Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's about dam time

It's early morning, it's already perfect outside, it's going to get hot. How hot? By this years weather standards it's going to be like sitting on the sun. A good week to return to training. Last night was also a reminder on why I love this time of year. It was a Monday Night Something celebration of sorts. We rode, it was warm, it was evening and no lights were needed. IT was almost strange not packing extra clothes, just in case. The apres drive home was enjoyable also, 20 degrees late in the evening. No complaints here.

I'm in debate about the Canada Cup still, I could put in a some solid training, which is becoming tempting. Maybe it's knowing that racing single speed is going to hurt and that Hardwood Hills is not my favorite place for a hard tail. Once I ride the course I'll make a decision, in the end there is still bigger fish to fry. Count down to the 24 hour, in some cases this has become the most important race of the season. T and I are aiming for a repeat win. I'm hoping.

The countdown has also begun on moving day, The months has now turned to weeks. Shannon's place will no longer be her place in just over 4 weeks. Seems like a long time but it's not in the world of our busy lives. If anyone is around next weekend and NOT racing the Albion O-Cup, want to help move some stuff??? We will offer cookies and beer. Help??? Please?????

Time to do that normal coffee induced thing, off to work.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Larger than life, I hope.

A great trip to the east this past weekend. That evil Mother Nature seemed to be not so evil but managed to keep many travelers at home leaving open road for us on both days. Of course this meant trying to stay in a mature state with the SE-R on some amazing roads. Great visit with family and friends, this included the newest member of the family. Yes, the baby is cute. She does make a lot of noise and never stops moving though.

A break in the weather on Saturday gave me an opportunity for a few hours on the road. It's been a good solid break from training and the body was beginning to feel good but until you start to turn the pedals you just don't know where things are at. It actually felt a little uncomfortable the first couple km. The body felt stagnant. Uncooperative to do what it's so used to doing. Although I had the option of playing in Gatineau park, or one of the other many great trails in the area I opted to leave all forms of off road bikes at home. This ride was to be all about control, it's also been awhile since the Chuck Norris bike and I have spent some quality time together.

Rolled to the end of the driveway, pressed the button on the little yellow box on the bars and set a max number that I wanted to see during this adventure. There is to be no spikes, on sprints, no attacks, just endurance. No really idea where I was going, just random turns with the help of the phone's gps I found myself out on what ended up being almost a perfectly flat 60 km loop. It was almost strange only riding for 2 hours but this was a good return to training. The body felt good, wattage stayed steady the whole ride just shy of 200 watts. It was great to get the wind in the hair again. Of course things weren't perfect.

Seems that no matter where you go there is always a cock on the road. You can't avoid them, they usually do something that can cause you to bobble just a little on the bike. I'll admit that in the big back yard it's great because there is usually no traffic at all, I wasn't there though. I was out in Ottawa farm land and guess what, there were cocks on the road, huge ones. What shocked me though was these ones weren't driving a huge ass SUV. They were about the same size though, some where about 5 foot 2 and with a big man attitude.

Yep, I bobbled when I saw this. I wonder if this is a life sized statue of what this farm is selling? Is that a free run chicken? All organic? A great ride on new roads. Happy to be back on the bike. The countdown till the next vomit fest has started.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Driving around the driving rain.

Yet again an evening of rained out recovery, downpours have helped kill the craving to ride. I want to but I just can't seem to bring myself to putting on ten layers of clothing, step out side, be soaked in 15 seconds, get on bike and be miserable. The trails are absolutely soaked, there is no hiding in the trees, the roads left little to be desired and that final option is just one that I don't want to even fathom at this point. It's summer, sort of, and use of the trainer or rollers in non snow covered months is questionably against the law. So the end result, more quality time in the padded room stretching my body back to some normal state. I don't suspect many others are doing much more than that either.

The recycled hardtail is pretty much ready to go, one component missing, to be picked up today. Will get out and ride the Canada Cup course next week once I'm back. Yes, road trip yet again. This time to the east, it may or may include a bike. It will include bike sized wheels. A trip to the Ottawa area to visit my now 2 month old niece and to drop off the first of many cool presents. I'm being nice and not bringing something that makes tons of noise, needs batteries, stains walls or just generally wreaks havoc in the house.. Not this time at least. Shannon has warned me that her and my sister have made some sort of arrangement about this type of thing. The little rug rat is getting spoiled, of course and will be rolling in style.

She'll be cruising in a Croozer. Thanks to the guys at the Bike Stop.

This thing is pretty cool, I'm pretty sure the Molly Monster was looking at it hoping I'd take her for a test ride. Hill repeats would be brought to a whole new level. Those will be resuming next week. The body is starting to come back around, I do believe that this is the longest I've been off the bike since last fall. It's much needed with a long season still ahead. What's good about it though, all that spare time has let me figure out all the reasons why the body went crazy on me last weekend. Now to be aware and not let it happen again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting schooled by the dog

As life starts back to normal in my not so normal world I've found myself with way to much time on my hands. Training has not yet resumed, to say that I'm not all that upset that the weather is absolutely crappy isn't all that far off the mark. Now if I was out riding for anything more substantial than enough to soft the legs up to stretch I can guarantee that I would be pissed. It's actually working out well, my easy spin showed that the legs are still pretty cooked. I opted to not look at my power tap because it would probably give me another trip to the hospital, instead I just turned the legs and then returned to the padded room where Yoga instructor Molly showed her skills.

Ya that's exactly the reaction I had when I saw this too. I have a lot of work to get as much flexibility as that.

