Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A slow return

The first attempts of riding have begun and it's a pretty pitiful one at that. Made my way to Copeland to atttempt to exhaust the dogs with them chacing me. That plan changed and it seemed to be the other way around when we hit the singletrack. The vibration was just not feeling great and the upper body effort needed to deal with the most simple technical section felt like a knife in the side. I found my way out on to the double track where we stayed for the remainder of the ride. Were the dogs tired, not really.

On came ride number two, this being a little more of a had to to get home type ride. A point to point from the auto mechanics to home. It turned into a semi hilly 1.5 hour ride on the the cross bike on far from dry roads. In the spring the body and mind seem to deal with being cold in wet much better than they do in the fall. The legs were still feeling stagent and the body a little out of whack, I shouldn't expect that much at this point. It's a long off season, lots of time to recover.

It seems that the road is going to be my friend for the next few weeks. That is if it ever stops raining.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A fast update

As holidays offically begin tomorrow morning the conditions called weather have pretty much gone to the dumps. Well it's not snowing, yet. An attempt to ride tomorrow will be made, the dogs are craving a pace higher than walking speed. Not sure what will happpen, the ribs are still sore but in a point that I can sneeze and it only feels like a punch in the chest, much better than the previous feeling of a freight train hitting me.

Some updates from the land down under, Shannon is there and having fun in great conditions. I'm jealous and wish I was there with her. The house is quiet, I don't like it. Less than 2 weeks till she is back. I'm counting the hours.

There are a few epic adventures planned for the next few days. Weather permitting.

Friday, October 14, 2011

it's the fall, what do you expect

I know, I know, the blog has sucked for the last little while. What can I say? There is little to write about, little happening. I'm still off the bike, the swelling has pretty much gone down on my right side, this allowed a couple of my ribs to make a wonderful popping sound with certain movement. No X-ray needed, no phd to determine what's going on. To say that I'm almost happy that the weather is crap would be an over exaggeration but it does numb the pain of not being able to ride.

Instead I've been just strolling with the dogs in the big back yard. Yesterday had me running into a certain AWI fast guy testing his new rocket ship. Feel sorry for those trying to keep up with him this weekend in 3 different events. I may make my way to one or two races and mock/cheer everyone.

Holidays begin in less than 12 hours, they ad needed but will say that they won't be as enjoyable as I had hoped. Shannon has landed safely in the land down under, I will be landing in the side or backyard for the week. There was no last minute change to head with her as much as I would have loved to. Instead it's a local stay cation for me and the dogs with a long to do list for the week. Hopefully some easy road riding will be in that mix, hopefully.

I'll do my best to do something crazy and entertaining over then next while to write about. For now I'm going to drink some more coffee, watch the rain and sit by a warm fire.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A thankfully good long weekend

October? Maybe by date but like everyone noticed that weather was spectacular feeling more like a mid summer day than the one of the big steps sloth season. All week I was cringing with the inability to ride, well there wasn't a chance in hell that I was going to spend this weekend sulking on the sidelines. My ribs were feeling better each day as the swelling went down but I was still very aware of them. This is probably a good thing for a guy with that can't sit still for more than a minute mentality. If it hurts you stop, in most cases.

Saturday came around and I opted for a chill paced solo ride along the rail trail. No motors, no power, just feel and the feeling at times went from pleasure to pain. Regardless I was just happy to be out and that hour on the road bike was glorious One hour, yes just one hour, the pace was pretty lame also. It is what it is.

Then came Sunday, I needed more, I had to do more. With predictions of yet another amazing family meal that I try to eat way more than I should I knew something pre dinner had to be done. With the company of my brother in law we headed by way of the rail trail yet again. Glorious conditions and great company with a hair bit of family rivalry. Rick was one of those culprits that helped me grow as a rider with many 24 hour battles. The plan was for a semi chill ride again so I opted to make peace with my hardtail with Rick on his road bike. It wasn't long before Rick began half wheeling me and driving the pace up. Chill was out of the vocabulary for the first part of the ride. It was great for me though, my chest opened up a bit more, I was able to breath a little easier, I was seeing hope. We also doubled my time from the previous day with 2 hours and somewhere in the mid 50 km range. Perfect, then I reloaded those spent calories with some amazing food.

On came Monday and the annual Brewery to Brewery ride. 2 days earlier I was feeling I'd be sidelined for it, I woke up finally feeling pretty good. Chest was only a little irritable, minimal compared to the previous week. Screw it, just ride. It didn't take long for me to get caught up in the excitement of a large group wide with way to many sign sprints to keep track off. Sun shining, great company again, beer at the mid and finish points. How else would you want to spend your long weekend Monday? The ride was far from perfect though with a blown up pedal, a blown rear tire, a slow speed collision into a wall that lead to a broken shifter. Interesting part of this was that two of the three incidents involved the same rider.

