Thursday, March 31, 2011

A good start

It was one of those days, twisting of ones arm was barely needed. I believe it would have been ten times more difficult to persuade someone to stay in door and ride on a day like yesterday. It's not that it was an instant summer day but compared to the past couple weeks it was perfect. On that alone my solo group ride turned into a small team ride of 3. Not bad, of course this meant we had to ride something cool so it could be none other than the Big Chute Loop with some added km.

Chill ride was in order as one of the group members has some big race this weekend, no that's not me, Homage to Ice is at this point going to be a dream instead of a reality for me in 2011. We did keep things on the sane side of things for the first 40ish minutes before the first real test of the legs happened. Does anyone know what the top speed of a Boxer is? To clear this up I mean the 4 legged time. Everytime we stood up to sprint away the dog matched the acceleration. We went faster so did he. It was to nice a day to become a chew toy for the mutt. Not this day.

That was the highlight of the ride even though there were many other cool things seen including what could be the future AWI Racing team vehicle. Gotta love a retro duallie pick up with a V-8. A few potential team events were discussed including seeing the coolest race kit ever on the World Cup circuit. Now the low light and scariest moment of the ride. One of the sign sprints where there was actually a sprint, to this point they were all pretty lame efforts, it was time to make it up.

To say I'll be happy when the weather is warmer would be an understatement, partly it's for my own safety. So my booties have a tendency to not let my cleat fit perfect into my pedal, there is enough of the bottom of it to create resistance, this in most cases isn't a problem but full out sprinting efforts has a tendency to not have enough contact. About the third to fourth rotation my right extremely powerful leg decided to overpower the grip the pedal had on my cleat. Somehow I managed to not superman launch myself over the bars in the direction of the town limits sign or crack my boys on the carbon. This action though did have results, everyone stopped sprinting, I regained myself, clipped back in and continued to take the sprint. If you can't beat them with raw power distract the shit out of them with something spectacular.

There were a few other sign sprints that are still to be heavily contested that they are unofficial and of course we had to run down some guy riding a french made bike with reflectors, to say that it was the return of our usual immature fun group ride antics would be a good description. This is just the start of 2011, it's going to be a long and interesting summer.

Side note, good luck Sir Watson at Pan Am.Championships, AWI Racing slogan in effect. You can blame it on Jacob and I if need be.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2010 Results

Click on for full story and results Homage to Ice 10th Tough field Mansfield Ontario Cup 23rd Blew up hard Interclub road Race Road sucks but still fun Mansfield Spring 8 Hour Solo 2nd chased Logan Canada Cup Hardwood DNF flat Mountainview Ontario Cup 8th Mechanical Ganaraska Marathon 7th hungover 24 hour Summer Solstice Tag 1st great team mate Hardwood summer 8 hour solo DNF crash Mountainview 9 hour Solo 1st for the 3rd time 24 hour Hot August Night 15th heat stroke Hardwood Fall 8 hour solo 1st victory Hardwood 50 km 5th got lost twice

It's official

I signed on the doted line and paid my entry to Canada's first 100 miler race, the Victoria's 100. I'm getting a little excited about it. I've been planning on doing a few of these type races for a while now but time commitments and other things have come before being able to pack up for random road trips to the south. Having one in Ontario and not doing it would be a shame. Training and other such won't change much in the line of prep for it. It's only a week before the spring 8 hour which I normally would have done. Maybe I'll end up on a team for the 8 hour, new concept. Just another day on the bike. More later, running behind this morning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting on Mother Nature to be nice

I'm up in the air right now on my thoughts for Sunday. The days are connoting down a lot faster than the inches of snow in the bush. My debate with myself is simple, I don't want to run with my bike I want to ride my bike. I did my mandatory required time of running a couple weeks back, actually i ran extra, there is a rule for cyclists. What ever the year is that is the total amount of running a cyclist must do that year. Example 2010, the 20 doesn't count it stays constant, it's the 10 that matters. that means last year I needed to run ten minutes, now being 2011 I had to do rack up a total of 11 minutes of running over the year. Well I did extra and there is a questionable answer about banking running minutes that I don't trust.

There have been some good updates on conditions out Mansfield way from some of the locals. They're big backyard is on par with mine and here Copeland forest and surrounding areas are still looking pretty much out of the question for riding. I'm currently planning around the race with a long ride the day before. I did the same last year, all for the greater plan. From why I understand things are a go no matter what the conditions may be, my debate is on the abuse my body whats to endure. 50km of riding, nothing, 50 km of hike a bike, no comment. Option B is skip the race and put in a good weekend of training, I'm feeling it will be a game day decision.

I found myself looking at last years training and comparing where I'm at this year versus last year. This is where racing something fun is always a bonus. On paper it's showing that I'm generally stronger with more hours put in during the winter than last year. Workouts are pretty much the same for top end stuff, of course none of that seems to mean much when riding on a trainer or racing on a xc ski trail. the triple P race did let me know that I'm in good shape but lack skate ski technique when at vomit pace. I'm good with that. As long as everything transfers over to playing on single track for hours on end which it should I'm feeling it should be another great race season. Hopefully.

Now melt dammit so I can play.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Around the Bay

And around the rim. One was successful the other not so much. A busy week of training was topped of with a trip to Hamilton for there famous 30 km running race. No I am not turning to the dark side, Shannon has. She like to run, I like to watch from my bike. This event is huge and once I dropped her off I wasn't sure if I would see her until the end. Something along the lines of 7000 crazy people who have not realized that there is no coasting in running. I tried not to tease as I rolled by on the Chuck Norris bike.

I went and played on the race course for a bit, it was nice having the road blocked off completely, then proceeded on my way to Oakville. Why, just because it's there. A completely uneventful Sunday morning ride in the city, little traffic, a nice sun, etc. The return trip was some more of the same. I made my way back to the mid way point of the race at what should have been the mid time they had planned. Little did I realize that all runners look the same and they all seem to have shopped at the same store because everyone seemed to be wearing black.

After watching some 1000 plus people go by with no glimpse of SHE I continued on with my ride in the race course reverse direction. Easy plan, reverse loop back to start then head backwards on the finish line stretch playing chicken with all the runners. HMMM, it's a good plan. Well someone felt it wasn't, I was about 5 to 6 km away from Copps Coliseum when I heard and felt it. Gun shots. Great a Sunday morning drive by and I'm stuck in the middle of it. If it was then Chuck took one in the foot. The back of the bike when all loose. Rolled to the curb, yep Chuck has developed a gangsta limp. I'm pretty sure it was the race organizers that shot him. Lucky for me I came prepared, Settling on the stoop of some random building I figured I'd be back on the bike in a few minutes. Then I saw it. Something that had me just a little concerned. There may have been gun shots but this is looking more like a knife wound.

The seam let go just above the bead. HMMM this is a challenge. I sliced a chunk of the old tub off, tried to line it the best I could between the tire edge and the new tube and put some air to it. Yep it bubbled, so much that I wouldn't ride it at a good air pressure. Let more air out of the new tub until the balloon became more of a distortion. So 5ish k from the car, a torn tire that may or may not make it, let the challenge begin. I couldn't risk putting any more weight on the tire than possible, so I stood, leaning as far over the front as I could. Every once in a while I would feel the bubble touch the brake frame, I pedaled as quickly but safely as I could weaving my way through the streets of Hamilton looking for my savior called the car. I didn't feel like walking my bike and there was nobody around to pick me up. i had to be successful. Blocks rolled by and I saw it.

