Friday, October 30, 2009

2 week vacation.

I'm getting excited, Some of my big renos like work on the shop etc are coming to an end and the official 2 weeks off the bike is coming to an end. I know I can't go any longer, it feels like it's been a month but it's only 2 weeks.

Sometime tomorrow I will be on my bike, which bike at this point has yet to be decided. Do I test ride the NRS-1speed, do I clean Anthem that still is holding the race plate from the last race. I told you that I was going to step back and cleaning the bike was on the low side of the agenda. Every leaf is down now, trail riding will be interesting to say the least. The Molly Monster needs a good run though. Do I pull out the newly tuned road bike and head out on the Big Chute loop?

I'll decide tomorrow, I just know that my body will be very happy. I will also have more to write about.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Daylight saving time equals?

It's ten to seven in the morning, it's pitch black. By ten to seven in the evenings it's pitch black. This is the worst time of the year for me. Temptation to hide in the house under a blanket till the month of November is gone is always hard to fight off. I swear I would rather have an early winter, at least snow brightens things up.

Maybe it's the lack of sun that's got me in this mood, I'm definitely a vitamin D lover and it helps me mentally. Back to the snow, at least its brighter. I'm going to find it tough getting back in the flow of riding if I'm going to be forced on the trainer already.

So what is the point of daylight savings time? Getting up and still seeing black is always hard. That's what coffee is for right?? But coming home and no sooner than you take off your shoes you are turning on house lights what the time is switched. I think I would much rather have crap in the morning and just drink a pot and a half of coffee to have an extra hour of daylight when I get home to actually do, well stuff any stuff out doors. I wonder if Exposure ever thought that their lights would be used for raking. I will look a little funny wearing my helmet while armed with a rake and a leaf blower. It is a dangerous sport you know, more people have died from raking than from H1N1.

Daylights saving equals, a blahful month of November. Well at least I have this to look forward to. I'll just drink the month away with a mix of riding in there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time management

Have you ever wondered how we manage to do this full time job part time athlete thing. Last night as I was motoring away at one of many things that need to be done around my place I started to wonder how do I mange to train while still maintaining a house.

It's interesting to see how each person manages to do it. Not all of us have the ability to not work and only worry about training. That's because most of us have never showed the talent to even consider that. So how do you do it? After talking with the coach next season my peak week of training will be around the 20hour mark. I only do that once or twice at that length but add that to a 40-50 hour work week. I do have someone of a perk of running a business that I can get out of work a little early some days but I also have a very physical job that really isn't a great recovery time. Some get a bonus of a desk job where the legs get time to recover, some are worst of working in construction etc.

Now we work hard to make money so that we can ride bikes lots but more of that money goes to living expense. Some in an apartment as for me well I have half an acre to take care of let alone a big old house. How do you do it. I look at the leaves in the front yard that I have yet had a chance to rake as I've been working hard in the evenings on the new shop for the business. Of course none of us want to be THAT neighbour that lets the grass grow for a month. I like to live in a nice house with a nice yard but sometimes wonder if it would be easier to be in a condo. Do they make condo's big enough for 8 bikes and a dog?? Oh wait they would get their own condo. Of course that would kill me as I love having my yard.

I'm not trying to complain but I'm asking for examples. What has to be compromised? I'm looking at all I've been doing the last couple weeks and the one big thing that changed is that I'm not riding my bike. Wow, had would I have had time. Now add in the factor of doing all the work yourself as I currently live alone. Some of us do, some do not. Molly does not pull her fair share of the weight around the house. She is great at making a mess but sucks at cleaning up, she normally just sleeps and moans when I need her to move to vacuum.

A continued thing would be the relationship side of things, how would there still be time for it. There are only 24 hours in a day and with work and chores where would that fit in. My lady friend has the timing right of us starting in the off season. This gives me all winter to ramp her up to the words "bye dear, going riding, back in about 5-6 hours" "followed bye those comments "no I don't want to go out late tonight, I'm tired can we just stare at that tree while my legs recover" My lady friend does get it and she does understand, which is hard for some. I got lucky.

So how do you do it? I'd love to hear how everyone else does it. The why part for me is easy. I love riding, I love racing, I love training (most times) and with all of the things I've just listed I do all of those things and still will make the time to ride a bike. The energy it brings me gives me energy to do other things. I do find that I have to compromise on the big projects that need to be done. I could pay someone else to build that deck or repaint the storm windows but it's things I can do myself. Why would I do it. Why would I pay someone huge money to landscape the yard when I would rather do it myself. This gives me more money for racing/riding/bike stuff but it does slow the process down.

That said, the new shop is coming along great. A few more things that need to be done before the snow flies then I'll be inside building walls and cutting down walls. I'm planning on riding this weekend, hoping mother nature will be nice and give me some half decent conditions.

Tell me your stories or your reasons why you do this. Time for that work thing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The countdown

That's right, back on subject and an important one again. The countdown to the official stat of training for the 2010 season. Woo Hoo, sorta. Back to the bike this weekend and I officially start looking at scheduled weeks on November 9th. The slave driver has spoken. We had a great conversation yesterday.

This gives me four more days of doing what ever I want and less than 2 weeks before I start looking at my food intake. I'm just about at my max off season weight gain allowance. I worked really hard to trim myself down to the 155 mark. Considering I started at 168 in the early spring. The plan for this season is to go a little lower, hopefully closer to the 150 mark but I'll do it over a longer period.

So what did I allow myself to go up to, I'm at 158.8 this morning. roughly a gain of one pound a week since the fall 8 hour. Lots of beer, lots of well just lots of everything with very little out put. It's been fun but I know it's not me. The few pounds I've put on will come off very quickly. It's just a simple mind set for wanting to lose weight, fat cyclist goes up the hill slower than a skinny cyclist and since I suck at climbing I can use all the help I can get.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saving the world one appliance at a time

Alright, it's that time. Cycling stuff is slow and I have way to much time on my hands. Ok not really but it's long over due after the great refrigerator roundup scam I thought I would tell you where you can save power the proper way. Your dirty underwear is the problem. Laundry has been the biggest power sucker and water user from the get go.

