Monday, January 30, 2006

No Limits!

Commodore's recent No Limits challenge has come with incredible timing. After the break in the last 2 weeks, I need all the training time I can get to get back on schedule for the Olympic Distance Triathlon in July. Even while I was unable to train with the recent curve balls over the last week (Part I, II & III), I had resolved to at least do 50 push-ups and/or 10 chin-ups on days where I just cannot head out for a swim, bike or run. No sure how that adds to my goal, but I guess that means I have already accepted the No Limits challenge before I even read it. :)

You'll be proud of me today Keith my mysterious swim guru buddy! I FINALLY got to start swim drills today. Went to the pool with my son's kick board - 10 mins stretching, 6 x 25m front crawl warm up, 4 x (50m kicking + 50m front crawl), finished with 10 x 25m front crawl. Had planned to do something like 10 x 25m kicking straight up, but it got too boring as I quickly found that I was going nowhere in a hurry with the kick board, so I mixed in some front crawl.

Yes, I struggled. Yes, some kid (can't be more than 3 yr old) came by and swapped kick boards with me - I don't blame him, check out my son's kewl kick board on the right. ;) Yes, I got that "what is that idiot doing?" look from most of the people at the pool. Yes, a kindly neighbour came by to suggest that I get a swim coach. But what's important is that I DID IT and I will be doing it again and again until I get my kick right!

So did the drills help? I kinda feel like I am more aware of my kicking now and thus I can achieve betta balance in the front crawl. The problem is that I seem to be trading stamina for form - while my form seems to have improved (a little), there is no way I can swim like that for more than 200m or so, whereas with my old lousy stroke, I could do up to 1.8km. Hope the distance will come back again with training since I am supposed to be improving my efficiency here. I guess I just have to get used to the new way of swimming...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Curve Balls... Part III

My wife called me in the office today and said that R1 (the 5 yr old) has a fish bone lodged in his throat and she was sending him to the hospital (again)! It was purely the grace of God that kept me from freaking out again as I thought about all that the week has brought, but this time, I had PEACE, because I have made my peace with the Lord. :) The doctors probed him, pulled his tongue, and even took an X-ray to reveal that nothing was in the throat anymore (must have got dislodged in all that probing). Praise God!

Here's what I learnt from the Psalmist:
"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure," Psalm 16:8-9

But that's not all I wanna tell you today, what I really want to tell you is that I FINALLY went out and ran 7km today! Yay! Praise God! Ok, so it is quite a gap from my last run of 12km, but I guess I have to start from somewhere and start building up the distance 10% at a time...

So, I headed out in the rain, and as I was running, I thought about the friendship and encouragement so gracously offered to me via this blogging group. I thought about the many like minded people out there juggling life, running/tri, blogging, I thought about...

  • Cliff and your victory over cancer with the grace of God and the passion with which you are pursuing life,
  • Commodore and how you are making a difference with Team Tri-Geek Dreamers,
  • Tri-MaMa and your kind and level minded advice,
  • Chris and what you has achieved before and the comeback you are waging now,
  • Nancy Toby and how well you did in the Marathons in 2005 and your irrepressible humour
  • Running Pol and the constant encouragement so readily offered, and your commitment to do a the Trinity Tri despite the pressures of a new baby at home
  • My Mysterious Swim Guru Buddy who so kindly gave me a freebie swim lesson and keeps coming back to encourage me
  • Mr Sanguine and hoping that you are avoiding the greasy burgers and hitting the gym :)
  • Mica and... your balaclava! ;)
  • Ellie, your warm, wise words and your exciting life as a full-time RV traveller
  • Bold and your BLACK fridge :)
  • Flatman and your beautiful new bike
  • Susan and your no-holds-barred yet very amusing posts
  • Wylee and how you are so NOT the basic average midwestern girl :)
  • Keryn, your lovely boy and your amazing depth of knowledge of the Chinese culture
  • Ironbenny and your dependable, pragmatic, no-nonsence advice and approach
  • Mia and your beautiful Anna
  • Tammy, who somehow I always picture gobbling a pizza on a Lightspeed Blade ;)
  • It's Only Fuel and how your site always makes me hungry
  • Steven and how we seem to be waiting forever to set our eyes on your Scott Plasma Pro :)
  • dgc, your kind encouragement and your love to run
  • Jesse and your open, honest posts
  • Jen and your always kind words
  • Linae, and how I must have shocked you in your first visit to my blog with the news about R1
  • Bunnygirl and your pictures of the bunny :)
  • Robin and how you were trying to cram a run into your hectic business travel :)