Adding another hour to the previous days ride but with a much higher pace had me feeling good for a bit, then it happened. That notorious result of feeling good and pushing well beyond what I should have. Common sense would have told me to just ride chill in the pack, of course I ignored that with the random sprints and sitting at the front longer than I should have. My chest and side are far from impressed with me right now, some swelling has returned, yes it hurts and it's not that good hurt. I won't have changed my decision though, it helped me reality check a few things. I question the thought of still being able to race this fall, even potentially this weekend at the 50 km. I had my answer gently handed to me. If I'm this sore riding a road bike with some random blasts how will the mountain bike feel at race pace for close to the same time. The race season is officially over, the riding on the other hand has returned, at a sane pace.

An amazing weekend, some great riding with some great friends. Add in fantastic food, beer destinations and a slight tan leads this to one of the best Thanksgiving long weekends in many years. I did forget to mention that the drive home on the 400 north bound was spectacular at 120 while the southbound people were at a standstill.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not ready yet

An attempt was made but something decided that it was way to early. Maybe I was over anxious as I jumped on to the TCR, Chuck was covered in a bit of dust so he didn't complain with the opportunity to see the light of day and a short vacation from the basement. I didn't plan on riding long and defiantly not hard. Rolled down the hill and over the bridge spinning the legs, the sun was shining, I needed to be out here. It took less than 5 minutes before I realized how rough the roads really are.

I could feel every crack, I started to try and ride around them but there were just way to many of them. At a glance the road looks perfect, in most cases it would be called pristine but like most things, as you look a little closer you start to see all the imperfections and blemishes. every time I hit one of these it hurt. Not just a little hurt, the knife blade was feeling dull and spread over a larger than normal area. Carbon only detunes the vibration so much, I should have been smart about it and turned around, I didn't. The distance I'd travelled took considerable longer than it normally would, I was enjoying the weather more than the pain and used it as a stronger influence to stay out. I turned to the right and made my way up a gentle hill. I must say that it's difficult to climb hills with minimal lung expansion. That's when it happened.

Things feel soft and rubbery, is it my legs? Nope it's my rear tire. Of course I'd only planned a short ride I didn't even consider bringing a tube or pump, that would be overkill for what would have been a sub 50 minute spin only a few km from the house. What I did have was the phone and after multiple calls and texts the rescue car was on it's way to pick me up as I walked along in the fall sun. A 30 minute ride seems almost trivial when your used to 4 plus hours. When there is a mix of pleasure and pain in such a short time why ride longer. Yes I know I should be waiting it out a little longer before riding, yes I know I'm stubborn and over anxious sometimes.

Once home some tlc and wrenching has the road bike ready for it's next attempt. I'm hoping to get out this weekend for another easy spin with a real ride setup for Monday on the famous Brewery to Brewery ride. I'm hoping.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pretty sure

Where am I at? Currently I'm on the floor and I choose to be down here and came down in a controlled state. I great visit with Dr. Bill yesterday for a once over the body and some alignment adjustment. I screwed myself up pretty good. I'm still moving around, still going to work but I'm aware of every movement. My thoughts on being on the mountain bike anytime soon is looking slimmer, the road is seeming like a good choice.

I've been nagging myself about spending quality time recovering and stretching. Well I have the time and I have a slighting stronger reason to get at it. Where to start. The first is accepting, race season is officially over.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just Riding Along When

Monday has come and gone but it's a Monday that I will be feeling for a little while longer. The legs were tired, the body was aching but I against better judgement loaded up a bike and headed to the usual place at the usual time to ride with the usual people for the usual Monday Night Something. There were rules set for this week and with half of us sitting on sitting on abused legs from the previous day the pace was to be sane.

Because I was still feeling the love of the hardtail, more because the Anthem wasn't ready to go I found myself on the Blue once again. Ride started, pace was normal, the trail was a bit slick but it was all good. 35 minutes or more things are still all good. A few random bursts from random riders but nothing to be concerned of. As we headed to the trail of thrills and bridges approached the pace quickened on the doubletrack. It increased a little more between Tristan, Andrew and myself when it finally ramped up to an out of the saddle sprint. It was the shorts sprint of my life.

As Tristan pinned it I stood up and prepared for a hard effort, one second later I was gasping for air. I wasn't trying to bring in that wonder fuel known as oxygen to help power my legs to try and out sprint Tristan, not this time. No I was gasping for air trying to get it back into my lungs with that wonderful necessity of life. It's been a long time since I've knocked the wind out of me, it's not an enjoyable feeling, it's not something I would like to do again anytime soon.

