Sunday, June 29, 2008

recovery ride for the body AND the mind

I've been in a weird place the last few days. I'm starting to realize why. I've been lying to myself. I've been saying that the decision at Solstice was the right one and that I was ok with it.

Anyone who knows me knows how focused and driven I am. Well the last few days I've wanted to just stare at a wall and not care. Why. Because I'm pissed about the race. There was alot more to it than just placing well. There were some things from my past that are haunting me. I few people in my close family know what those are. I'm working on those things now.

I know that I should look back at the event and take the good from it along with what went wrong. I've done that but I've been finding it hard to recover mentally. There is still alot of racing left for this season.

This is where today was hopefully the start of stage two of the race season. I loaded up the bike and my favorite training partner into the car and was off to Tom's forest. This ride was all about me. No0 training regiment, no heartrate zones, no cares if I stop for a breather. Just have fun.

Plugged in the mp3 player and just cruised for the first 20 minutes. The legs were not happy at first little bit but began to loosen up. It even took a little bit before I started to smile. It did happen though. The flow started to come back.

The Molly Monster was happy to be out also. One of a few puddle stops. SO much for my clean car.

I started to having fun. Hell I was have an amazing time. With singletrack like this how can you not. This is definitely what I needed. The mind is clearer, the body is better, still a little sore but better and my focus towards the next race is starting to grow.

On the drive home it was a quick stop at the lactic flush. There is this great fast flowing river on the 7th line that I usually stop at for Molly. Well it works great for my legs also. I swear the water couldn't have much more than plus 5. My legs felt great after they thawed.

So what am I thinking for the rest of the season. Lost in the Rocks and Trees is first up followed by the Hardwood 8 hour. That will get me through July. August still has some tentative events in it. I'll start picking up the training again this week. I think I'm going to be spending more time on the trails than the roads for the next week or two.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Post race blahs

I have never wanted to sleep so much. Let me rephrase that. i have never slept so much. This week has been all about recovery. My body is slowly feeling better, the knees are not to bad but I have yet to turn the pedals. I'll be on the bike this weekend for some short rides.

Of course all hell has broken loose with the company. This is the normal way things seem to happen. There are times it would be nice to just be an employee.

I've had lots of time to rethink the race and things that happened. What would have worked better, what worked perfect. The nutrition side of things started coming together later in the race. I'm still content with my decisions made during the event. Shit happens that you can't control. I can muscle my way through an 8 hour race and still be near the top of the standings. A 24 hour race everything needs to come together.

I'm in decision of what to do for Hot August Nights 24 hour. Heather and I have talked about Tag Team. This is what I am hoping. Her concerns is on recovering from it so she can do Crank the Shield 3 day race a month later. If she is not able to ride then it's searching for another super fast rider for tag or the other thought is to run it solo again. My concern about the later is that I really really want to race the Mountainview 9 Hour the week before. I won this race last year, it's my home event and it's also just down right fun!!

So here is the call out, if you are interested in tag team let me know. I've given Heather a couple weeks to get her training planned out before I register.

Alright time for work.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The long story. Summer Solstice

Where to start? I was feeling really good coming into this race. Lots of rest. I don't think I have ever been so well rested before. I was going to need it.

Loaded up and ready to roll on Friday afternoon.

On the drive down was the first sign of what was to come. We went through a crazy downpour/thunderstorm. I love riding in the elements but this was also what would lead to my finish. It didn't last long but of course it had me thinking.

The setup was done and it was time to relax. Adam takes care of us with the same site as usual. Right beside the course at the road crossing. Great for the support crew.

Alright, time for the race. I woke up feeling good. It was warming up fast. This would also be a factor. After an easy warm up ride Dr. Bill stretched me out. It was great to have him down there.

The start. Meg was down early to stage me near the front. Of course trying to spot her was tough with almost 400 riders in the pack. A quick glance around to see who was where. Andrew Parry and Tristan Smit were together just to my left. Two of a couple people I would be aware of. Even though he was in a different age group everyone was looking for Hendershot. Found out later that he didn't make the race. Matt Klymson was up at the front also.

The course didn't have a huge amount of climbing in it but the start loop has a few to split up the pack. It also has lots of chatter bumps. The count down begins and the pack swarms forward. My plan was to keep Andrew in sight for the first lap then pass him on the second. Tristan and Matt were going to hammer hard right off the front. I wanted to be somewhere in the middle of them.

