Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm not sure how others deal with it but I find this is the hardest time of the year to do anything. To stay motivated, to not just curl up on the couch and just sleep. The combination of being dark at 5 pm, irratic tempature, inconsistent weather and a long season the craving to do nothing is very overwhelming. I think this is why I'm so anxious for snow. The transition of fall to winter always seems to be more painful than the one from winter to spring.

I can't handle riding the rollers right now, I won't take a bike outside in the cold rain of a dark evening sky and I can't ski. Yep, you can tell I'm not much of a fan of this time of year. Coffee only energizes for a short time, beer leans the body to the couch. Yep, I have the
November training blahs. Maybe the snow coming down will stay. I don't want a huge amount, just enough to play in.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

maybe, maybe not

Well that could be the last one for a while, the last Monday night ride with out snow. Conditions were perfect, 5 brave souls toured the 8th for the normal hour telling stories while having random bike problems. I've come to the conclusion that the more time you spend at a bike shop (work there being an example). the crappiest our bike is maintained. Of course I can't say much because I only want simple appliances in the house so I hopefully don't have to fix them.

Some helpful advice from my favorite chiropractor Dr Bill has me some things to do for my hip. It's the random sharp pains that are annoying me but the return to my distorted normalness is not to far off in the distance if I stay proactive. Focus Mr Spak, focus.

Monday, November 28, 2011

the long way around

With what felt like another bonus day of trail use I took myself and the dogs to Copeland for a couple hours of play. This was as much for them as it was for me, the rest of the weekend would be all business. Starting with the anti NASCAR right turn I attempted to stay upright and avoid being taken out by the rookie. Rogue has stepped into Molly's place on sketchy passes. The Molly Monster is now just a pacer, settles in behind the bike and doesn't waste energy on stupid attacks. Rogue hasn't learned this yet.

The route we chose, not the I really decided, but we circled the outside trails of the forest. This meant some good climbs, awesome flats and some amazing decents. I was smiling pretty much the whole time. Came across some forresty work along the 5th line. The trails are still fine just a slightly different view now. It seems to take 2 hours to do the loop, there is probably one longer but the dogs were pretty cooked by the time we got back to the car. I was feeling great, not a huge amount of power, hip is still giving me some annoyance.

The rest of the weekend was spent as a two against one battle. Shannon and I taking on the house and her galvanized pipes. We have been working away at the bathroom for a while, it's been a slow progression but the end is in sight. The fun of an old house, we would start to get ahead of the house then we would run into a wall. Eventually the walls started to get thinner, the old heavy corroded pipe was replaced with new abs, The old toilet made its way outside, the final bits of tile made its way to the floor, the toilet was finally installed, then the last wall appeared.

The old vent was, ummm how would you say, useless. It had been a walnut storage for squirrels for atleast 20 years. To as it was fun to remove a 20 foot peice of 4 inch steel tube would be an understatement. My sawzall pulled its weight around the house this weekend. After to solid days of fighting everything the house sent our way, we won. The bathroom Reno has the end in sight and the big challenges are hopefully dealt with. The return to more play time is also in sight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

swinging both ways

Maybe I'm trying to influence Mother Nature's plans, maybe I'm just screwing with her not telling her what I really want. I figure if I embrace the fact that the roads are clear and dry and put some miles in on the road bike she will blast us with snow, but then went the other way with a shopping spree of wax and some time spent waxing and tuning skis just to confuse her a little more.

I didn't think that Chuck would have come out again this year but the weather was perfect and it seemed a shame to leave him in the padded room. Headed north into what felt like early spring conditions, a brisk cool wind, the sun shining, the roads clear of traffic, not bad for end of Novemeber. I did enjoy the tail wind on the return trip but also learned that I still have some body recovery work still to do. Some alignment issues will always show up when on the road, it's amazing how sustained positions show weakness in the body core.

Once the sun was down I made my way down to the basement for the first of many waxing sessions. I forgot how many hours of prep is spent at the beginning of the ski season. Not unlike overhauling the bikes. Of course this season has a few more toys that need to be tuned. So far the GS and SL skis are done and the first snowboard. This is the easy side of it, the xc skis seem to take even longer. Am I craving snow, just a little. Which sliding sticks will be my go to this year. Hmmm. that's a tough call at this point. A very though call.

Weekend is shaping up, some house work, some play time. Lots of coffee drank. .

Thursday, November 24, 2011

slip, slide melting

That was what my ride consisted of yesterday. A pre dark arrival home had me pulling the hardtail off the rack and heading to the big backyard. With some solid time available before the sun drops, this getting dark by 5 pm is still difficult to get used to, I had a craving to get some play time in on some single track before winter hibernation. Rolling into the parking lot I got a slight idea of what I would be up against, the previous evenings freezing rain left the a skim of ice everywhere. This made the trails a little interesting, where the sun got to traction was plenty, other sections, not so much.