Safety. I sat for the first time in 5km as I rolled in the parking lot towards the car listening to a very rhythmical thump as the lump hit the brake. I waited for it to blow, not this time. A quick change of clothes and I headed to the finish line looking like everyone else cheering. No big game of chicken this time. Runners were safe. I did see Shannon motoring along about 1 km out and then crossing the line in the coliseum. She did amazing. I think she has something longer in mind now. As for Chuck, he is currently on the operating stand waiting for a new tire and some clean up. Poor Chuck showed he can be cut but on a tougher note, he didn't bleed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Regaining feeling

Well my one track mind was screwed up enough not think clearly about what I was doing. Had it been focused on the big picture I would have never even considered removing the bike from the trainer yesterday. It looked nice out and when I was leaving it seemed not that bad. It was an illusion.

The wind turned mean and I turned weak and grumpy. A wonderful north east wind coming off Georgian Bay. Now some of my friends to the south have already said they didn't find it to bad. I guess when you're 30 km south of the water it detunes things, for me it was full force cold. Still managed to put in a 2.5 hour ride and it took roughly an hour to thaw out.

It was one of those cold winds that just exhausts you, my face was dried out from the wind burn, my hands lost all functionality even with the new warm mitts and hot pockets. Cut through it like they weren't even there. My arms felt like I'd done 1000 push ups, yes I'm whining. The deed is done, I must remind myself that it still is March and back in my skiing days when there were still real winters I've been on the snow until Easter weekend. It could be worst, just shut up and ride your bike. Time to break out the cold cold weather gear again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Broken brain, one track mind

Coffee is the word of the day, sun is a close second, cold finishes it out. I'm craving trails more and more. Melt dammit, dry up, I need to play. I love the road, it's great but I need to mix things up. I'm a xc country rider not a cross country road rider. Mother Nature, I'm pleading a little to you now. Please warm things up, please let the evil snow go away, I'll by you a coffee. It won't even be a crappy coffee from some place that has a normally packed drive thru where you hear the term double double. (shiver) I couldn't do that to myself I wouldn't do that to you when bribing. I have some of that good stuff to share.

This brings back some flash backs of a couple years ago where the snow held on till a week before the first O-cup. I found myself driving a couple hours south to find some snowless single track before the race. Hopefully it won't be a repeat of that, I'm babbling, I need coffee, I need the snow to melt, I need to ride my bike, actually I need to ride my other bike.

Melt dammit. Sanity may return tomorrow. Probably not.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wind avoidance

I showed a sign of weakness for a minute or two yesterday. After spending the day outside for work I had very little craving to go back out there on the bike. I was tempted to stay inside and spin the the comforts of the padded room. We didn't get the snow that the lucky ones to the south received, had that been the case I would have been given an get out of outdoors pass. It was only cold, cloudy and topped off with a steady wind. As I debated while in the office doing paper work, I heard the comment, "don't be soft". Excuse me??? This came from Mom, great I have but no choice to go now.

It's true though, it hasn't been great weather the last couple weeks but yesterday was a mini blast of winter flashbacks and it meant it involved a 15 minutes plus work out just getting dressed with multiple layers before heading out on the roads. Now these would have been that type of day that hopefully in a month from now I will have this option. I would have played in the bush. In a day like that I would have loaded up a xc bike and found myself playing in the the single track protected from the wind on trails made of chocolate. Yes the trails in the big backyard have a few secret ones that are laced in chocolate and the rocks are actually gumdrops with licorice logs to hop over. unfortunately for me they are all still buried under a foot of snow.

On the road I went, cross bike became the choice and some new road searching was the agenda. I did find a new paved road and a new little town that I had no idea that even existed. I found myself on a section of Ingram side road that isn't paved to date but when it does get finished will be an amazing couple km with lots of turns and a couple good climbs mixed in. It also lacks traffic, a great bonus. A few more lefts and rights with some climbs up hills like Moonstone road the ride was interesting for sure, it was more based on avoiding any type of head wind for an extended time, yes still showing a sign of weakness. There was a little reasoning to be done on that though. It was minus 5 without the wind, minus 15 with the wind according to the weather reports. Does that really give me a pass, not really but I'm using the fact that my cold weather immune blood has now thinned to spring weather thickness and a cold blast seems to chill me much quicker than in January, even with the help of hot pockets.

Some how I managed to not freeze to death and put in 2.5 hours of left and rights mixed with ups and downs before rolling back into the driveway to thaw out and crash and burn. The cold seems to suck the energy to stay awake out of me at this time of the year and the heat of the fireplace took over. Some well needed rest will hopefully have me revitalized for today's adventure in the currently rising sun. Hoping that it's warmed up by the time I head out for some pedal time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Could it happen? Will it be a hike-a-bike running race instead? I'm starting to think about Homage to Ice. Winter is just not leaving as fast as many had hoped and I know the areas to the west of me got hammered with more snow. Currently the big back yard is still in a screwed up transition between xc skiing and mountain biking. In other words its a no play zone. What is the Mansfield area like right now? I don't even think a heat wave would kill it off.

So this will put me in a bit of a dilemma, do I plan for this race or not. Last year was a lot of fun but it was also 20 degrees race day and the snow had been gone for a couple weeks. Unlike the original Icebreaker race which was more roads and double track that was cross bike friendly Homage is a single track type race or at least last year was. Could there be changes? After my brief bit of running last weekend my craving to do any other type of dismounting from my bike is pretty much gone. Running is stupid, running through snow with a bike is more stupid, yes grammar people I said it.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll have a chance at a venture out that way before the race date of April 3 to see how things are looking. What to do, what to do. Come on Mother Nature, play nice.

quick date

A huge congratulations to my little sister and brother-in-law . Gabrielle was born late last night. Now being the twisted man I am, Uncle Matt is already looking for the most annoying battery powered loud toys on the market. Just kidding. Congratulations Jenn and Rick.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend continued

It was so jammed packed my head was spinning and of course my body was aching, it still is. Sunday morning had me heading out to ride some new roads, not the "take a random left turn type ride" but a brand new playground. After some google maps play time plotting a loop it began, it was a race, a Top gear inspired race. I was going to ride a slick black carbon fiber road bike on the side of the road about 45 km. Shannon was going to to use public transportation for half her trip (her Mom was driving her to Trent University) where she would then run beside the river while being pulled by two dogs. The destination, Lakefield, the prize, ok so there wasn't really a race but it just sounds cool.

The plan was to meet up if possible. Armed with 3 bottles of the good stuff, phone, and double stuffed hot pockets in my booties I was off into the crisp morning. 3 minutes later Shannon went by in a car with it's heat on, cruel. the dogs in the back seat seemed to laugh at me also. It was time for a turn, being in a new place I went right. Good roads for the most part and once I got 15 km north I pretty much had the roads to myself. It was great being in new scenery, of course that meant I would have a problem. The route I was taking was fairly simple but there were a few optional turns, or that's what it at least said on the map. I should have zoomed in a bit more to see some of the detailed streets instead of a rough overview. First random turn to the left had me about a km up the road before I stopped and pulled out the trust pocket computer, yep the gps told me if I went this way I would be lost and die. A few minutes later I was back on track.

