Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Balance??? What is that!!!!!

Went for my first skate ski of the season with Brent Keen yesterday. Ok, I won't lie, I went for my first fall on my ass. How is it that I guy who used to race alpine skiing and spent years teaching it cannot stay vertical on these sticks.
I used to see speeds of 80 km/h on ice going around gates and I fall over at 15 km/h looking like a spaz.

I forgot how much full body effort skate skiing is. Of course it's more physical when your using every muscle you have to not fall over. I did find my rhythm and most of my balance after a few km's and had a good 1.5 hour workout. I'll be definitely adding a day or two of skiing to my weekly abuse.

Happy New Years everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I know I haven't written much in the last few days. There really hasn't been much happening and after still having nightmares about my brother-in-laws video the camera has me a little scared.

Got together with my coach on Sunday night and talked a little this and a little that. The big thing is getting me in that happy place of wanting to be on the puke machine.

Well after a weekend of crazy weather and almost all the snow disappeared it left the roads in great shape. the temperature was just above the freezing mark and the sun was out. What better motivation for me than a good long road ride on my favorite loop.

Headed out armed with 2 bottles a couple gels and 3 dollars. What more do you need? I figured I would be about 2 hours or so. The roads still had a hard packed layer of snow on them in places so the cross bike was an easy choice. With no really training focus I just turned my feet and checked out the scenery.

Stopped at the Big Chute for a short break and to check out water levels after the 2 days of plus 10 and pouring rain. The rapids were wild and looked more like spring than December.
This is my usual place to top up bottles etc. Who would have thought that a marina store would be closed on a Monday in December. Come on there has to be lots of boat traffic at this time. Time reference needed.The Big Chute loop is about 65 km long with no short cut back. Normally I can do this section in under 2 hours during the summer time. I'm on holidays for the next week which means that my technical thinking brain is not really working right now otherwise I would have added together a better time estimate for this ride. At 33-35 km/h while on my road bike with slicks and an air temp well above the freezing mark equals under 2 hours.

Now factor in a cross bike with nobby tires, mix that in with snow and slushy roads and add a hint of cold air. To top it off add on December legs. Yep those poor weak excuse of legs in there and my ride turned into just under a 3.5 hour tour. A bonk was doing it's very best to catch me near the end as I came into Port Severn where a sugar kick from a Mars bar got me the rest of the way home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent putting in something I've always wanted in a house. An indoor area to wash my bikes.

\Wasted space with a laundry tub. Out it goes. I bought a bath tub from the Restore store which sends all the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

The cross bike was the first in line to get spic an span clean.

I'm getting back into full force abuse as of January 2. My next power test and a revamped schedule. More to come.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a scary present

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Festivus for the rest of us.

Spending this year at my sister's place in Ottawa and we are continuing are tradition of the kids screwing off for a few hours as Mom and my Aunt make dinner. I know evil kids. Actually our job is to take the dogs out and exhaust them before settling in for dinner.

This year's adventure was a few hours of skiing. Jenn Rick and myself loaded up the puppies and skis headed over to Larose conservation area.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. Minus 2 and sun. My love of pine trees has dropped a little. Keeping grip wax on was pretty much impossible. Still a great way to spend Christmas Day.

Rick is a member of Big Ring Racing. After what I saw today I'm very very happy to be a member of the Mountainview Cycling Club. Our membership criterium is just a wee bit lower than the BGR Team. If you are brave, maybe that is an understatement. If you want your retinas burned out go to the Big Ring Racing site. The link is to the right. Here is just a little preview of what you might see.

That is my future brother-in-law. I can't even comment on that because I am lost for words.

Eat, drink and be merry. Back to training in a couple days.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Screw Santa!!!!

I'm not going to wait for Santa this year. Screw Him!!! 2 bikes instead of a pony, hmmm well I can't take a chance on this request. Where were you 20 something years ago? Were you riding a bike? If you were a bet you watched this movie a hundred times.

I couldn't take a chance that Santa could read my horrible writing. After the screw up with the pony something tells me I might see this in my stocking instead of my original inspiration.

So where was I when this movie came out. Doing exactly what they were. I loved BMX and flatland freestyle. I guess it's now called street. At 16 instead of asking for a car I wanted a comp level freestyle bike. Yep I got it. A Kuwahara Magician EX. It was sweet. Yellow and fully equiped with a Odyssey Gyro, 48's and pegs everywhere. I swear I had it no less than 24 hours before I warped a wheel doing a table top of a kick ramp and landing on flat ground. Ya the art of dirt jumping was still a few years away.

That bike was my life. It started me towards the addiction I have now. Of course back then I had the other addiction of cigarettes. Ya you could do tricks with a smoke in your mouth. Ya, if I had only learned at 16.

Off Road to Athens, good movie and drama. Breaking Away, one of the originals bike movies. Quicksilver, I didn't know that Kevin Bacon could ride a bike. I think that was the start of the fixes and singlespeed addiction. 24 Solo, yes the inspiration to many, including myself. It reminds us that the best hurt just as much in these events as the rest of us. Rad. Where to start!!! Here is the link if you want your own copy of the greatest bike movie ever.

I'll be counting the days till my copy arrives. I've already let a few of the guys know and we will be doing the flash back premier screening on the projector. Nothing like retro 80's bmx on the big screen.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It's full force winter here in central Ontario. There is not much happening here on the training side of things. Heather has ok'd me taking some time off until the next test. My body has not been to happy with me the last few days so the rest is well needed. Since there isn't much to talk about in the biking world I'm going to vent a little instead.

