Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why oh why

Why does it only take 24 hours to completely screw up the body but it's going to take weeks before it starts to feel better again? I'm currently looking down that long road of recovery filled with stretching, rolling, physio, chiro, etc etc and this road is not paved, it's not smooth and it's looking like I have to deal with it on foot. Where's the bus at least?? I'm currently lying in the paddede room and honestly wishing that someone would just put a straight jacket on me and keep me heavily medicated until the body just heals itself with no extra help from me. WOuld be nice, would probably loss all forms of fitness by the time that happened.

The hard part is figuring out where to start. Lower body? Upper body, Hands? Hamstrings, Shoulders, Quads? I'm so overwhelmed. When does the offseason begin? I need months. Yes I'm whining just a little but it's my blog and I can whine if I want to. I better get started, July will be here in no time and I said that I would be healed by then. High expectations? Yep.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Feeling that craving

Life is returning to normal. The yawning constantly has almost come to an end. The craving to ride has also began to return. Every year I get older I forget a little more on how long it takes to recover from one of these. Did it hurt this much last year? Or the year before? Am I just getting a little softer with age? Am I starting into memory loss? The memory loss would explain why I seem to always go back, you forget. I'd ask Tristan on Monday if this is how he felt last year, pretty quick response with "Oh Ya" It's amazing how the mind shuts out the pain part when you talk about the race month later.

Things have been hectic the last few months, selling Shannon's house, moving, racing, training. It's looking like the pace will still be crazy busy, crazy busy is much slower than hectic. Hectic is on par with insane intensity. This means more downtime to recover, it might make some of these long races a little easier.

Since the craving to ride has returned I'm feeling that a wander into the basement will be the first order and give some love to the Anthem that helped get us on the podium. I've ran into a slight problem this year with the bike setup this year. Because of the size of my hands and my inability to wear gloves my infamous bar tape grips have a slight problem in the design. I somehow managed to unwrap the tape from the inside out and from the start of the wrap. I assume that doesn't make sense to you, in short, the bar tape kept coming lose on my right grip. This caused for some unusual hand positions once it started looking like a streamer. Ideas have come to mind, hopefully easily resolved. One of those need to be in the mood to screw around with it type tasks.

Time to start moving, pot of coffee to drink, the morning hydration task has begun. Check out the AWI Racing site, a couple updates and changes on there. MMMM Coffee.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More of the 24

Of course I can stretch this out. A solid day of rest yesterday followed up with a AWI pub ride which for the first time this year we actually rode our bikes to has me feeling a lot better. Like usual I always wonder why I do this type of abuse to my body. Then as the pain starts to go away I start to think about the next thrill I can beat myself up at. Like usual I also start having lots of the small details reappear in my head as the brain becomes rested again.

This is was no different than previous years for wild life, in the early parts of the race I just about T-boned a coyote. I'm wondering if this is the same one I saw a week earlier in the pre ride. Probably not, I assume that it's possible to have more than one wild dog in the forest but what I will say is that they really do need to learn passing etiquette. I had the right of way as I came cooking it into the Albion Witch section and he had absolutely disregarded the rules of the trail as he ran out in front of me, wasn't very impressed.

As for me, I will be honest that I was a little concerned on how the body would hold up. This year has been a dramatic change. I'm training but in a different way, not as focused as in previous years, I have a different focus this year obviously. In some cases I'm seeing that I'm technically faster but in other ways I'm feeling weak. Who knows, with these long races you never really know what the body will do. I do know that the next couple weeks will be pretty chill. More focus will be spent on helping get Shannon ready for he 8 hour adventure race at the end of July.

My race schedule has tentatively changed. The summer 8 hour is out, we will be away, Shannon's race. What is potentially in, Buckwallow o-cup in single speed or Lost in the Rocks and Trees. I will say that I love Buckwallow, it's been a couple years since the last time I raced it though. Lost in the Rocks and Trees is a race I've thought about doing for years but it's just never worked out. Both are last minute decisions depending on how the body feels, the weather, the star and moon alignment, etc. Right now riding my bike longer than to the pub doesn't excite me to much. Of course that always changes.


Monday, June 27, 2011

24 Hour of Summer Solstice

This may be spread out over two days or more as so much happened. Some seemed like the normal 24 hour stuff, other things were so far from expected. Started out the Saturday morning waking up way to early, like usual, car was packed, bikes were loaded, rain was coming down. Was Mother Nature going to make life miserable for us? Hoping not, Driving down the rain continued, I also received first a text from my tag team partner, I won't repeat the words he used, then a phone call with more complaints about the weather. It's supposed to clear I promised him, I also mixed that in with some smack talk if he even considered bailing on me. Of course I knew it wasn't needed, Tristan always shows up, even if it's later than planned. I just hoped of better weather wasn't a lie.