(Sorry if I missed anyone, it wasn't a very long run.) :)

Then, I hit the halfway point, and my thoughts went to the usual "God, please help me to finish this run". But the important thing is I DID! Praise God!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To Tri or Not To Tri

This post is for all of you who so kindly dropped by the last few day. Thanks guys/gals for the wonderful prayer support, encoragement, well wishes and intuition. My older boy (R1, 5 yrs old) is back to school today, whereas the younger one (R2, 3 yrs old) is resting at home. Thanks particularly to Commodore, Ellie and Tom for giving me a rap on the knuckles from trying to read God's will thru falling sick. I must admit that's pretty silly of me - must be the nausea affecting my thought process.

Sorry I might not have given the full picture when it comes to the circumstances around thinking that perhaps I should stop training. It started with the lousy week of rain, where I got so desperate to train that it was pretty much the only thing on my mind. And we know that's a dangerous situation to be in - having something occupying all my thoughts and it ain't God. Then the rain stopped, and I had a bad weekend of training, followed by a bout of cold (another week of no training), followed by R1 getting hospitalised, followed by R2 and I getting food poisoning/stomach flu. When things come one after the other like that, I usually start thinking if God is having difficulty getting to me again. (Tom, you ain't the only one hard of hearing in this area!) :)

I must admit that I was not thinking straight - have not been myself lately. Someone once said that we should not try to see God's will through circumstances around us, instead we are to look upon the circumstances around us through understanding His will. I have been a clown doing the former instead of the latter, and I want to thank you for jolting me out of that. Here I am thinking that maybe I should stop, when my QT keeps saying "redemption, victory over the adversary, healing...". ;)

It's good to have buddies who continue to encourage and who will not hesitate to set me right. Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Curve Balls... Part II

Sigh, just when my older boy (5) is getting betta, my younger son (3) and I have both come down with food poisoning/stomach flu. The little one puked more than 10 times today!

So this is an urgent CODE 10 plea for prayer support for my family - please pray for healing, protection and for discernment (Am I doing what pleases God? Does He want me to quit trying for the Olympic Distance Triathlom?).

Batter up!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Curve Balls...

Just when I had pretty much recovered and was comtemplating a long ride, Life throws us a cruve ball. My older son (5) got warded on Sunday, and the wife & I had to cancel our dinner date prescribed by Tri-Mama and Chris in my earlier post. Of course training took a back seat while I accompanied my son during his hospital stay.

A few frantic SMS'es later, I got my entire Care Group praying for my boy - another wonderful reason to join a Care Group or Fellowship Group. Praise God that prayer works! He is discharged now and we only have a follow-up with the doctors in 2 weeks. He actually enjoyed the cartoons and all the attention in the hospital, so all in all, it was not a totally negative experience for him. On the other hand, I did not sleep much on the squeaky couch - it must be a global health care requirement, don't think I have ever been to a hospital where the couch does not squeak. :)

Well, if Life thinks he (she?) can put a damper to my QT/training with curve balls, he/she has got it coming, because my God is a both loving God and a vengeful Judge. :) It's off to bed for me and, God willing, I get to (finally) kick-start my training tomorrow.

"Tomorrow... Tomorrow... I'll luv ya, tomorrow... You're always a day a-way..."

EDIT: Forgot to mention the key role of prayer (in YELLOW above) and the ernest intercession of my Care Group. Must be lack of sleep...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

5 Strange(?) Facts About Myself

My 1st "official" tag - those that go "I tag everyone" don't count. :) Thank you Mr Sanguine, for tagging me, this completes my blogging exeprience.