Took the Molly Monster on a two hour snowshoe yesterday. It was fun being out in the fresh snow after the so called winter storm warning. I find it down right hilarious when I hear winter storm warning and 10-15 cm of snow in the same line. I've lived on Georgian Bay area all my life. The snow we get now compared to years back in no where near the same. I remember my father having to drag the snow blower up on the roof of the house to clear it. I wonder what would happen if we got a real winter storm, you know the old storms of 40 plus cm at a time. That's a storm.

On a shared subject, I think the driving skills of most drivers are down as much as what we rate as a winter storm. Considering that the vehicles we drive now are so technically advanced compared to 20 years ago why are these people unable to do more than 30 km'h in the snow. Thought one, if you are driving with your hazard lights on, YOU are the hazard!!! It's illegal for one to be driving with them on and if you are that afraid that you have to have them on then you should stay home till you feel safe. Thought two, when you are going to pull out in front of someone consider two things. Will you be able to accelerate to the speed limit without making the other car have to brake and two if you can't and you pull out any ones did you leave enough space for the oncoming car to slow down in control.

They have talked about winter tires as mandatory. I don't agree on that but there are some cars out there that it is a necessity. My Honda Element is front wheel drive and I wouldn't think twice about not having the winter tires on it but the Audi on the other hand is amazing in the snow. All wheel drive with so many traction control computers on it it's almost impossible to spin out. Trust me I've tried!!! If you can't get traction spend the money and get winter tires. Even for the front wheels if you are being cheap.

A comment I heard on a talk radio show that I really agree with. There should be two driving tests for your license. One in the summer and one for winter driving. I would like to see it one step further at a mandatory retest every 5 years. Why? Because people forget and grow bad habits. They say that the young people are the dangerous drivers. Ya they are but I think it's only because they haven't had the driving experience yet to learn how not to get caught!!! I swear I see more boneheaded things done by people that have been driving for 20 years. It's funny but I think it's the older generation that uses their turn signals less than the new driver. Why, Hmmm maybe they are an option in some new cars?? Maybe they forgot they were there? I'm not sure but I wish more used them.

Hey I'll be the first to admit that I'm an aggressive driver. I like speed and have had my fair share of tickets. I also drive 80,000 km a year. Ya, I drive that much with work and some play mixed in. For the miles versus tickets ratio it's actually pretty low. So where am I going with this. Not really sure but just wanted to get it off my chest. I think it's because I have a 6 hour drive coming up in a couple days as I head over to my sister's in Ottawa for Christmas. I'm crossing my fingers for a smooth trip.

That's it for now maybe some biking stuff tomorrow.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Since Santa has been really nice to me lately I thought I might ask for one more thing. I have always wanted to be a super hero. I've been thinking about it long and hard trying to come up with a really good name. Got it.

I will now be Iron Stomach Man. I would be able to eat nails and spit out rivets. Nothing could stop me with the ability to eat anything I saw. I would be bursting with energy and never ever get a cramp. Ya, ok, a few of you have lined up beside me at a race. I sound like I should be curled over praying to a porcelain god after a bender the night before. I probably was.

I've been trying to find a fuel that my stomach can handle. I've been using Infinit's product for a while now and love it. In the past I've been using a sport drink and eating gels during long races and mixing in some sustained energy. Well it' works but it's alot of playing around with mixes for sodium, calories and biggest thing taste.

I've never been able to drink anything at it's recommended mix rate because it is just overkill in taste. That is not the case anymore. Depending on your needs you would have to either add more or less of a scoop to your bottle. With Infinit you design the mix ratio to your body before you order it.

I've been using the premixed stuff for the indoor season and it's awesome. The 5 hour mix has 250 calories in it, what does that mean. No gels needed. So simple. For the hard trainer sessions I've been using the 2 hour race mix which is really easy on my stomach but giving my body everything it needs.

Just to make people nervous I also have their Jet Fuel mix. The name gives you an idea. Caffeine is mixed in there. Yep, I'm like a five year old who just ate a box of chocolate bars. This will be my secret weapon next year. You will know I'm on it because I will probably be a little twitchy while lining up.

So here is the big thing with this stuff. My wonderfully screwed up stomach really likes it. Check out the options at the link to the right. If you are really nice and ask Santa maybe I can send you a link so you get 10% off.

I'm off the bike for the next few days, this is a very crazy time of year for work. For some reason people want their appliance all working for Christmas dinner. The interesting part of it is that alot of them broke a few months ago but it wasn't important to them back then.

That's it for now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All I want for Christmas

It's Christmas time and I have been a good boy. I sent my letter to Santa with my one big Christmas wish.

A pony. All I really want is a pony, I have the yard for a pony now. Wouldn't you like a pony?

Well I think Santa had a talk with the Ruppel brothers and they voiced their concerns.

Did I mention that I wanted to ride the pony at Summer Solstice next year. I think the conversation went a little like this.

Spak wants what? He wants to ride it at our 24 hour race. What type of drugs are they mixing with his EPO?? I actually think Sean would be a little more willing.

I guess the additional speed bumps the pony would leave on the trail would give me some sort of advantage. Come on, the pony could bonk, and probably wouldn't go downhill as fast as everyone else. Where is the advantage?? As for single track skills I guess I will never get a chance to find out.

Well Santa made a couple phone calls and the wonderful people at Giant stepped up to keep a kid happy on Christmas morning. Christmas morning came a few weeks early this year. Told you I was a good boy this year.

Next season I will be playing with 2 Giant Anthem X1's. This is a set up for them this season with the bas design coming of the Trance. This is a 4 x 4, literally with 4 inch travel front and rear. It was a pretty easy decision going with the X1 over the X0. Biggest difference between the two bikes are the wheels and drivetrain. Well I already have a couple pairs of Crossmax's. A wheel I love and I have so much Sram stuff I could use there was no point.

