Friday, April 30, 2010

How fast can he go??

Not me, I know exactly how I ride. I can go sorta fast for a short time and not that slow for a long time. It was the dog that I raced against yesterday on my ride. I think this was the first dog chase of the year and at one point it became a little fun then it became a little bit nerving.

It wasn't really a chase as in the dog wanted to gnaw on my chicken leg but more a side by side look I can go as fast as you without using a bike. For the first few hundred feet I found it amusing seeing a black lab running at 30 km/h. I waited for the dog to tire but he just kept going. I sped up a little to 35 ish, he accelerated to the same and drifted a little closer to me, guess he thought he could catch a little draft.

This is when i began to get concerned. A truck coming in the distance, a quick glance and another truck coming from behind. I soft pedalled for all of 1 second but this was what the dog needed to get a few feet ahead of me. My concerns started to become realities, I was going to run out of room real quickly. The dog started to drift even more to the left, drift right in front of my wheel. The trucks started to slow, I slowed the dog wandered across the road in front of all three of us.

Tail waging and head up he looked proud that he kept pace and possibly won the sprint between us, of course I didn't tell him that the line was still way up there. I change the rules to what fits me and with the trucks slightly distracting him I made my break, standing, sprinting up to over 45 then to 50 km/h. I looked back and he started to make an attempt but realized that it wasn't going to happen. I crossed the line, first. It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile, cheating is cheating but if you win it doesn't matter?? I will still say that this black lab did impress me, until he attempted to take me out. For those wondering Upper Big Chute road just before the 90 degree turn at the church is where this dog is at.

Rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, a few zone 3 intervals, planned but of course with the continued strong wind I think they would have been forced upon regardless. My legs were feeling pretty good, semi recovered and as I continued along the loop it began to show that there is some power in those skinny little things. As I came closer and closer to the end I noticed the average speed. Nice. I went around the 65 km loop averaging 31 km/h, it put a smile on my face. I will say that I needed that because of course with the first 8 hour coming up I wanted to actually know if I was stronger this year or not and the first 2 races have not been a real good gauge of that. After last nights semi not tired ride I'm feeling more confident with them. Oh and yes I enjoyed the scenery of the loop. My most favouritest ride on pavement.

What will the weekend bring??

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Old and New

On my OUTDOOR ride yesterday I started to think about technology of road bikes. I had lots of time to think about this as I headed out towards the wonderful hills of the Oro/Medonte area. This thought really didn't jump into my head right away, I'd climbed up the first Vasey line hill coming out of Coldwater doing everything I could to stay aerobic. Coming over the crest of the hill I had the wind check happen. I swear the leaves were coming up the hill faster than I was going down. This still didn't make me think to much about bikes.

The though came about 20 minutes later as I was out in a very open area and getting blasted from the side by 100 mph winds and wondered how far I could lean the bike when the wind hit and not tip over when it lighted up. This is when I started to think about the huge changes and thought of what riders dealt with 20 years earlier. I think of the huge carbon tubing of the bike frame that is wind tunnel tested etc making my sweet TCR a sub 16 pound bike verses the old steel tubing that was all of a 1 inch diameter that from the side barely had any wind catching surface.

Of course the new versus the old on looks, comfort, weight etc the new is so much better except when there is that nasty cross wind. I wonder if the cyclists blown off the road stats have continued to increase with the evolution of the bike. Next up were the wheels, deep dish rims, bladed spokes. Same thing, huge surface for the wind to catch verses those old metal round spokes on wheels that weighed a ton in comparison.

I started to think about how tough old road racers were riding bikes that weighed as much as cars and only have a couple gears in comparison to racers now on super light 20 speed carbon rockets and in most cases riders of old were tougher, except for a windy day. Of course as soon as I was back to enjoying the tail wind my thoughts of all of this disappeared as I giggled while going up hill at 40 km/h. Of course this all came to an end when I had to make the return home straight on into the beast.

Legs were feeling pretty good with the 2500 feet of climbing in just under 2 hours. The wind did add to the challenge. I also randomly thought about how much I hate the wind and that this is one of those reasons that I race mountain bikes. The wind impact in the bush is minimal, still have the thoughts out for this weekends road race. The weather is still back in forth on my thoughts. Right now the thought is more coffee.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A tragedy avoided

Am I weak? Am I fearful? i don't know fully but I know that I was afraid to go outside yesterday. I saw potential death from more than one means. Between the cold which I just was not in the mood to deal with, living in cottage country as it's called is amazing all the time except when it's cold because it's always colder here than what they say it is. Something about that huge body of water 500 feet away from me.

I could have put on more clothes and said toughen up boy!! but the cold was the least of my concerns. The 50 km/h winds are what scared me. Ok it wasn't really 50 km/h the whole time, it was 30 but then it would blast up that high which of course was more often than it wasn't. Driving the toaster box during the day I was fighting to stay in my lane as were most other cars. This was my fear. I can picture the newspaper headline now.

Local cyclist dead, this most horrific crash was caused by the incredibly powerful wind yesterday, details are still limited at this time but it's looking like there was a head on collision with multiple parties that included a cyclist, a house and a witch, The witch was coming from the east the cyclist from the west with the house's direction still not fully known at this time but it's final resting place was on top of the other two parities. This tragedy could have been avoided.

And it was, I hid indoor in the scary ugly room watching Offroad to Athens on the trainer and randomly looking out the window thinking it doesn't look to bad out there. Then I would see tumbleweeds, tree branches, cows, and Bob the cat blow by the house. Yep, good choice.

Legs are feeling a questionable from the power workout but I think at this point in the training block they are exactly where they should be at. I don't think I'll hide inside today, the trainer is interesting and it's nice to watch a movie while training, maybe I need to strap my laptop to the TCR, I think there is room on the bars, barely.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't think, just pedal

That is pretty much my mantra for training and racing. Know what I need to do and just do it. Yesterday said active recovery and my coach even suggested something along the lines of a very easy flat road ride. You mean like the rail trail?? Yes, like the rail trail. I like going slow, I'm really good at it.

It was that perfect conditions though for a nice 50 minute tour on the fixie. I cruised at a pace that I could actually gawk at the scenery, nice change. I didn't make my way over to the pub as tempting as it was, I intentionally left my wallet at home. I did start thinking about the weekend coming up though. There are options but I spent the ride crossing them off or repositioning them in a I want to do this but if the weather does this then I will do that type order.

My thoughts of heading to Substance Project's festival has gone out the window. As much as it's also a good charity event mixed with the bike race I'm just not feeling the travelling right now. What has come up now actually has me a little excited. I've wanted to do one of these but normally training or other race dates have clashed. I think I may do my first ever road race this weekend.

The first interclub road race is this Sunday. A fun little battle between Midland, Barrie and Newmarket's club. The biggest thing for me is how I approach it and this will be weather dependent, I have a 5 hour road ride and a ride with a bunch of intensity to do this weekend. It's figuring out how to incorporate this race into one of those rides. I'm planning on running the powertap so I could stare at my computer for hours on end with all that good data. Now of course if it pours rain like they have predicted this could all fall short. I have this little fear of trusting my cycling season in the hands of others on wet slick roads. These events have a hug fix of riding abilities and adding some rain in the mix could be the catalyst for something bad. Ok maybe I'm just over thinking things. Like usual. A simple reminder to myself, don't think, just pedal!!!!