Setup, warm up in the team kits, this included Brandon who was riding for a different club team, some strategy was talked about and it was just about go time. Our transition was at the top of the start climb, it gave me a chance to see the start for the first time. I'm used to being in it, what a great new perspective. Quickly made my way down to the bottom of the first single track, the leaders come through with Tristan in 5th I need to mention that there was a plan for Tristan and I, Brandon just joked around a little, who would have thought that it would benefit us. Tristan was supposed to pin in for the first half of the lap then back down just a little, good position etc. It was not planned to have Brandon come through this same section, slide, crash out a few and hold up roughly 300 people while T hammered away.

Things were good, For trade off had us with a 5 minute lead, I went out and did what I needed to do. The rain had stopped the course was drying up, it wasn't as fast as earlier in the week but still blasted out some solid laps and built on our lead. Things were good. Laps started adding up quickly, with the shorter course even double laps only added up to an hour and a half for most of Saturday. The highlight of Saturday for me? As I finished up my 4th lap, I came off the wood bridge near the finish just a little off the worn in line, caught some soft gravel and drifted out. I was safe as I slide into, wait wrong sport, my elbow and left forearm started to drip blood, a visit to the med tent was the next stop. Rookie turning mistake. The course started getting faster, this balanced out the fatigue starting to develop in the legs. Day started into night.

First off, I loved the course, it was fun and full of flow. At night though things were a little different. By then legs were a little tired and hills started to become hills. The single track also tested the best riders night riding skills, it was fun and a challenge. At this point we had roughly a 30 minute lead on 2nd, a good lead but it meant that there was no slacking off for either Tristan or I. Of course this lead to those worst hours in a 24 hour race, 1am and 3 am swaps. We lost a few minutes in both of our swaps when we both took a round of dragging our feet. Even with all my years of doing this type of racing getting out from underneath a warm sleeping bag to ride is always cruel and unusual punishment. I did get to finish my last night lap just as morning was beginning to appear. At home the sound of the birds can sometimes be annoying, you never realize how loud they are, on the trail at a 24 hour event it means the return of vision, 3/4 of the way through the event, a renewed energy. We still had about a 20 minute lead.

Daylight returned, Tristan was far from in a pleasant mood, fatigue was kicking in hard for both of us. He did what he had to do, grumbling a little more than normal, My turn came and with the vision returned I pulled a couple low 50's laps helping give us a huge cushion, this was followed up with grumbly man doing his last single lap and pulling another 51 minute lap time. Cushion was set, we had the win as long as someone stayed on course. That someone was me, the nice thing was a short visit from team coach,vice president Andrew Watson near the end of the lap, rode for a few minutes before things like hills separated us. He had been rented out from AWI Racing to his other team for the weekend. Crossed the line with one lap to go. Little did we know that the 2nd place team decided to pull the plug at this point knowing they couldn't catch us. I spun along for the last lap, just riding along, it was almost done. As the km disappeared and I crossed the 2 way bridge for the last time I started to smile more and more. Rolling into the home stretch there were guys offering beer to riders, of course I had to grab one, it was the best thing I drank over the last 24 hours, pure gold after living on sport drinks. Notice that I happen to be wearing my nutrition sponsor jersey as I enjoy that beer much more.

A repeat win for Tristan and I. Felt good, we worked hard for this one, 27 laps. Both of us were tired beyond the normal, we had phenomenal support all weekend. Walking up to the podium started the next challenge of the weekend. For those there, you already know. A scheme a month in the making, pressure of performing on a bike to make it all work, the synchronizing of it all lead to this.

Family members were there, friends were there, of course the best thing was her saying yer, the bike race was second place to this. A huge thank you to Chico racing, Adam, Sean, Matt, Ted, Hayden. Couldn't have done it without your great event. To my team mates, Andrew, Liz, Jacob, Tristan, thank you for your support. An even bigger thank you to Liz for helping with shirts and all the other to do's. To Tristan, the biggest thank you, for pedaling your heart out in complete misery at times, couldn't have done this without you buddy!!