Yes your fridge runs all the time but it's only running on 110 volts and the power draw is low in comparison to what your dryer is doing. So we can start here. Dryer are never going to to be energy efficient, sorry to ruin it for some. Options, put up a clothes line or a drying rack. This is not an option for some and it does slow down business for me. The biggest way to make sure your dryer is working the best it possibly can is to check your venting. First off if it's plastic, change it. It's flammable to start but also the bends, wrinkles etc slow down airflow. The shorter the venting the better and with the least amount of bends.

Most dryers are designed to have 2x 90 degree bends and a max of 8 foot run. Make sure it's aluminium and preferably the solid pipe. As much as you may think that dryers work by heating your clothes with the element, they actually work by air flow. The pull heat through your clothing so any restriction in the venting will slow this down. If you find lots of lint in your trap, guaranteed that you have venting problems. It's supposed to blow outside. Use things link the auto dry function, this shuts off the unit once the clothes are dry. Pretty basic. Alright that's the simple thing.

The better way to save power and the world, front load washers. More laundry, less water, less power. Now before you toss your washer out to the curb, remember if it's not broken don't throw out what you have. That's just adding to the problem. So the big differences, first off the water consumption, top loaders are 17 gallons of water per fill up versus roughly 5 in a front loader. Now in a renewable environmental thought don't you think that water is a little more important than electricity? Gotta have clean water to put in plastic bottles.

Now if you are due for a new washer this is a very important thought. Don't buy the biggest machine out there. More than likely it's way to big and you will never ever use it to it's potential and it will more than likely cause you more problems than benefits. These machines are meant to be packed full, small loads will cause the machine to do weird things. Think of a car wheel with snow in it. Snow in one side will cause the car to shake violently and if continued it would eventually break something. Well same thought with a washing machine. Have snow all the way around the wheel and it balances out. Full load. The machine will sense all this and may not spin properly. SO if you have a front loader currently, beat the crap out of it, you can't overload it!!!

When used properly and loaded properly clothes will almost come out dry after the spin cycling saving you power, where else at the dryer. Of course trying to show people how much clothing you can put in one of the machines is always interesting, guideline, if you can still put your hand inside the machine when you think it's full, there is still room for more. What does this mean to you, less loads of laundry equals more time to ride.

Now a simple comparison, your fridge is always plugged in but not always running, if loaded properly it runs maybe 60 percent of the time of a 24 hour time period. That means Hydro-1 is only making money off you 60 percent of the time. Now your washer is used probably once or twice a day where both your water company is now tracking your use along with Hydro-1. A top load washer uses a 110v motor which will almost suck up as much power in one load as your fridge does all day. Front loaders are DC motors and will cut that power in almost half and the fact that you are almost doing twice as much laundry in one load than with a top loader saves huge. The water consumption is dramatically lower. Now add in the dryer time, if it's a top loader the clothing is not comping out all that dry. Put that in the dryer and you have 220 volts and huge amps being pulled through for a good hour. That dryer will use more power in that one load than any fridge will for a good full week. HMMM wonder why they promote you to through out the fridge?? Obviously with the front loader spinning 2 to 3 times faster in the final spin means the clothes come out almost dry and this equals less dryer time meaning less expense to you. This is where they should be promoting the savings, not your refrigerator.

As for options on units, I don't even want to get started into some of the useless things that they are putting on them but hey like cars the more toys on them the more things to break. Keeps me very busy. Well it's time for work. Any specific questions on appliances feel free to email me. I promise to get back into the cycling tomorrow. That's only if the 4 Hydro-1 trucks that just pulled in my driveway are only lost and not coming to get me. Are those baseball bats???

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This and that

I'm still working on the save the world with your appliance post. It will be up soon but I've been crazy busy so instead of standing on the soap box to put my spiel out there I've been using it to put a new roof on the shop. The deadlines before the snow come seems to be coming way to quickly.

Speaking of snow, at a place that is know for skiing there is going to be a mountain bike nonrace hosted by the favorite taunter of many next month. Check this out. Hmmm tempting, with the weather we have been having though I think I may pack my skis and snowshoes right beside the bike. This will also be the place to play with the now finished Giant NRS-1speed.

As for the training front, well it's been one full week since I've ridden a bike. It feels like a month, the lack of any really exercise over the last week has also made me very aware of what I am eating. For some reason 4 plus meals a day is not recommended when you are not training. A creature of habit I always find my self wanting to nibble away at something that is in my cupboards but need to remind myself that I'm not burning it off. So I get a beer instead. It won't be hard loosing anything I put on in the fall.

Time on the bike will start to increase again, the Monday Night Something crew will start meeting again on Monday's for snowshoeing instead of on Friday's and Saturday's for beer. My xc skis will get some good miles put into them this year. With my knees feeling fantastic I'll be good to go with a lot more skate skiing this year. Of course having my coach living in my house will also put me in check. HMMMM maybe I should be binge eating for the month of November.

As for the rest of this weekend, heading out shortly with the kids. Ok, I mean the dogs. The Molly Monster needs the run, Mom's dog is doing a hang out with me for the day and I'm picking up my lady friend's dog for an adventure up at McCrae Lake. I don't know who needs the exercise more, me or the dogs. Pictures if any are taken will go up when I get back. Just imagine, leafless trees, muddy trail, cold temperatures, and no tourists. Wow, I'm motivated.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Can you touch your toes????

One of the most important things I've added to my training in the last few years is yoga. With all this spare time that I supposedly have left over in the day by not riding my bike (ya I'm still trying to find all of it) I'm back to making myself as stretchable/flexible/bendable as I can. Gumby without the funny looking horse.

Last night was the first full session and I forgot how good it feels and how hard some of the posses actually are. This also helps with the focus. Who would have thought that turning left while lifting your arms while arching your back could be so hard, oh ya you need to breath at the same time. Multitasking at its best. It's funny but I've found that you can't focus on anything else except for that pose that you are doing. Great for clearing the mind and not as painful as hill repeats.

