Sunday, August 31, 2008

training blahs

My attempts of getting some race pace miles in on the Provincial course went to the shits yesterday. Yes, I do get to ride it. The perks of the club. Of course it didn't work out to plan,I crashed. Not hard enough to do any major damage but hard enough to blow a tire and tear up my knee. Ya my favorite possible body part to have damage done to.

Of course it could have been prevented. The hardtail was still set up for Albion Hills and with 1500 plus riders the course was pretty much a smooth as pavement. Mountainview is not. It's dry, really dry. There is soft sand on top of hardpacked. This means not alot of traction. Tire selection for the front end will be decided in a couple days. No rain in the forecast. It's still the best course to finish out the Ontario Cup season. Just thought of this, Cross season starts in a few weeks. Woo Hoo. Ride the Vomit Comet.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Provincial Course Teaser

I know this guy, his name is Thomas. Thomas built some trails. Thomas met a couple guys named Adam and Sean. Thomas designed the provincial course. You are going to either like him or hate him once you ride it.

I went for a hike yesterday with the Molly Monster. Since Mountainview is not a public cycling venue I thought I would be nice to all those that will not get a chance to see the course before provincials.

Of course pictures do not do justice to the course. It's a tough loop but it will be a hell of a lot of fun. You can click on the photo to make it larger.

The Start. This is only in the first lap. Going up, way up.

The rest of the laps take the singletrack climb to the top.

The halfpipe, pictures do not show how steep it is.

From there you are at the top of the hill and head into Downfall. This is my favorite decent at Mountainview. Bermed corners with some rollers. Of course your heartrate will still be spiked from climbing up and it's a physical downhill that turns right back up to the top. There is no recovery spots yet!

Going back up

This is where we head in to the rock garden.

Yes there will be some doubletrack in the course. Up till this point it's all singletrack.

We start to go down again

I'd forgotten about this trail section that links to the creek bed climb. From there it's back up again on a doubletrack climb.

Rip through some fast rolling corners till we come to this. Yes you can launch off this rock.

Rip down Donny's Drop which is a series of bermed switchbacks then to the closest thing to a recovery section. Of course it's the section that is perfect to big ring.

Decisions, up the rock or not.

We hit some of the off camber singletrack. Lots of short steep climbs mixed in.

Unfortunately the most of the last climb was not available to be photographed. More so it was to hard to actually show how steep it was and all the switchbacks. Did I mention the roots and rocks?

Everyone will be happy to see this sign as they finish their last lap.

Thomas has definitely designed a course worthy of championships. It's got everything from the steep climbs of Kelso to the rocks of Buckwallow and the fast bermed singletrack of Albion Hills. SingleSpeeders are going to work hard here. It is rougly 8 km long and some of our fastest club racers are running 25 minute lap times. If you go to and go to the Series Results, the last 2 weeks have been on this course.

This is also one of the best spectator friendly courses. There are lots of places where you crisscross close to other sections of the course. Just to remind everyone that they can preride the course at the weekly series on Thursday night. It's $8 and there is a BBQ afterwards. There is also the Saturday before. Besides that all you can do is stare at the photos above since Mountainview is on private property. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

no pay no play

I think my coach will give me a little smack. This is the first time that I have had to skip a workout. BUT! I have a really good excuse. No my dog did not eat all my bikes but close. I had yet to clean the hardtail so there is one bike down, plus my SLR is now gone to be rebuilt. The rim failed, this is the first ever real problem I've ever had with a Mavic wheel. I was out for a recovery ride last night on the cross and noted that it needed TLC and the road bike needed to have a little lovin. SHHH about the f/s even though it is still sorta apart.

Either way the body is enjoying a full rest day. I'm still a bit tired from the last couple weeks of racing and add the last couple weeks of work on that with the truck ordeal etc I think it was a great excuse. Ive also been able to decide on the races for the next month. Provincials are in but they will be a training ride, Paul's dirty enduro unfortunately is out. The Hardwood 8 hour will be the final major event of the season.

Wow, it's getting close to the end of the season already. On my way up to the restaurant, hey if it's a rest day I might as well have a rest from cooking also, I noticed some Canadian geese. Do you know what direction they were heading. hmmm Makes me wonder what the fall temperatures may be like, let alone the winter.

