Monday, May 31, 2010

Canada Cup #3 Hardwood

Things started off much better than they finished yesterday. Great breakfast, headed down early enough to be social, find a feeder and watch the Elite race. My predictions for the race were pretty close. Consumption of fluids were high already and I wasn't even on the bike yet.

Last year my warm up for this race consisted of riding from my car in the parking lot to the start line, with it not hovering at the freezing point this year I was planning on improving that a little and was on the bike with just under an hour before our start. Headed up Old Barrie Road and along the 7th. It was warm but it felt great. I think it had something to do with not being surrounded by dirt, wood chips and hay back at the venue. My warm up had a game plan to it, I randomly turned to the right and found myself riping a little singletrack in the 8th line grid. Just enough to get everything in check. Back to Hardwood with plenty of time.

Sitting 2nd row I was feeling pretty good, countdown and we were off. Settled in around 15th. Much better than I normally do and I was at a lower intensity. I planned on being a little more reserved than my normal endurance race pace for the first little bit. the heat was there and it took about 100 feet to realize that that dust was going to be a killer. Hit the first punchy climb and steady consistent and moved around a few more riders. Into the first piece of singletrack still with the lead pack. There was a big split in the group already at less than 5 minutes in.

Got on former teammate Jeff Buchan's wheel, just stayed smooth. There were a couple guys in front of us that decided they preferred the steam roller approach to single track and it didn't take to long before the first tree was hit. No damage done but we were off the lead group now. The nice thing was the open trail and it didn't take to long for Jeff and I to pull in a couple guys still in that other technical riding mode. Coming into coffee run, which is becoming almost scary with the lack of solidness. Those roots are looking a little worn now. This is where I think the start of my eventual demise began.

We all know that sound, it's a very distinctive sound. Train wrecks, cat's on fire and Celine Dion are in that same group of horrible sounds. The sound of a tire side wall bend the wrong way along the wrong side of a root. I heard it and thought, it's all right, it's all right. At that point it was as I willed the air back in my tire. Up the bridge and heading into boneshaker still on Jeff's wheel, clean run and started the climb out past the second feed zone/tech zone. Awww. The next singletrack decent is where my willing power to the front wheel failed. That sound returned again as I turned and a root gently turned me a little more. It took a few seconds to realize what happened, a few turns and I knew there was more float in the front than there should be. I tried to ride a little farther, it wasn't flat but it was low. Out came the pump.

First co2, fail, second co2 fail, re inflation fail, swearing began. After what felt like 10 minutes, in reality it was about a minute of sitting still debating on what to do I started walking, lots of riders passed, it wasn't long till I clued in that I still had a few km to go and decided I would run the single track and walk the double track. This was more to not stand still and let riders by. After about 500,000 riders seemed to go by one rider did offer me his pump. At this point I was not even remotely interested since he was at the back of all the men's group that left and the women would be coming through soon. I'll continue to run.

My thoughts on running, it's stupid and it hurts. Running should only be used when being chased by bears, dinosaurs and cougars at a country bar. Crossed the line, called it a day. My knees were not impressed with me and I'm still feeling a little ache this morning. A visit to Dr. Bill this afternoon will help cure that up along with the return to work. After being tormented by a few friends, can you feel the love in the dust filled air, changed and chilled around the finish line. The very strange comment that I heard from many, all very similar, there jealousy of my mechanical misfortune. This was usually followed with a little bit of hacking up of dirt.

I'm a little frustrated, a little disappointed but yet I'm also like ok what ever. This was yet just another ride, I needed one of those kinda blowup races either being mechanical or physical. Just for a reality check. Could I have pushed through on that wheel, had it been important enough, yes. Was this race important enough to me, no. Do I like these wheels, yes. Did I feel like having another trashed SLR front wheel hanging in the basement, no.

There was a rumour and talk of me skipping Mountainview Ocup this coming weekend, it was considered but never mentioned to Heather. The update on yesterday's race was sent, training instructions were received. At this point it's looking like I'm racing since it's not my decision. Right now my only thoughts will be trying to get the brain back in work mode.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's that time again

It's race day, the house is just starting to get stirring. The race stuff will be up tomorrow, today is a little preride fun. Got a couple good laps in first thing in the morning. Seems that everyone had the same idea as me and the parking lot filled in quickly along with the line up for plate pick up and sign in. Hi-light of the morning,

A very nice Norco Mug that is just looking to be filled with coffee.

The low-side of the morning was when I asked Havy if this included unlimited refills every time I come and chill at the Norco trailer. With no hesitation "it's your job now to bring me coffee." Forgot to ask what he likes. Next race.

Couple laps of the course, the second felt so much better once the legs woke up. It's not a course that can be ridden slowly, to many rooty sections that will stop you dead with no momentum. Things seem to be hooking up in the corners and could almost trust the berms, of course I'm now back on the fully on a tire that I know. Clean run down Boneshaker, unlike last year during the preride. I'm supposedly a fairly good technical rider, it's really shows here.

Things in the land of Waubaushene will be all back to normal after today. Cody and Andrew will be heading out right after the race, Molly will return to her spot on the couch and unfortunately for me it will be a return to the working world on Monday. Holidays are just not long enough, and since I didn't win the lottery yet again this week. I also forgot to buy a ticket so that old like work is for sucka's and now I'll be one of those sucka's.

More coffee, i',m currently drinking Havy's, then off to Hardwood. More thrills tomorrow.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Preperation is everything

yesterday was a trip out to Hardwood Ski and Bike. I could have driven, I could have walked but I had to ride and this was yet another one of those opportunities to ride a few roads that I normally don't get on. It's all about this starting point changes. I don't want it to become a habit but it's been nice not starting on the same roads every time where I know every bump, crack and distortion.

For this day it was starting down in Orillia as I dropped off my Anthem at The Bike Stop. The Shake'N'Bake twins did a once over final tune up and a replacement of a cooked bushing, seems like the ghost of Summer Solstice of last year had to do a final haunt. Of course this also let me know that the bike would be perfect. To not sit and distracted them from what needs to be done I was off along the Lakeshore for the longish way over to Hardwood for registration.

It was a nice tour along the waters edge. Not to much in the line of hills and I reminded myself to shift to an easier gear and drop the pace. This was a scheduled chill ride but there was a minimal time needed.

I have determined that I only want to ride on roads that has thick enough tree coverage that it feels like a tunnel. The temptation to just ride back and forth was there.

Rolled into Hardwood and I found the line that certain Elite's may have taken. No it's not taped so it's legal and it's such a good line that to take the wussy safe line, which is longer, would have only led to ridicule. Money paid, some social time with the Norco guys, some cheap thrills riding 23c's down the ramp into a parking lot that was softer than a beach and I was en route back to Orillia. I won't say up here what fully happened next but it involved police, some signage, some miss communication amongst some and someone being a bit of an ass. No it wasn't me being an ass. Honest. Ask me in person and I'll tell you the story.

Uneventful for the rest of the ride which was good. Back a little quicker than I thought which was better because the break in between, the socializing, the unplanned interruption had left me getting hungry. That mean violent hungry. Soon enough it was two bikes on the roof, food in my stomach and a return to home.

