Monday, January 31, 2011

Keep up or die?

A weekend of good hours of training. Sunday found us heading south of the usual playground. Far enough south that it was no longer considered my backyard. Shannon and I found ourselves at Scanlon Creek Park just north of Bradford armed with snowshoes with a mission to find hills. Hills are what I needed, Shannon was just along for the scenery and the dogs just needed to be run.

Some random left and right turns had us all over the place in the park. I was just following along and like I expected She has the same ability as Deathmarch Liz and set a pretty blistering pace up and down the side of the ravine. My amazing tracking skill training had me able to spot lots of deer tracks. Of course any 8 year old would have been able to do the same. As I was playing on a pile of logs Shannon spotted the real thing.

The dogs just stared in confusion.

Two hours after we started we shuffled, ok I shuffled my feet back to the car. I worked hard to keep up with her the whole time. Dam runners. Shannon being the loving woman that she is looked at me, analyzed my training for the day and said it wasn't enough. At this point I'd already handed her the keys to the car not thinking anything of it. As I closed the trunk I heard the engine start, the door close and a call. You need the extra hours, figure out how to get back to the house. Car doors locked and she drove away with me in a stunned phase. Luckily somebody just happen to leave a bike in the parking lot.

I started to long cold ride back to Shannon's place in north Innisfil. Of course the wind had to be coming from the north which slowed the pace down to that perfect ratio of a 29er single speed on the road. Seemed that the wind picked up on the downhills to slow me down then subside on the climbs. As I rolled towards the crest of the hill there would be a blast the could stop a freight train.

I never realized how hilly the area once, my only real time down that way happen to be in a car. As I turned towards the shores of Lake Simcoe the craving to ride the flats of the ice kicked in. This lasted about 500 feet before the soft snow on top of the ice shut down my enthusiasm. The ice was solid and safe but the amount of snow made it almost impossible to ride on and forced a few push-a-bike sections before returning to the road.

Just shy of 2 hours after Shannon drove away from me forcing survival instincts of a cyclist to kick in I pulled into her driveway. She of course was nice enough to have a food and a fire ready for me to help recovery. She still hinted that I needed those extra hours put in. She was right, it was nice getting outside for a long ride. Was much better than the previous day spent on the trainer.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Counting down till play time

It's the weekend and like usual the temperature has dropped over night. What to do what to do. Commitments have been made for the Joyride Friday night with the ladies. Shannon is looking forward to it and I've been trying to muster up a few buddies to ride around with while the swarm of ladies rip up the place. There was a little concern that the women could show a few of us up. I do have flashbacks to last year when the owners daughter decided to school a few of us on the intermediate jump line, thanks Rachel.

Another commitment has been made, I'm heading south to the Frostbike race. I'm getting excited about this. Seeing some friends, ride some bikes, ride someplace different. This has put a fire under my butt to get the Anthem done. It's not that I'll be riding it, more to start working on the hard tail which will be the bike of choice for the weekend. The time is counting down, It's already the end of January. Winter is getting closer to the end, race season is closing in quickly. Time flies.

Time to exhaust some dogs.

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 for 3

Bike, what's that??? It was yet another play day on the sliding sticks. To make up for the lack of climbing the day before I found myself in the hills of Copeland. A little bit of a controlled paced this time with each of the climbs. Seems that not to many were out playing on the North trails with very few tracks in the dusting of fresh snow. This also meant I had a chance.

Achy Breaky is a nemesis of many, it has just enough pitch, just enough turning and just enough of camber on the one turn to make it a very difficult decent. I'm at about about 10% successful at getting down clean. Usually my late afternoon skis has already made that section icy, with a pretty crap line through the corners. Well today could have been a day to increase my success rate. Into a controlled snowplow through the first couple turns, woo hoo. As the trail starts to straighten out I start to bring the skis back to their natural position allowing speed to increase. It appeared that most did the same around the same place. Well a few must have panicked and built up a couple snow bumps. Of course I didn't respond quick enough and found myself on my side sliding, kicking up snow. Nobody saw it, maybe it didn't happen. I changed my percentage.

The rest of the ski was pretty uneventful. 800 feet of climbing in an hour, tempo heart rate up the climbs. The last 3 days racked up somewhere around 70- 75 km of sliding. This of course has left me a little sore in different places. An epic stretching session helped as the weekend approaches. What will be done? What will I do? Who will I play with? Where will it be? I just know it will be fun.`

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tracking training

After my crap tracking ability from the previous day I figured it was time for a refresher course. Loaded up the classic skis and headed to a place where I should find an abundance of animal tracks, the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. It wasn't long into the ski when I started seeing my first tracks, lots of them actually.

First up, pretty obvious deer. There were lots of them, I didn't run across any face to face unfortunately.

Awww I paused for a few moments on this one. Cougar? Fox? Wolf?

Naw Molly back tracking. Dog.

This one took a few minutes to figure out, You may think snowshoes but I was trying to be a bit more specific. By the depth of the imprint, the direction it was heading etc I'm pretty certain I came across the tracks of the rare two legged cougar. It was a little out of it's element as there were no dance floors to be seen.

After my tracking training was done I was back to focusing on skiing. I have to admit that the Wye Marsh is a very beautiful place to ski.

