Monday, April 30, 2012

Laundry workout session

On many occasions in the past, I have mentioned the lack of upper body strength that cyclist (and myself) seem to suffer from. Admittedly, I never really thought that my situation was that bad, as I can generally perform most tasks that involve upper body strength better some (well, I think so anyways). That was up until a few days ago.

At work, we recently discovered that our supply of uniforms had hit situation critical, and with several new staff members starting in the near furure, I had to place an order of shirts to fill the void.

A few days later, around 200 polo shirts turned up, all neatly folded up in boxes. Despite this, the shirts were not organised into sizes, so I had to dig around to find the right shirt. As a result, I decided to pull all the shirts out and fold and sort them into their sizes. I should have let them be.

After about 100 shirts, my arms were tired. I didn't want to pick up any more shirts. I pressed on and eventually got them all sorted but I was wrecked by the end of it. The next day, my arms and shoulders were aching.

Is this what it has come down to? Folding clothes has become an upper body workout? I really didn't think that it was that bad! At least I can save money on Gym memberships. Whenever I want to work on the arms, I can just put through a load of laundry!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Sweetopia

When I got back from racing in November last year, I went on the usual Friday morning coffee shop ride and went to My Sweetopia for the first time, a coffee shop in Southbank that had some new management.

My Sweetopia had always been there in the past, but the management were never fans of cyclists. They chose to get annoyed at us and tell us to move our bikes away rather than embrace a market that tends to drink a heck of a lot of coffee. This had always baffled me, as the cafe next door to them was always filled to capacity with cyclists drinking coffee while they looked on with an up-tight expression, trying to work out who owned that blue Trek leaning against the pole so that they could tell them to move it.

Anyhoo... the new managemnet have welcomed cyclists and they have recriprcated the offer. When I ordered my coffee they did the usual and asked for my name with the order. When the coffees came out, everyone's name was written in the froth with a syrup of some sort. I thought it was pretty cool then went on with my day.

A couple of days later, I caught a flight to China for the last couple of races. Three weeks later and I came home for 2 days before catching another flight to the Philippines to visit family. Another three weeks later, I finally came home after 6 weeks of travelling.

In that time, I had pretty much forgotten everything I had been doing at home and pretty much forgotten my own name. I returned to My Sweetopia after the next Friday coffee shop ride and ordered my coffee as per usual. This time they did not ask for my name and I didn't think anything of it. But when the coffee came out, 6 weeks and I assume a hell of a lot of customers since asking for my name, they had written 'Chris' across the top of it. I was impressed.

Recently, I had the chance to test their memory. It had been a while since Ben had a coffee at My Sweetopia but is was definitely more than once. We ordered our coffees and they didn't ask for names which was not surprising. When our coffees came out, 'Chris' was written across the top of mine but Ben was not so lucky. Perhaps he doesn't have a memorable face, but this is what came out...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cyling is an Ugly Sport

At a race in Austria last year, I met a Russian lady who described cycling as a 'beautiful art sport'. I thought it was a fantastic way to describe the sport and characterised what cycling was to people in Europe. We catch glimpses of this 'beautiful art sport' through the TV as the Tour de France and other races are beamed to us in the middle of the night.

Today, after an uphill time trial, I have decided that cycling is ugly.

Round 2 of the QLD teams series included a 10km uphill time trial just outside of Boonah an Mt French. Before the race, having never seen the road before, I decided to ride up and check it out. For the first few km's, it wasn't so bad. Rolling hills with steep ascents but also steep descents that you can take a break on.

Then at the 6km mark, it turns towards the sky and heads up at gradients of around 25%. I decided to turn around at this point because it couldn't possibly be any worse and I'd rather not know what was ahead. It was a poor decision.

Ten minutes before the time trial began, it started raining. The roads were nice and wet and slippery for the race, just enough so that when you stood up, your rear wheel couldn't get traction. I hit the steep part of the course and struggled my way over the top to discover... IT KEPT GOING.

The final 3km was brutally steep. Some riders zig-zagged across the road as their heart rate went through the roof and their breathing was more akin to an asthma attack. Everyone was tired, wet and in a world of pain. Some people screamed, some people groaned and some looked like they were giving birth. Hence the reason why cycling is an ugly sport.

Here are some of the best hurt faces from the day...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two birds, one stone

I have managed to get the time it takes for me to wake up in the morning, get out of bed, get dressed and on the bike down to 15 minutes. To do this, I have to sacrifice having anything to eat and the standard 30 minutes on the toilet that a lot of other people seem to require but at least I get a little bit more sleep.

To keep everything easy, I have been storing my helmet and sunnies in a cupboard near the door so I can just throw it on as I am on the way out. After several long rides and many humid days, it has become apparent that keeping my sweat soaked helmet in a sealed, confined space may not be the best idea in the world.

This morning, I opened the cupboard to retreive my helmet and recoiled at the smell. It's like opening an oven to check on food cooking only to be met by a wave of heat. I decided that it's time my helmet had a wash. I could take it down stairs and put it under the hose. I could remove the padding and run it through the washing machine. But I am a lazy man.

The most efficient way to clean your helmet is simple. Just have a shower with it on. Whack some shampoo on your head, lather it up and wiggle your helmet around. I was mid-wash when Emily came home. She walked in to find me in the shower with my helmet on.

Surprisingly, Emily didn't even flinch at the sight. She just turned around and kept on with her business. I Googled, 'cleaning bike helmet' and it seems that I am not the only one with this ingenious idea...