The quote of the night came from Cody. This is like an east coast kitchen party for cyclists. We were all in the basement of my place watching Andrew L. and his coach frame swap his Trek. There was a continued debate that Andrew is riding a Giant underneath that flashy white and black paint. That didn't go over well. We also had some predictions for Sunday's results.

Mine are this. Mr.Watson for the win (it's his backyard) followed by DZ, Raph, Matt H. and Peter will fill in the top 5.

Friday, May 28, 2010

good pain, bad pain? just pain

After yet another epic day of holiday chill I find myself not looking forward to the return of work life. Of course my worker mentality will take over and I'll be back at it with no questions. That or the bank account will get low in the fun money department. It's also the last few days before a crazy block of racing. For the next month I'll be playing at 4 different places 4 weeks in a row with 2 back to back short races followed by 2 longer events.

I started to think about the difference between a Canada Cup/Ontario Cup approach and a Marathon/8 hour race. Both hurt but it's a different type of hurt. An easy comparison. A Canada Cup race feels a lot like taking a sledgehammer and smashing your little finger with it as hard as you can. An 8 hour is more like putting your hand in a vice and slowly tightening it until all the bones shatter. It's a slower process that the brain takes a little longer to realize how much things are hurting. It's that comfortable numb. Of course the next day the results feel the same, sore, pain, exhaustion, etc. I admit that I prefer the long continued pain, it's so progressive. Those short races you just know it's coming, like it or not. Of course the 24 hour done tag this year will have both of those affects on the body. I'm looking forward to Solstice.

Great chill ride with the coach yesterday with problems solved, stories told and scenery watched. The Big Chute loop was the ride of choice, there was no traffic except for the deer flies. The suckers were huge and managed to keep a good pace with us. There was no stopping in certain sections, even for a flat tire had it happened. The flies were huge and the swarm was large enough that they probably could have picked up a small child and flown away with him. Besides the flies, which will be gone soon, it's still my favourite road loop. I was riding the Anthem and had thoughts of playing on some of the Canadian Shield rocks but it never happened. Guess I'll just have to ride it again.

Hmmm what to do today, drink more coffee is the first thing on the list.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Man up and sliding out

I'll start with some fun thoughts tonight. Preride of the Canada Cup course became a failure. Half way through the lap and at possibly the scariest part of the the course for this to happen, 12 feet in on Boneshaker my front brake decided to relieve itself of pressure. The term death gripping the brakes took on a whole new meaning. Managed to stop before certain death or dismemberment and got a re tune. Still a little temperamental but would be good enough to get me through the weekly series.

First off it's hot, second and I am not complaining here, it's extremely dry. So dry that after the first pack went off the haze hung in the air indefinitely. My little chill race went pretty good except for the fact that I had zero traction and had a few interesting scenarios happen. I washed out of so many corners and was on the edge of control so much in the beginning that I backed down enough to make sure I'd race another day. I had visions of drifting into a tree. Still finished 7th and got the needed training in. Felt really good in the heat, I'll be concerned about the dust though, not much during the race but afterwards the lungs are not going to be happy. I've also concluded that I'll be racing on the Anthem. It's a beat me up type course and I want to go in a little more padded.

Now comes the disturbing part of the day and where I will be off to this morning Do you remember this cute guy?

I still remember the day he came home. Of course he is all grown up now at a mean age of 1 and a typical teenager. Sex and fighting seems to be all on his mind as of late, mix that into a not so small cute kitten anymore and now you have this.

He has grown into a monster of 14 pounds and mixed with a bit of a bad attitude. When he was trapped in last night, lets just say he made it very well known to everyone that he was pissed off. If he only had a clue about what is going to be happening. I don't consider Bob (Bobke) on the high side of the intelligence scale. At least he has the looks.

As much as I feel bad for him on a man side of thing, he is going to lose his manhood today. It was a good time with me on holidays. With the guys here also there will be enough of us around for us to sympathize with him over his next couple days of recovery.

Time to do the mission, the vet is waiting. Plus his continued whining to go outside is starting to get on my nerves. He may want to watch himself or I'll be the one removing his balls out of annoyance. Hmmm and I wonder why there are no children in my house?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Headed out on the road bright an early yesterday. It was a nice change doing my training in the morning on a weekday while all the other sucka's are on their way to work. I know that I will pay for that comment soon enough. A week is really not all that long. There was no holidays from the training front though and I had numbers and times in my head along with the route that I could do what needed to be done.

Before the abuse session began I got stopped in my tracks. I saw a scientific miracle that will bring a whole new element for farming. This might be needed to compete with the dirt jump/pump tracks that seem to be showing up in gardens. Have you ever wondered where all those green bins they sell at the grocery store come from??

There grown, I caught this batch before they bloomed into that environmentally friendly colour of dark green. Who says plastic is not of the earth??? I think I'
ve proven it.

After scratching my head for a few moments in aww I got back to the task at hand. I had a new start point today which opened up a few road options to me. My ugly orange truck was in for service, starting in Midland had me me heading out towards the beach on some fast flat roads. No wind and lots of sun. I was a little happy to be on the bike at the time I was. Made my way to Vasey line to play on some hills as i made my way back towards the house. Nice 2 hour ride and rolled in just as the heat wave began.

Tonight should be a thriller, the potential of a World Cup of Hardwood weekly race round 2. I think I may put a disclaimer on the front of my bike to prove my innocence. Blame it on the out of towners here for the Canada Cup. Dam tourists.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wrecking tan lines

I've worked so hard this year. Not on my riding level but on actually having tan lines. I've been preparing for a repeat of last season where the only section of my body that seemed to have a hint of warm summer colouring was the small gap where my socks ended and knee warmers began. I was a pale man last year. I planned on changing that this year and having the best arm and leg lines ever seen. I was well on my way to then yesterday I screwed it up.

Yesterday was spent off the bike and out on Georgian Bay with the canoe. No pictures, didn't even bring a phone with me. Just imagine the most amazing day on a quiet inlet. Lots of rock islands to swim off, no major boat traffic. Many hours on the water including some time in the water lead to me developing some very interesting colouring. It's a very nice light shade of red in places. All that work has gone out the window in one day. An overdose of Vitamin D and I'm an addict already looking for my next fix. It was a nice break off the bike. The Molly Monster is even trashed from all the swimming.

The evening was spent chilling. The house guests arrived at a good time. Cody and Andrew Lesperance rolled in mid evening. They only went past my secret entrance drive once or twice. A little tour guiding later today. Should be a good week as the countdown to the Hardwood Canada Cup begins.

Monday, May 24, 2010

PLAYING "cough cough" TRAINING

With the most beautiful May 2-4 weekend that I can remember there was only one more way to add to the perfection. Going for a ride in my big backyard. A mass email was sent out to everyone who was not racing in that other country to the east. This included some of those city folk who have all heard the rumours and the legends of Copeland forest.

A few members from the Lap Dogs came out north for what would be another epic day in mid- Ontario. I was happy to have my buddy Rob coming, he makes a much better tour guide than I do. I know Copeland well but it's still one of those places that I ride with no random direction, stay lost most of the time, recognize a few places just enough to not become a statistic and then when need be find the exit that I may have been looking for for the last 3 plus hours. Rob on the other hand was the course designer for the Marathon race held here last year. If a new tree falls he knows about it.