The X1 comes with XT/XTR. I have been a Sram fan for the last couple years but I don't think I will be changing things on this bike. Shimano has really stepped up their components this year. Dave from Georgian Cycle flat out said lets try it out as it sits. He too is really impressed with the new changes. I do like the options on the shifter to either thumb or trigger.

Suspension is covered by a Fox Float RP2 in the rear. Giant has changed their setup this year with a square down tube which increase structural strength, Up front is a RockShox Sid Team.

Right out of the box with all reflectors etc on it the bike was 24.58 lbs. That's with the stock WTB/Mavic wheel set which is a nice build but still heavier than the SLR's I've yet to weigh the bikes since the wheel swaps but to see close to 24 lbs flat.

It will be a while before I get a chance to play on either of them. Central Ontario is under about 2.5 plus feet of snow. It's also been crazy cold until this morning. With temperatures just below the freezing mark this morning I couldn't turn down a chance to get an outdoor ride in. The trainer is one thing but that wonderful feeling of coasting was needed. It was also an attempt to pedal the pain out of my legs from the wattage workout out on Friday night. Was able to push an hour and a half out of my toes before they yelled at me to head in.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yo Adrian

I'm on the Rocky Balboa active recovery training schedule. While all my competition is working away in the gym and trainer I've gone to brute grunt work training mode.

Moving fire wood from the driveway to the house is a little more demanding that one may think. Spent an hour and a half going back an forth with a sled tonight. Hey if it worked for Rocky. He beat the big Russian. Hmmm I should start checking now, as long as they are Russian I'm going to beat them hands down. I wonder if there are any 24 hour races in Russia??

The wattage work out yesterday was tough. 4x 4 minutes 85 percent intervals followed by a 10 minute recovery section. Then do it again. Interestingly enough I felt better in the last couple reps than near the beginning. Kinda like the way I race. Go out hard, blow up, then come back.

Yes there is a bike review coming on the Anthem's. Maybe tomorrow.

I wonder if Apollo Creed is available for support crew next year?


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cruel and unusual punishment

The winter weapon of choice? Unfortunately its an inside toy. This winter will be a new training routine for me. Heather has me training with power, that means something new to hurt myself with. Self inflicted pain by ways of the Tacx Flow wattage trainer.

I looked into a couple different options for power training. SRM cranks are sweet but also have a nasty price tag. Power tap was another option but that restricted me to one bike, I still may look into a wheel eventually. The final option was the trainer. Two companies to look into, Computrainer which is a great unit. I've used Heather's a few times and like it. Tacx is the other. Now since I really don't need to play video games while riding I opted for the Flow.

The display is great and adjustments are easy to do with the increments going up in 10 watt jumps. A cadence sensor is also included. There are a few more options but i have yet to really play with it.

The one perk over the computrainer is the price. About $700 less. That was a major decision maker for me since I didn't need all the additional options that the other trainers offered.

The workout yesterday was hard, I never realized how long each second really is when you are at the upper end of you threshold. This is endurance intervals but they still hurt alot.

With the 3 feet of snow outside it looks like all my bike time will be spent on that little white torture device. That means I don't get to play with these for a few more months.

Orange is the new fast? More on them a little later. Relax time


Saturday, December 6, 2008

connected again

Talk about withdrawal. The longest week of my life with no Internet. Where to begin, so much has happened in the last week. I'm in the new house. Lets just say that I have zero motivation to move for a long time. Who are these lunatic people that turn over houses and move every couple years. Even for the money I wouldn't do it again.

I guess that hints how the move when. The movers were scheduled for the afternoon and were supposed to call an hour ahead of time. Ya that didn't happen. I was just leaving my place with a loaded wagon with bikes on the roof when I see a moving truck heading in the direction of the house. 5 minutes after 12. Well they did say afternoon. Had I I been 5 minutes faster out the door I would have missed them.

Of course I had already been up for 8 hours at this point and full of coffee. Hey I was excited and was awake at 4am. Wouldn't you be? I was well beyond my normal strung out wired self so sitting and watching these guys load a truck was not enjoyable for me. Oh and at $120 an hour I obviously wanted them hauling ass.

I didn't realize I had as much stuff as I did, that or they managed to make it look like I did. It was kinda interesting watching the biggest guy in the crew carrying the smallest loads. Finally loaded up, 3 hours later, yep longer than estimated by the quote giver, we were on route to the new place. Forgot to mention that they couldn't get everything in the truck. Ya, as i mentioned I didn't think I had that much stuff.

Unloading wasn't much better. At least I was able to do some unpacking and sorting. No they did not move any of my bikes. I'm brave but not stupid. Another 3.5 hours later and now putting some beer into my system the truck was empty. I swear the movers were the fastest in the last 15 minutes of it. I managed to get another couple hours of unpacking in. It's amazing how beer can keep you moving, maybe I should try that at the next 24 hour. Hey Matt, Infinit Rep, can you do some sort of mix of Alexander Keith's in to my formula??

Of course I was completely exhausted the next day, didn't stop me from doing more unpacking. This all added to the fun of things. Sunday was my power test. I had some ideas of what the results would be. My quads have never hurt so much at the upper end of the test. I was down in top end wattage, kinda understandable, but every other part of it was up. Heather based my training on these numbers for the month.

Yep the Tacx Flow is setup and I'm training with wattage this year. Yep, it's also going to hurt but the results in the end should be great. My bikes are here also but that along with a review on the Tacx will be later.

