Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years everyone. 2007 flew by and I'm really happy with this season. I'm already getting excited about 2008. Spent a few hours at the gym with Dr. Bill and checked strength and weakness that I have. He will have a weight training program built for me for the month of January and we are going to link it in to my bike time. This guy is really smart and at times was fighting to keep up with all the information he was throwing at me.

Most of my 08 race schedule is pretty much ready to go. A few of the 8 hour events are not listed yet but they are later in the season. There could be some O-cup and Canada cup events brought in this year to as training days. Help on my quickness of the line.

Will be finding out what status my race rig is in in the next couple weeks also. I have yet to find out what front shock I'll be using but for the most part the buildup is identical to what I've been on for the last 2 years. Sram shifting, hayes brakes, Mavic wheels. Roughly 21 pounds.

New Years plans for this fella. Meeting up with some friends for a late evening snowshoe. Of course there will be some warming beverages included. Playing nice tonight because some moron scheduled a base training tomorrow. Oh ya that moron was me.

Hope everyone has a great night. Here is to the 2008 race season.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I think she hates me. Was my first workout on the rollers with the new training zones that Heather layed out for me. Lets just say that my legs felt a bit wobbly when I got off the bike. Not that this is a bad thing. The ski yesterday did leave them feeling a little tired this morning which didn't help matters much. Some good stretching has them feeling much better now.

It will be nice getting back into my normal training timezones again. All the holidays and family days has got my body a bit confused. Gym days have been bumped around a bit because of Christmas day and New Years day. Doesn't anyone want to work out on those days?

My afternoon consists of building the winter bike program for the Midland Tri Club. No I'm not a triathlete but I do play one on t.v. Actually they are a great group and we have a lot of Ironman in the club which gives me more people to ride with on those long training ride days. I don't know alot about Tri's but enough to become one of the bike coaches.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Well the original plan for the went out the window pretty quick today. It was supposed to be a 2 hour zone 2 ride, preferably outdoors with some time at the gym mixed in there. My legs were feeling a little tired after the test which obviously they should be so the workout was going to be pretty light. Core and upper body.

Ya, well mother nature had her own ideas today. Temperature-fine, snow or rain-nope, 45 km/h winds-yep. Just the shortest route to the gym was a zone 4 ride and that was defiantly not by choice. Still spent an hour on the bike plus the workout at the gym. Well time to modify the plan.

It was time to play in the snow. Went for my first x-c ski of the season.

Even though it was not great for riding the snow conditions were tough to get a good wax setup. Grip wax is an art. I'm still learning. Today with temps just above the freezing mark and a crazy wind it really was the perfect conditions for waxless or better yet skate skis. No skating for this fella until I get the O.K. from Dr. Bill. They are ready to go though.

It was nice to get out and I brought the lunatic along. She has been going nuts since trail riding ended. Skiing is the next best thing to get her the runs she needs.

Now some quick history. I used to race Varsity alpine skiing in college and then went on to teach and coach at a local resort. I was even on the ski school commercials for a year. This is what made today interesting. I looked like a complete klutz on a couple downhill sections trying to hold onto my balance let alone other things. Now the place I did ski at is not exactly known for its smooth rolling hills and turns. Hell there was dam near hairpins at the bottom of these hills. As the season progresses its not an issue but for the first few times out it was a bit sketchy. A grand total of 16 km and an hour and a half of zone 2 which sure beat sitting on the trainer.

Nice section of track set. Awww sweet

The Molly Monster taunting me to try and keep up. Look close she is way up there.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bring the pain baby!!!! It was test day. So it was 18 days ago since my last test which was pretty messed up. Long story but this one came out right. So where am I at. Lots of things went up and a few things went down. Wattage was up. It was up 20 plus watts and I stopped things early. I shut myself down at 199 bpm.

Because of the hip and alignment problems my pedal rotation, mainly with my right leg is way out of whack. My right quad and I.T. band started to really hurt but yet I still had lots of power in the left leg. I should have just unclipped my right foot and kept going. If you were to watch the rotation you could see the notchy rotation when the right leg comes around. Well this is where Dr. Cameron comes in. I see him Monday at the gym at we will go over all the results and what is going on. I know that once this hip knee alignment problem is resolved there will be a major jump in power.

Heartrates are also way up. Lets just say that zone 3 is really going to hurt. Hell even where zone 2 is now is going to hurt alot. Looks like I'm going to be looking for the deep snow if I want to mix it into training.

So the down parts of the test. Down a pound even after all the big christmas meals and the excess of wine and beer. The next was body mass. Down to 12.4 percent, this also made me happy. I like to be happy!!!!! Happy is good.

So overall I am very happy with the results. I'll be scheduling another test in about a month and am hoping to have some body issues resolved by then. Thanks to Heather for beating the crap out of me at her place with her toy. Compu trainer may be an investment in the future. Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully the weather is forgiving enough to ride outdoors.
It's test day. Hoping to see some big numbers. Well atleast bigger than the last screwed up test.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 27th has become a bit of a tough day for me. This is the 4th year since my father's death. I've learned alot since the day we found out he had terminal lung Cancer. Alot of it has transitioned over to my racing and even more to my personal life.

ENJOY LIFE!!! I watched a man that had everything never get a chance to enjoy everything. Money is great but it's not the most important thing. You can't buy back time. Of course this is always easier to say when you don't need to worry about money. As much as I love what I do for a living, I own my Dad's company, I still have no problem stepping away from it. Work to live, not the other way around.

