Friday, July 29, 2011

Changing back to normal

There really hasn't been much going on the last couple weeks and that's when I realized something. I'm not racing very much and with what has developed over the lately it didn't seem like I would be doing anything even next month. Strange. I also realized that Shannon is racing more than she had planned, this isn't a bad thing, but when her total amount of races added up to more than mine and I'm supposed to be the focused one something didn't seem right.

This is what had developed, me chauffeuring her to and from races and cheering from the sidelines. There is no complaints from me but I figured I better step up my act a little.

So what has changed in the race schedule you might ask. Well the team couldn't get organized for the 24 hour race. It seems everyone wanted to only do the first lap since first is all that matters and nobody was willing to suck it up and go last so unfortunately it appears that AWI Racing will not be making a full presence at Hot August Nights. It would be pretty hard to out do what was done at the previous race. Also changed, more than likely not going after my 4th win at the Mountainview 9 hour. It's a great event but in the solo category there doesn't seem to be the competition as at other races. I know that I can ride for 9 hours, just like to chase or be chased while doing it.

So that brings me to a what to do. There is a weekend, it could be a busy weekend and it has me debating heavily. There is a poll, I may or may not be influenced by the results but there is a poll. The options, do the east coast open SS on the Saturday and the inner club road race on the Sunday OR do Marathon Championships. It's either going completely away from my normal race categories or doing what I normally do. I'm undecided, I have time, you have time to vote, what to do what to do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yet another mini adventure

Found myself climbing the side of a ski hill, not fully by choice but the sense of adventure and the idea of finding trails that I've never ridden was in the blood yesterday. Yet again the big back yard of Copeland surprised me with some not been on before single track. I still have yet to ride everything, every time I feel I may have a new trail is cut or found. Along the way i began to race a pack of segway's, this was another first for me. Spent part of the ride trying to figure out weekends, what to race, what to take off, when to work on the house and when to camp. The summer is flying by, like it always does. Starting to come up with a final plan, the fall is going to be busy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Well that was fun, the return to the norm did not bring back my technical skills. The usual thrills of the MNS was even more fun with the crashing I seemed to do. I do beleive it was a group effort as there were more than just my couple bobbles that saw me playing on the ground. Fun day though and it was yet another refreshing ride to get the brain and body ready for the next block of abuse.

I also must say that I forgot how much fun the berms were, I do beleive that is one of the longest section of trail that I've ridden that pedaling is not needed, this may be far from the truth but as your giggling while flying around a banked turn into the next drop time seems to slow down even though things are moving very quickly. Good thrills, gotta love the big back yard.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The return to life

Yet another great weekend has come and gone. It was the first time back on the the mountain bike in a week, actually it was the first time on any bike in a week, it seems that the rest did the body right. Saturday was spent up north at Bark Lake for the Race the Rockstar adventure race. No I'm not changing sports, again though you will have to check the team site to get Shannon's rundown on the race which she did amazing just missing the podium. For me, I played and helped again.

Starting out with the ride to the start, they gave me the option to sit in the truck but that would have been the weak and lame thing to do, it was only 20-30 km away. This worked out perfect, basically pinned it on the road, yes the mountain bike on the road at just shy of race pace is always enjoyable but it felt awesome hammering the hills, feeling the heart rate rise, feeling almost normal. I was smiling the whole time. I was all happy and giddy as I rolled to the start line to start the second part of my day playing sweep for the bike course. Seems this adventure race thing is pretty popular, reminded me of a start of an 8 hour. The fun began and so did my bike repair skills, over the next two hours I fixed a snapped chain, 2 tires and a messed up pedal that kept falling off the crank arm. The last repair was the highlight by the end of the day. The all female team was frustrated when the bike was messed up and thought their day was done 9km in to the race, an hour in of the 8 hours. Some creative tool making got them up and going and by the end of the day they ended up being 2nd in their division. Congrats ladies, glad to have helped.

