Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Broken spoke!!! Did my big huge powerful legs break it?? Doubt it. 45 minutes out and I hear that wonderful pop and feel the bike slow right down. Of course this was on the crest of a hill. I've been running Mavic wheels for the last couple years and I have to say they are amazing. The only problems are a grand total of 3 broken spokes, 1 on each wheel set.

No other option but to turn around and head back to the house. This was not a bad thing in the end. My feet were freezing. For some reason mother nature was in a crusty mood yesterday. The sun was out but it was just an illusion of being warm outside. The wind was relentless and the temperature was hovering just above the freezing mark and dropping.

new socks and wheels and I'm off again. I'd promised the Tri club to help do some tech training on the time trial course in the evening. I had the cross tires on so decided to take the fun way over to the course. Gotta love mix up things with some gravel.

After all was said and done I finished up with just over 3.5 hours on the bike. My feet did thaw eventually. I'm looking ahead at the weather this week and I have this strange feeling that I'm going to have some very long indoor rides this weekend. Blaww but its better than 5 hours in the rain.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mansfield O Cup

Ok where to start. First off I did race and I did finish!!!!! Yeah for me!!!!

I have never felt like a fish out of water but I was full of dumb questions today. Found a few friends that are O cup masters. First thing was feed zone. I'm so used to the endurance stuff where solo racers have their own pit area. The feed zone was only about 40 feet long and would be packed with people. Awwww don't worry about it.

Do all the prerace crap and warmed up. Considering the 3.5 hour ride yesterday the legs felt pretty good. Sitting in the start area I'm seeing alot of faces and I had a few of those what are you doing racing a short race questions? I asked that myself a couple times.

I was in the 35-39 age group so watch 4-5 groups leave before us with 2 minute intervals between each. Managed to get staged on the front line. Of course the nerves kick in . Deep breathes. I'm focused on my line up the first hill. Did I mention that we start with a .5 km long hill right out of the start. Great way to split up the group.

Go!! Hit my line and pushed. I wanted to be near the front at the top of the hill before the first section of single track. Did one better and had the lead coming over the top. Not knowing where my race pace endurance is at I knew I still had to ride some what smart. Of course I still had that attitude. Right full out if you blow up you blow up. I played right in between those two thougths. I was passed about half way through the first lap but kept him in sight and held his wheel going into the next climb.

The pace was stupid fast. I knew there were fast guys that are hanging in the sport class. It was less than half the lap and we started to pass the 30-34 guys.I felt good, ok honestly I was thinking holy crap this hurts. Coming into the timing tent I'd dropped to 4th but in sight of 3rd. Did I go to hard to early? Would I hold on? Does it take me an incredibly long time to warm up and feel good?

I would say the last was definitely true. First feed zone. Meg spots me and calls out my name. I really didn't think I would go though as much fluid as I did but I'm glad we had extra bottles ready. Perfect hand off with a smile.

Still in 4th and feeling the rhythm. I'm catching more and more of the slower riders from other age groups. Everyone was really good about passing today. I caught a up with Mark about half way through this lap. We pushed each other for the next few kms. Mark was still having some early season legs happening. Gotta go. On certain switchback sections I would see 3rd place and start counting the time between us. Should have been breathing.

This was where I made my one mistake on the course. Fast downhill into a couple tight bermed singletrack turns. With the right line you can come through it and hammer in the big ring. If you were off, well, this lap I missed the line. Got caught in my big ring. I;m really surprised no one caught me there as I grunted for a about 10 seconds trying to get going. The rest of the lap was smooth.

3rd lap, feed zone, another bottle another long climb. Of course now I'm starting to find my rhythm and I'm running out of time. I start to really push things. Not much time left now. I'm not gaining on 3rd but not losing time to 5th. No worries. Yep had to happen

About 2km out from the finish line I noticed that my brake handles were a bit high. HMMM Maybe the last hour and a bit of anaerobic has distorted my vision. Last km is where I figure I was luck. For the 2 long climbs the pay off is one hell of a wild downhill section. Lets just say that loose handlebars on the flats is one thing, at 45km/h its a little scary. Hit the bottom of the hill stood up and hammered the last .25 kms into the finish. I'm done, that hurt.

