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March « 2012 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Archive for March, 2012

Cobb Saddle First Impression.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Hey readers!
If you dont like athletes “talking up” their sponsored gear.
Then better stop here.

BUT if your in the market for a new saddle.
This blog may find you well.
Thanks for staying =)

Well a few weeks ago I received all my cycling sponsored gear.
And over the weeks I will blog about each of them.
Now, its all about Cobb saddles!

Back track to 2007 when I turned pro and joined the team.
I was ridding a Fizik Arione and that did not last long.
As the stitching came undone in less than a year.
And was giving me some pain where nobody wants pain ;)

After that I got my hands on a free ISM road saddle.
I must admit, I took it because it was free.
And it was the start of a long relationship!

After a few rides on my new
I was sold, its was like an ISM but just better!

I always like the ISM road because it was wider and softer.
But the Cobb MAX is softer with similar width.

My major issue with the ISM was the 2 “prongs”.
Ascetics aside, they would become un-even and wear out quick.
Which is something thats improve with Cobb saddles.

Another thing with the ISM was the “prongs” would slightly “flex”.
So getting back in of the saddle and comfortable after standing.
Would take a few seconds adjust back into my A$$.

A few times my “junk” went into the creavous between the “prongs”.
When wearing thin tri shorts,run shorts or swim suite.
Not a big deal but not very cool!

One thing I will miss from ISM is the hook at the back.
Which allow to rack my bike from the back in transition.

Which I also used to keep a spare inner tube for training/racing!

These saddles are very similar.
They both allow me to ride 2 position while TTing.

#1 is a bit “slack” seated near the back-ish of the saddle.
With my hands towards the top of my bars near the shifters.
Most often used on flat roads and low/medium intensity.
And a flat back and open space between my knees and elbows.

#2 is “steep” seated near the tip of the saddle.
My hands gravitate lower towards the bars away from the shifters.
Most often while choking up a hill and high intensity on the flats.
And with a curved/hunched back like a pissed up kitten.
With my knees elbows coming closer to each other!

Sorry no pictures for these…YET!

These 2 positions allowed me fire some muscles more than others.
And open up my body when I start to tighten up.
Or just slight change of focus when ridding varying terrain!

Anyway, hope you have enjoy and/or learned something.
Since I leave mainly in the hot/humid Philippines.
And aim a very hairy guy!

Saddles sores are easy to come buy.
Especially when doing long trainer rides.
And this far, as bias as I may be.

The Cobb Max is definitively the best thing I had up my A$$ ;)

Buckwheat Banana Pancakes with Molasses!

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Hey this here is one of my favourite breakfast #2 ;)
Best eating mid morning before a longish and lowish intensity workout.
Its just the way I like my food: healthy, easy to make and affordable!

Heres what you need for 2 hungry athletes:

-2 bananas
-2 medium eggs
-3/4 cup of buckwheat flower
-1/4 cup of generic pancake mix
-1/2 cup of Alaska milk

Start my “mooching” the banana’s in a bowl.
Then add the eggs and mix.

Mix in both buckwheat and pancake flower at the same time.
And with the help of the Milk, to increase the viscosity of the batter.

When all is ready.
Use your choice of “lube” for the pan.
I prefer salted butter because it’s just tastes that bit better.

One of my recent cooking investments is a covered Teflon frying pan.
It helps to retain the heat in the pan.
This allows my food to be cooked quicker and more evenly.
And with less heat from my stove!

To top it all off.
I put molasses for extra flavour.

Being French Canadian im a snob to any “maple flavoured” syrups.
And well even though pure Maple syrup is healthy.
Here in the Philippines it quite expensive and well don’t last very long when im around!

Prep and cook time is about 20 minutes total!

Enjoy =)

X-Terra Cebu Race Report.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Hey well I will get the bad done and over with off the bat.

I got 4 punctures, crashed twice while “lapping” other athletes, blew up mentally on the run and the airline lost my MTB on the way back and I still dont have it as I write this blogl!


Okay, now with that off my chest.
Here goes.


The “lechon” doesn’t contain much carbs but was the most popular item at the carbo load dinner!

Carbo loading suppers with the governor - ITS MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!

Me - first out.

A time consuming T1.

Using my teeth for a faster T1.

Maneuvering over the technical sections.

My “kuya” was one of many that helped me out!

I take from their reaction, these local spectators had never seen a CO2 pump up a tire!

The “graveyard” was the most difficult down hill on the course where 4 out 5 athletes walked their bikes or crashed. I was able to go down it on my first lap, but crashed on my 2nd lap while trying to avoid somebody I was over taking that was walking their bike.

This if one of the hardest uphills on the course. Because of the loose gravel, you could not get out of the saddle because you would lose traction on your back wheel!

My first 2k and my last 2k where pretty good - but in between I was done mentally realized that I had forgotten to hydrate with all this tire changing!

Finish with style ;)

My bike shoes after the race - I never expected to run with them as much as I did!


Joyette crossed the line physically and emotionally drained.