Some good miles in and there was another left turn, this time I paused a little and turned to the super phone brain yet again. Don't go up there, you will be attacked by the Wild Zebra clan of the Kawartha's, they will see you on a black and white bike and think you stole one of their children for transportation. Death was certain if I made a left. I continued in the right direction with Lakefeild now getting closer. As I came over the crest just a couple km out of town I slammed on my brakes. Now coming from cottage country myself I have seen my fair share of mosquitoes, I've been north and seen bigger but this one scared the shit out of me.

Luckily the cold temperatures had him stunned enough for the photo and my narrow escape. As I rolled into town I looked in the distance. Yep I'd lost the race, as Shannon and the two dogs strolled along the edge of the trail waiting for me. I lost to a runner and public transit. The cycling world is shamed. But maybe not, there is still the return trip home. I put the pedal down, and another along the Trent Severn's edge. A random local roadie attempted to grab a wheel with me as I went by, I'd have none of that, I was on a mission to regain cycling domination. About 30 minutes later I was looking at that gps yet again. Some things didn't match up to the real streets in front of me. Eventually finding my way, I motored along finding myself into some good hills as I got closer to the starting point. My legs were feeling a little trashed, understandable.

I rolled into the driveway, I heard the barks. Yep I lost again. It ended up being a nice 3.5 hour ride and 95 km plus or minus a few with the back tracking. Nice to play in some new areas, it will be great to put some more miles in there once the weather is warmer. For now it's back to the big backyard for a few days. Legs are just starting to feel good again after a great visit with Dr. Bill. The countdown is now on, how long till the snow in the trails melts? I'm craving some single track.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pole, pedal, and pound

Followed by pain. First off, I'm not a triathlete and I don't try and play on on tv. I'm a do one sport at a time kinda guy but for the interest of fun and smack talk I had to be there. Conditions were perfect, just cold enough for the ski trail to be better cycling trails. Attempted to set up my transition area, Basically put everything in a pile and hoped it would work. Now with lots of time still before the race I really should have put in a nice easy long warm up, I didn't, instead I joined the MNS crew plus one in the chalet for more smack talk. After the race meeting and a lot of warnings and requests that all seemed to be directed at our little clan of terror we rolled out for a 6 minute warm up of what looked like a two wheeled version of roller derby. Our plus one member of the MNS crew for the day, the man of race organizing himself, Mr Sean Ruppel seemed to have started it with some straight arm ramming around our 300 foot course, this could be a sign of what's to come.

Lined up, the countdown is on, go. I did what I came to the race to do, I shut down Tristan in the first 2 feet as I cut him off on the start. From then on nothing else mattered. Stayed with the pack until the first steep climb swear Jacob and Sean put down a hard effort, screw that and just rode keeping them in sight for the next couple km. I everyone in a while started to look over my should to see what I had for a gap, it continued to open over the couple of known tri-guys behind me. I was going to need it. As I made my way towards the transition area I did catch a glimpse of something that didn't make sense, who is that heading out on the run . I knew who was ahead of me and even in my completely winded state knew something was off. Quick change into my snowshoes and I was off, I was even running. I continued to run. That strange sight from earlier was Brent, he missed a turn on the bike and missed a good part of the course getting ahead of me. We ran together, him letting me lead. I ran some more, with the odd short break. It wasn't that bad.

As we finished up the run part, I lied it hurt, I was sitting in third place which kinda shocked me at first. How is my skiing? A crap change over and a few pushes I almost fell over. Every stability muscle was confused and didn't want to work. I'm amazed that I didn't fall in the transition area. The training that was put in on Georgian Bay, not the same. It didn't take long for Jay to come around me on the climb, fast smooth skier who even if I was rested, only skiing and at my peak skiing fitness he would still kick my ass. The snow was just a little icy and in a few places it was downright scary, to say it was fast was an understatement. I skied as smooth as I could but the word blow up was on both legs mind. I did manage to cross the line in 4th, Brent was right in front of me but after his shorted bike section had me up one spot.

Some stories were told, food was eaten and groans were made. Up on the awards side of it, Sean walked away from us all, followed by Jacob and Jason Verma with me sulking on the 4th place stand which they didn't even make for me. As for the team divisions, there were two teams. 2nd went to a few old guys who were on drugs, first was one by Team 2 and a half men (formerly Team Awesome) If you see podium pictures you will understand. A great day in all with lots of stories to tell for the next month or until the next race.

Of course the weekend didn't end just there, swapped out all the tri stuff from the car. This is why I can't do them, the Altima limo is to small for all this stuff at once. loaded up 2 dogs, a road bike and Shannon and made our way south to the land of Peterbourgh for a visit, concert, hot tub and play. Play being a 3.5 hour road ride where I felt the thrills of the day before. To say my legs are sore is an understatement. My quads currently hate me and when they're down my calves will take their place. More on the southern adventures tomorrow.

One quick note, the cat, Douglas is now known as Dougless. Yep, as I shake my head.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

An unusual thing has happened

Could spring really have arrived early? The sun is out, the roads are clear, the windows are down in cars, the roadkill has returned and one of my cats is now doing strange thing. So the pair of Bob and Doug may be having some problems. Bob is well, he's just Bob an eating machine that is has been just storing up his energy for his return to the outdoor world once I open up the cat door. He is manless, removed and less aggressive, there will be no little Bobby's running around. But I can't open free outside adventures yet.

Doug as you know was yet another adoptee of the OSPCA, He's pushing about 8 months now and the bond between the two cats is amazing. Well there is a problem with Doug now, it's called spring fever, the problem is it seems to not be a manly type of spring fever. Doug may not really be able to be a Doug. Doug may be a ladyman not a ladies man. There may be good reason that Bob and Doug get along so well, Bob has been waiting to get a piece. He new something that the clinic did not. Why didn't he speak up during the naming process? His vote would have out trumped all.

So now it's a waiting game until the he/she stops shaking it's ass in the air for that fun trip to the vet. The stories of the animals in this house hold continues. Bob the cat that's a little bit of a disappointment to his species in the intelligence department, there are always some out there. Who lives to eat, he is good at it. Who can beat down any dog with only his eyes, lucky for them he stops with only the eyes.

Molly Monster, the semi retired power house of the single track. Has travelled far on any given day. Who is know as a drama queenish butch dyke. Must run to every corner of the property barking to scare away the zombies during the day and the goblins at night. Who has stared at a gnome for more that 10 minutes. Who has come back from a broken leg fitter than in previous years. Was nicely called more muscular than usual by some guy on a single speed during her out of shape years. Has wiped out most of A.W.I. Racing.

Rogue the part time living new addition. Molly's bitch. She is in her college experimenting year and is swinging many different ways. the dog that sits in the car facing backyards to check out what happened in the past. The one who decides when she things it is in her best interest to come, usually a few minutes after you call her. The one that when standing on her back legs only very much looks like something that escaped from Area 51. The new one to teach how to crash out all of A.W.I. Racing. The new U23 MNS dog.

And of course there is Doug, the ladyman. The false identity cat that has a sock fetish. Who climbs in the toilet. Who does a beat down on Rogue just because. The list is long of the things he/she has done in the last 4 months but of course this indecision on what sex he/she is supposed to be has topped out everything. The good thing is that Doug listens when you ask him/her to shut up from the I wanna get some calls. All this started yesterday morning. Looks like it's not only cyclists with spring fever.