SPEND YOUR MONEY!!!! You work hard for it work hard playing with it. I don't know about you but I really don't care what the box looks like that they put me in when I'm dead. You also don't know when it will come to an end so why hesitate about getting something you can enjoy now. My father wanted either a Viper or Vette. He could afford it but he always hesitated. I really wish he would have just done it. Just because you are older than 12 doesn't mean you don't need to have toys. Are just cost more!!!

SLIDE INTO YOUR GRAVE TRASHED. Organ donor cards are great but when I'm done with my body there probably won't be anything good left to use. Well maybe my lungs. When I started into this addiction with cycling my dad was still alive and always said "what if you fall and break your neck". Well I could also fall down the stairs at my house or worst at a customers house. Here is the thing, at least I was having fun if I died mountain biking!! You don't know when something is going to happen so why worry about it. When it does happen, deal with it then.

It's been 4 years and I still miss my Dad everyday. He was the smartest man I have ever known and I strive to become like him. In work I want to be a better tech than he ever was because that is what he would want. A teacher always wants his student to be better. Live your life to the fullest. 56 years old is way to young.

Please donate to cancer research.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trying to burn off some of those Christmas calories and the buildup in the liver. Oh the gorging that was done. Did a short loop into the gym this morning. Just enough to get the legs warmed up. It was one of those mornings though that got right down to the bone with cold.

The mist in the air looked pretty but at -5 wasn't all that enjoyable to be out in.
Short round at the gym and then the return trip home.

The fun began this afternoon with a family run of snowshoeing.

Took my sis and brother-in-law to the backside of the Wye Marsh. Nice easy warm up then came the fun of the ravines.

35-40% grades will get the heartrate going.

What goes up gets to come down.

And up

and down

Time for the next killer dinner.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Rained out. I really wanted to get a long ride in outside yesterday but that evil mother nature said NO. Was dressed and ready to go. Stepped outside and things were still fine. Plus 3, cloudy and calm. Ok there is a window of riding time. It lasted 5 minutes. I didn't even get out of town and it started to hammer down rain. Not light drizzle or mist, down pour. Turned around and coasted my butt back to the house. Time for the rollers.

2 hours in the high zone 3 with three 5 minute max power intervals. I will need to start on the trainer soon even if it means having both set up side by side and jumping from one bike to another. I'm going to be maxing out my roller resistance very soon. That is a very good thing.

I'm become very aware of my alignment issues and trying to correct it as much as possible while riding. It is going to be a lot of work getting me squared up but I know Dr. Cameron will get me perfect. I did get a bit of pain in the right glute near the end of the ride. Just muscle tightness but enough that I was aware of it.

Today was a little more play. I'm in a recovery week and have testing at the end of the week so I can build my training schedule for the next month. This meant active recovery and yoga. Well it was nice out and not raining so I went for a ride. I really had to get out on the bike today. I had lots going through my mind and the bike is my way of clearing things. The simplicity of the road bike. I love mountain biking and love racing mountain bike but there is nothing that feels as simple to me as being on the road bike. All you do is turn your legs. No logs in the way. No rocks, no thinking. There are times that you just feel like you are floating.

This was supposed to be a recovery ride but the wind did have its on ideas on this and because I live in a really hilly area it was a bit difficult to keep the heartrate down. There were a few spikes in the first half of the ride. This is what I see right near the end of every ride.

Oh, the other side is worst at 11 percent only 7 blocks from my house. I did cruise down to the marina and finished at just over an hour with an average heartrate of 133. I little higher than I wanted but considering the conditions it was better than being on the rollers. I also came back in a much more centered mind. It always works.

The warm spell we had for the last two days followed by the flash freeze last night made everything pretty much bulletproof. Tomorrow is Christmas and I wish everyone the best of holidays. This is also a time of excess in something and with my sister and Rick here something tells me there may be a little to much alcohol consumed over the next couple days.

No riding planned for tomorrow but the family will probably get out snowshoeing or x-c skiing to clear up the liver. Have a great Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And the air was just right for riding.

The art of winter riding. There are defiantly not the same pay offs as in the summer. Downhill is almost as physically demanding. The roads were pretty clear today but it is those stretches of snow/ice packed that have the perfectly placed holes in them that kick you all over the place. It's not to bad at 20-25 km/h but at 40 plus its down right scary. I love descending but this even makes me a hair bit nervous.

It was a great temperature right at the freezing mark so of course I'm going to take advantage of it. Put in an 1.5 hour loop on the way to the gym and this included a couple 10% snow covered climbs. Ya those hurt. 34-27 was the ratio for those and keeping the heart rate in low zone 3 was not an option. There is one thing to be said about outdoor versus indoor training. You can not reproduce a hill on a trainer or rollers. Sorry but you can only get strong at climbing hills by climbing hills.

I was surprised at how quiet the roads were at 9 am considering all the crazy rush for Christmas. I was not complaining. Did a great workout at the gym and the upper body was feeling it at the end. Its really interesting watching most people hit weights. They hammer so fast that momentum is literally doing all the work. I always thought that slower in both directions was always a better method. What do I know I'm just a skinny guy that just rides a bike.

Return trip was the longer way also with a great climb up Ogdens Beach Road. Yes it leads to a beach and no it is not flat. 12 percent at the steepest point. I did get to let'er rip down the other side hitting 63 km/h. I so love coasting. Total of 2.25 hours on the bike today. AWWWWWW

On another note, I'm proud to say that Zig's Appliance Service(my company) is now the newest sponsor of the Midland Tri Club. The club has helped me with more people to train with so I thought it was a great thing to do.