Better thought, don't think, drink coffee. I'm there for that one!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The morning after

I'm feeling pretty good this morning after having a sneeze and cough fest last evening. Of course I sat and stared at the numbers for lap times this year along with some of my competitors times and then glanced back to last years results. As much as I tried to get a real feel of where I'm at it's very hard because both my races this year I've gone into with tired legs. The Homage to Ice race had me doing a 4 hour ride the day before and then of course this past Saturday had me at just under 5 hours. I didn't do this last year, makes sense I went faster last year, I think.

This is sometimes the hardest thing, going into a race knowing that you are not going to be a threat in anyway what so ever, but I looked at it this way. I could have chilled at home and did intensity by myself and for less time or I could go out, have fun, race and chase for 2 hours with a bunch of friends. I find it's easier for me to push for the 2 hours when surrounded by others than doing those abusive intervals alone.

I have to admit that I'm very interested on knowing where my legs are at when not tired. I've seen what I've done on the road, I don't expect to see that until the first 8 hour even though Albion may see me feeling a little more feisty than I was yesterday. Today will be a chill ride on the rail trail. The fixie is calling my name. The sun is out and it's supposed to hit sandal temperatures today. Recovery days are great!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ontario Cup #1 The dust bowl

There are not many times that I ever crave rain before or during a race but Mansfield is one place that it's almost appreciated. After chilling as much as possible last night and then this morning attempting to stay in bed past sunrise I did my normal prerace routine. Spent a little bit of time stretching some slightly angry legs while watching the World Cup before topping up the travel mug and heading west. I was actually surprised when I step out of the house that I didn't start to shiver, after seeing weather predictions I'd packed so much cold weather gear along with a set of mud wheels I think I jinxed it.

Like any race I spent the first race getting caught up with old friends and meeting a few new ones that like to read the crap I write. I was aware already that it was going to be an interesting day as there seemed to be a slight haze in the air and it sure as hell wasn't volcanic ash. After doing all the mandatory sign up stuff I did my bottle prep work then headed out for my warm up. It didn't take long before I knew where my expectations of the day should be. A lot lower than were I should or could be. I wasn't expecting miracles having a just shy of 5 hour ride in the legs less than 24 hours earlier but as I continue to say, this is all for the great cause.

Rolled into the start coral and lined up at the back, I wasn't exactly concerned today on a good start. Chatted it up with Jeff, former MCC team mate before the roll up to the start. 15 seconds!!! The longest 15 seconds and we were off, it took all of about 20 seconds for the first pile up of the year. Let's just say that I got a really close up view of someone's 29's wheel as two guys went down in front of me. I managed to not barrel into them or get nailed from behind. Hmmm, not good. Clear trail it didn't take long for me to realize how long that start climb is, ok it's not bad I was just feeling it a little sooner than expected. Settled in the train somewhere in the middle of the group and hoped that was all the excitement I would see for the race, it wasn't.

First lap was pretty much clean, riding on the hardtail again had some good and some bad to it. I was loving it on the climbs but on those rhythm bumps I was missing my 4x4. Overall the hardtail was the bike of choice for today except for Devil's drop. The first lap I saw one rider in the bush and basically death gripped the bars and stayed off the brakes as much as I could. With no rain it was so soft that I could feel the bike drifting in directions I didn't want it to go. I got through clean.

Lap two was filled with exactly what I expected, my legs said, "were tired." Ok honestly they screamed at me and my mind had no choice but to listen. This was still training and I wanted to not blow up. I backed it down a little, to my favourite pace, 8 hour pace. It was good though, managed to pull a few riders in but of course had a few go the other way. As I made my way up the start climb for the 3rd time I actually thought "shit I'm going to go up this like 15 times in the very near future." Continued to push along and I actually felt not to bad, I hammered where I normally would, on the single track and backed off where I normally would, the climbs. This was when I got my second view of tire treads. On the decent heading into the second long single track climb I watched a guy endo, dismount, start running, and clear himself from the trail in what seemed like an eternity but was over only about 2 seconds. Of course I had riders behind me and I somehow again managed to brake, turn and not get smoked.

Coming into the last lap I was still in pretty good spirits, it's racing, it's fun, sorta. So lets just say that I was happy that the new drive train happen to have that triple on it. Of course my legs weren't to happy when I wasn't able to shift into it. This is where I liked being on the hardtail as I stood and it accelerated. A few more lefts and rights and I was heading into Devil's Drop for the last time. Again death grip of the bars trying not to smash into the back of the Quebec team rider who wouldn't let me past as we headed towards the top of the decent. As I came into the grass section I hit the lock out, shifted into the big ring and stood up. I swung wide with lots of speed and laid a little power on. The 3-4 riders ahead of me came into site very quickly as we went into the last couple 180 degree turns. The first one went smooth but coming into the 2nd I lost a little traction and was forced to down shift which sounded like someone through a wrench in the gears. I managed to get past 2 of that group before crossing the line.

Could I have continued for more laps, absolutely. Would I have wanted to, today, not really, another day, no questions asked. I finished back a lot farther than I would have liked to but this group is fast and today I was not. 23rd is not exactly where I would have liked to have been but I was more looking at times of others, lap times on myself and all other criterium. Should I see myself in the top ten in this group, I think so.

My temptation to go out for an easy spin is pretty much gone, I'm to busy right now coughing up dust. The nice pint of Guinness I just poured is looking a little more inviting right now. I'll probably have more miscellaneous stuff to talk about tomorrow.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The things you see

After mildly yelling at myself this morning I rolled out of the house at 7:30 with 3 bottles, some money and a long mellow music play list. I had this route in my head for a while and today was the day I would do it. Of course 7:30 on a Saturday morning is just a stupid time to be getting on a bike, especially when I was leaving a half pot of coffee. It was also borderline cold. Ok, more it was cold at only a few degrees above freezing. Clothing was a tough one since I was going to be out for close to 5 hours and it was going to be warm with in a couple hours.

i dressed to the minimal I could that would get me through the first hour. I was tucking fingering into a fist for the first hour and I was very happy when I hit the long hills along hwy 12 on my way towards Orillia. Less wind chill meant a warm happy me. So the plan was to do the loop around Lake Cochaching along with a few extra miles. The sun was up and I was actually surprised how much traffic was on the road at this time. Who else wasted coffee this morning?? Yes the thoughts of putting it in one of the bottles crossed my mind.

Since I didn't take any pictures because I was lazy and didn't want to stop, I'll just say that the scenery was not to bad. Heading up Rama Road had me heading toward the Casino. I opted to go towards the casino at this time of the day. I would rather deal with eager and awake people going to blow their money than the guy that has been in there all night and lost his mortgage money. I did see a couple swerving cars.

Riding alone can be interesting as you start to pay attention to things that you would never even see if riding in a pack. Mainly signs. A few of the good ones I say today included a safety zone sign that is enforced from January 1 to December 31 and the fines are double. So you have one millisecond between those dates to do something illegal and only get the regular charge??? Sweet, I'll be there.

Of course I happen to go part Dee's Luckiest Smoke Shop in the World. They had a big sign in front promoting cheap illegal cigarettes. Talk about sticking your middle finger up at the MAN. Yes this was on the reserve.

There was also Dan Dan the Chicken Man, I only saw cows. Just shortly after Dan Dan's place was the Pleasure Dome Farm, they had goats, sheep and just about every other far animal that your hillbilly fetish could desire. As tempting as it was to stop I had a tail wind at that point and didn't want to wreck my momentum.