The run down of the race will be up hopefully tomorrow, it's an action packed weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pre Race celebrations

In typical St. Patty's day tradition a road ride was done properly with the destination being an Irish pub. A little pre-race carb loading was consumed making the return trip a little easier, pace was low spirits high etc etc. Pretty much ready to go for tomorrow, the snowshoe conditions will be the only variable.for the race tomorrow, will there be snow? How much? How soft? Will it be trail runners or snowshoes needed? Attempts to check out the course this afternoon may be made. The running side of this race still does not impress me much as I still feel that running should only be done when being chased by something bigger and more aggressive. HMMM could Hardwood send a cougar after each individual in the snowshoe leg?

Let the thrills and spills begin

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Au Natural

Things started out in the normal spring type ride way. Get home from work and race as quickly as possible to get on the road bike while the sun was still up to get some extra miles in. Everything was good, a rough route was set with two quick stops along the way but the potential for a 3 plus hour mid week evening ride was in the works. It became one of those JRA stories. So I was just riding along on route to Midland, I will be so happy once the bike path is clear because Highway 12 may be amazing heading east of my place heading west is pretty much a death wish. There was a steady head wind and the road was showing winter wear so I thought it was just that which made riding a little harder than it should have been. It felt like I was riding with brakes on. My legs were sore but usually after 30-40 minutes they open up and things are fine. Not today.

The brakes were in fact on. I didn't realize it at first but once on some half percent roads I felt this vibration, carbon isn't supposed to vibrate it's supposed to eliminate that stuff,"Chuck, what's wrong?" Just outside of downtown is where I saw it, some spokes on my power tap wheel had all gotten together and felt that it was still to cold for them to be outside, the didn't break but lose tension was an understatement. A few minutes later head support crew extraordinaire, Mom, was on here way to come save me. An hour of riding only, I was now in a negative mood, the sun was still up, would I go back out?

I debated, once home I fought, first do I change out the wheel etc or do I change shoes and get a different bike dirty. Back in forth as i battled the funk of not returning to the road. A few minutes later after a couple moments of focusing I was carrying Chuck back out of the basement with his stock wheel in the back. I also was much lighter, no power tap, no headphones, no music, no heart rate? Couldn't do that but what I did do was bury it under my sleeve after I pressed start. I didn't know how long I would last and I didn't want to think about training, just ride au natural.

It seems like it's been a long time since I've ridden a bike with out some sort of additional stimulation, especially on the road. It was great, just listening to the sound of the drivetrain, the wind in the trees (which had calmed in the hour off the bike) the feel of the legs and of course the sounds going on in my brain. In no time I had a smile on my face, I felt fast, I had solved some world problems, I was having fun. I also in the end did a better work out than when I was focused on the first ride attempt. As I motored around some side roads where I think I saw a grand total of 6 cars, it was just me and the bike. Until, dun dun dun, attempts of dramatizing, I saw them. No not cougars!!!

Wolves!!! yes two very large wolves were running in my direction in a 2 wheeled versus 8 legged game of chicken. Who would swerve? Who would turn and run the other way with it's tail between it's legs? Me armed with a small part of the toughest man around, Chuck Norris who can kill a dinosaur with his breath, for sure the bike could beat down a couple wolves or 2 four legged need to be in a pack to be tough want to be house pets wild animals. It didn't take long for one to redirect into the woods. One left, I shifted to a harder gear ready to sprint if need be, holding the bars tight for potential evasive actions. The wolf got into an attack type position, he barked, I sprinted, he gave chase, I sprinted some more, he quit because he was looking really well feed and out of shape for eating cyclist. Yep those golden retriever wolves are an interesting breed.

The sun was setting, the temperature was dropping, I didn't care I was having fun. My head was clear, I remembered how much fun it is to ride a bike on the road. The final climb back into the driveway even felt great, was it because the sun was out? It hard to believe that I was actually happy to have the bike break, otherwise I probably wouldn't have felt like this. Of course I would prefer not to have any more mechanical problems for the rest of the season, please!!! I do believe that the power tap wheel will be staying off the Chuck Norris bike for a little longer, April maybe?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It hurts, I kinda like it.

Sometimes there is a fine line of enjoyment. Everyone loves to go fast but going fast comes at a price, pain. It was the first attempts at some upper end exertion last night with some attempts to add that turbo to my notorious diesel engine called my legs. Not a lot of acceleration but once up to speed they can hold on very efficiently. Well the blast last night made me hurt, that collapse on the handlebars and try not to ride off the road type hurt. Was it fun? NO!!! Will I do it again, yep and I'll try to go harder the next time.

I must admit that I prefer the long slow hours on the bike starring at the scenery, I believe that most of us do. It doesn't seem to give us the wobbly legs to the same extent but is needed. Luckily for this guy being some sort of an endurance racer high end intensity really isn't a huge part of my program, I just ride, lots.

In other exciting cycling news some rumors are a few steps closer to truth about the team that everyone wants to be on. Can't say anymore than that. The countdown is also on for the Pole, Pound and Pedal. Still lots of room to join in the fun. Have heard through the grapevine that a certain race course designer may be tossing his hat in the ring, hopefully the hysterics will get the best of him and take him out of contention. Skate ski prep will be done tonight, feeling that conditions are going to be pretty constant from this point on, ice chunks which pretty much means any type of wax used will pretty much be shredded off in the first couple hundred meters. Bike thoughts will be easy, hard tail, the only debate will be pedals, flats or clipped. All this prep won't do much because in the end the snowshoe is going to just blow up the group. Only a few days left, come sign up and watch Team Awesome get eaten by wild animals.

Coffee needed, another day of play tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Man date

This sounds strange but it makes sense, I had a date yesterday Shannon may be a little jealous but she will understand I hope. Who was it with? It was a date with Chuck. It's been a while since Chuck and I spent some quality time together outside of the house, I've been keeping him locked away hidden from view concerned on what the neighbors might think. Well yesterday was the day he came out of the closet(padded room) to let the world see the love. Of course like the real Chuck Norris if you look at the Chuck Norris bike funny he will go into full on judo action and then launch rockets at the terrorizing subject grandmother's house. Chuck is bad ass like that.

It was a dual purpose ride, one was based on yet another good collection of endurance miles which included some good climbing while en route to Hardwood to put my 5 dollars , or what ever the entry fee was, into the ring for this weekends action packed event. After getting a few updates on what could or couldn't not be included in the course there may be some game day decisions for bike set up, snowshoe choice and how many spikes will be attached to the side of the skate skis. After a few minutes more chatting than planned I turned back out to the wind. Side note, don't just watch this race from the side line, be in it. To say it will be entertaining will be an understatement if you have ever seen any of the antics of the MNS crew. Might I remind you that we tackled a racers during a race, just because.

Continued on the return route towards home, this time with the second thought in my head, the search for new roads. As I motored along Horseshoe valley road I I did a brave thing and turned left. It turned into a great Nascar turn and success. Con 11 north is yet another paved dream that was done last fall. Absolutely no traffic, I road I'm the middle of the road for a bit, just because I could. Some good climbs mixed into this including a great short steep one at Warminster side road. The battle for traction versus forward momentum was had as Chuck has so much power that he could shoot rooster tails from his rear tire, I was just along for the ride. A few more random lefts and rights and I rolled back into the driveway. 3.5 hours of quality time with Mr. Chuck and the legs were feeling good.

I learned that the battery in the Power Tap display does not like below freezing temperatures, After the first hour it decided to not work. Of course Chuck puts out so much power that it's unreadable. For those wondering if I have a little to much love for the Chuck Norris bike, yes I do. Of course there could be creepier things.