Friday, December 21, 2007

It was to nice out to say no. -4 and not much wind so I cut my gym time down and went for a longer ride on the cross bike. The lighting systems are getting more of a workout in the off season. I'm still getting lots of strange looks when I'm out in the snow. Most people are thinking where is his snowmobile? Ya I live in one of those towns.

Two more training days till a well needed recovery week. I'm not sure which part of me needs the bigger rest. The workout/bike side or the work side. Things like usual are crazy at work and with the shut down between Christmas and New Years it's really important to get as much done. As for the body. It will be a recovery week but that doesn't mean I'm going to sit around and only eat and drink. I will be defiantly doing some of that but there will still be lots of snowshoeing and riding. Did I mention the 50 bottles of wine sitting in the racks.

Alright time for work. Is the boss ever allowed to fire himself?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So why am I all happy. Newest sponsor for 2008 and one that is going to make a huge difference. Total Body Pain & Injury Clinic is going to keep me on the up and up. For all those in the central Ontario area who have been fighting injuries this is the place you need to come to. Check out their website because there is just way to much information for me to transfer over here explaining what they are able to do.

One of the awesome things with Dr. Bill is that he also races road and mountain and knows what type of abuse training and racing puts on the body. We will be adjusting my weight training program once the knee tracking issue is dealt with to a more specialized workout. Mix this in with all the treatment.

SO what does this mean for me and more so the competition. This means no more sciatic nerve problems. No alignment issues and major bio mechanic improvements. I became dramatically faster in this past season and that was with plaguing injuries. HMMM what happens when Matt is healthy with no pain. If things go well my body will be 100% which it hasn't ever been.

We have already started building a training/treatment schedule starting right after the Christmas break. This will be great because I will be doing another power test with Heather at the end of the month. Nope won't screw this one up. I learned my lesson and will spin slower. Dam habits. This will give us our building base for the next month.

I did train tonight but because of time restraints was limited to a 40 minutes zone 2 spin. I'm running out of resistance on the rollers. That or gears and saw that Jeff Kerkove put a towel under the 2 rear rollers. I will defiantly be trying this or I'll be looking into a wind adapter for them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Big news coming with another sponsor. I'm very excited about this and will bring up the details over the next couple days.

Tonight was an awesome ride mixed in with the gym. Things are feeling good. Knee is gettting better even though both still have a nice shade of purple. Well atleast the pain is going away which is the first step.

Monday, December 17, 2007

With winter here this is the best time to break in new gear. Better to find out now than in peak training time or worse, race day. The first new product this year for myself are my 2008 mountain bike shoes.

I've been using Sidi since I got serious about riding and for the 08 season I'm using the Sidi Eagle.

The quick adjust ratchet upper strap is fantastic and there are enough increments to fine tune the fit. The lower two straps have the security system which integrates a locking track on both sides of the strap to prevent slipping.

One thing that I found with other shoes were the spacing underneath for pedals. I run Time and have never had any problems getting clipped in. Sidi has spaced there toe and frame lugs far enough apart to accommodate the widest pedals without losing traction for those rare hike a bike section. Toe spike mounts are there also available.

I've put a few miles on with them and lets just say that my feet were in heaven. As comfortable as your favorite slippers but have the performance you would expect from a top level shoe. If you're looking at new kicks for next year defiantly put these on your list to try out.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So here were the options. Option 1 ride on the rollers for 1.5 hours then go to the gym. Option 2 ride to the gym in the crazy snowy cold weather work out then ride home. Option 3 um I don't thing there was an option 3 and if there was it probably included sitting on the couch eating potato chips.

Well since I really hate having to be on the hamster wheels until I really need to be I took option 2. Yep it was a fun interesting ride. We are getting hammered with a storm. Well the bonus for me being Sunday was the lack of traffic on the road.

I took a longer route that looped through the downtown. Lets just say that I was getting lots of interesting looks. I live in the area where snowmobiles are huge and I had a bunch wave to me. Kinda cool and helped to keep the drive up to suffer in the -12 temps with pelting snow.

Rolled into the gym and spent a few minutes deicing myself

Great work out then back on the bike and did the same route in reverse. Total of 1.5 hours riding and an hour in the gym.

Then came the real work out. Snow means clearing driveways. My new snow blower is up at mom's since our big beast is having mechanical problems and has not been fixed yet. What does that mean for me. Meant I had to shovel my driveway and snowblow Mom's. There is something to be said about having a single car driveway. To bad I don't have it at either house. Lots of snow here, definatly need to get the skis preped.

Check in tomorrow for the new Sidi shoes review. Very sweet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

That is what my body is right now. Got into see Dr. Cameron at Total Body and tracked down some more of my problems. It all links to the crash and the way the muscles tightened after the rib healed. Of course I was unable to stretch alot at that time and things went down hill from there. My right hip is up considerable higher than the left causing huge balance issues. Well I have my list and its time to get things back in check. Can we say a life of stretching.

Today was a mix of weights in the morning and snowshoeing in the afternoon. No bike not at -20. I like the cold but not that much. I also wants to give my legs a bit of rest.

Got a 1.5 hour snowshoe in with the monsters.

Now the nest step for training will be playing with this toy. If you look close it has pretty smooth looking tires on. Since I really only had a chance to do the one ride/race on the bike before the end of the season I've set it up for riding the rollers.

So a few miscellaneous comments. I'm glad to see that finally another major sport is being nailed for drug use. Takes some heat of cycling for a change. Not that I approve of drug use but it seems that none of the high paying pro sports have really given a shit about the drug problem. Well its about time that they got nailed. Hopefully hockey is next.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I few things are starting to appear. After the blow up test I have really looked at pedal rotation and body position on the bike. My road bike has not changed in 3 years but my body has in the last couple months. Everything is out of whack.

