Friday, January 23, 2009

Training Update

First, a training update.

Everything is going well so far. This week is a little bit easier week (10+ hours) due to class all day on Friday and Saturday (brutal!), so it's definitely tight fitting everything in. Chuckie has me doing mainly "triathlon" training for Wildflower Long Course, but about 2/3 of my training is on the saddle.

I did my 4th power test this past week, and my power numbers were up more than 50% up from the previous week. So, either Chuckie is a really good coach, 6:00am is too early for me to do a power test (heart just didn't want to wake up), my 90 minute massage on sunday did miracles, or I am just weird (ok, not an option because that is already the case!). He had me do power tests at a HR of 145 (20 minutes), 155 (10 minutes), 165 (5 minutes), and whatever HR I could at max effort for 60 seconds (ouch!). The good news is that 50+% power increase held across the board. Interesting. But, I'll let him analyze that stuff since thats what I pay him to do! So get to work Coach!

New Blog!

I totally recognize that this is my 3rd of my past 4 posts relating to food, but since my girlfriend is an amazing cook, and with Meyrick starting on a new diet, it's only appropriate the we let the cat out of the bag!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Against the Grain

No Thanks

I have been following a primal blueprint "diet" as much as possible for about the past 8 months or so. "As much as possible", as in, pretty much all the time, but acknowledging that doing endurance sports doesn't allow for 100% adherence. Basically, I have cut out as much grain and refined crap as possible, and really only eat real foods - as in the ones that can go bad. For the most part, my carbohydrate intake consists of veggies, fruits, tubers, and the occasional rice with a meal.

Last night, I got back from my jog, and I couldn't take it - I was freakin hungry. My roomate Greg bought a pizza two nights previous, and the smell of grease and tomato sauce got my gears going. Kati also happened to make some pasta recently, and I finally caved. I sauteed up some breaded chicken, and added it to a bowl of rigatoni and tomato sauce, and it tasted unbelievable. I easily justified it because I was gonna get up early to do my swim workout (not very common place in Ryan's world. ever.).

I paid for it this morning. It wasn't really that bad, but hell, it wasn't pretty either. My stomach was definitely in a state of disarray. This pretty much confirmed for me that grains, although have their place in some people's diets and cultures, will be used very sparingly in mine going forward. Maybe during high volume training will I add some brown or wild rice to a soup or with a stir-fry, but they really don't "work" for me.

You might ask where I get my calories, and they primarily come from fat. You know, the good stuff: almond butter (this stuff is unbeliveable), sunflower seed butter, peanut butter (FDA can't stop me!), olive oil, (clean) animal fat, and avocados.

If you think it's not possible, just ask these two guys, who have both enjoyed a very high level of success in endurance athletics, and get a fair amount of their caloric intake from fat.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Infrastructure Upgrades: Coach and PowerTap

When I was training for Ironman, I made the decision to NOT get a coach for a number of reasons.

Ultimately, I was confident that I would be able to finish an Ironman, and finishing in a respectable time would be gravy. Do I think I trained to my potential? Not really, but honestly, there is something to be said about training yourself to finish an Ironman that has a certain pride associated with it. I had an amazing experience during my 8 months of training that I wouldn't trade that for anything.

But training for Race Across America, that is something that is just a little different. How do you train for a trans-continental endurance race? Bike a lot? For sure. I also heard that the training was unorthodox (as if any training was orthodox).

I was very fortunate to be asked to attend a graduate program at UCSD that started this past fall that will go through fall of 2009. I also met a very special lady a few months back. I was (and still am) a little concerned about balancing it all (maybe I need to take some notes how these two do it!). I needed some help developing a master training plan to help me prepare myself for RAAM, and to bring my A-Game for Wildflower Long Course this year against Damian and Paul!

Infrastructure Upgrade #1: Coach: Chuckie V

I have been following Chuckie's blog for about a year now. I totally dig his writing, perspectives, and knowledge. Oh, and his athletes generally seem to kick ass. There are a number of other reasons why I chose him, but really, it just seemed like a natural fit for my 2009 goals. Nothing much more to add other than that.

Infrastructure Upgrade #2: Wireless PowerTap

Damn my coach for making me get one expensive gadget!