On the riding front, nothing happening. A few more to do projects have been taken off the list. Now having a deadline of Heather and Jason moving in along with the fun of Mom selling her house and parts of the business being moved to my place sooner has me going full steam on the house and the shop. This weekend has my shop getting ready for a new steel roof. Anyone want to come help? I have beer!!! With the list of things to do I think I'll be counting down till I do start training again. I think it will be easier.

I think it might be time for another appliance story. HMMMM After the don't throw out your fridge because it's bad what can I go to next. How about how to really save energy. It has to do with your dirty underwear.

It's Friday, it's raining, time for work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

home for a rest

Happy to say that my coach will be heading back up this way in the very near future. This will also mean a couple short term room mates. Wow flashbacks to my early 20's where all that is in the fridge was beer and in the cupboards was Kraft dinner. Well it will be far from that.

Heather and Jason will be bringing themselves and their kids (dog and cat) back to the center of the mountain biking world in Ontario. Ok maybe I think this area is the center but maybe its just east of center. Maybe I need more coffee. It will make it a little interesting around here for a couple months till they buy their house.

It will be right about the time that I start to pick up the training again full force. So right now I'm gorging on beer, wine and apparently my girl friend is trying to fatten me up with baked goods. My total OCD mindset is like on the bike when it comes to food. Don't stop until they are done!!! I had cupcakes for breakfast a few days ago. Her comment, it's not November yet it's allowed. How many pounds can someone put on in 10 days?? Hopefully not many.

Finished up two bikes last night and the NRS is on the stand to be finished up tonight. Still lots to do around the house but this time of the year really sucks the motivation out of someone. Dark till it's almost time to go to work, dark not to long after I'm done work. Cold, wet, sunless days. Trees looking dead. ARGGGGG stop it. happy thoughts, happy thoughts. Puppy dogs, carbon frames, beer, single track. Much better.

Things to do, coffee to drink, bikes to build. Happier post tomorrow, promise

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Distractions and the comeback

It's day 3, no riding, wow I sound like addict. Wait I am. So I sent my ass down in the basement to basically tear apart a good chunk of my bikes and do a few major changes in the setups.

First up was my cross bike. It's sweet but I know for a fact that I cannot functionally use a 50/34 in a cross race. The 50 is dead weight. So it's gone. Currently it's just the 34 but I'll be switching it out to a 38 or 39. That took care of the front next up the rear. I have a great 10 speed on the bike which kinda limits my rear setup with the cog sets I have. It is gone, pulled the 9 speed off the road bike and now have a 12/34 on the rear. Yes I know it's a nice big climbing gear. Hey, I'm weak!!! This is also a great winter bike setup.

SO that left the nice 10 speed setup which has now found it's home on the road bike. My highly used and abused Giant will be retired this year as my main road bike but I thought it would make sense that it would be compatible with the new bike setup. If I end up with a power tap I will want to be able to swap between the bikes. This is now two bikes 9/10th of the way done but not ride able. Bar tape is all that is left.

On to the next projects, my Blue XC Carbon has been a single speed for the last year. Kinda a waste of a sweet carbon bike so I'm going to put it back into race use for next season. There are a few Ontario Cup races where a hard tail is perfect, would be a waste not to use it. Anyone wanting to help donate to the cause??? Ebay CC will all be my sources. I want it built but I'm not spend huge money on it.

I do want to attempt to make it as light as possible though, 100mm fork is needed, brakes, seatpost. Attempts to keep it under 22 pounds will be made.

Last but not least, the renewal of an old friend. It's been hanging on the wall for a month or so with me staring at it wondering what to do. I've had this thought in my head for a while on a use but this weekends race was the kick I needed. After watching Andrew kill the field on his SS, a bike that he modifies the gear setup but the root bike is the same, I thought I need a single speed that suits me and my riding style. 29er ridged, not me, 26 inch full suspension, me!!!

So the build started and should be done in a day or so. It's a great frame for it as the NRS system locks out the rear suspension when you pedal. The new name is the Giant NRS-Onespeed. I'm so creative.

My basement is a disaster right now, but it did keep me away from riding one more day. The pouring rain tonight might help influence me today.

Side note, Andrew is still alive and doing well. Season off. I saw him on the weekend and he told me a few of his plans for next year. I think you will see him come back with a vengeance and a smile. Both make a dangerous combination in a race.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shaking already

This attempt to stay off the bike for at least two full weeks is already giving me the shakes. Last night would have been a perfect temperature for a night ride. The leaves are falling quickly leading to the fact that winter is on its way and all trails will be hidden, roads will become slippery and the only dirt I will see is on the floor of the wood storage room.

Mother Nature is helping out, saw the long range rain report. Something to be said about snow, at least you don't get wet in it. Well at least the house will be clean. How do you stop a busy body from being a busy body? Any suggestions? I feel guilty sitting on the couch doing nothing. There are a few more renos on the house that are due including a new setup for storing bikes. The basement is already filling in and the thoughts of a bmx has been crossing my mind.

BMX you say, flash backs to my youth and what got me originally into cycling. It also got me into smoking cigarettes but that is a whole different story. In my late teens I quit one and stuck hard and fast to the other. Then 8 years ago it was falling off the wagon for the bike and putting cigarettes where they belong. Back to why do I want a bmx. For this.

I've been thinking steady about what type of bike I want to bring down to this place. My 29er SS would not be fun, to slow and heavy. My carbon HT SS which I think will be rebuilt as a geared bike, well it's a race bike not bad but not perfect. The Anthem's totally overkill and would rather not take a chance crashing either one out. Do I by a cheap free ride or street bike like a STP or a Nummers? Well it's money that would spend more time sitting in the basement collecting dust. I just want something fun with flat pedals. There is a guy with a ton of used bikes near my place. Think I'm going to stop in for a visit.

Like when I quit smoking, trying to stay off the bike I need to be heavily distracted with other things. What do I distract myself with? More bike stuff. Am I weak? Do I not have self control? I can play with bikes but just can't pedal one that's the rule. Could I do it?