So what happened? In some cases nobody really knows. At first I thought I caught a wheel that caused me to go over the bars. That would have been great, someone to blame. Then it almost happened again spinning easy. Something in my rear wheel is deciding that it doesn't want to turn. Under extreme load my rear wheel locked up, stopping the crank dead and sending me to a new world. That world this morning, pain. My right side is not in a great place right now. I broke a few ribs a couple years ago in a similar impact. It was very enjoyable, I'm hoping and just suspect I just bruised the hell out of everything.

Thoughts now for the rest of the race season, well at this point I'm pretty sure I'll be sidelining this weeks world cup weekly cross race, the 50 km is hopefully still in the mix, it's still a little ways away. It won't be a bad thing if official events are done for the season, ending on a high note with last weekend. I would have preferred to have the option though, this morning though just even the option of reaching for a coffee hurts. I feel I was due for a good crash, I've been pushing the limits and sneaking through a few close calls the last couple years. I just got my speed check, thanks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tour Du King

Had I not put my money down a few days earlier I probably would have spent the day at home on the couch in front of the fire. Had I done that I would have missed out on what will most definitely become the fall classic of southern Ontario. I had low expectations for results based on how I felt on Saturday, actually all week I've still had traces of that evil cold that beat me down the previous weekend. After doing some team duties of moving stuff I made my way to Copeland for a test ride of the newly rebuilt hard tail. The Blue XC has returned to it's roots armed with a drivetrain, I don't think it was enjoying being a gear less wonder. During the test ride I started to feel like crap, when your sweating in plus 3 temperature with little effort you know it's not a great thing. To the couch I went and spent the rest of the afternoon.

On comes Sunday morning, look out the window. It's cold and cloudy with rain easily hovering in the background. HMMM do I really want to?? I was feeling better but when you're sitting beside a warm fire with a cup of coffee you always feel better. Against better judgement and the thought of wasting an entry fee I mounted the bike to the car and headed south with the heat and heated seats on max and the outside temperature on the car turned off. Ignorance is bliss. How cold was it? Lets just saw that the wind chill factor had me adding air to the Blue's shock once I got there. A little this and that, some socializing and a weak warm up that seemed to numb the hands more than warm the body before rolling into the swarm already filling the start coral.

Mid pack starting is always a scary thing in a group this large. The mix of cross bikes and mountain bikes were pretty equal, Add in a dash of over energetic racers that attacked off the front less than 30 seconds into the race thinking the finish line was at the top of the first hill. I had a young kid ask if he could start in front of me, I said "no, you should chill there are 20 guys here that are crazy fast, it will sort itself shortly" Less than a minute into the race that kid blasted past me along with a few others on cross bikes making smart ass comments to some of the mountain bikers. Karma almost got one as he t-boned himself in a high speed wobble that he barley saved. Comments were made as that pack of mountain bikers road past. Yes this all happened within the first 5 minutes.

Not preriding the course left me hitting the single track back about 30th, had I known I would have pinned it a bit more to get in front of those over excited cross bike riders. Instead I slowly worked my way through them moving up slowly. I was still feeling a bit off so kept my attacks to a controlled approach, if they swung wide, over braked etc I just rolled past. To say that I was happy I chose the hardtail would be an understatement. The trails were fun. Once out of them I'd moved up pretty quickly, remember the kid that wanted to start in front. Ya I caught him sounding like his lungs were going to explode on a climb, I rode past him and quickly commented "shouldn't had started so hard" and rode away from him. Youth.

Out on the road the challenge began, locked out the shock got as low as possible and did what I could to keep pace with the cross bikes, I battled with a couple gaining then losing then regaining ground on them depending on the road or trail. The body was still far from impressed with what I was doing and asking off it, I kept things at that 90%of normal race pace mark hoping to just hold on. Then came the 5 k to go sign. I was in a pack of 5 and yes on the road they were on cross bikes. I didn't play dirty and just tuck in, I put my time in at the front. The pace was high and any chance that the road became favourable to me,gravel bumpy etc I would ramp up the pace a little. The 1km to go sign shows up, it's down to 2 other cross bikes. I'm crossing my fingers that there was a chunk of singletrack in the mix, I didn't want to sprint. I wasn't that luck and it was one other rider and myself sprinting to the line. Victory for another mountain biker.

Ended up 11th overall and first in the middle aged division. Not bad for feeling crappy and sore with no real intensity in my fitness supply right now. Seems that most of the top 15 were on mountain bikes, After the race I realized how much I enjoyed the shorter events, there was more time for socializing, eating, drinking, etc. The boys from Chico Racing put on yet another great race and I even got a hug from Sean Ruppel on the podium. Shannon wasn't there, someone had to step up and it was Sean.

I have regained a little love to the hardtail, it has it's place and yesterday it shined. A couple days of chill, still feeling a little off but an attempt to ride with the team will happen.