Now my only concern for the ride was that nobody had really warned Larry about how big the hills were here as he would be rolling on his Misfit 29er singlespeed. There was a chance that he may need to use that 3rd gear today, the walking gear. Rob lead us around and got us to all of my requested "you got take them to this trail" which included the now becoming famous berms. There were a few rubbery arms after each amazing downhill section.

The comment of the day came from Robin "Every climb here is worth it" Yes there is lots of climbing but the smiles and laughter after every awesome long downhill section kept everyone wanting to continue.

Jeremy skipped his first thoughts of going and peeing on a rock that killed his race season last year to come ride with us. That rock will be there for a while. 3 hours of climbing and descending with only one overlap of the same trail which just happened to be a climb kept everyone in awe including myself. I keep forgetting how big and how many trails there are in this place. We only touched about a 1/4 of what was out there.

We hit the parking lot with everyone in great moods and also slightly famished, 10 minutes later we were chilling on the patio at Horseshoe resort with beer and not healthy menu choice food.

I did get the training in I was supposed to do. No beer drinking was not training, well I am on holidays, so maybe it is. It's a bit of a chill day today, at this point. There will be a repeat of this ride in the future. The next non race weekend is when???? It's a solid month now of laps.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A changing landscape

A non typical long weekend weather got me out on the TCR early in the morning. To early for a long weekend but with the fear of rain, hail, lightning, cat, dogs, trees, and UFOs falling from the sky the fact that it was sunny meant I better go now. A small list of to-do for the ride from my favourite abusive woman helped me figure out what roads to take. Actually all the crazy tourists and cottagers had me decide this. For the next 4 months some of my wonderful peaceful roads turn into a speedway to the cottage. Hmmm, it's just easier to live here.

After the requirements were done I decided to make a couple new lefts and rights on to some random roads. This is when I came across this.

This is the best use of farm land, EVER!!! Screw eating, having a pump track where corn used to grow seems like a great idea for me. As tempting as it was I didn't make a run at it. I don't believe Giant designed the TCR to leave the ground.

My legs are finally starting to come around. 3 hours and had steady power with very little complaints out of them. I found some new route options also with a few newly paved roads that happen to be in a very hilly area. I'm not sure if all them actually go anywhere or are paved all the way through but I'll be finding out soon enough.

Back to coffee, need to get jacked up for the ride today in Copeland.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Creativity at a minimum, I'm on holidays

My weekend has begun, my alarm clock has been shut off for the next 10 days, holidays have begun and I'm awake at 5:45 drinking coffee and twiddling my thumbs wondering what I should do and when. Why is it when you can sleep in you can't and when you need to be up and eager you drag your ass out of bed??? The weather is holding off and I have an agenda of riding for the weekend. Still pretty low key, nothing top end.

Holiday plans are pretty mellow. With the Canada Cup at Hardwood only a week out I'm hoping that the legs will be recovered enough. This is the only short race that I'm hoping to have some half decent results at. I'll get some good quality time on the course and having a couple of the U23 guys chilling at my place for the week will give me a couple more people to ride with.

No updates from anyone in the other country of Quebec. I'm guessing that the internet over there is restricted to royalty only. Short thoughts today, road bike is calling. Just another typical Saturday morning.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Turtle power

I wasn't more than 10 minutes into my ride when I came across this guy. It didn't kick in right away on what this type of sign may be but it didn't take long. I didn't get to close and act like a 10 year old and poke at him with a stick to get him to attack. I gave him credit and figured he wouldn't go after me but try and take a chunk out of my wheel.

Headed out for a loop around the Big Chute. With it finally summer like, still spring like wind (but warm) I knew this was a great choice. This weekend I would avoid that road like the plague as all the cottagers eagerly make their ways up to the cottage. Oh how I love my area.

An hour into the ride I came across the mini-me version of that snapping turtle. He was on a mission to get to the other side. He was chasing the chicken.

This is also when I started to my intensity seemed a little lower. The wonderful thing of the power tap telling me exactly what my legs are doing. Everything matched between HR and Power but my mind telling my legs to go to a certain level and my legs started into a small temper tantrum. Over the next hour they continued to scream a little bit louder each time "I don't wanna!!!"

I saw this sign and thought to myself, LEGS RUN?? Hell I would be happy to have legs pedalling. Finished up my ride with a longer cool down. I got into a drag race with two kids, one on a bmx, one on a mountain bike. Let's just say I was just a little concerned that they might ride away from me. Yes, I'm still immature enough to race kids, they started it!!!

It's a chill day today, long weekend is here and I will be officially on holiday's around 4pm today. Means lots of coffee consumption. Hoping my turtle powered legs will be gone soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My twin??

It was the return to all serious riding with a plan and a pace that needed to be done. It was nothing to killer, just a nice way of easing the legs back into things with some tempo work. With the instant return of spring/summer it's pretty green out there and the first thing I noticed was how much those wonderful leaves muzzle the strength of the wind.

Yet another great view!!

After taking care of the coaches work I figured I would tour along for a little bit. I seemed to get the attention of these three.

Then I kinda noticed what I was wearing and my bike colouring.

HMMM, a little to similar. Either the cow's have a really good colour fashion sense or I'm looking a little bovine.

Finished up pretty chill, it's funny how short an hour and a half ride seems after the first 8 hour race. Legs are feeling better and I'll be out for a little longer tonight in the wonderful heat wave working on my tan lines.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CTS Bike Club, round 2

This was a little more of an up close and personal with the CTS Bike Club. Met up with the crew at a really popular trail grid. I was one of the first to arrive and I just stared in awe as car after car pulled in the parking lot. Was talking to an old high school friend who is one of the original members and Wayne told me that their group rides have grown. Grown, it was a huge swarm. Everyone grouped together at the start and I swear there was a 100 of them. 15-20 for sure but I was just still stunned that this is what they get every ride. Makes the MNS group seem a little lame.

I've never seen such enthusiasm in a group of riders, skill and physical ability ranged but this was a no one gets dropped, ever type group and ride. For those wondering, it was even co-ed and it was a early 20-late 30 year age group. Members live in the Midland- Barrie areas. I continue to be stunned at the shear size of the group. Oh and that didn't include the whole club. We toured around the 7th line grid where there would be random stops at obstacles that people wanted to play on with the group watching.

This was the type of ride that I needed, FUN. No training regiment, no concern to even keep moving. Lot's of laughs etc. I almost felt that I was to serious to ride with the group at first, I think I was the only one wearing spandex, I don't own a pair of baggies but I think I may have to go shopping for a some after this. We continued on to another section of trail with Greg (club president) racing ahead to setup up for video. Greg is the former Vice President of the Mountainview Cycling Club but I would have to say that he has moved on and created something bigger and better.

At just shy of the 2 hour mark I could feel my energy starting to fade a little and still had a few things to do around the house in the last of the daylight. A huge thank you to everyone for such a great time and I took another infamous berm section back to the car and raced home. I got an email from another buddy this morning telling me that I missed the best part of the ride, the recovery food of wings and beer at the local pub. To give you an idea of how chill and fun thisgroup is, they are sponsored by Cellerman's Pub and Hockley Brewery. I'm a little jealous. Ok, I'm a lot jealous since I'm a fan of both.