Like this. Meet part of Team Awesome. Nothing more needs to be said.

They left in this truck, look closely you can see gold flames on it. Exactly.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Calling it quits

It's over, I bit the bullet and accepted that it's time or will be in the next few days. What's over, xc ski season minus the thrills of this weekend coming there will be not even a remote consideration on hitting the trails. I've been denying it for the last couple weeks with hopes of getting one last time of play in with the rocket skis, I hoped but hope wasn't enough. The iron was on for one last time as that this layer of storage wax was laid on the collection of slippery sticks. Not all them. Those skate skis will get one last go Saturday morning at around 10 am.

One of these years I'd like to focus on xc skiing for a winter. A non training year where I could ski when I wanted and as much as I wanted with out thinking about training blocks and workouts. Maybe even attempt a couple races or even the famous Canadian Ski Marathon which I know already would completely wreck me for a couple weeks following. Something about doing back to back 80km days sounds like absolute hell but with that self inflicted suffering mentality to long races that i seemed to have acquired would be right up my alley. I've thought about it in previous years but knew that even though it was fantastic for getting me fit the recovery time afterwards would set me back. One day.

A trip to the north part of the big backyard yesterday also let me see that skate skiing on the bay will probably be done in the next 2-3 days. A short hike with the dogs at McCrae Lake was the extent of activity for the day yesterday but the return trip past Port Severn showed some open water already. That current affects my area of skiing dramatically, lets just say that I won't be venturing out the ski trail with out hills until next winter but my canoe could see the water in the next couple weeks.

Winter has come to an end, there will be little reminders that it doesn't have to go quietly but spring and full on cycling season has begun. The next few days should lay a strong impact on the snow, gone would be nice but just enough to get through the race. There has been some continued smack talk happening and some are even fabricating things to get others in on the action. I found this out after receiving a random text from a friend staking a challenge, I'm unsure if this person has ever run in snowshoes. A fast runner he may be but when you slap something that resembles Ronald McDonald size shoes to your feet and attempt to run in them on land mine type trails it changes everything. I've done a snowshoe race before, I'm not going to lie, it hurt, a lot. It's going to turn into a very fast paced walk with a few shuffle run steps for this guy.

The count down is on till the first non snow covered mountain bike race of the year.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Loop the Cooch

Was it considered a man ride ? Maybe, if so it had some good man ride points. 4 hours=240 plus 2 sketchy roads and one good climb but points were lost for two stops needed by one of those teamster that joined me for the Loop the Cooch. Bad weather was predicted but we were going to suck it up and just ride no matter what came. It was also going to give me a chance to start with my plan, destroy team awesome from within. Screw with their minds, Brandon just happened to be first.

Heading south on 12, the new great riding road because of the massive shoulder, unfortunately it was very sand covered right now. What makes it great? The rumble strip that acts like an invisible wall to keep the cars on their side of the road. In early season riding that's a good thing. A quick stop at Velocity Bike in Orilia before the next stage. The temptation to stop at the casino was there, seems to have been the destination of the masses so once past we pretty much had the road to ourselves.

Last time I did this loop the road was under major construction and I spent the remainder of the day cleaning the layers of mud of the Chuck Norris bike. Chuck was not impressed, nor was I. This wouldn't be the case today, perfect roads, new pavement all the way to Washago. Some great scenery along the rivers edge. Stop number two, refueling for Brandon by means of chocolate bars. Of course when your stopped in a small town there are always people looking and questions of how far are you going etc. We did get shown up though by a woman driving her Chrysler's with the top down, as she drove by she gave us the thumbs up.

What are the chances that we would have perfect clear roads the whole way around? Slim, none, couldn't happen and it didn't. The next 30 minutes were spent jumping from track to track of ice packed pavement. There were no crashes but a couple close calls. Just after this was were I started to play with Brandon, he started to half wheel me, I let him continue to drive the pace up for a while, let's break the big man today. After a short time I brought it up and brought up the rule, the Top Gear rule. The rule to live by on long rides, if you break, man or equipment, you're on your own to catch up. This rule slowed him up just a little . Just a little, for a couple minutes, then it started again. And then again.

There was no death or destruction, 4 hours of riding around the lake had us back in the driveway. I spent that time subconsciously corrupting Brandon with my Jedi mind tricks. The results won't come out until race day. He may or may not stop dead on the run and just wait there patiently for a cougar to come. Maybe. It was a great day away from the trainer. Hoping it continues.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cleaning and cleaning house

That's it, he's off. Unfortunately not permanently but the short break for the Chuck Norris bike from the confines of the trainer vice and the caged door of the padded room was needed. A weekend pass was needed for the spring clean up. The scrub down is done, the old bar tap has been removed, the Powertap is reinstalled with much stealthy wire routing. The bike will be complete and ready sometime by the end of the weekend minus the new front wheel which is currently waiting on spokes. HINT HINT!!!

Of course all this is done with hopes of a venture outside, I've been told that just allowing the Chuck Norris to touch the driveway would melt all snow in it's path instantly, Chuck has powers like that. I fear the unknown, I'll be waiting on Mother Nature to do her job properly. Now would be a good time hint hint.

On a race note, team I'm to weak to do it myself is officially registered, one particular member has attempted to retaliate with a weak response of bad language and called both Jacob and I triathletes. Well sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt us but doing the weak thing on a team will haunt you around indefinitely on your permanent record. A triathlon type team, sounds like a reason for a big group hug and that is more than likely what you will find the three of them doing before the race. AWWWWW isn't that special.

So here is the plan, I'm not concerned about my race but I plan to do everything I possibly can to sabotage their race. With Andrew doing the ski part he will be the last resort, I'll figure something out during the race if need be but I figure it won't issue. It will be about the bike and snowshoe. So if Brandon goes first on the bike it will just be attempts to put his well over 200 pounds into the softest sections of the trail, simple but I'm hoping he will pick up the snowshoe section. The entertainment value for other's if Tristan leads off on two wheels, many have heard his 12 year old feminine scream, how many times can he do that in 5 km??? I'll be attempting to find out. He has this fear of being ridden to close two, of turns, of people braking hard in front of him. Let the fun begin!

As for Sir Watson, with all your royalty you resorted to the T word, shame on you

Friday, March 11, 2011

Signs of spring?

With the spring like conditions it was a rare time to day I was content being indoors on the trainer yesterday as I attempted cheap parlor tricks of one legged things and high speed hamster wheel spinning. I looked out the window the whole time as I watched my driveway turn into something that looked like a jellyfish in its transformation.
It will hopefully transform back to gravel sooner than later. The weather does have me wondering what type of conditions we may have for next weekend, it also has me wondering if the guilt has sunken in to many as there seems to be very little response to my post yesterday from the 3 teamsters. Did the solo division grow a little?

I know I shouldn't be complaining about the rain, it's the best way to kill snow in the woods. It's also fantastic at salt and sand removal from the roads. I have hopes at riding the Chuck Norris bike in the very near future, so much so that the power tap has received a new round of batteries and after tonight he will find himself removed from his chained in winter location, free'd from the grip of the vomit machine and brought downstairs for the spring tune up clean up.

There are other signs that the cold must be close to an end, yes the rain instead of snow sign is a good one. This is a better one for me.

When this pile is gone so is my heat.