At the 4 hour mark I was rolling into Coldwater, bottles empty and the tank running on reserve. My only stop, ok besides the 5 pee stops, I can't wait till the heat comes back and I start sweating again on rides. A quick bottle top up and a Mars bar jump started my energy which was great because I sent myself up Vasey line to finish off the legs. A few more lefts and rights after the big climb and spin out of the legs on the rail trail had me rolling into my house at 4:40 and 130km.

Spent the rest of the afternoon chilling as much as possible, I do kinda need to ride semi fast tomorrow. Late update tomorrow also as it will be an attempted race report on Ontario Cup number 1. Don't forget that the world cup will be on tomorrow. Hoping they race early enough to watch the whole race before heading off.


Friday, April 23, 2010

One of those days

I somehow managed to squeeze a mid week day off, aww those bonus days to get things done that would normally have to wait till the weekend. For some reason though I didn't even get half of my plans accomplished because I was a little more involved with my cycling world than my day to day world.

A venture south to visit the Shake'n'Bake twins at their place of work, also the shop that has been helping me out this season. Go to Bike Stop in Orillia, bring them coffee. The purpose of the trip was to get the final components on the Blue and also attempt to shave a few more grams off it. A couple hours later and a half pound lighter I was making my way back home. I won't describe the comments or antics that happened in the shop.

It was on to training now. For some reason the wind has been crazy the last few days, of course that means not fun going one way and lots of fun the other. Tempo was on the agenda and I must say that these conditions with the wind are the ultimate test for the power tap. With that tail wind there is no dogging it on your intensity. Legs felt pretty good on the road and timed my intervals around my new criterium course along side the highway. I am beginning to love service roads more and more. I kept things close to home because sitting in that home was a very strung out dog. Aww yes the Molly Monster was in need of a good run.

A quick switch of bikes and a quick holler to the dog, a few second later I was trying to keep up with her. Luckily she faded as quick as she started but a good rip around that random single track loop I found last year. This was also a let's make sure the bike is ready before the race ride. After my last experience at the first race this year I won't trust in a clean bike again with out a test ride.

It will be a later than normal post tomorrow, I'm attempting to be on the bike by 7am with somewhere close to a 5 hour ride. Trying to give my legs as much time to recover since Sunday is going to hurt. It always does.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Attempts were made to grab coffee with Mr. Watson who was currently hanging in limbo waiting on the plane part of life. Looks like Canada will be well represented over the next couple weeks at the 2 World Cups. I'll have something to watch Sunday morning before heading to Mansfield.

Well that solves the plane part of it. I was feeling a little off and unmotivated yesterday evening, well at least the start of it. the temperature started to drop and the wind picked up just before I was planning on heading out. The thought of heading to the trails crossed my mind but my hands and wrists are still bothering me a little from the " more than I should have moved at one time" pile of limestone screenings last weekend. The road it must be and of course this was filled with a few repeats in my head "I don't wanna!!" I didn't feel like thinking about traffic and I also didn't know how far my current lack of enthusiasm would get me.

A quick thought and I grabbed a mountain bike, a couple bottles and music and I made my way to Coldwater with a thought of the rail trail in mind. No cars, no trucks, no trains, no hills??? It was actually the perfect route for me for the day since there was absolutely no thinking needed. Turns were pretty much minimal and I found myself slowly getting happy and having a little bit of fun with it. I just kept going and going. Of course I deep down knew that I had a tail wind and would at some point need to deal with that. Later.

The whole time on my way south I kept looking around hoping to find some random hidden trail that lead to the ultimate piece of single track. Ya, it didn't happen, I continued along and in what felt like no time at all I was coming into Orillia, no time being just over an hour. The gravel trail changed to pavement and I went from nothing on the trail to runners, walkers and roller bladers. I decided not to do what the Shake N Bake twins do and scare the crap out of the other trail users with race pace intervals. I did find my little piece of single track though, it lasts all of 22 seconds.

Hit the far end of the trail, and turned around, hucked a double in the skate park as I made my way by. I also got my first taste of the head wind. A few minutes later the pavement disappeared and so did the other users, the wind did not. I also started to notice that the sun was getting a lower, I've always wanted to chase the sun and that is exactly what I would be doing riding in a north west direction.

So my mind was not fully shut down on this ride and lucky it wasn't, as I was motoring along I noticed something in the trail way up to head. It was moving, at first I thought it was a cat, as I continued towards it I noticed that it was heading towards me. That's one big cat!!! Wait that's not a cat.

I came to a stop, it came to a stop. We both just stared at one another, Mexican stand of. I scrambled to get my camera out to take some evidential photographs in case it attacked and killed me and left my left over body parts at the side of the trail. A few seconds later I think he sensed that camera and became photo shy.

Of course I went in chase. Hello Mr. Porcupine. I did keep my distance though since he had more quills than I did spare tubes and I was still a good distance from home.

No I didn't attempt to pet him. I didn't chill out with him for to long as I started to get a little chilly. It was getting cold fast and I still had a solid 30 minutes to get home. The excitement was gone for the rest of the ride. Rolled into the house at the perfect time, my hands and feet were just starting to get made at me and my stomach was running a close second with a craving for dinner. 3 hour ride with almost no interruption like stop signs. A grand total of 550 feet of climbing which meant my legs were turning the whole time. I was pretty happy with the ride considering only a few hours earlier I was content to sit on my ass and watch a movie and just look at the bikes instead of riding them. I'll use that route again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Looking ahead

We're only out a few days from the first Ontario Cup and it's sounding like it may be a little bit of an upheaval. Guys that were supposed to be gone are no longer going to their planned destination. Apparently plans don't do well in volcanic ash. I'm pretty sure there will be a few with very high hopes for this weekends race results a little disappointed now.

As for me, well I don't really expect much since I'll be training hard the day before when everyone else is resting. Almost positive that I won't get a pre ride in this year. It's Mansfield, I've seen the course map, nothing to exciting or different. Some up and some downs. I'll be spending Saturday morning put in some long miles instead, roughly a 5 hour ride. Why, all for a great cause.

Of course I'm planning on riding as early as I possibly can, thoughts of a 7 am start are in the mix and with high hopes with plans to spend the rest of the day with my legs up and relaxing. It's looking like a typical 2009 race weather at this point, rain. I'll be honest, let it rain during these short races all it wants. It's the long events I care about. I can be wet and cold for 2 hours and deal with it, I'm hoping for no repeats of a certain 24 hour conditions of years past.

On the training front, up and down my favourite little hill a bunch of times with Nascar turns to the left. No crashes, no spectator friendly excitement, just some tired legs afterwards. Tomorrow will have something a little new.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the past keeps you on the straight and narrow

As I chilled in the sunroom last night I started to think about why we do the things that we do. I rubbed my head after my 2 hour earlier hair cut. That ready for race season hair cut that is just long enough to cover the scares in my head but yet short enough to rip out the grey hair that makes repeated attempts of showing up. I'm not getting old, I'll keep battling it. I glance at my legs. Those shaved legs and I think about why I do all this. I also think back to some one of the first times I tried to remove leg hairs and the means of experimentation.