Legs felt great after the ride, good to get them moving and I was able to sit comfortablly again on a bike seat after Saturday's fun. My upper body is still feeling a bit abused but recovering well. Good thing as it's back at it tonight with my road bike calling my name.

For those looking for a fun group to ride with, get a hold of the CTS Bike Club and have some fun. They are a group with open arms. Not like Peter who is middle finger in the air and is just grumpy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Put me in Coach, I'm ready to play. No, you're not!!!

The texting conversation went a little like this.

How are you feeling?

Not bad.

I need a final list of the races you're planning on doing.


Next peak will be this.

Ok, how does that 24 hour solo in August fit in. I want to do it for shits and giggles, not as a focus.

It doesn't fit in. What was your main goals for this year.

I spent the next few minutes coming up with the best "ya but" and "what if'" or "how about" but all that seemed to go back in that text was "OK"

It was a simple reminder on what I was focused on in the beginning. The 8-9 hour races were the plan for 2010, a 24 hour solo was not and you just can't through that type of race in the mix even for shit's and giggles. I couldn't go into that race low key even if I wanted to, my competitive nature. So, for the first time in many years there will be no 24 hour solo event in my schedule. Am I disappointed, a little. Did I expect to hear those words from my coach, ya I did.

So what could happen for the 24 hour of Hot August nights for me this year. Another return of the MNS, which could include a little more partying than even last year. I know that there would be no battle between us and the Norco team in the same way since Mr. Watson will be away at a World Cup that weekend. Could I end up on some random team whoring myself out for a couple fast laps. Could I even take the weekend off and maybe even just chill out around the course. It's months away, lots of excitement between now and then.

I could find myself back on the bike tonight for an easy ride. Still one more optional day off.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I feel old

I have determined that my house has to many stairs and that my yard is way to big. of course that will change after a couple days but currently I wish I had ramps everywhere. I feel like I should after an 8 hour, of course having that long winter break of not suffering the first race is always a reminder of what type of a abuse the body takes.

To say that I'm a happy that these races are on a Saturday would be an understatement. Having a physical daily job and trying to attempt to work the day after one of these races would probably more painful than the race it self. I think most would agree. My lame attempt for a recovery ride was that, lame. It was more a coast as much as I could type ride. My original plan of using the fixed gear, like I do after every race was shot down extremely quickly. The reasons: I live on a hill, it's a 44-16 ratio, I needed to go up the hill. Of course all my neighbours know I race bikes and the last thing I can do is be scene pushing a bike up a hill. I opted for bike that happens to have a granny gear and made my best attempts to look like I was just gawking around and riding slowly intentionally. If they only knew.

Of course after a weak attempt to spin I needed to reward myself with mass amounts of calories. One of the other perks of racing on a Saturday, all day Sunday to consume food. An excessive amount to balance out the lack there of the day before. Some days that scale in the bathroom is a bad thing, other days it gives you a 3 day pass.

My wonderful coach has given me a couple chill days before it's back to turning the cranks, looks like my road bike will get a few miles to start things off. This week will be pretty chill, most of the crew is still in the other country of Quebec till the end of the weekend. Should be some good stories when they return and my house will increase in population for the week. There will be a couple u23 guys chilling here for the Hardwood Canada Cup. I have much yard work and home renovations, I may attempt to put them to work.

Time for more coffee, I've heard that it numbs the pain.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mansfield Spring 8 hour

Ok, so now that I'm starting to actually have a little strength left in my arms and hands I figured I better get this written. Did the normal pre race running around and showed up early at Mom's place to hint that i wanted to leave earlier than I told them the day before. They are starting to know me way to well and were ready to go the moment I pulled in the driveway. Those over analyzing, planning type are also very predictable.

We did the typical race scenario in the car ride over while enjoying the heat. Another typical Ontario race day minus the snow and rain. This is in some cases the hardest of the races mentally because i had no idea who was going to be there until we lined up. I did my best to get my head into race mood. I made one mistake, I didn't play my normal warm up playlist. This will become a little bit of a factor around the midway point of the race. Half way warmed up, more trying to stay warm. Mom was great and staged my bike in the front row.

There was some concerns going into this race that the solo' s were going to start 5 minutes behind the teams. After some gentle asking nice and showing a few good points on why this was a bad idea it was back to the mass start and of course I wanted to be at the front. As I jumped on my bike the gentleman that i was expecting to be there and my big threat for the day somehow manipulated his bike right in front of me. I was some how now on the second row. The smack talk started between Logan and I. He came to the conclusion that he acts like some that is 10 years older than his current 22 year on this earth and I figured that I act like someone 20 years younger than my grandpa age of 37.

The gun went and like every race at Mansfield that dam ski hill hurts but it's a great way to split up the crowd. At the top I was in the pack of 30 ,content with the controlled start. I'm not a climber, first to admit it. For the next 11 km I worked my way through the pack, with my eyes on Logan. He would gap me then I would pull him in close enough to see him. It was to early in the race for me to burn of any matches but what I hoped I would do is force him to push harder than he wanted to. The next 4 laps were like that and when i saw him 20 feet up the start hill I called at him and sent him off like a rocket. Exactly what I wanted. It didn't take me to long to realize that this course had a lot of climbing. Sustained climbs I like but there were a few climbs that just down right hurt. I knew this course was going to take a toll on us.

I've never started to use my granny gear so early or if at all in an 8 hour and at the 4 hour mark I was hearing that click on one or two punchy climbs. My legs were burning already. I got into that work your strengths, control your loss of your weakness type pace and would back down in the hills a hair and hammer the single track and technical section. (my strengths)

So, history. Logan has never lost and 8 hour that he has entered and in most cases nobody has even been close to him. Well my plan was to change that, hopefully. Then things went of the tracks for a lap, that not having the right songs in my head played a toll and i found myself not attacking the course the same. I had a couple lame songs popping back into my brain and screwing with my rhythm. A lap or two later with extreme will power I managed to get my songs right and intensity back up. That little gap managed to give Logan about a 5 minute gap on me. Not good.

A couple Advil, a shot of Coke (not the really good stuff) and a couple repeated lyrics had my on a renewed energy kick and I started to take time off that gap at almost a minute a lap. Somewhere down to the 3 minute mark as we started into the last lap. The chances were slim now that unless someone decided that a Mafia hit was needed (anyone) that I wouldn't be catching 1st today. I didn't back down though, well not by choice. About 10 minutes into my last lap I could feel that wonderful feeling. My energy is going down quickly, I was starting to fight a bonk. Nice!!! I was not worried about 3rd had the gap. My concern was actually getting through the lap.

Because it was so cold I wasn't sweating much, because I use Infinit for the races which is strictly fluid I ran into a problem. 3/4 a bottle per lap with all the good calories but not disposing the fluids by way of sweat. Can we say full bladder!!! After one stop where I lost at least a minute standing on the side of the trail, yes that was me!! I wasn't the only one though caught with the same problem. Anyways, as the race came closer to the end I was chasing and didn't want to stop. Well with my bladder screaming I'm full I didn't drink much on that last lap. It showed. As I came into through the solo pit area I dropped my bike and raided the back of the car and found half a cliff bar which got me through that last 10 minutes. I'm not a nice person when I'm hungry, sorry to those I ignored but feel that this was a good thing because had I not found that bar I probably would have riped a leg of some innocent bystander and gnawed on the raw meat.