Work time, gotta roll, opps meant walk.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Hardwood 50km singletrack challenge

Well it was not on the schedule, it was not planned, I was not ready to do it but I signed up anyways. The day before I ran into Glen and he recommended that single speed would probably not be a good option. Yep, by the end of the race i was happy to be on my full.

Still having camera upload issues so be patient. Did the normal prerace thing with food, coffee music etc getting into my head. Of course looking out side and seeing the layer of thick frost out he car was not helping my vibe. Added a few more clothes to the gear bag and headed to Hardwood. I love races that are only 15 minutes from home.

The concept of the race is to ride each one of the set weekly race courses in a specific order. The solo's would go in one order, teams in another. This helped prevent overlapping and you also knew who was in front of you. Me, not totally thinking wrote the order on the backside of the plate not realizing that it was printed at the top on the front of the plate. Ya not one of my brighter moments.

Rolled up to the transition area for the pre race meeting. I think this was the first one I've been to in about 5 years. This was different, I actually needed to know what was going on. Strategically placed my bottles on the edge of the trail. Wasn't sure what I would need or go through so one on the bike, one in the jersey and 2 ready.

Rolled up to the line and was nicely given a spot on the front row. Thanks Tom and Winston. The smack talk started no less than 10 seconds later. Of course I was a little concerned about the legs, it's off season they even have hair on them which means they are weak! Just hoped not to weak. We were off. Big group of 130 plus heading up the climb that I used to hate at the Wednesday night weekly races many years ago. Yep still hurts the same going up the snow fence. It didn't take long for the packs to split. Mid way through the first course loop it was down to a pack of 7. Then I crashed. Regained myself and caught back up. Crash number one on something I didn't see. Back in the pack it didn't take long for someone to drop off and we were down to 6. I already knew I was not going to be the overall leader today.

By the end of the first stage there was a couple gaps. I ended up with JD. Yep that kid from Hot August Nights. Ok lets work together. This kid is still fast but needs someone to control him a little. The first few climbs I kept saying to him, Sit down stop hammering were only 30 minutes in. I was concerned that the kid wouldn't finish. We settled into a good pace with me leading. Came through the transition seeing 4th in front of us. We kept it steady going out on Radical, yes the trails name is Radical. I haven't ridden this trail in years, I forgot that yes it is Radical.

I'm a pretty strong technical rider but today I don't know if it was the lack of fitness, lack of training, lack of focus or lack of some really bad drugs but I hit some many things. My bars are set up for long races and in some places barely got through the trees, I got stalled up in roots so many times I felt completely weak and then there was the real crash. Big rock, ok medium size rock with a drop of to the left. Well I hesitated and you know the saying hesitation is the mother of all F ups. Over the bars I went, tuck and roll, tuck and roll. JD got a good laugh, I shook my head a few times and we were off. This was crash I don't know how many. Came through the transition laughing as we headed out for a lap of Crank'd. Back in the grove.

We had kept 4th in site most of the time but with the crashes and stalls, yes JD had the odd problem also we lost a little ground to the point he was out of sight. We just kept our pace in the next section. There was a lot more flow, I kept the pace as high as I could. The guys at Hardwood did a great job clearing the leafs off the trails but Mother Nature did make it hard with some newly dropped sections that did make it interesting at times.

Heading out for Gnarly we were pretty certain by the mid way point that we were not going to catch 4th and we had a huge lead on 7th. I put out the question. Do you want to sprint this out? JD answered pretty quick, NOPE!!! Alright then we'll cross the line together at the end. He liked the idea. Now at one point I did see a rider ahead of us but I didn't let JD know this in case he went way to hard and blew up. I brought the pace up a little. More on that mystery rider shortly. We headed out on the last section which was called Fun.

Yep, it was fun. The pace was still fairly high but we started talking about his training for next year and who is going to be coaching him etc. Sounds like he will have the right people watching him. We cruised in to the finish line and got off the bikes about 20 feet from the line. It was well planned and we crossed with the exact same time for a tie of 5th place. JD was second in his division and I won mine. Or so I thought.

About half an hour later I had someone come up and ask if I had a major mechanical on the trail. Nope, well it shows that you are third in the division and I'm second and I never passed you. Well of course the flags went up. Some talking with the timing guys and a couple racers and it we found out that 2 racers in my division got a little lost and missed a section of Gnarly. Roughly 10 minutes of it putting them in 1st and 2nd in our division. After a little bit of work things were changed. It was great that this guy came up, he said that he wouldn't have gone up on the podium because he knew something was not right. We chatted for a bit, nice guy who unfortunately got bumped down the position. Looks like his times would have had him in the top 10 for sure.

Sat back in the sun with the crew and waited for the awards. Beer would have made it better. So now I am officially done racing for 2009 and I'm going to do everything I can to not ride my bike for 2 full weeks. Do you know how hard this will be. I'm thinking of sabotaging them all with major repairs so I can't do it. Do you have a bike I can borrow.

Results here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The weekend blur.

My camera is being dumb so I'll get pictures up as soon as I can. Saturday consisted of a very cold road ride. I may not have been out before the sun came up but I was out before it got above freezing. Ran into the winter version of the Mountainview Cycling Club on the cool down section of my ride. The snow dogs were out on the rail trail doing the next best thing to training on the snow. Roller skis, ya I have a pair, they scare me.

Headed to the city in the afternoon to cheer on Andrew. It was pretty amazing watching how fast these guys can go when they bring their A game. Watch the winner catch a pedal while going up hill turning to the inside of a 180 degree turn. Ya, I don't bank my road bike over that far while pedalling on the flats and do that very often let alone going up hill.

Huge congratulations to Andrew for 3rd place, Check out his race report here.

I've learned that as much as my sense of direction is pretty good I can still get messed up trying to get on the 427 from someplace I don't normally go. I also know why I love the 407. 3 dollars versus the stupid traffic jam that I got caught in taking the 401 reminds me that money is easy, time can not be bought back.