I'm tired, today is a chill day away from work, the sun is out, some beer will be drank, some napping will occur. The body is craving a little more rest. I do believe it was earned. More tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

24 hours before the 24 hour

I know that it's technically longer than that but I'm not sitting here patiently or impatiently would be the better description. The excitement and nervousness is building, it's funny that it still happens to me, I've done this way to many times and yet I still get a little overwhelmed with what is about to happen. Everything is pretty much as ready as it's going to be. There are no attempts at getting a long training ride in, if I don't have it now it's not going to change in a day. So yesterday I opted for a spoon on the single speed along the rail trail. Was joined by Shannon who is loving her recently built SS. It was what the legs needed.

Race strategy is pretty much figured out, the Mighty Tristan, AWI Racing's President is going to do the lead out. In the craziness of 400 plus riders blasting through the start loop and putting all out effort hoping to go into the single track near the front of the swarm, T is the man. There is not many that can beat his starting power. Think back to a few previous races, the road race where he destroyed us all in the first lap, the weekly world cup where he nascar'd me so badly you thought he had a motor in his bike. If he repeats his performance from last year he came through in the top 5 on the first lap. Yep, the right decision. The rest of the plan is pretty simple, double laps, a potential of us each doing a triple at night, keep the pace high right from the start, have a shit load of fun. Pretty simple, we're simple, it's easier that way.

Gear, bikes are pretty, cleaned, lubed, and sealed. I always find it interesting the shapes that drying Stan's sealant make in the tires. Cleaned and another cup of the good stuff and the tires are now ninja star proof. Yet again not much else to do now but pack the car, shovel more food into my mouth and sleep. The usual Friday night prerace Guiness will be had, partly for carb loading, partly to subdue my nervous with a little alcohol to help me get another good night sleep. awww sleep, Of course there is no time to sleep when there is coffee to be drank. Gotta run. Check back after the weekend for the results, there will be lots to talk about.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eye on the prize

It's coming, it's happening fast. Time is running out. Spent most of the evening packing and cleaning bikes. Brake issues seem to be resolved. Both Anthem's are as tuned and ready to go as they possibly can be, so is the just in case bike. The singlespeed will be strapped to the roof and hopefully is stays there the whole weekend.

There are only a few reasons that is should come out, all are reasons that have been caused by catastrophic mechanical failures, twice, or Mother Nature going into that time of the month and deciding to go into some medieval type torture on the venue. She's done it in the past, she is a feisty woman. I'm prepared, even packed my shoes that have spikes in the toe, just in case. Mechanically everything is ready to go, lights are charged, toolbox is organized, clothing sorted. A few minor details are still to be finished but what this will leave is a very mellow Friday evening. Hopefully.

One of the other things on my planning list is the after race meal. I saw it, it came back at the right time, I missed it the first time, I'll probably never want one again but some how Sunday once all the excitement is done I want to hit KFC and get that talked about made by the devil sandwich called the doubledown. I need it, I must have it. I will have it with no guilt on calories. That is the light at the end of the tunnel, we must do well, I must race hard, We need to get on the podium so I can have my prize of the scariest chicken sandwich known to man. Is it worth dying for, deep fried chicken? Dam right it is!!!!!

Coffee time,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prep ride

Who would have ever known that there are more than one weekly world cup series in Ontario. Out of curiosity Tristan and I loaded up a couple bikes and headed south to see with our own eyes. It coincidentally happened to be using the 24 hour race course, 17 birds, 1 stone??? Not a huge amount of time for a warm up, I believe that the ride back in forth from the car twice was pretty much it. It was at a overly brisk pace of just above coasting speed. The famous Superfly himself attempted to organize and control the antics of the mass pack of anxious riders. Of course his (use your own description here) little dog did a better time throwing off his concentration than any of us.

Go time. Did I ever mention that I dislike the start loop at Albion. Why? Because it has climbs in it. It wasn't to bad tonight, with only 60-70 riders it wasn't to hard staying near the front to get a good position for the first climb. Now this weekend the effort for the same results will be elevated just a little, still,l deciding on who does first lap for our attempt to repeat last years results. I've left the decision in the hands of Tristan. He will make the right call.

It's been a little bit since I've had to pout a good upper end effort in, at first it took a few minutes to get the head focused. I wasn't overly killing it but settled into a pace that would be very close this weekends race pace. Things started to feel good, it helped having two working brakes. The climbs felt a little easier as the race progressed, the legs started to fire, there was no "please stop doing this to us" screaming out of them. What was also nice was the momentum into the climbs. The course has flow, it's possibly one of Sean's greatest creations to date. Of course the newly cut trails make for some great changes and the just added rolling bumps at for a bit of Joyride pump track feel. I like!!! Crossed the line smiling, 45 minutes,. this leads to a very quick lap. Figuring in the 42-43 minute mark for the course minus the start loop. Fastest lap will be a sub 40, this also depends on who is there, with a real World Cup next weekend and road Nationals this weekend the fastest lap may claimed by????

