Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ok Spring it's time

I've done my part, now it's your turn Mother Nature. You can be nice and melt everything on the bike path. Talks amongst the crew for a fixie beer run have started we just need it sandal weather.

A simple copper metallic which looks really sweet in the sun light. Kinda like a new penny, do we still use pennies?? Drop bars, yes there is a brake because the 44-16 gear ratio will have me motoring along at a slightly high rate of speed. Those random barriers along our waterfront trail are a little narrow at 30 km/h. Now I just need to focus all my not work or training energy at melting the snow. Ok how about just the snow on the bike bath. Is that to much to ask???

A very successful time on the trainer yesterday. The new setup works perfect, just the right temperature that a fan was not needed but yet warm enough that I was not shivering on the bike. That half step of mojo loss has been repaired and I'm ready to deal with the next 45 days of limited outdoor rides. I'm not waiting on any stupid ground hog to lie to me about when winter is going to end. I do trust the rodent a little more than the weather man since his odds have been a little higher than the weatherman. I guess he sticks to the theory of I looked outside, i got snowed on, it's still winter, I didn't freeze my little rodent nuts off winter is coming to an end. Works for me.

With the thoughts of winter ending comes the final thoughts of my race schedule. I'm having a real debate right now on what to do for June. Solstice solo? attempt to find a partner and tag it, get on a team? Lumberjack 100? Look for something else long to do? Just do the Ontario Cups, Canada Cup and marathon race? With my focus on all four 8 hours this year I'm just not sure what I want to do in that wonderful month of June when there is no snow and the sun is high in the sky. I've been searching for a calender of all the events in the states but Ride424 doesn't' seem to be updated anymore. I'll have to make some decisions very very shortly. Right now it's coffee before heading out for an epic snowshoe.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

perfect timing

I just happened to glance to the right as I topped up my coffee cup, for the second time. As I stared I needed to really focus to make sure I was seeing things right, is that below the 30??? Minus 34 currently, I think hell may have frozen over.

It made my previous evenings project even more justified. For some reason this week I've been finding it a little difficult to get on the bike. I want to train and being outside would be amazing but certain things must still be done on the trainer or rollers. I've been thinking about what and why could I be in that mood. The sunroom is totally set up, 5.1 surround, tv lots of windows.

I've done big long hours out there and normally don't have a problem with it but everything has to be optimum to make me want to sit in the same spot for 2, 3, 4 hours with out it including a beer or glass of wine. Why am I not inclined on going out there, what changed?? Then I clued in. It's cold, but wait I was out there all last winter with no problem. I'm skinnier this year, currently sitting at 153 lbs. I had no idea I had ribs there. Could it be the lack of body insulation?

After lots of thinking about things as I sat beside the warm fire I finally clued in. It's colder in that room this year. Why, that wonderful new floor I put in I intentionally covered the two vents in that room so that it would be cooler. Also not to waste the heat from the furnace, oh ya I haven't turned my furnace on all winter. I've been heating solely with wood this winter and been loving it. It explains a lot. That lead to last nights project of turning the back spare bedroom into the new and improved much warmer training room.

I found it so interesting that such a simple little thing of being a couple degrees cooler is all it took to smash any craving to being on the bike. Maybe I need to rephrase that a little. I love my bike, I love riding my bike. Riding the trainer is not riding a bike. It is a self inflicted torture that attempts to resemble riding a bike and that is only because the tool used to self abuse is in the form of a bike. There is no bike talent needed to ride a trainer. That of course means I need to have things perfect if I want to beat the crap out of myself .

As January comes to an end I'm seeing more specific bike workouts in my training sessions, this rearrangement of locations couldn't have come at a better time. I need to keep that motivation up high as we come into that notorious time of the February blahs. Hmmm, think I'll get some more coffee into me before heading to the new and improved torture chamber!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Back with a vengance

My plan to go xc skiing came to a wind screaming halt. Winter showed up yesterday with a vengeance and after spending the hour plus snowblowing the foot and a half of snow out of the driveway my craving to go back out in it was pretty much gone. The chances of any groomed skate trails or track set classic were about as good as seeing the daisies.

A little time on the hamster wheel of death and then some bendy time. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm still feeling a little off. I think I over did it last weekend. The 6 plus hours of training and then spending 3-4 hours each day work away in the shop moving wood, etc caught up with me. This weekend is going to be a little more low key with a lot more rest.

It's a fine line sometimes on how far you can push your body. Finding that balance point of work and rest. Of course the business side of life does have to take a priority over the cycling side. Not this weekend. Some fresh snow means some good play time. I'm thinking a good snow long hilly snowshoe may be in order this weekend. There is a nice pair of MSR snowshoes I've been craving to buy and with Mom somewhat inheriting my current pair, it's great she is out there playing, a mini shopping spree may be in order.

Time for work, it's Friday!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chasing numbers

It's interesting what the body can do and how it acts as it tires. I opted to get on the vomit machine for last nights tempo work out. I hadn't used it in a while and I have to admit I was interested to see where my legs were at. I also wanted to be the most productive and lazy at the same time. How does that make sense?

Well with the wattage trainer 'm not worried about things like, well balance. I could flail my arms around and stare backwards and not have to worry about falling off the rollers and having the stupidest crash of the season in the middle of the winter. With not having to worry about balance also meant I could use that extra beat or two a minute that would be keeping me balanced and instead have it working with the legs.

I've done so many little things on the bike to amuse myself like seeing how changing hand positions, riding with no hands, one hand, affects my heart rate. Over the course of an 8 hour race these little differences all add up. I did the nice smooth increase in wattage after a good warm up and I hit the sweet spot. Then I started getting bored after 10 minutes of the same output so I started playing ladder games with the wattage keeping me just in the HR zone. I was really happy with the numbers I was turning my feet at. I'm up from last year at this time

Just under 2 hours of pedaling and I got absolutely no where. Hmmm, I thought humans were smarter than hamsters. Outdoor play tonight, hopefully it will be more exciting. There is some fresh snow, I think some skiing is in order.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's like this, it's like that, it's like this

No flow just whole lot of stuff. Maybe that is why I didn't finish my workout yesterday. To many things happening, the mind was wandering way to much that I couldn't focus at the task at hand. I was multitasking multiple tasks which basically sucks.

It was spin ups and one legged stuff last night and about halfway through the one legged stuff my mind just said get me off here. It didn't help that the wonderful smell of excess bike lube that had splattered on the floor, ya it was lube the chain in a rush and that meant a mess. Well that odour started to completely drive me nuts. I'm using that as an the reason, it seems like a good one.

Maybe it was the great weekend outside, maybe it's been the physical work on the weekend? Work the last two days have been very physical but more so mentally draining playing Mr. fix the other guys mistakes and giving the customer confidence in the product they just bought. Dealing with a few competitors that don't seem to know what they are doing. It's just an appliance it's not brain surgery. Either way I was just not into it. I'm going to stop and pick up a couple new movies tonight because I'm on the trainer or rollers again tonight with some tempo work. Distraction, distraction, distraction, hey look over there.

Spent 2 hours eliminating thought from my mind stripping the paint off the Gardin. It's done and as of 10 minutes before I started typing has the 2nd coat of primer on it. I have a few colour ideas happening and for those that know my old life of import car junkie, it's going to look sweet when I'm done. I've paint a few cars in my life that looked sweet. I think the bike may be the easier one.

Speaking of cars, my Audi is finally being sent out tomorrow to get fixed. The mechanic is finally ready for it. I actually impressed myself on how patient I've been with waiting. I think of it this way, the car is clean. Very clean and salt free right now.

No flow, no focus except for one right now and that is coffee!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If you build it

It will come. That is my hopes and thoughts. So what am I building? More like rebuild, clean up, pimp out, make some bling. I've pulled down my bike path tour to the pub fixie for some artistic creation.

This bike has gone through lots of different lives starting out in the hands of my sister many many years ago. The early 90' s (not sure what year Jenn got it) custom built Gardin spent a good many years with my sister pedalling, well everywhere. Columbus tubing meant a really smooth ride. As nice as carbon some many say nicer, some may not. I came into ownership with it after I helped Jenn get setup with a new Giant frame, yes there happen to be some carbon in that frame.