There track set is by no means spectacular but it has improved from previous years and there were some new trails groomed. I highly recommend everyone gets out here for a couple hours. Not the most challenging trails in the line of climbing but for building base endurance miles it's pretty good. The scenery makes up for anything it could lack.

Just shy of 2.5 hours had me covering every trail with a couple overlaps of a few, the temptation to keep going was there until the stomach started to hint other plans. In a very vocal means my stomach started to scream "Feed Me!!!" Another 20km plus day, this time staying in my happy place with my body feeling pretty happy.

Changing up from the bike is helping both physically and mentally. That sense of movement is a great feeling. What will I do today? Will Molly be recovered for yet another adventure? Hoping so.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lost dog, found dog.

I love skate skiing, I'm not that great at it but it doesn't stop me from loving it. There are times though that I hate it and last night became one of those times. My plan to step away from the bike had me in the car with two pairs of skis, two dogs and about two hours of daylight to play with. The plan, roughly an hour of skate followed up with an hour of classic to make my body feel better from the hour of skating. The place of play would be Mountainview.

Headed out on the golf course trail feeling that I nailed the glide wax pretty good. Waxing can compensate for technique some times and with good glide meant the two dogs were in chase. The story begins with the two dogs, of course one being the Molly Monster, the fastest broken legged dog around and her partner in crime today would be Ash (Mom's dog). Ash loves the adventures to new trails and areas with me. So much that he sometimes thinks he knows where he is going before we actually get there. This is where the story starts.

Classic is a great pace for the dogs to chase, fast paced walk for them, skate on the other hand has them running. Molly decided to be smart and keep pace like she normally would, Ash on the other hand was to busy checking out all the good smells and would play catch up. This seemed ok at first a glance back every few minutes would see him catching up or in some cases ahead of us. He started to guess where we were going. All was well until I turned right. Yep those right turns are what seems to screw up Nascar drivers and it also messed up the dog. He was in chase up to the upper feild trails. Everything's good at this point. I'm still skiing with good technique even with the abusive climb up top.

For some reason Ash decided that he wanted to see what was in thebush, bolts ahead then turns into the trees. Not worried, he comes out and startes to follow again, look back again still there as I head into another trail. Look back again, nothing. I wasn't stressed at this point because it's just what he does. I was expecting him to show up a few minutes later either way ahead or running full speed to catch up. HMMMM nothing. As I make the loop back to where he lasted was, hmmmm still nothing. Looking around, a couple name calls, nothing. My animal tracking skills are limited butcould tell there were no extra tracks to be seen. No cougar or bear tracks, good thing. A few more calls and I was heading back in the direction I came.

Now Ash has a notorious history of thiskind of thing, he also has a homing device that sends him back to start. There has been more than one ocasion that I returned to the car and he's sitting there with his tail wagging. So I returned to the car, nothing. Instead of changing up skis like I planned I stuck to the idea that I can cover a lot more ground in less time on the skates, I found myself trying to track his foot prints, of course since Mountainview allows dogs on the trails during the week this made me not fully sure if i'm following the right ones. Passed the Chalet, nothing, heading up the back side of the resort, nothing, back to where I was earlier on the upper feild trails, nothing. Hmmm not feeling good about this, my body also started to not feel good as I pushed the pace higher than I should have been and of course I wasn't thinking about things like offset, one skate, two skate etc etc. I went into body crusie control with my focus on finding this dam dog in the 25 km of trails.

With daylight fading quickly I returned to the car yet again with the body feeling a little trashed, still no dog. I start wondering what I'm going to say to Mom. I had one last shot, I returned to the Chalet, the sound of my car must have tweaked the bastard because he came trotting out of the chalet, tail wagging, happy as a pig in shit. Me, mildly pissed off, body aching. My body was not impressed with me and my left side lower back was now tight from skiing the same way for 20 plus km at a pace beyond what it should be. I did end up with a great tempo work out. Ash has lost his play with Matt ticket for a little while. Back to the reason I love skate skiing and sometimes I hate it. If I do just the right amount of it, I love it. When I step over the limit it hurts and I hate it. I currently hate it and will be playing with the classics today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Spak calendar

The count down to the end of winter has begun, yes people it has begun. Not that I'm anxious yet, there is plenty of skiing to still do but the calendar is getting shorter. Now I will say that my winter calendar is probably different then yours. Mine will not be effected by a stupid little rodent looking for his shadow, it won't be influenced by an official number on the calendar stating the first day of spring. Nope, mine is based on the pile of wood in the basement. Last year I will say that my calendar was a little off, winter was over before the last piece of wood was burned. That's a good thing.

This year things are on track for warm weather early yet again. Yes I do have back up but I won't needed it. This had me down in the dungeon last night working away at bike number one. I can't get to bike number two or three or four until number one is finished. I opted out of a snowshoe to give the hip flexors a little break from the weekends indoor session. 6 hours indoors seems to play a little toll on the body. There are no stop signs, downhills, or turns indoors. No coasting, my strength. This is also the reason I'm attempting to avoid the bike until the weekend. The skis are waxed, the dog needs a run, winter is counting down. Lots of skiing to be done. Right now coffee to be drank and stretching to be done.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indoor boredom

Hours were put in, body was mad at me. As the first ramp up of hours happened the body reminds me that it was far from impressed. Besides that I got nothing. I need coffee, it's Monday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Needing out of the cage

Mother Nature is pushing the limits of this Mid Ontario born kid. I grew up in the cold, I like the cold, I play out in the cold, it's to dam cold for this guy. How cold is to cold, minus 25 in the sun is way to cold. This forces me indoors, willingly. Of course having a dog guard the door to keep me on the trainer helps.