Downhill sections were ridden with a lot more care than normal, there were mo than a couple sections where I was dabbing down the foot trying to keep the bike vertical. Bridges we pretty much a guaranteed trip to the hospital if ridden. Even with all the balance challenges, I was still out riding single track in the end of November, no complaints from me. Just shy of 2 hours of lefts and rides and ups and downs. Put in some good climbing with an attempt to fast track some base fitness again. Still not wearing any electronic (stay in this zone) type stuff, no structure right now, just riding.

Another spin is planned for tonight, I'm craving snow but I might as well embrace the warmth.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

why did I

I can't believe I did it, it was something I said I wasn't going to do. I'm weak? It's not even winter yet so the excuse list is extremely short but I found myself on the rollers last night pedaling to no where. Why oh why would I do this to myself? I have been putting in some outside miles on the cross bike and trying to get the body adjusting to the late fall tempature, the only problem with this. Mother Nature is being a little inconsistent with her weather that acclimatization to the cold has been difficult.

I'm still uncertain on what brought me to doing the nasty deed, maybe it as the release of the 2012 Ontario cup schedule. It was the first step for a returned focus. most know by now, new venue to the north. Sudbury will be a trip, many will be excited about, I'm one of them. It may be early but time to start planning the "what to do" list and what it will take to do it. It will be a new approach this year to racing, the main focus is to make myself faster in the shorter races. Should be a good challenge.

Other highlights, team vp has been on a writing frenzy and is apparently getting fat while doing it. This past weekend had a winter warmup for the MNS group winter activities as Shannon, Jacob and I did what we could to keep pace with Deathmarch Liz on a hike on the Bruce trail. The pace was what aw expected and the warning came out of a couple new venues to keep the guys in fear of being lost in the woods forever if they can't keep up.

It's looking like some good weather rolling in, time to play outside.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Still trying

Slacker? Lazy? Distracted? Either way I know I have not spent much time here in the mornings. It is the fall and that leads to little excitement outside of the MNS rides which have now been taken to a new level. It's not about the ride, it's all about the entrance. Of course we are not allowed to speak of it, what happens in MNS, stays in MNS?

I have made an attempt to ride, a random stick has also made its opinion on me riding known. A little run over to the super close big backyard single track on Wednesday was started with great enthusiasm but came to a halt almost as fast less than 15 minutes into the ride when I felt the snap. Where the sound came from had me slightly concerned. I almost didn't look hoping that it wasn't what it was. I felt the dollar bills leaving my wallet. After a few deep breathes I looked down towards the back of the bike to see my XTR just hanging there. I felt the shiver up my back as I got in a little closer, Awww, wait no four letter words needed, just a hanger. The run/walk home was enjoyable. The hardtail is repaired and ready to roll.

I can't not comment on this, it snowed, it's November, it's normal. Of course it probably won't stay. I'm anxious to slide around on sticks, hopefully it won't be to long till mother nature leaves her seasonal blanket of white so the fun can begin.

Other excitement, the body is still feeling a little old man like. Hip flexor is pissing me off but some voodoo technology will hopefully help cure the problem. I'll make attempts to update this a little more often.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Slightly frustrated

That's how I feel right now. Very very frustrated. Yet again I'm feeling like a beaten down old man. All I can say is that at least this is all happening at the right time of the year, off season. I'm not missing races, not missing those perfect ride days, if I was I would be sulking a lot more. So what's happening with my aging body, it's the hips and lower back yet again. It decided that it doesn't like me again. I know that the route cause comes from the crash just over a month ago, yep it's still nagging me. Of course I slacked a hair on the stretching and recovery after I started feeling better after the last time. I know , I know, you have to keep up the rehab if you really want to recover but of course life becomes distracting and obviously I'm easily sidetracked when I'm not really training and there is no focus in the rides I do go on.

So what does this mean? Yep a delay in riding for a few days, an excessive amount of quailty time in the padded room and a returned focus to make myself feel better. Time to get at it, iI can't stretch out the problem with me just sitting here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

burning bikes and a questionable driver

The return to the woods and a simple reminder about how quickly you can lose the feeling happened Monday night. Met up with the crew and after watching the antics of Mr Watson and the expression of Mr Spurr we headed out for a romp in the woods. At first things were sane but then the pace increased, I normally would have no problem with this but it didn't take long for me to have a few bobbles. It's been a while since I've ridden the trails at that pace, more so riding in the dark. My B game would have been adequate but I brought my E game instead and it showed.

Ride was fun, some random bounces into trees, mud etc. There were seem elbows thrown, ninja kicks while in motion and crashes to finish of the list of things we normally do on these rides. It appears that the old basis of these rides is no longer about recovery and social. It's about dramatic entrances and carnage filled attacks. I do believe that the A game may be needed before the snow comes and the bikes a hung up for the season. Feeling a bit better though, another ride tonight.

