Monday, November 21, 2011

Music you can use

The bloody beetroots. Yes, they always wear those masks. Yes, they kick that much ass.
Epic, as defined by Justice. Two guys, massive sounds and a beaming cross. Wow. Listen to it, Love it and then thank me later.

As promised, I'm back with some interesting tunes for you to crank out while cycling/running/starimaster-ing or lifting. Lately, I've been lifting in the gym...lifting - according to distance runners - is a bit of a misnomer seeing as how we lift the same weight of a prepubescent teen. Fact of the matter is distance running is an enuduro sport not requiring massive thighs such as track sprinters. Needless to say, my lifting sessions - if you can even call them that - are excruciatingly painful. This coming from a guy that hadn't lifted a weight since college!

Consequently, I feel like a member of the walking dead more times than not and even when I'm not lifting my legs feel like their lifting weights! Yikes! As a track cyclist and a pursuiter, lifting weights is a must for this sport. There's a whole genre why track cyclists are different from road cyclists but I'm not going to get into that bruhahahahahahahahah just yet!

Given my puny weight and my need to add more muscle, I've been hitting the gym 3 times a week and lifting as much weight as my scrony legs will hold. Heh. Any bigger? Nope. That's not what get the idea! Along the way though, I've been experimenting with vegan protein powders and lemme tell ya, there's A LOT left to be desired. I'm not ragging on any brand in particular but the stuff that's offered is hurting in taste. The quality is certainly there but the taste is so off putting I sometimes think about eating meat! (OUCH!).

I digress.

Getting back to the blog post, I have some tunes I'd like you all to try and figure out if you like. This is solely for those ass-whoppings you give yourself in the gym and not for anything else! I've been really into a form of trance called 'electro'. Specifically, french electro. Which leads me to question, what is it with the french? At first, not even the french liked the french! And now, I'm all qui qui! :-) But yea, put on the monitors and apologize to your neighbors for the eargasms you're about to hear....don't say I didn't warn ya!

Justice - Phantom Part 2
Favorite youtube comment: "The church stole the cross from Justice!"

Justice - Genesis
Favorite Youtube comment: "Chuck Norris can't even top this"

Sebastian - Greel (<--Another frenchie!)
Favorite Youtube comment: "This is what dubstep aspires to be like"

Bloody Beetroots - We are from Venice
Favorite Youtube comment: "So much winning..."

Bloody Beetroots x Benny Benassi - I am Drunk
Favorite Youtube comment: "Dirtier than my google search history!" <--Classic!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's been some time hasn't it..

Yes, it's been quite - and I mean QUITE - a while since I've been back on the blogging trail, let alone thought about it. I suppose you're wondering why? Do I hate you all? Am I still Vegan? Have I regressed to pre-vegan fatty-ism? Is this even Alex typing this blog or his evil meat-eating twin? Or maybe you're wondering, will employment ever be the same again? What's with Occupy Cal? Will I step into the throne in Syria? No doubt, you've got the questions. Lucky for you though, I got the answers. At least, I hope I do.

Dearest readers, I apologize for my long overdue apology and post. I had some significant things happen in my life, traumatizing things, wonderful things and even delicious things. We've got a lot to catch you up on (refers to self in third person) so let's make haste. I'll take a moment so you can blend that vegan smoothie...don't worry, I'll wait.

Okay, glad you're back. In these past months, I have made some pretty cool discoveries. One of which being: I feel totally happy and in my element riding my bike. Needless to say, I've hung the running shoes and my aspirations of making the elite kenyan runners eat my dust a fantasy for now. Instead, I turn to riding my bike and riding my bike as hard as possible with my gimpy legs. There's a discipline in the sport called 'time trialing' which is basically: YOU + Bike + really cool helmet and clothing + painful legs = time trialing. There's no one else around you..just you, the elements and your heart pumping at 194 bpm. Yea, it's brutal and yet so justifying. There's a reason they call it the test of truth - there's no hiding behind anything, no 'saving until the last moment' just a competition of YOU vs. YOUR WILL.

When I think about the challenges that I have faced over the past few months, I realize much of it can be described as interpersonal battles between me and my will. Sometimes I win, sometimes my will wins - and that's just the way the cookie crumbles. In these past few months I yearned for alone time on my bike - eschewing from riding with groups and racing, I opted instead for time trialing because of the places I would go. Not physically but internally. Imagine for a moment that you're legs are on fire, that you're breathing is audible and you're eyes are bloodshot. You wonder in your head 'why, oh why the f*ck am I doing this!?' In all the times I have asked myself this question, the answer has been the same: "because this is what I'm about." Resiliency, humility and hunger for more have become my motto as of late.