5 minutes into the race I reached for my bottle. Shit! It's not there. Somewhere in the chatter bumps it disappeared. This lap is going to hurt. I had to back it down or I was going to hurt. We passed the timing tent and I caught a glimpse of my sister and let her know what happened. For the next half of this lap I'm hoping that she is able to get to the mid way point of the course with a bottle before I get there.

Didn't happen. I hit the feed zone, no sister, no bottle. Shit. The guy in front of me had already heard my concern as we hit the mid way point. As we go through he hands his bottle to one of the volunteers and calls back to me. Drink. I'm not sure what he had in there but I didn't care. It was fluids and I needed it. I owe you a beer and then some. Thank you.

I started to pick up the pace again. Lap 1 done. Refueled and rolling. Now I don't think any of the riders realized how hot it really was. I found my rhythm on the 2nd lap. This was the pace I wanted to maintain. Near the end of the 2nd lap I passed Andrew. He was in his zone. He was an energy efficiency junkie. No wasted movements.

The third lap was steady and feeling good. Loving the course, no traffic in front of me. Go with it. Just under and hour. The fourth lap was interesting. The lap itself was fine, right around an hour. I had a bike swap to do at this point. I was on the hardtail for the the first 4.

I sat for a second and was about to eat some real food when it hit. HMMMM my stomach feels funny. "HMMMM, get up Matt" I crossed to the other side of the course and proceeded to put at least two bottles of Cytomax into the bush. Overheat. My sister thought quick and had ice on me in a matter of moments. 5 minutes later I was eating and drinking again, gotta go. She made me sit for another 5.

The next couple laps were pretty steady with just over an hour lap times. I had a few moments of blah's and low energy but they would rebound the next lap. I was sitting in 4th at this point and only a couple minutes behind 3rd. I was sticking to my plan.

Next bike swap was just before 8 pm. We had some dark clouds roll in and the trails got dark. Some thunder rolled through. This could be interesting. The rain did hold off but I had lights on the bike. I was feeling really good at this point and didn't want to stop. Unfortunately the bike had a different attitude. About half way through the lap I started to wonder why I was leaning forward so much. I hit another bump and looked down. The shock was rebounding but very slowly. What to do? Screw it, keep riding. I tried to ride with as little weight on the front end as I could. Hit the pit, quick bike swap and I was back out.

The next two laps were pretty mellow. Of course the energy level was dropping a bit at this point. There were a couple points I would look forward to on the course to keep me going. One was the Albion Witch section of single track the other was all the boys from Misfit Psycles. They set up this dance party at the mid way point of the course. We were routed right through the center of it. Every time through I came out smiling. Those single speeders know how to put on a party.

I started to get revitalized just after midnight and my lap times started to get a bit faster. I was also in a great mood. No pain, was having fun and making jokes with the pit crew as I came through. Things were looking good. Still in 4th.

It was around 1pm when hell began to freeze over. Ok, maybe not that bad. This is when it started to rain. Now normally I have no problem with this. Unfortunately the course had some issues with this. The sugar shack shuffle is about 3/4 of a kilometer of rollers about 3 feet high. ALL CLAY!!

Everything on the course had been ridable to this point even with the rain. I came into the sugar shack and the bike slid out from under me. Hey there are people on the ground. Not good. We all took turns trying to ride a little as the others followed pushing/pulling their bikes behind them. For me this was not a good thing. It was extremely slippery and I was sliding everywhere. My knees were starting to scream with all the twisting. It took roughly 15 minutes to get through this section which usually took just a couple minutes. I came out of there a little concerned. The rain was still coming down.

The rest of the lap was fine and I was still sorta happy. My energy level had been going up until this point. The rain had let up a bit and I was still ok till I hit the sugar shack again. This is where I went downhill. The first time was hard, this time was worst. I fell a couple times and felt both knees scream stop. For those that don't know, I spent most of the winter rebuilding all the stabilizer muscles. Huge tracking problems caused from a race very similar to these kind of conditions.

I also had slowed down enough that I began to get the chills. When I say I went downhill I think dropping like a rock was a better description. I was alone this time going through the shuffle and it took every ounce of strenght to get to the other side. I stopped on the other side. Head down. The wall and it was huge.

Not sure how long I was like that but I hear this voice. "Are you Ok?" Ya I respond lifting my head. Not sure what the full words were but it was something like Alright Matt lets walk and keep moving. It was Peter from Misfit. He managed to get me moving again. Thanks Peter. He was in the same boat as me. Racing in the over 40 category. We hit his pit area/dance party.