The house is great, the Molly Monster and Oakley the fat cat are already at home and shedding like normal. I've found out that I already have two great neighbours, one has even snowplowed most of my driveway twice. Trust me that's a bonus since it's about 200 feet long plus the parking area. We have been hammered with snow almost every day and have a good 2-3 feet already. Yep no outdoor riding.

Alright time to go ride the vomit comet on the puke machine. 1.5 hour interval session today.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Update. 15 hours till move time. Everything is all on track with the lawyers, real estate agents and the money man. I asked nicely but they won't give me my extra money in a black suitcase filled with non sequential $5 and $10 bills. Maybe I should have asked for a big jar of toonies instead.

I swear I feel the same way as I do when I'm lining up for a race. My stomach has been going completely nuts all day and feel like I want to gag up a lung. Those who have had that bad timing of lining up beside me at the start line know the more I gag the better I do. Today I hit the podium.

One other major thing happened in the last few days. Rick, Richard, GOLONGHARDMAN(not with my sister),a name I can't type on here finally asked my sweet innocent little sister to marry him. In her weakened moment she said yes. It's about dam time.

Congratulations you two.
The count down is on. Less than 24 hours from now I'm getting my ass evicted from my current residence. Dead beat!!! It looks like my first ever apartment in here, even sleeping on the floor.

The dog and cat are thinking I'm smoking crack and have pawned off all their toys and beds. It will all be done in 24 hours. I would rather be dealing with 24 hours on the bike than the next 24 hours of this.

So the real story now. I bought a 1930's home about 15 minutes from my current house.

I've been in this place for 10 years and just don't feel like being a landlord anymore, plus I wanted a bigger place. I've been in this town for most of my life and really liked it here but a huge waterfront development was the final straw that prompted me to move. Sold my place to another investor.

I've done minimal activities the last few days unless packing is considered basic endurance. Heather has adjusted my training accordingly but has warned me that after Sunday;s power test that here nice sweet side of her will disappear and the whip comes out.

This will be my first year training with power and by warnings of Andrew it's going to hurt but the end results are huge. Hmmm I'm a little scared. I'll be using a Tacx Flow trainer for my abuse. A power tap hub may come in the future.

Internet use will be limited over the next week until Roger's shows up. I may start to get the shakes without it. Will update when I can.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A day of play

I know I've been bad at posting the last little bit but all I have been doing is packing. Well finally I'm done. The house is pretty much packed up. I'm not sleeping on the floor yet but that's where the tv is, everything else is in cardboard. I did get out for a little seat time on Saturday though. The conditions were right for a road ride. Unfortunately some of my cold weather gear is packed away, more specifically my winter booties.

I managed to get 2 hours in before the numbness turned to a little bit of pain. Did you know that you can get an ice cream headache while riding a bike. I've never ridden my brakes so much. Anything over 40km/h and I swear my brain was starting to freeze.

Today was a reward day for all the grunt work of the week. Since central Ontario is pretty much covered in white stuff the only place to ride some singletrack was Toronto. Yep, the mountain bike capital of the world. This was a day of play.

I picked up Jacob McClelland just outside of Barrie and headed south with my a couple single speeds on the roof. Lots of people were checking out his pimped out CCM. Every time I see that carbon crank on it I just laugh. The first stop of the day was the Don Valley Trails. It's been a few years since I've been down there but I remembered lots of off camber stuff. What I forgot about was the clay.

They have really developed the trail since the last time I was there with lots of stunts, bridges and log rides. It's not very long, I think it took about 45 minutes to go from one end to the other but in the core of the city it's pretty cool. The trail was in really good shape on the way out but got slick as the temperature rose. There were a few sections that got a little sketchy.

Destination two brought us on the other side of the Don Valley to Riverdale Park for the Provinial Cyclocross Championships. We got down early enough to stand in a 30 minute line up for bbq sausages. Recovery food? Did I mention that the Beer tent was right next to the bbq. Both happened to be placed right beside the only barriers on the course. Oh and the barriers were a little higher than average with a tough right hand turn going into them. Yep, drunk people with street meat cheering on riders, especially the ones that didn't make it. Mike and Andrew didn't have any problems.
Andrew and Mike road away from everyone putting at least a 2 minute gap on third. Andrew stayed about 10 seconds behind Mike for most of the race but a crash opened up the gap.

In the end Mike Garrigan took the win and Andrew second. Not sure If Andrew has put up a report yet but it would be worth checking out. Look to your right for a link to his site.

Well that's about it for now. Time to relax and watch the boxes. 4 days till move day.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is my world for the next week.

As much as I would have liked to keep a little functionality to my house it's pretty much gone to "do I really need it right now, nope, pack it" Of course some things were packed before the snow came. Yep, xc ski gear is somewhere at the bottom of the pile. I've already broken into one packed box so I was able to play outside.

Sunday was spent NOT RACING and after much public ridicule from Peter I thought I would show you what I did instead. Look back to that first picture. The afternoon was considerable more enjoyable.

Sue got me out of my house for a romp in the snow at McCrae Lake.

It would have been a perfect day for a winter paddle.

The top of the Crow's Nest.

Monday was a little more enjoyable. The Monday Night Ride Crew were pretty much forced to hang up the bikes. Down come the snowshoes or in my case start digging through boxes to find them.

Andrew brought Starbuck who kept the Molly Monster distracted.

Photo credit is to Lee. I would have stole the video to post here if I was able to. Just under two hours of "Hey I think the trail is over this way" and "Where the hell are we?" before we made our way back to the cars. Amongst our noise were loud cracks as trees and branches snapped with the snow load. I think we spent more time climbing on fallen trees than on solid ground.