I attempted to throw bottles at her but the Molly Monster is a tough cookie and wouldn't budge. 3 hours of a mix of Top Gear and a video of a previous 8 hour race had me thinking about warmer days. Days of clear roads and awesome single track. Days of riding and actually getting somewhere. Days where you catch a little air off a log. Days where you glide effortlessly along at 40 km/h, with a tail wind of course.

This got me thinking road trip, unfortunately time is limited so there will be no trip to the states for me but there is a great alternative. Yep it's Joyride time. They also happen to be having a great event coming up in the very near future.

Yes I know it's a women's weekend, She (Shanno) is going. I will be playing in other areas of the park. Ladies, here is a great way for you to learn to ride a little better, learning from other women. No pressure of the boyfriend/husband trying to show you things. Just women helping women. Of course I can put the guy thoughts in here also.For all the single guys around, there is 100 women registered where else might you find that many women on bikes at one time.

So the count down for some indoor rolling play time has begun. This will be good indoor time, not like what is about to happen. Round 2 of the padded room. Not fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To cold for, almost everything

I'm looking, I'm debating, I hiding back beside the fire right now. It's minus 25 here at 7am, after my thoughts involving the Frostbike race and a fairly long training ride needed for the day I'm wondering if I'm really tough enough to even consider riding outside today. What is going through my mind is the windchill factor. Minus 25 while doing 25 km/h not including any natural wind chill is -38 according to this great little calculator. That's cold. That's colder than what I think I can dress for and physically still be able to pedal. The man ride points are not worth it. Even with hot pockets I don't think I would be able to keep feeling in my feet for very long. So that kills the idea of riding HMMM well I could try something else.

Snowshoeing is out, that is on the to do list tomorrow with a few of the MNS crew and the dogs. So what about xc skiing. First up classic skiing. I looked at my grip wax collection which continues to get larger and larger. I'm looking at the temperatures of each and green is about the only thing looking as a potential. Potential is understating things. It might work it probably won't. First off my grip zone has to be perfect and in these conditions the last thing I want to do is attempt to adjust things on the trail. Way to cold to be doing stupid things like re-waxing out on the trail. So classic is not looking very promising. Then comes glide wax, like grip I have a huge collection for every condition and temperature, hmmm I might be able to make it work but it's still way colder than what most are designed to work well in. HMMM no glide mixed with questionable grip means shuffling my feet and not really moving very far, classic fail.

This leads into skate, if the glide is questionable on classic this almost kills it on skate, well at least for me. I can see uncontrollable heart rate as I fight for any type of forward movement. I won't even go any father than that. I hate saying it but staying indoors on a winter days looking like the only option. The vomit machine of death is looking like a comfy lazy boy chair right now and a few hours of Top Gear is in order to kill the boredom. I have a few more minutes to make my final decision on what I'll do but I doubt anything is going to change by 8 am. Oh wait maybe the wind will pick up and it will start snowing.

Think I better drink more coffee to get my head into it. Maybe I should stop and stay in a haze for the morning. HMMMM tough decision.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Starting early?

The first road trip of the year could be this,

Will be deciding in the next week or two, She and I could attempt to load up the car and head south to where the snow is. Something to play with, a weekend of play.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man down

Halted my plans last night to stare blankly and force some extra rest into the body. Feeling a bit off and with sore legs from the facial release the night before I found myself craving the bed. With lots of sick people around at this time of year and a few people that have colds I wasn't risking turning a little thing into something big. I'm not a pleasant person when I'm sick, there is much to do this week, Sick is not in the options.

Waking up back to normal and with my legs probably thanking me for not making them do anything more than carry body weight training will resume. This is probably a good thing because the infamous Molly Monster is needing a good run. The dog that the surgeon said will never walk normal again unless we do what she recommended. Hmmm interesting how Molly walks with next to no signs of any type of injury and is better shape now than last fall. Time to drink some coffee and do that work thing

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vomit blender???

What would happen? I really don't want to find out. I normally keep the padded room locked tight, keeping some locked in side and others locked out. Every once in a while the door doesn't fully close, sometimes while trapped in a room fully of craziness I get a visitor. The Molly Monster is very aware, she has been around the cycling world for a long time, she understands rules. Bob just doesn't even bother coming in, there is no food in there for him, pretty much kills any interest he might have had.

Then there is Doug, the inquisitive one. The one that has a water addiction, he's fallen in the bath tub more than once. He wants to be around people but has yet to learn consequences for all of his actions. The waxing the skis incident almost had him with a nice layer of glide wax on his paws. It is winter might not have been a bad thing, claws for grip. Well last night became one of those times that had me a little concerned. Stuck on that vomit machine for some miscellaneous leg turning stuff he managed to get into the room. His normal spot on top of the tv didn't seem to amuse him today as he wandered around the 12x12 room. My eyes following as he got closer and closer. Yep closer and closer to the bike I was on that happen to have the rear wheel spinning at a high rate of speed. I questioned how smart he might be at this point.