Crossed the line 2nd 7 minutes behind Logan and 2nd overall amongst all solo's. Lost almost 4 minutes on that last lap. Pretty happy with how things went, a couple minor nutrition flaws that have now been addressed. The music play list will never be altered again. Ever!!!! The stats, 14 laps 9000 feet of climbing, 7000 calories burned. One tired Matt.

A few interesting highlights included my dog coming up on the stage with me during the awards, anyone with photos of this please send it to me. Molly Monster the little social butterfly. I got a hug from Sean Ruppel, I think he tried to hump my leg. He is a little lonely with that broken right hand. I saw some very strange things on the trails on the first lap also. A bottle and cage which didn't really surprise me as this was the roughest, hilliest, most technically challenging 8 hour course that I can remember to date. Either bolts came loose or they thought that the cage added to much weight to the bike for climbing. I also saw a bike seat, a nice one at that, on the trail. How? Why? The violation that could happen just scares me.

Overall thoughts, I'm pretty happy with everything. I feel I can go a little faster though, it's still early in the season. Logan and I talked after the race and it looks like he will be at Hardwood Summer 8 hour. This could be interesting since I've done pretty good there in the past. Currently I'm just trying to make the body feel better, beer is starting to help. i can't feel anything.

I'll probably have more to add to this tomorrow. Right now I can barely feel my hands.

Quick post

My brain is not in check yet, legs are tired and I'm eating violently. Great race, 2nd overall. Chased Logan, gained and lost time on him to finish 7 minutes behind over just over 8 hours of hard racing with over 9000 feet of climbing over 14 laps. I'll regain creativity in a few hours after a beer or two in the sun. For now, where is the fridge?????

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's that time

Car packed, bikes ready, stomach full, almost to full. When on a little bit of an eating frenzy yesterday but the roughly 9,000 calories I'll burn today. I'm hungry already. Conditions out, typical Ontario racing weather. Cloudy, plus 8. I'm currently sitting in the sun room huddled close to the heater watching for snow. It may happen.

Time to roll, for about 8 hours

Friday, May 14, 2010

Little this, a little that

It's the day before the day of the most import day before the next time it's the most important day. Not going to get much more ready than where I'm currently at, bikes are clean and every bolt checked. No repeats of Wednesday night. Weather forced indoor spin last night which I was almost happy to do. It's not to often that I want rain but anything to do with racing at Mansfield a day or two out it's a welcome sight. No surgical mask needed this year, yes I was considering wearing one for a couple laps if the dust was bad.

With absolutely nothing exciting happening in my direct cycling world I thought I'd send you on an adventure. Check this out.

Next bit of excitement should include some racing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday Night World Cup

Ventured my way down to Hardwood Ski and Bike last night to join in the fun of their weekly series. Most times this doesn't jive with my training but every once in a while the planets align and all hell breaks loose. Went out for a warm up lap of the course I'd planned on racing, Heather wanted me to blow out the legs tonight, I was a little excited. The course was somewhat what i remember from last year's 50 km but being older my memory seems to be going. Nothing to exciting, a little bit of climbing, fast flowing corners with a few little tech parts. Basically a perfect warm up for Saturday.

Hardwood draws some big numbers every week and splits them up among 5 courses. When i first started to race this was where I used to come for the competition. It hasn't dropped in any means. As I rolled up to the line, ok more way at the back of the pack as the little ones all seemed to remember to stage themselves, all 60 of them I had a few interesting people roll up beside me. Numbering somewhere around 4-5 pro/elites, a couple junior experts and a couple other people that are slightly known in the Canadian cycling world. Now you know that this is already starting to add up to bad things. 10 plus really fast riders stuck at the back of a huge pack of riders about to start a sub 30 minute race.

The horn goes and it didn't take long for lots of squeezing in the nicest way. I jumped on Jacob's wheel where he seemed to know a great line that included jumping over some random log. The double track splits and rejoins about 50 feet up and this is where things went bad. Yes 30 seconds into the race as the packs merged two riders mixed together the wrong way and went down. The pack managed to stop or swerve around them with no added injuries. In some ways this was a good thing because it did get the 10 of us out front, less chance of us causing crap when were separated. There was some bumping and smack talking till the bottom of the first climb when the pace instantly quickened.

The next few minutes were pretty intense, pulled a couple riders in that had and stayed on the gas keeping Tristan only a few second ahead of me. He was my carrot for the day. I know he can out power me on the open trail but I could catch him in the single track being smooth. I wanted to beat my 24 hour tag team partner, no reason, just because. I kept inching forward on him and then it happened. Just over the half way mark he stalled and I got by him. Back on the gas, my legs felt great lots of power. Then it happened to me. I hit a bump and i felt a shift, I thought I knew what it was but told myself can't be.

Some random glances back I still had 10 seconds or so on Tristan, I felt it again. It was no illusion. I was over 2/3 the way through now and sitting 4th. Of course the worst thing to happen, my front wheel washed out jammed the bars and dismounted. This was all Tristan needed to get by me. Quick recovery but I knew things were bad, I could turn my handlebars like a throttle. Not good and turning it didn't make me go any faster. Back on the power I figure I would go for as long as I could where it was still safe. This meant if the bars started to go left or right I would stop besides that i could work through it. I had to back things down a bit in the single track, every bump caused a shift

Two guys were able to take advantage of this and got passed me, I still kept up a good fight when I could and as I came closer to the line I almost pulled Taylor back in, self fear of the bars right at the edge of not safe had me let him go and crossed the line 8th. My hands were aching a little from death gripping the bars. It may have been a fun race but it turned into a mini Ontario Cup race. For me it was nice to finally see what my legs can do. This was the first time they have not been trashed going into a race. It was a huge confidence booster going into the 8 hour. There be some power in those legs.

Tonight will be a nice chill spin with the Molly Monster followed by another once over both Anthem's. I think this may included double checking every bolt on both bikes. Just because.

Disclaimer: No children under the age of 8 were run over, pushed off the trail or yelled at during the race.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Run fat girl run

Some say that you should never break the rule. Let sleeping dogs lie. Screw that since Molly is fat. Not the new North American fat that is now considered normal, just a little larger than she should be. This also means her endurance is pretty much shit. Well I'm to blame and I'm going to work on making the former fastest dog in Ontario Cycling fast again. How fast was she, well she has narscar'd more elite riders in one night than a typical Ontario Cup race, she has learned from the best when it comes to looking for lines that aren't taped.

Last night's ride was the start of the rebirth of the Molly Monster. Concerns of her ability not to bonk we rode over to my super close backyard single track that does not involve a 10 minute car ride. Yes, that is the name of the trail. It could be different for others but that is what it's known as from this house. The loop it self is only about 10 minutes but it's got everything mixed in there from pine tree open single track, double track climb, single track climb, rocky technical tight single track, hard packed fast flowing single track and to mix up all of it you just do the loop backwards. How all this managed to be squeezed into about 2-3 km I have no idea.