As for tonight's thrills. Please refer to the first picture. Who's stupid idea was it to move anyways.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Since there really is not a hell of a lot happening on the race side of things I thought this would be the perfect time to thank everyone who helped me during the 2008 race season.

Who to start with. Sponsors works. Thanks to Blue Competition Cycles. I really loved my XC Carbon. Light, great handling etc. Blue has now come out with a full suspension, check it out!! Unfortunately there is no Canadian distributor anymore but I can see that changing in the near future.

Areus, great composite stuff I should have pimped out more of bikes with it.

Akona, The soft goods of choice, I've had many people try and steal my packs. Thanks guys.

Georgian Cycle, Can never say thank you enough to Dave. Best wrench around, you have continued to take care of me with all bike related problems. Georgian Cycle will continue to keep the wheels turning for me in 2009.

Total Body Injury Clinic. Dr. Bill and M.J. I would look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame if it wasn't for your help. This is the healthiest I've ever been for a race season and things continue to improve. They are also 2009 sponsors. Dr. Bill and I will be racing the Epic spring 8 hour next year tag team. Dr. Bill is planning for his first 8 hour solo sometime next year so this is a great step for him.

On the personal side. A huge thank you to my family. Mom for putting up with all my crap during the season. Also the most bestest support crew you can ask for. Also my Aunt Ruth for your help at the Solstice 24 hour. Thank you so much. My sister Jenn for your help and support at the same race. Brent for the bike repairs during the 24 hour, kept my wheels turning.

To Heather for all your advice and help without getting paid to do it. It got me far, now that I'm paying for your coaching skills the competition better watch out. For what I don't know but they had better just watch out.

So why do I say the race season is over. Because I'm bailing on the W.O.W. race in Mansfield this weekend. There are so many factors in this decision. First off. I have less than 2 weeks to have my house packed. How much stuff can one man have?? I'm finding out more than I thought.

The 2nd is the weather is going to be absolute crap. Plus 3 and pouring rain really does not appeal to me in November. I know pretty weak excuse, I even think so. I love the crappiest conditions for races. Short races at least, but I have no craving to spend just over 2 hours wet and cold. I have yet have yet to figure out how to mount an umbrella on my bike.

The third is that I have my first power test coming up in a couple weeks and I want to be healthy and as strong as possible for it. I know that I would not be able to make myself back down at the race. Plans were to do it on a single speed which means more work.

Last but not least, the single speed is dirty. I think this is the best excuse and I'm sticking to it as my main reason why I've called it quits for the year.

Well back to packing. ARGGG I think I would have more fun riding but at least I can have a beer while doing this.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

keeps going and going

I felt like the energizer bunny this last few days. Then some reality kicked in late last night.

We had a few amazing days of weather and of course I took advantage of it with a few extra long rides on top of my regularly scheduled training. Well I felt the results last night of the additional miles. I have a good excuses for why i rode a little longer each day and they are good ones.

i probably needed the rides because it's distracting me from the stress of the house. Run around crazy for a couple days then wait. Then do it all over again. Arg.

Monday may be football night for some but not all. The smart ones are meeting up for the coolest night ride in Ontario. This was the second week at the 7th line. Criterium for this ride. If you have a singlespeed you must ride it and no matter what the conditions the ride is on. Oh ya ride starts at 8pm so bring your lights.

This week brought out 7 plus the Molly Monster. There is a new challenge amongst us, to bring the most retro, scariest or most pimped out single speed we can build. Right now the top two are Jacob with a pimped out CCM rigid. Yes I said CCM with a steel rigid front fork. How the pimp part comes to the carbon crank and shimano xtr wheels he has on it.

Lee is running a close 2nd with a Trek 4500. Ya, I know a Trek. No big deal. It's all about the wheels. This is a picture from a few months ago. Same wheels. I want to see them Chromed, or better yet with spinners attached!!

Mr Watson came out also. Luckily for all of us he had legs of rubber after an incredible weekend of cyclocross. Finishing as the top Canadian on day 2 of the UCI weekend in Toronto left him a little tired. Check out his blog to the right.

We had a dusting of snow during the day making everything just a little bit brighter. The trails were perfect. My legs on the other hand were not. A couple of the climbs kicked my ass and I found myself pushing the bike alot faster up the hill than if I'd been riding. It was expected though.

Back to the best SS award, I'm on the hunt for a Venture to build. For those non Canadian readers, Venture was sold at Zellers, the Walmart of the north.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The perfect day part 2

This week has been just one of those perfect ones. Home a little early. My legs were feeling a little trashed after yesterdays ride and workout so I thought it would be a perfect time to take out the retro rocket.

I've been back and forth on what I was going to do with my Gardin. I bought the frame off my sister a couple years ago when I got her setup on a new Giant road frame. At one point it was planned to be a fixed gear. It was half way complete but collected more dust hanging than miles.

The finished product.

This is basically my crap weather bike. It's a 1994 custom built Gardin. Jenn is just over 6 foot and didn't fit on to many standard frames. It's setup up as a 1x9 or 1x10 depending on wheels. How do I do that with no major tuning. Sram x-9 rear derailleur and a friction shifter. No shifting problems with that combo. Right now I have a set of Mavic Aksiums on it with a beater set of Soras ready for the salty rainy rides.

On it's inaugural ride I was really impressed on the way it handled and felt. Steel is still very smooth. It was another amazing day for weather. No long sleeves, no knee bands, no touque. Hell I love Novemeber!!!!

The only thing I don't like is that it gets dark way to early.

