life. Simcoe Road 6 was no joy. And every contact point hurt, especially the palms of my hands. I made it, finally, to Concession 2, and Mona showed up minutes later. I actually fell asleep in the car—after we’d stopped at a McDonald’s in Elmvale for a coffee and a Triple Thick Milkshake.

The ride: 51.6 miles in 3 h 34 min.

The week ended July 16 is my heaviest bike week ever: 154 miles. And in the four days from Thursday through Sunday, I rode 138 miles.

This morning (Monday) I had a reaction to yesterday’s fluid intake, extra salt, and perhaps evening pizza that reminded me of a colonoscopy prep. For a couple of hours I couldn’t leave the area of the bathroom. (Even now, 12 hours later, I don’t feel great.) But even so I look back after the last few weeks and think maybe this Ironman thing is doable!


Saturday’s work-out &c., July 15/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:53:00

Coach Steve wrote:

Cycle 3 hours steady effort, hilly ride through and around Beaver Valley
Run 1.25 hours base pace

Another day in which I had real problems getting out in a timely fashion. Part of the problem was not wanting to be a bad guest. There I was at a b.&b. The earliest we could get breakfast was 7:30 a.m. By the time I’d gotten out, it was almost 9:30.

Fortunately for me, “Coach Bogie” was also late. Phew!

We were to meet at the Epping Lookout. I picked out a very straightforward route: south on 7th Line, east on Grey Road 40, and south on Grey Road 7. South of the Big Head River, 7th Line climbs the Niagara Escarpment. Let me warn you: this is a very steep hill. I wanted to give up; I wanted to walk; indeed, I was worried that if I didn’t click out I’d hit bicycle stall speed (about 4 or 5 miles per hour), and topple over! By the top I was breathing like a 19th-century steam engine, and I had stars before my eyes. What a way to start a hilly ride!

I met Bogie pretty much at Scott’s place (which is just north of the Epping Lookout), and we headed south on Road 7, almost, but not quite, into Kimberley. Tremendous speed on this long, moderate hill, topping out above 36 miles per hour. It confirmed that my bike remains nicely trued, at least.

Where Road 7 joins Road 13, we turned north along the Beaver River. (The Beaver River is what’s called an erratic stream, just a minor stream that fills a valley carved by much greater forces, in this case a massive glacial spillway that chewed up several hundred square kilometres of the Niagara Escarpment.) Not hilly yet; but it was when we turned along famous Grey Road 19, heading toward Ravenna. Some construction forced us onto 18 Side Road (dirt and gravel, but tolerable) before we reached the convenience store in Ravenna.

I was getting puffy so I chewed through half a bag of Ruffles, and a bottle of Powerade. We reversed route, and we finished the ride with the “20-minute” climb of Road 7 from the valley floor to Epping Lookout. Bogie showed off by going to the top of the hill, descending, and then catching me up again. Harumph.

He was kind enough to get me to the b.&b. in his Blazer. I promptly fell asleep.

The ride: 43.8 miles in 3 h 14 min.

I didn’t run, I’m afraid: I’m only into pool running these days, and there was no pool!

Friday’s work-outs, July 14/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:37:00

Coach Steve wrote: “Drive to Meaford, Ride for a couple of hours to flush legs out if you have time”. Our MacGuffin that weekend was my firm’s managing director’s annual “farm day” at his “farm” on the Niagara Escarpment on the lip of the Beaver Valley. Scott had specifically asked me if I was coming—and in an earlier year, to my surprise, had asked me why I hadn’t attended!—so I felt we should go.

But I couldn’t drive to Grey County without thinking about cycling in that hilly country with its beautiful worlds. So I did some Web work and found a bed and breakfast for us. We drove up to Meaford, ’way, ’way too late by my tastes, but I unloaded my bike out of the van, and headed out for a quick ride.

I rode straight up St Vincent Township 7th Line. I had hoped I’d crest a shorebluff and look out over Nottawasaga Bay, but I had no such luck. The public road ends abruptly at the Meaford Tank Range. Still it was a good ride with some serious long hills; and I had fun riding down hill (more or less) back to the b.&b. As I approached Riverside, I saw a cyclist. Who, I wondered, would be out at this hour (about 7 p.m.)? Well, it was Mona! She’d unloaded her Specialized hybrid, and was doing a ride. She asked me, “Where can I ride that’s flat?” I had to chuckle: “We picked the wrong county for that!”

