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July « 2012 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Archive for July, 2012

My Cock…Pit ;)

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Hey all – ALOT can be told about a triathletes cockpit, aka their handle bars! If they are simplistic, complicated, messy or clean people! More-often-than-not it reflects an athletes mentality!

Its a location that becomes almost intimate to some where long and tedious miles are spent together in the pursuit of personal athletic objective! Often, it can hinder a triathletes performance and enjoyment of their bike ridding!

I got a bit of attention after my blog about the Zefiro Drop Bars. So now, I am presenting mine for the Cebu 70.3 next Sunday!

For years I rode a mainstream group set and never thought twice about my decision. Mainly because I had to buy it myself and had been using the same brand for years. But this season I got a sponsored Campagnolo RECORD 11 groups set =)

And the difference in the shifting was INSTANT! Forget about weight or cometics, the basic responsiveness was memorizing as well to the ability to micro-manage my front chain ring was a like “DUH this is how its should be” type of passive nod I did to myself while ridding!

Not until I got my TT set-up going a few weeks ago did I fully realize how much though had been put into these products! Once I put on my R2C (return to center) 11 Speed Bar End Shifters.


The first thing is that the Campagnolo shifter is molded with a curvature thats very comfortable around the fingers/bands!

The 2nd is that the R2C (return to center) feature that gives a more aggressive and ‘aero’ appearance regardless which gear I am in!

Now onto my 3T Mistral Bars.

Having the extension hook UNDER the base bar might have *SOME* aero penalty but allow’s me to have a cleaner top as well to being able to grab my bars lower when I am really giving her!

The double S bend extension allow’s me a few possible hand position; which I find crucial when ridding for extended periods of time in order to release stiffness!

This is my hand position when I am chocking up a hill or really pushing hard and need to grab LOWER for more leverage as I open-up my elbow angle! Incidentally this position compels me to creep towards the tip of my Cobb saddle and round my back like pissed off cat!

When I am in a more cruise control mode, I slide back on my saddle, extend my hands, flat out my back and inter lock my fingers! This is a fairly relaxing and 'natural' position for me!

Lastly, this is my 'ready' hand position, pretty much like the last one but with my hands higher up close to my shifters and with a slight praying mantis front.

Now for the oh-so-important hydration! I got the Torhans Aero 20 thanx to Triton Endurance Sport!

I used the Aero 30 at first - but was a bit to long to use with the original holder so I had to 'MacGyver it' with the computer mount!

But it wasn't all that stable when going over pumpy roads!

I had some problems with the X-Flow fill-on-the-go cap where the liquids would not fully go in when I squeezed-in a bottle...

So I had to cut it up a bit ;) now it flows very well down wards but not upwards!

Me in my last race rocking the Aero 30 - as you can see its VERY close to my front wheel and not very stable since I use the computer mount as well to loosing the aero straw mid-race :(

ANYWAY, racing in Asia means I have to confront some very humid/hot climate and sometimes with dodgy aid stations and/or in-experienced and naive volunteers!

Having my main hydration right under my nose, allow’s me to *SIP* my drinks and not *GULP* like I would from a drink bottle. Another big thing is frontal resistance or ‘drag’. Many athletes will compromise on their hydration for this simple reason and has compelled many companies to concoct various systems!

One of the most UN-aero aspect and drag creating aspects that many over look, is not material but rather the body movements when one gets out of their aero position when drinking from a bottle.

Also, fumbling bottle will hinder the oh-so-important rythym especially in athletes who are in-experienced or ridding technical courses or females with small hands or anybody grabbing wet and slippery bottle over-and-over!!!

To conclude, go have a look at your cock-pit and see if it reflex the type of athlete you are? It most likely does. So remember that whats truly important is a mix of practicality, sleekness in the wind and comfort according to the where & how long you race!