We all know the normal reason of why men spend more time shaving their legs during the race season than shaving facial hair. I won't get in to that. What I think back to is the first year I started doing it. It took a big chunk of self confidence to even bring a razor towards those skinny sticks in the first place. After a while it started to become a normal thing but of course me being that efficiently junkie that I am I wanted to figure out what would give me the most amount of time between hair removal sessions.

I started into those quiet talks with women that I knew asking about waxing and chemicals etc, I didn't want to many of my guy friends even hearing me bring this question up. Most of my friends at that time were not into biking at all. My friend collection has changed since that time. So after hearing the potential pain in waxing I opted to try a chemical hair removal. Off to the drug store and I see Nair for Men hair removal. Hey, I'm a man and I have man hair. This is what I need. To the cash register with my manscaping formula I go. An hour later I'm home and of course to keep thing manly I crack a beer open with my teeth as I head to the bathroom with death to hair in mind.

I read the instructions and the warnings, maybe that's where I failed. May cause irritation, hmmm, try a small skin area first. Well I thought I'd be smart and follow the warnings, small area, waited the time and wiped it off. Hmmm so far so good. I'm tough, it's not going to cause me because my skin doesn't irritate!!! The whole leg is done with this cream as I chug back the beer. Waiting patiently for that 7-8 minutes they say it takes to work was done drinking another beer. Wipe off the cream and look at my legs, ok so most of the hair came off, did the other leg with the same results. So far so good. Most of the hair is gone, no shaving for weeks according to the box. Then things went bad.

It wasn't that day but it was through the night and into the morning, I started to kick the sheets off my legs. By the am I was in a world of hurt. My legs were red in places, the ankles were swollen. Taking a shower that morning hurt worst than any sunburn in my past. Socks felt like they had spikes on them. This is not good. Over the next week I could barely stand having anything touch my skin. Things slowly got better and as I was finally able to even look at my legs without them hurting I began to notice something. What the hell is that??? Is that stubble? Shit.

The hair started to grow back at it's normal rate, I suffered more than I think I have ever suffered to that point in my life for absolutely nothing. The next few days I swear the hair on my legs grew back longer, faster and thicker than in the past. It was getting it's revenge for my weak attempts to shut it out of my life for more than a few days. A week or so later I was finally able to take the razor to the legs and went back to shaving. 5 years later my thoughts of using anything but a razor blade on those skinny little legs has always been haunted by the past. The thoughts of waxing or chemicals and my skin yells "do you remember when"

I just had a shiver from that little life reminder, I need more coffee.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My big backyard

Yesterday was the Paris to Ancaster race and guess what, I wasn't there. I had more fun doing what I did. I'll say that it would have been cool to see the twins destroy the field on the tandem but that would have been the extent of the excitement for me. Instead I went to my favourite backyard playground, Copeland forest.

I had multiple time agenda, part for my coach and part for being a tour guide. Rolled into the parking lot just a few minutes after 9. It was empty, probably because it was cold but the sun was out, put on another layer of clothing and pulled the hardtail off the roof. I'm still making my body get used to this bike. Some good warm up time on the double track sections before diving into the trails. It didn't take long to get warm. Pretty much the opposite of Saturday. I was also scoping out some potential routes for my soon to be tour guide of the day. Let's just say the recon work was very much worth it. As I was making my way back towards the parking lot after an hour and a half of riding I found the bottom of the berms. Yes they exist and they have been so close all the time. Back to the car.

So if you had the choice of racing your cross bike with 1900 rider or riding in one of the best trail systems with an attractive female cyclist who can ride very fast what would you do? Exactly. It didn't take to much to convince Robin to come out of the city for a few hours riding. Armed with a new loaner bike she was pretty excited. For me, I switched bikes to something a little more forgiving to the body. No I don't normally bring 2 bikes on any rides but with a plan for me to finish up with close to 5 hours of riding the thoughts of that on a hardtail did not impress my back to much. Out comes the Anthem.

For the next 3.5 hours we made random lefts and rights, I warned her that in her you randomly become lost for many minutes then link to a trail that you know exactly where you are. this place is huge and we even hit up some trails that I didn't even know existed. There was huge amounts of climbing followed by amazing fast single track descents that had both of us smiling at the bottom. Speaking of climbs, comment was brought up about the little ring being used, yes it was me that shifted into it. It didn't take long before Robin was doing the same. For those that have never ridden Copeland there are climbs that you just don't have a choice. Wait you do, little ring or walk, pick one.

I'd checked my watch a few times and was actually shocked that we had been out as long as we had and we were still in the middle of nowhere. We started to make our way to the berms. There is no better way to finish up a ride. Those trips to Joyride 150 paid off. Flash backs of the pump track had you nailing the corners a little higher and a little faster. Let's just say that grown ups can giggle in the right situation. We finished up riping down the 5th line downhill along with the 20 minutes of flat single track. Pressing stop on the watch had me with just a few minutes shy of 5 hours of riding. Of course there were a few breaks in there but the miles I needed were now in the legs.

The only thing needed in the parking lot is a restaurant, with a deck, and beer. Someone? Anyone? Great day in the trails that P2A could never match. I think that Robin may have a different look at the trails she rides daily now, I'm sorry for wrecking them on you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A simple comparision




NOT FUN!!!!!


NOT FUN, and yes I know that is ugly wall paper. I've yet to do any work in that particular room since I really don't like spending anymore time in there that need be. I think I watch more tv in that room though that I do anywhere else in the house.

As I rolled past the 2 hour mark yesterday I stared outside and noticed that all those trees had stopped moving. Did I make a mistake, should I have attempted to ride outside, am I being soft hiding inside on the trainer? Then a blast of wind and rain and snow showed. I'm fine in here.

Task was completed, no attempt to pull out my hair from boredom and managed to keep breakfast down during those harder than normal pace intervals. Most definitely not repeating that today. The sun is up, the coffee is great (like usual) and there are bikes to be ridden, outdoors.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Could be better, could be worse

Staring blankly at the computer this morning because I'm just in awe of the weather. It's cold, it's windy, and I think I just saw snow flakes. HMMMM thoughts on my vomit session ride seems to be towards the indoor side of the options. Am I impressed with that thought, HELL NO!!!! But when I see leaf less trees bending moving 10 feet left to right I have this sense that the wind may just pick up my frail little body and throw it around like a ragdoll.

Quick update the sun is now out but sideways rain is happening at the same time. I guess it's Mother Nature's idea of a sick twisted joke. Give you the illusion of it looking nice to get you outside then nail you.

I shouldn't complain to much about the conditions outside, those tan lines are coming back, I've gotten lot's of trail riding in already. Last year at this time I had to drive two hours south to spend time in any type of single track, this year things have been phenomenal. To spend a little time on the trainer today maybe a good thing and a simple reminder on how good it's been.

Sooner I start sooner the damage is done, Good luck to anyone venturing to the outdoors today. I'm being a little soft and riding in front of the tv.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Information overload

Have you ever wondered if you just have way to much to think about when your riding, well beyond just turning your legs and not riding into random objects. Last night during the ride I had some tempo work to do and in some case I think my brain exploded.

I have the power tap now for a few weeks and I'm started to get my power zones matched with my heartrate for the bottom end and the top end, it's one right in the middle that I'm still working on. Staring at the power tap display, then at my hr display, then at the road then at the hr, back to the road. Luckily there is no law about this, honest officer I was watching the road not the little display. I didn't see the kid, he came out of no where.

I think I need a mount for my Iphone on the other side then I can write this while on those long rides.