Speaking of winter, I picked up some videos from Neil Ireland. Neil owns Cadence XC, for those of you out of the main loop in Ontario or just not paying attention during events, he's the guy with the video camera surgically implanted to his head.
Ok maybe not that far, but built into his helmet for sure. Neil is at almost every major Ontario event taping all the excitement along with a lap of the course. What better way to winter train than to watch what you will be racing on once the snow melts. For us dirt lovers watching endless tour videos will help get us by but nothing beats seeing some kick ass single track on the tv while sweating our a$$es off on a trainer in the living room.
His link is below.

I'll be back pedalling my ass off tomorrow, why did i skip on the easy workout? Quick note, I will be checking out the provincial course in the next couple days and will have lots of pictures to help scare the world. Ok maybe Ontario as they raid our little town next weekend. Just remember what goes up gets to come down. 3 times a lap!!!

Foods here,


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hot August Nights The long story!!!!

What a great weekend. Where to start. I was able to get down to the venue early because of a not planned out vehicle failure. Trust me when I say this was not what I wanted and no is was not my car that broke. My Element for work had the differential break and take out the transmisson casing. Ya, trust me not impressed. After 20 stressed out calls from Honda it was taken care of.

Now the weekend began. I was there early enough to get a few laps in of the course with Andrew. Since we have the same coach we also have a very similiar fire up routine. This was the first time on the course and trust me when I say I was smiling. Lots of climbing and singletrack. Yep this was going to hurt.

Now this is the first time in 4 years that I either haven't solo'd or tag teamed this race. This meant I had a bit more relaxed attitude on Friday about sleep etc. Those Misfit boys can tear into the beer. Adam Ruppel brought out the flat screen and fired up the women's Olympic MTB race. Beer and biking, what a better way to spend a Friday night. Let's just say that I was very hydrated at the end of the night and since beer has carbs I was fueling the system. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The boys all rolled in on Saturday morning. The team, Mike Mazza (the captain), Rob Nishman and Kevin Webster. All Expert level riders. I was given the honour of first lap. HMMM was this an honour, not to sure about that. Rob did get me staged at the front while I warmed up. The first lap adds about a km or so of double track.

Yes, thats me facing backwards. No I didn't stay that way.

I'll be honest that I was not sure what shape my legs were in. 6 days since the 9 hour. I felt ok during the warm up laps but those were only with some short intervals. Well as they counted down from 15 seconds I had no choice.

Adam making sure the path was clear for the pain train.

Go time, 240 plus racers starting, 24 hours and counting down.

Pushed hard and came into the timing tent 20th overall and handed off to Mike. I put 2 minutes into the 2nd place team and we never looked back. The boys kept the lap times sub 50 minutes all the way into the night.

So the bonehead move for me for the whole race. Coming back from my third lap, I'm coasting back to our campsite and have a hand of the bar as I take a drink. Right where the paved road turns to gravel I hit the only and I mean only pot hole on the road. Things in motion stay in motion, right over the bars. Rob witnessed it, lucky there were no children around because they would have been asking Mommy what those words mean. No injury except for my pride.

The light was fading but our lead was growing. We had a 20 minute lead. Of course one mechanical is all it takes and with the night amongst us adding possible light failures to the mix always is in your mind. I wasn't thinking that, I had leg failure on my mind. My legs felt like shit. I could not climb and since I'm supposed to be a strong climber that is not a great combination.

I also ran into a minor bike problem. A spoke on my rear tire came loose. It didn't break but I heard this weird ticking noise from time to time. Of course during the lap I wasn't going to stop and look. Once back I checked things out, I couldn't fix it, over to the tech tent, they couldn't fix. Crap. Wheel swap. Unfortunatly my other wheel set had a beefer, heavier tire on them. Later in the race I didn't mind having the extra grip in the back end on some of the tough sand climbs.

As the night went on our lead grew to about 30 minutes. After my fourth lap I opted for the best thing I have ever done in any 24 hour race. I had a massage. I did not want to get off the table!!! Our lap times stayed steady. With timing I ended up doing 3 night laps. I love my NiteHawk lighting systems and have never ever complained about them. Until now.

What is my complaint. They work great for solo since the intesity is lower. The light is very much a spot and even with the dual bar mount I was wishing for a bit wider of a beam. This course was so windy that I was forced to slow down more than I wanted to because of this. I also had a battery failure on my third night lap and lost my bar lamp. Awww could have been worst.

As daylight approached we still had a 30 minute lead, the guys were starting to get tired. Hell 18 hours of racing, I hope so. Coming into the last couple laps Kevin had to become Dad a bit early so if wife could get a could laps in for the Cyclepath team.