From there I started a buildup as a crap weather bike. It was a great build for what it was to be used for but I found that it never was used. When you have a cyclocross bike to beat on you know this is only going to get dirty with dust. Well the latest creation has been the fixie setup. Now I just want to take it a step up. I've stripped down the parts for the who knows how many times. A fresh paint job is now in order.

The original British racing green paint is pretty good but 15 plus years old it obviously has its fair share of war wounds. I'm back and forth on the colour but right now I'm looking at pearl white or burnt orange. With so many wonderfully bright cars out there the premixed colour options in the Canadian Tire auto paint department is going to be the only limitations. Heading in there will bring back memories to my custom car days with hours spent building stereo systems, forming body panels and tweaking little strung out 4 cylinder Acura's and Honda. There is less chance of me being pulled over by cops randomly while riding a pimped out bike.

That little break in the weather on the weekend has given me thoughts of warmer times, tours down the bike path to the Quarter Deck for beer and dinner. Cruises on the flat pedals with no training regiment. Rides when your not spending 20 minutes putting on layers of clothing wondering if you will be warm enough or if you could overheat. Both are bad. Well that old saying of if you build it they will come. When I finish the build up spring sure as hell better be here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Option B

I surprised myself yesterday and opted to not go and play in Toronto at the bike park. As much as I really wanted to, as much fun as it was going to be I had to consider option b as my first option. So what was option B? Train local, work on the shop, work on the house, try and exhaust my strung out dog.

I think the later was even more of an influence in my decision. Molly has not had a really good run now in over a week. If any of you have ever dealt with a high energy dog that happens to have all that energy bundled up you know exactly what I mean. A simple walk does not do it. Snowshoeing unless it's in 2 feet deep snow just doesn't cut it. My training was just as much for her as it was for me.

They had called for rain starting in the morning but no time set so it was up early and out the door just after 8. I had the plan, or what I hoped would really workout and that was a long skate ski out on Georgian Bay. I was hoping that with the mild conditions and the lack of new snow the ice might be perfect. It was just about.

Parked the truck at the Victoria Harbour town docks, about 5 minutes from my house. The tree line was up and I just started to push away watching my lunatic dog go at full speed. Yep she needed this. I needed it also. It's been a few weeks since I've been out for a skate ski. The ice was also going to be a great place to work on my technique. Biggest perk, no hills. Since I have a hard time staying in mid zone 2 at any ski resort the lack of hills would give me a fighting chance. I started to mix things up a little also between some 1 skate and 2 skate. Wow ski techno garble.

We made our way past the beaches of my old stomping grounds of Port McNicoll. Hmmm which way to go? Let's go to Midland. Kept pushing along at a good steady pace. I was feeling really good, staying in the sweet spot of the zone and I actually looked skilled. Of course from the distance that anyone could see me from shore I looked like a dark spot on a piece of paper following a smaller dark spot.

As I came around the next point I saw the mini village of ice huts. Still don't know how anyone can sit in a little hut or on the ice for hours on end staring at a hole waiting for a dumb frozen fish. Oh, I know, Alcohol!!!!! Kept motoring through and thought hey I could grab a coffee, wait I didn't bring any money. Not to many convenience stores out on the bay so the thought never crossed my mind to grab a little cash.

As I got closer to the town docks my route came to an abrupt stop. Ice breaker had been through a week ago. Things were frozen but trying to pick a path would be a nightmare. Time to turn around. We pushed steady until I hit the Paradise Point, yes that is the name. A quick 5 minute break with a granola bar. Molly and I split it but I think the portion versus size was not fair. I'm 154 lbs, she is 55 lbs and some how the bar got split down the middle.

I needed the break though, I could see my body was showing a little fatigue as those little motor balance muscles were not working as well. Not much farther now. Kept a steady pace but had one more forced break. The line I was on was a bit bumpier than the way out. More snowmobile traffic made it a little messy. Finally slid back to the V.H. docks and did the ski cool down. That is walking for anyone not in the know. Ok maybe it's walking for me to make my knees feel happy.

2:10 in time roughly 30 kms, 1 tired dog. I jumped on the rollers for the remaining 50 minutes and I could feel the legs screaming. Coasting in skiing equals stopping. Great day and weekend in general. Molly is crashed on the couch which is good, looking like a rained out night tonight

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Where the hell were all those songs when I needed them????? I have learned an interesting thing about where I live. you can't always believe what you see and need to look for every sign on what it's really like outside . I saw a sign and didn't take it to heart.

I flipped my weekend workouts and opted to play in the hills on what looked like the perfect day for it. 3 bottles, cell phone, my Ipod on that shuffle play list and I was off. They had predicted close to zero today so I dressed in prep for that, warm enough to stay out in below freezing but not to warm that I would melt if the weather man was right. It took less than 10 minutes for me to realize how strong the wind was. Oh yes it was a head wind. Pulled that liner glove out of the pockets and added on another layer.

After a nice warm up into the cold wind I knew I turned right and headed up the Vasey line to start the first of many long grindy climbs. I kept the route for the day pretty simple with lots of bail out spots in case my body said get off the bike you are not fully recovered yet. In the end it wasn't my stomach that yelled at me.

The route I took would give me 6 really good 4-5 minute long climbs along with a few shorter rollers. Hit the top of the first climb and I was feeling happy, legs felt strong. Went ripping down the other side and the body screamed "Holy shit that's cold, don't do that again" Of course I did. Up and down for the next hour I started to find my feet were starting to not like me. At the hour ten mark I happened to be at the Waverly lights and turned right and spun over to the coffee shop. A small coffee and 10 minutes of shoes off seemed to get things to a deal able level. For now.

Back to the ups and downs. My legs continued to surprise me. Stayed aerobic on every climb, barely but I was there. Started on my return which meant that slight to the side tail wind turned into a slight to the front head head wind. It was a different type of ride, it was a ride when I was happy to be going uphill, out of the wind.

My ride had optional bail out routes and it also had optional add ons with more climbing. As I rolled past the 2 hour mark I knew I wouldn't be adding anything on and where I was I may as well stick to the the out and back I was currently on. My feet were starting to get mad at me. The top of these hills were big field sections.

On every decent I started to calculate what may be better, get to the bottom really fast or brake the whole way. I love speed but here is the equation. These are hills that I have hit in excess of 75 km/h on with one seeing 90. So bring in the wind chill factor. If I tuck I'll get to the bottom in 30 seconds doing 60-70 km/h or do I drag it out to 2 minutes doing 30-40km/h. When the cold has sunk in it's kinda like asking yourself do I want to cut my foot of quickly with a chainsaw or slowly with a butter knife?

I ended up cutting the outdoor section a little short rolling into my house at just over two and a half hours. There was no cool down coming into town, I hammered up the hill heading home. The door flew open and I raced to get out of my frozen shoes and get the blood into the feet. My heart rate was staying high enough that it could be called training. Have you every tried to get out of 3 layers of clothing quickly? It is training.

Grabbed my road shoes and jumped on the trainer which is all set up in the sun room ready to go at any given time. Yes the warm, sunny sun room that is out of the wind. Did the last of the time here with just over 3 hours of leg movement. It was a reminder that that little thermometer lies sometimes and never adds wind chill.

I was disappointed, not one of those songs that helps me played in that 3 hours. HMMM, maybe I need to put some structure in the play list!!! Naw, what fun would that be. Time to play with the Molly Monster before the rain sets in.

What will I do today??

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sounds like motivation

Doing my typical Saturday morning thing, you know coffee, computer, random thoughts all while not under the gun of the clock, I've had this going through my mind for a while. The music that motivates us and when do you use it.

I know we all have those "That is the bestest song" or " My most favourist song of all time" Those of course are the ones above and beyond best and favourite. This songs that you put in your head just before a race. Some have lyrics that mean something, some have a visual reference, some have some history and of course some just get you fired up. But is there one song that just does it all for you?

So what got me thinking about this? A play list that I made on my ipod last year for the 24 hour race in Michigan. It was a rare race that we could listen to music so I took the time and made out a play list that was just over 23 hours long. Songs that I knew I would like hearing no matter what part of the race I was at or how I was feeling. Well that play list is still on and I've been playing it on lots of my long rides. It's really interesting how certain songs amongst even ones that I thought would be "up lifting" stand out. Songs that remind me why I am out there in minus 10, pedalling my ass off instead of sitting on my couch beside the fire. Why I watch what I eat and how much instead of having that bag of potato chips for dinner. Why I drink more bottles of water than beer. I know that is a shame.

