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thinking...

It's been a while since I've written about anything aside from building Within, so I thought that I would take this moment to share whats on my mind right now.

Ironman is exactly 1 week from today, Sunday, April 15. If you want, you can watch it live at Ironman Live. . I'm into my taper* now, so I'm happy that I don't have the pressure of squeezing 20 hours of winter INDOOR training in anymore. That really gets to be a drag - even a bit depressing actually.

I'm into day 3 of my fat loading diet. I primarily eat fats for 7 days leading up to an important race, then 2 days of carbs. The high fat content trains your body to better utilize fat as an energy source, thereby conserving precious carbohydrates. There is a surprising amount of energy in fat. The average lean athlete has enough fat do complete 10 back-to back Ironman distance events on his skimpy fat stores alone. That's in theory - he would run out of carbohydrates well before his fat stores ran dry. Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame - you need carbs stored as glycogen in your muscle cells to efficiently burn fat - it's a combination of both. At Ironman, or 24 hour cycling record attempt intensities, you are burning far more fat than carbs. According to some research, this high fat diet translates to better efficiency during the endurance event - assuming that the athlete loaded up with carbs prior for a day or two to the event. It's worked for me in the past and has become a bit of a tradition for me during my taper.

I don't like it. Because of the lack of carbs, I feel lethargic and slow and have slight carb depletion head-aches. A fatty meal fills you up in that it satiates your appetite, but always leaves you craving something more - like something sweet or bready!!! I try to eat a lot of the good fats - nuts, avocados, canola oil, olive oil, a fatty salmon, but inevitably end up combining the good with the bad fat in meat and dairy.

I ALWAYS lose weight on the fat diet. And also, so did ALL of the test subjects in all of the studies I have read. And, no, it is not due to the loss of carbohydrate stores and water like you would immediately think. After the carb stores and hydration levels have been adjusted for, the fat loading subjects still lost an average of 2 to 4 pounds over the 10 day study. The researchers do not know why.

I think one reason the fat load diet works for me is because I get a psychological boost in the two days leading up to Ironman. I get to gorge on CARBS!!!! Also, this fat load diet acts like an old fashioned carb load diet in that you starve yourself of carbs for 7 days, then when you load on carbs, your body stores MORE carbs than normal because it over compensates thinking that you may be facing another carb starvation period in the future. During the two days leading up to Ironman, this carb overload makes me feel totally pumped and energetic and ready for race day! Perhaps this is one reason why a high fat diet results in some fat loss - your body overcompensating by ridding itself of body fat because it assumes a continuation of fat calories with be forthcoming.

* The taper is defined by Roch Frey as "The basic principles for all tapers are the same. In pursue of that great race after all the consistent and race specific training you need to taper off your workouts allowing you to rest and recover both physically and mentally."

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On the expedition front, things are progressing quite nicely. The most important task right now is the development of Within. That is one of the reasons I hired Pat Brothers from RaceRecon Expedition Management to deal with some of the planing and the very important sponsor hunt. Trying to find a sponsor can be very difficult, and very time consuming. The way I looked at it was I could spend all of my time making sure we had the technology right in the form of a human powered boat that would demonstrate something of value to the world watching and spend no time looking for a sponsor which would mean the expedition would not happen, OR, I could delegate some of the other aspects of this project that I might not be ideally suited to. Pat has experience with corporations and we see eye to eye regarding the professionalism that this expedition needs to convey and it's importance in attracting a good corporate partner.

If you have any suggestions for possible corporations who might benefit from an association to this project, please email me your ideas.

That leaves me free to work on Within and do some basic planing - like more delegating. I would like you to meet my official team as it stands now:

PedalTheOcean.com team

Getting Within into the water and confirming our speed estimates is VERY important right now. Equally important is discovering how Within is going to ride in the water - and in big waves. We're not 100% sure what is going to happen there. We will probably need ballast, but not sure how much - and we may even require ballast in the form of a keel, but again, we're not 100% sure what the speed cost of that weight immersed deep into the water will be. In reading Pete Brays book "Kayak Across the Atlantic", he noted that they had designed a ballasted keel on his partially enclosed kayak (much like Within), but found that when they were on the sea, that going without a ballasted keel was more stable.


Another example of how planning sometimes does not completely resemble reality is Lot41. This kayak (similar to Pete Brays, but tandem and a big bigger) was designed to cross the Tasman sea from Tasmania to NewZealand. Crossing The Ditch expedition, James Castrission and Justin Jones discovered that their live-aboard kayak Lot41 was very tippy and sluggish when they got it into the water for the first time. During very windy conditions, the wind would catch the large cabin and making forward progress was difficult, and maneuvering the kayak was very challenging. As a result, they have postponed their departure for about a year to allow them time to make necessary modifications.

Every boat is different, and design can only go so far. You can never predict exactly how anything performs once it makes the jump from drawing paper to the real world. I am anxious to get into some serious testing with Within to see exactly how it will behave during various ocean conditions. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to start with a prototype boat, and then feed the results gained from experience with the prototype into a brand new design that an experienced boat builder can build.

Stay tuned for 'thinking part 2' later...

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