What would happen? What would be the results of someone sticking their nose or limb someplace it shouldn't be. I was not planning on finding out, first the hint from my voice. Didn't do much, the hypnotic ability of a bicycle wheel had his interest, I can't be critical of that nor can most of us. He came closer, I started to be ready, closer, SCREECCCH to a stop, scoop up the hairball, a gentle slide out the door, with wax would have been farther and pushed the door firmly closed. The vomit machine potentially had a new name. An old saying was almost modified. Curiosity did not kill the cat. Stupidity killed the cat, curiosity got blamed.

Body is coming around, not feeling very zombie like anymore after a couple good nights sleep. Some good hours are on the agenda this week, some indoors more hopefully outdoors.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Walking slowly

As simple as it sounds putting one foot in front of another can be more of a challenge than one may think. My legs and body were showing the results of the weekend activity and then with a shot of Dr. Bill treatment I was pretty much feeling like a zombie. Just a perfect way to feel before heading out for a snowshoe with the MNS crew. It seemed I wasn't the only one feeling a little weak but this didn't seem to slow the group down, not at first as we climbed the side of what felt like Mt. Everest. I will say that the first climb was worth it for a pretty cool decent that was almost shocking nobody died on. This lead to more random climbs that hurt when the question came out. "How long have we been out?"

What was good was that this didn't come from me. I did have the answer but I didn't want to share the truth. I could have lied, I should have lied or at least exaggerated the time a little but for some stupid reason I told the truth. Dammit. We kept pushing along but the pace did drop a little, not much though as we had fears of the cold. Not just a little cold but a lot of cold. It was the type of cold that gave you only two choices, work hard and stay warm or move slow and risk freezing to the side of a tree permanently. Even exhausted I knew my answer to that one. A few took this option to the extreme and started racing up the side of hills, my thought on this. I'm tired, I could chase but if I run out of energy out here which is a real possibility I will then move even slower which will mean I'll get cold which lead to me stopping then freezing to a tree where some random cougar or bear will eat me. Screw it, you don't have to be the fastest you just need to keep moving. Let the other's risk becoming food.

We all made it back, the last 10 minutes pretty much in silence. Strong chance that everyone started thinking the same way I was. Training has pretty much begun for most of us, it's showing it's results. A good night sleep will hopefully recharge the body.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Risking death to avoid the trainer

A busy weekend for sure, things started of in a very unusual way on what would be usual practice. With she off at work in the morning I was left with time and to do list for training. First up was to try and exhaust the dogs. The previous nights walk on Georgian Bay had given me great ideas, the bay was in fantastic shape and with the combination of snowmobile tracks and wind the few days earlier the plan on a long skate ski for Saturday morning was the first on the list. Things started off pretty good, not perfect like the night before. An inch of snow had come down the night before and the term flat light was in full effect.

Started out the main channel with the dogs running like lunatics, with the legs feeling great and the spirit high for this I shuffled along towards ice hut city. It had already started but I ignored it, I could see everything sorta. As we hit the redneck hangout I started looking around and weighing the where to go options, a quick talk with one of the guys there, I knew things were frozen over with no worries but the snow had started to come down now. I decided that I would stick around the channel. This is where things went weird. As I pushed along the snow increased. There was no wind but with the steady wall of white depth perception was pretty much gone. My sunglasses started to become useless, the transition lenses figured it was a bright sun day and were almost black.

So here I am squinting and skiing along for a solid 10 to 15 minutes. This is when my brain went into warp speed. I started to wonder where I was, in every direction it was just white. I skied a few more minutes and was beginning to feel a bit nervous, I know the bay well and that was why I couldn't figure out why I was seeing channel markers. I stopped, pulled out the head phones and started listening closely, I should be able to hear the 400, I should be heading towards that noise. It didn't make sense, it seemed to be coming from the wrong directions. I pulled out the modern technology and hit the gps button on my phone. It showed me someplace I thought was impossible. I skied a few more minutes and saw the row of cottages. Common sense kicked in, skied to them, walked up the road and shook my head in amazement. I was about 4 plus km in the wrong direction. The gps was right.

Now knowing where I was I took a deep breathe of relief and began my return to start by way of the shore line. The snow had been pretty steady now and made for some very tough skiing. Between that and the slight bit of panic i was far from skiing in my lower zones. It was one of those reminders on how people can get lost in their own back yards with the right snow conditions. An hour and a half after I started I was walking with the dogs back to the house. My initial plan for the long ski changed a little because of good old common sense and wanting safety. So I changed out some clothes and ski boots for cycling shoes and headed out on the single speed for the rest of my scheduled time.

I've always heard single speeders say they are always in the right gear, today it seemed to be that way. The 29er was the perfect bike for me to roll along the shoulder of the highway. After I'd scared myself on the skis I figured I'd not have nervous winter drivers try and pass me on a snow covered highway. Took the long way around to Vasey Line and like I said the bike was in the right gear, it was a gear I managed to muscle up the slippery snow covered climb that hurts while climbing on a warm dry day. Yep it hurts just as much on a cold snowy day. A right turn near the top had me on a road that would scare most cars with the snow cover, perfect for riding on.

Many many minutes later I was rolling back into the driveway, no scares on the bike, just over 3 hours of outdoor thrills including a bout of fear, this lead on to Sunday. It was partly time, it was partly temperature, it was a mix of everything, I found myself in a warm dry windless snowless padded room on the trainer late Sunday evening. There were many reasons for it, none that great but it needed to be done. Yet another week is starting, yet more to do this week in the world of training and play.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Frame off

Or technically speaking, everything off the frame. It's a project that needed to be started, it's a project that I know will take much longer than I think it will.