My body is pretty twisted up right now because of the combination of the broken rib a couple months ago, the body over compensating for my right knee and the addition of weight training. Of course I had backed off on the yoga a bit over the last little while too. What does this mean. Stretch dammit. I'm usually very good at putting the time in but obviously I need to increase the time. I do have a massage on Friday and need to get in to see Dr. Cameron for some major manipulation.

Things that started to set me off on this. Riding no hands on the rollers and the bike would tip to the left and more of my right butt cheek was on the seat. Yep not good. The muscle imbalance is getting a bit better and there is less knee diving in my pedal rotation but this twisted distorted body is really screwing up my balance.

Its not as obvious when I'm on the road because of many factors but the rollers don't lie. Well just one more thing to work on. Gym bound tonight. Looking forward to a recovery week scheduled for the Christmas break.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dazed and Confused

Well I'm confused. Went and got tested. Nope not that type of test. Had my vo2 and wattage testing. We actually couldn't finish the test because I moved the bike off the trainer block. This is a bad thing. I've really trained myself to have a high cadence. 105-110rpm. Now the bad thing to this was I needed to ride down at 90 rpm to do this test. It didn't happen. Heather let me spin in my range but we are getting really screwed up number that totally don't jive with my riding ability.

I maxed out at 300 watts which is very confusing. On the road bike I compete with guys who are at the 400plus watts and am able to hurt them in club rides. Hell I was 2nd in the points in interclub competition till I did more solo rides. And the weight difference between us is minimal. What gives? Also I bounced right off the front wheel block of the compu trainer. I spend all my time on the rollers at home and have a very smooth pedal rotation and anyone who uses the rollers knows that if you're not smooth you fall off. Confused?

Because of this we did have to stop. We weren't able to get my v02 etc but the heartrate zones did come out to what I thought. I was at 199 when we stopped. I still did have more in me but of course we can't get the bike back on the block then start again. We will be redoing the test in a couple weeks. We were able to set my zones for this month.

One good thing was my bodyfat. I'm at 13.9 which isn't to bad for offseason. I'll be down to around 10 percent by race season. My weight is back down a bit at 168.

Now my shot in the dark on theory of why I can ride with the big boys with wimpy legs. Lance Armstrong trained to raise his cadence so that he could ride at the same speed as others using less wattage. Wattage eventually equals tired legs where the heart can go for much longer. It is also easier to accelerate spinning an easier gear than it is to push a smaller cog. Equals less fatigue. Also for me because of my ongoing knee issues it is less strain on the joints spinning at a higher cadence.
So 2 riders riding at the same wattage but one at 90 rpm and one at 100rpm obviously the one at 100 rpm will be across the line first.

Heather is going to figure out why I was bouncing on the trainer and I'm going to do some experimenting here on the rollers. Now last winter during our indoor spin sessions with the Tri Club I was able to move the rollers a foot sometimes in max speed sprints staying seated but yet I was still very smooth. Very very confused.

The retest will happen just after Christmas. I have a planned recovery week for then so I will be well rested. My legs were tired so hopefully we can get this all sorted out and see some good final results. Gym night tonight. Time not to think about it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2 hour road ride this morning before the gym. Awww the thrills of being outside in crap weather. Things I've noticed. Don't plan on riding fast because you just can't. Between the cold dense air, the extremely strong winds, the slow roads and the wider tires those average speeds of the summer are way down in the winter. The great thing is that I'm able to have closer loops and still get the time on the pedals.

Another big thing about winter indoor training versus some outdoor miles. You cannot train hills on rollers or a fluid trainer. You can reproduce the same resistance but building your climbing legs can only be done climbing hills.

The next thing I noticed about outdoor riding. When I build my next house in a couple years I'm defiantly putting in a indoor bike wash. I'm lucky that I don't have a live in girlfriend because if she saw this she probably wouldn't be to impressed.

After the morning abuse it was time for the monster to have a little fun. Molly is missing the weekend mountain bike rides but it has finally transitioned to snowshoeing. Another hour of fun with the dog playing in the ravines. Its amazing where your heartrate goes just walking,,,, in 2 feet of snow up 25 percent grades.

Me enjoying a little nature

At her best

Molly busting trail.

A few of asked about my new bikes for 2008. I have one already, it was a parts transfer from one of my NRS's. Full Sram X-9, Mavic CrossMax XL RaceFace Crank, and a RockShox Duke shock which will be swapped out once I figure out what I want to run for next year. The 2nd bike will be built from the factory. Same components from Sram etc Mavic CrossMax ST.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It was a core/ recovery night. An hour and half of yoga poses, plank poses and stretching. I bought myself a new toy today to help with this.

Who ever came up with the idea of this thing is sitting back making millions. Its such a simple thing but man does it ever work. It still will not replace massage but for day to day maintenance it's awesome. The only complaint I have about this thing is it is really expensive for what it is. At $50 for a stick with rollers on it that probably only cost $3 to make some one is sitting pretty.

Weekend is drawing near and with the weather predicted I'll be getting some nice outdoor miles in this weekend. Will be armed with the camera.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I rode two hours and I didn't get anywhere. The fun of the rollers. The only good thing about indoor training is that its much easier to get into a heart rate zone and stay there. No hills, stop signs or traffic to break up the flow. The other advantage is that on the rollers I can keep Lance Armstrong with in eye sight even on the steepest parts of the Pyrenees. Tour videos really do help keep me going on the course. Plus its great to try and match Armstrong's cadence.