I will say that rain is needed on that course. Not to much, not to little, somewhere in the middle. Some chill easy days ahead, some bike prepping to be done. Some sleeping is very much needed. For anyone wondering, we will be squatting our transition site at the top of the start climb. There will be many members of AWI Racing in attendance. There will be noise, there will be drinking, there will be antics. Of course Tristan and I won't be included in them, we have a task at hand. 24 hours divided by 2 is 12, divide that by 2 laps is 6 times. Now adjust for shorter laps during the day then calibrate for the longer laps at night. Add in a little fatigue, total laps each will be, ok now I'm really confused. Think I'll get a coffee and think about it later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The day before the longest day before the longest weekend

I found out first hand about braking power, where it comes from, how it's distributed etc etc. I've also decided that if one was to fail I have my preference on which it would be. NEITHER!!!!! In some cases I should be happy that I'm having all the bike problems now than during the weekends thrills. Of course I would have preferred not to have any problems. I know that brakes are over rated and just slow you down, they are for the fearful and that Chuck Norris doesn't use them to slow himself down, he uses his mind to slow the world around him. unfortunately I'm not Chuck Norris and I would crash spectacularly into a trees if I didn't have them.

Pretty chill Monday night ride with the crew. Ride a little, rest a little, attempt to damage or crash out one another a little. Yep a typical MNS night. Things started fine with the new brake set up on the bike but as the ride progressed the front brake lever started to get closer and closer to the bar. The braking power of course went from great to is this thing working??? Just worked on my 8 year old skidding technique in a few corners.

Why is it that when your 10 years old you have absolute fear of your front brakes, fear of going over the bars. Of course when your 10 you also ride with more style leaving the best slid turns you can, dragging a foot from time to time, not caring that you might not actually slow down while making motorcycle sounds the whole time. Then you grow up, get fearful of death, injuries, etc and love your front brake. You feel safer when it's on, in control. I love my front brake. I need my front brake.

By the end of the ride my front brake was pretty much a horn, I was able to pedal with it fully engaged. Yet another project to do. Once home any inspection and test it started to work again flawlessly, air bubble somewhere. No chances are being taken, it's now currently on the work bench wanting some TLC. There are days when it would be nice to be simple, old coaster brake system, that's it.

Visit to Albion tonight. Should be entertaining.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A return to Albion

The weekend of busy has come and gone. Had the typical '"really don't need this to happen right now" with a bike. Of course it was better to sort it out now. That wonderful storm we had recently on a world cup night where we thought we were tougher than Mother Nature, well she did get the last word in. An easy spin on Friday night was all it took for my rear brake to decide to do battle with my legs. A slow evil progression that eventually had the wheel locked. Attempt number two on cleaning found it better and working. So I thought.

Headed to Albion Saturday morning to get some laps in on the 24 hour course. On the map there showed lots of new sections, felt it would be worth while. I was also interested on the shape of my body, repair of the bike etc. The weather was perfect, sun out, temperature rising, a great day for the ride. Simple plan 3 laps of the course, roughly 3 hours. The bike at this point felt good, Took is very easy first lap, just spinning along. Some nice new sections on the course this year, I had to actually pay attention. Didn't take long to get in a rhythm but I did notice that things got progressively harder. Were the legs fading, no, the brakes began to drag a little more after each engagement. My fun could be cut short.

Back at the car I once overed the brakes and pretty much new they needed some serious TLC. Mud is a killer, they were beyond just a hose down cleaning. I had a few options, call it after one lap and about an hour of riding, be a bit grumpy about it. Take the pad out and ride road for a while to get the time in or see how well I can ride with only a front brake while riding the double track sections. I started out with last option and after the start climb I found myself turning right into the single track. Fast rolling stuff screw it, I can ride sections. Took about a minute to decide to stick to the course and get an upper level endurance lap in. This is when I found I liked the course. The first lap I didn't have the momentum into certain sections and I found them grindy, now with some speed things became fun. It was tough not touching my rear brake, knowing that it would lead to disaster. It was a great test of my left hand to which has gone numb a few times this year. Things felt good.

Mid 47 minute lap, at the top end of sane. The course is shorter than previous years but there are some great long single track sections which add time. There are also lots of passing oppertunities. It's a really fun course. Now I'm being cautious with my thoughts here. We need rain, not lots, not during the race, just a day or two before. The dust was already lifting up and a couple light drizzles would make for perfect conditions. Mother Nature want to play nice? Currently the weather predicted is looking like exactly what we need. Lets hope for once the weather department are right. 3/4 of a third lap, before calling it a day. Felt I may be pushing my luck with the brake if I continued along.