Back on the bike side of life, I've decided to retire the hard tail, not fully retired but just enough to change it's use. I'll admit that I love racing on dualies, 95 percent of the racing I do it's the bike of choice. I'd debated many times on selling the 4 year old cabin hard tail but for some reason they just are not in demand. For some reason people don't like buying a used carbon bike from a small manufacturer, so it's beginning to start it's new permanent life.

The stripping has begun, the rebirth of it's former self. Yep, it's going back to being a single speed. It's been one in the past for a short time, not really thought about just hacked together, this time I'm keeping it built up with some pretty bling gear. Still will be sporting an excessive amount of carbon for something that will be just for play. Now when I mean play, this means playing with others. I'm tentatively planning on racing the 2nd Canada Cup in the singlespeed division. This could lead to the odd Ontario cup races also. Since I opted out of committing to any of these back a couple months ago I turned down the thought of a UCI licence this year, to this point. So with just a generic licence all I can do is sport, which they would never let me into, let alone the ridicule I would receive from the crowds, or race singlespeed which is just this crazy mad mix of riders. This almost becomes open pro minus gears, you never know who is going to show up, there is no upgrade points needed, just put you cash on the table and go. . Good times to be had.

Quick rundown of the build up, or in this case build down, Blue xc carbon, Manitou carbon fork, RaceFace crank, carbon post, stem etc. Avid Elixer R brakes, WTB wheels. Tires to this point are still undecided. The original bike with XTR was 22 pounds, this should be just shy of 20 once done. Not the lightest bike out there but not that bad when I'm pushing it up a hill.

Back to the day to day, more coffee is needed, more bendy stretchy stuff to be done, more excitement tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asking myself way to many questions

The last couple days have been interesting, I've been enjoying lots of food and fluids, resting plenty and above all analyzing what when wrong and how did I get to the point I did. I've had lots of input from others, some helpful, some not and the answers are still not fully clear. This isn't like it's my first ever race, it's not like I've ever felt like crap or knew something was off and pulled the plug. I've been doing this type of racing for a long time now, according to my results I'd say I'm pretty good at them and I know my body very very well. So what went wrong, what changed?

I'm pretty anal about keeping track of my training, race schedule, food intake, body weight etc. All of it was pretty much normal. Staring back a couple weeks though I'm wondering if this was something that started before the race, earlier in the week during my holidays. There were a few things done that probably not have been done, this is a normal thing for someone who is always trying to stay busy. I'll still be debating the different things for a while. During the race was also a little strange, all the normal symptoms to my future visit to the hospital weren't there. I've been beaten up by the heat more than once and I've pulled out of a race on more than one occasion for problems, I knew when things were not good and stopped. This was something strange, it snuck up on me showed it's face then went away again and repeated this over and over again. I won't get into the details, obviously I'm looking at whether my body changed with another year of age, I'll be watching things carefully.

Why do I consider this, my stomach is pretty special, it took away my love of cheese and ice cream just because it felt I shouldn't have it anymore without bad results. Could there be something else in my diet that I might need to alter or increase etc etc. It's still early in the year, lots of time to sort out the problems. I've also noticed that I'm no longer able to ride with gloves for prolonged times. It appears that my hands have grown beyond xl sized gloves. The perks of working in the trades, you grow hands that are large enough and powerful enough to crush an annoying persons head with little effort. Of course gripping onto a small handlebar grip is still uncomfortable so i still continue to have those slightly larger than average bar tape wrapped grips that everyone comments on. They work fantastic, even with out gloves.

I have been given a list of todo's from my physio, a fantastic visit last night ripping the legs apart. With recovery on my agenda for the next week or so some serious time spent ripping apart fascia tissue will be needed. Yet another answer in the many questions on why or what was the cause of my slightly disappointing results. A return to the bike tonight, some nice easy spinning to be done. More thrills and ramblings tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Victoria continued

After a solid day of sleeping and eating I'm feeling closer to myself. I'll still be having a few more chill days, Mother Nature may help with that by sending some crap weather our way. So why did I not pull the plug early during this race? Why did it happen in the first place? That is the bigger question, why did my body get horribly mad at me? I'll be running through my nutrition again but it should have been fine. It's pretty much what I've done for the last couple years and have had phenomenal results. There could be a superstitious reason I blew up.

So I have always finished second and had horrible stomach problems every time I've been handed the infamous number one plate. It's a nice honor but I think for me it's bad luck. Flashback 3ish years ago to the Mountainview 9 hour, my stomach did the wildest things that I battled to hold on to 2nd place after leading for the first half the race. The following year I was handed plate number 7 and won by 3 laps. Here again plate number 1, stomach went crazy, body went mad, I fought and pushed to hold onto 2nd place in the division. Yes, I'm just a little superstitious when it comes to a bike race. Please all race organizer unless you want to see me catastrophically explode give me any other plate but number 1. Thank you in advance.

The course, again I must say was awesome, it was hard and challenging but a nice change from the normal endurance lap type races. The trail marking was fantastic, I did get off trail once and I'll blame that on Dan himself. As I came down a section I saw him go by on the motorcycles and started to follow him, of course this meant I went past the signs to turn . What the eyes see and the mind absorbs sometimes. I only lost about 15 seconds before realizing the mistake. Besides that, there were never any doubts of which way to go. Somehow though many people got off course. Racers??? If it's not fully taped they get lost. I'm interested in seeing the full results, to see who did what etc etc.

Check out the AWI Racing site, for more updates from the team. I'm currently enjoying coffee, it's needed as I return to work this morning.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Victoria's 100

It was a long day would be an understatement, it was epic, it was tough, it was extremely destructive to the body. I'll get to the last comment shortly. So did the normal things going into the race, did the normal things the morning of, I will say that I'm not impressed at waking up that early in the morning though. Got to Mansfield with plenty of time for any last minute prep. Lot's of hey how you doings and how was your winter etc etc. Lined up and we were off. It took barely the length of the start loop and there was already a gap. The funny thing is that most of the riders in the lead pack were the 100 mile racers, there were two lengths of races happening at the same time and it seemed that the shorter course players were taking it easy. Did they know something that we didn't'????

