It’s usually around the 20-minute mark of my weekly spin class, that I feel like puking. Somehow I have to find a way to get through the next 40 minutes without bonking. Find my comfort zone, still on the edge of blowing up so I’m getting a good workout, but under control of my breathing and lactic acid build-up. Cycling is pain. This is when I start day-dreaming to get my mind off the euphoric discomfort.
I find myself half-way up the climb at l’Alpe d’Huez, stage 16 of the Tour de France. A breakaway group with 7 of the greatest cyclists of all-time stand in their seats determined to drop the peloton—and I must go with them. Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Lance Armstrong, Bernard Hinault, Sean Kelly, Greg Lemond, and the greatest of all-time Eddie Merckx. And me. Of course in reality most of these riders never competed against each other. But neither did I. It doesn’t matter. Because all that matters in my mind is staying on the wheel of The Cannibal, Merckx, until he strikes at this group with 300 metres before the summit finish. And I go with him.
I don’t know how many times I’ve won that stage at l’Alpe d’Huez but I know dreaming about it has gotten me through many a tough workout. But not all of my motivation comes from fiction. I often get through a workout thinking of some of my past sporting endeavours (cue the music, Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days) or some of my favourite places where I’ve worked out. And some of these memories have inspired the current line-up of MAX+2 gear and those under development. I hope you find our gear and the stories behind them as inspirational as I do. And remember—Extend Your Limits.
John Yip-Chuck, MAX+2 President
Find your inspiration. Suggest a new product line in our Win Gear Contest and win $500 of MAX+2 Gear.
It’s a late-July Sunday morning in Montreal and I’m not sure if I should have a third cup of coffee and a St. Viateur Street bagel and head straight to Tam-Tam, or should I do the right thing. I do the right thing of course, and strap on some shoes (and clothes) and go for a run up the trails of Mont Royal to those killer stairs leading up to the Chalet Lookout. No one minds (or notices, or cares) if I show up late and sweaty to Tam-Tam. Earn that bière froid. John Y, MAX+2
This line is named after my favourite hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s not just any hotel. It has the words “resort” and “marina” in its name. Need I say more? It also has a beautiful lobby, a spa, and a great gym with doors that open out to a jogging path leading to Stanley Park, only a stone’s throw away. Whether you’re a traveling pro athlete or a traveling business person, this hotel gym and proximity to Stanley Park’s 10 km seawall running path, makes this one of the best starting points in the world for any workout. You may as well wear the gear for it. John Y, MAX+2
Once in a while, I actually don’t mind taking business trips if they get me to harbour cities such as Victoria, British Columbia or Baltimore, Maryland. The plane could be just landing and I’m usually already thinking about going straight to a pub for a local beer and a bucket of Victoria’s Dungeness crab or a double order of Maryland crab cakes. But of course I have to earn it, and I gladly do so with a long run on the inner harbour tourist paths (which coincidently often lead to my favourite seafood joints). John Y, MAX+2
“Fit as Fuck.” That’s Scottish for the type of shape you needed to be in to run up and down a 115 yard soccer field for three hours, trying to keep up with my Under-21 soccer coach Drew McBurnie. Drew was that fit. He was a 32-year-old string-bean of a Scotsman with a heavy Glasgow accent and a black belt in taekwondo. He was also an inspiration for all of us 18-year-olds trying to keep up with this “old” man who did every drill and exercise he ran us through during those long and painful, hot and humid, August training sessions at Olympic Park, our home soccer pitch in Dundas, Ontario. I’m still trying to get as fit as… Drew McBurnie. John Y, MAX+2
There’s something about watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean from Virginia Beach that makes those early morning ashtanga yoga workouts a little bit easier to get through. Just a little bit, anyway. John Y, MAX+2
The first time I went to Penticton, British Columbia, I forgot to pack a decent workout shirt and had to buy a local tourist tee with a print of Ogopogo on the front. Ogopogo is Okanagan Lake’s version of the Loch Ness Monster. Halfway through my afternoon jog down the channel that connects Okanagan Lake with Skaha Lake to the south, I was cursing my new sweat-soaked, $15, 100% cotton gift-shop purchase. I had to take it off and left it beside a tree in the park by Lakeside Road at the top of Skaha. On my way back, I looked for the shirt but it was gone. I’d like to think it crawled into Skaha and now there are two lake monsters in the Okanagan. John Y, MAX+2
The best coach I ever had was Mr Russ Evans, my high school track and field, and cross country skiing coach. Russ was a Canadian Army man who either ran or skied the 15 km between his home and our school regularly, depending on the time of year. On “light” cross-training days after school in the spring, he would lead the track team on a run to the wooded trails of Princess Point, behind McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. After the 3 km “warm-up” run to the Point, we’d end up at the toboggan hill for an hour of lactic-acid-inducing hill bounding, up and down that hill, our exaggerated and elongated steps exploding with every lunge. And if Mr. Evans didn’t think we worked hard enough on the hills, we’d head to the university track to do 40 minutes of intervals. Oh yeah, and if we could still stand after that, we’d do the 3 km jog back to the school as twilight approached. I learned everything about training and pain from Mr. Evans, and to this day, I silently thank him for it every time I’m working out on my own. John Y, MAX+2
If you’re lucky enough to live in a city or area with a great river, you know how easy it is to stretch out that training run a couple more clicks as you take in the sights along the water. Watching people fly-fishing for trout out of the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta always has a calming effect on me. And looking at MIT go by across the Charles in Boston, not only charges me up intellectually, but also does so physically. That’s the inspiration behind the Riverside Running line—built-in motivation management. John Y, MAX+2