The rest of the weekend was a blur until late afternoon Sunday, bike problem somewhat resolved. A chill hike with the dogs at McCrae lake where Shannon attempted to get her dog to swim. We have one dog that we can't keep out of the water and then there is Rogue. Legs and body are feeling pretty good, I've already started the packing procedures, piles are beginning to consume the basement. Knowing myself I could potentially have the car packed Wednesday and be sitting there impatiently saying "can we go yet"

The week will go fast, a couple solid rides to be put in in the next couple days followed by a couple days of power eating. Should be a good week, I'll be back on track with posts also with morning ramblings.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Check in, check out

It's been a few days, not much happening, Bike prep one 101 has begun along with the start to pack list. Riding has been pretty chill, solid tempo on Tuesday, rest and then enjoyed the weather with an easy cruise on the rail trail last night. The bendy stretchy sessions are in full swing, won't really know if they are making a difference yet but I'm hoping even the placebo effect will come into play and I can will everything into a happy place.

The house is slowly returning to an organized state. Not to sound the wrong way but this weather is the wrong indoor weather and the craving to spend anymore time indoors emptying boxes and sorting items is at a minimal. Those boxes can stayed packed for as long as Mother Nature keeps this up.

Legs felt solid and strong, will be heading to Albion this weekend for a few hours of play. Curious about this years course, I know I'll see lots of it soon enough but remember that you're talking to the obsessive compulsive over planner organizer who needs to have a plan for every scenario. Weekend is coming, the countdown is down to 7 days. Lot's of time, lots to do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10 days

I'm going to apologize up front, my posts for the next little while may be, short, boring, unfunny, nonexistent, stranger then normal. I have 10 days, this could be a nice amount of time for vacation but I'm not sure if it will be enough time to be successful at my attempt. Now if I had a 10 day vacation on top of the 10 days i may pull it off. What am I doing? Well in 10 days is the 24 hour, I am am attempting to make myself flexible again. Not the" I can adjust my schedule to work with your schedule" type flexible. More the Gumby touch your toes, not feel like a pretzel type flexible.

How does this impact me typing lots of babble every morning? Well the time that I'm usually poking away at the keyboard drinking coffee will now be spent in the padded room using all my S&M tools that apparently if used right cause pain and then pleasure. The pleasure being a body that is not all distorted like it currently feels. Of course I'm doing all this just so that I can completely distort and destroy it in the course of 24 hours. Hmmmm Why am i doing this? Maybe I should just smack my head against the wall a few times every morning, the end results would be about equal.

Training is in the mix, great ride with the team coach on Sunday who I was nice enough not to follow Top Gear rules when his bike failed catastrophically in the first 10 minutes of the ride. The list of to do rides is getting smaller, the list of what needs to be done in a short time is growing longer. Tent set up, food, lights, true bike clean up, etc etc along with my week of anti rain dances that will be joined by the boys from Chico begin on Friday night. 10 days is not a long time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

More important

I'll update my weekend later. Please read Tammy's blog post. and take it as a serious reality check. Sorry for the lack of links, Ipad is limited sometimes. Look to the left for link

Sunday, June 12, 2011

moved, settled, time to pedal.

The move went well, it was still tiring but it's done. Now comes the fun of rearranging and unpacking. My body is feeling a little unimpressed with the grunt labour so I've opted out of the Ontario Cup race today to instead spend quailty time on the road bike. It's turning into an AWI training ride. Team director has set the route and the pace, I haven't ridden much more then a few hours since the 100 miler and the legs are craving some good miles with the 24 hour less than 2 weeks out. Training for the bigger cause.

Secondary note is that my left knee has been looking like shit the last few days. There are some pretty big bruises down the inside of the joint, pretty sure this was from the little crash I had a couple weeks ago during one of the World Cups of Hardwood. Things are a little irritated by it so top end stress is y not a great probably not a great idea at this time.

More coffee is needed, it's going to be a long day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Let the fun begin

Gave my legs a rest day yesterday, I'm feeling I'm going to need it. It's part one of moving day. I'm not sure what will be easier. Loading or unloading. The pile is getting smaller but the articles seem to be getting larger. It's great that we haven't been rushed or pressured to do it all in one day. We still have a few more weeks to move what we don't put in the moving truck. It will be an entertaining weekend for sure.