In all of this, I have learned that the greatest highs I've felt have sprung from the deepest lows I've experienced. Finding the heart and will power to push the pedals harder has inspired me like none other. So much so, I took 4 weeks off the bike and have since been in the gym, killing the weights and cycling hard on weekends. I crave that point where pain meets unbearable because I know that if I hold out a bit longer, I'll be stronger in the end. As cliche as it sounds, I believe that's a lot like life (ESPECIALLY after college!). It's easy to be happy when times are good...but it's when times go wrong that we see the personal integrity of people. That we see the difference between folding and focusing.

So consider this blog my vow to you all to bring you along my journey. Where it leads, I have no clue...I just know that my feet are moving forward and my head is in a good place. To answer your biggest question, "No, I don't plan on running for the King of Syria." To answer your second question: "Yes, I'm still vegan...and yes I'm motherf*cking back!"

Next blog will delve more into what's gone on and the music that pulled me through. But for now, sit back, rejoice and meet me at the intersection of pleasure and pain. :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Post-Ride Meals

So you've all heard me harp about post-ride / post-run nutrition meals but I've been experimenting with some things and want to share with you all some findings that have helped me in the past weeks with recovery and replenishing fuel stores. Now, as a fair disclaimer, I must add that this information is based on MY EXPERIENCE and that listening to me doesn't mean you'll turn into some tall dark and handsome vegan guy with shaven legs and loves track racing. No, definitely not that. I'm also not saying that Obama wasn't born in America. Fact of the matter is, he was. Period. Get over it, 'birther' readers. What I am saying though, is that unlike most of my gibberish and rants, this particular post is backed with science. Anybody that knows me knows that the words 'Science' and 'Alex' don't belong in the same sentence but like Queen Latifah, "I'm breaking all the rules!" (one of her worst songs).

Okay so anyone doing endurance sports requiring prolonged use of your body and consequently, your cardiovascular system is getting beat the hell up. And when I mean 'prolonged' use, I'm not referring to the 20 min stair-master sesh you're putting in nor the CrossFit workout videos you've bought. Nope. I mean putting down efforts lasting over 1.5 hours of steady state effort or when you're through flogging yourself on interval days. When you have those days / workouts, your biggest concern is to replace glycogen with a mix of fast acting and slow-absorbing sugars...also known as simple (fast) and complex (slower) burning carbohydrates.

As a huge fruit eater, a lot of my sugar comes from fruits. However, the rate at which fruit is absorbed is much slower than, for example, a can of coke. Why? For starters, fruit has fructose, water and dietary fiber which cause a nice slow burn of sugar and not the see-saw effect one might get after downing 2 cans of coke in the morning only to face-plant onto your computer screen. Table sugar though is artificial and that means high spikes in insulin which, under normal circumstances, is NOT good for your kidney and ultimately, for YOU.

HOWEVER, in special circumstances (i.e. endurance athletes) combining fast and slow burning sugars to replace glycogen levels quickly after a demanding workout is perfectly valid. The keyword in that sentence is 'AFTER' which means you had to do something beforehand like, gee, I dunno, exercise for a long long time! So what is Alex doing post-ride / post-kick-ass-track-sesh to replace all that glycogen:

Alex's Cervelo Test Team Inspired Fruit Salad
Chop up the following into bite-size pieces:
1) 2 bananas
2) 2 cutie-oranges
3) 1 apple
4) Pineapple chunks (thanks to Ms. Denise for showing me how to even do this!)

Cut all that nonsense up and put in a large bowl. Then, cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the fruit salad.
So far so good right? Sounds like something I'd eat doesn't it. But there's one more trick here.
Then, on top of that lemon-flavored fruit salad, put a tablespoon of regular, table sugar. Yes, that same sugar that Dr. Weil is yelling at you for consuming! That sugar will get absorbed into your bloodstream faster than Godhafi can get outta Libya. Wait, that's slow. Check that. That sugar will get absorbed into your bloodstream faster than Lindsey Lohan can get thrown back into jail (again).