The gap opened up quickly, the funny thing was the pace wasn't all that killer with a couple of us swapping the lead. I should have figured out it was going to be one of those days when in the first 5 km we were off our bikes at least 3 times for hike a bikes. I don't think you could actually ride down these hills and we had to get up them. I'll be honest, I don't like walking, I don't like getting off my bike, it's stupid. Subtle answer??? Things felt great and there were a few random attacks, I played calm and just let them battle out a bit, turns out there was a 50 miler in the mix and was trying to ag us on. I just settled in to my pace. It's a long race, not going to win it before the first check point. This first feed zone did seem to take for ever to get to. The body felt ok from this point, currently in 3rd overall.

Had a little rear suspension problem during this next stage but managed to solve it with the help of a co2 pump, don't ask, I know it was probable y not a recommendation of the manufacture but it worked. The rest of the first half of the race was pretty uneventful, some great single track, still a few hike a bike sections, things were good. They had called for rain, it lasted about 30 minutes, then the sun broke and the temperature rose. This is when things started to go a little weird. I started to wonder why my legs were not liking the hills, more than normal. Some of that inner dialogue started to come on. Of course I kept shutting it off. I'd hit some single track and just tell myself things are fine. Crossed the line for the first lap and that was the last of the good times. I should have been smart and pulled the plug, I didn't.

Heading out for the next 50 it took very little for me to start feeling body issues. Some light cramping but nothing that didn't seem to go away, started to feel the horsepower disappear, of course then again I'd hit some trail that I could just power along, I'd shut my mind off from what I was thinking. This is the problem with endurance racing, you get used to suffering, you develop a stupidly high threshold of pain and you just keep pushing though. As I rolled into feed zone 5 Shannon was there again to top up my bottles and give me an update. At this point I'd slipped back a spot in the overall but not by that much. As I headed off this was the end of anything feeling good. It only took a few minutes into this stage before my body began to get mad at me at a level that I couldn't shut off. The sun intensified, the heat went through the roof and I started to get very very slow. So slow that I actually had to get off the bike and push up a few hills that were easily ride able. That didn't stress me out, it was the fact that I started to scare myself on the descents. Not trying to sound cocky but I can descend with the fastest with no problems, I was finding every bad line it seems. When I finally road into Feed 6 I got off the bike and laid down. Again Shannon was there taking care of me.

Completely soaked my body the core started to drop, was feeling better, still should of be smart and called it, it crossed my mind. Of course my stubborn mentality said get back on the bike. Unfortunately the later one. I left with a bottle of water to spray myself with along with my normal goodies. I started to feel better again and made the last feed in not bad shape. Of course at this point my perspective of good and bad were so screwed up. I'd actually made myself a deal, if someone in the same division caught me I'd pull the plug. Unfortunately that didn't' happen, as I chilled at the feed Daneille Musto, came by. That's right I got passed by a girl, I didn't care, she was in a different division and that didn't match the deal I made. Shit, keep motoring on, 20 km to go. I knew that this was a great fun section and that was also part of the reason I motored on. There was good single track, my head was back in check for descending, I just had very little power.

I walked hills with no shame in doing it, I stopped a few times and soaked my head, the km disappeared. Every once in a while I saw an optional bail out sign, I was so close, so close to bailing, so close to finishing. Again the stubborn side kicked in, I knew the hills were almost done, I can finish this. A short time later I crossed the line, done, finally. I'd slowed dramatically from the first lap, over an hour slower on the second lap. I didn't care. I was done.

It was over 30 minutes before the next rider came in. There were still lots out on the course. It was now a waiting game for awards. This is when things went bad. I felt ok for a bit, then my body started to get very very made at me. Started to throw up, started to get the shivers etc. I knew it was heat stroke, It was a short time later that the decision was made to go to the hospital, it was only a few minutes after that that an ambulance was called. An hour later I was plugged into IV and getting blood work done. All the time Shannon was there being the most amazing support anyone could ask for. In between my naps at the hospital a promise was made to her that I won't let myself put my body in this state ever again. I was extremely dehydrated, my numbers were way out of whack and my heart rate was just a little irratic. A few hours later things returned to normal and we were home bound.

So the results of the day, body, screwed. top 5 overall and either 1st or 2nd in the under 40 division. IT was a long hard day, it was fun in some cases, not in others. I'm glad Shannon was there to help me get through this. Let's just say the 24 hour tag will be a cake walk compared to this. Would I do a 100 miler again, of course I will, it's what I do. I'm pretty trashed still this morning so I'll leave the comical side of the race for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quick update

I'm sorry that I haven't updated much in the last couple days. Vacation is coming to an end, race season begins. I
'm up way to early, it's still dark. It's race day, I'm not sure if I like the fact that I'm starting this early. It is what it is. Body feels ok, bike is now feeling ok, coffee like usual is tasting great. Had my normal night before pre race meal after spending an hour helping Shannon pulled quills out of Rogues face. Have yet to see a Cougar in Copeland Forest but the dog found a Porcupine with no problems. The excitement never stops around here. Will have a full update tomorrow. Also check in the AWI Racing site tomorrow, busy weekend for the team as we take on the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Shoulda checked my bik, Woulda not have had the stem come loose, Coulda been a contender. That was the scene last night as 3 AWI racing kits flashed the line at the weekly world cup. Had a great warm up, legs felt great, was riding relatively smooth, felt strange being back on the Anthem. To clarify, I have two and one of them has been hanging on the wall since the end of last season scrubbed and spotless. Of course this meant I assumed that everything on it was perfect and ready to rock. Little did I know.

