Foto Friday (April 5, 2019)

coffee

Over the past several months, I have been trying a variety of single source coffees roasted locally in Vancouver. Much to my surprise, there are numerous local roasters. I don’t have a favourite (yet). Rather, I have learned I prefer milder roasts, and the French Press brewing method.

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FTP Test (April 5, 2019)

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I committed to re-testing my FTP every month.

Yesterday was the day.

This month, I did it differently. I recruited help. I asked a friend to spin beside me for each of the 8-minute efforts to help spur me on. He is much younger, and stronger, but less experienced, and had never done the test before. He beat me by ~ 30 watts, which is what I expected, but motivated me to push harder.

It worked.

In the past month, I have increased my FTP, and power / weight ratio. Since the same time last year, I have seen a significant improvement. I have lost 15+ pounds, increased my FTP by 3%, and my power / weight ratio by 14%.

A few years ago, I questioned whether I could improve these numbers at my age. I knew that as I aged, my body would tend to gain weight, and lose muscle mass. Could I stop this by adjusting my diet and training methods?

Apparently I can.

I am leaner, faster, and more proficient on the bike today than I have ever been. Well, thats what Strava tells me. Yesterday I received my March statistics. During the month I had 76 PR’s on 3 rides I have done regularly since I began using the app years ago.

Can I continue this trend? Can I get faster, and stronger? I’m not sure, but have set new targets – a 300+ W FTP and a power / weight ratio of 5.0. This is ambitious, but doable. By mid-August, prior to the Kawartha Lakes Classic, a century ride in Ontario cottage country, this is the goal .

Factfullness by Hans Rosling …

Factfulness

I did it again.

This book, Factfulness by Hans Rosling, is not about cycling.

I know. I know.

But I can’t help it. This book is too important not to get a shoutout. We all need to read it. It will change how you view the world, and make decisions. Despite what you may see and hear from the news media, the world is getting better.

I was going to write a review of the book but decided Bill Gates did a much better job with this short video –

Note to my younger self (Hills are your friend)

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Hills are your friend.

Search them out, climb them regularly, and you will quickly become a stronger, more efficient, and faster cyclist.

Do hill repeats. Find a local hill that takes 5-10 minutes to climb. Climb it has quickly as you can, turn around, recover as you descend, and then climb it again. Do this 4-6 times once a week. Think of it as on-the-road HIIT training. In time, as you improve, you will learn to enjoy it.

Yes. You will enjoy it because you will get stronger, more efficient, and faster.

Foto Friday (March 15, 2019)

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Like most everyone today, I take a lot of pictures. Not selfies. Not food dishes. Just  interesting shapes, shadows, colours, and textures discovered on my rides.

Who would have thought I would even want a camera on a phone. I certainly didn’t. After all, I was used to SLR’s, with a variety of lens. That’s what I needed. Right?

Wrong.

All I need is a smartphone.

The technology has improved so much, that excellent pictures are taken with them, and their real power is that they are ubiquitous. Always with us. Especially out on the bike.

Each Friday I will post a smartphone picture taken on one of my rides.

Carbon Bubble by Jeff Rubin …

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I know. I know. I did it again. This is not a book about cycling. At least not directly. But it is a book we all need to read.
The Carbon Bubble by Jeff Rubin is an macroeconomic account of climate change, and the consequences to Canada’s economy.
The book starts by criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not believing in global warming, and building Canada’s economic future on the development of Alberta’s oil sands. What he failed to understand is that oil sand production is dependent on oil prices. It is very costly, and carbon intensive, to produce. It is not economically justifiable to extract this oil unless the cost of oil is above $80 / barrel. Today, it is $52 / barrel. As a consequence, many Albertans are out of work, and there is waining support for increasing pipeline capacity to get the oil to off-shore markets. There are several reasons for the lower price – increase in the use of natural gas which is less expensive, the introduction of fracking has reduced the cost of oil production in the US and as a result, they need less of the Canadian oil, and the growing concern about the implications of global warming. It no longer makes economic sense to extract the oil sands bitumen. Stephen Harper failed to realize this.
The book goes into great detail about these costs and alternative energy sources, but what I think is important to understand, and discuss, are the opportunities that will be created by global warming for Canada.The book argues not to invest in oil companies. They represent a sunset industry. An industry that has a limited future. Global warming is going to change where food is grown, and how it is going to be irrigated. The North American food basket is going to shift from Mexico and the souther US, where it is going to become to hot, and move northward to the Canadian Prairies. And, Canada has an abundance of water to not only irrigate these farmlands but to also produce clean, hydro-electric power that can be export across the country and to the US. Canada’s major resources won’t be oil, as Prime Minister Harper suggested, but food, water, and hydro-electric power.
This is the basic premise of the book. Food, water, and electricity will become the economic engines of the Canadian economy, and this will happen in your life time. Now is the time to invest in farmland he argues not in pipelines or bitumen extraction.
If you have not read this book, and are interested in the political and economic relationship between Canada and the United States, I suggest you get your hands on a copy. It puts the contrasting perspectives of the Trump Administration and the Trudeau government in context.