Here goes...
  1. I have been blogging since Feb 2005, and this is my ever 1st tag, and it comes from my good buddy IRL (In Real Life). That's either weird or I am downright boring (I fear it may be the 2nd - and, no, I did not ask to be tagged, that would be too sad even for me).
  2. I MUST wash my feet before I get into bed. Even if I wake up in the night for a sip of water, or I forget my ear plugs/eye mask, I MUST wash my feet before I get back into bed.
  3. Which brings us to... I wear ear plugs and a eye mask every night when I sleep. Even if it is dead silent and pitch dark. I don't like being woken up in the night by flashing lights and strange noises - which incidentally happened in a hotel in India (power trip turned on everything - lights, TV, etc), so I would be careful if I were you, Mr Sanguine. :P
  4. Most people think I am an extrovert, but I am a closet introvert at heart. I seem to like to meet people and work with different sorts of people (job requirement), I talk a lot in social occasions (I am deathly afraid of awkward silences), but on my own time, I don't like to meet new people, and I prefer sports where one competes with self rather than with others (e.g. Triathlons). Even in triathlon training, I don't belong to a tri club, I just prefer to do my own thing, at my own pace, at my own time/place.
  5. When I travel for business, and have to get a room service dinner, it is ALWAYS a club sandwitch, no matter which city/hotel I am in. Ok, maybe this last one is not so strange, but just plain sad when you consider the variety of great food we have in Asia.

Not sure what is the blog etiquette here so I will just follow Mr Sanguine's example and just tag 2 of my new internet buddies:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oh How The Geek Has Fallen!

This is what my usually sweet wife turned into when I got home from work and broke the news that I dropped my wedding ring somewhere. :(

In my defence, I have a head cold and have been feeling like a zombie in the office, struggling to deal with all the changes/input from the latest re-org, gingerly stepping on bruised egos while we try to find the best organisation to move forward and still keep the whole thing under wraps... Plus, I have lost so much weight that the ring slips off easily... So somehow, I went to the office with my ring on and came back without it.

Doesn't matter that I found it later in my bag (must've slipped off my finger when I was stuffing my notebook in the bag at the office), nor does it matter that she does not even wear her wedding band at all. The verdict is out: I am the guilty one, straight to jail, do not pass "GO", no chance of parole...

Something tells me this is gonna be a LONG weekend...

10 Reasons Why I Tri?

While taking a brief respite to recover from this cold, I thought I would work on my version of "10 Reasons Why I Tri?".

1) It forces me to lean on God’s grace to be able to train – i.e. general good health, healing when I get sick/injured, time/opportunity to train, buddies who offer encouragement/advice, etc

2) Once in a while, for the briefest moment, it all comes together and it could be in the swim, bike or run. I am pretty sure we have all entered the “zone” (some more than others) where it feels like we are slipping thru the water like a fish, flying on the bike like a road devouring monster, or running with effortless grace. For me, the moment is very brief and rare in indeed, but it happens often enough to help me want to go on in days when I feel like I am flopping/splashing in the water, grinding the gears on my bike, dragging my feet in the run.

3) It models the Intentional Discipleship approach to the Christian walk, which incidentally is what prompted me to start this blog last year. Training for a triathlon requires intentional, disciplined, and balanced training in 3 disciplines – the swim, the bike and the run. Intentional Discipleship also requires intentional, disciplined, and balanced training in 3 disciplines – putting God first, relationship with God (QT: reading His word and prayer), relationship with others (ministry and evangelism).

4) It helps move my life out of the runt of work/kids/sleep and into a more “full” life, and I believe this is the reason that Jesus came (John 10:10)– to reconcile us to God so that we may have a taste of the Kingdom of God: i.e. no more darwfed goals, no more living by sight (e.g. I just don’t see myself doing a tri), no more being defeated by the pressures/desires of the world, no more moping around feeling like I haven’t got a life, etc… In short, it beats sitting in front of the TV or PC, getting fat and lazy. (Yes, I am speaking from personal experience here.) ;)

5) It helps me to consistently model a healthy filestyle for my kids.

6) Training helps me work out the “kinks” from the daily stress build-up, makes me a nicer person to be with at home.

7) It encourages humility – everytime I start thinking of myself as a triathlete, I remember all of you out there who have a full-time job (that includes full-time mums of course), family/social commitments, commitments to share your experiences via your blogs, and are still training daily towards their ironmen/women goals, and it puts me right back at my place.