After 30ish minutes of riding nothing flagged me that there was a problem. Minus the slight shifting quirks which got worked out slowly through the evening. Hit the start line, GO!!! Jacob, Tristan then myself blasted off the line with one other in the mix. 30 seconds in to the race we already had a big gap, 30 seconds into the race with some hard torquing on the bars things went astray for me. The bars were heading one way, the tire the other. Pulled off and let the pack go.

Now I can be a bit of a cheapskate sometimes, I wasn't going to waste $14 on 30 seconds of racing. Headed back to the Chalet, into the shop, quick adjustment and I was heading back to the start line for attempt number two. Got a little bit of a look for the race director as I snuck through the pack for the next course wave and began start number. I figure I was a solid 5 minutes behind at this point, first or last right. Pinned it as hard as I could. New game plan, see how many I can catch. Didn't take long before the first carrot showed up. Of course these races are all for fun so there was no aggressive passing to be done. Just chilled in the single track until there was a safe spot. This was good for me, this forced me to hammer in areas that I'm not normally. You guessed it, hills and double track. It wasn't fun but yet it was.

Another after another spot, feeling good, there was no craving to drop my lunch this time. As the race came closer to an end I was behind a rider from a shop I won't say. To say this guy should be talked to by someone is an understatement. I watched him scream at little kids to get out of the way. Not impressed, of course I opened my big mouth and yelled at him to chill and not run the kids down. Got back on his wheel in the single track, wasn't hard, and figured I'd have some fun with this idiot. Hit the final double track, came around him, looked at him, shook my head and pulled away. Maybe had he pushed a kid over he would have beat me. Maybe he'll try next time, maybe that kids huge father will see this and turn the kid into a pretzel.

Regardless of the scene, was pretty happy with my riding, hoping that it all comes together on Sunday. I've been given orders from AWI Racing race director. Sir Watson has spoken and of course if he says do it, well you just gotta do it. A few easy rides in the mix, some last minute tuning to be done on the bike, it won't do this to me again. Good luck to all my friends and team mates at Tremblant this weekend. Oh and SIr Watson will be on Freecaster.com again this weekend at some thing called a World Cup with a big W and big C unlike our weekly world cup races.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Starting to prep

Holidays are flying by. Some easy riding, final prep on the Anthem has been done. Tonight brings a debut of a flashy team kit that has yet to be worn and the first ride of the bike with flames. Hopefully the combination of both will make me faster than I actually am. It's yet another world cup weekly race tonight. Should be good.

The countdown till Sunday draws closer. The 100 miler is closing in. It's interesting, I've lost count of how many 8 and 9 hour races I've done, I'm actually a little bit nervous about this one. It's the same but different. I usually ride that distance in an 8 hour with no problem, usually with more climbing that what is predicted for this one. Still it's different. There will be no lapped traffic, I'm actually excepting to ride alone for pretty much most of the race. This is the part that will be a strange challenge on the mental side of it. It will be a nice change not worrying about passing vast amounts of riders over the length of the race but on the other side of it, those riders in the distance are always great markers to chase down keeping the pace high. I've got my game plan, it's not much different than a normal 8 hour strategy. Some will chase, some won't. Will it work? Who knows.

Time for yet another bending stretching round.

Monday, May 16, 2011

After waking up early on Saturday morning and putting quality time in on the road bike in what seemed to be 100 degrees out, you have to love humidity sometimes, it was off for another road trip. The month of May always seems to be jammed packed and this weekend was no different. On the top of the old man ride sat a canoe and 2 bikes. The inside was packed with more gear thrills and topped off with 2 wild dogs. Pointed the car south and Shannon and I were off to the land of the Kawartha's. I'm officially on holidays for the week so my pace on getting to any destination is a little more flexible. After seeing a 4 foot Buddha on the side of the road we were slowed up just a little. With the wonderful rain coming in there seemed to be no real rush getting anywhere. A few hours later we were at Shannon's parents avoiding looking out the window to see what was coming for Sunday.

We got what we expected, a short drive and we pulled into a small beach resort on Rice Lake. Lot's of eager racers ready to play at this year's Storm The Trent, Shannon being one of them. A little bit of this and that, some pre race meeting where they announced that the paddle portion of the race was going to be cancelled. There was a huge sigh of relief and cheers from the crowd. I guess the 8 degrees temperature and 3 foot waves didn't look very inviting. Shannon was dressed and pumped, representing AWI Racing flashing the team colours. There should be a race report up on the team site soon about her thrills during the day. For me, I figured I would spectate from random spots on the trails, didn't take long for me to volunteer as the course sweeper.

In not so perfect weather conditions, Shannon and her teammate Mandy killed it, Shannon rocked the single track parts of the course, had fun on the trail run and finished in just over 3 hours. You'll have to read her report for the full details. As for me, well after the last couple teams finished up the first run leg and were out on the bike my day began in chase. It's been a long time since I've been around the adventure race scene, it was pretty cool. After CP2 the fun began as there was some fast flowing single track with 5 unmanned check points in the forest. We slowly watched the last teams come out of the woods.