After just under 4 hours on the bike I was feeling fantastic, the craving to ride was back in full force, I think the relaxing on the waterfront of the Bark Lake camp for a couple hours helped, that lead to Sunday. The return to the road, the return to Chuck and what a return it was. Pace was high, legs felt even better than the previous day, it was an Olympic feeling day as I blasted around the Big Chute loop on some fresh pavement. Again I was smiling the whole time, no needed distractions like music just the sound of the wind and tires on the road. It was great. This has me happy and ready to ride again, train again and race again. I'm looking now at what to do, Marathon Championships are looking good now. Very good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I think this is the longest I've been off the bike since the winter. It's a bit of an unusual feeling. It is needed though and riding through the wall of humidity would be far from enjoyable. The temptation is there to ride but I've made a deal with myself to wait until the weekend. At least what I will be doing should be fun and entertaining. Plans to tour around a race course making sure nobody is hurt, lost, etc etc should be a great way to start back into training. I'm not sure what type of trails they have at Bark Lake, not sure if it will be similar to what we rode the previous weekend, don't really care. The combination of a new place to ride, a huge pack of people racing, including Shannon and her brother should get me fired up to start the suffering again.

This also has me reworking the rest of the season. What am I doing what am I skipping. I'm still debating and weighing options, most will depend on how I feel once I start riding again. What type of fitness returns, Kelso o-cup is almost a guaranteed no. Not craving the drive. That is the only no for sure. For now I'll enjoy the distance away from the bike until the craving to ride overwhelms me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Feeling burnt

I've been feeling a bit off the last couple days. So off that the craving to ride or even be productive in any means is pretty much non existent. There are a few things that could be the cause but pretty sure it's heat related. For some reason I'm just not feeling the heat this year. I like the warmth, I'm glad it's here but I am wishing that it was just a few degrees cooler. I've opted to take a few days off the bike and did I ever pick the time to do it. I'm not happy about the decision, it's been kind of forced upon me. Some rain would be nice. It would be very nice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

All in moderation

Still digesting food from the MNS/Mo day Night Sushi all you can shove in your mouth in under 2 hours. Can't think, feel very Homer Simpson like. Not good. Burp!!!! All blood to brain is currently in the stomach. Check back tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Draging bricks.

Movement is slow this morning. Coffee has yet to kick in, it's a typical Monday morning after an action packed weekend. I feel old on these mornings. These are the mornings that I debate about taking a month off, not off the bike but off training, The lat few years have been jammed packed with races and training along with every part of life mixed in there. The weekends seem to be shorter than I remember, the summer and nice weather even shorter and the list of things to do continues to grow. Racing is not the hard part, being competitive in your field is.

It's not a big deal to sign up and do a race, where the challenge is where you want to be in the end. Weather it's not finishing last, chasing that guy that beat you the last time or going for the win, this is where it lies. The problem for me now is I'm used to being at the front on the pack, going for step on the podium. To do this means training, a lot of it. It also means letting the body recover. When you have the to do list around the house and they don't mix well with the bike stuff well and add in just a little more age in there you start to debate. This is my typical morning after a race weekend debate.

I'm just whining a little, I will still ride, I love riding. There will be training, sorta mixed in, I just may take it a little different for the rest of this season. I'm starting to look forward to the change of focus for next year.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lost in the Rocks and Trees

We came, we road, we have stories. Shannon and I headed north to the town of Mattawa to take on two different lengths of the 16th Lost in the Rocks and Trees race. It's a race on that todo list that I can now say I've done. Sorta. We stayed in town, a great northern small town, we did notice that the statue to person ratio was almost 1:1. Lot's of history up in the area, unfortunately time was limited.

Got to the race with plenty of time, did the normal prep stuff times two, you will have to read the team site to get Shannon's report. Heard the run down from the organizer, small group doing the 110 km course, I knew one person. Hmmm, should be fun. I had no idea what we were getting into, I didn't know how the body was going to feel. I was a little nervous for a rare time. Go time.

Instantly settled in on second wheel. We were told there was a little bit of single track about a k,m down the road, wanted to be at the front for this. Group stayed close and maybe 30 seconds from the trail I swung to the front. Good call on my part. It wasn't long but when I finished it I had a huge gap on the pack, then I thought, wait it's a long race, you need to work with a few of them and slowed up a bit. We were back on the road and settled in a rider from that other local country. Some quick hey have you done it before etc finding out that he had and settled in thinking he would know the way. We had a huge gap on the field 3km in, we weren't going that hard, could be a good day.