Including my ride with Mona, I did 20.4 miles in 1 h 36 min.

But the most important of the day, maybe, was my 20-minute chat with Coach Steve. Some comments that his clients, at this stage, are often learning how to fit the work-outs in. Some technical discussion on how to do things. He told me that hip-flexor exercises are the most important exercises in his programme.

And some talk of pools. Settlement House is close, but its hours are growing increasingly limited, and its lanes full. I need to find another pool; and it might be worthwhile getting to a pool that’s open all the time, even if it’s less convenient physically.

Thursday’s work-outs, July 13/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:23:00

Coach Steve wrote:

Cycle 90″ total with 9 x 4″ hard strength effort at <70rpm (1″ RI spin)
Strength and Power Class

To make an 8:15 doctor’s appointment, I zoomed out of the house at 6:25 a.m. I headed east (Fulton and Pape avenues, O’Connor Drive, St Clair Avenue, and Kingston Road). I did most of the work-out on Kingston Road, with the “hard-strength efforts” usually uninterrupted by traffic signals. I got as far east as Overture Road (basically around Guildwood Station) before I turned around.

My return was a bit different: Kingston Road, St Clair Avenue, O’Connor Drive, Donlands Avenue, the Leaside Bridge, Millwood Road, Southvale Drive, Moore and Lumley avenues, Heath Street, and Welland and St Clair avenues.

Torontonians may recall that O’Connor leading up to Don Mills Road is … peculiar. The right lane must exit at Don Mills; and Don Mills leads to the Don Valley Parkway; so the queue can grow very long even in the morning. I have to midline for several blocks, paying attention to motorists who have little idea of where they are, and might use their one-metre shy distance without looking.

The Leaside Bridge remains under construction, but the City’s Transportation Services Division has preserved the bike lanes.

Then the parade of stop signs through Leaside (no faster alternative), and I’m on Moore Avenue heading toward Mount Pleasant Road. Most, or perhaps many, motorists would like to continue east on St Clair Avenue (I should mention here that St Clair is interrupted by several kilometres of ravines). To prevent “cut-through” traffic along from Moore to Welland to St Clair avenue, turns are restricted from eastbound Moore to southbound Welland during the morning peak.

A few months ago, the placard on the turn restriction sign was updated to add bicycles to the list of permitted vehicles (taxis and buses), but I’ve never taken advantage of that privilege. Instead, I turn south on Lumley Avenue, and west on Heath Street. It’s connected across Mud Creek (also known as the Moore Park Ravine) by a bridge, which I took.

St Clair Avenue west of Avenue Road is under heavy reconstruction. I hopped the streetcar tracks, and got to my doctor’s office, where I now have permission to lock my bike.

The ride: 22.8 miles in 1 h 29 min. (I also did 3.2 miles commuting, but I don’t count that.)

Other stuff? Another painful hour of shiatsu.

And I was beat up and had a lot to carry home, so Mona drove downtown and drove me home.

Wednesday’s work-outs, July 12/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:20:00

Coach Steve wrote, “Swim 1550 – 400 warm up; 8 x 50 as 25fast/25easy (20’RI); 6 x 75 kick hard (40’RI); 300 w’dn”.

Here’s what I wrote Coach Steve: “Hectic week continued; missed swimming because I couldn’t make the 105-minute window at pool”.

Was this true? Hard to know. It was a hectic day, and Settlement House’s swimming hours are a real nuisance.

Tuesday’s work-outs, July 11/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:16:00

Coach Steve wrote:

Weights and strength circuit
Swim lesson in pm

I’ll confess: I skipped the weight work-out. It was certainly a busy day, but I was unmotivated to make a fool of myself; but I had at least typed in Coach Steve’s programme.

I did do the swimming lesson, and I’m making huge progress (more of this in Friday’s write-up).

Monday’s work-outs, July 10/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 22:04:00

Coach Steve wrote: “Run strength 75″ total with 6 x 1″ hills (if on the treadmill do them at 6-8% grade) (recovery is 2″ easy)”.

I biked to and from work (as usual), about 12.7 miles, and had one of my intensely painful shiatsu sessions with Alison.

