Friday, July 20, 2018

Specialized Tri Cross

Made my first bike purchase in over a decade when I picked up a 2011 Specialized Tri Cross from Kijiji. My venerable Norco hardtail is showing its age and I was reluctant to sink any monies into a bike that is on the small size and is not the most comfortable fit.

The stars kinda aligned for this purchase considering the window of opportunity was closing as my (forced) semi retirement after 32 years of service was fast approaching. With my role going offshore I doubt I will see October as an employed individual. If I was buying it had to be soon. I could not justify a new bike so used it would be. I was looking for a better commuter considering my next job could be farther from home and also something in a gravel/cross bike genre.

Spotted the Tri Cross on Kijiji from a seller close to home and it was both my exact size(56) and within my budget. Unfortunately there was another buyer ahead of me so I figured it was gone. To my surprise the deal collapsed so I did not hesitate and made the buy.

It is a used bike but showed well. Since it will be my commute/groomed trail/all weather bike I didn't care if it had some "scars". Less appealing to thieves. It is a comfortable bike-the relaxed geometry makes for a more upright position compared to my Giant TCR Advanced road bike. Perfect for my intended purpose. It has some weight being the " Sport" version but rolls well and feels solid under me. I'm thinking it is more suited as a commuter than cross bike but could be used for cycle cross in the "just for fun" category.

The fit is near perfect for me. I dropped the seat post an inch and tweaked the handlebar position a tad but otherwise it was perfect. The bike has the suicide brakes which is perfect for city cycling and a beefy carbon fork with old school cantilever brakes. That may be the only weakness so far....when you get up to speed the heavier bike is surprisingly fast so sudden braking requires a herculean effort on the levers.

Real happy so far after a couple commutes and a jaunt upon the BLT and Power line trails.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Training Over Fifty

As an older but active male I decided to re-evaluate my fitness goals considering my age, renewed commitment to a lower carb keto/paleo way of eating combined with an intermittent fasting protocol. My athletic goals have changed over the last several years moving away from competitive club road cycling and racing to a more balanced approach to fitness. My cycling has become mostly commuting with an occasional social club or solo road ride. More for fun and enjoying the freedom a bike can offer. I continue to play semi competitive ball hockey primarily as a goaltender and practice traditional archery. The main change in activity has been my return to the gym lifestyle.

I admit that my gym focus has mostly been on interval training using Les Mills RPM indoor cycling. The club cyclist in me likes the social and motivational aspect of indoor cycling sessions, the effectiveness of interval training and the time saving benefits of shorter yet more intense HIIT training. That said I have decided to temper my interval training with the addition of regular scheduled strength training as opposed to an ad hoc, “lift when I can” mentality.

I think it all began to change this past winter when I was having hip flexor and hamstring issues and discovered the benefits of glute activation, improved hip flexion and better core strength. Incorporating specific exercises to address lower body/glute/core strength made a definite difference in my interval training and goaltending. Not only was my endurance and flexibility improved but I was stronger on the bike and in the crease.

I now want to take that success and apply it to my upper body. Legs are strong, core is much improved but upper body had been pushed down the workout depth chart. I do some upper body strength training but usually it’s a few sets before a spin class with an occasional (unstructured) weight day thrown in for good measure.

Being 54 I needed to determine the best way to accomplish my goal and prevent injury. Result - consensus seems to indicate us older guys are better off performing full body exercises with a focus upon stretching regimes and the importance of recovery. Recovery may well be the hardest part of the equation. I like to keep active and taking days off always a challenge. Nutrition also plays a key role for us older fellas especially in regards to appropriate protein intake for either muscle maintenance or muscle growth.

Full Body

Keith Lazarus

“I would think of the body as a global entity,” says Lazarus. “There's nothing wrong with split sessions in principle, but you don’t want to overload too much of your muscle type at our age.” Even though you’re as quick as ever, one notable factor of age is the increased level of recovery time. “Practically, it’s more productive to train the body as a whole,” says Lazarus. Focusing on functional fitness instead of the constant arm-day, back-day, leg-day routine puts the emphasis on mobility, the quality that’s taken for granted by younger gym-goers. Granted, there’s space for a heavy lifting schedule in your sessions, but keep the activities varied and the focus on movement.”

Stuart Carter

“New research actually suggests that full body strength training sessions a few times per week are one of the big secrets to losing fat and building muscle for guys over 50. You will get the best results by training all muscle groups in a single workout. Full body strength training will help you maintain lean muscle and stay strong well into your 50s, 60s, and beyond.”

Chris Azzari

“The strength training for full body workout routine is best when you target various muscle groups of your body using weights. For example, you can do exercises like clean & press, squats, dead-lifts and other similar exercises that hit more than one muscle in your body….”


Linda Melone

“Taking a day off in between workouts gives muscles time to recover, but you may need more recovery time after age 50, says Dr. David W. Kruse, a sports medicine specialist with Hoag Orthopedic Institute. You need to focus more on recovery after 50. Tissue recovery takes more time and more effort to support that recovery. The exact amount of time depends on your baseline fitness level. How do you know when you’ve had enough rest? If you find soreness isn’t going away and is impacting your next workout this may indicate early signs of injury or not enough recovery time.”

“You will not be able to hammer out workouts quite as you did when you were younger, so space out your harder sessions well. Don’t feel guilty about taking time out to recover. “As you get older you lose water content from all the body’s structures, including cartilage, which protects the joints,” says Claire Small, from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. “Tissues become weaker and less compliant, all of which means that injuries happen more easily. Rest after exercise is essential.”


Courtenay Schurman

“Stretching can help you warm up before, and cool down after, your outdoor, endurance, and strength activities. Stretching is critical (for people of ALL ages) for restoring flexibility to worked muscles, improving your range of motion about a joint, and helping prevent injury. It also may help reduce muscle pain and stiffness as long as it is done properly.”

Jeremey DuVall

“When it comes to desired physical characteristics, flexibility falls down the priority list, as most guys would much rather have killer abs and ripped arms than be able to touch their toes with ease. However, a lack of focus on flexibility may be hindering results in the gym. Heavy workouts combined with the typical desk posture from the 9-to-5 grind can stifle strength gains and line you up for an injury down the road.”

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Under The Green

We are finally getting a some sunny Spring  weather so I opted to take a morning for some bow time. Awoke to a tender knee so opted out of riding either a spin or road bike giving the knee some down time which was the prudent choice.

Over the winter I had found another location that would be suitable for archery practice that was somewhat easier to access. Decided today would be a good time to look at the potential sight lines. There are a fair amount of trees but little in the way of alders and other low shrubbery. Not only will it offer the chance for different shooting angles but it should remain relatively tick free.

Looking at the target from an elevated position.

Facing the target bag and back stop.

A view to the target through the trees from a slight rise on the right.

Took out the 55#@28 Hungarian composite horse bow. Its a real nice shooter. Nice morning under the green.