Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday’s work-outs, July 16/06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday’s work-out &c., July 8/06

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.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friday’s work-outs, July 7

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.

Thursday’s work-outs, July 6

Coach Steve wrote:
Cycle 90" total with 9 x 4" hard strength effort at <70rpm (1" RI spin)
Strength and Power Class
(I should note that Coach Steve unapolgetically reverses the usual minute-second notation, so when he writes 90" he means 90 min.)

In a busy day, when would I do a 90-min ride? I had a doctor’s appointment at 8:15, so I decided to bike to it—a 90-min ride for what is usually 25 min; consequently, I headed the wrong way for 10 or so miles, along my favourite arterials to work out on, St Clair Avenue east from O’Connor Drive, and Kingston Road. I got as far as Galloway Road (just past the Canadian National Railways’ Kingston Subdivision, at Guildwood Station). Kingston Road (for many decades Ontario’s Highway No. 2) is a busy road, especially during morning rush hour; but it has wide curb lanes and good sightlines, so it was tolerable for a good work-out.

As Coach Steve instructed, I “mashed” the gears for seven 5-min periods. Without a cadence indicator, I just pushed the gear up and allowed my cadence to be ’way higher than I usually like.

Since the last time I visited this doc, the street in front of his office has been torn up for a major reconstruction (major both technically and politically; in fact, it’s also called St Clair Avenue, but is in fact disconnected from the St Clair Avenue I was working out on; they share a name because they run along the same cadastral line—a story for another time!). Not having anywhere to lock my bike, I took it into the doc’s office; that meant I’d carried my two locks for 23 miles for no reason. Darn!

From my doctor’s office, I just “commuted” to work. It’s funny how you can ride the same bike in different modes or styles. Having said that, I still went over 30 mi/h descending Avenue Road from St Clair Avenue.

After a too-short time in my office, I walked over to the Source Centre for Health & Wellness, where I had about an hour of shiatsu therapy from Alison. As usual, it was intensely painful. I made the mistake(?) of telling her I had an unaccustomed sharp feeling in the ball of my right foot when I walked down stairs; for the first time that meant she worked on my feet. Truly excruciating pain. Regardless, I bounced off the table feeling loose & happy.

I biked easily to PROformance, taking a route different than I’ve taken in the past from work; a good route for rush hour, but Dupont Street’s curb lane is in terrible shape. (PROformance is more or less on Dupont Street, tho’ its address is in Campbell Avenue.)

Coach Lindsay had a rough day planned for us, but because there were only nine of us (compared to the usual two dozen) he finished with us early. Anyway, this is what he had us do: Dynamic warm-up. Turning lunges (forward, side, backward, side, forward, etc.; turning clockwise on first lap, counter-clockwise on second). Stepping lunges w/15-lb plate crossed over; then backwards (of course), then overhead(!). Hopping, w/15-lb plate over head, toes turned to 10 then 2 then 10 o’clock; could not do this at all. Then hopping on one foot; could not do left. Ab work: on mat, using 15-lb plate in sit-ups! Then holding on command, plate straight above; then, on command, putting the plate aside from time to time.

Finally, I biked home—and ate like I was starving! Including my commuting, I rode 38 mi—not bad!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wednesday’s work-outs, July 5

Coach Steve wrote: “Swim 1900 - 300 warm up; 20 x 50 (5 each on 20-15-10-5'RI); 6 x 50 kick hard (20'RI); 300 w'dn”.

I biked to work like those old ladies you see, one speed, and it’s slow! Still, I was there. I kept thinking of reasons I couldn’t get to the pool. The clock was creeping past 17:00 (the pool opens for evening length swimming at 17:15), and I had urgent things to do.

I completed my urgent work things. What excuse would I give now?

I ran out of excuses. I packed up my bag, walked to the University Settlement Recreation Centre, and found myself in the 30°C (86°F) pool at 18:10.

But I was exhausted. What should I do? Coach Steve, despite my efforts to this point, clearly overestimates, grossly overestimates my swimming ability. 1900 m was out of the question, on several levels. But drills were not, especially as I thought I was seeing Coach Kelvin Friday morning (since cancelled). So I did drills, 4 lengths (100 yd) each of:

1. kicking on my back;
2. Total Immersion’s “fish” position;
3. TI’s “skate” position;
4. the TI drill where you start the overswitch, but never finish it;
5. TI’s “overswitch”, working on different aspects;
6. double overswitch (i.e., doing two overswitches before breathing);
7. straightforward freestyle (but see below); and
8. kicking on my back.

Total: 800 yards. The problem? I was wearing my Tyr SplitFins for all but drills 1 and 8.

I was nonetheless very tired, and very, very hungry. I barely beat 10 mi/h biking home, and ate myself to sleep.

Tuesday’s work-outs, July 4

Coach Steve wrote:

Cycle 90"" total with 3 x 10"" tempo effort at 95-100rpm (4"" easy spin RI)
Weights and strength circuit

I wasn’t able to get out for my ride until later—my good bike had been languishing in my office since Friday morning. So I toddled over to GoodLife’s McCaul Street branch and tried to figure out what to do. Weight work always perplexes me. Coach Steve has us start with the bench press—something I know how to do! The last time I did one, a month or so ago, I was able to press 50 lb (i.e., a 25-lb plate on either side, plus the bar, of course). So I did again: 12 reps, a rest, and 12 reps.

Coach Steve then has me do shoulder press with dumbbells. I guess I could’ve done that—but instead I did them with a bar. I started with 50 lb—big mistake; barely did 8 reps. I downgraded to 30 lb, and was able to do 12 reps.