Had a great reminder on how great it is to see bring themselves to new challenges. Helping the last team come in, a team that some might have said shouldn't have been out there, but they were. And they didn't give up, instead of sitting on their couch being lazy like other's they were out pushing themselves beyond what they normally would. They were given an option on a truck ride back but they refused. They were not riding carbon fiber dualies, not in compression tights, not nailing their nutrition right. They were just two regular people, two sisters. Even exhausted the one was already making plans for next years race. It was inspiring. They crossed the line with huge cheers, it was awesome when one of them said "we actually aren't last, there were teams that quit. They're last" They spent a hard 5 hours out on the bike. That's one hell of a long day. I'll have to remind myself about them next weekend during the 100 miler, if I hit a bad spot during the race, just think about what they went through. It's all in perspective of ability.

After a great post ride meal with the event crew, lots of stories told. It's amazing how small a world it really is, many shared acquaintances. Tired and dirty we started the long drive home. It was, well, long. Plans were also made for next year. If you're looking for a fun day or a start into adventure racing you need to check out Storm the Trent. Great organization, fun courses, a whole new challenge.

Time for some more coffee, what to do what to do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home for a rest

It's that time of the year again that I love, holidays. They are needed, they are deserved, they couldn't have come at a better time. The list of to-do's are long but yet not that long. A chill weekend away watching Shannon play in the rain kicks off the vacation. AWI Racing will be busy this weekend with many playing at O-Cup number 2 and Shannon at an adventure race. As for me, well holiday's will be topped with the 100 miler next weekend. I'm as ready as I will be, some mixed blasts of fast stuff will be thrown in to down time. If I'm not ready now, I'm pretty much not going to change it in a week. Feeling a little more confident in the body after the previous weekly world cup.

It's early, it's stopped raining, time to sneak a ride in before Mother Nature notices.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I see pink

Or is that red? Wait is that blood? That's what I expected to spit up after my first venture down to Hardwood for the weekly world cup race. It was time to add a little top end work to that diesel engine. I'm attempting to slap a turbo to it, right now it's very very small. Like usual the start became an uphill grind full of smack talk with team race director standing on the sidelines armed with a camera. I'm assuming he wanted photographic evidence if we were pushing hard enough. I went out fairly hard but at a pace I could sustain. Lead half way up the long start climb when this blur went ripping past me and the trailing group like we were standing still. Not sure what was said pre race but with Andrew there I'm starting to figure Tristan was given another strategy talk. To say he was killing it was an understatement. Of course it was short lived and at the pitch of the hill the brakes in his legs kicked in.

I just settled in the top 5 as we hit the single track. It's been a long time since I've ridden the trails at full speed with my eyes crossed. Keeping myself in a controlled state without clipping a tree, harder than I remember. I do believe I say this at the beginning of each season. Kept the gas on as much as I could, and dropped one spot to Taylor on a double track. From this point on I glanced over my shoulder time to time. Partly to know if I had a gap for comfort, partly to know if my gap was disappearing and scare myself into pushing harder. Power sections I would loose a second or two lead, tech sections I would regain or build my lead. Nothing has changed there.

As the race came closer to the end the dust began to get thicker as all the different races started to come together. My lungs were not liking it much, my body was asking if it could remove the snack I had earlier and place it on the side of the trail. I continued to tell both body parts to shut up. They argued back constantly. Had the race been any longer I'm pretty sure that they would have ganged up on me and recruited the legs as the enforcer. Crossed the line, that hurt. I'm pretty sure the lungs were bleeding after that, max heart rate was higher than it's been all spring. Hopefully after the bleeding stops they'll be a little bigger.

I thought I'd seen enough pink for the evening, nope. A trip to Jacob and Liz's found a big box of goodies. team kits are in, Pink is an understatement. Shiny and new can't describe them enough, there will never ever be a problem spotting any of us during a race again. An evening I needed full of amusement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dealing with it

coffee, coffee, coffee. Need I say more????? The road to recovery is in my sites both physically and caffeinelly. Drinking twice as much as I normally do to make up for the loss last week and spending three times as much time stretching and getting the stupid pain in my ass, literally, under control. I've had problems in the past with peraformus, spelling? Its this tiny powerful muscle in your butt that can pull everything out of whack. Having the problem before is gear because you know the signs, of course curing the problem is not so quickly done. I could ask Dan to delay the race a couple weeks but Im feeling that the answer will be no so ill hold off on my request and just deal with the problem. Training is starting to trim back, holidays a almost here, quality time to recover will all hopefully lead to a great day on the bike when it matters most.

Some great weather is in the forecast, some riding to be done. I may even work on some tan lines.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Solving problems

This is my life, it's what I do for a living, I'm not that bad at it either. Well I recently had a problem that I didn't realize, actually I had two, one being a repeat from the past. I'll get to that one soon enough. Last week was busy, work and just life in general seemed to be moving at a million miles an hour, a pace I normally love but for some reason I just couldn't seem to keep up. Was it that I turned a little bit older and with an instant change in numbers you get slower? I doubted it but you never know, it felt very much like hitting the wall. I just kept motoring along but each day I felt more and more behind, of course this put me into a rather bad mood. Of course being in a bad mood when busy just creates a snowball affect. You know where this can lead.

Welcome Sunday morning, my wonderful girlfriend was nice enough to make me the breakfast that will fuel me through the road race. This also meant that she was making coffee. She asked a strange question, a question that I'm not used to hearing in my house. A question that put a stunned look on my face and a returning question "EXCUSE ME????" I needed to know if this was some sort of a crazy agenda that she may start sneaking in on me as we start to blend our two households together. You've all heard those stories, they've made comedy movies about those stories. What was this stunning question, "do you want regular coffee or decaf"

Decaf??? Are you crazy? Are you trying to change me? Would you like to see my body shake in convulsions? She was serious and showed me the bags of wonderful coffee. The previous week I attempted to break out of my normal kicking horse addiction and try another companies blend, a local Ontario mix. I thought I should help support the local economy. Well I'm tempted to send a letter stating a minor complaint in their labeling. In the top left corner was a small white dot with the word decaf in it. So small that my old age wasn't able to spot it when I bought the bag last week. Yes, that's right, I drank decaf for a week. You've heard what happens to any druggie when he can't get his fix. Exactly!!!!