YUM! Post race treats, chocolate/mango/sticky rice MAKI =)

A small of reward for not giving up!


The night of the race, The Brick Multisport Store Cebu had its grand opening!

Noy very exited with the opening of his store and had some very nice food!


Inside The Brick.

Me signing out my frustration after the race!

Well as a final note:

Me and Joyette decided to join this race because we where told the bike course was “easy-ish” but turns out it was fairly different from last year! Going over many sharp rocks that where on top of other sharp rocks.

I understand this was an “international” event and a qualifier for the world champs.

But those who I talked that had done Maui last year, this was sketchier. Theres a fine like between “hard” and “hazardous” which in my opinion was crossed last Sunday.

But I know very very little about X-Terra bike courses.

What I do now, is that Triathlon is an age group driven sport. Which is how the races get funded, filled up and how the organizers can make everything happen.

With so many multisport races to chose from and the inflating cost of training/racing/travelling. Putting together such a bike course is a good way to deter newbies, females and roadie triathletes from ever making the jump into off road tri’s.

Who wants to risk crashing in March?
Or have an expensive DNF?

Anyway, I would like to thank Sunrise events for another A+ execution, the carbo load party, the race site, the post race food where all spectacular. The crowds on the race course where one of a kind and will be etched in the memory of any foreigner who joined!

Heres a picture that made me laugh!

An MTB with a disk?

Also would like to give a special thanks to Michael, Noy, Arland and Jong who all assisted me in my punctures. And to anybody else who asked if I needed anything!

My next race!


The myth of long slow running by Ron Clarke.

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Hey this is an article that Doc shared with me a few years back.
I have had the pleasure of reading it over and over.
And now I decided to share it with my readers!

The best word to describe it would be brit term *BRILLIANT*

Yes long/slow runs definitively have their place.

But if you wanna get good at running LONG AND FAST!
This article will enlighten you!

The author is running Australian legend Ron Clarke

It was written in 1995.

Enjoy =)


It seems to me a 62 second 400 metres is well within the capabilities of almost all the 5000m runners in the country. I’ll go further and would surmise that a large proportion of these could probably put together a session of 12 or 13 repetition 400’s at that speed provided their recovery between efforts was adequate.

What none can do is to run them end-to-end without the intervening recoveries.

So, I ask, is it speed or stamina that Australia’s distance men lack?

My response to Dick Telford’s piece in June/July’s Fun Runner magazine is to query why present day coaches don’t enquire as to what we used to do 30 years ago to sustain the series of sub 13.30 times that we did rather than relying on hearsay and guesswork.

However, he loses me from there on in. Firstly, he suggests the “Glenthuntly Gang” was involved in constant long, slow training and secondly, that the top “internationals” should be protected from racing too often in the Australian season because of the difficulty of reaching two peaks in a year.

Frankly, we didn’t run all that far each day and I can testify that most of it was not too slow either. Our basic day-in day-out work out was 8 to 10 laps on the grass at Caulfield racecourse. At that time (not so recently unfortunately) the grass was beautiful – smooth and even and where we ran about 25 metres in from the fence (often barefooted), the distance of each lap was 1 ¼ miles plus 100 yards – around two kilometres – so we covered 16 to 20 kilometres each evening most, if not every week day, 50 or so weeks in the years.

But it wasn’t slow. We used to get faster and faster as the session progressed with very few still in the front pack by the end of the evening – certainly we were flowing along at better than a 5 minute mile pace, probably closer to 4.40 or even 4.30 each mile for the last 5 or 6 kilometres.

It was no disgrace to drop out – sometimes one or the other would have a great night and would run clear away early on but the general pattern was to settle into a rhythm, then gradually increase the tempo, and so we developed a skill that Dick doesn’t mention in his article but which I regard as the cornerstone of good distance running – rhythm.

All the top sports people attain it from repeating and repeating and then repeating again their basic actions. Running, uninterruptedly, at one notch from top pace, out of the comfort zone is where it is at.

You can only achieve this in long, non-stop, close to top speed (certainly not slow), good tempo running. The more you do it (and I’m talking years), the better you run. We all have the speed needed to break world records from 2 miles and up without any special effort. What’s difficult is to be able to conquer the mental and physical discipline of maintaining the tempo and rhythm whilst operating at near maximum effort… as I keep preaching, it means getting out of the comfort zone within which so many athletes spend most, if not all, of their competitive career.

Our long Sunday runs may have been reasonably slow (around 5 minute mile pace) but within them were some hell-for-leather sprints along creek-side paths and really, really tough hills which we all attacked in good humoured rivalry.

I think running together helped. But I have to say that, without speed training of any sort, all our times for he shorter distances got better – 800’s, 1500’s, 3000’s – and our Personal Bests for our main events just kept on improving, too, and not just mine but for virtually all the athletes in the group of 10 to 20 who ran with us each night.