The free-weight room was surprisingly busy, although the rest of the club was quiet. (It was 11:30-ish in the morning.) I wandered around like a lost child, wondering what Coach Steve meant by a hip-flexor machine. I ended up doing leg presses. Don’t leg presses exercise the hip flexors?

Finally, I spent some time on the club’s new abductor and adductor machines, this at Dr Sarah’s behest. To my surprise, my knees felt better after these machines, which is an odd data point.

For the bike ride, I headed out about 18:30 local time. From my office, I rode west on Richmond Street, south on Peter Street, which becomes Blue Jays Way, south on Navy Wharf Court (making vehicular left turns and stopping fully at the all-way stops :-), east on Bremner Boulevard, south on Rees Street, and east on Queen’s Quay. This is quite boring, with lots of traffic signals. Especially on Queen’s Quay the lights seem particularly synchronized to present a cyclist with a red light at every interseciton. Frustrating, especially on a light road bike with Look pedals.

Just before Queen’s Quay meets Lake Shore Boulevard and Parliament Street, I turned east on the Martin Goodman Trail, which at that point is a sidepath on the south side of Lake Shore. As I’ve written boringly elsewhere, I don’t like to do anything resembling a work-out on multi-use paths, but this section of the Goodman Trail is a good connection between Queen’s Quay and the Port Area. As usual, I deked off the trail just south of the Keating Channel in Cherry Street.

It was at this point that I was rebuffed in my attempt to help someone. The last time I had a stochastic cluster of cyclists needing help, it was three men in one evening. Tonight it was two women. The first was walking what looked at a glance to be a fairly serious road bike—though with those Canadian Tire–type white reflectors in the back wheel. Anyway, I asked her if she needed anything. When I said I had CO2, and tubes, and a frame pump, I could see her eyes light up, but she eventually declined, saying someone would come pick her up. I took her leave with a shug, continuing south on Cherry Street, and east on Commissioners Street. It was here I tried to do the high-cadence “tempo effort”. I have to guess at the cadence, but I kept it high, and worked at not bouncing. I still find it very hard to blow through traffic signals, but I didn’t slow down much. :-)

South on Leslie Street, and my second maiden (or more likely matron) in distress. A woman trying with obvious frustration to use a mini-pump. Mini-pumps are for in-the-middle-of-nowhere, I’m-out-of-CO2 situations, so I rolled to a stop and offered her my frame pump. Of course I ended up using the frame pump myself to pump up her tires. A total newbie: she didn’t know how to open a presta valve (hence her frustration with the mini-pump), and it would seem she’d never pumped up her own tires; they weren’t flat—they were just flattish.

Finally, back on the road: south on Leslie Street, east on Unwin Avenue, for maybe the last time. The surface is so bad it’s intolerable. There are a lot of better places to ride, IMO.

North on Cherry Street, whose surface, at least, is nice and smooth now that the road’s been resurfaced, and east again on Commissioners Street. At Leslie Street I turned (unaccustomedly) to the north. I was behind an old MagicVan, whose driver didn’t respond to the green light. I went around to their right and remarked (with a smile), “The light’s green.” The woman in the passenger seat took a break from lighting a cigarette to say, “He’s practising.” Ah.

At Lake Shore Boulevard I turned east onto the Goodman Trail, which is once again a sidepath. This is the only section of the Goodman Trail that I can think of is actually quite good for work-outs: wide surface, excellent sightlines, no distractions from the side; so I poured it on. At Coxwell Avenue, I turned into Ashbridge’s Bay Park, and here my style had to change. From here to the end of the trail at Fernwood Park Avenue, through Ashbridge’s Bay Park, Woodbine Beach, and Beaches Park, even on a worknight evening, there are ’way too many folks, children, dogs, even a platoon of wheelchair-users to go fast. That didn’t stop some guy in wannabe pro gear from blowing by the slowpokes, but you won’t see me do it. I’d time my so-called tempo efforts so that this was my rest.

The Goodman Trail kind of peters out in Beaches Park at the junction of Fernwood Park and Fir avenues. A series of turns, up Beech Avenue, and I was at Queen Street.

Normally, Queen Street is a terrible place to ride, especially a skinny-tire road bike with Look pedals, but the easternmost end isn’t bad, so I was able to move with some dispatch. At Blantyre Avenue, not seeing any traffic, I turned north opportunistically, and then east on Kingston Road, through Birch Cliff, past Birchmount Stadium (now under reconstruction; it’s where the movie about Sir Roger Banister, Four Minutes was shot.)

I was now in Scarborough. North on Midland Avenue, back west on St Clair Avenue, fast, fast, fast. Why don’t you see more cyclists here? Dunno. A good vehicular left turn at O’Connor Drive. The usual mess at Don Mills Road, but I’m getting used to it.

An opportunistic left turn at Wolverhampton Avenue, along Woodville Avenue, then south on Pape, and home. Totals: 21.54 miles, 1:30:14, for 14.3 mi/h, maximum 26.6 mi/h, probably in St Clair just west of Victoria Park avenue.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Put me in, Coach!

Been a while, but I’m back, and my big news is that I’ve engaged a well regarded triathlon coach: Steve Bentley. (The picture is Coach Steve at Ironman Florida 2005.) My objective is pretty straightforward: to do the summer “build”; to see if my time management and dedication (or, put another way, my resistance to my long dead mother’s negative voice) are sufficient for an Ironman-directed programme; and, on September 11, 2006 (yes, the fifth anniversary of that terrible day), to decide whether to register for Ironman Wisconsin 2007.

In my eighth day, I have to say, so far, so good.