Ok so here is what I thought. Holy crap that hurt. An 8 hour solo hurts alot less. My average heartrate was 181. I finished 4th in my division and I'm feeling pretty trashed That was so fun.

I'm very happy with my results. I have to give Meg a huge thank you for today. You were amazing. I do have a new respect for short course racers. It is a sufferfest. Maybe after the 24hr Summer Solstice I'll focus on the shorter events for the rest of the season.

I'm trashed, early to bed. I finished, I'm happy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

3 times a charm? 3 strikes and you're out? Things come in 3's? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, Won't get fooled again. Ok I know the last one doesn't flow but the concept is the same. 3rd race of the season is tomorrow. Short race, about an hour and a half. My attitude right now is will I race and will I finish?

Bike is packed in the loaner car. Back in a Subaru. Still not impressed right now with the crap involving my car. More on that another time depending on the outcome.

My legs are a little sore and tired today. 3.5 hour ride that ended up being a bit harder than what was planned. It didn't help that I could still feel the indents in my legs that Dr. Bill left in them yesterday. Why the hell does everything beneficial hurt so much? Awww suck it up.

They are calling for great weather conditions for tomorrow and I've heard that the course is pretty fast with nothing in it that has to be prepped for. This is going to be the first test of the XC Carbon. I'm looking forward to it.

Race report and pictures tomorrow. I'm hoping that this report will not be full of swearing again!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sandbagger. This is what I expect to hear this weekend at the first O-cup. So I'm putting my defence out there early. I have never raced in an Ontario Cup Race so by their rules I have to start in sport class.

Trust me when I say that I don't want to. Not to lower the ability of anyone in this division. There are some crazy fast riders out there. I've been so focused on the long distance stuff that short races never even came into my race schedule. This year it was more of the why the hell not!!!

I honestly would rather race in Expert or Pro Elite and finish mid pack than go into the Sport class and be mentally thinking that it's not fair that I'm here. I'm not saying that I will win these events. BUT, Everyone that I race against in the endurance events all race at the upper levels. I know that I will have to work my ass off to do well and I'm used to catching people after a few hours having less than 2 hours will be a whole new thing for me.

I am looking forward to the race this weekend. I skipped my workout tonight. Lots of stress with the car. I won't go into it yet because I'm hoping things will be resolved very quickly. I think the legs are happy with the extra day off the bike.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Finally got a bit of trail time in today. I'm into a recovery week so the plan was 1.5 hrs of max zone 3. That went out the window pretty quick, I was having to much fun. My excuse was forgetting my heart rate strap. If you don't know the numbers you can't follow the numbers right?

It's felt like a long time since I've been in single track. The feel came back quick and with the first O cup less than a week away I figured I better get a little bit of trail riding in.

I had to bring the Molly Monster, she saw the XC come down and went nuts. She still knows what bike she gets to come and which ones she is sitting on the deck.

So first thing, I love my bike!!!! I only raced the XC Carbon once at the end of the season and I was really out of it at that time. This bike as stupid scary fast and climbs amazing. I can't wait to race this monster.

Back to the ride. Things are feeling great, eyes are getting used to the quick response needed in the trails, the body is smooth on the pedals, flying through the trees. Awwww single track.

About 35 minutes into the ride things changed. Tom's forest is one of my favorite trail systems. I know it like the back of my hand. Well someone broke my hand and moved things around on it.

Being a township forest means its pronened logging. HMMMM kinda funny that I see this on Earth Day. The guys have trashed the place. I spent the next 25 minutes on and off the bike trying to find the trail. They really did a number on the area and half the system is now not ride able. I didn't go into the other grid but I'm hoping its fine.