Sometimes I wonder if having all this info takes some of the fun out of riding, just pedal and look around. But then there is me being a numbers geek I like to over analyze everything so I will say that I love having all this info. Let's me know if my continued push to the next level is actually happening or not. Also makes me feel better when I question if I have gotten faster and seem to still be chasing others who have done the same. Why does it seem that everyone steps it up a level all at the same time. Stop it dammit!!!!!!!!!!!

After the coaching stuff and my brain exploding I did do some of that just riding along stuff. Out on some random country roads, sometimes battling a cruel head wind, sometimes enjoying super hero speeds with that now tail wind.

The weather was down right amazing and summer like, those tan lines are starting to show and it gave me a craving for a great refueling device for later in the evening. Since I always leave the house with some money in my jersey for that just in case, the just in case happen to be a stop at the lcbo for 3 cans of Hockley dark. Good stuff. It would have been Guinness but since they only sell it in 4 packs and I only have 3 pockets in the jersey I had a slight dilemma. Yes, I know I could have drank one of them. I got strange enough looks just going into the store in full kit, the last thing I needed to do was give the image that all cyclists are drunks by chugging a beer in front of the store.

Great ride, 1:45, somewhere in the middle of the minimum/maximum that the coach listed for time. The weekend is coming, the rain is coming, there is a race on. HMMMM sound familiar.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The future is bubble wrapped

With the first of many short races coming up extremely fast and my plan to ride the hardtail for most of them I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time on the bike. It''s been a while since I've raced this bike, hard to compete with an Anthem, so I'm planning on only riding this in the trails for the next week and a half. Of course that could always change and it probably will.

Copeland, like usual was the destination. I did some different turns for a change on a mission to link up single track to all the double track that I skied on this past winter. It's funny that I ride here all the time but yet I still sometimes end up doubling back on trails more often than you would think, this place is huge. It was an endurance pace ride which my legs were not complaining to much about.

the first reminder of a hardtail took all of 5 minutes into the ride, some bumpy rollers that normally 4 inch suspension smooths out. Had to remind myself to pedal smooth. Didn't take long for me to start riding properly again. I still think that everyone should have a hardtail in their collection and ride it enough to remind them how much work a full suspension bike does for you. More lefts and rights for the next 20 minutes and then I start climbing and climbing and climbing. Awww I love this place.

After about 10 to 15 minutes of mainly up I rolled into a trail hub and started hearing these weird noises, heard it again, and again. Stopped and took out my single headphone that had some phenomenal opera screaming out of it and looked around. The sounds were matched to Mrs. Simmons. Some Hi how ya doings followed with about a 30 minute ride together as she was making her way back to her car.

Along the way I came across this. They painted stumps also, I was still watching for bubble wrapped trees. Maybe that comes out next month. Back to the non safely marked trails I made my way to the 5th line downhill and back towards my start point, yes that was sped up in typing because it took an hour from where I split from Tammy. Nice 2 hour ride, a few tweaks to be made on the bike fit but overall it felt pretty good. I will say I love the way it climbs, I forgot how still that bike is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

no repeat during repeats

It's happened, it's taken all the fear out of any corner. At least for the next 5 months. The street sweepers have been through and the roads are looking perfect and grippy for those skinny little road tires. Of course last night I was out on that same hill around the exact same time doing the exact same thing. Only this time I decided to keep to what Nascar does best and only turn left. The only thing to get trashed this time were my legs.

I would say that Sunday's race did open up the lungs a little, I could feel a little burn in there that will obviously become one of those things that you begin to enjoy. Right now it lets me know where my top end is at and it currently burns. It's not something I should see a doctor about, excuse is it supposed to burn when I....

Now that I have a race under me I debate about my decision on skipping Paris to Ancaster. It's not changing but I will say that I kinda would like to see the possible carnage at this race. For those going, I'm not letting the full story out but just imagine what could happen when you put two elite riders riding something that probably shouldn't be even on gravel. It could be worth the drive to check things out. Naww. The logistics is what has me staying local. It's such a long season again that having a sane weekend will be nice.

MMMMM sweet coffee. I'm trying to purge the poor excuse of coffee from yesterday's seminar out of my system. This seems to work with a 2-1 ratio, 2 good to kill one bad cup. I feel sorry for my customers today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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

I did at least look at a bike, I even touched one as I brought the Anthem out of the basement where it will be heading for a spa day with the Shake'N'Bake twins. They are to bike tuning what I am to appliances service. The original plan of the MNS ride fell apart pretty quick and I was not complaining. Had a couple yawning sessions during the day it didn't disappoint me to much to have the night off. The coach would be happier with that thought also.

It was the fix me up day though at Dr. Bill's clinic. Because of the timing of the long weekend it was two weeks since I'd seen him last, yep right before my little match up with the pavement so I was pretty happy to be in there. Took him about half a second before making a comment on my body alignment but he did at least slide one compliment in there. "It's not the worst position I've seen you in", Oh ya?? "Remember when you hit that tree with your head??" Thanks for that reminder Doc. Like usual though I came out of there feeling amazing. Body issues you have to see this guy!!!

From there it was an evening of what to do or more what not to do. Well since apparently I'm the king of the hicks so I did what hicks do when they are bored. I burn things. A little outside yard work with a match. No I'm not a fire bug, I burn for survival and heat, honest.

It's extra early in a day in the life of me, about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I'm working on getting as much coffee into me as possible this morning because it's going to be one of those day I want to stab out my eyes. I have to sit in a big square room all day listening to possibly the worst presenter out there, his nickname is monotone Bob. His whole presentation will be one long sentence. It's a new product introduction day for one of the manufactures I work for. The good is I get to see old friends from other service areas, the bad is I probably already worked on all these units, found the problems and quirks and tricks to cure it already. Perk of the area I work in is the product I see before everyone else. It is a free all you can eat lunch which is the only saving grace.

It's back at it tonight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the Monday morning after

There's not much to say today. The legs felt pretty good on the stairs considering how trashed they felt last night. I'm still hacking up some miscellaneous chunks of flem that have been sitting in my lungs since the last race in the fall. One of those things that just doesn't age like wine but hopefully it's making space for a little more oxygen.

I think I'll drink some coffee and enjoy the sunrise in the sunroom. It's almost warm outside first thing this morning.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The offical start of 2010 The Homage to Ice

I'm going to steal a line that I keep hearing everyone else seems to be using. It's great to have that first race done. Yes it is. So the short story, it hurt a lot but with all things considered I'm very happy with the results. Not the final standing but more a body thing.

So now the long story, same routine as normal, huge calories lots of coffee etc as i headed out for the hourish drive to Mansfield Outdoor Center for the first official race of the 2010 season. Substance Project put on a bit of a tribute to the now dead Uxbridge Icebreaker. There would be no ice today. Let's just say that Dan Marshall and his very small crew are a fantastic addition to the Ontario cycling scene. After last years marathon series I swear he stepped it up even more this year. What a fantastic course, organization etc etc.

Rolled in with plenty of spare time since there was probably going to be lots of hey how was your winter etc, have you been training, and apparently an insult or two. I'm sorry Ryan!!! Cars started rolling in and faces that make people go oh shit started to appear. Mr. Glassford showed with a stone cold stare at Jacob, a few more Trek team riders showed along with a the current Junior National Road Champion. Let's just say that this race pulled out the big guns that happen to still be in the country.