I also received a goodie box from Infinit yesterday, filled with long distance training mix. Long outdoor rides here we come. Preparation is
everything, ok Mother Nature I'm prepared for warm dry weather now give it to me dammit!!!!

Yes there is more firewood around, the outside rack is still stocked, the furnace could come on, etc, etc but don't tell Mother Nature that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

UFC Hardwood style

No they are not putting a cage around Hardwood Ski and Bike. No there are not swarms of people hanging around to watch 2 men beat the shit out of one another. No it won't be on pay per view. That said there will and is a bunch of smack talk starting for the Pound, Pole and Pedal race coming up in just over a week. There is also some sure signs of weakness showing up and attempted to be hidden by forming some Survivor based alliance.

So what is this race? If you haven't checked Hardwood's site yet its a 5 km bike, 3 km snowshoe finished up by a 5 km ski. This is as close to a tri as I get and with the bay still frozen there is no chance of swimming, I'm good with that. As much as this isn't UFC 19537975 or what ever number they are on now, there is some good rivalry smack talk from the MNS crew on what will be a sub 2 hour event.

First off, Sir Watson, the superstar of the crew who is afraid to do the race solo. Why? because the UCI has now shortened up World Cup races to 90 minutes and there is a chance that this race could go beyond that and he will catastrophically blow up and bonk in the middle of the woods and then be eaten by a cougar.

Then comes my 24 hour tag team partner. Tristan. He can take the long abuse, he will be grumpy near the end but there is a problem. The biking may cause a little problem if there is any turns in it and the snowshoeing is nothing new but then comes the skiing side of things. Yes, this could be more dangerous to him than to any innocent bystanders. I've heard rumors of his ability and it's at the best description limited. This means that he will probably will rash out on the course, get tangled up in the poles and skis to a point that he's trapped leaving him easy prey for cougars.

Next up Brandon, a bit of a newbie to the MNS crew but plays with us from time to time. The easy answer here, he has been living in warm climates all winter. He hasn't seen snow in 3 months. This means he forgets what it looks like and how cold it really is north of the border. No major details needed here, he will start the race, he will get cold, he will freeze mid way, stop and be eaten by cougars.

So here is what has happened, with fear of death these three have decided to team up for the weak thing called a relay. Yes, one World Cup athlete, one 24 hour tag team winner, and one Ironman Triathlete are all taking the short option and dividing up the work load. HMMMM, I'll let you continue along with your thoughts on this one.

So some of the others. Well Deathmarch Liz will probably be racing and will probably destroy all of us, she skis faster than all of us, snowshoes faster than all of us and between those two will have more than enough cushion for what we may make up on the bike.

Her partner in daily life crime Jacob is in solo also. He has been laying a lot of smack talk down that forced him to do solo no matter what. What is to be his downfall. Some non uci legal snowshoes that he has been building during work hours. Simple answer is they will break 21 km in to the race, he will be forced to run in ski boots only which will slow him enough to be eaten by cougars.

As for me, I am not planning on being the fastest there, i will just ride my bike as quickly as possible, snowshoe on safe reliable MSR's that the UCI has approved and when it comes to the skiing side of it, well those hours out on the bay will be good for something. There will be others outside of the MNS group, there will be faster, there will be slower and there will be many that won't be soft and join a team because they need a hug. The cougars are hungry, feed the starving animals. On a side note, hopefully this will be the last day on both the skis and snowshoes, hopefully!!!!

This post is to try and guilt the teamsters into maning up, not hoping for a participant medal and take your chances with the cougars. I know there may be fear of being beaten by DML, we know it will probably happen but she will be in a different division. The men race against one another. I wish no evil on my friends, I hope that no wild animals will be injuried in the making of this race and that the MNS crew stays with the same amount of members.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pictures can't even describe it

It was a rare time that I didn't head out with my phone/camera/computer/mp3 player swiss army knife thing because a photo would be needed but still couldn't visually show where I was playing. The sun was out and as much as it's chill week there is still some work to be done and it wasn't going to done indoors. Armed with slippery sticks and spears I made my way over to Hog's bay for a hopeful skate ski.

My concerns the condition of the bay were always there. Not that the ice wasn't safe but more the layer of ice on type of the ice may be a little unusual. With a little bit of snow sitting on top in places it looked like it would be potentially great conditions. It was. It was also visually stunning. With the sun reflecting of the ice from a distance it looked like hundreds of mini lakes with the landmass snow covered. Being chased by the Molly Monster we skied around the lake, again and again and again. At times I wondered if I'd brought the right equipments. I felt I should have swapped my 184 Atomic's for size 10 Bauer's and my carbon spears for a carbon hockey stick. Forget skating around the mini lakes, it should have been arousing snow land masses while chasing a puck.

A hard right turn had us skiing around Methodist island, this is when I saw them. The tracks of the infamous wild island hopping skater. They are a feisty group I've been told and are usually behind the lens so are never fully seen. Someone else had the same idea as me earlier int he day. The amazing sun was amplified by the openness of Georgian Bay. Not a lot of trees out there to sit under unless you want to chill with an old Christmas tree that's been used for markers.

Just over an hour of this before calling it a day. The temptation was there to Energizer bunny it but time restrictions wouldn't allow for it this time. The clock is ticking on that long ski, still hoping. On a side note, smack talk has begun on what has been called a group activity involving many members of the MNS crew. The low down to come.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Change of riding, NOW please

It's coming to that time of the year, transition time where time on the bike is becoming more important than general training. It's also that time of the year that conditions kinda suck. In the fall when we start getting those days that are not so favorable with wonderful things like cold, rain and wind mixed in you just don't go. Screw it, it's been a long season at that point and it's more about fun and play than fitness and training. Now it's becoming one of those, am I sick of the trainer enough to ride outside in very unenjoyable conditions.

Last year was great, we hit a heat wave right about this time and the roads turned to chocolate, this year isn't looking as nice. Looking long term the pasty white skin I acquired over the winter is going to stay that way for at least the rest of this month. Every day of training has this put debate put in it:

Indoor training equals: warm, dry, consistent, not spending hours cleaning the bike after every ride, doesn't take 20 minutes to get dressed, entertained by a movie, windless, rainless, carless, iceless, what other less you can think of. Boring

Training on the road in March equals: The opposite of everything listed above, not boring, and the slim potential of riding in the sun. FUN most of the time.

My evening was spent cleaning up the disaster on old faithful along with giving it a little spring update, off the flat bar on went the drop bar. With hopes of warmer temperatures the need to put massive mitts, which I neglected to wear my last two rides, on the bar is hopefully coming to an end. I'm at that point that I'm craving warm, clean sunny conditions without having to fly somewhere else. I'm into a recovery week, hopefully by the end of it Mother Nature will have changed her tune and slam an instant spring on us. I doubt there would be many complaints.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yet another adventure in the big back yard

Another weekend has come and gone, some quality play time and quality training time was put in. Some with a group, some alone. Finished up the weekend with a group snowshoe. The human factor was the minority this day as we trudged through the fresh snow in Copeland forest. Seems the rain didn't do as much damage as we thought it might. It's pretty deep in place easily coming up to the knees. It will be a few more weeks minimum before there will be two wheels rolling around there.

This was one of many times that we walked both in front and behind Sir Watson to protect him from the Copeland Cougar.

For added protection we brought dogs, a lot of dogs.