I like to make a big batch of that stuff, put it in the fridge and then munch on it when I get home from my bike rides or take it with me during races. Make it, try it, love it, live it, spread it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Injured. FML

Not much needs to be said about this one.
Short story: lifting and doing some one-legged squats at the gym and somewhere along the lines I tear some tendon in my right leg. Ouch.

What can I do:
1) Switch my car insurance to Geico (apparently, it's easy)
2) Walk up some stairs leading with my left foot
3) Cook some yummy post-ride receipes (which I dont do becuase....)

What can I NOT do:
1) Ride a bike. That means no dates with: Evelyn, Samantha, Madeline or Tera.
2) Run to try and cross the street when the blinking hand comes on.
3) Get into my car to go to work easily.

On the other hand, this added rest is probably good for my body in one sense. Good because rest is just as important as the training. But more's playoff basketball time and you know what that means! NO MEANS NO KOBE BRYANT! In my family, there are two types of people: those who like the lakers and those who do NOT like the lakers. Myself, along with 99.999% of the world fall in the latter category.

In other news, this post is dedicated to my pals at Momentum Bike Shop who have decided to hang up the cleats and close shop. It's a very sad thing to see happen and they were in my favorite part of town too (Kaimuki, HI). I owe a good bit of my running start to them as they sponsored me a million and a half years ago as a runner. Aloha my friends.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Posts in a Row? Gasp!

Heh...Tera again saying Aloha to you all. Yes, yes...we see you!
My best thinking: Away from work, drinking coffee in a black t-shirt. Bam.
Doing my damn thang at Barnes and Nobles! Love RIDE magazine!
THESE are tan-lines. Look carefully at yours...see the difference?
I'm pretty decent with Ryu (black outfit) and Ken (regular Red Outfit). Not to mention M.Bison but I have to be in an evil mood to play as him...
Over the past few days, I've been getting in some solid solid base mileage in. So much so, my legs are absolutely shot to hell (and yet, I'm dumb enough to race the track tonite) and my laziness has risen to an all time high. In thinking about my overall laziness, I realized that laziness is different depending on where I am.

Take for example when I'm at Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu, HI. Typically, this is a shoppers paradise and ya know, IF I was a shopper, prada-wearing-LV-bag-toting-tourist then I'd probably be running around snapping photos and stuffing dollar bills in my fanny pack. Get that money, dollar dollar bills y'all. BUT, I'm not. And as such, 'lounging' for me is heading on over to borders, sitting my okole down and picking up some cycling magazines - mind you, I don't actually buy them, I just read em cover to cover! Don't lie..I know you do the same too! Don't even tell me for a moment that you don't do this! Sometimes...if I'm feeling especially jolly I'll buy the magazine but rare is that opportunity.

What's 'recovery' mean for me at home? Well, none other than being dressed for success! What you're seeing here is a photo of my shaven legs with Rapha bib shorts, DRESSED TO GO RIDING but instead on the bed playing Super Street Fighter Four (not to be confused with just regular "SF4") in crocs - turquoise ones at that. Ugly aint it? Yea, I hear ya. For that reason, they never leave the house. To be caught in public with those on is just deplorable! Let alone the internet! Oh wait....shit.

But seriously, I do try and get out on the bike every now and then and to prove the point, I can't help but post a picture of my horrendous tan-lines that have resulted from my enormous base mileage I threw down in the 808. Yea...those are rough aint it? Ms. Denise thinks I should just go riding in my armwarmers that way my tan lines even out but not in my book. I wear my tan-lines like how Nelly wears a band-aid under the right eye. Loud and proud.

In other relevant news, The Lakers lost (yess!!!!) and the OKC Thunder won (yessss!!!).
Finally, my helpful hint to you my fellow readers is to discover the group that has all but won me over and actually forced my hand to buy their music off of iTunes. Yes, this was so powerful, I felt compelled to spend my hard-earned on music rather than be the asian I am and download the thing!!!

The Bloody Beetroots
Songs: Warp 1.9, Cornelius, It's Better A DJ on 2 Turntables, Talkin' In My Sleep

WARNING: Heavy heavy heavy bass. Not for the fainthearted. This is not rap. This is not techno. This is not rock. This is electro. Loud, loud, loud sounding music that you want to turn the volume waaaaay up at home or do what I do: pound intervals on your bike listening to this amazingness.