It was a nice active recovery ride for me and a chance to make sure everything was perfect on one of the Anthem's. Took a few minutes to remember the handling differences between the full suspension and the hardtail which I've spent more time on lately. Did I mention that I love the Anthem. Molly stayed in chase for the 3 laps and by the 3rd lap she seemed to be finding her base again. It's still a lot lower than it used to be, I was barely working and she was working hard to keep the pace. Not all that long ago it used to be the other way around, I do remember many rides where she would smoke past me on a climb, beat me to the top, sit down and stare at me with something like "nah nah nah nahh nah" coming out of her. Currently it's a gentle incentive from me, "COME ON FAT GIRL!!!" Revenge is sweet, it only took a couple years of waiting to get it.

A good hour spin for my legs, great base run for the monster. One bike checked, tuned and clean. The checklist for the week is getting a little smaller. 3 more days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

`fighting the planning demon

As the countdown starts so does my obsessive compulsive side of over planning. Less than a week away until I sit my ass on the bike for 8 plus hours. This week is actually really hard on me because I start to get fidgety and anxious. This happens with any race that I have to do more than just pack a race kit and a couple bottles.

Every 8 hour or 24 hour race if I caved to my I would have the car loaded including the bikes on top, everything organized perfect and be sitting in the car staring at the clock saying, is it time to go can I go now. I know the boys at Bike Stop saw just a slight glimpse of my planning panic with the one Anthem. I'm used to having both bikes test ridden, clean and ready to go. I'm attempting to break that routine just a little with a final test ride of one bike tonight and a test ride on Thursday of the other which has been tuned by the boys.

I know everyone get a little nervous before events, I used to be bad for it, now I'm a lot more low key the week before but of course this over organizing seems to compensate. My week itself has been planned out to even where and what I'm going to ride, what I'm doing after, what still needs to be cleaned and packed etc.

The body is coming around, like it should be. I'll get a small test of the legs tomorrow at the weekly race series at Hardwood. Should be fun. I need to pack something, is it time to go yet? how about now? I swear I would be sitting in the parking lot all week if I could.


Monday, May 10, 2010

The non race report of a trip to Albion

With some time needed on the bike this weekend and my no-snow clause in my race contract I tossed around a couple ideas for a ride with the final idea of parking somewhere south, ride to Albion, chill for a bit then ride back to the car. Two separate rides with two separate workouts. This also would give me a nice change of all the same roads.

One paragraph in is enough to start a rant. Yesterday's wind was crazy, I knew it was going to be. I read about it on weather sites, could hear it blasting through trees, felt it move the car on the drive down. I knew it was going to be an interesting ride. Soon enough after putting on 5 layers of upper body clothing, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves and 2 headphones on I was ready to face the wind. The 2 headphones were there to hopefully muffle the wind and distracted my mind from how cold it was along with the wind.

So my rant has nothing to do with cold or wind, neither are fun especially when combined, my complaint was on how many flags there were on the route that I choose. I'm not trying to be unpatriotic, I'm talking about ALL flags. Once out on the road I was being blown around pretty good and I knew it was windy, what I didn't need was a flag reminding my just how windy it was. I swear every house I went past gave my this visual reminder. I wanted to ride with my head down or eyes closed but not really knowing where I was going I felt that was a bad idea. All flags should be removed!!!!

I never really got a break from the wind even with the lying flags telling me I had a tail wind as I was attempting not to crash out on one of the worst roads I've ever ridden. The 50 from Loretto is apparently a major road that has not be repaired since it was paved 40 years ago. The temptation to ride on the smooth safe soft gravel shoulder crossed my mind more than once. The last few km towards Albion were enjoyable though.

Good visit with many, some comments were made about my choice of bike for the day, watched the 1:30 race start before gently persuading myself to head back north into a wall of death. Altered my route a little and got onto a great road heading into Tottenham, nice shoulder, good pavement. Much safer now that I was riding head on of the beast. I came across this.

There weren't many photo ops but this was just awesome. Yes that is a phone booth and a coke machine in the middle of a farm field. I'm beyond even smartass comments on this one.

Eventually got back to the car, a little longer on the return with a total of 4 hours on the bike with a mix of everything in there. Some planned intensity, some wind driven if you want to stay in forward motion you need to push a lot harder intensity also. I refrained from eating the scary food that was available at the parking lot I started from. I think you can park in a McDonalds for days without them caring, just eat something. BLAH!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The simple things

With rain, and snow and everything else but spring like conditions my craving to be on the bike was on the low side. End of a recovery week, not racing, in some cases the conditions were great because it forced me to take things low key. After a few hours chilling at Bike Stop with the Shake'N'Bake twins solving the world problems and seeing my 98% ready to go for next weekends 8 hour Giant Anthem. For those looking for some bike pimping to be done you need to head north to Orillia.

From there it was loading up the car with dogs instead of bikes and hitting up some trails at a different pace. I know that I said I'm not a fan of running or walking but that is only when I'm pushing/pulling/dragging a bike beside me. In one of my previous lives I spent a fair bit of time hiking random trails. Today was a short adventure to McCrae Lake. This place turns into a zoo during the summer with campers, not surprising a little bit of rain and 1000 mile an hour winds pretty much gave me and the dogs the trails to ourselves.

With the isolation I even avoided shutting out the world with headphones and cranked up music to listen to the sounds of the wind. I know sappy but it was a nice change enjoying it's sounds without being blown over. The dogs seemed a little less than impressed and just wandered with excitement of all the new smells.

The midway point had me in a small bay which gave me a little bonus. Had I been buried in music I would have never heard the two pairs of Loons having some wild conversations on how to save the world. I think they probably had better ideas than a few cyclists. I tucked behind a tree for a few minutes out of the wind and just enjoyed the sounds. Twiddle-dee and Twiddle-dumb weren't to impressed.

Of course the Molly Monster is Twiddle Dumb and decided she wanted to go swimming in the plus 5 degree water with the outside air about the same. Ya she depends on her looks since she is smart but not always bright.

The wind continued to get stronger and a few blasts of snow let me know it was time to head back towards the car. It was a nice change to slow things down a bit. Enjoy the simple things of just putting one foot in front of another, looking around and listening. The fact that I had two tired dogs after that was a bit of a bonus.

The snow has stopped, the wind has not this morning. The sun is trying to make it look nice out there. Looks like a great day for a road ride. I think I'll be trying to buffer out the wind today

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Yes I am, I'm thinking about this weekend's Ontario Cup. Think is pretty much all I will do about it also since I'm at a 99.9% chance that I will not be pedalling my ass around at vomit intensity for 2 hours. Let me rephrase what will probably happen. There will be clay sections and parts that are unrideable, this will mean that they must be run. I don't run, running is stupid and running hurts my knees when it's not on ashpalt. Ok more running is dumb. So this will force me to walk those sections because with less than a week to go till the spring 8 hour will I risk screwing up my body.

The hard part with having me walk will be what it does to my enthusiasm to be out there. I'd be going into this race more rested than any event this season. This would mean my legs would have power and that I would be able to battle much closer to the front than I have to date. Of course that would mean I could pass riders when we were actually riding our bikes and then get passed by those same riders as I walked my ass through an area as they ran by. This would make me mad and i would go postal and through things at these riders since I can't through anything at Mother Nature. Ok, I'll be honest I wouldn't hurt another rider, But I can think about it.