Unlike my old favorite BC blender who would never ever mix up this type of thing let alone making two versions of the same blend coffee with only a small marking to tell the difference, I feel that I need to protest and set up a picket line in front of the Muskoka coffee company and warning others so they don't fall prey to the same fate that I had. It's for the safety of others I feel that I should do this, caffeine withdrawal is one thing, done without one knowing is another. It's dangerous, it's cruel, it's sadistic and it should be illegal. If I was in the US I could soon for pain and suffering. Instead I'll be Canadian and apologize for being grumpy last week as my body went into full on withdrawal. The guilty bag will be sacrificed in a public ceremony later this week for who ever would like to attend. It won't happen again, ever!!!

I won't get into the other problem this morning, it's on it's way to being fixed also. 2 weeks to have it cured, 2 weeks till the 100 miler, a mix of mileage over the next couple weeks. That's it I need to stop typing to spend quality time with that wonderful thing inside my mug. More thrills tomorrow, in a good mood.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I got what I expected

That is pretty much the result of yesterday's road race. Got to the fair grounds with lots of time for social and warm up. It was a beautiful day, perfect conditions. The sun was up, it was getting warm, the wind wasn't blowing down houses. It was going to be a nice day to spend quality time on the bike. After a team meeting that was filled with sarcasm, something I do believe we learned should never be used when talking about race strategy we lined up with a pretty tough group 5.

So what was the team game plan, well let's just say what was put into action in the first 30 seconds lead to the feel of the rest of the race. Tristan, who has not done one of these before was told to just pin it right from the start for the first lap, take the lead and don't look back. Of course this was told to him in a very joking manor, to his defence which he brought up later in the evening, "When a world class rider named Watson tells you to pin it off the start, you just do it" Yes in the end this was Andrew's fault for what was about to happen. Normal starting for something like this is a gradual ramp up in the first lap, everyone working together, going a little faster etc etc until you hopefully catch the group ahead. Not today.

Go, Tristan blasts off the line full force, takes the right hand corner 50 feet ahead and continues to pin it. The pack of 8-9 of us are stunned, a few haven't even clipped in and there is already a huge gap. 2 packs are formed, Tristan leading with 3 other's, me leading the chase group, redlining my legs 20 seconds into the race. Closing in the gap, just as I expected to get a little help after the long full steam pull the little punk from planet energy instead of working together, jumps ship and sprints around the group to bridge the gap, There were some words used. The group did get back together and for the first lap that's all there was, fast paced and random surges. I'm not a fan of surges, my body doesn't surge well, I'm an endurance athlete with a diesel engine. I'm good at maintaining a pace. This showed soon enough.

Coming through the first lap I was at the end of the pack as I made the turn and yet again another surge, 3 off us were off the back, Shit. Head down and giving it I helped get one back to be able to bridge but I couldn't match the acceleration on the slightly rough pavement. The 3rd rider was back 50 feet and out of it. For the next half lap it was a tease. The group didn't really pull away, they just sat far enough away that, a huge ass carrot. I got as low as I could and pushed as hard as I could but couldn't gain, being alone I was able to ride the smoothest section of the road and I searched for every type of fast pavement that I could, taking the corners faster than I would in the pack, doing everything to gain a second or two on them. Wasn't happening today. Training!!!

Pretty much figures then to use this as a long TT. I haven't done much in the lines of long intensity to this point. Just settled in, stayed smooth and consistent, it wasn't long before I started catching people that had been blown out of different groups. Unfortunately they weren't of use to me, everyone I caught stayed with me for a minute or two and fell off. Keep riding alone, Lap 2, lap 3 etc etc I just kept motoring along. The legs felt pretty good most of the time but near the end of the race I felt a couple twinges that had me a little concerned.

Crossed the line, not last but most definitely not first. 2 hours of full on intensity, exactly what I needed to check the body. With 2 weeks till the 100 miler this showed me a few body issues that need to be resolved before spending an 8 hour day on the bike. As much as I complained that the team strategy was screwed up, being blown off the back was probably a good thing for me. The team did well from what I heard and continued to put some serious pain into the group, stories were retold last night at the first AWI Racing pub ride that was walked to where beers were drank, lies were told and a decision was made that before the next team race we actually have a serious meeting where only true ideas are told, we've learned that someone will jump when told, no questions asked.

I have some body repair to do now, lot's of time to recover and be ready. 2 weeks is a long time but not that long.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hoping it won't be a double breakfast day

It's that time, time to get the most bang for 5 bucks. I know it's going to hurt, there is a chance that I may leave my breakfast on the side of the road. I may be looking for a chunk of single track to recover on but it will still be fun. It's road race time, same thrill as last year only one step above. This year it's AWI Racing against the world. Ok we're starting a little smaller with three central Ontario clubs. Still I think that's part of the world, so technically it is the world we are taking on.

My expectations are high and low, high for the team low for me. I question my legs after a rest week filled of busyness and abusive physio have me questioning. I've also not done anything top end for that long yet this season. Yep, this is going to hurt. Being a self staging race with it going slowest to fastest and only the sandbaggers opting for the wrong group I'll be leaving in group 5(fastest) and hoping to hold on with the crew. We have beer in the list of post race activities which will hopefully motivate me. unfortunately our team kits didn't make it in time for us to sport some awesome gang colours.