8) It opens the door to a new social circle, and helps tremendously to expand my perspective on things.

9) It gives me the platform to blog about what I do and who I am. Someone said it is therapeutic to blog, and I quite agree! ;)

10) Last, but probably most importantly, it is the perfect excuse to get cool toys like a flashy new bike, the Polar 625X, and sexy aero bars. ;)

Thanks guys/gals for letting me share your journeys.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When the Means become the End

Yup, I've got the "sore throat and runny nose, not sick enough to stay home but sick enuff to stay away from the kids and from training" bug.

One of the reasons why I tri is that it forces me to lean on God's grace - too many times have I prayed and received His healing from training related injuries like sprains, knee pain, and even colds, and I guess I feel that continuing to train/tri glorifies Him as it is His grace that enables me to go on. So to me the training and tri'ing is the means, and glorifying Him is the end. Well, last week was a bit of a wash-out, and I suspect that it is because somewhere along the way, I have let the means become the end - the training became the end point and I felt I just HAD to train.

It started last week with the long rainy days, hoping for the rain to end so I can train again. I was so obsessed with getting out for a run, bike or swim that I even started missing some of my daily QT (queit time with the Lord). The end result is a most unsatisfying swim and bike over the weekend (the only bright spot was the swim lesson from my mystery swim guru buddy), and now I have even fallen sick. :(

It is not a uncommon thing to let the means become the end when it comes to living for God. The Israelites did it way back in the Old Testament times. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God asked Moses to make a bronze snake so that the people who looked at it would be healed of the venomous snake bites (Numbers 21:4-9). The people must have kept the bronze snake to remind themselves of God's grace and to glorify God, but many generations later, the Israelites actually worshipped the bronze snake (2 Kings 18:1-4)- i.e. the bronze snake that was to glorify God actually replaced God as their object of worship!

King Hezekiah reconciled the people to God by breaking the bronze snake and re-commiting the people to God, and that brought about a huge revival in Judah. I hope to reconcile with God through confession and re-committing as top priority my time with Him.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in."

Who knows? God willing, I may even be back in training sooner than expected.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Yes, I am afraid the diagnosis from my mystery swim guru buddy confirms it - I need to do drills. (Don't worry Keith, your secret identity is safe with me!) ;) Specifically, my 1st priority is kicking drills - to quote my very kind buddy who came all the way across the island to give me a swim lesson "You are sinking VERY badly, I don't know what you are doing with your legs but that's not kicking." To add insult to injury, when he showed me the proper way to kick, and I started trying it, I went into leg cramps after less than 2 laps of kicking - further proof that I have never been kicking in all my swimming to date. Keith was kind enough to even bring his brand new camera to take a video of me swimming and it was good to see for myself just how my legs were flailing uselessly. Now I kinda understand why my kids tend to look a lil embarassed of me when I swim. :( OK, no more distance swimming (to quote the TI DVD - "don't practice struggling, practice what you can do"), for the next 2 months it is gonna be drills, drills and more drills. Instead of doing the whole gambit of TI drills though, I am gonna listen to my mystery swim guru buddy (see Keith, I won't divouch your name, no worries!) and put 1st priority on kicking drills.

The swim lesson was actually the bright spark of the weekend. The sun was out in force (Thank You, Jesus!), so this was my pretty packed weekend...

  • Fri evening - Swim 1.6km Pool - REALLY struggled, slowest 1.6km swim ever. Ready to call it quits.
  • Sat morning - Went cycling with the kids, great fun!
  • Sat afternoon - Bike 45km, heavy cross winds. Finally got my bike fit right (I think) but really struggled to get above 30 km/hr in the wind. Thankful I had the aero bar with me, helped with the wind, but all in all, any ride below 30km/hr is not a fun ride.
  • Sat evening - Swim lesson, details above.
  • Sat night - Dinner with my brother-in-law, 1st time meeting his girlfriend's parents (read: STRESS).
  • Sun - Went to church in the morning, zonked out at home, went to a kids party in the afternoon. Decided to update my blog before I hit the hay - this post and updated my training log (in the side bar).