Still not sure what Sunday will bring, The single speed is now newly tweaked with a big boy bar that should hopefully still fit through most of Ontario's single track. Should also hopefully give me a little more help on the climbs, hopefully. Will be seeing how the legs feel Saturday night, how early I'm up Sunday morning and how energetic the coffee makes me that morning.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

24 hour training

More moving, more riding, more rain. Weekly Wolrd Cup did turn into on when two team riders tried to take out the team leader. Won't go into details but plan would have worked if there had been a third rider who will rremain namless Cough Cough (Tristan) bailed because of a little rain Lot's of slipping and sliding through the mud, brought back 24 hour memories of previous years. Hoping that it won't be a premenision into what is to come. Like last year I'll go overly prepared and bring a bike that's great for being dragged through the mud. It will hopefully stay on the car and the race will be rainbows and butterflies. Hoping.

One thing was learned, AWi kit is still very bright even when it's covered in mud. Can't hide these colours. Need coffee this morning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's a jungle out there

I was already to write a rant about life, the economy, global warming or something along those line but then I went for a ride. Of course it only took a few minutes from me being in a stand on a soap box mood to this is awesome. Instead of the rant I'll tell you about the great wild animal world I witnessed as I attempted to ride the Big Chute loop. I say attempted because I was stonewalled 2/3rds of the way around. The stone wall comes by way of gravel, lots of it. Gravel where there used to be pavement. The good news will be the fresh asphalt to be laid but the crap side was the turn around at Severn Bridge. I wasn't feeling brave last night with only one tube and no idea how far they had torn up. I had a little agenda to my ride also.

Instead I got the out and back on one of the most enjoyable roads in the area. I saw many cute animals including turtles and raccoons, I witnessed two crows having a fight in mid air. Then there was the bugs. Does anyone have any idea how fast black flies are capable of flying? The size of a walnuts there was no way I wanted to stop and look around at the scenery, the swarm would be more than capable of picking me up bike and all, dragging me into the woods and having their way with me. A great ride in all, 3 hours, solid tempo workout in the mix, body felt good in the heat.

I've been asked if I'm racing this weekend, it's in the cards but at this point will be a game day decision. Less than 3 days and Shannon's and my place become one. Friday and Saturday will be spent loading and unloading We've moved a lot already but the big stuff is still left. unfortunately most of my friends are cyclist. They're weak and frail and can barely lift their bikes. I'm no better, luckily DeathMarch Liz has volunteered to help. The girls will move all the heavy stuff, I'll just organize and supervise??? Albion could have a large than normal attendance. Of course the weather is predicted to typical race weather, rain is predicted at this point. I could find myself putting in a long ride in instead of vomit pacing it.

Another heat wave today, loving it, body is adjusted. Unsure about the world cup tonight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A great plan got wrecked by the man

Dragging this morning after an evening of thrills, spills and weakened legs. One may have been caused by another as the MNS/AWI Racing meet up to do our thing. Those that raced the previous day showed their vulnerability as soon as the trail went vertical. Good ride with a lot of tire bumping which lead to a few of us eventually attempt circus style acrobatic over over random logs and rocks. No deaths, no injuries. Pretty sure everyone was slightly distracted with the plan of post ride ice cream. This is where things went horribly wrong.

Barrie is a city, not a huge city but a city for sure. Ice cream is a popular evening treat that is wanted during the summer. Who would have thought that a not to be named ice cream shop would close as early as they did on a Monday. When did this change? It was open last year when went post Monday ride. What changed? To say that the group was disappointed was an understatement. After a weak protest in front of the store with hopes they would reopen, just a couple swear words and some stomping of feet, 8 disgruntled cyclist really don't put up much of a threat, we reorganized and headed to the boobie prize ice cream shop that is known for their super size. Yes we were all disappointed.

Training resumes, some new exercises for my hands. Seems that they have way to much power and need some facial tearing and releasing. Yet another body part that needs work, the list is growing. I was much happier to get that answer for the cause of the numbness than something much worst. This can be fixed. Some quality time with the Chuck Norris bike will give them a break this week. It's been a while since I road and looked around. It could be a nice change.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Canada Cup Hardwood

I'm not sure if it was my wisest decision in the last couple years to throw my hands in the ring and derailleur out the window. I really didn't know what to expect, I didn't have any expectations and I didn't realize how much it was going to hurt. I also forgot how much fun it is to race for only and hour and a half. When you get used to riding all day it's a bit of a cheap thrill to just beat yourself up for what felt like only a few minutes, yes slightly understated.