Of course like anybody else I have my little warm up play list that I always crank up on the way to races or bury my head into just before rolling to the start line. Working on getting that ear worm going with little motivational lines that I will pull out when I need them. Something that showed up this year as a new song on the list and many will huff and groan about this as this band is listed as the most disliked band in Canada. The song "if today was your last day" by Nickleback is basically just a bunch of known motivational saying wrapped up with a guitar riff. It works though and I find a couple of those little saying remind me how to look at a training ride, a race, or just life in general. I usually have the mindset of losing Dad at 56 bring things to a deeper meaning.

There are a few song lines also that randomly keep showing up during races that always seem to work for those quick pick me ups when the mind is battling a tired body. Songs from the band Rise Against always seem to be in this little compilation. I have a lot of their music on my warm up mix . One particular song, more one lyric line has repeated itself many times during races.

I've lately been finding myself hooked on a song that is not the charts, doesn't have lyrics, can't be bought in stores or on itunes. You would have never heard it unless you have ever seen the movie. What this song does is just put a visual in my head reminding me that cyclists are a very individual type group and that when I'm out training alone in the not so pristine conditions others are doing the same. The lifestyle that I have chosen is chosen by more people than just who I see.

With so many roads, trails and indoor trainers cyclists seem like a rare species sometimes and you wonder if you are alone in your ventures. Runners are everywhere, they never venture far from home, by bike the distances travelled are vast in comparison. This song brings me a visual of others like myself out on some barren road miles from civilization doing the exact same thing that I am for the exact same reasons.

This song reminds me that all the time spent recovering with the abusive foam roller, the food intake, the lack of beer intake, the hours spent sleeping, etc, others are doing the same thing with the same end goal. The end goal may be slightly different for each person, from better health, to finishing a race, to winning a race to going to the Olympics but the focus is all the same.
I had woman I was dating once say to me "cycling is a hobby for you". No, cycling is not a hobby but a lifestyle. She didn't get it. I don't see her anymore. This song reminds me why I chose this lifestyle and it's one hell of an amazing one.

I have this play list on shuffle , having them show up randomly is the only way. Life is to programed and scheduled to have these songs just flow together with no set structure, they always seem to play when they are really needed. That long hill, that cruel head wind, those cold rainy days, that last interval. My ipod is charged and ready to go, I'll be needing it today as I head out to the big hills for a 3 plus hour ride today. There will be lots of climbing.

As for what this fantastic instrumental is, ask me in person and I may tell you. I may just keep it to myself.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Wednesday turned out to be a really good day. Kept in my work mode for the morning and spent time in the shop building shelving and starting one of the walls. The sun was still up but it was chilly so delaying the ride a little bit was not a bad idea. 3 pm came around and I had bottles and bike in hand ready for a couple hours.

I made my way to the hills of Oro for some nice long steady climbing. I'm very happy to have that 34 tooth on the cross bike. Out on the 8th line in the from the corner of my eye I spotted this. Look close, Yes that is a huge ass jump and landing. Notice the gap??

No I didn't attempt it. Kept motoring along eventually making my way to the 5th line. It's not common that I ever get nervous descending. Hell I love coasting except when it's cold.

Yes this hurt. My feet were a little mad at me at the bottom. It was about minus 8 when I was out. I started racing the sun. It was dropping faster than I was getting home. The last 20 minutes of the ride were down right freezing to my feet. Just over two hours.

So this leads to the more exciting part. I had such a great day off that my body decided that it wanted another one. Went to bed at the normal time but was rudely awakened by my stomach at around 1am. I was also shivering. Grabbed another blanket and curled up. Maybe 20 minutes later I was heading for the toilet. From there it was to the couch in the livingroom where I cranked up the fire. Who would have thought that you can get cold sweets when the livingroom is 90 degrees. More trips to the toilet.

Laying there with a cramping stomach I'm trying to figure out what happened. I've had food poisoning once before and this was exactly what it was. 7am finally came around and I talked to Mom. Work was dealt with and she was going to come and pick up the Molly Monster. It was interesting on how close both Molly and Bob wanted to be to me, animals and their senses.

I spent all day on the couch halfassed watching movies. It was more I would put a movie on and listen while trying to sleep. I was able to eat a little chicken noodle soup (the greatest thing every) around 4 followed by some fruit. Still was feeling trashed but at least my eyes didn't go crossed when I tried to move.

So what do I think did it to me? It was either peanut butter or soy milk. I am thinking it was the peanut butter. I've had a few weird things happen with it in the past and of course my wonderful stomach has caused me more grief in the past than normal. Well it's just one more thing that I have to add to the list that I used to miss eating.

My whole body was aching though, because of all the abdominal straining everything hurt. I totally had a six pack showing. Was in bed early last night and got a really good solid sleep. Actually one of the best sleeps I've had in a long time. I'm still feeling a little off but compared to yesterday I'm feeling Olympic.

Stats Sorry
Throw ups 8-10 stopped counting after the first
bottles of water consumed 15
movies watched 9
hours on the couch 16 roughly
food consumed in the 24 hours one bowl of chicken noodle soup, one orange one banana
weight before and after 155.4 the night before 153 this morning.

Hmmm getting closer to the planned wieght but not the way I wanted too do it. Looks like I'll be filling my face today.

Back to work, time to play catch up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Endless options

It's Wednesday, normally Wednesday don't mean that much. Mid week of the work week. Usually an endurance work out. Not really meaning anything out of the ordinary, except every once in a while Wednesday means endless possibilities. Today is one of those days.

Things are a little sane in my work world, busy but not crazy busy like normal so this has given me the option to take the day off. Yes a middle of the week day off, I think this is like the greatest thing in the world. Makes the work week go by smoother. Work two days, off one day, work two days, then the weekend. Maybe it should be like that all the time?

So what can I do with a midweek day off. The sun is coming up, it's still chilly though. Well currently when I would normally be getting in the Element heading to the office I'm still sitting on my couch drinking coffee. I'm starting my life about 45 minutes behind schedule and it's great. Hit the snooze button a few more times than normal. I know I shouldn't have even set my alarm but I do have a few things that must be done.

I have my workout rundown from my favorite slave driver and I have a minimum and a maximum that I can do. I'm currently looking at the maximum hours and think oh ya. Now could it be a mix of biking and skiing? Could the riding be indoors or outdoors. I do have a few intervals to incorporate into the ride. The weather is looking like it could be a perfect day for outdoor excitement.

With a mid week day off you still have that work mode type mindset so I find that I am more productive in one day than I am all weekend. The only problem I have is where do I start. The training stuff is the easy thing. I have work that needs to be done out in the shop. The new shop is still under construction and I need to put some serious time in there because Mom's house closing date is only 2 months out. I know that seems like an eternity but with no power or heat in the shop I'm restricted to warmer days and sun powered light to make things happen.

I have that list of things to do in the house. A bedroom ceiling to be painted and some trim to finish before the carpet comes. A kitchen that has been on hold since New Years that I need to start working at again. The list keeps growing and the time keeps getting shorter to get things done. Of course I still need my down time in between all that stuff. Maybe I should just sit on my couch and stare out the window at the world outside and daydream while I drink another coffee.

I'm feeling exhausted already with the list of things that could be done. Hmmm maybe having endless options is a bad thing. Maybe having a midweek day off is a bad thing when you have all these options. Maybe I should spend the day in the office tormenting customers. Nope, the day off is great. The coffee just kicked in and gave me that smack I needed.

Time to start playing (sorta)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The up and downs of the Molly Monster

After a great weekend of play and training for me I've been dealing with a very very strung out dog. The Molly Monster is a very interesting girl. I've seen days where she has hammered out 50 km of running with the boys on a long fun trail ride and other times when she has looked at me, looked at the crew and said screw it and jumped back in the car for a nap.

She is very content to relax on the couch more and more now being 6 and a half but that turns very wrong now that she is getting back in shape. With all the skiing that we have done she is back to looking trim with a waist. Yes, Molly has had her moments with some winter weight but a word of advice is to never say anything like Molly is looking fat when she is in ear shot. Some have done that ending up with a licked water bottle.