Call ups, count down and we were off. The pace was pretty high right out of the gate, expected. Was sitting 5th or 6th wheel as we made our way through the start loop which included a nice climb that popped a few people that went out a little quicker than they should have. From there it was into the infamous Mansfield climb up the front of the ski hill. I hate this climb. I love this climb. Dropped back a couple spots but nothing that I didn't expect. What I didn't expect was the interesting noises that started coming out of the back of my bike. Some of that ticking and chain clicking bad noises. Just kept pushing.

Things seemed to settle a bit as we hit the long double track section, a few km's which were a great place for me to feel what my legs were doing. Not exactly my strong points of riding but I managed to pull a couple riders in. It wasn't much past here that my 24 hr tag partner went ripping past me. Because of call ups the Shake'N"Bake twins didn't leave together. Probably a good thing for Peter. I just stayed at my same pace, just below vomiting. Nothing to exciting happened for the next few km's, then came this narrow chute decent that I came barreling into full speed. Hey that's an arrow to the right as i turned my head in awe. Hey look at the deep trenches in the narrow chute, hey there's Tristan, Hey there is the trail again. I managed to get through there without any damage but unfortunately for Tristan his wheel and his pride didn't.

The rest of the lap remained the same, I'd now officially done more anaerobic at this point of the race than I had on any ride this year. Yes it hurt. Lap two was going to hurt a bit more. That notorious clicking coming from the bike seemed to pick up a couple new sounds. The sound of a chain rubbing a front derailleur. Some barrel adjustment and it was gone, for now. I noticed that my pace didn't drop dramatically but I seemed to settle into my 8 hour pace. 5 % below O-cup pace. I noticed that I started riding the technical stuff cleaner. I also seemed to get into a little happier place. I also started pulling in a few more riders which of course made me happy. Having that carrot out in the distance makes you ride just that little bit faster.

So back to that weird noise of chain rub, yes the cable began slipping and I started to lose big ring use which on the double track sections was a little concern, I continued to barrel adjust until I could barrel adjust no more. As I got closer to the finish I actually got concerned that I could loose my middle ring if the cable slipped anymore. The bike was not in a happy place, I forgot to mention that during the warm up with Jacob one of my pedals almost came off, so here is the thought on that. I'm very very good at fixing appliances (ego? just a little) but when it comes to bikes let's just say that I failed miserably today. Part of the problem was my race ready and only bike was not ridden after the new derailleur and cables were put on. It's been on the wall collecting dust. So all bike problems were my problem.

A few km's later I was heading into the last downhill section, pretty much done. Onto the doubletrack, mashed the pedals with what I had left. The need to do it was minimal, had a pretty big gap on the next rider to the point they were not insight for the last 20 minutes, trust me I was looking over my shoulder. Crossed the line pretty content, I think I inched into the top 15 overall which amongst the riders out today wasn't to bad. Of course I would have liked to have been up a little higher but amongst everything over the last week I'm pretty happy with that.

SO a few congratulations to go out. Peter for the win after I put a carrot out to him, Tim in 2nd, division 3rd overall Jacob 3rd division 4th overall. Squeezed in to 2nd was Steve Noble from Jet Power. Tristan was seen walking in the wrong direction with a wheel that should have had a little Mexican dog sitting beside it. In a slightly smaller less important race than our a huge congratulations to Mr Watson with a 5th place at the Pan Am Championships.

MNS will be a little slower tomorrow night, like it should be. Andrew needs to take an earlier flight home tomorrow, we'll save a beer for you.

I'll probably have more to write in the morning. For now, comfy chair and a movie

The first and last??

It's race day, I'll give the run down tonight/tomorrow. The Anthem is as ready to go as the rider is. There is definitely going to be a little drama at the start line if Peter makes his way over today, him and the Shake'N'Bake twins could turn into an early season Nascar crash scene. For me I have some realistic goals for the results, as for strategy. Hell I'll tell it now, I'm going to pin it off the line and stay full throttle till I either cross the line or I blowed up realllllll good.

Backing up a few hours there was still training to do and it even included playing with others. Headed to Midland for the first group ride of the year, it was a nice run along the rail trail and took an hour to get there. The chilly wind was an interesting way to get warmed up. So knowing that everyone was going to be on road bikes and the pace was going to be pretty sane I did what I would normally do, rebel, and jumped on the no ready for racing Anthem, locked out the suspension, did not change tires or raise the air pressure. This would either be a really good thing or really bad idea.

Rolled into the parking lot and got a few strange looks right from the start. Hey, it's me what could I expect. It turned out to be a great first group ride showing with 14ish making their way out in the crisp temperature. I was a little concerned on how high the pace could go though because a few of the local fast guy roadies did show, on my road bike I wouldn't be concerned but trying to keep things sane for me along with only having a 44-12 as a max could make for some people being dropped off the back, mainly me. This didn't happen, pace was pretty good and my legs were feeling great. I put my time in at the front pulling as well. A great loop through Lafontaine and Farlane Lake. This will probably be one of my only group rides with the crew though since training regiment usually doesn't allow it. I'm hoping this won't be the first and last group ride of the season with the Midland crowd.

After two hours with them I still had the hour to get back to the house. The weather was a little more favourable, I think that was because I now had a tail wind. The last hour was spent on the rail trail trying to figure out how my heart rate monitor was still working. About halfway through the ride the strap broke and the sensor slowly made it's way towards my stomach area but yet seemed to be transmitting a pretty accurate number. Either I've gotten skinny enough that my pulse can be taken on just about any body part now or I've grown a second heart in my belly. I think it's the second heart and it's right beside my newly developed third lung, I just need to start to make both of them work together.

4 hours of play time, body was opened up a bit and hopefully ready for today. Easy decision was made, no double duty racing today just the 50 km. There are races everywhere today including Guatemala where Mr. Watson is representing Canada. Not sure if there will be a live feed of the race anywhere, if anyone knows please send me the link. A little more coffee to drink then it's off to ride at a vomit inducing pace. Later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The premorning morning

It's the day before the day of the official start of the 2010 race season. I'm doing my usual Saturday morning thing of 6ish am wake up time, a pot of really good Kicking Horse coffee, this morning is Three Sister and staring at my computer. The sun is up, the snow has gone, for good I hope and I'm starting to plan out the day.

I'm not sure if I'm nervous, excited or impatient about the first race. Maybe it's just wanting to get it done and see how the legs are at. To know if what was done during the winter made me faster? If what other's have done during the winter has made them faster? Who has been dogging it etc.

It's only a 50 km race which for me is pushing to the low side of what I'm good at. I'd had a random thought thrown at me about doing the 10 am 25 km race then do the 50 km right afterwards. The temptation is there, it could possibly happen, it will be a game day thought. I'll see what today brings. As much as a few of the boys are resting up today I do have to ride my bike today, a little longer than most would think but this is all for the greater cause. 4 days of down time I have some cob webs to get out of the legs.

There could be an interesting battle tomorrow amongst a couple of the boys, a little show down between the twins and one of the Trek team riders. I'm not sure if Peter is aware that his last year's run in with Juice Boy was minor in comparison to what that Shake'N"Bake twins have up their sleeve.

