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April « 2013 « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog

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Archive for April, 2013

Spam Musubi.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Hey readers – if your a healthy food freak, well best to close this page now coz you wont like what your gonna read – hehehehehe!

Last year when Joyette came back from X-Terra Worlds in Maui Hawaii she had brought back this small and pink plastic rectangle thingy  with a sort of a ‘press’ as a lid? She keep raving about this Spam Musubi thing she would buy at 7 Eleven and how delicious it would be!

I was like “ahahahaha Spam and white rice in a sandwich? You’re really desperate to get me to eat white rice & meat!”

Sure enuff she cooked up some samples and now we eat these a few times per week! Of course, we have tinkered with the original recipe since then – here it is!

The original recipe is very simple, Spam/Soy Sauce/White Sugar/White Rice/Dried Seaweed aka Nori.

Heres our own personal with a twist:

We replaced the soy sauce with Teriyaki sauce, replace the white sugar with Muscovado, add in Olive Oil and add in some Parmesan cheese! We have played around with other cheese’s, but Parmesan is much easier to work with and since its strong-ish tasting, a little bit is just enuff to taste the difference!

Step 1) Cut up the Spam into half inch slices and cook for ~10 min in Teriyaki Sauce and Olive Oil.

In the mean time, cook some Japaneses sticky white rice in a Rice Cooker!

Step 2) Cut up the Seaweed into strips and get ready for the rice!

Step 3) Place a bottom lair of rice and press it good with the lid!

Step 4) Place a nicely cooked/glazed slice of Spam on top of the first lair of rice!

Step 5) Place Parmesan on top of the slice of Spam. This is actually where the really fun can be, to throw in anything one might like to combine with the Spam and White Rice!

Step 6) Place a 2nd layer of White Rice on top.

Step 7) Give a good press down with the lid for a tight and compact 'rice sandwich'!

Almost done!

Step 8) Gently roll the Spam Musubi in order to wrap it around!

Step 9) Use a bit of water to stick the Seaweed together and seal the deal!

Side view.

Step 10) Lets EAT! Incidentally, Joyette likes to larger ones and I like the smaller ones - who would have figured eh ;)

Anyway, DONT JUDGE these until you have tasted them! No its not healthy,not every can be and not everything should be. This is a very practical, quick and frugal rice meal many different cultures would appreciate! Lastly, when a foreigner lives with a Filipina, there needs to be a few white rice & meat meals each week to keep a harmonious atmosphere in the house ;)

My new ON Cloudrunners!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Hey readers – yes ANOTHER equipment blog! As I said, its that time of year =)

I just got my hands on the very new Cloudrunners and got the chance to test them out over a few runs recently! Its a very cool shoe that has A LOT of thought put into – in my option, raising the bar in the shoe industry!

ON, like a few TeamTBB sponsors such as Cervelo, Ignite Natural, Huub Design, Cobb Saddles, etc are very innovative companies and push the boundaries of endurance equipment!

Growing up in Canada, I was often told that I lived in the 2nd best country (all things considered) and that Switzerland was the best!

One of the cool aspect of this shoe is its new *SPEEDBOARD* between the sole and foot that has many useful functions to help forward propulsion, better energy distribution while landing at various angles, assist in guiding the foot upon impact & push off the ground more effectively!

This was a shoe where just looking and touching it out of the box was FUN and interesting! I must have taken a good 30 minutes geeking around with it and comparing it to my other ON shoes – like a kid on Chris-mast morning!

Left to right are the fastest to slowest in vibrant colors!

Each shoe has different size/number/thickness of CloudTec Lugs™ for various speeds and running style!

Gave the shoes a test run during some brisk off road hill repeat!

The shoes really felt good bouncing up and down the hills – very stable as the CloudTec Lugs™ modulated over the various terrain!

Me and Banjo both agreed the larger/reinforced CloudTec Lugs™ on the heel helped to absorb the impact on the way down!

The pattern of the CloudTec Lugs™ under the shoe makes them a great choice for those bowlegged athletes who under-pronate (me) as it will encourage a more neutral/forward push-off with the help to the SPEEDBOARD!

One key feature is the larger CloudTec Lug™ on the outside of the heel!

The CloudTec Lugs™ on these are also ‘filled’ with some added cushioning, allowing for better absorption of the impact and I believe it will also help with the longevity of the CloudTec Lugs™ since there a bit shallower than the other training shoes that ON as on its roster, apart from the Cloudracer which has slightly smaller/shallower ones!

The CloudTec Lugs™ without pressure when in mid-flight!

And BITE upon impact for better traction and absorption before pushing off!

To conclude, this shoe is on the ‘heavier’ side @ 315g/11.1 OZ for size 8.5 US men but considering the advantages and that the lesser an athletes running abilities or heavier they are or harder surfaces they run on or longer distance they cover – these will be very beneficial to help synergies your running efforts all the while absorbing the impact better for energy conservation and reduction in injury’s and soreness!

Last but not least, if your interested in a pair of these or any other ON shoes,  drop me a note at: mattohalloran@teamtbb.com.