This is actually the first round of biking cleaning that needs to be done, I started at one end of the bike rack and for some reason that rack is longer than I remember it. I still get stunned at how dirt gets into places that it just physically shouldn't be able to and as much as I think I do a great job cleaning the bike all summer it still seemed incredibly dirty once I got it apart.

Since I've decided to stay on the Anthem's for another season, what can I say I love them way to much, they feel good!!!!! I figured they have done great things for me through the worst conditions that I owed it to them for some hard core TLC. First off will be the buffing and polishing the frame, Some of that brushed aluminum may be not looking as brushed when I'm done with it, a weeeee bit more gleam in the sun. Next up will be touching up the war wounds from the last two seasons. There are a few good nicks out of the paint and as much as each one has it's story the memories won't be left on the bike. Matching up that orange may be a little bit of a challenge but I'm pretty sure I've seen a remake of an old domestic muscle car sporting the same colour.

Then comes that rebuild part, drive train, cables, bar tap etc etc. She will be all shiny and blinged out and return to her place on the wall when the process will be started again on the next Anthem, I'm hoping the winter will be here long enough for me to make it to the hardtail. The list of to do before the season begins seems to be growing longer and longer. HMMMM maybe I should be pouring my coffee and heading down to the basement to get at it. UMMMM Naw think I'll go skiing with the dogs instead. The trails will be unrideable for a little longer.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Science Experiment

How long does it take water to freeze? More specific how long does it take a water bottle to freeze beyond use. Working on my man ride points last night had me roll out of the driveway under the cover of darkness. In the sun light minus 10 isn't all that bad for riding, unfortunatly the moon doesn't seem to be able to heat the body the same way. Because of that the clothing selection was a little more thought out. After the workout of getting dressed, putting on multiple layers seems to be a yoga work out itself, I took a big gulp from my bottle, little did I know that would be the last one for a while.

Headed north, because when it's cold you always head north right? Between the dense air and the planned active recovery ride the pace was, well, it was as slow as molasses. It took less than 10 minutes for my glasses to become useless, I don't believe Oakley planned the design to work with a balaclava. The steam from my breath being rerouted left this great haze in my vision so off they came, it took only a few minutes for my eyes to freeze open. I had yet to check the water bottle at this point. Rough guess, frozen.

The roads have been in great shape for riding this year. This is a bit of a bad thing. It's winter and there really hasn't been that much snow, especially in my area. There may be 6 inches of snow in my yard, not much for January, it should normally be a few feet. I'm not complaining but yet I am. I like winter. This has made those 700c touring tires be the wheel of choice right now.

As I made my way back from the far north side of Port Severn the winter chill started to set in. The layering had worked till this point but the toes started to lose the battle and the fingers were starting to follow. I was pushing the max limit of time that the clothing selection can handle, luckily I was on the return side of the ride. As I rolled back into the driveway 90 minutes after I left I glanced at the water. There was still movement inside. At first I wondered if the vibration had stopped it from becoming a solid. It was an illusion, it was brick solid except for a very narrow section in the center. Why did I even waste my time bringing a bottle with me. After the initial drink I didn't touch it again until I was home. It added weight that wasn't needed. Maybe it's a mental thing, knowing that there is something to drink if needed. Of course it would have been cruel punishment not being able to actually get fluids out of the bottle.

Yet another collection of miles added, what will the weekend bring?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


With there still being months of indoor riding left and an email received yesterday involving music to make trainer life a bit easier I started to think about the things I use to keep me on the bike in a small room. Awww the infamous padded room that houses some of the most painful tools available. Why would anyone want to go into a room that inflicts pain, there must be alternative stimulation and distractions. I've done the music thing while watching old road races like the Tour. I've done the spinerval type stuff that shows others suffering just as much, yet again cranking up my own music to muffle out the sounds of pain. Been there, down that, bored with it. I've moved on.

Currently I'm on the Top Gear addiction, cranked up load the sounds of cars I will never afford, doing things that I would loose my licence if I attempted, mixed in with British humour seems to be the best distraction while I spin away. Each show being an hour it makes the long rides seem shorter, if need be 3 shows in a row can be handled. The thought of spinning for 3 hours indoors still makes me cringe and I know that it's on the agenda in the very near future.

Training is coming along about as well as it should be at this point. The longer than planned off season and the results of a double day of downhill sliding has left me with a few body parts that are a little mad at me but are beginning to come back in check. I'm back below that winter weight maximum allowance, it's much more fun putting on the weight than trying to take it off. It's only January, but the way time flies the snow will be gone in no time, trails and roads will be clear and racing will resume like it never ended. HMMMM what will I do today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yet another option

Yet another scheduling dilemma has appeared for the 2011 season. After another one of those evenings of pedaling and not getting anywhere I spent a little time surfing around that inter web that seems to be poplar now. This is what I found. As I scanned the already listed events for this spring I came to the month of May, more so the long weekend. This puts me in a debate on what to do.

