Size small, please

Everyone knows that Starbucks Coffee comes in three sizes: Tall, Grande, and Venti.

Well, no, not everyone.

I’ll admit now that I can’t handle coffee. My cousin Joce can confirm that coffee literally makes me climb trees. Big ones with thick, long branches, sprouted just for climbing. So naturally, when I saw the Short cup in a Brisbane Starbucks this morning, I knew that I was looking at something created by the gods just for me.

Never mind that it’s actually the kiddie size.

Never mind that the barista accused me of photographing her.

Never mind that she then threatened to take my camera.

I’d found My Size, caffeine-in-a-cup-but-not-too-much-caffeine, a serving Just the Way I Like It, a One-Size-Fits-Sophy vessel stamped in green and filled with brown gold. I’d found victory: sometimes, the smallest improvements in life stand out as our biggest victories.

Just think about it–how did we ever survive without the stand-on-its-lid ketchup bottle?

After two months, I’m finally seeing my Small Starbucks cups worth of improvements on the bike. Holly asked what I do when I ride, so here’s a sample from this week.

Tuesday 7/6


45-minute warm-up ride to Mt. Coot-tha; all interval-work was done up the mountain.

Interval 1 (9 minutes): 2 minutes steady-state (a pace sustainable for 1 hour), 1 minute as hard as I can go, 2 minutes steady-state, 1 minute as hard as I can go, 2 minutes steady-state, 1 minute as hard as I can go. I’m in the saddle for the steady-state portion of the intervals and out of the saddle for the max efforts. Descend to the bottom of Coot-tha and ride easy for a 10-minute recovery.

Interval 2 (9 minutes): Same as interval 1.

Interval 3 (9 minutes): Same as interval 1.

50-minute cool-down ride back home.

It’s killer and hurts obviously, but the rush is describable.

The improvements?

  1. Mt. Coot-that Time Trial: May 26 time of 20:54; June 14 time of 19:03; July 2 time of 17:31
  2. For the above workout, about 50 meters further up at the end of the interval compared to one week ago
  3. Climbing: April – average form climbing in the saddle and incapable of anything out of the saddle; now – improved form, comfortable in and out of the saddle, found my rhythm
  4. Dropped 7 pounds since I got to Australia in May. I’m eating exactly as I should on and off the bike, and getting stronger as I should every week, so don’t worry. It’s just my body recalibrating to some sort of new equilibrium.
  5. Max heart rate during a workout – not that relevant, though it reflects my ability to handle a little more pain more than anything else – I could barely hold 183 bpm for 20 seconds back in May, but I was at 190-191 bpm for over 16 minutes during the Coot-tha Time Trial.

They’re small bite-sized improvements but they’re victories for me nonetheless!


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