But tonight had an amazing sunset. Unfortunately I didn't have my good camera.

But I did find the Bat Boat. I think Robin was driving and was drunk.

And this is my favorite picture for today. It's official. House is sold, looks like I'll be moving by the end of the month. Not to far from where I am now. More on that later.

Time for a celebration beer.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are the planets in line? Is the moon eclipsing Uranus's'? Did the Americans finally vote right. I think so. The end result, 20 degrees and sun in November. I'll take it.

Home early enough to do a sun filled 3 hour road ride. I took the long long way to the gym. Headed out to Awenda park and around the point. This is still one of the nicest loops in our area. No traffic, good pavement and the views of Georgian Bay.

The Shoe tree sprint line

That's it

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mike Garrigan of JetPower ripping it up the run up.


Andrew Watson of Norco Evolution battling it out in the first lap. 2 of the fastest cross racers and Canada.

More below.
Dear Mother Nature,

Please continue being kind.

Your favorite cyclist

The last few days have been amazing. Spent Saturday playing in the trails with Lee, Andrew and Rob. The 8th line was perfect for a 3 hour tour. Lee and I got into a "what ever you can do I can do better" game with logs and obstacles. I think the logs won in the end.

Cyclocross was originally on my agenda for the fall. Yep, thought it would be a great way to finish up the season. Then I raced one and went into early retirement. I did have fun at my one and only race of the season but it was a pretty easy decision. My knees are feeling really good right now and my coach kinda frowned at me with my thoughts of cross. What is the best way to control me. Take away my bike. I've loaned out my cross bike for the season.

Today was the Barrie Cycling Club cross race being held at Hardwood Hills. A perfect day to be a spectator. I did ride this morning. Did you know that the roads are empty at 8am on a Sunday morning. I got to Hardwood just in time to see the 11:30 race. I also got to see my bike in action. I've said it before, Brett Matthews is a kid to watch over the next couple years. I figured someone fast should be riding my bike.
videoYes those squeals are coming from bikes brakes. Nice tuning I must say.

Brett battled it out with team mate Steve Noble in the final stages of the race finishing 5th.

The 1pm race brought out the big boys in Ontario. It was awesome watching Andrew Watson and Mike Garrigan destroy the course. Mike road up hill that 99 percent of the riders had to dismount and run. He led from start to finish in Elite. Andrew finished 3rd. The pace they set was scary as they lapped some of the Master 1 racers.

My computer is being a little stubborn right now and won't let me upload another video. That or it's the fact it's Sunday night and I just want to relax.

More later

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm posting more now than I have in the last few weeks. Must be the cold or maybe the fact that it's dark at 6:30 or just the fact that I have nothing better to do. Probably a combination of all 3 with emphasis on the last.

With the call of snow. Yep the S word, goes well with the F word. Not that F word, flurries in the forecast I figured I better enjoy the pavement while I can still see it. At least we are not getting the up to 20cm of snow that my friends in Ottawa are getting. Suckas!!!!

The wind has been nuts the last couple days and temperatures just above the freezing mark I headed for the hills. At least with climbing there is a lower windchill. The intensity level is pretty low right now and I have been enjoying it. Headed out towards Vasey line and the long way into Coldwater. This is a great route with rolling hills and a couple long climbs. I also rode past the new house. I know I'm a little ahead of myself since I have yet to see a sold sign on this house yet. AWWW the new projects. 2 hours of pavement was all my fingers and toes could handle.

A project on the go is my 1994 Gardini road bike. I bought the frame off my sister a couple years ago and had yet to do anything with it. At first I started to set it up as a fixed gear and did get a few rides on it but then it went back to collecting dust. Well it's under full out construction now.

Building it as a 1x9 with 42 tooth up front and a 12-25 rear. This will be my crap weather bike. Friction shifter linked to a Sram x-9 means shifting will never be a problem. A set of Mavic Aksiums will still keep the bike pretty quick and with good ol steel construction the ride will be smooth. Brakes and levers are in transit from Georgian Cycle. It's a pretty pimped out bike for what it's going to be used for. I'll get a few pictures up once it's finished.


I did manage to amuse a couple cows on my ride. Made me feel special. Time to get the shovels ready. Arg


Monday, October 27, 2008

Should have listened to myself

After a great ride the day before. 3 hours endurance in the trails is always a great ride I attempted to do the next best thing. I planned on riding a mix of rail trail, road, grass fields and some sort of trail. Why, to keep my minimal amount of Cylocross skills in check.

Well the best thought out plans can go south real quick when Mother nature is in a pissy mood. I don't know who mad her made this time but she has some cruel ideas.

I left the house and the weather looked questionable but hey it was the same yesterday. I think the worst thing I did was delay my start time. All morning the sun fought to come out.

Just ride I thought. After the quote from Andrew that riding the trainer in October was just wrong what could I do. Maybe listened to myself??? The first 45 minutes were great, running the bike path then cruising the shoreline of Georgian Bay. The cross bike does have it's perks.

Good things come to an end. In a matter of 30 seconds I went from being warm and dry to soaked and cold. The wind picked up and the rain came down so hard that I couldn't wear my glasses. Then came the hail. Ya. A Canadian drive-by with Mother Nature throwing up gangsta signs.

My endurance ride changed to survival mode. Head down and taking the quickest route back to the house. Hmmm that trainer looked really good at this point.

Part of this ride was to keep me ready for a possible attempt of the Barrie Cycling Club's cross this weekend. It's going to be a last minute decision.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall riding in Ontario can be alot of fun. Ok let me rephrase that fall trail riding in Ontario can be very interesting. Pretty much all the leaves are down which means finding the trail can be tough. I've been trying to get as much trail time in before the evils of winter come knocking.