Tom (Nspace from MTBR) grabbed me a Misfit shirt and helped to get me going. The next 30 minutes were hard. I was getting cold and my energy was low. Going down hill was torture. I finally made it back to my pit. Sat down and started to shake. 3 blanks and beside the fire it took forever for me to stop. Decisions.

My knees were in a world of pain. Climbing hurt, I'm done. It was the hardest decision I've made in a long time. I've raced with 2 broken ribs, a foot I could barely stand on and severe cramps. Lets just say that all the drugs I took earlier could not even control the pain. Of course I'm also saying to myself you are close to standing on the podium.

In the end it was the right decision. As shitty as it was. I have to say thank you to my family for helping out so much at the race. Everyone was awesome. Meg for love and support I needed at the right times. Brent for keeping my bikes going, they ran perfect. Peter for getting me moving again. I think I could have become a permanent fixture had you not come along when you did.

This was a hard race for alot of us. Andrew had some problems with the heat, it was disappointing to hear that he was out. Matt Klymson had back problems and was out after 6 laps. Congratulations to Tristan. You were untouchable this weekend. Also to Rick from Big Ring Racing taking 6th. Well deserved. Dave Stowe was back at the top also. I know there was roughly 2 minutes difference between him and 1st place. I have not seen the final results.

As for me, I'm taking a few days off to recover. I'm starting to look at the next races already. Lost in the Rock and Trees 100km and the summer 8 Hour are probably on the agenda.

It's time for a beer. There was probably alot more to bring up but that's all the brain can handle right now.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice Race report. Ths short version

Just got home. Feeling trashed. Race didn't go as planned. Lots happened both physically and mechanically. Every possible weather element except snow. All the top guys went out except for Tristan who was untouchable today.

Will fill in the details later. For now sleep.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Final days of prep. All the bikes are back and tuned. Gear is ready to roll. Support crew is prepped. What have I been doing the last couple days. The same as the Molly Monster. She's got style.

I've been pretty mellow the last few days. It's almost scaring me that I can slow down this much. The legs are feeling pretty good. They actually feel a bit weird. Oh wait they are not sore. HMMM new feeling.

The weather is looking like a mix bag. Sun, cloud, chance of rain, high in the mid 20's low in the single digits. Hmmmm does this make you start to wonder if they just randomly pulled the weather forecast out of a hate. I think the only thing they didn't put in the forecast was snow. You never know.

Race report will be up sometime Monday.

Till then


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

packing, eating and sleeping. That's it besides the day job. More later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Solstice preride

Lets just say this. I was kinda shocked at the course. First off, it is a really fun course. Now the shocker. There is not very much climbing. There are lots of short steep grinds but no long accents. I'm actually a little disappointed. Since I do like to climb.

Now on another note, I think this is one of the more technical course that the Ruepel's have put together. HMMM is Shawn on a kick, first the 8 hour being more abusive than normal now toughing up the course at the 24. I like it.

It is definitely course that gives you a craving to do another lap. The Albion Witch is in the course again along with a couple more pine tree sections. I think all race courses should be built around pine trees.

There are a few new sections that have never been used in the past along with a fresh cut section that at this particular time sucks your momentum to a crawl. With the traffic of 2400 riders it won't take long to become fast.

I rode 3 laps at a conservative pace. Off the times I rode per lap I would be figuring that the Elite team riders will be running 42-43 minute laps. I'm planning to be a bit slower than that.

Ended up meeting Andrew Parry at Albion. He had the same idea as myself and almost the same riding plan as I did. We rode 3/4 of a lap together. He is riding strong and will be major threat out there next weekend. I still look at his bikes in aww. Andrew is a good 6'3" and rides Gary Fisher 29'er full suspensions. They make my little carbon hardtail look like a 5 year olds bike.

My legs felt good. It's funny, I'm not used to having them not be sore and tired. Well that will change in about 6.5 days. I've pretty much decided to bail on the Ganaraska race. That poison ivy is a bit scary. I'll do my short hammer ride either at Mountainview or Tom's forest. The Molly Monster needs a good run.

For now it's relax time. Tomorrow another ride. Sorry no pictures. You will just have to ride it yourself.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everything is coming together. I took a couple days off after Rideau. More to get caught up around the house and get some of the final prep work for Solstice done.

Lighting for the support crew is now taken care of. It's hard to keep a tent lite up while being as environmentally friendly as possible. In other word no generator! With lots of research and searching I have a huge power box that should keep things bright for them.