That evening, I tropped over to the University Settlement Recreation Centre with my AquaJogger buoyancy belt. The pool wasn’t too crowded, mostly with very slow lap-swimmers. There was one quiet Chinese lady slowing doing lengths in the fast lane, so that’s where I went.

There are lot of troubles with pool running. First and foremost is that you’re an obstacle to navigation, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So when the pool began filling up—all the lanes got multiple swimmers, and I couldn’t get out of the way. A brief conversation with the lifeguard, and I was on the street—after only 16 minutes in the pool.

Sunday’s work-outs, July 9/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 17 Monday at 21:21:00

Coach Steve wrote, “Cycle 2.25 hours easy”.

As always, trying to fit in the work-out is the hard part. Where should it go? What obligation should I not meet?

This was a tad easier, because Coach Kelvin and I had scheduled a swimming lesson for 11 a.m. I took my ten-year-old stepgranddaughter Andrea with me; a much better swimmer than me! The John Innes Community Recreation Centre in Moss Park was closed, but a staffer saw us standing at the door and let us in. Kelvin arrived a little closer to our start time.

Andrea just floated from one end of the pool to the other, usually playing with the pufferfish key holder that had come with her swimsuit. When it sank, she even retrieved it from the bottom of the pool. And she outswam my lengths. I am, of course, a very poor swimmer, but I think she’s a good one.

(The other interesting thing is that Andrea was eager to see who won that day’s stage of the Tour de France; we’d had to leave before it concluded, but I’d taped it.)

When we have Andrea we usually drop her off at her other grandparents’ home in Hamilton about 5 p.m. We were a bit early, and went off in search of Gatorade. The mall where I’d intended to start my ride was closed, so we ended up driving to Brontë, where a 7-11 provided me—and where I was a complete space cadet. I wonder what was distracting me.

In any event, Mona drove me to the Brontë Athletic Park, and I headed east in the early evening light. For several miles I rode on Lakeshore Road through Oakville and into Mississauga, then north on Southdown Road, back on Lakeshore Road (thus named), and into Toronto where the road changes its name to the more pretentious Lake Shore Boulevard (although, particularly in Long Branch and New Toronto, pretentions are not justified).

The trick in riding across Toronto is picking the right route, really the least bad route. I do not want to ride the Goodman Trail even when it’s deserted, much less on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. And although some vehicular cyclists like Bloor Street, I’d decided my main route across town would be Davenport Road, which is usually a good bike route.

Now the trick was getting from Lake Shore Boulevard to Davenport Road, so I had concocted a rather odd route: at Humber Bay Park, I turned along Marine Parade Drive, jumped over some grass to get to the Goodman Trail, and crossed the famous Humber River foot/bike bridge. I was passed, by the way, by a guy in full-on Aquila kit on a speedy bike, weaving among the Sunday walkers.

I turned north along Windermere Avenue, and climbed the old shorebluff there—quite steep. At Bloor Street I was stuck at a red light, so I made a right turn, and then a left turn on Durie Street, a quiet residential street with rather a lot of stop signs.

Finally I was at Annette Street. I turned east, made a vehicular left turn north on Keele Street, east on Junction Road, north on Old Weston Road, and finally east on Davenport Road. The horror (okay, it wasn’t anywhere near that bad!) started at Annette and Keele. The flags! The honking! Italy had won the FIFA World Cup, and every Torontonian who could claim Italian descent (rather a lot) were out waving the tricolour, honking, and yelling.

Oddly enough, this was not as bad for me as it was for motorists or even pedestrians. By the time I got to Bathurst Street it had pretty much died down, and in any event I’m only a metre wide, and so I can fit in narrow spots. I just couldn’t (or didn’t feel I could) ride fast.

At Yonge Street, Davenport Road becomes Church Street and turns south. I made a vehiculr left turn onto Bloor, which becomes the Prince Edward Viaduct, and then Danforth Avenue. At Logan Avenue I took another vehicular left turn and (as usual!) was being held up by a tourist looking for parking and bemused by the speed humps.

In total: 32.90 miles in 2 h 12 min.