Of course the weather report for this weekend was supposed to be crap and I had the first session on the trainer planned for today. I can deal with rain during the spring when I'm getting close to race form but riding in the cold and wet in the fall really doesn't excite me to much. Yep, being wimpy about suffering

Well procrastination paid off. The clouds cleared and the phone rang. This all happened about 20 minutes before I jumped on the hamster wheel. Andrew basically yelled at me for even thinking about not riding outside today. Well I did get my revenge. Loaded the car, the Molly Monster and the full suspension up and headed down to Andrew's place. Tom's forest was the playground for the day.

Now about my revenge on Andrew. So I am far from any type of fashion guru, hell I think jeans, t shirt and sandals are dressing up BUT I do know that you never wear socks and sandals while wear shorts. Now this just takes it to the next level.
videoRubber boots and spandex has Walmart written all over it. I was actually hoping he was going to wear them while riding.

Anyways the trails were great. Just under 3 hours of strictly singletrack is so good for the soul. We cut over to the 7th line grid but were shut down pretty quick. They are logging this section and trying to track the trail was almost impossible. The rest of the trails off the 8th line were in great shape. Alot of planning for the 2009 race season happened during this ride. I know way to early to be planning for next year but that's just me.

Of course my other training partner had a great run. I tired dog is a happy dog.

Tomorrow is another day to play.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I think this video says it all. You can use what ever language you would like to describe it.

I really didn't feel like playing in it tonight so my road ride was put off.

On the home front, offer has been signed and if things go well there should be a sold sign in my front year with in the week. That also means a sold sign on the new house. I'm getting a little excited now, just a little.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

LSD is not a drug

It's that time again, time for my fix. Now like all junkies, they begin to migrate together. Yep, new training partner and with both have the same dealer. The biggest bonus of this is who it is I'm training with. Andrew has seen the podium many times in 24 hour events and is a great marker for me to gauge off. We are on the same training schedule since we both enjoy having Heather beat the crap out of us.

Today was the Big Chute loop. Still probably my favorite road ride in the Midland area. The weather was a typical fall day. Plus 12, awww you know winter is coming when we have to start saying plus since the numbers are getting low. The sun was shining, thats all that mattered.

We pretty much had the roads to ourselves today. Fall riding in cottage county. 3.5 hours later we rolled back into my place. My legs are feeling really good right now. On the non training side of things my house has been a hot spot this last week. Offers are starting to come in, if things continue I will hopefully be packing in the very near future.

That's it, no video right now


Thursday, October 16, 2008

24 hour training for 2009??? Sorta

Had a package delivered today. No inflate-a-dates, no pink flamingos, no whoopee cushions. For those wondering, all of the above is on my Christmas list. This was a good package though. My first round of Infinit arrived today and I had a ride planned for the evening. Perfect time to try things out. I've been really excited about this stuff. I'm just using the ready mix 5 hour training mix for the time being. Heather and I will figure out the mix for 24 hour races in a few months. Lets just say that I really like it. Light taste which is fantastic. I hate overkill flavour because it has a tendency to kill the taste buds and when it's warm, well lets not go there. My wonderful stomach had zero problems which also has me very very happy. This is one part of prep for next season. The other is basic training. I've been riding with Heather (the slave driver) when I can. Gives us lots of time to plan and also keeps me riding sane. It also gave me a chance to play with my new toy.
videoPicked up a new mini video camera, neat little toy. Ok back to the tonight's adventure. It was play time in Tom's forest. It's a great place to do some fun base rides. Of course this is when you can see. We left at 5:20 with 2 loops planned. As you can see above, the trails are in great shape. This was a rare clear section, most were leaf covered. Either way we could see. The fun of fall riding is the fact that you can do a night ride without waiting till 10 pm. Or in this case 7 pm. As we finished up the second loop the light disappeared quickly. Yes I have lights, so does Heather, They seem to work better if you bring them with you. I think Heather's had a little plan with tonight. I love night riding and I usually don't slow down very much when the night laps come. Well here is the new master plan. I will ride my night laps in stealth. I can sneak up on my competition and pass them without ever being seen. Of course this means practice of riding blind and using the force. Yes we are riding in this video.
videoBy the time we got back to the car this idea was pretty much sent to the bottom of the prep list. Back to the original plan of slashing everyones tires at the start line.

Wow, hard to believe that I'm already thinking about 2009.

Time to eat some carrots, just in case the tire slashing thing fails.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Not much exciting going on. I put my whole off season in over the last 5 days. Now it's back to business. The bonus side of this is that fall riding is amazing. Spent 3 hours playing in Tom's forest riding with my coach. No intervals, no hill repeats, no wanting to vomit at the end of the ride, for now at least. Just cruising.

Heather and I got a chance to talk about next seasons plans. Also about the hellish works outs I'll be doing on the computrainer. Great, I can't wait.

Unfortunately my camera is M.I.A. so no pictures.

That's it that's all. Enjoy your turkey, I know I am.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

keeping your food for thought cold

I'm getting off the bike and up on a soap box for a few minutes. Being a cyclist being aware of the environment is something that just follows along hand in hand. Hey we need someplace to ride don't we. Now as you know I own a major appliance service company. Yep I fix things like fridges. This little shout out is about the Great Refrigerator Round Up that our has been going for the last year. What do I think?

It's bullshit. Don't do it, keep your fridge. Here is why. It is the most shorted sights pile of crap I've heard when it comes to saving power. Yes your fridge uses electricity, guess what so do the new ones. So here is why you should keep your fridge going.