As to physical peaks – I reasoned that if I was to be good enough to compete internationally, then I had to be able to train full-tack during the Australian season. With this combination of hard training and frequent racing, I could reach the form I expected to achieve overseas when, obviously, training fell away to virtually nothing while I raced every second or third day (often 3 days in 5). Mainly, in Australia, I competed under distance – in 800’s, 1500’s and so on – but there were still plenty of good athletes to give me a good challenge and an occasional beating over the 5 or 10 km distances when I tackled them and wasn’t in top form; runners such as Trevor Vincent, Alby Thomas, Bob Vagg, Dave Power, Tony cook, John Coyle, Kerry O’brien, Tony Benson, John Farrington and Derek Clayton. But not, I repeat, at the expense of my training programme.

And this is the problem with the so-called speed sessions. I have two arguments against them.

Firstly, and this is as much mental as physical, just as the running becomes difficult, just as you leave the comfort zone, the efforts stops and you rest, albeit jogging, and recover. And so there develops a pattern of relief, rather than determination to fight on, whenever the pace begins to hurt.

Secondly, lactate builds up to deceptively high levels because of the effort-rest-effort pattern and often effects future sessions and/or competitions. The athlete never really recovers, even though he thinks he does.

This doesn’t happen on the tempo runs because the body provides the signals and you sub-consciously control your effort. And, as I say, for the life of me, with all the sessions of speed training I have seen so many athletes perform over the years, I have never really seen anyone gain speed, that seems to help over their given distance.

So, it is my opinion that ,our current training programs lack , the necessary amount of tempo training, out of the comfort zone, that builds rhythm to run continuely for 2min 45 km pace and we lack the ability to handle the sustained pain ,involved in doing such continued speed,

For the life of me ,I don’t understand why athletes and worse coaches, cant see they rarely if ever practice it .

Apart from, races, its near non existent in Australian programs, yet a group of us 30 years ago , were doing it 5 days a week minimum , over the same course for 50 weeks a year.

Do I see it as a coincidence? that 5 of the Glenhunty gang broke 13m30 for 5km and that is not including Derek who held the marathon, world record, and Kerry O’ Brien , who held the steeple chase world record, at that time,
And 4 more of our group broke 14 min , I don’t think so!

Yet as I write ,
Here in Australia, today, we have one man just under 13m30 ,
I challenge you, what do we really lack ,
Speed or stamina, I will let you be the judge .

This article was written in 1995.


Hope you have enjoyed and learned a bit about running history.
And why the fast runners – RUN FAST!

Saturday MTB ride!

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Hey readers!
Here are some pics and random comments from my MTB ride today!
It was done in Subic Bay

Enjoy =)

Joyette at the top of the first climb!

She's trying to draft ;)

One of my favorite things RIVER crossing!

Getting pulled by a water buffalo - ITS MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES!

Challenging trail up ahead, important to have low tire pressure for better traction on the loose/dry soil.

Even out in the bun-docks they have electricity!

Watch your head!

Short break at the top to get some shade!

The view.

Up next!

Ridding on the side of a steep ridge!

NO entrance, hehehehe!

This pool is about 10 meters long, and about 10 seconds walk from my front door, and only swim there for 10 mins at a time!

Anyway hope you enjoyed this blog!
I surely enjoyed this ride!
Up next, is to go a run out those hilly trails!

Quinoa fried chicken with egg.

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Hey readers! Living in a rice centric country is always a challenge.
Especially for a health freak like me.
As I grew up being told that white rice is well “empty calories”.

Quinoa a great alternative for white rice.
Especially when some brown rice can taste bitter or just be expensive!
If you buy Quinoa it at the right place, its also very reasonably priced!


My favorite Quinoa recipe is similar to Thai Chicken Fried Rice.

Heres a recipe for 2 hungry athletes:

-1 cup of Quinoa
-1/4 KG of diced chicken
-1 small onion
-4 big garlic clovers
-1/4 cup of olive oil
-1/8 cup of soy sauce
-2 big eggs

Cook the Quinoa in a pot – through trial and error.
I preffer 3 cups of water to 1 cup of Quinoa.
As the labels says 2 cups of water to 1 cup of Quinoa.
Which left the Quinoa hard…

In a separate pan, slow cook the chicken with onions.

Beat the eggs in a bowl then add the olive oil and soy sauce.

When both chicken/Quinoa cooked ready.
Put all the Quinoa in the pan with the chicken.
Put the heat down and add the bowl containing the egg/oil/sauce.

Stir until it all “mixes” together.
Then last minute press all the garlic into the pan – mix it all.
Put in bowl, flip upside down into plate for authentic appearance!
Then serve =)

Total time ~25 minutes.

Finally, late last year I decided to buy a garlic press.
And its been worth the small investment.
As it added a new dimension to my cooking!

Pressing the raw garlic into my meal or near the end of cooking.
Simply adds that *ZEST* into my mouth!
Instead of over cooking the garlic with the meat…

I love to add it to pasta, potatoes, omelets, rice, salads, ect.
Definitively a well used piece of equipment in my kitchen!

Anyway, if your a big rice eater and looking for a healthy alternative.
Check out some Quinoa, its definitively worth it =)