There will be more thrills written about the day tomorrow and should be something up on the team site as well. For now it's getting some food in me that's easily brought up.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm sometimes still absolutely amazed, I pulled into the parking lot on the north side of Copeland forest, sun was shinning, a nice temperature etc, etc and nothing. Not a single other car. I headed out with the dogs and for the next hour and a half, nothing. I road without the added stimulation of music, I need to do this from time to time just to remind myself how amazing the big backyard is. The only noise I heard, the dog's panting and the mechanical sounds of the bike. Silence, amazing.

As we rolled back to the car an hour and a half later, not seeing a single soul, we returned to yet a still empty parking lot. It's fun how there can always be such a huge hype about keeping things secret, some locals are anal about this. With the highest obesity levels ever and this continued greed to work and consume stuff so they keep up with their neighbours maybe we should be promoting these types of areas more, let these people see what they are missing.

I've been running the family business now for nearly 10 years, I'll be honest that if it wasn't for places like the big back yard and cycling in general I'd probably have had a nervous break down and a dozen ulcers. Cycling is an amazing stress relief and just being outside in the woods seems to clear the mind of all worries then bring things into clear focus. Mix that in with the deep breath of fresh air, it all equals balance. I know not everyone is capable of what some of us do but I guarantee that even at the minimal level there is more enjoyment, stimulation, and benefit from a 1 hour adventure in the woods than what any big screen tv can bring.

Get outside, get out of the city, come see what you're missing. Yes there is cell phone coverage in the woods in case you can't fully step away.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

3 in a row

This is the longest I've been off the bike in months, yesterday was the third day in a row. Scary is an understatement, I'm very surprised that my body isn't going int some sort of shock. Maybe muscle stiffness could be considered that. I've had pretty good reasons, of course those are modified excuses and they will come to an end tonight. The timing for everything has been pretty much perfect, recovery week started with Dr. Bill placing all my bones in line again. Snap crackle and pop, always a good time. By the time I finished my work day doing this very brain numbing product update for one of the manufactures I work for then the visit to Bill I was pretty much cooked and had little or no craving to pedal a bike.

On came Tuesday, this turned into yet another run around as quick as I could because there are not enough minutes in the day. Once the work world was done it was off to see my AT. Jennie spent the next hour and a half fixing all the muscular damage I'd done to my legs over the last three weeks of training. Yet again I was to trashed and it was too late for me to want to even look at a bike, couch bound number two.

Then came yesterday, I had every intention of spinning the legs out, I needed it, the legs needed it. I found myself again doing this mind number update which had me basically doing factory work. For a guy who isn't used to spending much more than 30 minutes in each customer's house followed by driving around lots this staying in one place doing the same thing over and over and over again had me looking for ways to take myself out of my misery. Lucky for me there was nothing close by for me to cut my head off with, I would have been able to continue working even without it. Unfortunately I will still have one more day of this in the very near future. The money is worth it, or is it. I have no idea how people can survive working in a factory.

After that I needed to get on the bike, as I pulled into the driveway yet again other things took over and smashed down the will to go. The fact that I was tired and a little stiff to start, add in the 40 km/h winds and the quickly dropping temperature it didn't take much before I knew it would be a nogo. So here I sit, sipping coffee, legs elevated, feeling pretty good. The sun has come up, the weather predictions are looking good, I'm back to doing my normal work day, I have two strung out dogs. Yes there are two here this morning. It will be a much more common thing in the next couple weeks and in the very near future it will be a permanent thing. As of last night Shannon's house, which has been on the market for 3 days, sold. After all in all this was pretty much the best birthday present I could get. It had us up later than normal with phone calls back in forth to the agent and considering all of that I'm not feeling tired. More relieved than anything. Maybe that's why the sun came up this morning????

Now I will say that the 1 pound solid chocolate Easter bunny I got drew a close second. For my own well being it's been put in the freezer out of temptation, it won't stop me but it could slow me down a little. Being older I know that frozen chocolate hurts the teeth and jaw. Tonight will be spent in the trails, having some fun, looking forward to what is yet to come. A great recovery week so far, and a fantastic birthday present.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yet another day older

As I pour my cup of coffee this morning, look out the window at Bob the cat wondering what he may have killed today, I realized that I'm a year older. I don't feel any different, no more grey hair this morning than the ones I had yesterday which are cut, ripped or burned out. My body doesn't look any different, still that skinny body that seems to sometimes need a walker for assistance to move around, same as yesterday, same as last year. I question being any wiser all the time, with age it's supposed to happen, I am wiser about coffee, does that count? So pretty much the same thing as last year.

Now the only good thing with this, I'm one year closer to a different division. Not the special division, a change of age isn't needed to move here. I'll be kind and not smart ass the comment the single speeders out there. I'm more looking at true race divisions. I'll admit that it's tough going head to head with guys that I'm actually old enough to be there parent. The endurance categories are usually over 40 and under 40, minus the odd race with open classes. Sure they say with age that you have better endurance, yes this is true but with age also comes things like arthritis.

I'm not complaining, just comparing. I do admit that I do enjoy beating the younger guys, especially the ones that absolutely destroy me in a short race, but I am looking forward to that over 40 division. It won't be a cake walk by any means but the intensity seems to drop just a hair. Hell I'll be the young guy in the old division taking advantage of that and doing a beat down on 50 year old. Hmmm revenge is sweet. I'm a sick man. As I roll past the age of 38 I may start counting the days until that magical 40, like a kid counting down till his 16th birthday.