Substance Projects is putting on a 100 miler, I want to do a 100 miler, I was going to go to the states in the near future to do a 100 miler. There were multiple reasons for a race in the states but the temptation to race in the backyard is making life tough. The following weekend is the spring 8 hour. It's one or the other. My thoughts on the 8 hour series has not changed but this is like a chocolate covered carrot held on a short pole feet in front of me. MMMM chocolate, not sure about the carrot though.

At first I thought I had the answer for my debate when it appears that the spring 8 hour was held at Albion. A little more key punching and I found out that it's still at Mansfield. Why was the interest in Albion, some nostalgia. I did my first ever 8 hour solo there, the results were far from spectacular but everyone starts near the bottom. It was a learning curve for sure, riding a Rocky Mountain Hammer hard tail. I was sore for a long time after that race, cramped, bonked, etc. That was 8 years ago, I've come along way. As much as I race Albion often I would love to spin around there for an 8 hour again.

So this brings back the what to do question. It's not going to alter my training much, just what day i sleep in a little more. I won't be making any decision for a few months but it does have me getting that craving to ride my bike, even if it's on the vomit machine. It doesn't take much.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The return to MNS

It was the return to routine, Monday nights can be the busiest night of the week and usually one of the more entertaining ones. The normal visit to Dr. Bill for some fix-me-up stuff before heading into the dark. It was the first return to the Monday Night Something in a few weeks and it seemed that everyone was looking forward to the play time. Another random spot on the side of the road was picked with some random forest in the middle of nowhere that just happen to beside some outdoor activity place. We have been here before and it's always fun.

For some reason the rumors of what type of antics happen during these 1 hour tours of the woods may have been exaggerated, Scott showed up dressed for battle even wearing a helmet. I'm not sure what stories may have been told that for his own safety he felt this was necessary. I will admit that there have been times that a helmet may have been a good idea. After a few minutes of comments we were off and like usual we all fought to keep up with Deathmarch Liz who went off in her normal pace, this pace is fast. Shannon joined in the fun tonight and I was happy that she stayed near the back. I'm still very concerned that if her and Liz team up at the front of the pack that a few of the guys may get dropped (me included) and with talks of the new cougars that may be in the area this is a bit of a nerving thing for some frail cyclists.

Up and down and over the hills we go until we all came to an halting stop. A few seconds later the words came out but someone misunderstood what was said and nobody corrected the comment. Of course a dare was laid down but to who the dare was laid and to who actually attempted it lead to the reason Scott probably wore a helmet.

Yes that is someone climbing up a ladder with snowshoes, no that is not me who was dared to do it. Because it wasn't a double dog dare I wasn't interested even with money being laid down. Now Tristan on the other hand didn't even hesitate about the ladder, we all stepped back just in case. He is a big guy and would probably crush a few of us if he fell. 9-1- was dialed with itchy fingers ready to complete the phone call. For those that know Tristan know why we were prepared. Yet again he did his walk on water skills and climbed something that shouldn't be attempted with snowshoes on with no problems what so ever.

A few more lefts and rights had us return to the car's not as close as we should have been and there were attempts to stay just a little to the right of the road hoping that nobody was paying attention. DML was bang on with her first loop but the second attempt was out by about 100 feet. Time to change those gps batteries.

It was yet another great Monday evening, the dogs were run, stories were told, She had fun. Next Monday will be yet another fun night from the rumors that have been started. I'm binging a helmet and body armor.

Monday, January 10, 2011

All that winter goodness

A weekend of enjoying all that Ontario winter can offer. While some would be hiding indoors because of the well below freezing temperatures we headed out for yet another adventure in the big back yard. With a car full of dogs and a roof box filled with skis we headed north west of the house to Awenda Park for some good classic miles. There were some rules broken this day, apparently dogs are not supposed to be on the trails of Awenda. I' m sorry, I had a pass. Everyone that we saw on the trails loved the idea that we were doing. When I say everyone this means 3 people. It's not exactly a hot spot. It's the location that discourages many.

The trails were in pretty good shape, it's not groomed very often. What was surprising was that we were the first people in a few days to do the big loop. As I said not exactly a packed trail. The big loop even included the loop around the lake. We chilled for a few moments to enjoy the views.

The dogs still had lots of energy at this point, the previous day's ski and snowshoe didn't wear them out. Today sure as hell would. Some great base miles put in with roughly 22 km of sliding along. As the last few km came together the dog's intensity dropped dramatically. There was no energizer bunny left, She was feeling about the same. When the question came up about adding a few more km there was a look given and I knew the answer before I even finished asking the question.

Maybe it's because I see winter being shorter than it's used to be, maybe it's me wanting to do anything physical in the snow besides riding a bike, the change up is great. It won't be long till I'm full force again with two wheels under my body. For now I'm racking up the miles I can on that stuff some might not call white gold. For now I am

Sunday, January 9, 2011

multitasking of sports

The start of each seemed to lead to the next, my initial plan was interrupted with the influence of Mother Nature. The dogs and I headed out for the first skate ski on Georgian Bay. Some fresh snow lead to a very narrow path made by snowmobiles. This didn't really affect the dogs much as they barreled across the ice. For me with my high technical skating skills made for some extra work. As we made our way out to the ice hut village that grows at the edge of town the decision on how far to go was made. As much as I know the area and the ice I knew things weren't perfect. All the rain and crazy temperatures a couple weeks ago had screwed up the current and broke open the channel. No long ski out there for me. Turned back down the bay towards home.

