Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to break into road racing?

For the past few months I've been trying to find out how to break into road racing in Norther California.  The scene is super active out here but unlike alot of triathlon clubs there aren't meet and greets, happy hours or kick off meetings.  Pretty much people show up at a local bike shop, begin ridding together and then eventually land on a team, or so I think.  Problem is my work schedule is so crazy that it is next to impossible for me to commit to a Saturday shop ride and further I only have the Cannondale I built to ride on.  So a day on the Cannondale means a day where I can't go aero on El Bastardo.  A new road bike would greatly help this problem but for now I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to meet up with a guy on Team Roaring Mouse as I was trying to find the entrance to the GG Bridge.  Brian and I had a great ride together, I e-mailed the President of the team and thought I was all set to meet some great people.  The following week was the team's once quarterly meeting but sadly I was stuck at work until 10pm.  I've since joined the team's message boards but honestly have no clue how to hook up with some riders to go to a race with.

I'm utterly baffled by what happens at a road race and have no clue what the strategy is like so I'd really like to go to my first one with someone with some experience.  Knowing me as soon as the gun goes off I'm going to hammer away but I know that isn't what I should do at all.  So some experiential wisdom would greatly help me in this pursuit.  Alot of the teams out here say come meet us at a race to network with us - problem is I have no idea how to even register for these races.  Plus I'm not sure what category I should race, with only 3 crits under my belt I'm assuming I start as a Cat 5 but haven't a clue.

So if there is anyone out there who wants to throw a triathlete a bone I promise to show you that I have handling skills, won't bring an aero bottle and know to leave the aero helmet at home.  I'll even wear shoes that ratchet closed, bib shorts and if it's cold even have a pair of knickers to toss on.  Really I just need someone in NorCal to show me the ropes so I can start racing.  My goal was to race in the Regaldo/ Warnerville road race this Sunday if anyone who reads this is headed out that way.  I might be on an old Cannondale with a bunch of mis-matched parts but everyone's got to start somewhere.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Small Changes - Big Results

At the beginning of my most recent training cycle I decided to conduct a little experiment on my blood sugars.  The goal of the experiment was to identify what happens to my blood sugars if I cut out processed or refined foods (with the exception of clif bars) from my diet while ramping up cardio exercise.  The results after a week have been astounding!

I eat pretty healthily as is; normally my breakfast is a cup of store bought greek yogurt with fruit or ezikuel cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter, a clif mojo bar as a mid-morning snack, a salad or something similar for lunch, fruit in the afternoon then dinner which ranges from quinoa with chicken sausage to black beans to an evening out.  I was growing frustrated with some higher than I would like blood sugars in the morning and after lunch while my evening blood sugars remained pretty stable.  I knew the main difference between dinner and my other meals was that I was controlling everything that went into the meal so could cut any extraneous blood sugar demons.

So I made some slight changes in the morning instead of store bought greek fruit yogurt I'm mixing in fresh berries to plain greek yogurt with some chia seeds and almond slices.  For snacks I'm having almost exclusively organic fruit (awesomely provided by Keas) and for lunch I'm baking a sweet potato each evening and heating it up the following day and for dinner I'm sticking with quinoa and a lean protein like chicken sausage, turkey meatballs or ground buffalo with peas and avocado.  Thus far the results have been awesome.

The highest blood sugar I've had has been 235 and that's after a meal, most of the time my blood sugar has ranged between 75 and 135, and I'm running into far more lows than highs.  Any residual effects of high blood sugars are just about gone, no stomach aches, no head aches and my vision is greatly improved.  Plus I feel more myself with a ton more energy.  And my basal rate has dropped 1.5 units of insulin per day over the past 10 days!

It has taken me about 3 years of refining my diet to get to the point of actually really enjoying a totally clean way of eating.  Although I still crave (and sometimes eat) french fries after a long ride the days of eating fast food have been long behind me.  Small incremental changes over a period of three years has let me get to this point and if eating like this 90% of the time keeps the ill effects of crappy blood sugars away I'm all for it.  Will keep you all updated on how this progresses but if my blood sugars continue to stabilize I might have to write a diet book!