Now the problem with her being fit and energetic is that she just can't seem to get enough exercise unless it's in a big block. I found this out this weekend. Her normal 3 hour ski didn't happen and apparently a couple 30 minute walks just don't cut it. She was strung out all day yesterday and when she saw the snowshoes come out she started bouncing around like a lunatic. It sounds cute at first but when you are trying to get ready and she continues to do spins and race around in front of you annoying is a better description.

That lead to the MNS snowshoe last night, we heading into the hills of Copeland. Lead by Death March Liz who once again took us in a loop that didn't look like a loop but has us return back 10 feet from where we started. Amazing. Lots of climbing and there were a few comments made about why are we going up the side of this crazy hill. Once at the top I was a little unimpressed that she wanted to go back down so quickly. I wasn't' the only one. They spend more time at the top of Everest where they could die than we did at the top of this hill. It was almost as high, almost.

Molly bounced through the snow for the hour and back at the cars was still strung out with the obsession of a stick. Yes still bounce with energy. Not that this is a bad thing, I'm hoping her endurance continues so she can once again do the odd trail ride on the weekends. Of course she is always welcome on the couch. The old saying the less you do the less you feel like doing. It works in reverse also. Speaking of doing, time for work.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not as good but close

After the thrills of hitting jumps and playing on bikes for hours it was back to business. Since the weather was pretty much leading to crap snow for skiing. I think it was the newly renewed excitement to be on the bike had a long(ish) road ride set for the day. After staring at the weather reports more than once I decided to hold out for the sun. It was supposed to come out in the afternoon.

By noon it wasn't looking promising and the ride I planned would be starting to rub the curve of daylight if I waited any longer. It was mild, the roads were clear, from what I could see and drove on earlier so I swapped out the spiked and super glue covered wheels for my semi slick on the cross bike. This could be a good thing or a bad thing but I figured that all those bike handling skills I got fired up yesterday would get me through just about anything.

So where was I going. Big Chute Loop. My favorite ride. I figured the safe way to head out was up by way of Honey Harbour direction. If the roads are crappy this is the area that should be the worst and I'd be able to redirect for some other type of loop. Well to my happiness everything was clear. I got a few strange looks from sledders. I bet they were thinking that the little bike boy probably has some sort of voodoo doll for the weather. Luckily there was no snow on the roads for them to chase and run me down.

Made the right onto South Bay road and to my surprise it was looking ice free. It didn't take long though for me to figure out that most of the road was ice but there was a good inch of sand on top giving more traction than clear roads. This was one of the sections I was concerned with but with no traffic to worry about I could pretty much wander all over the road to the smooth sections.

Why oh why do I love this route so much it's because of road like these. A roller coaster for the bike

Back out on the open roads things cleared off, well until I hit White Falls Road. I thought things would be rainbows and butterflies but this ended up being the worst section. I was pretty happy that there were no cottagers out for a drive. Made a quick stop at a great little place to relax at during the summer. It's not as soothing during the winter but still a great view.

I had originally mentioned doing this ride to the boys but ended up wanting to spend some alone time with my bike and my Ipod. This meant lots of bad singing out loud, hey no cottagers around. It was also probably a good idea because there was not a lot of running in a straight line for half the ride. Lane wandering and 3-4 bikes would have probably been an accident waiting to happen.

Rolled through the boat lift, been there seen it, past the trippy house in Severn Bridge and out on the long flat sections heading back towards Coldwater. I had a time cut off and a fork in the road to decide on. As I got closer to the split to either home or extra km I glanced at the hr monitor. I smoked around the loop. I was actually a little impressed on how quickly I got around. Not all that much slower than on my road bike, during the summer not wearing 10 pounds of clothing to stay warm pedalling into cold dense air etc etc. Looks like I'm putting in the extra miles.

Rolled into Coldwater and by this point my feet were a little mad at me. Ok they were mad at me but they were numb enough now to stop complaining. I stopped in at the best idea for warming up. TD bank keeps their bank machine area nice and warm. I have accounts with them so I was in doing a heat with drawl. It was just enough to get me through the last 30 minutes of the ride. The sun, well it never did come out.

Back home after thawing at the fire, the clean up begins. Hey Kris check this out.

Somehow I ended up breaking a bottle cage.

Just a little over 3 hours of riding and 75 km. Not bad and beats the rollers any time. Doesn't beat the bike park though. Work time

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We came, We rode, We were showed up by little kids

The talk has been out about Joyride 150. I figured it would be fun but I had no idea how much fun it was going to be. Come on, I ride indoors all the time on my rollers and trainer. How much better can it be having a little more forward movement. Put it this way, I'm still giggling, it was awesome and my body is reminding me on how awesome it was this morning. I'm a little sore.

The run down, Packed up the Watson team race van and ventured down to the city early. Lots of how to save the economy talk along with lots of just off the wall random comments. Rolled into the parking lot just after 10. Wow, big building. Right from the start you know this place is going to be awesome. The whole family greeting by the coolest family in Ontario cycling. I don't think I have ever seen any of the Summer's clan not smiling. Sign in , get changed, grab are bikes and we get the grand tour from Mark. This place is huge!!!!

Mark took us for a lap around the xc track. Now most know that Mark and I have battled it out on more than one occasion at an 8 hour solo event. Let's just say that I'm really hoping that we don't ever race here, I was doing everything i could to keep up with him. Of course after the lap was done he mentioned that this was the first time on the bike in a few months. Sure Mark !!! This was followed up with have fun boys! Started out with a couple laps of the xc course just to get the feel for forward momentum. It took a little to remember how to hop over obstacles.

From there we made our way out on the skinnies for a real reminder on how sketchy our tech skill were at this time of the year. I had more than one occasion where I found myself stuck on the inside of a line unclipped and carrying my bike over. A short time later the bike confidence start to come back which meant getting a little braver. Hey look at those jumps!!!

Yep didn't take long for us to start trying to shed our racer skin and try to huck a double and clear the gap. Sorta.

Yes that is air between the ramp and the tires of Mr. Watson.

I waited for Tristan to pull out some mad jumping skills and put us all to Shame with a Rad style backflip. I think he just didn't want to make Andrew and I feel bad about our skills.

Before we started to get to confident, which was probably a good thing, we headed over to the pump track. I'm still shaking my head about this. How the hell can I get my heartrate so high and yet I was not pedalling or going up hill? So much fun!!!

To recover from all the what turned into intervals type fun on the pump track we opted for a few easy laps on the xc course again. I don't care how old you are, when you get to this place you start acting like a kid. Slowly the pace started to get a little faster and then like any group of want to be 10 year old again saying hey do this Tristan shortcut the track, put a mass acceleration past us. Of course we went in chase pushing each other to go faster and faster. This of course got into some serious bumping into the corners. But like Cole Trickle learned. He didn't hit you, he didn't bump you, he rubbed you and rubbing is racing! It did get to the point where someone was probably going to go into the wall had we not shut it down when we did. Of course we were all laughing the whole time we are doing this. The pace was so high my stupid little number counter thing showed 193 bpm.

As we recovered we decided to take Mr. Summers up on his offer and trade in our xc machines for something a little more suiting. I have not been on a bmx in twenty years. I was a lot shorter back then. What an eye opener.

Andrew and Tristan opted for some dirt jumpers.

Back to the pump track to find a huge difference in bike handling. I almost went over the bars a few times. I'm not sure the last time I rode a bike where my feet weren't clipped in. I had a few moments where the only thing still connected to the bike were my hands and I don't even think that was all the solid. Started to find my rhythm though. I was still getting smoked by the odd young kid though. I did notice that it happened to be the youngest of the Summers family, I didn't feel so bad.

More jumps, we even made our way onto the intermediate level. I had a couple close calls. Andrew started to show us all up and making the Norco team proud. We were there for two and a half hours and I was tired near the end and needing food. You can spend all day there with no problem and never get bored. I'm already looking at what bike to buy for there. If you haven't gone, GO!!!!!!!!!!!! I think our next trip will only be a couple weeks from now. Check out Andrew and Tristan's stories on the day.

Today, heading out for a long road ride and I think I will be keeping the rubber on the road.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

As bad as a 5 year old at Christmas

I'm up early, I'm up earlier than I normal get up early. Why? Because I'm excited to go and play on my bike today. I know it's going to be a good and entertaining day already. Started out by having my favorite mug be at the front of the pack. My most favourite bestest Maytag mug that apparently doesn't do anything either. Yes, that mug works just as much as I do.