It's back to the gym tomorrow, Hoping the weather will be a little more agreeable so I can get a few outdoor km's We were hammered pretty steady Monday and this is meaning that x-c ski season will be a go. Time to get the classics's out and prepped. The skates will be collecting dust for a a little longer. It's only the first week of December and its already beat last years snow at this time.

Down time

Monday, December 3, 2007

It was an indoor day with a total of just under 2 hours on the rollers. Things are slowly feeling better. Will start to ramp up on the time next week. The rollers though. BORING!!!! I'm definatly going to be sick of movies by the time spring comes along.

Not sure if I will be riding in to the gym tonight though. We have had 12 hours of freezing rain and it might be just above what I'm brave enough to handle. They are predicting some pretty nasty weather all day.

Starting to map out my 2008 race schedule. Its going to be alot of the same races this year with the first being the Uxbridge Icebreaker. They have moved the race back a couple weeks to mid April now instead of the first weekend. Personally I liked it early where the weather is a bit harsh. Last year was great at plus 3 and pouring rain. Sorry I'm a little sick in my mind some days. I think this is why I keep training outside in this weather for as long as I can.

Well it's off to work on the skating rinks they call roads. SHould be fun.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Yep that's -14.9 degrees Celsius. That's a little chilly. It was also hard to make me get my butt moving this morning after an evening of way to many brown pops. The plan was a longer loop to the gym, workout then cruise home. Most of that went to plan. Most of it. That cold did give me a bit of shock but it didn't take to long to get warmed up. Took an hour to get to the gym. So what is the wind chill of minus 15 at 25km/h.

So things were still great so far, the gym was empty which was great. Ended up getting my full workout done in an hour. So this is where things went downhill. Go to the lobby of the gym to grab my bike. I have a flat front tire. WTF!!!! Now a flat is no big deal BUT did I have a spare tube, NOPE. Hell, I didn't have any tools at all. Looks like I was cabbing it home. What are the chances that the Santa Clause parade was on and every cab was busy bring people into see it. Minimum and hour. Ok next call, Mom is already gone. I live alone so no one home at my place. Last resort, I called the Keens to see if anyone was around to drive me home. Perfect timing, they were coming into town. I even asked if they could drop me off a tube and tools so I could get my return trip in. One better, they brought me a whole new wheels and tire to swap mine out. Thanks so much.

Some nice clear roads for your viewing pleasure.

You can't see my other wheel strapped onto my backpack. Aww whats a little more weight.

So what is on the cross bike now. Seatbag. All in all it was a great day with a 2.5 hour workout. Knees were a bit sore this morning but felt better as the day progressed. Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It feels great being back into the flow of things. It was another great season at the gym on Wednesday and the ride in and back was ummm interesting. I give alot of credit to anyone who does their commutes to work by bike during the winter. Now the cross bike is awesome so far but I'll admit that I had a bit of nervousness in my as I riped down a few hills at 45km in the dark on slushy roads. I'm running my NiteHawk LED headlamp which is great but still limited in these conditions. Round trip to the gym is less than an 25 minutes on way to the gym so why would I drive.

My knees are starting to feel alot better. There is less clicking in vertical movement and next to no popping in twisting movements. Its giving me a bit of relief mentally.

We have yet to get any real snow yet but have had some really crazy windy days. This is great for riding even though it is now restricted to the road. It will be interesting to see if we get the same as last winter. I live in the snowbelt of Ontario with 10 plus alpine ski resorts with in an hour of my house but its been crazy the last couple years. 2nd week of January I was out for a road ride with almost no snow anywhere. 10 years ago when I was still teaching skiing the snow hit in the first week of November and was still here till mid April.

So with the fun of winter coming and indoor training now the issue I've noticed a few people putting up there indoor training setup. Well I took the day off today and spent just under 2 hours on the rollers. This is what helps get me through it.

Watched two episodes of an Everest documentary. I love that place and have that on my list of things to do before I die. Not sure about going to the top but at least seeing it. Time on the rollers were at base pace and it took a little to get the feel back.

Friday = rest day

Monday, November 26, 2007

Round one of recovery. Hit the gym tonight. Yep I caved but I think its going to extremely beneficial. I focused on my legs and core tonight. Lighter weights lots of reps. Now to make things a bit more interesting I rode in and back. Not that its far or a technical ride but with a steady stream of snow coming down it did a little more enjoyment to.

I actually didn't mind the time in the gym and am starting to lay out a training schedule. It's going to be 4 days a week of weights and hopefully weather permitting will include the ride in and out. Mix that in with yoga and one good day of on the rollers things will start to come together. Ya I'm getting back in focus.

On another note, no skate skiing for this guy for a little while. Because of the technique and muscles used it would actually slow my recovery of this tracking issue. Well it just means time on the classics.

The CX6.5 handles awesome in the crap weather. I'm running Maxis Locust tires which I found gripped well in the snow. Now the bonus to this tire combo is the speed that I ride at. Normally on the road bike I ride in the 33-35km/h average, well with the cross tires those speeds are considerable lower which means more time on the bike on some of my normal training routes. Ya I like this bike more and more. Its going to be a great training tool.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Winter is here one day gone the next. Started to get the craving to go skiing. This is a good thing because its been hard to get a craving to do much of anything the last couple days. I did the next best thing and got out on the cross bike for an hour today. Kept the heartrate low and just had fun. I'm starting into all the knee exercises and its not exactly helping my mind to get back into training. The right knee has been really bad the last couple days. This ride was what I needed.