Then we found dogs, for our dogs to recruit. A very entertaining hike near the end. Unfortunately no cougars were seen during the hour and a half we were out.

I'd promised Shannon that we would see cougars today, I know where they are, very much like how I used to say could find the berms and never could. Because I failed at producing even a cougar track she figured that I should ride home and think about false promises of mythical animal spotting. It was lucky I learned this early, I was going to tell her I know where there are a couple unicorns. As my ride rolled away I was left with old faithful. I had this feeling it was going to be a messy ride, for some reason the winter bike was in the trunk and was up for the task.

The sun was out, the roads were clear, ummm no they weren't. It was an illusion for how nice a day it was to ride outside. My trip north towards home was greeted with a north headwind which pretty much destroyed and stomped on any sense of warmth that the sun was producing. It became another one of those head down, fingers tucked inside the mitts, turn the legs for survival type rides. The conditions were perfect for the roads to be somewhat melted which meant a rooster tail from the tires getting me wet. It lead into my booties having chunks of ice collecting on top, the back of my legs feeling like they were frozen to my tights and what felt like an icicle in my ass. It was hard breaking when your hands a curled up in a fist, but there is a skill for it. For some reason though I couldn't seem to get the back brakes to work.

An hour and a half of this pretty much killed the will to do anything else but sit int he sunroom and thaw out. The 10 minutes that I was inside changing was all it took for both wheels to freeze, the bike rejected any more thoughts of forward motion. I'm sorry for abusing what used to be my go to bike for those long rides, now it's just my use and abuse with no thank you's bike. It's currently sitting in the bike wash waiting for some attention.

I wondered why my ass felt frozen, there was an icicle coming out of it, all the way down the seat.

Another block of training down, some chill time is coming, some bike tuning to do. The Chuck Norris bike needs to be ready for outdoor thrills. Maybe if I make him ready Chuck will judo chop Mother Nature into spring. Something needs to be done.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

False advertising.

30 pounds, 30 days 340 dollars. I saw this sign yesterday while walking the dogs. 30 pounds of what???? I do according to some live in a special area so this could be open to many different things, some legal, some maybe not so much. The phone number was one of those shady ones and it wasn't a sign that someone in the marketing department spent much time designing. The temptation of calling was there but I figured they were going to tell me that I was fat and I should drop 30 pounds and they could help. How about dropping the tee part?

It's that time of the year when the winter season gets shorter and my waist band is supposed to get narrower. That wonderful off season winter weight that was so fun to put on is always a little more difficult to take off. Of course the increase in training has helped but then there is the drastic change that needs to be done, even if it's for just a short time. I look cookies, cookies like me, cookies and coffee are a great combination, cookies any anything is a great combination. I stopped eating my midweek treat of cookies about 2 weeks ago. The calorie to weight ratio is screwed up and they had to go, for a bit. I eat healthy and with Shannon's help even more so now but man can't live on healthy stuff alone.

Either way as winter comes closer to the end and the season of not wearing 15 pounds of clothing to venture outside is drawing closer the weight has to go. Off season this year saw about 6 pounds of extra fun stuff attached to my body, where I'm not sure but it's slowly going away. I'm sitting about 2 pounds above last seasons race weight right now. It will slowly disappear at about the same rate as the snow is. It's still a little chilly out there, some extra insulation is still needed but the scale is becoming my friend again. I should really call that number though, I'm curious what they recommend, drop 30 pounds. Something tells me they would tell me to cut off my head, it's dead weight most of the time.

I need to eat something. A good day of training to be had today in the short rebirth of winter.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A long day not in the saddle

We came, we saw, we hit some jumps. Is it possible to slam any more cycling based excitement in one day? probably but it's still early season and need to pace yourselves, With the perks of a slightly longer than normal weekend I decided that I better put some sort of winter based activity in before being overwhelmed with tires and frames while dreaming of clear roads and single track. It may have been a last chance at it also as I wandered down to Georgian Bay for what could be, looking out the window at the pouring rain, be the last skate ski of the season. Yet again perfect conditions and this time there were no crashes or punching of more solid surfaces than my hand.

That's it winter is over now and that could be true because it's always persuaded by the start of the season with the Toronto bike show. Had I known what we were in for I may have approached the day a little different. I should have been opening the back door for the as i found out the celebrity of the show. The show was pretty good even in the new venue. Catching up was done with many, race plans were talked about, some rumors were not stopped but just altered. We continued along from spot to spot and everywhere we seemed to go there always seemed to be one extra in our group of 3, a mirror image of one of us. It wasn't Shannon or myself, we just have some provincial wide rumor that seemed to follow us. Mr. Watson seemed to be looking at himself everywhere we went, I even think the Trek Store used him in their ads and just airbrushed a different jersey on him. After a few hours of wandering and even buying stuff it was back to the SE-R limo, I apologize now sir Watson for not opening the door for you, again.

Destination 2, jumps and pump track. Of course this meant getting through the city on the tail end of rush hour. After a few minutes She had the great idea and we rerouted for what was the best burrito I've ever had, fuel was needed to be able to catch air. Traffic was still questionable, to make Sir Watson more comfortable I turned on the tv. There was a comment said, later that evening that comment was retracted. What did happen was yet another person becoming addicted to Top Gear, so much so that going to Joyride was almost stopped just so he could watch more. I'm an evil limo driver.

A few hours of playing around, Shannon worked on her technical riding, warm up for the 24 hour tag in August that everyone else has helped persuade her to do with me. For me, it was play time, a little this a little that. As I began to fade near the end of the night my March technical riding skills completely disappeared. Not before we found out that UCI will be incorporating wall rides into races this year. Sir Watson stepped up, I sat on the side lines. Some more Top Gear was watched on the return home. A long day, moving slowly this morning, I had that option, I wasn't attempting a ski race this morning in that snow killing rain. This could be the first time that I'm looking at the trainer and thinking it's the better way. HMMMM, that's a sick thought.

More thrills, spills and coffee tomorrow.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Roadless trip

If I didn't do it now I may not do it at all this year. The ice could last for a few more weeks but the conditions for an epic ride out there might not be as good. I had time to kill and options on how to do it leaving the skis on the wall for some quality time on the 2 wheels. Put on the headphones, turned on a pod cast, shook up some hot pockets and I was off. It took all of 5 minutes before I left the smooth low rolling resistance of the black top. In the coming months I will see plenty of it, today I'm going to try and avoid it. The plan, Waubaushene to Midland roughly 18 km away with no pavement. There was one exception.

I can bunny hop just about anything, even with out the aid of full suspension but I was forced to avoid that big obstacle out there that stood about 4 feet high in places. Yep that dam pressure crack. Is it wide, I don't know, doubt it. I know the ice fairly well, that's why I'm out on it but the bigger factor that I use when out there is common sense. I know there is a crack there, I don't go near the crack, I go around the crack, I live to ride another day. The clowns that died out on their snowmobiles on the bay just a week or so ago were way off the trail system in an area that everyone knows it's not recommended to go. There is a reason the trail markers at that island point you the long way around, that was also the reason i diverted from the short route on to shore and that evil pavement for a km or so to go around that wall of ice.

It wasn't to long until I returned to my original route following the tree line out, way out. I was chasing Christmas trees. It's sometimes amazing how peaceful things can be, of course that's when business took over as that evil cell phone rang. My day to day job still trumps my doesn't pay a bill cycling one. After a few moments things were silent, this is when I took this.