Round two, found me on the single speed touring around town up and down every hill. Felt good riding, legs opened up and I was able to finish the time needed. This lead to the next adventure with She. There was an attempt to meet up with Mr Watson also early afternoon with snowshoes but some miss communication, running a few minutes behind and very slow text response by our amazing cell phone companies caused the failure. I think we would have had a better chance screaming Marco and waiting for the Polo response coming from the forest. I guess it's true that life does move a little slower in our area and this includes the cell network.

She and I hiked up and down the hills of Copeland chasing three dogs. To help Tristan keep up, Molly (mine), Rogue (Shannon's), Ash(Mom's) joined in for the day. We let the dogs make the decision on where we went. Of course I kept my bearings since every random animal track had us heading in no set direction for very long. I did try and hint the dogs up some of the steeper parts of the trail. The end goal was to tire them as much as we could. An hour and a half later we stepped out to the car.

For me this ended up with a good collection of hours of the return to being fit. Today is looking like a great day to play again. The sun is up, the coffee tastes great and the dogs are looking tired which means they need to be run until exhaustion. Yes I'm a cruel man and the dogs LOVE IT.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Looking out the window

Finally reconnected to the cyber world. Technology is great until it fails. Training has resumed to it's usual January pace and with the return of winter the thoughts of two wheels will be replaced with 2 planks of wood. This also brings upon the thought of how long winter is or in some cases how short it can feel. I know it's cold and I know there is the extra energy needed to deal with things like clearing the driveway but it's still such a short part of the year. It's already almost mid January and that means only a couple months left of true winter. If it's anything like last year by the beginning of March we were on clear roads.

Am I anxious to be out riding, of course, will I miss the snow when it's gone. Yes and no. It's been pretty easy so far this year, just enough snow to do all those fun wintery things, not enough that I want to use snowblowing as part of my training. Maybe that's the reason I'm loving the snow still.

It's Saturday,it's calm and quiet in the house, 2 dogs sleeping, 2 cats sleeping, time to wreck it. The first round of snow adventure must be done. My skate skis are calling my name and the dogs are looking like they need a reason to be sleeping on the couch.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Broken again

Yet again internet failure. Instead of attempting to some possible award winning writing I'm going to spend se productive time bending and stretching my body into positions that should normally not be attempted. Much easier to do that than write on the massive screen of my phone. I have no idea how the younger generation can look at such a small screen for hours on end. Hopefully more tomorrow. Waiting on THE MAN to fix my problem

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Safe on second.

As I become friends again with the hamster wheel I realized how much I prefer to be outside. Unfortunately there are certain things that are just a little bit safer to attempt in the safety of a padded room. I can just see the bad results of last nights speed work out had it been attempted on a snow covered roads. Spin-ups would become spin outs as even my weak legs still have enough strength to over power the traction of some touring tires. Drifting may be fun in a car but on a bike around cars is just a little beyond my nerve.

Spinups are one thing, all body extension are attached to the bike. Step it up a level with some one legged stuff and you just know this would go horribly wrong. I can see the wheels coming out from underneath me and of course I would slide out in the direction of the still clipped in leg. Crashing at speed onto a non giving surface. I get road rash and bruises just thinking about it. Instead of severely abusing my body for the thrill of outdoor movement I opted for the safe side of things and spun on the rollers while watching Top Gear where they slid cars around that I will only continue to dream about.

After some manipulation from a secondary source the legs are starting to feel really good. A few quirks were found that was caused by the double day of downhill excitement caused. I'm screwed now because my love of coasting is starting to prove to be bad for me. First the skis, could it be bikes next, I really don't want to become a climber, I like decending.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A lesson in aerodynamics

The wind in the hair (under a toque), the feeling of forward movement (as the skin freezes), the beautiful scenery (it was dark) yep it was the first winter night ride and even with the clicks in the against box it was better than being inside. It only took one ride for me to get fired up for the outdoor ride into the abyss. That's how it feels in the dark, unlike night riding during a 24 hour race, snow and ice covered roads don't show the same definition as summer time rides. It's just polished white.

This was yet another test of the OWR, and yet again it performed perfect. So perfect that it started to transform its self. Winter riding is anything but fast, cold dense air, strong winds, slow roads, heavy rider etc that average speeds are down right embarrassing if they were a summer time trial result. Well the OWR felt that there may be a better way to battle the dense air. Aerodynamics

First up came the front skirt that covered and integrated that brake and head tube. Yes the brakes still worked.

Just this alone shaved .000001 off the drag coefficient. I've seen the newest TT bikes and I'm not sure if they can adapt to the conditions as well as my 9 year old Giant.

Onto the next adaptation, in the rear the seat tube felt that by blending together with the seat stays air would come around the bike quicker. Yet again another .000001 drop.

I understand that Cervelo has spent a million trying to come up with this design, hmm yet again a 9 year old well used and abused Giant shows them up. Of course this could with the right rider become the fastest winter bike on the face of the planet, unfortunately that rider is not me. Just a 90 minute relatively flat ride around farmland. Some good base miles put in, while some say they are building the match book to put those matches in, I'm working on the matchbox. By the first 8 hour it will either be filled with matches or it will work well as a coffin. Hoping for option A.

I've yet to do the addition of man ride points to compete with the boys, so far I'm feeling it's not worth the effort. But when I do!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

kick start or kick in the ass?