Saturday’s work-out &c., July 8/06

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 9 Sunday at 11:04:00

Coach Steve wrote: “Cycle 90″ total with 4 x 10″ tempo effort at 95-100rpm (4″ easy spin RI)”. My plan was to get out very early (like around 6:30), but though I was up at 4:50 I didn’t manage it until about 7:45. Still, that’s pretty early; I was done just after 9:30, and got to see most of the day’s stage of the Tour de France. (Let’s face it: the individual time trial is probably the least telegenic event in road cycling, aside from a rider’s catching his two-minute man.)

Anyway, I took an out-and-back, the first third or so of which is pretty much my invariable: Fulton and Pape avenues, O’Connor Drive, St Clair Avenue, Kingston Road. People sometimes wonder why I always go east when I ride from home. Easy: I live east of downtown Toronto; if I go west I have to fight with more frequent traffic signals, thicker traffic on narrower cross-sections. Much easier to head east to suburban arterials with free-flowing traffic and wide curb lanes.

Anyway, for the last time, I think, I used the latter two thirds or so of the out leg that I long ago borrowed from the AdverMap series of bike maps: from Kingston Road, south on Ravine Road (i.e., Bellamy Road with a nicer name), continue on Bellehaven Crescent, east (more or less) on Hill Crescent, south on Bethune Boulevard (which descends the remnant of the Lake Iroquois shorebluff), east on Catalina Drive, north on Prince Phillip Boulevard, and east on Guildwood Parkway. Instead of turning north at Morningside Avenue, where Guildwood (thus named) ends, I continued on Greyabbey Trail until my 45th minute ticked off.

Guildwood Parkway’s ok, sort of, but everything from Ravine Road to Prince Phillip Boulevard, inclusive, are the frequent stop signs (which I cannot bring myself to ignore); at the foot of Bethune’s steep hill is a stop sign! And Guildwood has a pretty poor surface at the curb, where, of course, one usually rides.

(A side note: if often amuses me the things named after Norman Bethune, presumably the namesake of Bethune Boulevard. He’s something of a Canadian hero for his work with the sick and wounded in the Spanish Civil War and then in China; his hard-core Communism and, worse, his support for Mao’s brutal suppression of dissent, are conveniently forgotten. In any event, Bethune Boulevard in Scarborough is the site of large, expensive homes, presumably not occupied by supporters of Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tsetung Thought.)

On my return I decided I would not skedaddle through the residential streets listed above; my original plan was just to follow Guildwood Parkway to Kingston Road. But the only signalized intersection on Guildwood is at Livingston Road, and I thought, hey, doesn’t Livingston intersect with Kingston Road? I turned north.

I wasn’t exactly wrong, but I was functionally. Livingston is a north-south road that I’ll guess at one time intersected Kingston Road normally. Now it only connects on the north side of Kingston. The massive fly-over of Kingston Road over the Canadian National Railways’ Kingston Subdivision (a 3-track line), and Guildwood Station, has caused Livingston to the south to be come just an entrance to Guildwood Station’s parking lots. Without a map, I just followed the only road I could, Westlake, to Galloway Road, and there connected to Kingston Road.

I did do the tempo efforts prescribed by Coach Steve. As Thursday, I guessed at the cadence. I basically did high-cadence hard bits, separated by very-low-resistance spinning. It seemed to work.

Anyway, my side trip got me home after 99 min of cycling, 24.4 miles, at an average of 14.7 mi/h, and a maximum of 30.9 mi/h. (On that route I usually hit the maximum descending St Clair from Victoria Park avenue.)

The rest of the day seemed to be nothing but rest. I made what I now consider a big mistake as soon as I got home: I had my day’s second cup of coffee. That meant that after I’d had lunch and felt like a nap I couldn’t really go down for more than a few minutes. I spent over two hours in bed, alternately dozing and reading, kind of a waste of time; I’d’ve rather had a good solid 30 to 60 minutes’ sleep, then had my coffee.

Fortunately I had a very good night’s sleep.

Friday’s work-outs, July 7

In Uncategorized on 2006 July 8 Saturday at 14:42:00

This is easy: none!

Coach Steve wrote: “Run 1 hour base pace”. We agreed last week that my “running” was to be in the pool. But I just couldn’t summon the will to go. I’d had one of those useless mornings, where I’d cancelled my alarms and slept in, and then taken four hours (!) to get out of the house. So I was tired, a bit demoralized. My bike commute was old-lady-ish, only 11.0 mi/h.