See you in Cebu 8)

My Favorite Post Training Smoothie!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Hey readers – theres this cliché saying out there that you are what you eat! As endurance athletes, nutrition is very important, particularly since we EAT MORE. I find to many mortals look at food in a “will this make me skinny or fat?” attitude….

My attitude, “how much protection and nourishment will this give me?”

In this blog, I will ramble about what I love to have immediately following a workout, A TROPICAL FRUIT SMOOTHIE! Since I live in the Philippines, it happens to be regularly ~30 degree’s Celsius @ 8am on most days, so hydration and staying cool are always on my mind!

A fruit smoothie provides all of that and more, the dense vitamin content protect my immune system thats often compromised due to accumulated fatigue. Its quick to make, cheap and wont fill me up to much before I have a small meal later on, versus one big meal; never being too full is key when doing several workouts in a single day!

In modern society, there is an obsession with protein! While I concur protein is crucial, its not because a bit is good that whole lot more is better! In fact, it can be the opposite!

I go for balance, proportion and taste.
Here is my FAVORITE smoothie:
The cinnamon-banana-mango-kiwi combo!

For 2 servings:

-8 blocks of ice
-2 large banana’s
-1 large mango
-1 large kiwi
-4 table spoon’s of ground cinnamon
-Enuff water to fill up the cranks in between

Split all into 2 and cram into a blender or Magic Bullet.

You really have to taste it to appreciate it as much as I do! Especially since the Philippines has WORLD CLASS fruits, particularly Mangoes which are are dirt cheap! I can easily have 2-3 of these each day!

As a matter of fact, its rumored that the Mangoes from the Island Province of Guimaras are exclusively shipped to the White House and Buckingham Palace! They are that good!

The ‘magic’ ingredient in this is the ground cinnamon. It adds kick to the taste as well to hide any imperfection with the fruit, especially if its over/under ripped – which is why so many restaurants/resorts actually put in white sugar in their shakes. Cinnamon is an healthy alternative for those with a sweet tooth!

Ground Cinnamon Nutritional value per 100 g.

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA

Energy: 247 Kcal 12%
Carbohydrates: 50.59 g 39%
Protein: 3.99 g 7%
Total Fat: 1.24 g 4.5%
Cholesterol: 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber: 53.1 g 133%

Folates: 6 µg 1.5%
Niacin: 1.332 mg 8%
Pantothenic acid: 0.358 mg 7%
Pyridoxine: 0.158 mg 12%
Riboflavin: 0.041 mg 3%
Thiamin: 0.022 mg 2%
Vitamin A: 295 IU 10%
Vitamin C: 3.8 mg 6%
Vitamin E: 10.44 mg 70%
Vitamin K: 31.2 µg 26%

Sodium: 10 mg <1%
Potassium: 431 mg 9%

Calcium: 1002 mg 100%
Copper: 0.339 mg 38%
Iron: 8.32 mg 104%
Magnesium: 60 mg 15%
Manganese: 17.466 mg 759%
Phosphorus: 64 mg 9%
Zinc: 1.83 mg 17%

Carotene-ß: 112 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß: 129 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin : 222 µg
Lycopene: 15 µg

Okay, will you may never/should NOT take in 100g of Cinnamon at once, this gives you an idea of all its goodness!

Cinnamon is also one of the most dense foods in anti-oxidant strength of all the food sources in nature – More facts can be found —> HERE

Traditional liquid nutrition such as protein powder shakes has its dark sides. For one, its advisable to never drink that many calories at once, as your body doesn’t ‘register’ it as real food which makes is feasible to OVER-eat. To be scientific, since your NOT chewing, very few enzymes (saliva) are secreted by your tongue/jaw which are supposed to be swallowed at the same time.

Many mainstream protein powder’s tend to be saturated with preservatives, stabilizers and has been grounded down into a fine powder after mixing which may have compromised significantly the nutritional potency with this process which has for the simple goal of having an exact number of protein/Carb/Vitamin/Mineral per scoop so that it conforms with the FDA.