Ate, packed my gear for the race, slept. I'll do the run down on the race tomorrow. It was a great event, now I'm officially in the off season. I must make myself not do it, step away from the bike, leave the helmet on the shelf, the gloves in the bin, the water bottles in the cupboards.

More tomorrow morning

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another crazy weekend.

Well I'm up way to early. I've been staring out the window at the blackness while drinking very strong black coffee for well over an hour. I've looked at the thermometer a few times and its sitting below the freezing mark. Yep, it's fall for sure. Heading out on the road bike as soon as I see the sun poke up, it's going to be a chilly ride but to many things to do today.

For those not knowing, there is still registration available for the Hardwood 50km race. You do have to make your way to Hardwood to do it though. You have till 5:30 today to get in. Yes, I am racing this Sunday. Bike of choice is still not decided. For anyone on the fence about going. The weather is looking pretty good at this point and it looks like the turn out for the first race will be pretty good.

Late this afternoon I'll be going to one of my non favorite places in the world. I'm a country/small town person, yep, I'm Toronto bound to watch this. Sounds like there are some big names racing and they have beer on the the patio. Should be a good show!!

Mix in a few grown up responsibilities and some shop construction and I have a busy weekend. Pictures, videos, finger painting of the weekend will be up as my creativity or lack there of becomes available.

More coffee, sun is, well taking it's sweet ass time. Gotta roll!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The pain continued

I know these are not in the right order but I ran out of time and the computer was being slow this morning.

Thoughts on the weekend? Well there is a trip to the city to watch Watson play at the UCI cross race. I heard they had a beer tent, that was all I needed to hear to make the drive worth while.

I may, possibly, could, end up maybe riding my bike for 50 km on Sunday. Maybe!!

Work time

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun then not fun then fun

Ya it's pretty easy to know what I did last night with a title like that. Made my way down to Hardwood for the weekly cross race under the lights. That's right folks, I went racin, sorta!!

The word intensity and my body have not been used in the same sentence in a few weeks so I did have a rough idea of what was going to happen. Headed down wearing many layer of clothes, yes it's cold. Just above freezing cold. Pulled in the parking lot and barely got out of the car when the comments started. Hey look Matt there is a cloud in the sky!!! Smart asses!!!

During the warm up lap I started to realize how chilly it was. My xc ski gloves would have been perfect, my big fuzzy mitts would have been better!!! The course is set around the main parking lot and up the start climb of regular races. The lights were cranked up and a few cars were placed in stratigic locations. No head lamp needed. A couple barriers in the main area so if you were going to bail it was happening in front of everyone and one nasty hill that I attempted to ride in warm up but the lines of good traction were hard to spot in the light so I knew it was going to be a run up.

The line up was pretty laid back, Glen called the 30 and then the 15 second warning with most still talking away, Go.

It was about 20 seconds into the lap and I hear the normal comment " the Wednesday night hard starts don't seem to have changed" Ya it was a fast start to the first uphill turn which brought everyone back together. A good part of the lap was in the inner parking lot. I started to get a little disoriented with the amount of turns and wondered how we have not criss crossed and smoked riders at different parts of the course.

Hit the run up and the pack split, this is also when I remember how much cross hurts and how much I hate running!! Got into a bit of a battle with Chris for the next few minutes grabbing his wheel along the flats and up the start loop I pulled in front. A few seconds later I heard the sound of carbon and metal. Chris smoked the pylon trying to cut the corner. No injuries.

Rolled through the line and realized that was only the first lap and there were 3 left. Yep, this hurts!!! 2nd lap was a bit of a blur except for the fact that my fingers were freezing and I had a bit of a problem shifting because I couldn't feel the brakes and shifters. For some strange reason the 3rd and 4th lap I started to feel this warm and fuzzy. Fingers and toes were fine again. Not sure why.

I did roll back a few spots over the last couple laps, I wasn't to surprised. Crossed the line and the first thing someone said was, Wasn't that fun. No it wasn't it hurt!! Of course a few minutes later I was back to the yes that was fun, lets do it again type attitude.

My cross skills weren't as rusty as I thought even though I smoked the barrier once with my rear wheel. Lets just say that I went through them running a little sideways, found my rhythm after that little reminder. Now if only I could find my top end fitness.

Overall thoughts, there are two weeks left in this race series. If you can come on up to Hardwood to try this. It's a lot of fun, I may even do another. Thank you sir, may I have another!!

Recovery ride tonight to get the pain out of my quads. They were far than impressed with me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Into the wild?? The Ontario edition

Well I'm starting to really get back in the rhythm. Not the longest rides at this point but getting out to play. It was finally not raining and being dark well before my bed time I pulled out my lights for a little adventure.

Headed out for a little warm up on that fun little loop I found yesterday. I was still smiling, I think I may need to make a few add ons in the spring. Back out on the atv trails I hit into the power lines. Light were running full force at this point. Completely forgot how bright the Maxx D. Didn't ride much in the line of technical, not by choice, more because I've never ridden this area. Ya I know lame, not riding in my backyard full of dirt. Had I, I would have come across this much sooner.

I thought about moving in for the winter but flash backs to the film Into the Wild's finally scene kept me riding along with home as my destination. More atv trails that for some reason seemed to have a lot more going down compared to the amount of going up in the first half of the ride. There were some cool berms but way to soft for 2.1's This is the first good night ride I've done in well over a month. I forgot how fun it can be. I also was reminded how fast the temperature drops at this time of the year. My toes were just starting to chill when I spun home on the rail trail.

Some time in Copeland and the 8th line will be in order over the next few weeks. Leaves don't cover the trails as much as snow does.

My thoughts about this weekend's 50km race. I'm 50/50 on the race and I'm 50/50 on which bike, single speed or Anthem. The 29er is out no matter what, needs a good tune up. My new reminder of how much I love full suspension has me really thinking about saying screw it to my original thought of those being away for the rest of the year. I'll decide on both Ummm soon I guess.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starting to get back in the grove

Not training but already getting that itch to be back on the bike. That or it was knowing that I would have to not sit on my ass all weekend and consume vast amount of good food over two dinners and a lunch.

