Week 3 Training Blog, Ride to Conquer Cancer

Here we are 2 months out from the longest ride in my life, and training is going great.  Team Alberto European Extreme Style is coming together well on both the riding and fundraising fronts.  We are up to 25 riders now and with another $7,000 coming in from sponsors via mail we should be in the top 10 teams in total money raised.

Right on Track: We’re almost 80% of the way to our goal of raising over $50,000 as a team!


Saturday we did the ride out to Horseshoe Bay again under some beautiful sunshine.  It’s a rolling ride that should be quite similar to the trip down to Seattle so it is an appropriate test that we will be completing a couple times a month.  Rode with Dean, Kathy and Eilleen and felt strong as an ox on the climbs.  The 50k ride took us over 2 hours but we were pretty leisurely. 

The team has a pretty wide range of ability so we’re a pretty good cross-section of the people who will be on the Ride with us…from enthusiastic non-riders all the way up to the super-fit triathlete.  This is good because everyone should have someone to ride with all the way to Seattle.

We’re using the La Bicicletta Sunday morning rides as our team get-togethers.  This is a solid group for people who want a regular opportunity to ride in a pack at a moderate speed.  They leave at 9:30 sharp from the store at Broadway and Alberta each week (be there by 9:15 ready to go).

I’ve been riding to work through the midweek rains as well to keep my fitness up during the less than ideal weather and playing hockey where I can to keep the training up.


For a number of people on the team last week seemed to be the time to start fundraising in earnest.  There is still plenty of time, and we have some fun events planned in addition to everyone’s personal efforts.  In addition to Mike Scholten’s successful Burger and Beer at one20 pub in Surrey on Saturday, Kathy, Sue and Sarah have a great event planned at Red Square Tapas Lounge on the 30th:

Thursday April 30th at 7pm
Red Square Tapas Lounge, downtown Vancouver 1216 Granville street (near Davie).
We have collected some great swag for prizes – yoga membership, salon products and professional services, Lacoste bags, GC’s, bike gear…
$5 at the door directly to donation, gives you $5 off food/drinks.

Contact me at awg_home@hotmail.com if you want to support the event.

We are also planning a gala event at our restaurant sponsor Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano in June.  More on that later.

Monday-Thursday: Bike to work, 30 minutes round trip

Friday: Off

Saturday:  50km ride, 2:20:17 (frequent stops)

Kitsilano to Horseshoe Bay.  Great rolling ride.  Nice opportunity to climb in the big ring to build power and practice going downhill. 

We’re beginning to work out in our heads how long it will take to get down to Seattle.  Judging from our experience at the Tour of Courage in 2007 riding with Axel Merckx and Alex Stieda, we should be able to hold a pretty good speed without too much effort in a pack.

Just have to be fit enough to stay with the Pack!

Week 2 Training Blog

After an absolutely fantastic weekend last week, we’ve had a typical Vancouver week of rain.  Threw a wet blanket over outdoor activity.  Thankfully the sun returned today (Easter Monday) and Anita, Dean, Kathy and I jumped on our bikes for a most excellent 2 hour ride to Iona Beach and down by UBC.

Team Alberto is kicking into a higher gear with 2 months to go until the Ride to Conquer Cancer.   Lots of people putting renewed effort in, and Colleen just completed her goal of raising over $2,500. 

We’ve had a new joiner, Sid Segal, who completed a 500 mile ride in September where he and his daughter raised over $8,000.  They’ll fit right in.  I’ll be in Toronto next week and will be visiting Alberto Culver to thank the company for their sponsorship and do a presentation on the BC Cancer Foundation.  We’re going to totally blow away the goal of $50,000.

A week into my training blog and while I wasn’t able to shed any weight, I did lose 1% body fat.  Hoping that building muscle should pay dividends in the summer racing season. 

Was chatting on the bike with Dean about my goal of setting a personal best in both the Olympic Tri and the 10k this year.  I think the 10k goal is going to be the tougher of the 2, but am up for the challenge.

Monday: Walk to work; 45 minutes each way. 

Tuesday: Bike to work; 15 minutes each way. 

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Hockey, 90 minutes. Scored a goal and we pulled out an 11-9 win in a pick up game

Friday: 3 hour walk around Vancouver, The Seawall to Chinatown and around. Doing the tour-guide thing with Myrna’s friend Pam.

Saturday: Cycling 60 Minutes on the trainer in-doors

Sunday: Church, and Easter Pot-Luck Dinner.

Monday: 49.20 km Ride,  Time 1:57:44, top speed 63km/hr, ave speed 25.1 km/hr

Beautiful day to ride. Out to Iona Beach and back along UBC.  With a bit of a tailwind we were able to hold 40km/hr on the flat. I was a little bit wiped out afterwards, but it was Easter Monday so a day of rest was in order.

Week 1 Training Blog, Ride to Conquer Cancer

April 4, 2009

I’ve just celebrated my 2 year anniversary of completing chemotherapy with a clean set of x-rays and bloodwork. Sweet.

After finishing chemotherapy at the end of March 2007 I asked my oncologist how I would be changed…whether I would still be able to run and scubadive and cycle the way I used to.  Except for Scuba, which is a maybe as one of the drugs in my chemo regimen has the potential to create scarring in the lungs, I was told that not only could I expect to return to normal health but that I should set my sites on being in better shape than before chemo.  Thank God for doctors who understand how to motivate people.

You can imagine how inspiring a thing this is to hear for a guy who had been competitive all his life.  Now 2 years later I am ready to test this out.  My objectives this year are to:

1.Beat my PR in the 10k : 41m37s

2. Beat my PR in the Olympic Triathlon, set after my first diagnosis but before chemo: 2h38mins

3. Ride from Vancouver to Seattle

4. Raise over $50,000 for Cancer Research as part of Team Alberto

5. Drop 20 lbs in the 10 weeks between now and the Ride June 20th

I’ll need to lose some of the weight I put on after chemo if I am to hope to meet those objectives.

A quick word on technology.  I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to tracking and performance measurement.  I use a Garmin 205 GPS wristwatch to track distance, time speed and elevation both running and on the bike.  I also have the Nike+ adapter for my iPod Nano and upload my running distances and times to www.nikeplus.com.  The on-line site for Nike+ is very cool and easy to use, and the Garmin fills in on the bike. 

My friend’s Shelley and Colleen have been using their iPhone in exactly the same way…so phone plus GPS plus internet plus cool apps?  Yes I’m getting an iPhone.

The reason I track time and distance is simply that it is the only way you will be able to identify improvement as you continue to train…an important motivator.  For mid to long distance running it also helps me to develop an intuitive feel for pace so that you don’t end up running too fast or too slow in the early stages.

By the way…am going to set an appointment with a respirologist at VGH now that it’s been 2 years to see whether in fact I can go back to Scuba safely.  Will let you know how that goes.  Here are my training entries for the weekend…but after the long rain of Vancouver winter it certainly didn’t feel like training. 

Sunday: 9.2k Run, time 52:09,  5:39/km

Ran along the Seawall to Jericho.   First real run of the year outdoors and it felt fantastic to be outside…long and slow.  Had to run through a bit of lower back stiffness as I got used to being back on the road but it felt fine after a while.

Saturday: 57k Ride, time 2:27:28, ave. 23 km/hr t

Kitsilano to Steveston.  Excellent day of riding out in the  spring sunshine with Team Alberto. Dean, Kathy, Craig and Liz.

Current Weight: 210 lbs. Target weight at week end – 208