They could have at least left the trail clear and piled it to the sides. Looks like I will have to find another playground. Anyways, great ride when I was riding. Bike is ready for the weekend, legs are ready for the weekend. Hoping that my racing bad luck has come to an end.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What the hell is happening? I'm sitting here at 7 am at the hotel extremely frustrated. Today is Paris to Ancaster. Roughly 1200 racers in this 60km race. Well subtract one off the list.

Had a great ride yesterday. 3.5 hours with the Midland crew and the legs were feeling amazing. Lots of power, already for today. Car loaded and on the highway. Here comes the first delay. Huge accident on the 400 shutting the Highway down. Ok, no problem, take the long way. Traffic is getting thicker and slower. I'm thinking I' m not going to make the 5pm cut off time to pick up race kits.

Of course this leads to me getting a little lost. More frustration. I did manage to get in just before 5 but by now I'm down right exhausted. 3.5 hours on the bike followed by 3 hours in the car. Not fun.

So this is where things really take off. Up early, stretch, eat, drink coffee etc. Fill the bottles, load the car, check out of the hotel, get in the car, turn the key. F#*K. It's turning over but will not start. Yes this is my pretty new Audi that will not start. Lucky the rooms are sound proof otherwise I would have woke up most of the hotel.

Here is where I have to decide. I'm a 20-25 minute drive to the race. I have to be there by no later than 8:15 to get my bike loaded and jump on the bus to the start line. Cab? Ride to the start? Car jack someone? No, to far not enough time, thought about it but 5 years for it isn't worth the race.

Couple phone calls to some friends to vent and I'm on the phone to CAA. The decision was more linked to the ride home., Do I want to sit in A big honking truck on the 401 early on a Sunday morning with no traffic with a coffee. This is also including not being covered in sweat and mud. OR!! do I get to the race, hammer the shit out of it then deal with an extremely long drive home during rush hour traffic uncomfortable and not rolling into my house till god knows what hour tonight.

Pretty simple on what I was going to do. It's funny that as I type this in the lobby of the hotel the front desk staff mentioned that other people have had bad luck staying here for races. This is no more than 5 minutes before I guy comes in to check out. He was here to race also and had to cancel it because of a flight change. Hmmmm the curse of the Comfort Inn? I did have a good sleep but I'm now thinking I should have slept in the car!!

Do things come in 3's? Next week is Mansfield. I sure as hell hope not. Well the plan for today will be getting a couple of hours of hammering in once I get home. I'm into a recovery week so at least I can deal with the car issues.

Hope everyone has fun today. I'm not.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting closer. Cross bike is back from Georgian Cycle, tuned and ready to rip. Legs are feeling great. Not much else happening. The snow is melting which makes me happy. I need some single track in my life.

That it, that's all folks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It was the perfect conditions yesterday to bring a bit of pain. Yep another day of climbing. I managed to get a sucker, opps I mean buddy to come with me. Alex answered the call and I gave him the distance that I was riding. I guess I should have brought up the route that I was going also.

The roll out was nice with the wind to our backs for the first 15 minutes. That was the last time it would be behind us.

The ride was supposed to hurt with the route. The added 40km/h head wind just added a little more resistance. Ok a lot more resistance.

Alex calling his Mommy to come get him? Nope, but needs to ignore his boss when he is out playing!!!

2.5 hours later I rolled back into the house. Legs felt great, well as good as they should. I'm wondering what the first Ocup will be like this year. There is still a ton of snow in the bush here. No trail riding here yet.

Sunday is Paris to Ancaster. I'm told that the course is clear of snow. Good.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Uxebridge Icebreaker

Things didn't go completely as planned. This is my 4th year doing this race and I have to admit that I love it because it is usually a test of the elements. Cold, windy, sometimes raining. Add this in with mud and a bit of ice means one awesome race. Hey I like to suffer. This year was different.

Was up bright and early and feeling good. Car loaded, coffee cup loaded, sun shining and the temperature hovering just below the freezing mark. Great day for a race. Because of the prerace report I had both a mountain bike and a cross bike on the roof.