I've been toying with racing this weekend at the Ganaraska race on Sunday. I think this is going to be a last minute decision. It's that poison ivy that has me thinking. I'm not planning on falling or getting off the trail for any reason but that's not to say that it won't happen. I also spent enough time in the car last weekend that I'm not sure if I want to spend another 5-6 hours driving on Sunday for a sub 3 hour race.

I'm riding the Solstice course on Saturday. I'm interested to see what Shawn and Adam come up with this year. Will get 3-4 laps. I pretty much know every curve, root and climb there so I'm hoping there will be some new trail cuts added.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Rideau Lakes Tour

It's been a couple years since I've been able to do the tour. Time conflicts with Summer Solstice usually has me hearing about it instead of pedaling. The Rideau Lakes Tour is run by the Ottawa Bike Club and lets just say that it's huge. Over 2000 registered riders and lots of bandits. I've been a bandit myself once or twice.

So what's the big deal with this ride. Well back to back 180km days on some amazing roads. Did I mention the hills yet? I'll get to those. Basics first. We start at Carlton University in Ottawa and ride to Queen's University in Kingston. Eat, Sleep and ride back the next day.

Our crew slimmed up a bit with only half a dozen of us. I'd be riding with some of the Big Ring Racing guys. Up bright and early we headed out from the University. Let's just say that if we could have left at 5am and missed some of what was to come I would not have complained. We can start with he word headwind and I'll go from there.

Unfortunately our small group of 7 had different paces in mind which put us down to 3. Tobin Rick and myself which meant lots of work ahead. Hopefully we can hook up with a couple more riders to share the rotation.

We did ride with one group for a short time but things looked a little scary. There were a couple wobbler's in the group and the last thing on my list of things to do for the day was to hit the pavement at 35 plus.

The boys agreed and we broke away.Of course this meant no rest. The pace also kept creeping up as did the temperature. I have not really had much heat riding to date. By the time we hit Kingston I was not all that happy. Now the part about the hills. The first 100km is relatively flat. Some roller but nothing much. From Westport on the fun begins. Now of course the famous Westport hill is a decent on Day 1. I hit 85km/h at the bottom as I crossed the bridge. How strong is carbon?

We had a rest before the real suffering began. the temperature is now hovering in the low 30's with humidex higher than what I can count with all my fingers and toes.I really do love climbing on the road bike. I'm one of those freaks that loves to jack up the pace at the steepest point of the hill. Today I was just riding to the hotel. That's all my mind kept saying. Something was playing with my stomach, probably the heat, but I had no craving to eat.

By the time we hit Kingston I was pretty much running on empty. Even on empty I still keep a bit of energy for some good photo ops.

Tobin,myself, Jenn(little sister) and Rick

Notice the solstice jersey's This was a prequel to the race in 2 weeks. These are just 2 of the boys I will be battling it out with at Solstice.

It took a while but I finally ate. Lots of sleep and hydration helped.

Day 2 looked like it would be a little more enjoyable. Tail wind and a little bit of cloud cover. Temperature was still going to rise though. On the bike by 7:30ish and hitting those hills. I love starting with hills. I know sick. We hooked up with a father,son and son group. Now to explain a little more 2 bikes a father and son on a tandem. This guy could move. We got a great flow going and hammed the hills. Of course getting a little enthusiastic the pace did ramp up a bit more and more.

My legs were back and my body was feeling good today. We managed to hook up with a couple riders at the right times all the way to Perth. This was the ride that I was looking for and was hoping to have. I was having fun. Riding fast without killing yourself to do it is the best feeling. At Perth this is where I decided to break free and ride on my own. Of course I couldn't miss taking this picture.

I think there needs to be a name change for Tobin. For those that read the Big Ring Racing Blog, he is known as Coco the Monkey. I know he is not to impressed with that.

How about turtle boy? The resemblance is kinda close and they move at about the same pace. Shall the trash talk start now?

I wanted to get a few hours of controlled riding in. With a pretty much flat ride now back to Ottawa and a tail wind this was what I needed. For the next 90 km I had a smile most of the time. I stayed in the high 30's low 40's all the way to Ottawa. Yes the tail wind helped!

This didn't help me from racking up a few extra k's and taking the long way back tot the University. Guess I should have had a map for the city. My appetite was definitely back though. When I hit the university, I found my sister dropped the bike and managed to put a sausage and burger in my stomach faster than I can breath. I know great recovery food. The boys rolled not long after me. A few goodbyes and see ya in a couple weeks and it was back to Jenn's for more food and downtime. The perk of having a sister that lives 30 minutes from Ottawa.

My legs actually felt pretty good this morning. Just the normal tired. Of course I had a nice long drive ahead of me. I think Molly was more exhausted than I was.