I my opinion, 99% of protein powder shakes are FAST FOOD.
And of course, they tend to give STINKY FARTS ;)

The best foods in the world are synonymous with being fresh, whole and organic. Protein powder is processed, partially synthetic and refined.

Anyway, hope you get the chance to try out this recipe! I experiment with various flavors here and there but this one is BY FAR my favorite and go-to smoothie!

Strokemakers versus TYR Catalyst.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Hey readers – heres a comparo on two of the most mainstream paddles for triathlete, Strokemakers and the TYR Catalyst.

I am an analytical type of swimmer – I notice slight things and feel others as well to being very gifted! After years of loving, advocating and swimming with the Catalyst, I recently tested and fully switched to Strokemakers and I was so pleased with them, I ordered 100 pairs and I am now distributing them in the Philippines!

I dont sell them to make a profit per say, but rather provide a service. For years, when I would advice athletes, friends or acquaintances to get a pair of swimming paddles to improve their swimming abilities, they could only find generic Speedo paddles. So they would have to order Catalyst from the US which was a time and money consuming purchase!

My personal collection. Strokemakers have 7 different sizes versus the TYR Catalyst which has 6. The more sizes the better, as to allowing a proper evolution in strength/paddles size. Most paddles only come in 3 different sizes...

The first thing that struck me was the difference in weight between the two, the Strokemakers where NOTICEABLY lighter than the Catalyst. The bigger the paddles, the bigger the difference was! Considering how many strokes an athlete takes during a swim workout, it will make a different in the speed of their STROKE RATE as well to energy consumption!

Even though these paddles are ‘rivals’, the 3 main sizes: Small – Medium – Large are all the same colors for both brands which make it easy to switch and compare!


66 Grams

55 Grams


88 Grams

63 Grams


80 Grams

64 Grams


159 Grams

89 Grams

The second major difference is the ‘flex’ in Strokemakers! I noticed it in the first few strokes, it allowed a better sensation of the pressure points when catching/pressing/pushing the water! As well to be able to ‘paw’ at the water especially if you have long/strong fingers =) you can really get a curve going at the tip of the paddles in full stroke. Its also much more comfortable to swim extended duration’s!

I went back for a session to the TYR Catalyst and the stiffness was noticeable from the start and after a while got significantly un-comfortable!

The lacing suggestion for the TYR Catalyst - actually a bit of over kill with 1 to many tubes!

1 tubing around the finger is enuff - the other can be keep as spare!

This is the Strokemakers suggested tube lacing - I feel that 1 finger is not enuff for proper leverage as well to possibly cutting blood flow!

3 Fingers are better for leverage in my opinion!

DO NOT TAKE OUT THE TUBING AROUND THE WRIST! Both these paddles are designed with a U cut shape at the bottom to promote wrist flexion, a proper push and finally to be more stable at high velocity or when fatigue starts to set in!

Speaking of tubing, the Strokemakers has so many more options than the Catalyst!

The Catalyst definitively has one major factor to it that the Strokemakers dont, and its that cut between the thumb and index that will help those who pull wide under water as the cut makes it more feasible to creep the arms inwards!

The holes in the Strokemakers are better placed, they are directly place under the fingers to maintain a ‘feel’ of the water and makes them much more stable. Versus the Catalyst which has a big hole the middle and has smaller hole around the circumference and makes it a bit less stable.

In the end, which paddles brand and size depends on your coach and what will suite you as a swimmer/triathlete and I hope to blog helped you to make your choice!

Triathlete love their gear – especially racing gear! And to see them over spend copious amount of money on something they will be using 00.01% of the time (racing) then not spending a small amount on something they will use 99.99% of the time (training) is a mystery to me. At the end of the day, an athlete races well because they have developed their engine in training through rigorous and consistent conditioning. Paddles are a cheap and effective training tool to do so!

Tri United double race weekend report!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Hey all, last weekend I raced twice in 24 hours!