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Cobb SHC 170 Saddle Review.

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Hey readers – well its around that time of year where sponsored gear comes in! Last year I received the Cobb Max and wrote my thoughts on it —>HERE<—.

I had such great sensations with the Cobb Max, its questionable and even hypocritical of me to fiddle around with what works. As clichee as is sounds:  If it aint broken dont fix it!

It started around X-mast last year when I got my hands on a Cobb SHC Dirt saddle for my mountain bike & really loved it, my blog about it can be found —>HERE<— so I figured, it be worth it to try its road alternative! I mean, considering the Cobb SHC 170 is lighter and more expensive than the Cobb Max, it definitely classifies as an upgrade on my Cervegnolo P3! Either you like upgrading triathlon gear or your wrong – bahahahaha!

So after ridding my new saddle on the road, indoor trainer and in a race, here are my thoughts:

The narrower tip and thinner ‘memory foam’ allowed me to be more DYNAMIC in my ridding, getting out of the saddle, sliding back on a down hill or ‘nose ridding’ up a steep hill was much easier to do. The Cobb Max was great for STATIC ridding where I could settle into the saddle’s thick ‘memory foam’ and stay there for long duration’s without any discomfort what-so-ever, but I did notice a bit of a bouncing/squishing when getting in and out of the saddle repetitively over short duration’s.

Considering the technical nature and short distances of most of my races on my schedule in the first half of this year, the Cobb SHC 170 did suite much better!

Also, considering that like a true TeamTBB solider, I grind a big gear, there is less pressure on my saddle as more of it is spread on my pedals! If somebody with the spinning (90-100 RPM) approach combined with an LDS methodology, I would advice to stick to the Max as there will be much more pressure on your seat.

Considering my morphology, narrow hips and around 150ish pounds, the narrower Cobb SHC 170 suite sme very well! But if I was a heavier with wide hips, I personally can imagine the Cobb Max would be better!

Another VERY IMPORTANT aspect is the ascetics ;) hehehehehehe of course, this is triathlon! The Cobb SHC 170 looks sleeker than the Cobb Max which has a funny looking nose, of which has compelled  a few NON triathlon friends and roadies to say: WTF? And then process to feel it!

Just like the Cobb SHC Dirt, the Cobb SHC 170 FLEX’s in the middle part, of which made me migrate to sitting more towards the middle of the saddle, thus ensuring comfort as it absorb’s vibrations/shocks caused by miscellaneous road conditions which will help to reduce friction/rubbing between me and the saddle so that we are in a way, COHESIVE with one another instead of being two different entities on top of each other.

The flexing also helps those with a leg-length-discrepancy, which most of us have as well to ‘cradle’ itself when sitting on it!

Without pressure.

With pressure.

Anyway, hope you have found this blog informative – if I have helped just 1 person chose a saddle that suites their morphology as well to their ridding style, then I am happy because an athletes relationship with its saddle is an INTIMATE one ;) Just as a disclaimer, I’m definitely keeping my Cobb Max on the side because its just such a comfortable saddle, that I know I’ll be tempted to swap it around if I ever get the chance to live/train somewhere I can do long rides outdoors and prepare for a long distance race!

Last but not least, heres a short tube with John Cobb himself & TeamTBB‘s Sam Warriner discussing the Cobb SHC 170:

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Pico De Loro Invitational – take 2.

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Hey readers –  last Saturday I competed in the 3rd annual Pico De Loro Invitational Triathlon in the beautiful region of Batangas in the Philippines! Its part of the Hamilo Coast Development run by SM Land which is actually the location sponsor of Alaska TeamTBB Philippines and where we had our team launch around this time last year!

I was very exited to return and compete again because last year when I won, it was in fact my biggest paycheck of the year so I knew that my athletes could also maybe win something significant for their efforts! To add, the race is on a Saturday which allows for a great beach after-party with a live band and delicious food to give an all encompassing experience to all participants!

In fact, this year had double the participants from last year, a testimony to the growing triathlon population here in the Philippines!

To add to my excitement, there was hype of a ‘King/Queen of the mountain’ competition where a special prize would be given to who would ride up the fastest over the very steep 1km incline @ the start of the bike!

I dont consider myself to be a great climber, as im tall-ish and somewhat ‘muscular’ so I have to put in more effort due to gravity versus the lighter weight Filipino Elites competing against me!

Two weeks before the race, I was informed that the prize purse would be 50% from last year…Considering me and my athlete got free entry’s and the race was close to home, I wasn’t all that bothered – simply grateful I had been lucky enuff to win the big prize last year :)

How-ever, at the race briefing, only a few hours before the race, it was announced that it had been cut further, where basically the winner would get ~80% LESS than last year…The prize purse was to be spread out across the age groups champions which allowed my little Joyette and many of my local tri friend to make a bit of cash as well to part of the entry fee going to the preservation of the environment!