All right enough bitching. Suck it up and get in focus. One thing that I'm trying to keep the inflammation down is a product called Traumeel. It does seem to help and since I really don't like taking Advil anymore than necessary this is a great change. Its all natural, I'll let you know over the week if it works.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Boot camp? That's how I felt last night after my work out. Did a few sets with weights but it was mainly sit ups, push up, chin ups etc. Yep they do hurt. Mix that in with the knee exercises I was feeling it last night. I'll be starting in to a set routine of weights and spinning starting at the end of the month. I'm having a hard time staying focused on training right now. I think I just need a bit of a break from structure.

The broken rib got me to relax but it wasn't a fun relaxed. I think that's what I'm needing still so parts of the fun relaxed was cleaning all the bikes. 6 bikes and I still don't have my 08 race bike. Yep I'm a bike whore. They are gleaming and with snow in the forecast most will stay on the wall now till spring. I'll be wiping the dust off the rollers very shortly. Indoor riding sucks but unless I move south I really don't have much choice.

Thats it for now

Monday, November 19, 2007

So where am I at. Legs and knees actually feel pretty good. Ok truth. no pain but the legs still feel weak. The knees are my concern and they felt good this morning. No major inflammation which was my biggest concern. Now that hot epson slat bath did help last night.

So where am I at. Well mentally I'm saying that's it for the season. I really don't think I will touch a bike for at least a month. How many times have a broken that line. I'm extremely happy with the way this year worked out with results and the learning curve of my body. Physically my legs are ready for something outside of riding. I've yet to get the roller skis out and running is probably not an option for a little bit. For some strange reason I have this craving to hit the weights. I hate the gym because nothing beats the speed of outdoor training. Now on the other side of things I will admit that I like looking riped for all the photos that are taken during a race. Aww come on, admit it. Everyone likes looking good in pictures.

So here it is. The off season. Holly shit its been a long season. I think I'm going to add up the miles of racing one evening. Why just because I don't know what to do with my spare time over the next month or so. Well I have my rental apartment to do some renovations on, start training at the gym, besides that. I've already started watching my food intake and adjusting. Ya nice way of saying that I have put on a couple pounds. Not enough to even concern the average person but I don't want it to proceed any farther. I want to come into 2008 even stronger than I did this year. Mentally I'm already prepping for the 2008 season.

I'll get a few pic up from the race along with pics up of the cross bike in the next couple days. Thanks Speedy for getting me my XC in time
Finally back after some technical difficulties. Computers are great as long as they are working. This weekend was the Wizard of Wheels Winter W.O.W. held at Mansfield. This is my 2nd last race of the year. Just the thought of racing in November is cool. Now unfortunately my legs were still in the off season.

The conditions were perfect. This was a concern for everyone. We do live in the snowbelt area and normally would have a foot of snow already. On the drive down there were areas with at least a foot of the white stuff. The trail was pretty much clear. Temperatures were great also at just above the freezing mark.

Great turn out with over 140 racers. This also brought out some very fast racers. Where was my mind at. Well with no training in over a month and barely any riding at all I was in it for fun and to test the new bike. Now that didn't stop me from lining up with all my buddies on the front row. I did stay with the lead pack for the first 1.5 km but backed down pretty quick. In peak time no problem, in my body state right now it was asking to blow up really fast. By the top of the 2nd long climb about 4km in I had dropped back in pack. Way back. I had NO climbing legs and there is lots of climbing at Mansfield.

Finally got into the single track and got the heartrate down. Awww singletrack. I found a rhythm and stuck with a small pack. I slowly started to get back into the flow of racing and my pace picked up. I started to pass riders again. Still climbing like crap but was able to make up time in the singletrack. By the time I hit the feed zone I was back up to the mid 30's overall. The course was awesome and there was an amazing section of singletrack that riped through some pine trees. I had a huge smile on my face. There was also a great section of snowpacked trail that alot of people mentioned that they wanted to stop and take a picture.

The biggest problem I had this race was my seatpost slipping. My new post was not in in time so we had to shim one and it didn't hold. I stopped 4 times to get things back in position. This problem will be cured this week. The bike itself was awesome. I love it in the singletrack. I know it was a brave thing to do racing a bike 2 days after it was built and completely untested but what can I say. A little impatient. It is a great climbing bike and next season when I getting my legs out of the closet I think its going to help out alot.

I continued to pull in riders and coming into the final .5 km there was one rider still in sight. I did everything I could to pull him in but missed it by 3 feet. No legs for sprinting. I finished 8th in my division and 27th overall. The knees felt pretty good even with the seatpost slipping. This morning the body feel really good. I'll get a light workout in tonight. I'm on the road to recovery for the tracking problems of both knees. More updates later.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Its been a busy last couple days. Busy but not the riding busy. Still working away at my rental apartment. Wall paper is the evil and will not be allowed at all for any tenants from this point on.

My winter race kit from blue is here. I'll be nice and cozy warm on the coldest training days. My 1st XC Carbon frame is here and Dave hammered away in the evening to have it ready for me. The phone rang at 8:30 with that distinctive line "Your bike is ready" With Mansfield only 4 days away and Dave trying to take a few days off he didn't want to leave me rushing on Saturday playing with brake and grip position a few hours before I leave. The bike looks sweet. This one was built up with the parts off my 2005 NRS. The one that just hung on the tent at races and collected dust in the gear room. Couldn't not use all the parts since they are basically new.