Feeling like I need a weekend to recover from this weekend! ;)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Sun's Out!

Thank you Jesus!

God willing, it'll be a training weekend! Yay!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Serenade

"Come to me... Come to me... You know you miss me... You know you miss the sound of us moving together... You know you miss the wind in your (what little) hair..."

My bike is calling me but it has been RAINING non-stop since Saturday here in (usually) sunny Singapore. And when it rains here, it mostly POURS - none of that "maybe it will rain and maybe it won't" kinda light drizzly rain, but more the "in your face" sometimes horizontal sheets kinda downpour. Normally, I would head out anyway (I tell myself I have a carbon frame so no worries about rust), but I just cleaned and lubed the bike on Saturday, and I can't bear to have to do it all over again after just one ride. So what will it be? Keep the bike clean for a few days or get out the de-greaser, rags and lube?

On a totally unrelated note, this just came up - The New Balance Singapore Duathlon. Was reading thru the details and came upon the implied cut off time for the event of 2.5 hrs (10km run, 36km ride, 5km run). Why would anyone organise an event with such a tough cut off time (at least for me, 2.5 hrs is kinda pushing it)? What happened to encouraging everyone to be involved? I am so bummed by it. Should I just stick to my own training for the Tri in July or should I just take part and let the marshalls wait for me to finish?

Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

An Engineer At Heart

Ok, sad as it is, I just have to post this picture - what happens when an engineer gets his hands on an aero bar? He uses a spirit level (a.k.a. bubble spirit level vial) to make sure the aero bar is TRULY horizontal. How much impact does this have on comfort, power and aerodynamics? Absolutely none. Just call me me a geek...

Bad News: It has been raining non-stop for the last few days and I wasn't able to get the "freebie" lesson from my swim guru buddy.
Good News: I finally managed to get my hands on the Total Immersion "Free Style Made Easy" DVD - all I can say is "WOW!". I thought it would be one of those boring videos on endless swimming drills, but I must say that it actually makes a lot of sense - having the "sweet spot" to rely on to rest when needed, focusing on balance/gliding/timing, and having a practical step-by-step program to create a good stroke. I foresee that I may not have the patience to master ALL of the drills, but already I see the benefit of doing them and I am eager to start. Maybe there is hope for my swim afterall. :) Now for me to rope in a unsuspecting swim buddy...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Clip-On Aero Bars On Road Bikes

[Sorry for the delay Cliff, but here is the post about clip on aerobars as promised. :) ]

I have added more pics of my ride with the aero bars (more pictures in my previous post), though the pics here do not show the latest fittings - shortened (100mm) stem, moved the seat 15mm forward, and cut 20mm off the Deda bar to fit the shorter stem.

Road Bike Or Tri Bike?
OK, it is quite tough to talk about aero bars without going into the whole debate about road bike versus tri bike. This is a great article which I found to have the right mix between technical information and plain English The short of it is if you are mainly using the bike for triathlons and can afford the price premium, get a tri bike. If you, like me, use a road bike for tris, adding a clip on aero bar will help heaps in terms of improving aerodynamics (i.e. go faster) and taking some weight off your hands in a long ride (i.e. comfort).
Why do I use a road bike? Mainly because
(1) I prefer the many riding positions on a road bike and just want the clip on aero bar to have one more position for aerodynamics and comfort on long flats.
(2) I thought I would be riding with my roadie friends more than I actually do now. (Sigh!)
(3) Road bikes are generally less pricy than tri bikes (don't ask me why, probably some economy of scale or marketing thing) . The price gap seems to be closing though - case in point, Scott CR1 Team retails in Singapore for approx USD2200, whereas the Scott CR1 Plasma Team retails for approx USD2800.
(4) I am only doing Olympic Distance Tris, so I figure the advantage from a Tri bike (in terms of wind cheating and saving running legs) would not be that great.