This is when the fun began, a trail split full with two options, long and easy, short and hard. Well I wasn't in front and he turned to the right up the hill for the short and hard. I followed. We both later knew this was a bad idea. It turned into a hike a bike up the side of a huge dirt hill. Once finally on the other side we saw a few riders already up the road. 1st to 7th. Bigger thing was the exertion used going up the hill. There was no easy way to climb it, burned a match or two or more. Not good. Just got my head down and started to ride with the first rider I caught and tried to recover. Took a long time for the legs to feel good and have power. I kept looking forward to some technical stuff to recover, it never really would come.

It was for the most part double track, ATV trails, logging roads, and gravel roads. I was in my big ring a lot for the first hour. There really wasn't much recovery spots. Finally started to get into the bumpy stuff with some rocky climbs and bumpy descents. It was still ATV trails and there was some pretty good washed out trails. This is when I started catching people slowly moving from 7th to 3rd. I was in my element. It also helped that we were in the shade and my body stopped melting. On one of the descents I ended up doing a free ride huck over a huge wash out section, it was brave and a little stupid. There were some big trenches that would just destroy you, it didn't get me but it did manage to burp my tire. Having a bit of a gap I didn't want to slow down to much to deal with it, in motion I prepped my pump and in a 10 second movement I was off the bike, blast some air and on again. Unfortunately a few minutes later the rear went soft again.

Attempt number 2 took a few moments longer and hearing that ping of the rim seating put a smile on my face. On the gas again I was in the fun section of tromping through huge mud sections. Some was rideable, some not the warm mud actually felt nice on the body. It was a kinda fun, mud always is. Then came the big rock sections, these too were fun to play on, I was feeling pretty good at this point and I was still having fun. Then I came into town, onto pavement, where you needed power. This is also where I caught 2nd place and got dropped by 2nd place. As we climbed the hill coming out of town I felt my legs go limp, I watched him ride away from me like I was standing still. I'm a self professed shitty climber, but I'm not that bad normally. At this point it was just over the 2 hour mark, not good. I kept motoring but again the legs started to fade more and more. I started to know what was going to happen, the July curse was setting in.

I kept trying to get in focus and telling myself it's all in my head but it wasn't. Many hills later I made the decision, it was a pretty easy one to make actually. I rolled into check point 3, I pulled the plug. I was over halfway but I knew that only bad things would happen if I kept pushing. I was fading quickly, like I always do in July. Last year during the 8 hour had I not crashed and been forced out I would have pulled the ply the next lap, the previous year I pulled the plug early also. Coming off the 24 hour less than a month ago has my legs cooked for any effort longer than 2 hours. I've decided that I will not race in July ever again. Of course this isn't set in stone.

So, here I am check point 3, happy with my decision so I just hung out. Stayed at 3 for close to an hour talking with riders coming through, the shop owner doing tech for people. Just being social. Then rode a bit more, met up with a few more organizers and chatted for a while. Slowly making my way back to the start/finish line. Still spent nearly 4 hours on the bike. The stopped time I'd glanced a few times at my heart rate. Again I knew I made the right call. A little frustrated but far from upset. Once back at the main area I chilled, cleaned the bike a little and cracked open a beer and waited for Shannon. She had a very interesting race but loved it.

So my thoughts on the whole thing. Great people, great grass routes race. If you are looking for single track and technical racing, this isn't the race for you. The guys that were ahead of me, all roadies. If you want to challenge yourself though it is a lot of fun, playing in the mud, some beautiful scenery, I do recommend that everyone does this race at least once. It is worth the drive. So what is next on my list of to do's, right now I do believe I'll be playing at the Marathon Championships this year. I have a few weeks to be ready for it. Next week will be training doing sweep for the Rockstar Adventure race. That should be fun. Today though will be a chill day. Bikes to be cleaned.

