its all good mental training

Ok so this is not directly cycling related but bear with me…

It all started with a book – “How bad do you want it” by Matt Fitzgerald. Without over selling this book it changed my view on exercise, diet and performance and I now recommend it as standard fare for everyone I coach. Do yourself a favour and pick this book up – you will not be disappointed. In a nutshell this book reviews different ultra athletes and their mindsets – and concludes that our muscles are NEVER the inhibiting factor, only our minds. After devouring this book I started to see what else I could find and came across a book in a similar vein – “what doesn’t kill us” by Scott Carney. Ironically I read this book while on a overnight train across China to get into North Korea to run my first half marathon (with zero training and coming off antibiotics for bronchitis a day before). Also a great read but the book centered around a crazy Dutch guy named Wim Hof and his “method”.

This book piqued my curiosity about Wim Hof and remembering that my brother had done the course years ago (i thought him nuts then!) I chatted to him – he felt it was legit. I downloaded the free app and set to trying it out.

The Wim Hof method involves three pillars – Breathing, commitment and cold. But for me they are “all good mental training.” (nod to Matt).

Breathing: involved a hyperventilating of sorts – basically hyper oxygenating your blood stream for 30/40 breathes and then a full exhale and hold for as long as you can. Repeat this three times and then on the fourth time try to see how many push ups you can do without air.

Commitment: This is about stretching (which I hate, but need to do as per bike fit…) and strength exercises such as plank.

Cold: just like it says on the tin – get out there and get exposed to the cold. Cold showers, ice baths, semi clad snow angels – whatever you can to get your temperature down.

It was at this stage a few years ago that I concluded that my brother was nuts, but here I am drinking the same Kool aid and I will forgive you if you think the same but bear with me.

Benefits of cold showers aside (here, here, here, here or here) I like the logic that Wim talks about in his promo video here. So watch this space, its a 10 week course and I plan on writing one blog a week about each week.

Disclaimer: I know there is a affiliate program for Wim Hof but Im not signed up for it -these are just my musings.


So its come to this…

After months of talking about it I am going to start officially planning an Everest attempt.  Im even nervous writing this post because it means I’m committing to this insanity – This page will be forever archived on the web – There will be no putting this toothpaste back into the tube…

Before progressing much further its key to have my families support – gleaned via a brief conversation and follow up text.






In short at Everest it is the insane concept of picking one hill and doing repeats until you build up a total climb of 8848 metres – the height of Mount Everest.

Check out the website for more info here. Oh and you need to complete this challenge within 24hrs.

Let me just put this in perspective – to do this on:

Suikerbossie (the Argus climb) you will have to do it 71 times.

Boxhill (UK) 61 times

The Alpe D’Huez – 9 times








Any way you slice it that is alot of climbing. I have chosen this hill – it is a hill that overlooks the Presidents house in downtown Seoul.Here are its vital statistics:





That translates to 14 hours on the bike – The elevation graph reminds me of a bed of nails – no doubt what my saddle will start to feel like in the coming months!

I will be doing this in aid of a yet to be named charity and hope to secure company sponsorship in aid of this attempt – I will continue to write updates about this mad attempt in the coming months. Watch this space and wish me goodluck!!!

Ode to good gloves

So over a few drinks at Christmas lunch we decided that we had not had enough winter rides… Being a southern hemisphere lad I always followed (before Seoul) the rule that if there was a “-” next to the temperature one should stay in bed, of if you really felt committed – get up and get onto the trainer.


After a rather bad night (or so my garmin F3 tells me) I dutifully got up and was suited, booted and gloved in my cycling ninja uniform (my 4 years olds words not mine – but ill take it) I was ready to go. Turn on the garmin and watch with joy as my lighting system (varia) wakes its self up and turns on.

We met a the usual spot for our Namsam hill training session and one of the mad three remarked “I guess apple got it wrong again it’s not that cold”… As you can see below we went from Gung ho to frozen.

The mad three and Dr Evil…

But onto the real saviour of the day… My Outdoor Research Strom Tracker gloves. I owned a pair of these a few years ago and they managed to find their way to the place that all useful items of clothing and single sock do.

As a result after a particularly cold ride last winter, one that I had to use all 4 fingers to pull the brakes on (not fun when you are riding on a DH track…!) I found these gloves online – AND THEY WERE HEATED! Winner winner chicken dinner – until $250. Ouch. Thankfully Amazon had an overstock/returned pair in my size that were a more palatable $70.

I have come to realise that my fingers do not generate heat. Put them in normal gloves no matter how good and they do not get warm – gloves are merely windblockers for me – so I was very excited to try these heated gloves. Today would also be an interesting experiment in that I had not charged one of the gloves and so I had a great control group.

In short – the heating is subtle but definitely there – not strong enough to make your hands sweat unnecessarily (the hills do that well enough)  but strong enough to keep you comfortable – even at -9,6 degrees. (note the snow in the pic below)



Would I buy these at $250? Probably not. But if you can find them on sale then get in there – and just replace the batteries for $20.


The Terry Pratchett light

Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things. Terry Pratchett – the wyrd sisters

Before science became cool or even acceptable, and you could get hung for postulating that the world was in fact round. Back when times were simple  and witches floated (or sank, I can never remember witch) this light would have been magic. Funny this is – I had the same reaction this morning when I went out for my ride.

I turned my edge 510 on, an the light turned on. I started riding and true to form the light switches between low and high beams like driving a car – but automajically. Meh this is what it said on the tin (well it didn’t, only after emailing garmin to confirm that my now antiquated 510 supported the varia light) 

BUT! (Queue drumroll)

On my ride back – it was now sunny when I turned on my edge, the light turned on too, but it engages daylight mode, a slow flashing designed to irate drivers. How the varia knew it was daylight it beyond me and I welcome anyone to demystify this machine for me, but until then I’ll go with magic.

I’ll post pictures later – tomorrow I have a night ride with Ettix quickstep so that’s a perfect time to get some pics.

Damn coffee!

So the latest slew of garmin gadgets arrived today. Care of FedEx and a very friendly yet impossible to understand Korean immigration clerk… I’ve no idea if I’ve paid the correct duties but that’s water under the proverbial. THEY’RE HERE! I just had enough time to run home and unbox them – why pray tell do you ask am I stringing this post together when I could be geeking out in Gmetrix’s and quarter time mounts? 

Valid question – because I have a job 🙁 right now I’m killing time before a company function wondering if my gadgets miss me as much as I miss them…

Till later my preciouses – till later