Saturday morning was filled with rain in the morning, opted not to change my tires and avoid getting hit my lightning. Late afternoon social and a couple laps once things cleared up. Made my usual F$(% up on bone shaker during the first lap. I seem to do that every year now and every year someone from the Norco tent seems to see it and cheer. This year was no different. Get it out of me before the race. A few minor tweaks to the bike to be made in the evening,

Sunday morning was spent cheering Shannon on at a local 10 km run. She had fun, it was a great course which finished up on the Orillia rail trail. Some good swag also. Awesome time, just a hair over 50 minutes. A little this and a little that and we were at the start corral cheering on the Elite race. For anyone who saw the start, ouch, the pace was crazy right off the line and just ramp up from there. AWI had a couple in the top 20, More of this and that including a warm up blah blah blah.

They shove the Single speeder in with the Cadet's this made for a very confusing pack which I was sitting right at the back. The word go meant a huge surge which had me about 20 feet behind. I'm a typical slow starter and not having the ability to shift and jump in the pack kept me already settling into my own pace and this was 30 seconds into the race. Like usual the first climb showed who pinned it way to hard at the beginning. Picked off a few before the single track and settled in. The course was in great shape, lots of grip. I let the bike run and took advantage of anyone who choose the wrong line and snuck pass. I knew I was back, maybe top 10 at this point and just rode. At around the halfway mark of the course I came close to pulling the plug. I've been having those hand problems and for some reason today I opted on wearing gloves. My left hand was numb, I had a little fear of not being able to hold on to the grips. Every time I could I had them as relaxed as possible but not being able to shift gears meant death gripping the bars and torquing them on every climb. I was concerned but after I removed the gloves things settled back to normal.

Finished the first lap and saw a pack ahead of me, this included Tristan who had left like a rocket of the start. Didn't get impatient or anxious and stayed stayed. I've learned pretty quickly that you need to conserve your legs for those important high power outputs. Passed a few and I was on Tristan's wheel. There was hopes that we could work together and pull a few rider in. Tristan hammering the double track, myself leading the single. This worked for a bit until my front wheel drifted out in a soft berm that I took a stupid line through. Hmm and I was the one leading the single track, rethinking?? Caught back up to the pack and started to lead again, As we came through Coffee run Tristan dropped off the wheel. Team strategy was done, I started to look ahead and saw the next target. It had an HBCC jersey.

Starting the last lap I was still a little stunned that my legs were still feeling pretty good. I'd been concerned before the race, I was almost a little shocked. I caught Mike on the start climb and tried to use my top secret ninja skills and hide quietly behind him in his draft. This worked only in my mind. He would attack, I would debate and only do the minimal I needed to. We were running into some traffic and every effort he put down seemed to almost be wasted as he hammered the double track I was able to slip in with half the effort and roll up behind in the single track. It was like this for most of the lap. Mike did finally get a big gap on me just after the first side of the feed but I think the efforts were catching up with him and I slowly gained on him as we headed into the last couple km's. As we came up to coffee run I started to scheme my plan. There isn't much of a race left, I knew where I would have to go and what I had to do.

I stayed right on his wheel through the fast downhill that I always giggle on, as we rolled towards the little climb just before the 2nd half of the feed it pulled to the right and stopped, I didn't know what was up. I kept going made the turns into the feed looking back. Mike wasn't there, I didn't slow down. Kept on the gas just in case and a minute or two later crossed the line. 5th, not bad for not knowing what would happen. i think I could go faster. Found out later that Mike's hub froze up. That was not the way I wanted to get past him. Would have loved it to turn into a sprint at the line.

What was my overall opinion of the single speed division and the race.. One of my favorite courses to date at Hardwood. A good mix of everything. Single speed is fun, I will do it again. I will never do it longer than one of these races, it still hurts more than I like and I love my duallie way to much. So does my body. A few more tweaks to be done to the SS including a really big wide riser bar. I need all the help I can get. The body is feeling the abuse but overall feeling strong considering all the aches and pains. They seem to go away when I'm on my bike. Time for more coffee and food.

Friday, June 3, 2011

2 wheels, 1 gear, 0 common sense

Stage is set, bike is now ready to go. It's funny how many times this bike has changed roles. Who would have thought that a small named bike companies carbon hard tail would have been capable of playing so many roles in its short life. 4 years ago I got a little deal with Blue, took advantage of it and ended up with the bike mentioned and a great cross bike. both have been beaten up, ridden hard, put away messy, been used and abused. So much that I may have a hard time selling either of them down the road. The xc carbon, it's official name has gone from main race bike to single speed, to winter bike, then back to a short course race bike and now has returned to it's permanent life. It does make a pretty good single speed.