The decision was pretty easy to make, it's a long season that has just barely begun and to take a chance of having a B race mess up my body for an A race that is so close would be a completely stupid decision. Of course I'm not at all disappointed in the weather that I am now not racing in. It pretty much looks like crap outside this morning and with the potential of SNOW today my thoughts are of places warm to hang out, like bike shops, and couches.

I do feel a little bad for the boys from Chico Racing, this is the second year in a row that the conditions for this race has turned to crap. I'm hoping that today is not a sign of the season to come. My thoughts on riding for the weekend are pretty open ended at this point, nice time of a rest week. For now more coffee

Friday, May 7, 2010

HMMM not happy

Some info just came in that I'm not exactly thrilled about involving the spring 8 hour. Apparently the solo are now going to leave 5 minutes behind the team racers. Some may think wait this is a great idea and in some cases it does have a benefit for the slowest solo racers but here is the big problem. The fast guys, and I should be amongst the leaders of this group will catch the slowest of the team riders extremely quickly. This is where the problem starts.

A mass start is always a bit of a zoo, there are always people mixed into sections of that pack that shouldn't be there but usually the first hill or by mid way through the first lap paces are developed and the fastest riders are at the front, mid paced riders are in the middle and the slowest riders are at the back. Pretty affective. As for solo's, well if they plan ahead and know there ability they place themselves in the start field accordingly.

So what is going to happen with this 5 minute behind start for us solo's, well the first thing is going to be trying to get past the slow riders in a nice polite way. The last time I did an event with this start by the top of the first hill we were catching people. Now the biggest problem is the gaps that can be made because of getting caught behind a slower rider while someone got by. We can't be pushy but it's nothing to gain minutes in the first lap. Most of the riders that will be at the back of the pack are nervous newer riders to begin with and the last thing they want is to have a train of riders come riping in behind them at full speed full of energy.

This is almost mean to the slower riders because they are out to have fun and in some cases this could be their first ever race and they feel they have worked hard to be fit enough to even enter a team and then they are run down by some skinny pumped up racer.

An option to start in a split start would be great, most of the solo's would prefer to start in the mass start since many of us are capable to doing as many laps as the teams. These leads to open trails for the first few laps and then as the lapped traffic begins it's been stretched out over the lap instead of a cluster of riders.

My thoughts would the numbers. With maybe 100 solo's total and 600-700 team racers that usually has 200-300 riders at the start. Having everyone starting together and most riders are self aware of their abilities there will be only a small percentage of passing from riders starting at the back of the pack. Now having us coming 5 minutes back means at least 20 of those riders going at warp speed and another 60 of those riders going just about as fast starting to catch the 250 riders that left ahead. Not many riders just randomly say "Hey I'm going to ride my bike for 8 hours" with out some riding skill.

I know I'm just whining but I just feel this is a bad idea.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flashbacks or nightmares??

Timing for yesterday was a little out of whack, I was home from the real world job but and I was in decision on what to do for the fun type job. The thought of the 5 hour ride got shut down pretty quick when the first few rain drops hit the ground but I drove into the weather. Hmmm south of here is still clear, for the moment.

Loaded up the car in record time and I was south bound heading to Albion Hills roughly an hour away which with my fingers crossed would still be in a very tropical condition, for 3 laps. I had some coaching requirements to do along with my attempt to know the O-cup course inside and out. The amount of races I've done there, I think I know every root, rock and turn better than my hand.

In the parking lot I wasn't the only one hoping to squeeze a few laps in before the rain. Headed out on the start loop and unfortunately wasn't fully paying attention and add a little more to the first lap than what is officially the course. I was having fun and remembered how flowy the trails are here. I haven't been back since the last 24 hour race last year.

As I finished up the first lap I could see some slightly unpleasant clouds, I actually removed my sunglasses to get an unaltered look just how dark the clouds were that were rolling in. Coaching requirements became slightly altered as my pace quickened just a bit to make sure I could get at least a second lap in. Rode the courses normal distance and right around the midway point Mother Nature got mad. Usually rain is nice and the tap comes on slowly and progressively gets harder. Not sure if that happened when I was in the trees, I don't think it did. One second it was dry, then it was a wall of water. A couple thunder rumbles in the distance.

This is where I had one of those 60's hippie bad trip/overdose flashback. To when you may ask, it's not obvious? Summer Solstice last year was one of the toughest days mentally let alone physically and eventually emotionally since I've started racing. I was able to get my brain back in the now before I slid into a tree. Where I was on the course was an area that still showed some traces of that race.

Soaked to the bone I cut the last double track out of the lap and took shelter under the tailgate of the car, there were many doing the same. 10 minutes later that cloud of rain cleared, 2 minutes after the next cloud rolled in. My ride was done, it's a fun course. Still debating on racing this weekend, it will be a game day decision but at least I have the course embedded in my brain.

The rain is needed, the trails are screaming for it and my grass is very happy. My bikes are not fans of it. What will today bring???

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A typical day

So as some found out it was my birthday yesterday. According to some good friends I really old now. Some mornings I'll admit that I do feel really old. So what did I do for my birthday, well it was pretty much a regular day in my life. I think there are only a couple old age birthday's that are now worth celebrating and when I reach those there better be keys to a Porsche in that card to help get me through it.

After a normal day at work I loaded up the hardtail and headed with my favourite training partner to the 8th line for a very easy spin. The present from my coach was an active recovery ride. It's been a while since I've played at the 8th and there is not much in the line of climbing, it also has very similar trail conditions as Albion which was perfect for me to play with the almost final setup on the hardtail. I'm very happy seeing XTR on the bike.

The 8th is a place I used to ride all the time with the Molly Monster and I think back to her younger years where she would pretty much lead for the whole ride and I would battle to keep up with her as she had a rooster tail of dirt coming up behind her.

Unfortunately for her I've gotten faster with age and she has slowed down. She just doesn't have the same craving to run like she used to. She is a bit of a princess and would much rather chill on the couch.

A nice hour spin and it was back to my place where the recovery food of choice was cake. Luckily Mom and my Aunt were here to eat some of it otherwise I may or may not have eaten the whole cake myself. If things go well today I may need all those extra calories.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A glimpse of hope

The scenario went pretty much like this. Had a few minutes of down time during the work day so I stopped into a certain non Giant bike dealer to chat things up with friends. Talks of the past road race quickly made it's way to this weekends Ontario Cup at Albion Hills. My excitement raised a bit and said I might get to actually see what my legs can do recovered. I'm a little excited. No word of a lie 30 seconds after I said that my phone beeped and a text from my coach came in.

Do you want to race this weekend? YES! You have to do a 5 hour ride this week, is Saturday fine??? F#(K!!! Guess I'll be battling for last place. A few minutes later after some talks of potential preride days I was back to work texting the evil woman called Heather. I wanna go fast!!!! Please Please let me go fast.

A visit later in the day with Heather and Jason the negotiations started. I stated my case and Heather shut it down pretty fast with a comment I don't care about these first races!!! She of course is right and they don't mean anything to me, just training rides but the problem for me is my competitive nature and how strong I've seen my legs be on certain rides, just not on race days. Soon she kept telling me, the spring 8 hour is the release day.