Of course if money is no object, I would really like to have both! ;)

Traditional TT/Tri or SLAM Aero Position?
It is also good to have a quick read about the various bike positions in the Internet - (1) road, (2) traditional TT (Time Trial)/Tri (aero, seat forward) and (3) "The Big Slam" (aero, seat back). (1) is basically the traditional road positions - i.e. on the hoods, flats or drops, nothing new here, while (2) and (3) are positions with aero bars, with the main difference being that (2) has the seat forward while (3) is a bit more seat back. I would recommend that you simulate both (2) and (3) on your bike just by slidling your bum forward/back on the saddle and even placing your forearms on the flat part of the handlebar to see which works for you (empty and straight roads of course). Through the years, I have found that riding comfort is a very personal thing and it is far easier to just try it out than to try to find unbiased and relevant information in books nor the Internet because we are all uniquely but wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 - Praise God!). :)

Clip-On Aero Bar Tips...
The problem is, it seems quite hard to find information on clip on aero bars on road bikes - most sites seem to talk about tri or TT bikes or full aero handle bars (instead of clip on bars on road main bars). Here are some pragmatic tips I found through my limited trawling the Internet which will hopefully cut away some of the hype ... (Comments/corrections very welcome!)

  • Aerodynamics versus power/comfort trade off - Someone wisely commented that all the time gained with the aero bar is going to waste if you have to ease off mid race to stretch your aching back. So first, make sure your bike is fitted to you properly even before adding the clip-on aero bar - most local bike shops can provide that service for a small fee. Second, don't forget the trade off between aerodynamics and power (and comfort) - i.e. the most aerodynamic position may not be the most comfortable nor efficient one (in terms of translating power to the road). You will need to experiment with the set up to find your optimal trade off point (which will change as you get fitter/stronger/more flexible).
  • Forward seat post? Depending on your prefered aero position (traditional TT/Tri or SLAM) you need to decide if you want to go the "whole hog" and get a forward seat post (like the fast forward from Profile Design) so you can get nearer to a TT/tri bike geometry - basically sit nearer (horizontal distance) to the handle bar/BB (bottom bracket). There are many benefits to doing so - the proponents claim similar (thought not equal) benefits to a tri bike - i.e. helps you get into a more "aero" position comfortably, and also helps save the legs for the run. Personally, I did not want to fuss with swapping seat posts between tris and road rides, and opted to keeps things as simple as possible, so no forward seat post for me. The ironmen/women out there may well benefit from a forward seat post, but it's a slippery hill from there to a full-on tri bike. ;)
  • Mini or full-sized clip on bars? (see my previous post) - This depends on your prefered aero position (traditional TT/Tri or SLAM), and how you intend to use the bars - occasional or most of the time. If you have the chance, try both out before you decide. I did not have this luxury, so I was leaning towards a mini for the reasons of weight, cost and mininal fuss/change/adjustments. I am actually not sure if the Deda Clip One I now have is actually considered a mini or a full-size, but I am calling it a mini since it is very minimalist in design. ;)
  • One or two bars? - i.e. one single clip on bar like the Deda Clip One pictured here or like 2 "parallel" bars like the Syntace C2? This is a trade-off between adjustibility and simplicity. I.e. if you are the sort who enjoys fidgeting with your gear to get them just right, you should probably go with the 2 bar setup. Me? Having two bars will drive me crazy - I can imagine myself spending hours getting both bars exactly mirror images of each other (which would totally defeat the purpose of having 2 bars). :)
  • Elbow rest behind or on the base road bar? Given a choice (and equal costs) I would go with the bars that have a elbow rest behind the road handle bar (like the Syntace C2), rather than those wth the elbow rest on the road handle bar (like the Deda Clip One) just because I believe they would be more comfortable. Given that I intend the aero bar to be part of my "repertoire" of road riding positions, I think I can live with the Deda bar having elbow rests on the base road bar - basically it just means that I will rest my fore-arms on them and not my elbows, which is okay for 40-50km rides.
  • HRM/Computer Mounting - Don't worry about where you will put your HRM/bike computer - worst case, you can get a over priced adapter to put it on the aero bar for about US$10. But before that, I believe getting your elbows narrower than your body is not going to give much aero advantage so you may yet be able to squeeze your HRM/computer between the stem and the elbow rests (like my set up in the pics). Sorry, but I am that cheap.