As the clock ticked down and I finished my 7th lap we had an uncatchable lead on 2nd. Mike hammered out another fast lap followed by Rob sealing the deal with 4 minutes left before the noon cutoff. I had debated about going out for an 8th lap but I lost that debate to Mr. Alexander Keith. It's been along time since I was able to hangout and watch the drama unfold amongst some of the teams. We had first with no questions.

The drama was between Barrie Cycling Club and Long Sault Long Shots in the corprate team division. With a very short amount of time left the LSLS were up about 5 minutes on the BCC guys. Mr Andrew Watson hammered out the fastest lap of the race at this time with a 38:08 and had his team leading out on the last lap with a 5second head start on the LSLS rider.

Don Gain was the man for the job here. He set the pace going up thisnasty sand climb. Things were close heading into the last 5 km of the course, in one of the last short punchy climbs Don cramped. Unfortunatly he wasn't able to recover quick enough from it and the LSLS guys took the win by about a minute.

The awards, after a long race nothing gets you revitalized than hearing the cheering of free stuff being thrown into the crowds!! The list of friends who tore up the course was long

The over 40 solo winner, Mr Dave Stowe. He needs to have the respect of Mr since he did this on a single speed!!

Andrew Parry took some revenge on Albion Hills finishing 3rd in the under 40 solo. He was riping it up in the morning. Great job Andrew!!!

Unfortunatly I didn't get a picture of the womens solo division. Tanya tore up the course with 17 laps and Angela did amazing with her first 24 hour solo taking second. Great job ladies.

The Tag Team Division was dominated by the boys from Big Ring. Tobin and Rick kicked ass. Great jobs boys. Hey Tobin can I have my tag partner back?

The boys, team Cranked. Rob, Kevin and Alex, Me and Mike.

The boys from Oakville rolled up for another win in their division.

We won't do the math on Ben's team. Let's just say that the total age allowed is under 100. 1st for them.

The crew from Big Ring Racing. Great job guys. The BRR guys cleaned up in every division they had a team in.

And finally the corprate teams.

The photo of the day.

If they had put this in my cage I would have defintly gone out for another lap!!!

There were alot more catagories and contratulations to everyone else.

So it' comes to an end, the 24 hour season is over for 2008. What away to finish it. Thanks to the boys from Misfit for cheering everyone on and keeping us smiling when we suffered up that climb. Rob, Mike and Kevin, did you convert me to going back to racing on a team again? Hell no, that hurt way to much but if I do, I would race with you guys again in an instant. Thanks for letting me play. Of course thanks to the boys from Chico for another kickass event.

I'm going to take a few days off the bike. Eat some chicken wings, drink a few beers and rest. I'll look at the rest of the season when I am not tired!!

RobreThere st

24hr of Hot August Nights, short story

The guys kicked ass on the course and it showed. End results 27 laps, 1st place in division. I'm exhausted. Full write up tonight or tomorrow, lots of pictures. There were some great rivalries and battles at this event. More on that later.

For now back to the day job. It's going to be a coffee filled day!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Calm before the storm

"I'm hear to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum!" The best line ever from Rowdy Piper. I think I just admitted to the world that I used to watch wrestling. Let's push the Used To part.

The car is packed and I'm probably more relaxed than I've ever been for a long race. No panicking about having everything ready and on what time I will be at the venue etc.

This is probably my favorite of the 24 hour events. The course always has more singletrack and alot more climbing compared to the SS course. I'll get a lap in late this afternoon. I've heard that this is one of the best courses ever laid out by Sean Ruppel.

The only unfortunate thing for me this weekend. The Olympic mountain bike race is on this weekend. I'm hoping that Adam will try and live feed it on Saturday night on the movie screen. I'm used to only seeing about 20 seconds of every movie as I went through transition.

I'm hanging in campsite 75 and the team name is Cranked. Stop in for a beer. I'll have lots of pictures and a race report up on Sunday/Monday. Maybe even some hardware to add to the collection.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random thoughts about my stomach

Yes my wonderful stomach. For those that know me well and those that have been sitting at the start area when I'm present have all heard it. That wonderful gag reflex. Some carry their stress in their shoulders, others in their neck. Me when my nerves get going I sound like I'm going to puke up a kidney.

So where am I going with this? Back to the race on the weekend and the fact that it felt like someone had stabbed me a hundred times in the stomach. I spent Sunday relaxing and refueling. I was down a bit of weight because of the lack of fluids and food able to bring in, looking into what may have caused it. Final decision, no more Sustained Energy for me during short races.