This sent me out Sunday with the road bike, gasp!! in the cold among other conditions. It was basically everything including the first signs of snow while on the bike. The face has softened up since last winters rides. Headed north through Port Severn up some random cottage roads. If it was paved I followed.

That's when I saw this sign. I kinda had my own thoughts on what it should say.

It was a nice curvy road that is really really fun to go fast on.

Legs started to feel a bit better. This brought on Monday. Unfortunately I was missing out on the coffee to beer drinking to coffee ride with the crew. We had a family gathering at my place at noon while Mom's house was having a home inspection. Yep, it's almost 100 percent official, the house is sold and the new one is purchased. Lots of planning to be done.

I did get a chance to sneak out on the bike before the next dinner of the weekend. Having a bit of a time restriction i grabbed and Anthem and just headed out the front door and over to a road I sometimes use for hill repeats. Out of the corner of my eye just before the hill I caught the atv trail. Hey it's better than pavement, more than I thought it would. I saw lots of random splits of double track but then when I was forced to turn by a lake sized puddle I spotted a narrow trail.

15 minutes later I was back at the start with a huge smile on my face. Here in the middle of no where is a fun little single track loop. A mix of everything in it with rocks, off angle roots, tight turn sections and my favorite, pine trees. Oh and horse shit in my tires. There is always one downfall to every trail system right? It will make a great place to do short race pace loops with the amount of steady climbing in the first half of the trail. Oh and the fact it's 5 minutes from the house is even better. I need to ride this area a little more often. Like tonight!!!

So am I back on track, starting to be, two weeks off and I am starting to miss the bike. Am I ready to start with intensity yet, not sure about that one but I do know that after seeing snow this weekend I think I may want to get some more fun miles in now outside before I start having to spend long boring hours on the vomit machine. Pedalling really hard and not getting anywhere. The movie collection is ready though.

Time for work!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Training? Almost!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Mother Nature final gave a bit and the sun came out on a weekend. After being bugged heavily on Friday night about my lack of time on the bike this last week I knew that if I didn't plan a ride on a sunny day I'd never hear the end of it.

Of course the ride was planned but I had other things on my agenda for the day also. First off, firewood. Of course i asked nicely to all my friends Friday night who was willing to help. Even in a slightly drunken state nobody caved.

Woke up, made coffee, not many minutes later there was a knock on my door. It's my wood guy here with the first load. I thought I was an early riser, I went right at it. I moved and stacked a cord of wood all before breakfast, that's just how I roll. Tough guys haul wood for cross training!!! Ok maybe it was because the coffee hadn't kicked in as fast as my OCD side.

At first site I didn't think there was that much wood in a cord, that pile is bigger than you think and it's been a year since the last time I had to do this. I barely finished when buddy showed up with the next load. Alright, I need to play before getting into the grunt work again. I know I said that I was only going to ride a single speed in the trails for the rest of the season. Well I lied!!

Headed to the bigger section of my backyard about a 5 minute south on the 400. Perfect conditions!! I wasn't the only one out there with the same idea. The parking lot at Copeland forest was packed.

Headed out with the Molly Monster for a couple hours of play in the trails. Fall was showing up quickly here. Leaves are starting to cover up some of the trails, XCR dry's are still pretty good on leaves. Headed out towards the 5th then the back way into the berm downhill. This ride was done a little different than most. No Ipod, no music, no heart rate monitor. Just ride. It was a different feeling not having the chest strap on. Kinda reminds you to keep it simple sometimes.

Ran into an old friend on the trails from the adventure racing world. A few minutes of what's new etc and a quick conversation about the trails in Copeland. There has been an ongoing battle with one trail maker in this area who is still pissed about the marathon race that was run in here back in May. Jan has run into the same interesting problems with others complaining about a running race they ran around the same time. He has dealt with the land manager and thinks the events are great ideas and that the whiners will always whine about something.

Back on the bike, the Monster was actually setting a good pace on the climbs. My legs felt pretty good and I smiled the whole time I was out. Fall is a great time to ride, wait anytime is a great time to ride!! Finished up with a stop at the lake for the lunatic to cool down before spinning it out back to the car.

Of course there is no rest for the wicked, or for me at that matter so it was back to the wood pile. At least this time I was energizing with beer and loud music. One more major chores done and out of the way for the fall. My body is feeling the results of the day this morning. I pretty much did a month of core workout in one day. Today the weather is fighting on being agreeable. I'm hoping to get out on the road bike in a few hours from now before I shovel an excessive amount of food in my mouth tonight.

Eat, drink, ride, be merry!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. More tomorrow, yes I think things will begin being exciting again!

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's not about the bike, for a change

I had the greatest intentions to go for a ride yesterday after work. Watched the clouds roll in, walked in the door, looked at the mess in the living room and said screw it. Cracked open a beer and started putting my house back in order. More on that in a moment.

Normally I would be feeling guilty about not riding, I've been on the bike twice since the 8 hour which seems so long ago. It was 2 weeks ago that's it. Last year at this time, I'd done a cross race was riding a few times a week. I was also running like made with selling/buying the house and packing. October was a blur of craziness and when November came around and I moved in I get that wonderful email from Heather saying that's it time to start having structure again.

I was in that what??? type mood and said that I didn't really get an off season. Then the reminder came from her that she had me off the bike at the mid of September and was ticked at me for still playing lots. SO!!! this year I'm not feeling guilty in anyway at all for letting all the bikes sit on the rack. Yes I may still do that 50 km race for shits and giggles and there will be some random rides. I think I've said this once or twice already. The more I think it the easier it is to accept right?? More for me than you right??

Back to the disaster house, it was self inflicted. My place is 1930's old and had some 1930's style. Some updates were very much needed but having the time to do it during the summer is almost impossible. This is what the starting point looked like for both my living room and dining room.

Yes. I know. I'm not the flashy,trendy guy but I needed the house a little more me. So this is where I'm at now.

I'm thinking it's a big improvement. Still have lots to do in the house before I'm content. You can tell that Molly is trashed after helping put everything back together. Ok, more from supervising me putting things back together.