The negotiations did work a little though and I now do have the option to do the 5 hour ride any day this week if possible. Today, nope my legs are still tired for Sunday and I have this craving for a fun easy trail ride. It is a recovery week of sorts. I've already got the ride planned out it's just watching the work day/weather combination. It's only 5 hours, I have lights, it stays bright until almost 9 now. No problem. There could be chance of me being semi fast at something I'm not really that fast at on Sunday. I'm hope

Monday, May 3, 2010

What can you do with 5 dollars????

In the cycling world there is not much that you can do for 5 dollars. You could buy a tube, or some low grade sport drink or the apres ride coffee but every once in a while you get more than you are expecting for 5 dollars. So I did the coin toss in the morning and I think I lost. Loaded up the TCR and headed to my first ever road race.

So to clear some details this was a pursuit type race where riders are split into groups depending on the their ability with it going from slowest to fastest with time gaps between the groups. 5 groups total and I was looked at at registration and mentioned that I did a 5 hour ride the day before. We'll be nice to you and put you in group 4. We were scheduled to leave 6 minutes behind group 3 and group 5 was going to be in chase 1.5 minutes behind us. On a recovered day I'd line up in 5 and I'll explain shortly why.

Conditions were not to bad, light rain mild temperatures, I had to do it. Talked to a couple friends and got the 12 second description on what will happen during the race and what to do. A half way warm up and it was time to go. Instantly the first turn lead onto crap pavement, the type of pavement that my body doesn't like and this would play into things later in the race. Group 4 were all strong riders but the first thing I noticed happening was an excessive amount of surging as people rotated through the pack. Because of that it didn't take long for group 5 to catch us. Somewhere around the end of the first of 5 laps. This turned into a good thing.

Rotations seemed to smooth out for the next few kms and the pace went up. We had a huge gap to gain on the group 3 which was filled with more than one sandbagger. Lap 2 was pretty smooth but coming into the last turn I watched a guy slide out of the back of the pack. No injuries, just some road rash. The third lap started to show the weaker riders and it seemed that there were only 4-5 of us doing all the work. Of course my thoughts started wondering how long my legs will stay at these exertion before I popped.

Near the end of the 4th lap I got caught out on the front for way to long and brought the pace up way to high heading towards a slight rise and as I rotated towards the back I knew I was in trouble. Stuck with the pack towards the line and the first turn to that nasty pavement. I knew that if I could stay in the group I'd hold on but for me the worst thing could have happened. I was on the back and there was an acceleration. This pavement just sucks the power out of my legs. I held on then there was another surge, then another. Gap!! We hit the smooth pavement and there was about 50 feet between a draft and me and I got as smooth as possible. There were others blowing of the back but they were spent also and as I went by only one jumped on with me to play chase.

It was a really cruel thing seeing them so close but not able to gain. By the mid way point of the lap it was now playing damage control, Merged into a small group and we tried to bring the pace up again as we continued to pass riders who got spit out of group 3 and our group. Crossed the line at the 1hr 55 and 74 km of pain. It was a good pain though. My legs were feeling it yesterday evening and yet again this morning. Not sure where I finished overall, sounds like there will be some changes in groups for the next race since we were the fastest group and we couldn't catch the supposedly slower groups.

I had a lot of fun and like the last o-cup I'm looking forward to seeing what my legs can do when they are not tired. That old saying of you always get slower before you get faster. Well i was pretty fat up till about 1.5 hours and then I got slow. That was the best way to finish up a hard 3 week training block.

My thoughts on road racing, well I don't think I'll be changing my focus anytime soon. The big killer for me is the surging, being that efficiency junkie that I am with my leg power I'm all about smooth accelerations. I did have a lot of fun and if another one happens to fit into my training schedule I'll be there. The count down to the first 8 hour is on, less than 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Electrically charged!!!

Not my personality, I know this. The air was though along with being water saturated. After almost the right amount of coffee I looked to the left of my house, clear, to the right of my house, grey, and straight ahead it was somewhere in the middle. Screw it I'm going as I jumped on the TCR and headed out for a long ride with the hope that I wouldn't be alone for the whole thing.

I flipped my training again this weekend so that I have the option to race this morning and this also gave me the chance to ride with the Midland crew so as I headed west I was in a happy spirit of long miles. Now with my looking around what I should have done was looked way right and also listened closely. Awww that low rumble and the wonderful look of black clouds. Not really knowing what direction they were heading I figured that I may get lucky and ride around it's potential mess. An hour into my ride I found out that was not an option. I went from dry to soaked in 2.98 seconds. Of course the lighting that I was seeing in the distance kept me repeating the mantra for the day. Carbon is not a conductive material.

I was a little ahead of the 10 am meeting so a quick stop at the local coffee shop that is not Tim Horton's blah for a quick warm up drink. The nice thing at this point was the fact that I was wet and not shivering, it was warm out. A few minutes later a few more brave souls showed and my potentially long ride alone in the rain went away. It was off to the beach and back, a great ride at this time of year but in a few weeks the route to Wasaga Beach becomes a little nuts with all the kids and their cars. The rain continued to be an on and off thing but it didn't seem to bother us. A few lake size puddles were the only thing that we seemed to be concerned about.

As we got a little closer to home on the return trip I noticed the pace had dropped and I still had a couple hours of riding to do so I ventured off alone, like usual, riding alone. The beach route is pretty flat so at the 3 hour mark I started to find as many hills as I could along my return route to home. Managed to find 2000 feet of hills in the course of 2 hours. Again there were just random dumping of rain but I was in a great mood and enjoying the ride to much. Of course anyone in ear shot was probably not enjoying my singing as i cranked up the music again.

As I rolled onto the rail trail for my cool down something strange seemed to be happening, it got brighter. The sun started to break. Figures as I pulled in the driveway at the 5 hour mark it becomes instantly summer like. I needed to get one of those rain rides in the body though. Even after all the races last year in the worst conditions the body still needs to have small reminders that it's not that bad being soaked for hours on end.

I promised pictures and here they are. Nothing of riding since I was not brave enough to pull the camera out on the ride. With a strung out Molly Monster at home I thought I would take her on one of her favorite things, a canoe ride. First paddle of the year and it was nice to be on the water. Still chilly but Molly didn't care and I dropped her off on random rock islands so she could swim and cause havoc to the birds. More than one goose was not impressed with the dog.

This is Molly saying lets go chase that bird

This is Molly looking unimpressed with the speed I was paddling at as the goose got away.

Random thoughts on the road race this morning, roads are damp at this time. My thoughts are more concerns of unknown riders at race pace in the rain. The Shake'n'Bake twins have changed their minds on the race. I'm not fully decided at this point. Still have nearly 2 hours to make a decision. The couch is very comfortable at this point but intensity must be done sometime today. More on that tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good for some not for others

The weather for the weekend that is. I'm wondering if I will rub the curve and get my long ride in without getting wet or hit by lighting. fingers are crossed. But on the the other hand I do want it to rain as the continued house projects continue. I now have grass around the shop/Uncle Tom cabin and it would be nice to have it grow wonderful and think with the gentle help of Mother Nature.

The weekend conditions are a little questionable but regardless I'm heading out shortly to hook up with the Saturday morning group ride. I'll be rolling the TCR today, just because. Ok I'm being lazy and I want to go faster with less effort.

I know, boring. I'll take a few pictures later to fill in the blanks. The coffee is not working it's magic this morning. Maybe I should start into a bottle of wine at 7am next time. More later, promise!!!