Friday, July 15, 2011

go time

Saving the excitement for Sunday. Heading north of the north where there may or may not be phones, internet, etc etc. Race report on Sunday. Looking forward to the thrills of the great white north.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Race prep? Bug prep?

Prep for this weekend has begun. Solid ride with a mix of road, gravel, and single track. Not sure how much of that I will see over the 112 km that is predicted for Satruday, but it's worth mixing it up. Legs are feeling better, brain is fully restored, rest of the body isn't to far behind. A few other major prep work has be done also. The defensive type, the bug defense. For those wondering, we are heading north this weekend, far north. To where bugs like misquotes, deer flies and black flies vacation. You would have thought we would have gotten enough abuse last weekend to last the summer but no we are suckers for abuse.

If you haven't figured it out, Shannon and I are heading to Mattawa this weekend to play in the Lost in the Rocks and Trees. Shannon will be playing on the 30km course and me in the long course. This is a race I've wanted to do for a long time, it's not a huge event but it's listed as Ontario's toughest mountain bike race. I need to know. So what are we doing for this race that's different than any other. It's our race plan, it's not based on other riders, it's based on beating the bugs. We have spray's, a couple different ones to be mixed together and then there is the patch. It's not the nicotine patch, it's the leave me the f*#k alone bugs patch which is supposed to work. What ever is in it is supposed to absorb into the skin then put out some sort of odor that the flies don't like. Hopefully!!!!!

The conditions are looking pretty good, lots of sun and warmth, a chance of a little rain. Typical race weekend of a little this and that. I'm pretty laid back about this one with no real expectations. Just going up and riding. I've read a bit on the race involving what is recommended. One thing I heard was that you shouldn't ride alone to much, hmmm that's a strange concept to me but like i've done in the past, here is my race strategy. I'm going to ride with who ever wants to lead for the first lap and then do what the body is feeling for the second lap. Of course that's what I say I'm going to do but like usual it doesn't always work out that way. Either way it should be a fun day in sn area that I normally don't get to see which just happens to have a race mixed in to it. Just another adventure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trail hog

The return to normal, the road bike felt great last night as I scared slow moving traffic on the rail trail while hammering out short bursts of speed. I've been tempted to put up a sign on the rail trail blocking off a certain time slot on Tuesday's for my sprint intervals but I have this strange feeling that it may not go over very wheel with the township or other trail users. It was a thought, maybe not a good thought but a thought. So, instead I adjusted to not completely scare the wits out of the 70 year old on the cruiser bike doing 15 km/h. I didn't realize that bikes could go that slow on flat smooth pavement. As I approached I'd scream out "move over" as I flew by at double the speed then accelerate and look back. Naw Naw Naw Naw naw naw!!!! and stick my tongue out as I sprinted away.

Small children were also warned to ride right or don't ride at all when I went blistering by them. I couldn't slow down to much otherwise I'd wreck my workout. Couldn't have that. The round trip of the trail and 32km was enjoyable for me, maybe not so much for others but I wasn't around them long enough for them to bring up any concerns with my riding. Can't complain if you can't keep up, seems to be a good slogan. It's the return of a rail trail rebel.

No I didn't ride like that, but there are riders out there that do. Just some random thoughts of things I've scene on the trail. I did however get a great workout in that didn't interfere or scare the crap out of the elderly. Happy to be back to normal, as normal as my normal is.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Take your medicine

After two full days of a swollen head that was not caused by my ego I'm finally feeling a little closer to normal. Some good drugs always help this type of situation. I'm feeling well enough to actually do more than sit on the couch and stare blankly at a wall. Of course this did not come easy as there was continued text from AWI Racing members about riding and being weak, of course I just ignored them and took a bit more of that purple stuff that kills swelling.It's amazing how such small little annoyance like a deer fly can become a huge pain in the skull when it gets together with others. They always said that things are braver in packs. If they are brave in packs, they're fearless in the swarms that we saw on Saturday.