The long weekend is coming, lots to do. Some play, some work and maybe maybe some riding

Thursday, October 8, 2009

They must be talking

Yep, I'm 100 percent certain that Mother Nature and my coach are talking. How do we keep him off the bike? I know, make it so he doesn't want to be out there. After a full week of rain, it's broke for one day, yes I see sun this morning so I'm going to get out for an easy ride. I may pull out the 29er tonight since I haven't ridden it in months.

Of course this is all short lived since it's back to crap weather tomorrow and the weekend is pretty much listing rain. My todo list on the house is getting smaller though. I have till the end of this month to do a year's worth of work. Maybe not the bad.

Weekend plan does include a couple rides, still pretty relaxed though even if it rains. Watson has made the make lemonade out of lemons comment to me about the weather. Piss off!!!! It's crap and by this point of the season riding in the cold and damp weather really doesn't appeal to me. March/April after being on the trainer all winter I'll go out in a hurricane just to have some forward momentum, October/ November rainbows and butterflies or it's the couch.

Work time, 2 days till a long weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The better half

Now that the crappy is put out, let the fun begin. Overall I think this was a great season overall. A couple burps here and there, but came out for the positive.

The Ontario Cup season, well I went and battled with guys 10-15 years younger than me and managed to stay in the top half of the field every race. I just missed the top 10 a couple times, but the big thing there was I had fun and I also got my training day in. I never took them serious but more as my intensity workout with a bunch of friends. I just missed the upgrade points to Elite. I did debate about racing in Senior Ex again but opted to play with people my own age.

On comes my favorite things, the long races. The return of the Marathon races to Ontario was a great change. One big loop, lots of singletrack, tough competition, perfect. I hit two of them and had an awesome time at both finishing 3rd and 5th. There have been conflicts over the first race in Copeland Forrest still going on involving the trails, head to MTBR if you want to hear the debate. I'm hoping that Dan will return with the series for 2010.

The 8/9 hours. Yep found my race, I've always liked this distance, I've had everyone say it to me and this season proved it. The tag with Dr. Bill at Mansfield had me ride the first 5 hours of the race. Amongst the tag teams I kept us in the top 10 with Bill bringing us back to 8th with fresh legs in the last 3 hours of the race. Now the catch, I was riding 2nd in the solo field. I didn't realize there was someone ahead of me or I would have picked up the pace. HMMM that was the start.

Then came Mountainview 9 hour and the Fall 8 hour. Just let'er rip and took the win in both races, The big thing with the 8 hour races, I was smiling, chatting and having fun right from the first lap in all 3 races. I was still riding almost full out. Almost and that was what I liked, that drop of 5% in effort got me in my endurance zone versus my o-cup pace and I went from eyes crossed to a very happy place. Yep, 8-12 hour length races are my focus now.

Then came the 24 hour races. Well we know about the solo's. They hurt, things went strange blah blah blah. Now the team race in August was a lot of fun with the finishing up of tackling of the competition on the course. The return of the Monday Night Something is in the talks now with new ground rules of the teams.

Alright that's the race run down. The season overall. This is the strongest I've ever been, the lightest I've ever been dropping 15 pounds and the healthiest I've ever felt. This season saw NO stomach issues which was a killer to me last year, I still miss ice cream, and also no knee problems thanks to Dr. Bill. I also learned a lot in my training, this year saw less time on the bike than in the past. It was smarter miles this year That would be thanks to my wonderful coach Heather. Of course I can't have a race season with out the help of Mom!! The greatest, bestest support crew/feeder/motivator around.

In 2008 I was faster than 2007, and so on and so on. Well this year was a huge jump for me, what will 2010 bring. I'll start the training for it in about a month.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The bad? Well sorta

Thought I would get the crap part out of the season done first. I'll keep it to just the race season otherwise it will be a solid month of writing to talk about the year. So crappy things that happened.

Missed races, some for the right reasons, some just because. The just because ended up being Paris to Ancaster and the Uxbridge Icebreaker. I was disappointed but things were a little astray with timing and training that they just wouldn't work. Of course as really ling winter gives you the craving to race after riding the trainer.

The skipping of Buckwallow was just plain old Karma, when my seeing broken bone count and the trip to the venue balanced equal something was saying don't race. On the good side, Erin is back out riding. Bad side Jeremy is still on the mend with the broken knee cap.

Kelso, I just was tired of driving and opted to stay home and train. This of course dropped my points in the Ontario Cup. It happens.

Next off was the weather this year. It pulled crazy things and made for some interesting races. Summer Solstice was the hardest to deal with. That was mentally the hardest race I've done. I was still in race mood when things got confused and I was off the course with 4th hand information taking me from 2nd to 4th. This was also a learning curve, next season the pits will closer to the timing tent and we will only listen to information from timing or organizers. That's it.

The weather definitely wreak havoc on the trails and to the riders, Lots of changes done at many of the race courses this year because Mother Nature had this thought of screw you little cyclists. There were times when running was faster than riding. Of course the Mountainview OCup was a disaster to me. Home course, home advantage or so I thought. After a total down pour in the morning that tore into the first two races, the temperature went through the roof jumping 20 degrees in about an hour for our race. No heat training, physically demanding course my body shut down on me. I managed to finish the first lap but knew things were bad. By the end of the 2nd I called it. That course took out some of the best with, heat, mechanical and crashes.

My trip to Michigan was a bad and a good thing. The bad was the size, level of the event. It was a great experience and sometimes you need to step away from what you have to know how good you have it. New trails, new people. In hind site, which I'm always smarter with, I should have at least switch to the twelve hour. Instead I was north bound en route to a huge double burger with fries.

The summary of the 2009 race season, crap weather would equal crap races. We have random heat waves which pulled damage itself. Even training was interesting some days. I did manage to stay off the trainer and rollers all summer. Barely.

Summary of the bad races
Uxbridge Icebreaker Did not start
Paris to Ancaster Did not start
Summer Solstice, dazed and confused down to 4th
Buckwallow, no start to many broken bones
Kelso, Did not start
Michigan not really bad just different.