HMMM I'm wondering if a bike seat is as comfortable as my couch, it's seeming like it's been forever. More coffee before I find out.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Digging deep

But yet another day where my butt straddled the couch and not the bike. It's all good but it's still hard to slow down. An hour of bending and stretching to try and keep me gumby like, not helping much though. I'm hoping the massage tonight will help that wonderful hip of mine go closer to it original position.

Step one of my outdoor work is coming to a close, the shop is pretty much done. Some minor trim work to finish, new wood stove inside along with some business type set up things to do. This has been a fun project but I'm glad to see it coming to an end. The next step to the back yard creation will be started soon, limestone screening for the path ways and new sod is on the agenda in the next couple weeks followed by the upper deck/fire pit. Why do I take on such massive projects at this time of the year? When I look at the race schedule now and the fall are the only times I can put some serious time in, soon it will be racing every weekend.

Since I'm digging for words, I'll show a before and after and then call it a day and do what Bob does when he is bored.

Nothing like trying to climb a window to keep you amused

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where I belong

Not much going on right now, my cold is subsiding, finally. It's been 3 days off the bike and it feels like an eternity. It's not been that bad though, the days of rainbows and butterflies have been rain and mud flying.

A final decision has been made for the Ontario and Canada Cup series, I'll be racing with my own. Yes, I'll be racing with all the people my own age. no more mid life crises. There were a few different reasons for this, one is that I am turning 37 this year and racing against guys that I'm old enough to be there Father was just not as fun a thought as I was hoping last year. I'll still be fighting tooth and nail to make the top 10 racing with the master's.

There will be one really nice thing about starting with these guys, no more starting at the back of the pack and then dealing with huge amounts of traffic. This will be a bonus for me being a little slow off the line and usually battling my way back up in even my own division. Hey, I'm an endurance racer, I just start feeling good when an O-cup comes to an end. There are some old friends racing in this division also so a few good match ups should happen also.

Weekend plans are looking good, first Saturday group ride is on the plate. I'll keep it pretty low key and save some legs for Sunday's adventure to Mansfield. I'm debating back in forth on what bike to race on. Thoughts of spending some time on the hardtail before an O cup have crossed my mind but I really really love my Anthem's Game day decision

Attempts will be made to ride tonight, have a feeling that the trainer may get a little use.

For your cycling amusement you have to check out this video. These are my friends, they ride bikes, sometimes fast, sometimes dangerously. In this case the later. Interestingly I'm racing tag team at Solstice with Tristan. Could the competition get a little nervous knowing the measures that could be taken during the race to try and secure a win.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

fighting a battle

Still have a cold, not impressed but I don't think it could have showed up at a better time. Recovery week, shitty weather conditions etc, much better than in the middle of a beautiful sunny week where there were some long miles to be ridden.

So a few final decisions on the race schedule, Paris to Ancaster is out. Just not feeling it and I would rather not ride my cross bike at this time of the year. I know I COULD race it on a mountain bike but I'll stick to the I don't wanna approach then. I will miss out on the potential NASCAR crash with Jacob and Tristan taking on all the tandem bike teams.

The count down till Sunday's race is on. I'm getting excited.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Tuesday morning after a long weekend is the worst applaince to ever get. It is also the worst time for me to write. Got nothing, did nothing yesterday, brain is still in bed. Come back tomorrow or read previous good stuff.

Monday, April 5, 2010

And I'm spent

Yesterday was the last day of a three week training block and my legs were feeling it. So was the rest of the body. Still a little achy from my contact with the road last week and with that amongst everything else the legs were feeling a little tired. There were options of the day for my ride but all seemed to funnel to one choice. The road. After a couple texts of criticism I was off.

The bigger reason for the road was the distance I was planning. I've yet to find a convenience store on the trails and with just over 4 hours of riding to do I was probably going to need to top up a bottle or two. Yes, I know they make camelbaks. My thoughts on those things are not exactly high. For today, 3 bottles, 8 dollars and a cell phone was all that was needed.

I had a general route laid out, heading west towards Awenda Park. Depending on the legs and time I may or may not do that loop. Well all the extra lefts and rights I added in before the start up Champlain Road made my decision.

This is one of the nicest roads in the area, if they would only repave it.

I kept the power and hr on the low side of my endurance pace for the first two hours. No real reason but the fact that I was a little tired and the legs were not in a great mood to start out.

It's hard to tell but those are ski resorts over there and that was where we were last weekend. The hills on the side of the bay are a little smaller.

The last hour of my ride I picked up the pace, the legs started feeling happy and so was I. It may have been because of the big Easter dinner the family had planned only a couple hours later. MMM food I don't have to cook.

4.25 hours, tired legs and one other bonus. A cold. I felt it coming on Saturday night. I guess if you are going to get one during a rest week is the best time. There also seems to be the best rest week weather coming in. Rain for the week which will help keep me under control of extracurricular activities. The trails could use it also. Speaking of trails, the first race is now less than a week away. 50km should be a great test of the legs.

Last day of the 4 day weekend, what to do, what to do, what not to do!!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A ride followed by a real ride

I could talk about yesterday's ride or I could talk about the other ride. The training ride went well, after 30 seconds of debating I grabbed the Anthem and headed to Copeland for a little bit of trail action. It was an interval filled ride and because of the terrain I mixed things up a bit. Some hammering up the hills, some what seemed like forever long double track intervals and some race pace single track sessions. Enough that my legs were feeling pretty trashed and I was spinning up a couple hills using every easy gear I had.

Ok enough of that, now comes the important ride. Scan to the right and there should be posts from a few others in that US list. The most talked about ride after the pancake ride came sooner than later. The Fixie pub ride was going to become epic not by any of our influences. There were rules, of course a few were broken but they seemed to have consequences. Fixed, cruisers, single speeds were the only bikes allowed. Avoiding being clipped in was preferred.

Didn't take long for those rules to be broken, they were bent for people who didn't own one of those bikes listed above but what we allowed and what Karma allows are two different things. 10 of us rolled out from my place with a destination of the Quarter Deck restaurant roughly 30 minutes away. There may or may not have been beer in a cage of one or two of those bikes. It didn't take long though for Karma to get made at one of the non fixie riders. 5 minutes in a flat tire appeared on one of the full suspension geared bikes. Take that for not playing along.

Some altered plans were made and we were off again. Two geared bikes gone, one left. As we came closer to our destination some additional challenges, things like barriers and road crossings added some challenge. Karma continued to through up an attack as she teamed up with Mother Nature. The wind picked up a little, then a little more. We can see our destination through the now sand storm that has come up.

Mr. Watson had the challenge of a sail of a front wheel. There was a little sideways leaning as we approached the restaurant but we were short a couple riders. Karma took on the last geared bike and caused the chain to drop. My poor coach was the last on the list of the geared bike take down.

With everyone accounted for the final attack from Mother Nature happened with a tornado/hurricane/typhoon rolling in. 12 foot waves were crashing over the restaurants deck. Slight exaggeration but there was a bit of a challenge getting bikes to stay on the deck. The rain set in moments later

Beers, were ordered. Food was eaten, stories were told and a toast to global warming and Al Gore were made. It was April 3 and most of us were riding in shorts and sandals.

Some took the eating part a little to serious.

Now this is when the fun began. Our start time turned out to be a little later than planned which meant our return time to my house was later. Later equals dark. Dark equals sure death. Of course all of use being extremely experienced racers with lots of attention to detail during prep for a race didn't even consider bringing a light for this ride. The bike path is not well lite, actually it's not lite at all. Those barriers are not glow in the dark. There were continuous games of Marco Polo played and lots of random screams in pure fear as a barrier appeared only feet away. I've ridden that trail so many times that I knew where they should be but that really didn't help.