Uxbridge is north east of Toronto and usually the snow is pretty much gone by this time. Last year it was a mud fest and the organizers bumped the race date back a couple weeks hoping that there would be less environmental impact. I couldn't even imagine us racing two weeks earlier.

Still indecision on what bike to ride on I did the the kids loop which had about 4 km of our loop in it. This would give me a little idea of what shape the course was in. I think I should have ridden farther!!!

This was what I thought would be the worst of the course. An I thought this would be kept to a minimum. I was wrong.

It was a good foot deep but the rest of the trail was very much ride able. Cross bike it was. As I rolled into the last km I came to a nice section of freshly shoveled single track.

I think it was single track.

The 50k guys line up. I'm among some fast company. 3,2,1 and were off. Things feel good. Ok let me rephrase that thinks were bare able. It has been a long winter. Even with all the miles during the winter nothing gets you like that first km of racing. Everyone is hammering, heart rates are spiked and there isn't a rider out there that can put more than 5 words together without pausing for a breath. This included me.

I had my race plan layed out last week. Take it easy in any area that I had to dismount and hammer the road sections. Would have been fine had there been less off the bike sections. We will get to those.

The course was shortened this year because of the amount of snow. Total distance was 18.5 km according to my Garmin. It was no more than 2 km in to the course when the non ride able sections began. Hell, walking it was hard.

I kept pace and was hanging at the edge of the top 10. We hit the road and I'm able to hammer. Sweet. A turn to the left took me out of contention. For the next 4km there was more running sections than riding. For me this turned into a walking. I could have kept pace and run but the last 4 months of physio and the bigger picture popped into my head. Not worth trashing your knee on the first race.

I backed down. This sucked I thought. I got passed by at least a dozen people in these sections and watched them pull away from me like I was stopped. Walking si stupid.

We hit the road. Finally. Of course the top 20 are ants in the distance for me now. Very hard mentally to deal with but got into my rhythm and started to pull them back and caught 5. Awww shit back in the bush. This was when I made my decision.

The last 2km were close to the beginning of the race. So much snow that it was hike a bike. The riders I'd passed caught up with me while running.

I'm done after this lap. Of course I was a little pissed off that I was bailing on it but I'm thinking long term. I don't think the organizers had ever expected to run an event with these types of conditions. They did another amazing job. I'll be back for sure next year.

Now being done early is great because you get to see the look on the people that suffered through it. There were not to many looking happy and smiling.

The long course was won by Mike Garrigan finishing in less than 2 hours.

Next event for this guy is Paris-Ancaster. I'll get to ride the bike the whole race!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gentlemen, start your engines!!!!. Well kinda, sorta. The 2008 race season begins tomorrow morning. Hmmmm I'm wondering if this is the sign of things to come. The race tomorrow is going to be hell. From some pre race info from the organizers it really sounds like there will be as much hike a bike as riding.

My game plan for tomorrow is pretty simple. Don't kill yourself on the the hike a bike sections. My knees are feeling awesome, the last thing I need to do is mess them up on a race that really doesn't matter to me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to hammer but by the description of the trail conditions it's going to be the toughest year yet. More snow than any other year. This still has me in decision on which bike to race on. Bringing both the cross bike and a hardtail.

Dave at Georgian Cycle will just roll his eyes at me when I drop the ridden bike off on Monday.

That's it for now, race report and hopefully lots of pictures tomorrow.

Till tomorrow

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mother nature hates cyclist!!!!! The last couple days have been a little cruel. When it's not just above the freezing mark it's crazy windy. Well after being inside all winter anything outside is better than the trainer.

This included the small rivers I was riding through that are supposed to be roads. Lots of flooding in the area. Makes the ride interesting. How deep can you go on a road bike? Maybe the question is how deep do you not want to go. At least it's getting the sand off the roads.

Looks like the Icebreaker is a go. The course may be shortened due to lots of snow. Still unsure on what bike I'll be racing on. Normally a cross bike is needed to be in contention. Last year the top 20 were on cross bikes. With the snow fat tires may be the option.