What did rub me the wrong way, is that I was ‘called out’ over the micro phone in a room full of triathletes during the briefing and told “Matt your are NOT eligible for this prize” as the Elites where not eligible for the ‘King/Queen of the mountain’ competition…I mean, considering the massive drop in prize money, it would have been a nice compensation to have a shot at this prime or at-least have 2 categories: Elite, Age Group and maybe even relay for extra excitement.

The poster clearly states “fastest athlete at the top will be crowned” and of course, in the end, me and my athlete Jenny would in fact record the fastest time up the very steep 1km hill (excluding the relay) but would simply sit at our tables and look on as a pair of athletes who had climbed the hill slower than us be crowned ‘King/Queen of the mountain’…

While I may appear petty speaking out about this small predicament, its simply not in the spirit of transparent/honest sport. I love endurance events because its a ‘no-spin-zone’ where results are cut and dry – we dont get judge on our out-fits, there’s no style points, no half time break, no pre-lims, no practice runs and not time outs. Once the gun goes off, its just you and yourself to get to the line the fastest you can according to the circumstance.

I did also feel for the Filipino Elites who came behind me, picking up much smaller paycheck than expected for their hard efforts on a challenging course in the heavy heat. Elite sport performance is very much lacking in The Philippines and a situation like this does not help, in fact, it may deter some from  stepping up pursing sport more seriously due to the financial un-certainty…You can take my word for it, that the best/hardest local athletes are in fact the ones who come from under-privileged backgrounds and know what its like to work for it.

THE RACE: start was in fact @ 14h30 and when we drove into the venue, Joyette’s car indicated it was 36 degrees Celsius with very thick humidity! Just going around registration, race briefing and transition, I was sweating buckets! The beautiful white sand on the beach was like walking on fire! It was quite amusing to see all the athlete ‘tip-toe’ towards the ocean!

Once the gun went off, me and Dhill quickly took charge in the warm water and opened up a big gap on the rest of field pretty quick! In fact, last year was when I meet Dhill for the first time, he was doing the relay as a ‘pure swimmer’ and I had actually dropped him good on the 2nd loop – how-ever after 1 year of triathlon training, he stayed on my feet until I gaped him in transition!

Once on the bike, I went over the initial up/down hills and technical sections near the marina, it was an out and back so I got to see my lead over the chaser! Once on the flat/strait roads, I put my chin closer to my stem and cranked up the big gears! It was hot and windy out so I took it conservative, slam down a couple Ignite Naturals Reload Energy Gels and made sure I hydrated regularly!

Thanx to Ricky Led. for this cool pic and post race over-view!

Up and down the big hill and I bounced onto the run course with my ON Cloud Running Shoes! I knew from the first few steps this was going to be a heavy run for me…I always know from the first few strides how my run’s are going to be and this one,  I would have to fight for it – I just did not know how hard!

I ran the first lap pretty conservative with a short stride and deep breaths, hydrated, cooled myself with water and keep focused! Mid-way into the 2nd lap, my friend David rode pass on his Cervelo towards transition and shouted “he’s 45 sec behind you!”

WHAT???? WHO????? WHERE??????

I swear the closest athlete was around 5 minutes at the last bike turn around!

Now I had to fight, I bit my lip, pumped my arms and opened up my stride! All triathlete will agree, to pick up the pace in the 2nd half of a race on the run when its crazy hot it very difficult! I ran hard, no for the prizes, but rather for my ego and the fact I wanted to repeat my victory from last year since I was in fact wearing bib #1!

It was  3 lap course and starting the 3rd lap I could not tell who was where, I was lapping athletes and some where starting the run! With 1km to go I started to feel some chills and got dizzy around the small lake so I slowed down…Once over the bridge, I felt like I was loosing my balances so I walked for about 30 sec…

SHIT! I looked back and all I could see was a line for 20-25 athletes running behind me – my vision was blurry and I could not tell who was who? I started running again and ran the best I could regardless of how weak I felt!

I came down the finish shut and once again walked, about 10 steps as I struggled with my balance …I ran again in the last 50m and hit the line absolutely drained and cooked!

I made my way to the ocean with a Gatorade bottle and laid in the water for about 10 minutes, just to relax…By that time, I realized I had won with  a 4min gap – thanx for the good intention David ;)

I was happy to see Banjo get 4th place overall after being sick earlier in the week and finish off all his school exams as well to have Jenny come in 2nd Elite female less than 3 minutes from the winner while holding a full time job and being a mother! Then Joyette came across the line 3rd female overall and 1st in her age group –  as usual!

The effort really took a toll on my system, I had chills for some time after the race and really took a lot of Gatorade (thanx Ton) to get me feeling good again! After the awards, I was tired and grumpy so we just decided to drive back home and call it a race!

Anyway, I strongly suggest all Pinoy triathletes to do this event at one point or another as its an honest/challenging course with a festive atmosphere! It has everything one would want for a local triathlon and the venue has great facilities if you want to bring your family along for the weekend – in fact, if your not a member of the Pico De Loro Club, this race is actually one of the few ways you can stay overnight and enjoy the pristine beach!

See you all next year as I look to go for a three-peat!