First, they will only pickup fridges that are still working. HMMM ok so that means they want you to throw something out that is still good. Yep sounds like a government run program.

Second, your old fridge may use a little bit more power than a new one. Say 20 cents a month more, now I wonder how much power it takes to mine the minerals to make the steel frame and components and what about the factory that makes the refrigerant. Oh what about the plastic factories that are need to make the shelves and liners. I guess there needs to be a factory to that has to put it all together. Oh ya one more thing, what about disposal of your old working fridge?

If you want to make you fridge working efficiently, keep it full. Empty space changes temperature very quickly, an empty fridge will work harder. I've noticed there have been alot of these commercials for "every kilowatt counts" lately. Phantom loads etc. Fluorescent bulbs, at least they are finally making ones without mercury now. They are trying to persuade you to buy all this energy saving stuff and toss all that power sucking product in the garbage. Where is the power savings??? I always thought that shutting off the light switch when you're not in the room was the best way to save power. Fixing things is always better than throwing it out and buying a new one.

Not to sound like a conspiracy nut but do you wonder if maybe Hydro One doesn't want to spend any money and update their power grid so there are no power concerns. Hey if you conserve all this power but yet your rates continue to go up and Hydro 1 doesn't need to change a thing. Hmmm sounds like a good business plan. For some strange reason it doesn't seem to stop all the township buildings from leaving their lights on all night. Oh ya stick it on the little guy.

Alright I'm stepping off the soapbox before someone kicks it out from under me. Bike stuff, not much, LSD rides. Heather has me heading back to the gym, my favorite place. Will play at the Barrie cross race in a couple weeks from now. Should get some good rides in this weekend. Gotta burn off that turkey.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

decisions of the day.

It was really really tempting. I'm still wondering if that would have been the better decision. I decided to try Peter's method of racing. In a hung over state at 7:45 am I swore a couple times, filled the travel mug with very strong coffee and put the cross bike on the roof. Destination, the Hillbilly Hustle Cross.

This was my first attempt at cross. I did watch a few clips on youtube a couple days just to get an idea of what I was in for. I'd already decided I'd race in Master 3, knew a few people in this division from O-cup and figured the last thing I needed to hear was sandbagger by racing in beginner.

Thanks to Mark Matthews for babysitting the Molly Monster and grabbing some photos. I was a little later getting to the venue than planned but managed to get a bit of a warm up in. Sitting in the start loop I was very content to start at the back. Before the race I got a few tips about staying with the lead pack because gaps are hard to bridge. Ok no worries, tuck in the group for a lap or two then see how things feel. Great race plans last about 10 seconds in my life.

After a few words of be nice to me I'm new and a few return comments of hope you brought lube since they all planned to hurt me we were off. After the abuse I took from Paul's Dirty Enduro I really didn't want to be abused again. As mentioned my race plan lasted about 10 seconds. Heading up the start climb I'm sitting on first wheel witha gap already spreading to the other riders. Now I thought I rode the whole course in warm up, not even close. We head around the school bus where there was a picnic table full of empties, flashbacks to the night before. We come into a short little singletrack section next thing you know I'm leading.

In through the downhill section I'm now pulling away. Yep there goes the game plan completely. Coming into the uphill barriers and remembering what I saw on tv I continued to spread the gap. I'm thinking hey this is not that bad.

Finished the first lap feeling good, then I blew up. There is no rest in Cyclocross. Usually at this amount of time into a XC race I've hit a couple singletrack sections where I recover, on the road I can tuck in the pack and catch a draft. Not out here. Halfway through the 2nd lap I got caught by a guy from Bikesports. I thought that might be a good thing so I had someone to try and pace off but he rode past me like I was one of the barriers. This lap really hurt but this is also my normal feeling in a race. The next lap and a half I kept a steady pace. I kept looking over my shoulder.

I now realize why you don't see battle cages on most cross bikes, it's impossible to drink. My legs started to come back on the 4th lap and I started to figure out where I can recover on the course. The hurt started to be a fun hurt. The really cool thing about cross is how spectator friendly the course is. People don't have to move far to cheer everyone on in different parts of the course.

Coming into the final lap I pushed as hard as I could. Roughly 10 minutes left and I can fall over and die. One more time up the hill and I'm done. I crossed the line in 2nd place. I was pretty stoked about that. Oh and I'm now hooked on this abusive sport. I'm going to race one more race in M3 just to gain a bit more experience then I'll move up to M2 and see how it goes.

Some of the other highlights of the day. Brett Matthews took 3rd in his first ever cross race. Looks like his Dad will be buying another bike from him. Brett's still representing the MCC but will be riding for JetPower next season also. This kid is getting really fast.

In the Elite division it was a battle of the best. Andrew Watson who is the defending Hillybilly Champion would be defending his title against Mike Garrigan who is the current National Champion. Watching these guys hammer the course was awesome. Mike ended up tweaking a wheel on the 2nd lap when he tried to bunnyhop a barrier, this is when Andrew passed him and never looked back. A bike change for Mike but the damage was done. Andrew continued to put about 30 seconds in Mike every lap and held on to his crown for another year.

Round 2 of the day was the Mountainview Race the Night that turned to a ride the night. It was a disappointment that the event was cancelled. We still have 10 people show for the ride.

Lee explaining the theory on atom splitting???

Are those aliens in the woods?

Greg doing his first ever night ride, I think he is hooked.

I played on the singlespeed for the first time. Lots of fun, kept trying to shift gears on the hills. Today is a day of rest, recovery and maybe that plate of bacon.

More pics from the cross race later.