The weather looks mean. Plus 3 and rain, flash backs of last year. Well the body is feeling as good as it should. This is just a training ride. Not concerned where I place. Of course I'm going to hammer it but I'm sure the legs will feel a bit draggy with the ride scheduled the day before.

Maybe Mother Nature will have a chnage of heart and warm things up a bit. Hoping


Monday, April 7, 2008

One hell of a great weekend. I'm really hoping that the trainer and rollers are put away now. My plans were slowed yesterday with a couple uncontrolable delays. I was not complaining.

Met up with my bike rep yesterday. Paul brought me some goodies with the excitement of more on the way. The last week has been great with new toys coming in. A carbon seat post is now on the cross bike. Since I will be riding this bike on the road until my road bike comes it will be much enjoyed.

I'll have a review of the Akona Biospeed transition bag in the next couple days since I have yet to check out all the features.

It was a day of sponsers helping other sponsers. The main part of my morning was helping Dr. Bill's wife get setup on a nice pretty Blue RC5 road bike. I was there more to drink coffee and nod my head. Of course with the sun shining and tempatures riding my mind is going get on your bike!!!

That did happen but I had to trim my ride back a bit but the end results still put smiles on my face. Things are coming together. I also scared the world with my winter white legs yesterday.

65 kms yesterday, just under two hours of riding and no anarobic times. Power is there.

As for the race decision. I'm going to stick to the Icebreaker this year. I will have to be careful in the hike a bike sections, the knees are feeling good so I'll back down things there and make it up on the road. I'll be bringing two bikes since I've heard that there is still a considerable amount of snow in Durham fgorest. Cross bike tires may be a bit to thin in the slush.

Work time. Later

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring is here. Woo Hoo. The weather was perfect. Indoor rides are done. Hoping.

The post went out and a few showed. I was hoping to have some company for today's ride since it was going to be a long one. 3 suckers opps I mean buddies showed.

It was time to put a bit of pain back into Dr. Bill after all the abuse he puts me through. The route was a loop through Awenda Park and then I would split off to add my own miles in.

Brandon, one of the local power houses when it came to Time Trials managed to sober up and bring his new toy out to play. This is one of the only guys I know that rides better hungover. I can't do that to myself anymore. Takes to long to recover. His carbon Guru is pretty sweet.

How can you not love this area to ride, No traffic, no smog, sweet!!!

At the 2 hour mark the group split. At least Rob stuck with it for the extra kms. After spending 17 days riding in Alabama at a training camp he is stronger than I have ever seen him. Feel sorry for the guys in his division this year.

Amazing views

Not just cyclists had spring fever today. I have never seen so many deer on a ride before or at anytime like today. 10 in total.

Rolled back into the house at the 5 hour mark. Legs were feeling it right near the end. I stuck to my training plan which is sometimes hard when you get in a group ride. The boys like to pick things up from time to time and those sprint points always add a bit of excitement. Not today.

Now I've been through into a decision. Big Ring (Craig) has decided to pass on the Icebreaker this year along with a couple others. He sent me an option out in Ottawa. It's their version of Paris Roubaix. HMMMM decisions. I'm not registered for the Icebreaker yet.

I'll debate over the next couple days. I still do love the Icebreaker but this year is definitely going to be an interesting one with all the mud and snow.

Decisions, decisions.

Right now the decision is food.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pedal, pedal, pedal, coast. Yep, it was a day of hills. Nothing exciting about this ride. The high speed bike handling skills are coming back quickly. Good thing because spring has sprung and between the mix of roadkill, potholes and sand on the road anything over 60km an hour is a little nerving.

2 hour ride and it was nice not wearing 6 layers of clothing. Unfortunately this is that time of year that is extremely hard to dress for. To much and your sweating your ass off in the first 20 minutes, not enough and you start to get cold later into the riding. My problem was the later. My feet were right at the edge of the comfort zone.

The weekend weather is looking amazing, plus 9 and sun both days. Time for some long outdoor miles. Still way to much snow here to play in the trails. Can't even find the trails yet. Soon but not soon enough.