Plans to return to training or some version of it returns tonight, hopes of adding something to it called intensity will be attempted also. It's been a couple weeks now since the 24 hour, besides the survival run my heart rate has not risen much above endurance since then. It's due, it's going to hurt, it's almost fun, it's going to hurt. I need more coffee, time to bring the energy level back up and doing it with some sort of stimulus is always more enjoyable. More ramblings tomorrow. I can almost think clearly again with the pressure off.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Run for your life

The tittle describes what happened on Saturday leading to a very unmotivated Sunday. Back to the start of the adventure, Shannon and I loaded up a couple bikes and a couple dogs in the old man sedan and headed just a little north. unfortunately no photos, once you hear why you will understand. We pulled into the Torrence Barrens rock parking lot, it was all but empty, this should have given us a hint. 10 minutes later we roll away from the car with the dogs running like lunatics ahead. It was going to be a good day, that thought lasted about 5 minutes. It didn't take long for the evil to sense our presence, they started with me. At first they were just an annoyance but the swarm got thicker and thicker. As the size increased so did the aggressiveness. This was 10 minutes into the ride, we should have turned around and called it a day but we pushed on hoping they would just go away. They didn't.

What was it? Deer flies, very hungry, very aggressive deer flies. In all my 38 years of camping, hiking, and back country stuff I have never ever been attacked so badly by them as I did that day. I stayed in the lead of the single track to show Shannon the way, the trail was actually fun and will be great to play on another time when the bugs are all DEAD!!!! The dogs were being attacked, at any given time we had at least a dozen on us biting simultaneously. Beyond what you could swat away. You ask why we hadn't turned around? When they actually got bad we were at least a 1/4 way around the loop. By the halfway point we were dealing with them. Then we hit some standing water. As we ran beside it with our bikes we seemed to wake up even more.

From this point we pretty much went into full on survival mode and pushing around the loop as fast as possible. The dogs were able to dive into random puddles to cool down and drowned a few of the flies at the same time, we were so lucky. Then it happened, I came around a blind corner turning right when the front end slid out and I heard a sound. I wound have much rather it been the sound of a wild animal than the sound of a burped tire. I didn't lose all the air but enough that I couldn't ride unless I wanted to do huge damage to the rim on the rock. We were still over a 1km away from the car. A quick check of my co1, its not working, won't use the word I used. I started running with the bike as I continued to get eaten alive. Shannon fooled to make sure nothing fell out of my back pockets, like car keys.

I have no idea how long I ran, it hurt, the impact of running on rock in bike shoes was almost as unenjoyable as the chunks of skin that was being ripped out of every area of my body. We finally made it back to the car, Shannon jumped in the car with the dogs, cranked on the air conditioning as I spun my legs out on her bike in attempts to not vomit from the run. I still had a couple deer flies chase me but now out on the pavement I was able to stay ahead of them with little effort. I gave them the finger more than once. A few minutes later we were on our way to Bala where we tried to numb the bites will sitting in the water, retelling the tales. I had chunks of my skull missing where the bugs of death had got into my helmet, chunks out of my legs including my left leg tendons. This all came into play for Sunday. We have opted to wait to to fall before we return to the Barrens.

Sunday morning came around, I felt ok and headed out for a long ride. Things went from ok to bad. I finished my ride but I was grumpy. The legs felt like crap, my left leg behind my knee was swollen from the pack of deer lies that had hung out there and feasted. Other body parts began to feel like crap, then my head started to swell. This was the first time in a long time when I just didn't want to be on the bike. I almost called Shannon to come pick me up. I rolled back in to the house 3 hours later, kinda grumpy. This was the theme for the rest of the day and I found myself sleeping the rest of the day. I also developed a headache. I don't get headaches, unless I've over done it the night before. Again this morning my head is pulsing, I'm a bit of a suck when I feel like crap. Assumptions is that my head is swelling from the bites.

Racing the Ontario Cup would have hurt less. Hoping the pulse in my brain goes away.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wheeling and dealing

First ride in a while that the legs and the heart rate seemed to be back together and in working order. Went out old school for a couple hours on the road bike minus the laptop telling me if I'm putting out enough or not enough power. Just a ride by feel and I must say, it felt good. Power stayed consistent, tempo up the hills, no feeling weak, frail, dizzy, fatigued, vomiting, etc. It just felt, normal. It made me happy.