I forgot where I was going with this, I'll blame it on my old man memory. More coffee is needed, time for work

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Return to sender, fixed

Rest, aww it's so needed now. It's been a long building session, from this point on it's pretty much maintaining what I've built. No more 5-6 hour rides unless it's with a number plate strapped to my bike. It will be nice to start racing, I'm getting a little anxious to actually see where my legs and fitness are at once I have a couple rest days into me. The first test will be this weekend, it's going to hurt, it won't be pretty, there may be vomit projectile vomiting. The first inner club road race is this weekend, it may be restricted to the three clubs but there is something evil thrown in the mix, AWI Racing will be there, hopefully flashing our colours like spandex clad gangsta's. Will it be me vomiting trying to hold on with my first real upper end test? Will it be other teams loosing their breakfast in fear of our cool colours? It will be a fun day regardless.

The timing of the recovery week couldn't be better, my wrist mounted computer has been sent for a recharge. I;'m wondering how long I will last before feeling some sense of withdrawal. Tonight will be the first right in 6 months where I haven't worn a strap, watched a number or spent time checking things over after the ride. Like anything the more complicated the toy the harder it is to fix yourself, I glanced at it, shook my head and sent it to Polar for the battery change. I like the thing and I know what my work world is like, I sent it to the people who know. It will be all about feel for the next little while, may be good for me.

I need coffee, or more rest. Coffee wins. It always wins.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just another day at the office

It was the best of weather it was the worst of weather, is that a copyright infringement? The weekend was a blur, Saturday was action packed and Sunday well, that was just caused by the wind. I found myself in old stomping grounds of Albion Hills on Saturday to cheer Shannon on during her 1/2 marathon trail run. Of course I would be sneaking in some of my own training as well. The weather, perfect, no wind, sun, warm, I don't think we have had that combination together in a long time. Shannon did great at her run, I've learned that it is almost impossible to chase runners around a trail. There course would have made an awesome loop for an O-cup.

For me, it was multiple vomit paced sessions on the to do list. To say that my body still doesn't like these is the truth. I did get to rip through a couple new trails though including a new one that will probably be used for Summer Solstice, it shares the name. Once the traffic get on it, woo hoo, will be fun. Great day in the sun, lots of additional things done, by the end of the day the craving for sleep was high. I knew what Sunday would bring.

Welcome to the adventures of Tristan and Matt. This was 24 hour tag team training ride. No killing each other but no letting the other slack off. The route, Orillia to Mansfield, cheer on some AWI members, taught some others then ride back. So for the first time ever I was later than Tristan, somehow I gaped and forgot all my bottles, 5 minutes into the drive I was u turning. I expect him to revel in this for years to come. Unlike the day before where everything was rainbows and butterflies and roads made of chocolate, today brought dark colored clouds and crazy winds mixed with what felt like continually changing temperatures.

Things were sane coming out of Orillia, stayed sane along Old Barrie road where we waved at a few very pleasant people in their cars who were kind enough to honk at us with support of our long journey ahead, how did they know? As we came through Midhurst and made the left up Wilson we finally got the full force feeling of the wind, full on. It was going to be a tough day. Headwinds are controllable, it also usually means tail winds, well today it was going to nail us from the side for about 85 percent of the ride. Nothing like leaning into the wind for hours on end. We continued along with little concern for much else but wind and the wonderful noise starting out of my rear wheel. Yes my power tap wheel, as we went through Angus it was developing a wonderful tinging sound of loosening spokes. I've heard this before and like before I of course didn't have a tool to solve the problem. Who would??? At this point it would last, we hoped.

Executive decision was to take a route through the Army Base. We knew there was a road over to Lyle, we knew it was closed, what we didn't know was how was the road closed? A short time later we found out, a big ass fence. The words out of Tristan's mouth were, ummm, well can't be repeated here. A quick glance around, a wander behind the building and I was on the other side of the fence. I opted for the low, not recorded on video camera fence. Tristan decided on a different approach and risked his ability to reproduce at a later date while scaling the gate. For the next few minutes I waited for Military Police to chase us down. Luckily we seemed to evade them.

Out in the open farm lands round what ever of blasting side winds again began taking it's toll. One strong gust I watched Tristan drift right, he kept going and going and going, right off the road, and going and going. His pretty deep dish wheels were probably not the best choice for the day but as he said, they look sweet. Yes, road riding is all about looks not common sense??? We finally made it to Mansfield, roughly 3 hours after we left. A huge suck up to Havy at Norco and my wheel was back to normal. Some cheering was done for two laps as we did everything we could to stay warm and hidden from the wind. At the halfway mark of our ride we knew what was still ahead.

2nd time around for the elites and we called it a day and started with the long climb out of the valley, we opted to go around the base on the return trip. The chances of us getting caught crawling back into an army base where a little to high. What it did mean was a couple sections with a rocking tail wind. Aww the wind, it was starting to get to us. More mentally, you could never relax, if you did this was when it seemed to hit the hardest and push you either into on coming traffic or the ditch. We motored along with a quick refueling in Angus where we managed to avoid a short downpour under the cover of a gas station's overhanging. On to Barrie which included a great 80km/h decent to Snow Valley Road. Getting closer, the final run along Old Barrie road started to show where the legs were at. Funny thing was I began to feel better, still sore but controlled the pace a little. There was the town sign, Orillia, we were home free, all down hill from here.

Rolled back to the place we started from many hours earlier, 170 km, averaging 193 watts, 6ish hours of riding with 4500 feet of climbing, 1 warped wheel, 1 giant sail, 2 wanders off the road, 5 pee breaks. Besides the wind we were lucky, we never got more than a short blast of light rain, we saw the sun a couple times during the ride, we didn't freeze, drown or get arrested. I'd say it was a pretty successful day and some great prep for next month's attempt at a repeat win. I'm into a recovery week, it's needed. Check out the AWI Racing site, there should be some race reports up.