I am not gonna lie - I don't know shit about PowerMeters, and am not even sold on how they can help. But, Coach nearly insisted, and who am I to argue? For any newbies out there who are curious to see what its like to train with a PM, check into the blog since I would like to educate people like myself who simply have no clue.

Although I do have my concerns about doing everything this year, I am totally pumped for what lies ahead over the next 5.5 months!

Bring it on!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Food Review: Sunflower Seed Butter


I went to Trader Joe's tonight after swim to grab some food, and wanted to hit TJ's specifically b/c I was jonesin for some almond butter. After getting the usual paleo diet items, I made my way over to the nut butter aisle, and saw this option: sunflower seed butter.

I had a conversation the other day about sunflower seeds, so I was intrigued. I was asked if they are healthy are not, and I replied with a resounding "Yes!". I was then asked if I liked them, and I replied with "They are good, but they are just too much work to eat" - so you can imagine my delight when I found the butter version of it!

It tastes just like you would think it would: a nut butter with all that great consistency coupled with the taste of sunflower seeds. I will note that the consistency is very similar the TJ's creamy peanut butter, versus any of the almond butters. As with any nut butters, it good right out of the jar, or slathered on top of fruit, or your favorite granola/oat bar. Some people out there might shun the fact that it contains evaporated cane juice (read: sugar), but the modest 3g of sugar per serving is hardly anything. The caloric breakdown is right on par with almont/peanut butter at F/C/P 16g/7g/7g.

At any rate, it's definitely a worthy alternative or option when you are looking for some different than the usual almond or peanut butter (especially those with allergies).

Fuel for the fire baby!

Friday, January 02, 2009


(Hope you like the new look of the blog)

My 2009 season will be focused on one "race" - Race Across America.

Yes, Race Across America is a bicycle race across the country. It goes from Oceanside, CA (right up the road from me), to Annapolis, MD; 3,014 miles - one way.

And yes, I am crazy.

(as an aside, one my co-workers recently asked me in passing the other day: "Dude, do you have any crazy ironman, marathon, races coming up soon?", and I looked at him and said "Yeah man, Race Across America in June." He looked at me, paused for 2 seconds, and said with a big smile, partly laughing, "that shit just ain't normal man!". and he is right!)

Back in June 2007, I was sitting at my desk at work, and I brought up the live video feed of RAAM just to "check it out". This wasn't the live feed from the people that put on RAAM, but it was a video feed from a satellite uplink that was on top of our team's follow van (hey, working for a satellite company has its advantages!). As the video rendered, there was a shot of someone climbing through the colorado rockies. The first thought that entered into my head was:

I gotta do that someday.

and ever since then, it's been brewing in the back of my mind.

I didn't want to do it last year because last year was all about IMLP. And even though my focus last year was Ironman, I was already looking forward to 2009. The team I will be racing for, Team ViaSat, has sponsored a team for the past 3 years, with 2009 marking the fourth. Last year, they averaged 21.4mph, finishing in under 6 days, getting them 3rd in the 8 person division.

I am sure you are wondering what our team strategy is in "racing" across the continent. It is currently being discussed by the team, but in years past, the 8 person team is broken up into four two-person groups. Each two person group is "on" for apx. 5 hours, and "off" for 15 hours. In the 5 "on" hours, Rider 1 will start riding, and will ride for apx. 5 miles or 20 minutes, where he will then hand it off to Rider 2. Rider 2 will ride the same amount, while Rider 1 is being transported via car to the next projected hand off point. The theory is that each cyclist can go hard for 20 minutes, recovery, and then repeat. So, of the 5 hours, each cyclist is really only riding for 2.5 hours. During the 15 "off" hours, the other 3 groups are driving, eating, (trying to) sleeping, and ultimately responsible for being ready to start their next leg of the race. In total, the math comes up to ~375 miles/cyclist over 6 days, or a little over 60 miles a day (OUCH!).

So that's it - thats what 2009 is all about. In my next posts, I will be discussing "infrastructure upgrades" and training plan/coach!

Stay tuned!

ps- I finally joined the rest of the world and got a facebook page, so be friends with me. I don't know how it works, so just find me!