I originally thought I might rant about the fun of bringing on an apprentice and on how and why our trade industry is phucked and it's only going to get worse. I can't do it, I'm in to good a mood first thing this morning.

I thought I would do a rant on how screwed the economy really is and I see and hear a lot from what I do for a living. Did service work for 4 different financial advisers and half a dozen real estate agents this week and heard some inside scoops. Of course this is the day to day thing of me walking in a customers home and thinking how the hell can you afford this and what am I doing wrong with my money that I can't be doing the same. Of course the answer is they can't. I could continue but I'm still in a really good mood.

I opted for a little test ride last night. I thought it might be a really good idea, you know just in case. Well it was a better idea than I would have even thought. The roads were pretty clear so my newly washed and waxed Blue would only get a little dirty. Worked well with the light active recovery ride Heather had set for me also. So what happened??? Well all my raw power blew a spoke about 15 minutes into the spin. Now any power house can blow apart a rear wheel but I was feeling so strong that I was able to pop the nipple off the front wheel.

I was a little spectacular. I've snapped many a spokes at the hub but I've never seen a nipple split in half. I heard a huge pop and I swear a flash of light as bright as a nuclear explosion, it shook the earth. Maybe not. At first I was a little concerned because I didn't actually know what made the noise and I was still rolling along. The sound was so catastrophic sounding that I would have assumed full frontal crash. Rolled back to the house more than a few minutes later and after quick inspection of everything I found the problem. A new shiny nipple and things are ready for today.

Andrew and I will be joined by the bestest technical rider we know for the trip to the city. Tristan will more than likely stun us again with some dramatic miracle skill. Riding on thin ice, walking on water, what's next?? Heading down early, hopefully get there before all the youngster sober up and roll out of bed. Off to walk the Molly Monster before play time.

More tomorrow. I'm in a good mood!!! It's warm out, it's going to be a great day, is that the sun coming up also??? Perfect!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

She ain't pretty, for now

Well it's done, finally. For now. The reduce, reuse, recycle of the Blue XC Carbon is finally done after a few of these and a few of those changes. For now!!

Why do I say for now, well lets just say that it isn't a light as I was hoping. This girl has a little junk in the trunk but it's more in the front end. There is a reason that it's tipping forward. It's not that bad but I'm pretty sure the current setup weights more than my Anthem. HMMM Carbon hardtail versus Aluminum full suspension. Well considering I salvaged things of a bike a don't use and didn't go weight weenie with the parts I had to buy it's pretty good. For now.

So the build up. Drivetrain is a mix of Shimano XT and Sram X9. I used one of two of the Race Face Evolve crank set's that just happen to be laying around. It's wild how much stuff you acquire. Not bad stuff for weight but bomb proof shifting. Time ATAC's to stand on. Not changing there.

MTB/Mavic wheel set. Another acquired thing as these are the stock wheels on my Anthem and came off and hung on the wall, till now. The weight isn't bad but I may switch on a set of SLR's from time to time.

Hayes 9 brakes. After being bugged about the first set of brakes that I started to put on, Jacob was nice enough to repair another set I just had hanging around. I now know why I had to move to a bigger house, to much stuff. Next purchase, a bigger house again??? Naw may just have to get rid of one of the spare bedrooms.

One place I can drop some weight and this is one of those for now type thing will be the seat post, currently it's a tank allow, carbon will more than likely happen. Seat, it's a seat, it's light, it's not that comfortable but it's for short races, it will work. There is a lot of standing in mountain biking right??

The front end, where she sags. Currently there is a RoxShox Duke in the front. 80mm. It was another one of those things just laying around. There also happens to be a Manitou Skareb but I'm a little certain that she is beyond feeling 100 percent safe. A minor tear down sometime may happen. I'm currently looking for a year old 100mm with remote lock out. Any sellers?? The only other thought will be that I upgrade one of the forks on the Anthem's and put the Sid on the Blue. For now she is going to be fat.

So what was the reason for this build up. First it will keep both of my Anthem's put away for endurance races only, they will only come out for races longer than 3.5 hours. The Blue will be for used for training and short races. The bigger reason. If we end up with a race season like last year where there were on more than one occasion races where you needed to shoulder your bike to run, it's much easier to carry a hardtail than a full suspension. The linkage and the shock are just not in a great position unless you like puncture marks in your shoulder.

Of course the other thing, I still like riding a hardtail. Feeling, acceleration, reminder that you have to be smooth because you don't have a 4x4 between your legs anymore. I also could not let a good frame go to waste. If I start falling pray to the weight I can see with a little work that the bike will end up around the 22 pound mark. Still not the lightest bike out there but like last year O-cups are training for me so a heavy bike is good, right????

Weekend is shaping up, the weather is shaping up, the coffee is, Perfect!!! Gotta go, for now!! It's Friday!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Weekend prep

I'll admit that I'm getting a little excited for this weekend. First trip to Joyride 150 and just the thought of riding with actually forward movement is just the start of it. Not having to wear 10 layers of clothing to stay warm or spend an hour after the outdoor ride cleaning the dirty, snow and salt of the bike. Being able to stop for a few minutes and not freeze my nuts off. Notice how I went on more about outdoor riding than time on the trainer. Yep time on the trainer doesn't need much complaining about since we all know it sucks!!!

Well last night to get me even more warmed up for the trip I, guess what, jumped on the rollers for my hour and half workout. Had a bunch of spin ups and one legged thingys to do. No I don't plan on doing one legged intervals while riding on the pump track. What I did do was watch the best warm up movie.

I've come to the conclusion that Rad is the best bike movie of all time. The mix of racing, bad one liners and a bicycle boogie scene how can someone not get pulled in. How it never made it to the Oscars shocks me. Like every other movie I've watched on the rollers I can recite almost the whole movie. Yes, I know pitiful but what else is there to when you are stuck in suspended motion. This movie still brings me back to my early teens when it came out. I was still riding bmx at that point and I think I watched the intro and final freestyle scene so many times I stretched the vcr tape while trying to learn all the tricks.

Halfway through the ride I looked at my road bike who has been sitting very patiently on the vomit machine for the last month. I started to think about where I am at training time and that I happen to be in a recovery week. I glanced again and I have a strange feeling that I may be on that thing next week pushing well beyond my happy endurance/tempo zone. Those cruel wattage numbers seem to hurt a little more. Part of the reason for Saturday's adventure, it's play time before the tough work starts.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The first week of rest

Heather loosened the leash just a little this week for me. This is my first rest week since starting back in Novemberish. I'm enjoying it. Now the funny thing is that rest week really doesn't look that dramatically different than a regular training week, just slower pace.

What does that do for me? Well I spent a few hours in the basement doing the final setup of the Blue carbon hardtail. I do have one component that is possibly still to be added but it's ride able and ready. Looks like Mr Watson and myself will be making our way to Joyride150 this weekend. I'm at that point that I need something that resembles mountain biking to help get me through the next month.

The rest time is at good timing also because I've been doing lots of extra running around. I'm dealing with a broken car right now. Yes, my wonderful pretty Audi is currently a wonderful pretty lump in the upper driveway. What is the German word for broken car? Fuckgenotmuvin? I'm in a few different thoughts at this point and the car will be shipped out to the mechanic in the next few days. The timing of the break was not great at Christmas and like in my company with some time off there was no point on sending the car out and having it sit there idle for 2 weeks. At least at home it can't get damaged. I'll be waiting patiently for the quote. Doesn't mean I'm looking forward to what I'll hear.

Well car not needed I've been looking at a late winter escape down south that just may happen to have a bike race involved in it. There is a little 6 hour race in Florida in March that I have been toying with flying to do to. Why, same reason as the bike park. Something to help get me through until I see dirt in my backyard. It would work really well for base training, I've heard the course is pretty flat but considering that the elevation in Florida only goes up 50 feet above sea level there will be no granny gear climbs. I'm toying with the thought still, it does happen to be a few days before Mom moves to the new house so maybe being out of the country may be a good thing.

Work then play, gotta roll

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another fun night

Headed out with the MNS crew for another adventure into some random forest over some random hills while having metal strapped to the feet. It's interesting. Nothing really killer in the way of pace or climbing etc but I was feeling a little off still. Why, I swear I still have traces of a hangover.