Put simply: This group could probably cure all erectile dysfunction issues. Not like I got em! Ahem!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Introducing: TERA

Ms. Tera in the nude! Damn those Zipp 303s are s-s-s-s-s-s-s-moking hot.
How I mount her.
DA7900 with an SRM makes for a mean mean mean woman.
Mr. Morrissey himself, Vi Lu, wrenching Tera. Or as he says 'putting my hands all over her!"

Hello friends, foreigners, romans, greeks, belgie's and newcomers...

Yes, it has been a while hasn't it. And before you go stoning me to death with anti-weegan slurs and the like...please, please keep in mind I was finding myself. I chartered a plane, traveled to the Himalayas where I was united with Brad Pitt to go treking to Lhasa (Tibet) to re-enact scenes from Seven Years in Tibet. Along the way, I got into an argument with a man over a goat (long story, dont ask), ran away from a pack of hungry wolves and decided that once and for all...

Okay, I kid, I kid. I've been working, cycling (track racing!), lazy, taking-vacation-lazy (honest to pete, there is a distinction!) and eating like the fatty mcFatness I am and you have come to love and cherish. Along the way, I've visited some close friends, was called 'Junior' at one point and even got tanned. know I don't shy from flaunting my tan lines either but I'll spare you here.

Along my trials and tribulations with all things vegan and cycling, I decided to invest in a carbon fiber steed. A rig strong enough to hold the worldly demands of this vegan athlete and his never ending quest to ride his bike to the point his lungs burst out of his heart and my brain spontaneously combusts from all the lactic acid being pumped. And yes I just referred to myself in the third person. And yes I/we/he don't care.

As all my bikes have names, this one is no different. Let's take a quick refresher here and go over them for completeness shall we?
Evelyn - Cervelo S1. Named after my aunt.
Madeline - Scott TT rig.
Samanta - Track rig.

And now...for the first time...
TERA - Scott Addict R2.
So why Tera you ask? Heh. I'll let you figure that one out yourself but it shouldn't be too hard (not what she said).

I'm back like Reebok Shoes so don't worry.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Art & Grace of Losing

The very somber and quiet post-trophy-coaching-pep-talk.
The girls! Rach, Aiko, Katie, Kels, Dave, Rebecca, Sky, Lauren and 'Coach Alex'
REAL COACHES coach in vibram-five finger shoes!!!

For those followers of this blog, you know that this year is my first year coaching girls basketball for my buddhist church (Oakland Buddhist Church, AKA 'da OBC' or, the more politically correct: 'BCO'). The girls I coach are 11 year olds who have discovered the frustrations of the Angry Birds iPhone app, Justin Beiber (don't get me started), what 'Veganism' is and most recently, how to lose with grace and dignity.

Now, I'm not one to gloat and boast my, definitely not that type :-) But let it be known that in my first season coaching girls, my girls completely ran the tables! In our division, we played NINE GAMES AND WON ALL NINE GAMES. We were a perfect 9-0 heading into a tournament which was held in Berkeley this past weekend.

Game 1, we win, easy peezy. My girls are well-coached (thank you, thank you), well-balanced and well-versed in the battle arts known as women's hoops. As a result, we sail into the championship game against an opponent we have man-handled 3 out of 3 times. Little did we all know that going into our final game of the season, my newly 10-0 team would become a 10-1 team. And what a championship game it turned out to be. It went into overtime and for girls ball, overtime = sudden death (first to score = the winner). We ended up losing the game against this team by a free-throw. Game over. 14 to 13.

At which point, I saw my girls starting to tear up, and they came running to me apologizing. 'For what?!' I asked. But in reality, I knew they were apologizing not for their performance, but for losing the game. In my heart of hearts, I have been there. In fact, I have lost the game for my team twice and uttered the same words and cried into my dads arms. Those long faces full of sadness and disappointment. Ahh yes, it brought it all back to me. The other team rushed the court, the parents were up in arms for their kids and everyone was happy for them. My girls lined up to shake hands, faces dejected watching the on-going celebration that didn't stop. Few times have I ever felt so gutted; gutted because I too, had been exactly in their shoes. I too understand and can sympathize with their feelings.

Needless to say, we had a long team hug and the trophy celebration was a very somber one. Little did I realize that in all my teachings of basketball, my girls would turn around and teach me something about basketball and life. In order to win, one must lose. IN order to succeed one must know failure. Ask Michael Jordan and he'll tell you the same thing (google: Jordan quote failure). My girls played like all-stars and they stepped off the court as all-stars too. This post is dedicated to them and their effort, heart, ambition and desire.