So that is the crap, that's out of the way, Fun stuff tomorrow.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The beginning of the end, of 2009 atleast

Yep, that's it folks for the official race season. Thought I would start the season in review this morning but as I look at the clock and look at how long a season it's been I know I won't have the time to even make a dent in it.

There were lots of highlights, a few low points, lots of reminders on what is important and what isn't. I'll start more of it tomorrow. Overall, I'm really happy with how this season went. Showed myself a few things made me think. Learned more on who has control of the a race more than the riders. Mother Nature you bitch!!!

Time to work, more tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Busy, busy busy

The weekend was a blur, this is my first official weekend with no racing, no training, no schedule. Yep, you know what happens, I jam packed it.

Saturday morning was spent consuming more than needed amounts of coffee before putting the Molly Monster in the car and heading over to Duntroon to watch the Hillbilly Hustle cross race. Mr. Watson had his game face on took the win for the 3x time. Check out the story here.

Of course this was not with out a whole bunch of other things happening while the race was on. Got bugged my a few Mountainview CC member on my lack of bike on the car just after arrival. The other big thrill was the reminder on how fast Mother Nature can turn mad. A storm came in with a vengeance just as the Elite's were finishing. It went from rainbows and butterflies to hey is that a house in the air in a matter of minutes. Hung out with a few of the crew from Misfit and Bikesport along with the Vegan Vagabond who was making her cross debut. Lots of bikes, racing, venue etc talk. The best way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

The late afternoon was spent consuming beer and painting. Yes, they go hand in hand and one is shitty to do with out the other. Woke up with a bit of a funny feeling, not sure if it was the beer or the paint fumes. Hungover or stoned either way my body is not used to either so I gobbled down some food, chugged down some more coffee, loaded up the Blue single speed, the Molly Monster and headed to the trails off the 8th.

There was a break in the weather, the sun came out so I had to get out for a good spin. The long range of the weather shows rain rain and more rain so I couldn't resist. As for the single speed choice. Both Anthem's are clean and will pretty much be put away for the rest of the year. Any potential races will either be on the cross bike or one of the single speeds.

My strained chest muscle is finally feeling close to back to normal, breathing is much easier, finally!!! I can still feel that my body is a little tired and seeing the numbers after the ride on the heart rate monitor is backed up my thoughts. I know stop looking, have fun, just ride.

Now the highlight and I will be expecting lots of thank you's. I put the winter wheels on the Element today. Why, because it was dry and I don't want to do this in the pouring rain. Second, last year in mid October we got that wonderful slushy rain and the Element is nothing like the Audi in those condition. Add summer tires and lets just say I was a hair bit nervous. It's a great work vehicle and sometimes I wish I would have bought the awd version. So why am I saying that you should say thank you. I'm over prepared, it's like when you buy a new snow blower and it doesn't snow much for the year. The tires are on, it's going to get warm and wonderful if Murphy's law can out whit Mother Nature.

Oh, the dinning room came out awesome, next up the living room

Friday, October 2, 2009

I did it

I rode my bike for the first time in 5 days. I know pitiful. I even road my cross bike, it's more that my road bike is still wheel less, my race bike is still Hardwood dirty, my second Anthem is way to clean and I just didn't feel like riding a single speed on the road.

I thought it might be important to work on a few cross skills to deal with that "What if" involving cross races. I reminded myself how much a running remount on a non suspension, thinly pad seat is just not the most enjoyable thing to do to yourself. Then there is that running thing, it's only a few steps but still. There is no coasting in running, well there is it's called stopping.

I'm pretty rusty at this point and I don't think it will get much better at this point. I was reminded how fun the cross bike can be as I jumped on some atv trails, and even single track that my road bike would be just crying with the first sign of dirty near it's tires.

My body is still a little mad at me, cold is still there, chest muscle still a little strained so the thought of me racing this weekend is completely out of the question. I'm digging out my pom poms for the sidelines of the HillyBilly Hustle. I just thought of something, I think I'll be leaving the cheering devices at home since I have a strange feeling that there will be a little bit of banjo music going and a potential scene out of Deliverance.

Mother Nature and my coach must be talking to one another. Both seem to want to keep me off the bike as much as possible. The next 6 days are rain and cold, spring and summer this won't stop me. I may actually get stuff done around the house.

Gotta walk!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I feel dirty

I talked about it, I joked about it, I thought about it but I had not yet done it. Until last night. My plans for the first two weeks after racing. I'm still a little disgusted about it. Dinner last night consisted of 2 beers and one big bag of potato chips. I'd joked saying that I would live on chips, sausages and beer for a full two weeks, I don't think I could do it. My body would rebel so badly. Well at least I know.

I have still not touched a bike since the 8 hour, I haven't even cleaned my race bike. It's still hanging on the stand. Weekend project since I will have lots of energy because I will not be racing. Spectated more than likely. My cold is still lingering but the strained muscle in my chest is taking it's sweet ass time healing. Who would have thought that coughing could pull a muscle.

So now that I've laid the ground work for the O-cup series what is going to be my focus for 2010. Pretty simple to figure it out, more than likely it will be the 8 hour format. I will still do at least one 24 hour solo, I will just not peak for them. Solstice will of course be the Ontario 24 hour race and their is talk amongst a couple of us to head to the the southern states in the fall to go play at a major 24 hour. It's still talks at this point but my talks on heading to races usually end up happening.

Of course the Mountainview 9 hour will be a highlight for me again next year. I need to win my sandbox title again next season. The return of the Monday Night Something for one race will also be one of the most talked about events, what competitor will we try and take out next year, what schemes will our immature minds come up with? Maybe we will even ride our bikes in between beers.

The 2010 season seems so far away right now but this years list of races looked so long but yet it just flew by. The leaves are changing, the temperature has dropped, summer has still not shown up. Maybe the winter will go by as fast as the summer did. Better yet maybe winter won't show up this year either??

Time to head to work, no apprentice with me today maybe I can stop for a coffee mid day?