I look back to my 20's and remember where I would have drank twice as much, slept half as long and woke up and did it again the next day/evening. Hangover's in your 20's seem to last about 20 minutes, now the cycle is reversed. I drink half as much and I pay twice as long. Do I miss my 20's, sometimes I do.

It was a good little adventure and I watched a tree get some revenge on an anti hugger. Apparently some people had a thought that they would knock done dead trees to clear the way for potential new singletrack in the spring. Things seemed to go well until someone took on the big brother of the dead tree family. It did seem to happen in slow motion as the momentum built. The shift in the body weight then the tree decided to do the Revenge of the Nerds style tug of war and just let go.

The instigator lost his balance and hit the snow hard. This of course was followed by the tree multiplying and putting in the one two punch nailing the guilty party hard enough to knock his toque off. A quick 10 count and it was done. I'm leaving this person nameless even though I'm not protecting the innocent. No it wasn't me.

Lot's of other minor things happening but I'll save those for another day when I'm staring blankly at the screen and coffee is not motivating. Off to work.

Monday, January 11, 2010

If you do three separate sports are you now a triathlete? I hope not. Saturday was that hell froze over type cold in the morning. That made it hard to get Molly off the couch. The sun was out atleast making it look atleast a little tempting to be out there.

By late morning it was a balmy minus 13 so it was time. Layered up, this was both me and Molly. Me with 4 layers, Molly with her two jackets. We headed to Copeland with classic skis in hand. I wanted to be alittle more adventurous than normal so I parked a good distance away from the main parking lot. About 3 km. I strapped the skis on and basically turned left and kept going. I let the Molly Monster set the direction. Do you know how interesting it is to follow a hound type dog in deep snow. We eventually made our way to my normal start area and opted for a back country loop.

Nothing to exciting, just shuffling the feet in a forward motion and it was way to cold to take off gloves, search for a camera and take a picture so you will just have to imagine lots of snow, lots of trees, lots of cold. So cold that my water bottles froze. Just under 3 hours later we came back out to the road. Cool down on xc skiing equals walking. I'm not much of a walker but it does feel really good after a long ski.

Sunday was a tough start, my head was a little out of it. Self induced by the evening before and company. I was hydrating. The weather was a little more giving this morning, finally motivated myself and headed out on the single speed. I had a route in mind and it didn't take long for that route to ride me past this.

Of course me and water I was tempted to just sit there and enjoy the sounds and the view but I managed to get myself going. I headed for the snowmobile trails hoping that they would be in the right shape to ride. Lots of traffic left them a little softer than I would have liked and I was forced to the far edge of the trail, felt like I was riding on a tight rope and anytime I slipped of it I had to work 3 times as hard to go half the speed. Yep, I wouldn't be riding on here for long. I did get lots of waves and smiles from the sledders. Of course there is always one idiot that was about to try and yell at me. This is probably the same guy who thinks bikes are not supposed to be on the road either. Luckily his fat ass couldn't get of his sled.

A few more km and I was back on the road and heading towards my next attempt to ride something besides the roads. From a distance I was thinking it would be perfect. As I got closer and then eventually out on it I found out that the ice was bomb proof but the snow on top was also soft. The fresh snow a day or two ago was just a little to soft to get any momentum going with out blowing up. That was of course helped by the strong steady head wind. My thoughts of getting some ice miles was going out the window also.

About 1 km out on Georgian Bay.

I started to change my mind on my day of training. The body was a little mad at me still so I opted to take the longer way home but it was still not as long as I wanted to be out. There had to be something better to do. Rolled back to the house and did my best attempt of a triathlete transition as I swapped out the bike shoes for skate boots. Grabbed the skate skis of the rack and did the 2 minute walk from my place to Georgian Bay. I thought maybe the biking on the ice would suck but the skiing may be perfect .

Headed out, of course into the wind and found myself to be a little wrong in my thinking. Closer to home the wind had a big open section which caused lots of drifts equalling not a lot of glide. I should have gotten the idea really quickly when I saw kite boarders out there.

It was pretty cool watching these guys. I did start my own attempt at tacking into the wind and it did make things a little bare able but I knew I wouldn't be enjoying things to much.

Lots of random deep sections that felt like super glue on the ski. Of course things in motion (body) stay in motion but things that hit a solid (skis) do not and I had lots of close call bobbles which killed the thrill.

I managed to make myself stay out long enough to get my total hours of training in. The night before activities and the morning after reminder on why I only do that every once in a while. I proceeded to my couch for the rest of the afternoon.

More fun with the crew tonight.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Possibly good bye to an old friend

It seems that everyone has been changing a little with sponsors. Dicky did it, now Tanya, guess I was next. If you happen to notice there isn't a Georgian Cycle or Giant link to the right anymore. First off I have to say thanks to Dave for everything he has done for me over the last 5 years. I wouldn't be at the level I am if it wasn't for him. Of course the link to Georgian Cycle is how the link with Giant happened. Again thanks to Dave.

I'm not 100 percent fully certain that things are done at this time but it's been looking that way. Why the break up after so many years. The reason is access. With me being way over in boonie land of Waubauhsene it's been very difficult for me to get over there to do anything between bike work or parts needed. Last season I did 95 percent of the tuning on my bikes because of this. Not that it's a bad thing, of course I was being bugged last night as we worked on the hardtail build up. Jer is now hoping that none of his appliances ever break after the ribbing I took.

Dave has been amazing and is one hell of a bike mechanic. Never had a problem with a bike when it came from his shop. Of course as Dave slows down a little I've always mentioned to him that I would like to buy his business. I would of course move it a little closer to where I'm living. Of course there will be a continued promotion for him for as long as he is working and selling bikes. My new road bike has a strong chance of still coming out of his shop.

Speaking of the bike buildup. Drive train is together. It is a 2x9 setup, Bike fit was done with some existing parts which meant cheap. Got shunned a little about the brakes that are currently on the bike. Will be sending my Hayes HFX's out to get fixed and they will be on the bike soon enough. A few comments were made by our Shimano catalogue poster boy on the mix match of Shimano and Sram components. For those wondering, Andrew Watson is not dead. He was into his 3 big bag of potato chips and 7th beer by the time I got there. Looks like he must be 180 pounds right now. I think he s going to race downhill next year and this is his training.

Back to the bike, cables are on and setup. Shifting is ready to roll. A few more minor things and the bike will be ready to ride. Road trip to the city will be in order. Pretty bad when you are excited to go riding indoors. At least this indoors actually has forward momentum.

Training front today. Well once it stops being minus 20 outside I'll be planning to play. That may be after about 3 or four more coffees. At that point cold cannot over power the wonderful world of caffeine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

bend me shape me

It was a night of yoga. An hour and a half of bending and twisting into positions I'm still not sure the body was ever meant to go. Not surprising though I felt better afterwards. Like any athlete I'm always just a little sore in some body part at any given time. Yoga has been a major control/cure to what ever is bothering me.

A few years ago I ran into some low back problems that did cause me major concern. Link to a long line of very short muscles. My sister sent me to the yoga world with the name of a really good dvd. I was hooked. Of course the first few weeks were really tough. The concept of touching my toes was dam near impossible. Seeing the advanced poses on the tv as I can barely move my body into what mildly looked like the pose I was attempting to do. Of course with time things got better and better. Low back problem went away, I can now do a standing forward bend and grab that beer that is sunken into the floor.

Like any other time of the year though I'm always a little achy. The shoulders are just coming around with all the skiing and of course the hip flexors are still a little made for last weekends ski. Hmmm wait till the body sees what I do to it this weekend.

I've done another mind set change on the Blue rebuild. Because every once in a while I can really seem to motor along that 34 tooth front may not be enough on a couple of the big straight aways. If I went to 36, which I've heard from a good source who sucks at updating his blog, is what Kabush was running last year. That will take care of top speed but then I thought about the start climb at Mountainview. For those that have done it this is one that you hear lots of clicks down into the granny gear. The 36 would kill me. So I've opted to go back to a 2x9 setup.