Will not mention that there are a couple new parking lots now in the woods.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It looked like summer but didn't feel like it

At times the summer seems short, other times it's extremely long. It's so long that I forgot what windchill felt like. What may be a comfortable temperature standing still becomes closer to medieval torture as moment increases. Of course it's never an instant freeze, it takes a few minutes for it to cut through the layers of clothing before getting to the core. About the time and distance that you say screw it, I'm to far away from the house to turn back now. That's what happened for me Saturday.

The sun was spectacular and eventually warmed me up as I turned onto the gravel rail trail east of Coldwater. This turned into one of those rides that I appreciate the cross bike. A warm up on pavement before the "let's see where this goes and I've never been down that road before began" Random left and right turns onto roads that only farmers ever drive down and eventually onto a road that stopped being a road a kilometer in. That didn't stop me from following what becomes the snowmobile trail in the winter. To my surprise I started to notice an unusual rut in the mud. Way to small to be anything with a motor. It couldn't be? As it appeared in all the soft stuff on the only ride able line it fully registered. Someone else on a cross bike had already beat me through this trail. For the next few km's our trails seemed to match up on anything technical. I kept looking far ahead waiting to see this mystery rider. A mystery they will stay.

Eventually I rolled back into my driveway 2 hours after I started. The legs were feeling happy, a great way to start the weekend. More adventures tonight once the sun drops. Pretty much any ride midweek will be auxiliary light lead. It doesn't look like there is any snow in the near future, looks like I better get the lights charged up.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Becoming what I was and wondering who that man is

It seems that I am not the only one that has returned to riding. Ontario's number one tag team partner that will guarantee you a win has started prepping for the 2012 season. Watch out. As for this guy, I'm riding. There is no training regiment, it's the fall and I don't need one. The body is still feeling a little weak with certain movements but I'm able to finally ride in the trails without major discomfort. It's only been 4 weeks since I went down like a bag of bricks and from what I've been told by many it's up to 8 weeks before ribs fully heal. Great.

Being Saturday morning in November I'm currently watching the thermometer waiting for it to leave the negative side of the scale before I head out for a couple hours on the road bike this morning. I've yet to get that winter insulation that is needed for those cold rides, I've been trying though. I've been enjoying that over eating benders that I try to keep to a minimum during the summer. It won't be long now till the discipline starts back and the attempts at being fit begin.

The beard growing is moving slowly, I'm still trying to figure out who that stranger is in the mirror right now. Awww, the sun just broke and falsified the temperature reading. I'll attempt to fool myself into thinking it's warm out for the first hour. Must run, opps I mean ride.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


That's right it's that time of the year and I'm doing my duty but with a slightly different focus than the masses. That's usually what I do. I am currently face hairless, to say it;s strange not having a goatee which has been with me for the last 10 plus years but for the cause it was little sacrifice. My cause and symbol though is more of a remembrance. There will be no stache for this guy, nope it will be a full on beard. So who,what, where and why?? It's for my Dad.

It's still a bit of a blur that it has been 8 years since we lost my Dad to cancer. For the last couple years every November I attempt to grow a beard similar to what he had. There are many reasons for this, it's not for the masses, it's not for some questionable charity, it's much deeper than that. It's a reminder, it's a sign of respect,

Day 2 has begun, the shadow has begun. By the end of the month I'll be a little grizzly looking. I like it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm not dead

Hiding? Not really I've just been preocupied with the off season lifestyle and the road to recovery that coming here has been a little low on the priority. It has not helped that there has been little cycling based entertainment to write about. I have returned to riding, sort of. The weekend was spent spinning the legs with Shannon and the dogs. The body has finally allowed me to take the 2 wheels off raod so an easy spin on Saturday in the big back yard was topped of with a 2 hour adventure at the Torrence Barrens on Sunday. It's great to be back, even if it's low key.

As much as I'm happy to be back riding I have found myself beginning to crave snow. This may be because of the new additions to the gear collection. With a new plan for winter training this year, the plan includes hopefully zero time on the trainier and no real set schedule, the extra time will be spent playing on the snow in different disciplines. The main one is returning to a past interest, gravity. XC skiing will keep me fit but downhill skiing and snowboarding will keep me smiling. I'm looking forward to the sliding that will be done. I'm sorry for what I'm about to say, let it snow!!!!

What does add to the craving for the white stuff, the full tear down and tune-up of the two wheel collection. My Anthem is currently in about 40 peices and a pound lighter after scrubbing the year worth of dirt out of it. The rebuild will be a little slower than the tear down but by spring it should be a couple pounds lighter and a whole lot cleaner. Photos will be taken, they may even be put online.

Back to my coffee, I will do my best to visit this place a little more often.