There were no crashes, the rain and wind had stopped just before we started our return home, no old people were run down, talks of another one of these rides have already started. It may be a little difficult to beat the epicness of this ride. It will be fun trying.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Return of the past

Yesterday was a tough day, it was a scheduled rest day which of course on the hottest day of the year was very cruel. After a long walk with the Molly Monster the plan for the day was to work on the shop. Things came along great, getting closer to the finished product or more to the point where I don't mind taking a break from it. It's gone from the shady looking building to Uncle tom's cabin to now a nice board and batten shop. Finally.

Now back to that walk, first up. i am not a walker, I can handle hiking in the bush while camping but a walk out on the road is just plain boring but the walk had a destination. As I pushed along I had lots of memories of the past coming back to me. Times in my late teens and early twenties. It was about a car. It was about a car that our family owned. Yes I was walking to pick up a car. Yes I love cars almost as much as I love biking, in my past life of an unhealthy person all I did was work on cars. Some history of my car life included the first person in the area to customize a Honda Civic. I know nothing new now a days but this was in the early 90's and it was an 1984 Civic. Of course back then when everyone was into Mustangs and Camero's everyone laughed a bit. If they only knew what was to come. From there my list included a Dodge Daytona, Acura Integra and an Acura Legend. All far from stock.

As I got older my practical side started to kick in and so did cycling so vehicles were a little more low key, a couple big trucks, Subaru Legacy GT wagon to the current Audi and Honda Element. But I always kept looking for a car of my past as a toy. Of course growing up in the 80's and 90's there were a lot of bad trends and not much that I wanted. I also didn't want to spend an excessive amount of money on something that will sit a huge amount of time. The other thought was not buying something that would get me in trouble with things like speeding tickets. Yes, I have a heavy foot and a twin turbo charged 6 cylinder Audi is a bad enough influence for a person with weak self control when it comes to speed. So what did I go and get.

I bought a Fiero. Stop laughing. There is some history to this car. My Dad had bought one for my Mom as an anniversary present back in the late 80's. A 6 cyl standard. It was the most comfortable car to drive and just down right fun. Eventually that car went through the whole family with my sister taking it to the west coast, my parents taking it to the east coast and then myself using it as a day to day car. We all loved driving it. The funny thing was watching any of us get in it since we are all tall and this thing is so tiny, until you get inside. You are stretched out, it's like being in a lazy boy. There are lots of other stories about that car that I won't put up here since I know Mom reads this and would probably yell at me if she knew.

So how did this come about. I've been looking online for the last few months, just watching and debating. Then I happen to be out for a road ride on one of my regular roads and i saw something that caught my eye. A white Fiero that looked identical to the one we used to have for sale. I'd seen the car before at this house and always had memories pop into my head. Of course I had to stop. There were a few days of this as i watched it, eventually I stopped over and took it for a test drive. A couple days after that was a second drive followed by handing the gentleman his for sale sign. That was Thursday night.

The car needs a little bit of work but overall is in amazing shape. I'll play around with it over the course of the summer. I'm not in a rush, so many other things are higher on the to do list. Will you see me driving this to a race. I doubt it but I think it will be a fun summer toy for those Sunday afternoon cruises. Molly likes it, she sits closer to the window. A two seater could be interesting those if someone else shows up in my life, Molly may be forced to stay home. She may not like the toy as much.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blinding the world

It finally happened, no full lengths, no knee warmers, just pure unprotected gleaming bright white legs came out in full force for yesterday's road ride. I don't think I put any cars in to the ditch with the glare but I did have one asshole near the end of the come right beside me and nail the horn to try and scare me. I know what your car looks like buddy, not hard to remember and red necked Buick. You know the kind that was bought off a little old lady cheap and 2 minutes from her house they already have 2 hubcaps come flying off because they think it's a sports car. Unfortunately I didn't catch the plate number that would have be phoned into my cop friend who also happens to be a cyclist and road safety advocate. The stories.

It was a non spectacular ride with a lot of loops of a few back country paved roads, some long zone 3 intervals to do. My body is still feeling the results of the couple days ago bump with the pavement but that is to be expected and with the summer like conditions I could have had a broken leg and I would have still been out riding.

Had a couple firsts for 2010 happen yesterday, the first chasing dog of the season. In between intervals a big black lab type dog came barrelling across the yard. I had lot's of advanced warning, clicked a couple gears harder and stood in preparation. He/she has yet to shed the winter weight and didn't keep the pace for very long. The second fun thing was a smell, is that, yes I think it is. The smell of sweat. I kinda forgot what it was like. It was warm enough that I was actually sweating or it was because I didn't have seven layers between my body and the outside world that trapped the odour. Either way it was a great sense.

Another 2.5 hour ride, rolled in as the sun was setting and wasn't shivering. I like this way to much. Set rest day, high of 26 today. May make a cruise on the fixie as a warm up for tomorrow evenings mayhem fixie ride. I'll be trying to get some colour on those white sticks I stand on.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

What gives a grown man a huge smile

Not that, that does work but were trying to keep it clean here. Today's ride is what did it. I had my plan and I was going to stick with it. The body was still feeling a little rough but not that type of stay of the bike type issue. A quick tire change and wheel swap and I was out on the Anthem. Yes, in that order and that means I had to do something I really don't like doing. Riding a mountain bike on the road sucks but it was all for the greater cause.

Headed south on what was the straightest possible line to my final destination. Surprisingly enough I didn't mind the annoying sound of knobby tires on hard asphalt tonight. The fact that I was doing 25-26 km/h instead of over 30. I think it was because of the amazing weather. The sun broke about 20 minutes into my ride and I swear it felt almost summer. An hour of road which I would normally say is way to long to do what I was doing, I pulled into the parking lot, to heaven???

I had a good feeling about things as I turned both lockout's back to open while spinning towards the railroad tracks. a couple hundred feet further and I made a left. Singletrack!!!! I don't think I got the bike fully in the trail and I already started to smile. Things were dry and you could see the indents in the leaves that I was not the only one with the craving to be out here. I didn't really know where I was riding to, I kept waiting to run into some big pile of snow or complete mud section that was still unrideable, but I didn't.

I kept climbing up towards the top of the valley, the long way which included some short downhill sections. The trails stayed consistent all the way. I did see the odd snow section, it was about the size of a snowball and seemed to be more like a mirage that I could never seem to get close enough to. It felt like an early fall day, not March 31st. I made my way to a section that I know would be wet, like it always is. It looked exactly like it does in June. Turned around and continued on up the valley.

The first 40 minutes I kept it pretty sane just getting the bike feel back again, did I mention how much I love my Anthem?? Or how much I love to be on the trails?? Had I known things were going to be this good I would have done my whole 3 hour ride here. As I made my way back to the parking lot I picked up the pace a hair, not for training but just because. I got to the point that I subconsciously knew my heart rate monitor was going to start beeping at me since I was breaking my endurance pace if I kept it up. I ran out of trail just in time.

The hour ride back home on the roads wasn't as bad yet again as i still had this perma grin. Legs were feeling really good despite the hip/ass problems. It was just a great feeling of turning amongst the trees. The weekend is coming, there may be another ride that includes lots of trails put into the training mix.