This makes life easier, a couple Race Face cranks hanging around. I don't really want to spend a huge amount of money on this bike since. I say that now. Rough guess on bike weight will be around the 23 pound mark. No the lightest and I have a couple components on the bike that I can drop huge weight with a change. The fork is heavy and it's only an 80 mm but it's been hanging on the wall. Anyone want to donate a 100 mm with lockout to the cause at a reasonable price? The others are minor in comparison but it all adds up. Right now it's the focus to get it built and bike fit for a trip to the bike park. Getting that craving.

Time for that Friday work thing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Using one to have fun on another

No no no, I was not using people but I was using my skis last night. After a crazy day at work the thoughts of what to do for my endurance hours narrowed down to only one thing. Time on the xc skis. Loaded up the truck with my pace setter (Molly) and two pairs of skis. Two you may ask, but why?

I've yet to be back on my skate skis since that first ski vomit season and I was thinking now that the ski fitness is kinda sorta there it might be a good way to mix things up. Where my destination was for the evening in Copeland there happens to be some very nice relatively flat skate trails about a 30 minute classic ski in. Strapped my skates to a back pack, put on my skate boots which of course are not really designed for going in a straight ahead direction. Even walking in them is not exactly comfortable, the long poles and my headlamp and I was off. 10 minutes later I had the beater classic sliding in a forward motion.

I learned a little thing about mixing components together. Skate boots even partly undone doe not give you the mobility you need for a good classic stride and skate poles are huge for classic. I felt like a neanderthal dragging his arms on the ground while moving forward. My usual pace turned more into a shuffle slide drag instead of grip and glide.

My other concern were random low branches. Now low is a matter of clearance. For normal skiing they were well above head height but when you have 5 plus feet of sticks hanging off your back you realize how low things really arm. More because of those random forced limbo attempts. Some planned some not. 30 ish minutes later I was clicking out of the classics and hooking up the skates. At the time I was out there I really wasn't to concerned of someone stealing my other skis sitting on the edge of the trail. I did see some random wild animal tracks, you never know.

SO the skate ski, lets just say I was a little more controlled this time. Did a 2.5 laps of the 6 km loop. It's fairly flat but like in cycling those false flats seem to hurt more than any hill. I worked on a few different drills while being out there from just skating without poles to working on my offset. There is a lot more thinking when it comes to skating over classic. Like shifting gears on a bike learning when to one skate over two skate. Which side to push on depending on the camber of the hill or if there is a turn etc. Thinking sucks!!! I have to focus a lot because my body naturally goes to a two skate technique with my always wanting to push from the one side. Of course this makes me work harder.

Kept myself pretty much aerobic the whole time, Yes those false flats screw with things and of course a steep hill still makes that heart rate go up. Was happy with how things felt and made my way back to the classic skis. This was the reality check on how fast I was going on the skates to how slow I was going on my waxless classics as I now felt like a snail would come out of my draft and take the win. I will say that I should have taken the 2 minutes and changed the grip wax on my race classics but I was a little anxious to get out the door. Yes waxless skis are convent but they just never give that umph and traction.

Continued on my shuffle back to the truck dodging low trees and of course random stops on the trail by Molly. After all these years you would have thought she would have learned. Maybe she need to get a ski in the ass as a reminder why not to stop there. IT worked on the bike so many years back. She doesn't stop in front of bikes anymore.

Just over two hours of slipping and sliding. I'm feeling more confident now in putting in multiple hour training time on the skate skis now and of course everything is better than long boring hours on the rollers. Hmmm what could I do for this weekend.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not the best place to train

It was a scheduled bike time yesterday. That means intervals, woo hoo!! Actually time flies doing intervals, let me rephrase that, the interval seems to take forever but the recovery time seems like a short blur.

Did my normal prep of knee warmers, toque, sweatshirt and started to head into the sunroom. I think I was in there for about 14 seconds and turned back into the house. It's stinkin cold. My sunroom is not heated but usually is about plus 5 or warmer. Well usually if we get a little sun, of course the sun has been muted by walls of snow the last few days and deep freeze temperature. I'm not sure what temperature it needs to be for you to see your breath but I was seeing icicles on the exhale.

Well that leaves me with a problem, where to ride. I could have done things the easy way and brought things into the basement and setup on there. That was to far, I was being lazy and I had already brought the bike upstairs. Hmmm, as I'm standing in the kitchen where a lap top happens to be sitting. I think this is what influenced the decision, I like having some visual distraction when on the bike riding to nowhere and there is nothing like that in the basement. 2 minutes later I'm riding in the kitchen on that new floor. Lets just say I had an incentive to not ride off the rollers.

So at just over the hour mark I figured out what the problem is about riding in the kitchen. They are called cupboards, no I didn't fall into any of them. The problem is what is in them and I also found out how long a reach I have. My stomach growled a little bit and next thing I knew one of the doors open, then another as i scanned the contents. I was happy I should an ounce of self control and grabbed a granola bar not the bag of potato chips. Those were for later!!

Finished up the time on the bike, legs were feeling really good tonight and I'm seeing the power going up. I've yet to fire up the vomit machine (wattage trainer) but I know where and what intervals I'm doing now are just a ramp up for whats to come. Eyes crossed, body hunched over, tongue hanging out intervals will be coming soon, these speed workouts will be a cake walk when I think back to them in two months from now.

On another topic of racing, I came across this. I like the concept and have it in my thoughts instead of Solstice this year. Small event though, as much as I'm known to say that I don't like people(more in the work world) I do like riding with people and lots of them are better. Another thought is the Lumberjack 100 miler which is in the same time frame. I'll decide in the next month or so. I'm still poking at people to see if someone wants to do Tag at Solstice.

Back at it tonight, come on sun, I miss you!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Spent the evening resting. The skiing did take a toll on the legs and I opted to try and turn myself into Gumby last night rather than venture out in the cold for the Monday Night Something. Of course the first day back to work didn't help. Trying to get the mind back in fix it mood instead of reno it or ride it.

I ventured into the basement afterwards to start looking at the bikes. A couple projects are about to be started with a little more anxious moods towards them. More so is getting the drivetrain back together on one of the Anthem's It's been sitting chainless and in need of a BB since I did that big final clean and tear apart in November. The other is the rebuild of the Blue, this is starting be my focus because one of those of many conversations was about Toronto's bike park. I think a 26 inch carbon hardtail would be awesome on the pump track. A trip is in the planning stage.

Right now I've run into a stall on the build up. I'm planning on running it as a 1x9 for this year with a 34 tooth front. Now the problem, I was hoping to use a 110mm 5 bolt external bb crank I just happen to have hanging around. I can't find a chain ring bash guard for it. I know they have made them before but my search has shut me down. Any suggestions? I have a few other minor things needed but nothing that a trip to the local crack (bike) house won't cure up. I need my fix man.

I figure that the more I look at my cross country, ride in dirt on twisty single track bikes and the hard I focus on warm weather mantra the sooner I'll be playing in the dirt again. Of course this has to happen when the bikes are ready. Not being able to ride trails because they are covered in snow is no where close to not being able to ride trails because the bike is in pieces.

Well Ontario is still in the deep freeze and I don't see it breaking anytime soon. Now I did hear that the snowmobile groomers have been going full force and that the tree line has been put out on the ice. Hmmm I may be looking for a long flat road to ride this weekend.

Coffee and work.

Coffee and work.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I didn't learn the first time

There are days that I question my judgement. Ok, yes there are lots of them. Yesterday was one of them, but I'm not one to back down from a challenge. The challenge, a repeat of the day before in almost the same conditions. The big difference, People instead of dogs.

Headed up in interesting conditions, cold minus16-19, windy not sure in speed how does strong work for you?, and snowing not hard but mixed with the wind made it a little crappy outside. Pulled in the parking lot right about the meeting time. No cars in the parking lot, cell phone coverage, none. Well I set the cut off time before I would either opt to ski here alone or look for a big think warm blanket to hide under. The boys showed a few minutes and we got ready to move.

This was another one of those days that prep time was left to the minimal. Armed with my backpack again loaded with more layers again just in case we were off. After the day before experience with the crazy wind along the Bluffs I suggested that we do the route in the opposite direction I did the day before. This would have us going downhill and with the wind to our back, sorta, for that very cruel .5 km. Of course we had to get to that point first.