Maybe she should have driven and I slept? So the totals of the last 60 hours. 11 hours of driving, roughly 12 hours of seat time on the bike and 24 hours of sleeping. 1000 km on the car, 375 on my legs and zero on my pillow.

The heat training was perfect, the crew I road with were awesome and the ride itself was amazing! I'm hoping to do it again next year.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's been a busy week but some major prep work for the first 24 hour of the year are coming together. The new tent has arrived and is set up in the back yard. The lighting for it is still a bit of a mystery at this time. I'm trying to be as environmentally concusses as possible so this means NO generator. Have a few ideas.

Riding has more matenince right now. I was at the Mountainvew weekly series last night. It was the first mud/rain/thunderstorm ride of the season. Now except for taking a wrong turn on the course and going from 1st to well beyond last in the first lap it was fun.

It's a road trip weekend. Heading to Ottawa for the OBC's Rideau Lakes Tour. This is a 360km road ride over 2 days. Ottawa to Kingston then the return the next day. I've done this tour before. It's pretty amazing to see because there are over 2000 riders doing this event. I'll be hanging with the Big Ring Racing crew. I know they will keep the pace pretty high since most are getting ready for the BC Bike Race.

Will have lots of pictures. It should be an interesting weekend since they are calling for a major heat wave. Gotta love that first heat training ride. Time to get packed and ready to roll.

Back in a few days.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It was a pretty easy decision. Race the Canada Cup or go and play in Tom's forest for a few hours. Hmmmm 1.5 hour of torture, huffing and puffing or some flow riding.

Actually the decision wasn't even mine. Heather recommended that I don't do this race as there is no benefit for me at this point with Solstice only a couple weeks away. With the pouring rain and slick course the risk of crashing was up also. I talked to a few buddies about the event and they said there were a few crashes in my group. Good choice.

This also gave me a chance to play with the new wheel setup. I love these wheels!! the tire

Started to work out some race strategy with her also. I could tell you what we came up with but what fun would be.

Tom's was in full bloom and the trails were awesome. I love riding here.

The camera makes has had better days.

A new addition to the ski box

To the point!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recovery ride for the soul. That's what it felt like yesterday. It was a short camping weekend with Meg's parents. Of course when I asked her if they would mind me bringing down a bike she was pretty quick to say go for it. They understand.

The roads around here are getting a little boring since I think I know where every crack, bump and curve is in every road within 80km of my house. I brought the cross bike just so I could keep my options open.

This was one of those rides that I would look at a crossroad and say lets see where this goes. Armed with my camera, $10, cell phone and a couple bars I was good for a few hours. I also had no heartrate limitation for this ride. It was just riding. The only thing I was aware of was the really dark clouds that seem to be lingering in the distance. After the thunderstorm we had a few hours earlier you couldn't ignore them.

I followed the lake shore till I hit the first no exit sign and turned left. When i hit the first gravel road my mouth changed shape to a smile. This was the best my legs have felt since before the 8 hour. Hell this is the best the whole body has felt in a while. It must have been the thrill of riding new roads. At this point I still kinda new where I was. Now the perk of riding the same roads is knowing where stores are to refuel. HMMM.

I've been making a few right and left now on to a mix of pavement and dirt roads. Still smiling and having fun. Smoking along in the mid 30's on cross tires always puts a smile on my face. This is when I hit a road that I thought I knew where it went. 30 minutes of riding I start to think about which way I was going. That and the fact that I was starting to get low in the bottles and I haven't' seen a store in an hour and a half. YEP HMMMM.

This is the first time I have ever used the return to start on my Garmin. I took the next left and the arrow said I was heading in the right direction. To bad it couldn't tell me in advance that I was about to ride the meanest crushed stone road that I've ever been on. How I didn't get a flat over the next 15km I have no idea.

I also started to question my gps. I kept looking at the arrow waiting for the display to change and say "You're lost sucker" Eventually I did make it back to a road that I knew. It's been along time since I went for one of those rides. I also forgot how fun the cross bike is for making rides like that possible. Pavement is boring.

I had a night ride planned for last night also. Bike was setup and ready to roll. It was just waiting patiently for it to get dark. It's like watching paint dry. As the light started to dim it had some added help of some dark clouds. The rain came in and my decision was made by flipping a coin. Cold, wet night ride alone on a slick trail was not a wise choice. Racing in it is different. I'm not sure If I will get a night ride in before Solstice.

Today is a trail ride in Tom's. Testing the new wheel setup. I will take pictures, promise.