I'm off to see Dr. Cameron this evening to get my workout list for my knees. I'm getting a bit impatient and want to start the recovery. I other words I want to be able to ride and not pay for it the next day. No pain on the bike but the last few rides my knees are aching the next day. I'm also going to be picking a few friends brains to help build a weight program for me.

I'll have the apartment grunt work done in the next week or so which means time to focus again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

No riding for this guy on Sunday. It was time for grunt work around the house. Snowblower is ready to roll to start. I'm really not sure if I want snow or not. Its funny that 10 years ago I would look out the window every morning hoping to see the white stuff. I guess it didn't help that I also used to my an alpine ski instructor. Where is my mind at now. Well I haven't been on the ski hills in 7 years. Now I do love my x-c skis but not to the same level I used to for the alpines. You could say that I really don't care if it snows or not anymore.

The big problem with that is that I need snow if I want to train for the 24 hour x-c ski race we hold in March. Last year I ended up racing on a 4 person team because of the lack of training. This years plan is to do it solo as long as I get the mileage in.

Not much else happening on the training front. I'll be focused on knee strengthening all week and not the bike. Time to be proactive. Oh and lots of that domestic house stuff. Basement apartment tenant moved out last month so lots of renos to do before it goes back on the market. Actually that is my excuse so that I can use the space for spinning this winter.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The last couple days have been a bit interesting. I got out on the cross bike for an hour Thursday and things felt pretty good. Then the next morning came. My right knee was just aching. The pain was one thing but both knees were a pretty colour of red. Lots of inflammation. Not good. I rode again today for an hour and they were still sore. This is not a good thing since I've got the 40km race in a week. I'm fine when I'm riding its afterwards that is the problem.

What does this mean. Means after next weekend I'm going to get off the bike, see Dr. Cameron, get my weight training program ready and get these dam knees fixed. I'm looking into a couple of the local gyms since I'm limited on the weights at home. This tracking problem is starting to concern me. I know that rest is going to be a huge part of this and sitting on the bike for 3 hours is not helping.

Today was a great ride though. I was a bit limited on time so it was a cruise ride on the road bike. The sun was shinning and it was a perfect fall day. Plus 6 is a nice temp to ride in if you remember to wear the right gloves. The hands were not happy with me as the temperature dropped in the last half of my ride. Ahhh could be snowing.

On the toy lists the XC Carbon will be at Georgian Cycle this week to hopefully be ready for next weekend. I'm getting a bit anxious now and I'm not one for doing the last minute prep on a bike.

More later. I know I still need to post some good pics of the CX. Soon

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Its that time of the year. It snowed for the first time yesterday and put a kibosh into my plans of outdoor riding last night. Actually I just wimped out. I've ridden in colder and worse conditions but that's usually when I haven't been riding for a few months and going into withdrawl.

I've started doing base training on Tuesday and working on strengthening my knees. Lets just say that lunges hurt!!!! I'm not a huge fan of indoor training and weightlifting has never been a high ranking activity but its going to such a necessity for me this winter. I still need to setup my routine, right now its all over the place. My knees are still clicking and popping like a symphony.

So great news for me. My first frame will be here Friday. If everything goes to plan it will be built and ready for testing by the first of next week and be tuned for the w.o.w. Mansfield race. Alright, off to the grown up world of work.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What do I know about how a cross bike should feel? Absolutely nothing. What I do know is that I hate riding my mountain bike on the road and my road bikes are not designed to be taken off asphalt. This is where a cyclocross bike comes in. This is my latest toy from Blue. A CX6.5.

I found that the bike felt very smooth on road sections and with a change out of tires I could easily use it for some long training rides. The full carbon fork, including the steer tube, really sucks up vibration on the rougher trails. I had mine built up with Shimano 105 running a 50-34 front and a 12-27 rear. This combo pretty much will get me up anything. My ride on it Saturday I swapped out wheels and used my Xero lite. I'm running Maxxis Locust tires which I found had awesome grip in the trails. Mix that in with Areus bars, stem and seatpost and the bike tops the scale at 18.5 pounds.

This is the bike I will be spending alot of time on over the next few months. Will a cross race be in my focus. Not for this year but next fall for sure. It will be tested at the Icebreaker and Paris-Ancaster next spring.

As for racing for next year. The schedule is starting to come together. For now its time for some dinner.

pictures later

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The weekend is just not long enough sometimes. I'm starting back into some training finally. Ok not really training but back to riding at a little higher intensity. With that said I played on my new toy. Meet my winter beater!!!

Sweet isn't it. Saturday was my first play time on it. It was a mix of bike path, snowmobile trails, smooth fast singletrack and a short section of construction developments which meant some hike a bike. I'll get a full review of parts layout etc up tomorrow. Lets just say it was alot of fun. I've always hated riding my mountain bikes on the road and since I will not destroy my road bikes by blasting through rough snowmobile trails this things is just a great toy to have. So when I said I was riding with a higher intensity this was not an understatement. Not thinking about much but having fun my heartrate sat at an average of 160 and spiked to 193 a couple times. Yep defiantly fun. Do I like my cross bike. YEP!!!!

Speaking of cyclocross. Went to the Barrie Cycling Club's cyclocross. Cool event. I'm now kicking myself for not racing. Huge turnout. I watched the first race and now have this craving to do one. The course was pretty awesome with some mean off camber switchbacks. A few crashes in this section.

The afternoon was play time. 3 hours of trail riding in Tom's forest. It was an awesome fall day. My legs felt great. Spent more time playing on the hardtail. I'm liking this bike more and more. Quick, smooth and very comfortable. I want mine!!!! The loaner will be gone this week but my first frame will be here this week and will be ready for the Mansfield race in 2 weeks.