Groomed and track set, not today. Looks like we were busting are own today. We kept the pace pretty sane and I was forced to change about 25 minutes in. Working a little harder today with the snow I was not taking a chance of overheating. The clothing list I had on. Upper body, LG short sleeve base layer, a S2S long sleeve base layer, Hind long sleeve outerwear synthetic. Blue team kit long sleeve insulted jersey, Blue team kit jacket. Lower, that layer you don't need to know but it's not a thong, fleece lined full length spandex, MEC winter grade spandex with windbreaker front, wind breaker pants. Yep, I'm skinny and I'm staying warm. I'm loving my old race kit clothing for winter adventures.

We motored along with stories that could save the world, solve the lack of LBS in the area problem and other miscellaneous things. Each of us taking turns at the front breaking the track. 3rd person was enjoying the track set. Things were taking longer to get around today because of the conditions.

We made a quick stop at a map just before the mid way point. Dr. Bill was interested in where we were. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and it's better to just keep your head down and only look a few feet ahead.

I'm attempting to thaw my frozen camelback hose. Even shoved down the front of my jacket it was still freezing in a few places. Rob is thinking, the Velodrome is so much warmer right now.
From here we made our way out onto the bluffs where the trail pretty much disappeared. It was a bash through 2 plus feet high drifts. I did attempt to take a picture but there was not a chance in hell I was taking off my glove out there and I couldn't seem to push the button.

After a few minutes of blah we were back int eh woods and making our way to the lake. It was nice and protected. We were still busting trail though. It was enjoyable today though having a steady conversation the whole time. More talks about different ski races, more so endurance ski races. My thought, not a chance in hell, I don't like skiing that much. The long climb out of the valley was great at keeping the body warm. As we reached the trail split from where we started out the loop it there was going to be no extra miles needed to get the time into today.

The cool down consisted of walking around the parking lot again. It was nice to hear that it's not even my body that will ache in the car if I don't do a good walk around right after I stop. So 2 days, just under 6 hours of skiing, roughly 45 km. Not a bad weekend. Back to work today.

I am a little stiff today but I do see Dr. Bill and he already knows what I did on the weekend. Gotta go, thoughts on the snowshoe tonight are questionable.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I may need those

The temperature never really went up much yesterday. Pretty much meant I was going to have to sucker someone into coming out and playing with me. HMMM At minus 18 everyone had indoor thoughts, except for 2. Of course I knew these two would go, they always want to go. I didn't even have to ask.

One thing that I've learned is that for every 5 degrees it's colder outside I think it takes 10-15 minutes longer to get ready to go. First up was the skis. Yep, it was going to be a ski day today, way to cold to ride a bike. With just under 3 hours to do today there was not a chance in hell I would be on my skates so time to get the classics ready for a few hours of shuffle. I don't know about you but I am not a fan of putting grip wax on when it's this cold, out came the iron. No worries of having to rewax today.

Then came the layers of clothing, Now I know the term winter weight. You can either have it in body fat, which I'm starting to lack or by adding more clothing. Either way I think I was 220 pounds when I was fully dressed and kept waiting for the childhood flash back of having to go to the washroom right after that last layer was put on. Started to load up the backpack with some extra just in case stuff and called the first training partner. Who could it be? The Molly Monster of course. Quick drive to Mom's and picked up her dog. I knew they both would be willing. They were to the point that they starting to annoy me in the truck with all their excitement.

The playground for the day, Awenda Park. The plan, ski all the trails they have, roughly 23 km. When I rolled into the parking lot I was a little surprised to actually see 2 other cars in the parking lot and was even happier to see that the trail had been track set. The dogs launched out of the truck and started up the trail before I even turned the key to off. Yes, it was cold. Freeze your nuts off cold, I didn't waste anytime getting the skis on and getting moving. It's great that the route i was taking starts with a slight uphill which got the heart pumping and the blood flowing. It didn't take long to start warming up, to the point that I got rid of a layer.

Headed towards the lake in a nice pace, music in the ipod cranked, a frozen smile on my face When I got to the trail head for the lake loop it was exactly what I expected, ungroomed. i had heard rumours that they were not clearing it, no worries makes for an adventure.

There were a few tracks from the previous day which did help a little, you really can't get lost in Awenda's trail system. You pretty much know if you're off the track because you start hitting lots of trees.

A half second stop at the lake, why so short? No answer needed.
Finished up the lake loop and back on the trackset. My legs were happy since the last quarter of the loop was a little bumpy, imagine a roller coaster for skis except for the bumps are barely the length of the skis so you a are fighting for some balance as much as forward momentum. Groomer please???

The long climb up the north side of Awenda is nice and steady, it also lets you know that you are getting close to the bluffs. This was the meanest part of the ski. With the wind coming off Georgian Bay and not a lot of trees to slow it down the trackset disappeared under blowing snow, lots of grippy snow which slowed the glide down to more of shuffle walk and my face was feeling a little numb on the right side. Luckily it's only a short distance. The dogs were nice enough to wait for me on the other side.

A quick stop to refuel, not me but the dogs. Nature Valley fruit nut bars. Dogs love them. Ok mine do. Back at it we got into a good steady pace again. It's a big area that we were out on and coming across people especially on days like this was rare. I started counting. First up were two snowshoers. Next up two more skiers, then the 3 pack of skiers. I was surprised for sure. A quick hi, and enjoying the day? comment while still in motion. Finished up the long loop and made my way to the last section. I opted to double back on the Bluff loop before finishing up on the Brule loop which headed back to the truck. I think the dogs sensed that we were almost done.

Out on the Brule loop it opens up, it's on a road. It didn't take long before the dogs looked back at me and seemed to say, meet you back at the car, give us the keys. Molly probably would figure out how to get the heater on also. They kept bolting ahead, looking back with that speed your ass up type look. I did what I could and figured I would be doing my cool down in the parking lot. We passed 3 more snowshoers on the last downhill. They seemed a little surprised to see us out there also.

Finished up with a ten minute walk around the parking lot, the dogs did not. Some heat cranked up on the drive home, some moans were heard, I think they were shared equally from the 3 of us. Food was destroyed very quickly once we were home. The dogs had a hard life afterwards being sprawled out on both couches. I had to push my way onto one.

The training time was accomplished, the mileage was what I hoped for and it beat sitting on the trainer. Think I may do the same thing today, I've heard rumours that there may be two other's that are willing. These two are not as furry. Time for some food and more coffee.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I'm staring at my screen this morning thinking, ok well if I knew what to type I wouldn't be staring. The coffee is good, always is. The fire is warming the house quickly, which is really good because here is a scary first number. Minus 23, that's what it is outside right now. This is the type of number that usually has me sitting on the couch for a little longer typing until it gets warm enough to play. That has led to this number.

I looked at the number of hits on my blog over the last year and my mouth dropped. Over the last three years since I started this little spot about my life every year the number have doubled. This year alone people clicked over to here over 20,000 times. Thank you everyone for reading my shit. You are braver souls that I am.

Next up, my starting points for 2010. So last year one of the biggest things that helped my racing was the drop in weight. I still look back and wonder how I went the way I did weighting 168 pounds for race weight. Last season getting to the 155 mark made huge differences. That proven power to weight ratio thing obviously is science that can't be broken. Well I'm starting this season of at a much better starting point. Since I'm weight myself almost as much as a 13 year old girl who reads Cosmo, yes that OCD side of me. Well I'm currently sitting at 157 this morning before my coffee. puts me at around 11 percent body fat in the upper body.

As the race season approaches I plan hover down to the 152-3 mark for the race season. Of course I'm hoping to have the power up a few more watts this year also. I'm still expecting to get my ass kicked at the O-cups with me finishing at the edge of the top ten. I've yet to decide what division to race in. Master Expert is where my old aged ass should be, I'd finish in the top ten if I play with people my own age, or do I go take another kick at the can, race Senior Expert, get my upgrade points and then move to Elite. Should have happened this year but I with no control of the weather I didn't get the results I needed. Of course my focus will be on the 8-9 hour races. Possibly a trip to the states once or twice also.

What other numbers can I come up with? 8:47. That is what time it is and it means time to get my butt moving for the day. 3 hours of endurance something today to do and I'm not planning on doing it on the trainer. Minus 22 eh? Well I am Canadian and we are supposed to thrive in this type of condition. Ya right. At least Georgian Bay will start setting up for some ice riding with these temperatures.

Check right, I've added a few more Bloggers in the American side. Good stuff to check out.

More tomorrow.