I was fine during the 24 hour with it because I was mixing it in with some solids and that seemed to work. I love that line don't try anything new on race day. The problem with that is how often do we go out and do a 9 hour training ride at race pace. I know, I know, we don't. So of course problems like this don't show up in day to day training.

Live, learn, won't do that again. My legs are feeling good and I'm off to play in the woods with the slave driver tonight. Heather and I are heading out for a night ride. I haven't played in the dark since the 24 hour and with another only a few days away I figured I better get my owl vision back in check.

Anyone that's down playing this weekend, stop by for a beer. I'm racing on a 4 person team called Cranked. I'll also be helping Andrew Parry in his pits when I can. Hoping he ripes the course apart. It's going to be a much more relaxing race weekend than I've had in a long time. I think I'm only going to bring one bike, I can eat real food and get to hang out and have fun through out the race. I have this strange feeling that I won't sleep anymore than I normally do.

Back to the start of this thought, my stomach, time to put some food in it. possible pictures from the ride tonight later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mountainview 9 Hour

Mountainvew is my home track and this had me really motivated to do well. It's a smaller event but that doesn't mean the level of riders is small. Heather had me going out with a new plan. I was to back things down in the beginning of the race. I'm notorious for going out full blast and usually leading the division.

I was feeling great at the start. Normal routine, chatting it up with everyone at the start line.

Thomas gave me the number 1 target plate. Thanks. I won this event last year but I knew this year it would not be a cake walk. Mark Summers of the Misfit crowd was in the field. There were a few other riders there that I was unsure of. Yep it was going to be a long day.

Time to go to work.

Everything felt great. I kept my pace under control. The first lap was fast but I did not push that hard. Got into my rhythm on the 2nd lap. This was the pace I was going to stay at for the race.

Mark came into sight and was running about the same lap times as I was. He would catch me on the climbs. I would back things down going up while he had no choice but to muscle that single speed. I would put distance on him in the singletrack. It played like this for about 3 hours.

I started to feel a bit weird. The legs were there and the pace was the same but I just new something was off. Keep pedalling. I caught up with Brent from Velocity. As we went through section of singletrack I lost focus for half a second and had the bike come out from under me. Smashed my knee into the bar. Got back up, cursed a bit and continued.

Next couple hours were pretty consistent. Same lap times but I continued to feel some weird things. My abs and stomach began to get sore along with some internal stuff below that. Climbing started to get a little uncomfortable, not in the legs but when I got my hearrate up. I was also having a hard time getting fluids in along with food.

Coming into the last couple hours I was feeling like absolute hell. I was battling myself to go back out for each lap. My energy level started to drop but my whole front area was getting to me. Mark was about 10 minutes ahead of me at this point but I had a lap and some time on 3rd place. I got off the bike and sat down for a full 10 minutes.

I knew then I wouldn't catch Mark. I also knew I had to get back on the bike. I battled every lap. I really slowed down hoping I could just get around the course. Every lap I would stop for a minute or two and try and get a gel in. Brien, who was in third was able to get on the same lap as me. I still had time to play with though.

Last lap came around and I rode as hard as I could. As I came into the timing area I confirmed that Brien was in 3rd and that I had about 25 minutes on him. No chance for him to catch me, I'm done. Thank god!!!

No more than 5 minutes afterwards I'm throwing up. I saw some interesting things in it. What does Sustained Energy look like when it's partly digested? This is where I started to think. I've used it before with out problems but today was strange. Once I disposed of my stomach contents I was able to stand up straight. I still had some gurgling happening but felt 500% better.

I'm going to do a little research into mixtures with gels etc. Of course Hammer says that you should mix with their gels.

All said in done I finished one lap down from Mark. It was a tough 18 laps. This was definitely the hardest course for solo's. There was no real rest on the whole course. The one very very short section of hard packed double track was it. I was wishing for my full suspension a few times during the race.

We couldn't lay down for the podium photo

The tag team winners.

The 4 person team. The winners were a very stacked team of Provincial Team members along with National Champion Mitch Bailey

Mitch had the fasted lap of the event.

I'm happy that I was able to push through. I'm disappointed that I didn't get a chance to test the race plan. I really would have like to battle things out with Mark later in the race. The fall 8 hour?

Today is a day of refueling and recovery. Also need to get the hardtail tuned up. It's a 24 hour race next weekend. I'm happy to be playing on a person team.

Thanks to Mom for keeping me moving, Thomas and the Wood family for another kick ass event. For all those that missed it, Provincial Championships are in a few weeks along with Race the Night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The count down is on. Getting the last few days of training in before the Mountainview 9 hour. It was a recovery ride day so a quick tour on the rail trail.