Two important things I learnt about the Deda Clip One:

  • Good news:
    If you carefully compare the picture on the Deda website and the picture of my Deda Clip one above, you will notice that the Deda Clip One now comes with two clips that attaches on both sides of the stem instead of just one clip. According to my LBS this is a "product improvement" on the original version and it actually addresses a concern I had about the stability of the bar on just one clip. Praise God!
  • Bad news:
    For some weird reason, Deda does not allow for bars that taper from 31.7mm near the stem to 26mm on the flats - like the bar that the Scott CR1 comes with. I belatedly found the same comment in this review on RoadCyclingUK. Basically, the bar clips and the elbow rest clips must be the same size, but I needed the bar clips to be 31.7mm and the elbow rest clips to be 26mm. This was a real pain, and if I didn't like the bars so much I would've returned them, but aftering simmering down I realised that the elbow pads need not really be rock solid as long as the bar itself is solidly attached. So we wrapped extra handle bar tape on the tops so the elbow rests can be clipped on. I will have to think of a better "hack" for this (air-con pipe insulation hose as adapter?), so all ideas are very welcome!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Are We There Yet?

Just got back from a weekend away with 3 other families - 8 adults and 8 kids (oldest being my 5yr old). Let's just say that it was quite an adventure, but everyone had a wonderful time and we vowed to do it again soon. Thank you Jesus for keeping all of us safe and well, and giving us a wondeful time together.

In the spirit of the penultimate question "Are We There Yet?", I thought I will do a update on my resolutions for this year (2006) which I kinda started on in my post about Reflections & Resolutions back in Nov.

In keeping with the theme of my blog, there are 2 main areas:

  1. Intentional Discipleship

    o Care Group – This week we start the rotating leadership model, and meeting weekly (was fortnightly before). Praise God that everyone agreed to the change and I am praying that this will be just the ticket to re-energise my Care Group.

    o Toddlers’ Playgroup – The kids and volunteer parents had a great Christmas party while I was away on holiday in Australia. I am taking this to be the sign that the ministry is ready to move on without me. Looking forward to spending a bit more time early Sunday morning (before church) with my boys.

    o Quiet Time – So far so good - I have been keeping to my daily 30mins of bible study pretty consistently (even through the vacations away) and the next step is to cultivate the discipline of praying daily for my Care Group. The good thing is that once I get a "rhythm" going, it actually gets harder to "skip" a day. Praise God!

  2. Triathlons

    Old Nitrox is no ironman and that's alrite by me. I aim to do a Olympic Distance Triathlon in July, but I have really not been taking my training seriously and this is showing in my (lack of) progress. This is largely due to increased work pressures and then vacations away from home in the last 2 months, but I am hoping that things will "return to normal" now that the new year is here, and I will be able to put in the time and effort to train. In a bid to keep myself honest (and gartner some support), I have started posting my training log in the side bar - so far the mileage is pitiful thanks to my end of year vacations, but hopefully more entries will be coming soon. :)

    o Swim - Swimming 1.75km now - read somewhere that it is always betta to swim a bit further than target distance (1.5km), especially in the pool, to build confidence. The frustration is that I am not getting faster and everyone I spoke to tell me it is probably my (lack of) technique. Am seriously considering an investment in the Total Immersion DVD (found the weekend workshop to be too expensive) so I can get back to basics with drills, etc.

    o Bike - Biking 40km is not a problem, biking FAST for 40km after the swim is. :) I am trying to do 50km rides every weekend, but it is probably not enough. There may not be much I can do about it since biking takes the most time, and time is something I do not have an abundance of. I did get a cool clip-on aero bar and after a few test rides have got them fitted with a shorter stem (went from the "standard" 120mm to a 100mm stem), and shifted the seat forward a little (15mm). Hope this gives some advantage in terms of aerodynamics and comfort.

    o Run - This is probably the biggest hurdle - my knees start hurting after about 8-9km, so my 10 runs are very slow. Like the swim and bike, I aim to do a bit more than the required 10km to build confidence, but I am having difficulty finishing even 10km now. Will need to put in more runs to get them ol' legs used to pounding pavement.

Nope, we are not quite there yet, but with God's grace, we'll get there. :)