A busy weekend ahead, it doesn't include a race but it will include an epic adventure. Shannon's prep work for her adventure race in a couple weeks has us heading to the Torrence Barrens for some play time. The weather is looking perfect, should be fun.

One thing also to add to the list, I'm selling off one of my Giant Anthem X1's There will be no major solo races this year that I need two bikes and prep for next season has begun. Quick rundown, 09 X1, xt/xtr drivetrain, avid brakes, mavic slr wheels, haven't figured a price but if interested email in the comment section and we can go for there.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dealing with shit

Training took a back seat to an unforeseen, unplanned, unenjoyable but need to be done for survivability house reno yesterday. The weather was perfect, I was home early enough to put in a long quality ride but the house had a different plan. Now if you ever want to find out how good a match you are with your partner, have one of these type of repairs be forced on you. The old drain pipes in the house decided that they just didn't feel like draining anymore. The house is 80 plus years old, the pipes are the original, the bathroom reno was on the todo list after the return from Austrailia, yesterday it moved to the front of the line.

I won't get into the full details of what we dealt with but to say it wasn't the most pleasant way of spending a nice day but roughly 2 hours after returning from the hardware store all the old pipes that had basically clogged up like a fat persons arteries after a double round at McDonalds had be removed and new pipes installed. To say we work well together is an understatement, again I won't get into the details, these were much better than what horrible things in those pipes. Additional thoughts, I'm glad that I'm in the trade that I am, I just wouldn't want to deal with plumbing day in day out.

Bathroom reno has started, the things that should be leaving the house are again leaving with no arguments, I will return to pedaling this afternoon. Anyone looking for some think pipes to build a bike frame with? Free to good home, just not this one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Chuck is a little disapointed in my performance. I think if he had his way I wouldn't be riding him, he would just sit in the shadow's of the basement waiting until my legs return. The acceleration and climbing ability of the bike is currently way above what the rider is capable of . I honestly feel like I should be riding the winter bike righ now with the easy gear option, that's where the legs feel like their at, later winter early spring. I currently don't like hills, I think that the thrill of the decent is not even remotely worth the annoyance of going up the hill in the first place. Of course I will keep p[owing at the legs like an annoying kid until I either get beaten up by them or they just give up and get strong again.

More whining and complaining about my legs tomorrow . Maybe some pictures of the weak objects while on a fast bike. I'm going to go and sulk in a pot of coffee.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not ready yet

Pretty simple decision, Buckwallow Ontario Cup race is out. The horsepower side of my legs are no where to be found and being a relatively flat course there isn't enough technical sections to compensate for no acceleration on the double track that is needed. I've puttered with the idea for a few days and I'm just not feeling energetic towards it. 3 laps is still 3 laps. It's a return to the road bike for the next couple weeks, Chuck is feeling deprived and since I'm able to cover more ground in less time on the road I'll be able to hopefully find my legs somewhere sitting on the side of the road. Hopefully.

Monday, July 4, 2011

come and gone

What a great long weekend. perfect weather, great catch up with friends and no structured training. Just riding. The weekend was topped out with a visit to Collingwood. It's been a long time since I've ridden 3 stage, I forget how much fun it is. We toured around for 2 hours, just what the body was looking for. The legs are still lacking any real power, I wasn't expecting them to feel that great.

What is a trip to 3 stage with out a visit to the village. Food, ice cream, beer, music, good friends, the girl all wrapped together with the sun shining. Have to admit that it would be sweet to have the village a little closer to the big backyard. Maybe the Valley needs to step up their game just a little and try an match what's been done over at Blue.

The weekend flew by, but yet still moved in slow motion. Summer finally arrived, the countdown till the next big adventure has begun.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A great place to live

Happy Canada Day, I will be enjoying some of what this country has to offer with an easy road ride, Where is my destination or route going to take me? Know idea, thats what the freedom of this country has allowed us to do and what many people fight for to retain for us daily. We are lucky, we need to remind ourselves that sometimes. To support the country and the people in it. To the ones who risk their lives to help keep the peace to keep our way of life. A toast to this great country.