The legs are feeling good. A little sore but that good sore.

My plan for this race. This is the only view that my competition will see. Just kidding.

I am in a good place right now. I'm not nervous at all. Every athlete Heather coaches have always said that the felt perfect on race day. If with the new race plan which of course I will not share with you, I'm relaxed and in a happy place. AWWWWW sigh. Actually I'm really excited, I want to see how I feel and what the end result will be with the new approach.

So the bikes are basically ready to go. I'm in the finally stages of making the hardtail happy again. BMuckwallow was hard on it. Old faithful, the NRS, will be tucked int eh corner just in case.

I guess you could say I have all my ducks in a row.

I just noticed something as I'm typing this. It's dark and its not even 9pm. Wow, summer has flown by. There is still a ton of racing left but the better thing to this is NIGHT RIDES!!!!!!!!! Hot August Nights is next weekend. I'm racing on a 4 person team. The guys are all fast and very serious. Sweet. I think I will have to get a night ride in next week.

Alright gotta get the last bit of tuning done.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ontario Cup #6 Buckwallow

I think it has be officially renamed muckwallow. Short story. I had fun, alot of fun!!

What I saw first thing this morning.

Long story. It's been raining steady for the last 2 days. It was slick to start with. Buckwallow is the most technically demanding course of the series. Oh, wait till they come to our home track for Championships.

Was up to the event early, promised Dr. Bill I would do his bottle feed. This also meant that I get a chance to hang out and cheer on the crew from MCC.

The course was modified at the last minute because of the rain. It was still going to be tough. The 9:30 start had alot of fast riders. This also had the singlespeed division. MCC had a few riders in this pack with Davis Ross and the father/son combo of Dale and Thomas Wood. Thomas is the course designer at Mountainview.

Thomas lined up at the front.

Ran into Tristan Smit in this pack also. Playing with the singlespeeders today. Got a chance to hear what happen at World's. He road well and finished 3rd.

The MCC crew did great at the 9:30 start. Thomas finished 5th in single speed, Dr Bill was 3rd and Mark Matthews finished 5th, Both in the 40-49 class. Pretty fast for some old guys. Erin Wood took 3rd in her first race in sport. I missed the ceremonies unfortunately since I was warming up.

Ok, back to the me part of this. I had this race totally set as training with alot of friends. This still means that I want to beat my friends. I also wanted to make sure I got the points needed to move up a division. But still training.

Sitting in the start coral I was back a little farther than I wanted to be. When the siren went I did hit the front but was gaped by about 10 feet from the first pack. In other words no draft on the long start loop doubletrack. Oh wait there was a draft, behind me as I led the 2nd pack. I didn't mind because I wanted to hit the singletrack in the 5th or 6th. There are not alot of places to pass in Buckwallow and if someone gets stalled up everyone stops. With the rain it was going to happen.

This course did play to some of my strengths. I did what I could to stay off my brakes in the rough singletrack. This was a good thing since the mud basically destroyed my rear brakes half way through the 2nd lap. Some of the course was completely unridable. The roots and mud forced you to run the bike. For me and my wonderful knees had me concerned but I had no pain at all and managed to pass alot of riders in these sections.

I hooked up behind Dave Enns on the 2nd lap. I was sitting in 5th with Dave in 4th. He worked it right and let me pass him on the double track tucking in behind. If I would have been concerned about a strategy I would have made him lead or tried to drop him. I just kept things steady so he had a free ride till the singletrack. We battled back in forth for the next lap. He would drop me on the double track and I would pull him in on the singletrack.

This was great until my rear brake really faded completely on the 3rd lap. I wasn't able to pull him in the last few singletrack sections. Crossed the line in 5th. I'm really happy with the result. I'm pretty sure that I have my points to move up. Jeff had a great result taking 2nd in our division. Another MCC podium. Also Lee winning the 20-29 sport class.

The highlight was at the 1:30 race. Brett Matthews. Start watching this kid. You will see him in Pro Elite in no time. The only thing stopping him is his age. He is only 15. He took 1st today beating National Champion Mitch Bailey.

So the damage. Chain, bottom Bracket (it was due), all derailleur cables and casing and a set of rear pads.

Stopped in to chat with the coach on the way home. Also went over the strategy for the 9 hour. I'm not telling but lets just say that it's alot different than what I've done in the past. She has laid out the pacing, I'm really excited to try it. Yep I'm in a happy place again when it comes to riding!!

Alright time to do the last be of bike work before bed. I think Dave will have a bit of work tomorrow.