It was a race weekend held by Unilab Active Health staged in the beautiful municipality of San Juan Batangas along the South China Sea!

The race venue @ Playa Laia was spectacular and would classify as a DESTINATION race 8)

After doing the inaugural 5i50 Philippines in Subic Bay last weekend, it would have been very easy to be let down after doing an event that encompasses what triathlons should be!

Clearly THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED for races in the Philippines, and this race is definitively following lead from Sun Rise Events Inc!

Inside 'tent city' was several live TV's that showed the action out on the race course to the spectators as well to online!

Saturday was the first race, 1k swim – 30k bike – 7k run which started @ 14h30 in the after noon. While I was racing a bunch of nobody’s in the middle of no-where, I took these races as workouts and to gauge by racing approach as well to equipment and nutrition for the upcoming Cebu 70.3.

Racing in Asia can present some of the hardest conditions for triathlon racing, hard terrain, rough waters, extreme heat/humidity, cultural differences, ect.

Both these races where no exceptions.

Me and Marc discussing tactics to get through heavy waves!

A downhill beach run into the waves always adds spice to any triathlon ;)

Confronting the waves - even as a 'fast' swimmer, I struggled in these waves, I resorted to brute force and slalom =) Actually, one guy did breast-stroke for the wavy parts and actually keep up with me!?!?!?

1 loop done - 1 loop to go!

The waves are chasing me!

Happy to be done – 1000m in about 18 mins !?!?!? Now pulling my 2XU Tri Top out of my 2XU Tri Shorts!

A quick transition and finding my 'bike legs' as soon as possible was my main focus for this first race!

Going around the first turn around aboard my Cervelo P3 and now equipped with my trusty 3T Mistral cockpit as well to Campagnolo R2C (return to center) shifters and finally, for my hydration needs (important for these races) a TorHands Aero 30!

On my way back from the ride with a pretty big lead!

I took the 7k as 'warm down' from my swim/bike efforts in order to save a bit for the next day's race!

Actually not running to fast was my biggest challenge - DISCIPLINE!

Done for today!

A kiss for the panalo!

Short interview – lady: “Sir, you will still race tomorrow as well? Isn’t that bad for your body?” – Me: “Its all in the attitude, as a triathlete, its almost impossible to emulate race day in training, so racing is the best training for the big races!

Awarding in the evening before the beefing for the next day's race as well to meat and rice loading ;)

Results can be found —> HERE <—

Day 2 started @ 6am and was a 2k swim – 60k bike – 15k run. The water was much calmer and the size of the field was about 3 times bigger! Considering it was 3 laps on each leg, I knew I would be overtaking a lot of people…

My tactic was to take it out hard while I had clear water/road. Then cruise it to keep safe and then punch the run the best I could in the searing heat!

The spearhead of the 400+ field of athletes at sunrise!

Me starting my my 2nd loop as some athlete are still half way into their first...

Sweet shot!

First out with a big lead as the heat starts to creep up!

Pushing the pedals as a motorcycle drafts off me =)

Its starting to get sunny out! But I prefer not to ride with shades because of my thick eye-brow's the lenses get full of sweat!

This turn around was pretty tight as well to being in front of transition with 100's of spectators!

The roads where fully closed to vehicular traffic thanx to the support from the local governor!

Time to run - at this point, my body is feeling the effort from yesterday but I got a big lead so I can take a risk on the hot run and see where it takes me!

There was a slight uphill strait out of transition!

At first, part of the run course was shaded by tree's but as the sun moved, the shade did as well!

Gutting it out on the final stretch!

With the sun beating down, I zipped up my top and gave it everything I had going to the finish line!

Sorry no finish picture!

Results can be found —> HERE <—

Anyway, all in all it was a good hit out, especially since I have not raced often this year – so I was able to tweak and finalize certain things before my final block of training into the Cebu 70.3!

I really recommend these TRI united events as they present everything a local race should have!