It was test day, I hate test day. I won't share the results but I will share the feeling. I was a little disappointed but in a way I was expecting what I saw. After the sprained ankle followed by the cold followed by Christmas my top end was pretty much non existent and my legs were aching a bit from all the gravity fun the previous few days. What it did do was give me so base numbers to work with for the month's ahead.

After an hourish of hell a short rest was had before heading out for the first wintery ride. The temperature had dropped below the freezing mark, some fresh snow had come down and the wind had picked up, perfect. After the ordeal of getting dressed, still need to remember the perfecting layering combo's of last season, I was just a little chilly in the core near the end. It was also the first real ride/test of the Giant OCR conversion, Now converted to the OWR meaning Ontario Winter Roads. The friction shift works perfect and after a little fitting adjustment it's like riding that comfy slipper.

The ride was filled with a little this and a little that, A little road which was still pretty much perfect from the previous days monsoon. As I headed through Port Severn there were concerns on the bridge that has been in the open position all summer, it's back in the functional state for cyclists and snowmobiles, winter runs of the Big Chute and Honey Harbour area will be done. Once on the other side my adventurer side kicked in. Actually I got sick of riding into the headwind so like usual I turned left on a random road. This random road would lead to me doing something I've been wanting to do for a very long time.

There were no carts, no flags no people. The situation couldn't have been better, I had to as I turned right onto this narrow paved section. It rolled over hills and turned along the edge of the open fields. It was potential a roller coaster for bikes. Except for the random chunks of ice which kept my speed way down it was a paved trail that could cause the giggles. It's unfortunate that they happen to put it along the side of a golf course. I pretty much road the back nine and didn't have any problems playing through. I didn't have to duck with the scream of 4 and the only traps were the odd snow drifts on the trail. There is no way of knowing how far I road as everything was in yards.

I returned to the big wide roads which were a little less curvy and slowly made my way back towards the house. The ride seemed to be what I needed both mentally and physically. The test may have been the little spark I needed to get the body back in training mode. The outdoor ride brought back the thrills of coasting. I may or may not do another power test in a month, I know I'll be going up regardless and the HR number were figured out, maybe, maybe not.

It's back to work day, it's going to be a coffee fueled morning and possibly afternoon. 6:15 am is a kick in the ass that a power test can't help with.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Countdown to the pain

I could have and I should have but I didn't. The option was there but I took option B instead of A. Why did I skip the better option than the one I took? Because I would have dogged it had I taken option A. So what was option B that I so willingly jumped on board with? It has a funny name, I normally hate it, actually I still do. I jumped on the vomit machine. With perfect outdoor weather to ride despite the blasts of rain I chose to pedal to no where with a little structure.

I know what you're thinking, a thaw in January with clear roads and you decided to stay inside but it was the best option. A controlled ride at some set wattage points to try and make the legs feel half decent. Had I been outside I would have toured, I know it. I would have been more interested at looking around than even trying to stay in a zone. So with the distraction of some Top Gear I turned my legs. What is the reasoning to all this, well it's that stupid test that must be done. IT's happening today, ARRGGGGG.

I know that it's going to hurt, I know I'll suffer in the last few minutes, Shannon has been warned that it's usually not a pretty site near the end, I'm still going to do it. I'm staying indoors away from everything that could potentially scrub the attempt. My strained ankle got me out of it last month, Christmas took up the middle time line, I know I can't run from it. I can't run if I cut off my leg right?? Do I have an idea of what to expect? Wattage wise yes, Heartrate is the one I'm pretty sure will be changing a little.

The countdown has begun, it's down to hours now. This pain will probably be easier than the pain of returning to work tomorrow. Back to full routine tomorrow including early morning posts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Stick a fork in it!!!!

That's all she wrote. The 2010 season is dead and buried and the outlook to 2011 has started. The detox has begun, the watch the food intake starts and time on the evil vomit machine will be beginning shortly. What will this year bring in the lines of racing? 2010 was a pretty successful season and topped 2009. Will the trend continue? I'm hoping so.

We brought the year in with a bang, slipping and sliding on sticks for the 2nd day in a row. No this is not going to be a trend because I'm currently watching the snow melt faster than it appeared a month ago. I'm concerned that there may not be much in the lines of any type of skiing in the next couple weeks. For some reason this season the ski resort area of my big back yard has less snow than everywhere else. Not good. The winter bike is ready to roll, lights are going to be charged and ready to roll. I'm hoping to do anything outside to avoid that mean machine in the padded room.

A few highlights for the 2010 season in general terms. Saw the podium in 3 out of the four 8 hour races, received my first ever piercing at the other one. Rode with the man that can't turn to the top spot at Solstice even with his evil stares of death. Found out that kittens die when you do something evil. Actually I didn't first hand witness but I assume that it would happen because I failed badly at the August 24 hour race and my dog got hit by a car because of it. HMMM That's just not right but life rolls on, the Molly Monster is firing on almost all cylinders again. As for the blog, numbers are up again. For some reason people keep coming back to hear about the crap I continue to put myself through. Thank you to all and I'll try and destroy myself more in 2011 for your amusement. Again thank you to all those that took care of me, sponsors, family, friends, etc. You know who you are and what you did, thank you.

Time for more coffee, the hamster wheel of boredom is calling. Rule number 7: Limber up. Tomorrow is going to hurt.