I'm about 5km out in the middle of Georgian Bay, not very often do you get to ride your bike around channel markers. It was awesome out there, all that was needed was a comfy chair, a beer and the sun. Hmmm still time this season??? Continued along before making one of those infamous left turns, I can see Midland in the distance. It became very similar to riding in farm land where the road just seems to keep going and you never seem to get to the end. It was 45 minutes before I finally made it to what I initially saw. I rolled past the redneck fishing village of winter and up on the shore line. An hour forty five to get here, the day is not done yet. Evil pavement was now my friend.

My legs were happy to be back on the asphalt, the last half of my ice run had become very sluggish and not fun. The rest of the ride would be done on a darker substance, I also was a little more aware of the time, it was getting dark which meant it was getting colder and I was at the minimum an hour from home. So I turned right away from home to the top end of town for the long way around Midland. The trip continued with no craziness which in the state of my body was a good thing. My feet began to get cold, no big deal, it was my hands that I didn't like, they were starting to become uncomfortable. More hot pockets were cracked open and i started wishing I wore my boxing glove mitts. The ones that my hands almost sweat in in minus 20, they would be perfect if they weren't sitting on the shelf at home.

Put my head down and turned my legs trying to clear my mind, it's dark now and my little flashy lights are hopefully keeping me safe from passing cars, it's cold. I'm tired but not the riding tired, the trying to stay warm tired that battles misery. This was not fun, this is part of training though, it's a ramp up for those 24 hour type things when I'm cold and tired and don't want to keep going but I do. And I did, I rolled in the driveway 3:15 of rolling time. My fireplace became my friend, I didn't stick my feet into the fire, dam close though. The highlight, I rode past 7 pm and it was daylight for most of it, it won't be long before evening rides won't include lights. That's a great thing because the Chuck Norris bike is itching to get off the trainer.

More adventures today.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I heard a rumor

I've heard rumours on something, it's not a great thing. I'm hoping they are not true but at this point it's not looking like a repeat of last year. It also would mean a couple predictions would be wrong. It could mean a longer period of doing something I did yesterday. Please tell me that they aren't true.

What has me troubled? The spring predictions, I heard yesterday on the radio that the little rodents may be wrong. It isn't looking like an early spring, in fact that environment Canada has now predicted a colder, wetter than normal next couple months. Am I impressed with this, hell no. This means potential more time on the trainer than I would like. I'm sick of the trainer, as are many at this point of the year. Could it be a spring like a few years back were it never got above 20 degrees until June? HMMM hopefully not. I can deal with the cold but I need sun.

I'm hoping that like usual nobody can predict what Mother Nature is thinking, if the rodents can be wrong hopefully so can the big brains at EC. Good controlled work out on the vomit machine, as much as I hate it, it was a better choice than riding in the crazy winds. Until the trails clear it seems that this will be the only option on those days that the winds are strong enough to pick up small frail cyclists and throw them around like feathers. Today is looking a little more inviting for outside play.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A first for everything

They are not common, actually I don't think I've ever heard of anyone getting one and if they did they sure as hell didn't talk about it, until now. XC skiing injuries,, do they happen? Are they as common as lawn bowling injuries? I've never had one until now and it's pretty pathetic. With conditions yet again perfect, except for the strong wind it was a another day out on Georgian Bay, skate skis under foot. The sun was shinning and when in a protected area it was almost hot out. Slid out on to the ice with the Molly Monster in chase.

It happened fast, it was unavoidable, the damage was done. I've fallen on skis before, everyone has. I look at my record for defending Achy Breaky at Horseshoe which in great conditions is a tough decent. Nothing has ever happened to the body, only my pride. No less than twn minutes into the ski I went down. Now being out on the ice you would wonder what caused it, there are no trees, no turns, no hills and the chances of blaming it on a random island moving just doesn't work. As I slide along with amazing glide I rolled over the odd small snow drift. All were frozen and were just like smooth speed bumps that didn't slow me down in anyway. That's when it happened.

I'm not sure if this one particular bump understood the concept of glide wax and how fanatical some skis are on having the perfect wax for the condition, I included. I had the right glide for where I was and it showed with the speed I was motoring along at. When my left ski came to an instant stop I was stunned, it went from fast smooth motion to slow inch by inch crashing as my body continued to move to the left and my ski did not. Things in motion stay in motion and in this case that direction was down. I didn't think to much of it at first and stared at the evil little pile of snow that caused my fall. I thought about explaining to it that you have just screwed with basic physics involving glide and that Sir Issac Newton is rolling over in his grave right now. I couldn't because all I felt was a sharp pain.

I managed to slam my right thumb on that perfect angle, normally on a groomed trail this isn't much of a problem, snow is soft. When is the last time you punched a brick wall, that's basically what I did with my thumb taking the grunt force of it. I wiggled it, seems ok I've seen that doctor type stuff on tv. Shook myself off, got up, kicked the pile of snow and continued on. The great thing about my skate poles, you really don't need to hold on to the handle, the strap does all the work. Continued to ski around the bay for the next two uneventful hours.

The pain went away or was at least numbed by every other body part. Some quality time was done on the bike earlier leaving the legs feeling a little rubbery. Now comes this morning as I type this, my thumb is looking like a small sausage, it's swollen and is not very impressed when I try and bend it. Broken, I doubt it, sprained, you better believe it. Will it slow me down, probably not. I can still ski and for those that have seen my bike grips no I shouldn't have a problem holding on to them. I feel that i should contact the health minister of Canada and inform him to change the 2011 statistic for xc ski injuries, people must be informed.

Need more coffee, caffeine numbs everything with the shakes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

winter cleanup

Is it spring yet? I don't think it's that I'm sick of winter but more of winter riding. Yes, I would much rather ride outside than sit on the vomit machine but what I'm finding is I'm sick of cleaning bikes. I love my bikes spotless and showroom shinny but it seems that I'm spending as much time is cleaning as I am riding. Having the bike wash in the basement has made life so much easier, I'm just a little to grown up now to be washing them in the normal bath tub. I've done it then spent half an hour degreasing the tub.

It doesn't matter if I ride road or somewhat trail the bike comes back begging to sprayed down. Sand in every part of the drivetrain, salt everywhere else on those road rides. It doesn't help that I've been avoiding riding my winter specific beat the shit out of them and put away wet and dirty bikes, if I ride nice bikes nice weather will come right? It's also that mind set that if I look fast, altered thought if the bikes look fast!!! I will be fast. I'm not sure it's working but I'll keep telling myself that.

It won't be long now, I hope that the Chuck Norris bike will be gleaming even after a week of solid riding, where cleaning up after a trail ride is pretty much a light dusting of the frame if anything at all, not the up to an hour of scrubbing that it seems to currently take. I know I'm ranting and complaining but I'm probably thinking what everyone else is. We're anxious for spring so Mother Nature speed the hell up, let global warming take action and melt all this snow. May I suggest you start in Copeland forest. XC skiing there is pretty much done, as it is in most of the big back yard, it's that time of year that becomes a crap shoot for waxing and with all the crap that fell during the hurricane conditions are far from pristine. Melt and I'll play with the rocket skis next year. I can still skate, I have the bay for a couple more weeks.

Wild guess on what I did last night, yep cleaned both the cross bike and the hard tail for the umpteen time this month. They have been washed more in the month of February that they will for the rest of the year. I think it will be a skate day, sun is up and I'm needing some colour in my pale winter skin.