Review of the toy tomorrow!! Oh and congratulations to all my friends for finishing Ironman Florida. Great job. Almost makes me want to do one. Almost.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Its November. It gets dark early and the temperature drops almost as fast as the sun. Why do I bring this up. Because I'm already thinking about the day that we get the most amount of daylight. Summer Solstice. Besides the daylight it also means one of the longest days of racing. Just finished registering for the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice held by Chico Racing. This is now the biggest 24 hour race in North America. 2200 plus racers. It also brings some big names to this event. Last year brought Mark Hendershot and Dannielle Musto, both winning their solo categories. Something tells me this will bring even more big names this year. There link is over to the left.

With November I've also said that its time to start training again. The rib is healed and most of the tendons and muscles in my back are close to 100 percent. Now my flexibility is slowly coming back. This month will be alot of yoga, stretching and core work. Its also time to start strengthen both knees. I have a tracking issue in both knees which developed after that dam adventure race. HMMMM, maybe I should just buy some new body parts and become the bionic man.

Good luck to all my friends from the Midland Tri Club who are racing at Ironman Florida tomorrow. Gord I hope your ankle survives. Those dam roots and rocks!!! Tim, hopefully you can beat your time from worlds. Doug and Irene, the husband and wife racers. Have a great race. Brandon, Pace yourself !!!! You still have to run!!! Peter, ride smooth relax and stay in your bars!!! Peter will be the youngest ever Ironman finisher when he crosses the line. I wish I was there to cheer all of you on but unfortunately I had to stay in the grown up world and work.

For those interested in watching the live feeds from the event along with the finish the link is below. Stay tuned over the weekend. My cross bike is here and ready to roll. Full write up sometime over the weekend. For now FOOD!!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It must be our Indian summer. The last couple days have been amazing. I was able to get out and play for an hour yesterday in the trails. With all the leaves down now a night ride is a little bit to sketchy so I'm limited on how late I can go. All in all it was great just riding. I picked up the pace and did a bit more climbing on the hardtail. I really do like the way the bike feels. It climbs amazing and its very quick handling in the tight switchbacks.

Someone left a comment saying Carbon Sucks and don't fall. You know what. I used to say the same thing. You know what, I've changed my mind. Look at how many carbon mountain bikes are out there now. No I'm not going to take this bike free riding on crazy stuff. That's not what its designed for. But for a 24 hour or 8 hour race course or most Ocup races for that matter this bike is more than capable. Yes there is always that fear that everyone brings up that carbon snaps. Ya well for one I'm not 220 pounds and 2nd that's what warranty is for. I was basically told that if I break this frame they will give me another with no problem.

Now if you go launching off a 5 foot drop off with this bike sure its probably going to break. It all comes down to riding the bike in its designed category. Would you take a standard road bike to a cyclocross race? It might get through the event but it would defiantly not be a great thing for the bike. So has my attitude on carbon changed. Most defiantly. I would have gotten a carbon hardtail for next year no matter what company I was riding for. As for the falling on big rocks. UMMM best answer. DON"T FALL!!!!!!

Alright, enough venting. Tonight was an hour of Rodney Yee's Yoga for Athletes. For those that have not tried yoga yet. What are you waiting for. The list of benefits is so long that I could only start it. More flexibility, better balance, better focus, better breathing. This is the video I use. For cyclist this is great because its alot of lower body poses which we need.

Or for those local people you could check out Dharma Yoga Wellness Centre.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I have a 2007 XC Carbon to use for the next week to get used to the bike and figure out bike lay out. First thing about this bike. It looks hot. I'll get to how it rides shortly but the finish is awesome. Blue has a mix of subtle graphics and sections of visible carbon fibre. The bike looks fast sitting still.

This bike came setup with Shimano xt components and a RockShox Sid. Areus carbon bar and Easton stem and bar. For this week I've put on my Mavic CrossMax XL's. I love these wheels. With this setup the bike is just over 20 lbs.

The frame build is clean with carbon tubes and aluminum lugs. The bottom bracket is over sized to eliminate any flex. So how does it ride? The first thing I noticed was its acceleration. Every ounce of power I put down to the pedals went to the wheels. I haven't ridden single track since the crash last month so my trail feel was a bit off and with the rain and snow the leaves and trail were slick. The bike felt very smooth. I've been on a full suspension for a couple years and was concerned that the hardtail would be a bit squirrly and the back end would be kicked all over the place. Not the case. I felt very comfortable on this bike.

The carbon frame sucked up the small vibrations and made for a smooth ride. Climbing was amazing. It cut up single track with easy and went down the steeps with no fear at all. The only thing that I will need to adjust to will be over large bumps or things I hop over. There is no longer that little cushion of a rear suspension. Over all opinion of the bike. Its amazing. I can't wait to get both of mine. There will be a few changes from this bike to mine. Mine will be Sram components. I also did miss my bar setup with the bar tape wrapped grips and bar ends. My hands got a little sore but that was because the bar height was a little low and the stem had been cut to low for me to adjust it. Easy fix.

As for the numbers. The BLUE XC CARBON frame weights in at 1330 grams and costs $1000. Now to compare this Giant's Carbon hardtail costs $1500 and weights 1290 grams. For those racing at the W.O.W. race at Mansfield I should have atleast one of these bikes there for anyone wanting to take a close up look at it.

Will I be able to do a 24 hour race on this bike. I think that the carbon takes out just enough vibration to easy the back and the benefits in climbing will help the legs. Awww and a light bike will make those times I may have to get off and walk alot easier. Its going to be a fun season next year.