Clif shot gels solve the ‘what to do with the tab’ problem


 This is all I’m going to be saying about gels. And other cycling ‘nutrition’. Swearsies. But for those times when I don’t want a pizza, I’ve got a new favourite – Clif Gel Shots. Don’t care what flavour. Why? Because they solve the ‘what to do with the tab’ problem.

See you eat these things while you are in motion. Trust me they are not worth stopping for. What? To savour them? So you have hands on the bars. You tear the tab off the top, try to stuff the tab into a back pocket with one hand while gingerly holding the open packet with the other – the one you’re using to steer and stay upright.

I expect a lot of riders tear the packet open with their teeth and spit the tab onto the side of the road. It’s not like hucking an old mattress or six bags of construction waste but it’s still litter.

With the Clif gels you can skip all that because of a thing they call the ‘litter leash’. It’s a little strip of plastic connecting the top of the tab to the packet. So when you tear the tab off (with teeth or hands) it stays with the packet and you stuff the empty packet – tab and all – back into your jersey pocket when you’re done with it.

So simple. But it solves a problem. I’m sold.

The quest for good goo: Clif savoury gels – Margherita pizza in a tube

Yum. Tube pizza
I have been struggling with in-saddle nutrition of late. Whatever other goals you may have for weight maintenance, loss or gain, “eating while biking” after you get past a certain time or distance is all about avoiding that sudden onset of fatigue or exhaustion known as “bonking.” Not that kind of bonking.

I’ve done it to myself several times. It’s weird. The one time I did it while Strava-ing, my numbers showed a 3 km/h drop in average speed and 10bpm drop in heart rate. At the time, I felt miserable and incapacitated. And try as I might, there was nothing I could to do pick up my speed. The ride home was dreary and desperate.

The math goes something like this: you have around 1500 calories of glycogen available to you on most occasions – metabolized food that your body can use to make your muscles move etc etc. Depending on how hard you’re riding – how many watts of power you’re putting out – you can go through that in a couple of hours on the bike.

If you never ride that long, stop reading. Nothing else I say will serve any purpose and if you follow my advice you’ll probably just eat a bunch of really mediocre-tasting mostly over-sweet food.

So how do sportif and long distance cyclists riders not constantly bonk? Well, they train so that they can make better use of their glycogen stores. And they eat in saddle.

But what?
Continue reading The quest for good goo: Clif savoury gels – Margherita pizza in a tube

The NDP’s amazing win in Alberta – suggested reading for after the hangover

Rachel Notley - best NDP leader everI have only the highest praise for everyone who put Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP in power over the last months – indeed years. They are some exceptionally talented intelligent and hard-working people. And everyone’s euphoria is absolutely warranted. So I feel like a miserable, cynical shit for writing what I am about to write. But here goes.

The last time I felt this much excitement about a provincial election was when Bob Rae’s NDP won in Ontario in 1990. That too was a history-made, miraculous, unprecedented event. Called for comment by a student journalist, I quipped (the official spokesperson for the Ontario Federation of Students hadn’t come in from the after party yet) “Yeah we’re packing up and disbanding. Our work here is done.”

But two years later, university tuition fees had marched merrily upwards and Ontario had done away with the grant portion of its student assistance program. Every open-road-roving freedom loving Ontarian was up in arms over photo radar, and some Tory operative made a trip up to North Bay to tell Mike Harris to put his golf clubs away because the party had other plans.

After working so hard to get to that day in 1990, it must have been inconceivable to party candidates, staff and stalwarts at all levels that their work had only just begun and that the political battles they faced were just the warmup routine.

But that’s precisely what I think we all discovered – the high intensity intervals were just beginning. (Sorry for the bike training metaphor – it was inevitable, but we’re past it now).

I’m going to guess the ANDP folks remember this history and probably take some comfort in knowing that for better or for worse, Alberta is not Ontario. I personally take some comfort in the feeling that there are geniuses in Alberta backing a truly inspiring leader and no doubt some truly inspiring leaders-to-be.

But for the record and for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t remember the Bob Rae government but would like to learn the lessons anyway, I recommend:

  • Going Away A Miracle, Wayne Roberts and George Ehring An exhaustive (and at times exhausting) read that goes into great detail about all the Rae government’s missteps, but mostly focuses on their ideological shortcomings and how that played right into the hands of the forces of capitalism arrayed against them. Frankly in serious need of an editor, but a richer trove of facts and information than the next book. Copies may prove hard to find. Contact me if you want to borrow mine.
  • Rae Days, Thomas Walkom. A very succinct, much better written assessment of Bob Rae’s stint as premier. Not quite the same amount of left wing indignation at the “sell out” but probably a better bet if you only have time to read one book. Amazon sells it, if you do Amazon.

The cold, hard factual stupidity of Ontario selling its electrical utility: Hugh Mackenzie on

Normally I’d be all “but this represents Ontarians’ birthright, stuff that we have worked hard for and built with blood sweat and taxes” over the Ontario Liberals’ plan to sell Hydro One. But Hugh Mackenzie, an economist who works with CCPA, has another take. A rather cold, realpolitik, Bay Street take on why selling off Hydro One is a really bad idea. It’s bad business.

I’m a bit surprised that it’s coming from the Wynne government, especially since the meaner, right wing tories didn’t dare do it. But that’s the Liberals for you.

Handed in our notice at the day care

For the last eight years every working day our daughter Mallory has been in the care and tutelage of the teachers at Glebe Parents Day Care.

I still remember those days in July 2007 when I took Mallory to the toddler room at the main centre for her integration week. 

I was far more freaked out about it than Mallory was. But the teachers were reassuring, loving and professional with me and Mallory. They shuffled me out and took over.

And every day since then through preschool to JK to seniors to the school age program at her school I have dropped her off and gone my whole day in total peace of mind that she’s being taught and nurtured in a supportive safe and caring environment.

It was very hard to give her teachers the paper today.

But she’s moved on and keen to take her next steps in the journey of her life. 

And on it goes.

Chemin Farrellton

Farrellton Road

Fabulous ride today, up around Denholm, down towards Wakefield and then back past Edelweiss and up through a series of back roads that ended up with a four kilometre stretch of ATV trail. Hilariously, part of it was totally underwater as spring runoff from the surrounding hills was using it to make its way way to the river. Definitely not for your precious carbon road bike, this route.