Test ride with the final build was tested last night in the big back yard. I like the gear ratio I've set up. I found the 18 could get me up most things and most things in Copeland are steep. I know I'll loose a bit on those rare flat double track sections but I'll take my chances that I can spin my legs at 140 rpm. I found out the hard way that my tire choice was a failure. The feeling of sidewall flex and twist is such an interesting feel. The wheel was going one way, the tire the other. Retirement time for this set. Besides the small tire inconvenience the bike worked flawless. Climbed well, descended well, no problems with the chain setup and tensioner. My hands were finding things a little confusing though. Every hill they automatically started looking for the shifter. I'll be wishing for them by mid race, or the first hill. It should be another epic play day.

Weekend is almost upon us, lots to do. Coffee included.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Deciding at speeds

Am I that easily swayed? Does it take so little to push me to a decision? It wasn't a life altering decision, it was a playing one. A solid ride on the Canada Cup course before the usual Wednesday night excitement made it a pretty easy one. I'm racing Sunday, I love the course. I like it enough that I wish I could get my big boy licence so I could race with the group that I should. This more because I'd like to do more laps. Not many race to say that but it's fun and flowy. It's also a course that I would much rather be on my Anthem. There is just enough rough stuff for you to crave the suspension. There isn't however enough climbing that I won't make myself hurt for 3 laps with one gear.

Lot's of momentum into the climb, great flow, lease climbing than in previous years. Roughly 550 feet of climbing per lap but it doesn't feel that bad. That didn't stop me from changing out the gear ratio on the SS. I'm guesstimating that 32-18 will be perfect for me, I'll give up the flats to make it up on the climbs having legs to rock the single track and downhill. Work your strengths, do every thing to bury your weakness.

Besides the thrills the course has on it, my body was yet my bigger concern. Will I have strength, will it last at intensity, are there still traces of bad things in there from the 100 miler. I'd have to say no. Except for the crash in the first section of single track, somehow I caught a pedal on a stump which felt that I was moving to quickly. It was one of those WTF just happen crash followed by watching a slow motion crash as Jer attempted to go around me. Luckily there was a bit of a gap over the next group, sorted out things and continued. Lost maybe 20 seconds with the circus act. After a second or two of regaining focus it was back on the gas with 3 riders ahead. The first guy in my sights was pretty easy to catch. It was the next that was the big problem.

Chasing down my teammate. I will give him credit, Tristan was rocking a single speed and when the trail got tight I was able to gain, pass then put time into him. One last rider ahead, one of those senior ex guys from Mountainview CC Tom is riding well this year, will be moving to Elite after the Canada Cup. I saw him, I pushed hard, he heard me, he pushed. There was a small gap that got filled in by a couple young riders as the trails merged. Not on the brakes but just a little slower than I would have been rolling. It's still awesome watching how fast some of these kids can roll the tech stuff. I guess being 4 foot nothing on a small bike with little fear becomes the perfect combo. Crossed the line about 10 seconds back. Feeling really good, better than I have in a while. This was the bigger influence in my decision.

Lot's to do between now and then, a bit more training, some more house rearranging, some more moving. The month of June is going to be a busy one. Lucky I'm not drinking decaf.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two different riding styles

Good day on the bike, it hurt, it wasn't fun, but yet it was. The first return of intensity of sorts and I wasn't sure what to expect. Shannon decided to join me on the road and got to see first hand the self abuse I put on myself. As she toured just behind as I blasted out full effort sprints over and over again she enjoyed the scenery, I enjoyed staring at the road as I slung my body over the handlebars after a round of puke paced exertion. Hmmmm Someone has the right idea, someone may not.

Things were not to far off from what I expected, the body is not in the most pleasant shape. I'm far from gumby by flexible right now and I feel that when on the road bike. What was the highlight, despite that I was almost forcing myself to puke, it was from the sprints, not from overheating. The body is adjusting well to the heat, there doesn't seem to be any signs of recourse from the thermal meltdown at the 100 miler. I'll still be watching things very carefully over the next few weeks.

Finished up the ride with a stop down at the bay, plans of a ice water flush were pretty much destroyed when I stepped in and felt bath warm. The bay is warming up quickly, still felt great. This is the first sign of true summer. No bugs, great weather, etc etc. Bring it on, but let it go by slowly. The 3 months of summer usually go by as a blur. Maybe this year will be different?

Wednesday night World Cup tonight. Preride the Canada Cup, should be another good night.