Wednesday, February 29, 2012

lost mittens, crying kittens

Little excitement happening in central Ontario. Training has resumed after dragging my ass for a day or two after the race. A weak attempt was was made to ride outside yesterday, the sun gave a false sense of warmth. Five minutes into my ride my hands started getting cold, i turned around and headed home. Not before have a sprint contest with a dog. I believe a dog owner and I are going to have a talk. This is the third time I've been chased by the same dog,lucky for me the dog is fat and slow but as the warm weather reappears more riders will have this dog running often. Popular route. A little concerned that those growls are a little more focused now.

As for my weakness and bail, I lost my lobster claw mittens a few weeks ago and have yet to replace them. Of course I have ones for extreme cold and a few for milder days, just nothing for right now. My hands don't like being cold, I'm slightly over protective of them, need to be with my line of day job. So I settled in on the trainer with some good tempo work. I actually enjoyed being there, maybe it's the thought that the first race is only a month away. Time flies, snow melts?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Loppet of death

I'm still shaking my head, what the hell was I thinking. An early rise on Saturday morning with some last minute ski prep and I was off to my first Loppett. It was a simple plan, do the 20 k classic and then try it the new skate skis. Simple, so very simple. How come simple plans never seem. to work? Warm up was pretty good, classics strapped to my feet, grip and glide perfect. Should be a good day. Headed towards the start line and caught only parts of the announcements. I had time to kill before my start, Jacob told me so. Watched the mass start of classic skiers, wow big group in the 40k, I should have been racing with those guys,dam hip.

A few minutes later the 40k skate group left, a quick chat with the race director to get a time check on our start. "You should have already started". So amongst the confusion the 20 and 40 left together. Aww shit, ok some quick thinking and I was now swapped into the 20k skate and I did the mad rush to change gear. Nothing like using new skis on race day, what's that golden rule about trying new things. Settled in the middle of the group, no way I want to be in the front of this pack, I know my place. Go, some double pole, shifting and positioning into the train doing everything I can not crash people out. So far so good, 1 k done. Snow conditions were far beyond my skill set and figured my limited technique was not going to get me through, need to be smart. After a little bobble trying to avoid a stepping on a pole I took 30 second break to regain my focus. At this point we were 15 minutes in to the race and I was redlining already.

Things got better, except for the snow. It was soft, limited glide and climbing was far from smooth. Some battles back in forth with a couple different skiers kept it interesting, on the flats they were faster but I was braver and had faster skis on the downhills. On the climbs fitness seemed to be my saving grace, it was grunt work, no technique would help on the soft thick snow. Keep going, it can't be far now I kept telling myself, when I went past the timing area I had false hope, a glance at my watch I knew there was lots left. It was one of those put your head down and suffer type moments.

Stayed steady for the secondhand and even caught a few more people. I finally knew where I was, not far now. I saw the sign I wanted to see, done. Crossed the line, didn't collapse, happy to be done. Finished 20th out of 42, not bad for new skis, no warm up, tough conditions and questionable skill. I must say I did have fun, I may even be tempted to do another one. A few hours later I found myself on the trainer trying to make my legs feel better. The snow can melt now.

Best quote. Ski racing is the stupidest sport in the history of sport. From some middle pack 40 k skate finisher.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm torn

I really am confused, what do I want? No I'm not making a life altering decision, I can't decide if I want winter or spring. A few days ago I w all over watching the snow melt, now I'm wanting a few more weeks of it. When the XTC showed up I was very anxious to try it out, some snow covered trails helped calm that craving, This was topped up with a two hour road ride on it last night. I really like the bike. Melt dammit,I want to rip some singletrack. Oh wait, the Loppet is tomorrow? I think I would be ok with everything melting except that I just brought home a new pair of rocket skis.

My 7 year old RS9 skate skis have been demoted. My skating abilities have increased and the skis have been a big part of the improvement but it was time. It's called the end of the season selling things that are normally very expensive at a much more reasonable price time. S a visit to my favorite ski dealer last night had me looking at a new pair of Atomic race skates. They were calling name, I couldn't resist, they are on the waxing table now. Like bikes the evolution of skis over the last couple years is amazing. The changes in sidewall construction etc, lucky I don't plan on adding xc ski racing as a major winter activity. Just some random fun.

I had some debates on changing categories for tomorrow but sticking to my original decision. 20k classic and while others are still out there puking during the 40 I'll get some play time on the new skis. That old proverb of don't try something new on race day will be followed. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, I have realistic expectations on results. Hoping that my gear and waxing abilities will make up for limited fitness and technique. Chill tonight for what could be another epic weekend of playing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It was worth it

Im tired, I'll be dragging my ass today and guzzling coffee like it was water but it as so worth it. Last thoughts Monday had me skiing, oh I skied alright. First round was 2 hours in the glorious sun. With only light winds by the mid way point it almost felt hot out on the ice. I had the mad pack of dogs chasing me. It was perfect, great snow, great conditions, great pace. I would have been content to call it a day after that but I didn't.

After a good stretch out on the deck it was out for round two with Shannon. The snow was even better, it was even warmer, even with tired legs I was ready for a f more solid hours but we kept it fairly light, light being another hour and a half. Again the dogs running around like lunatics. I think they enjoyed this time a little more as we skied around all the islands, lots of smells to amuse them and the pace was much slower. They are both moving slower today. They easily ran 70 plus km this weekend.

The day was not done,refueled with some coffee I met up with the boys for the MNS. It's been a while since the last adventure but it was done right. Afte some recon work the previous day The Mighty T promised us a loop that w rideable. He was right, it was perfect. Even though it was a narrow hard packed trail which when slightly tired seemed even narrower the conditions were perfect. It was also the maiden voyage for the xtc, I like it. Fit felt good, the handling was great. It's night and day between my KHS winter bike and the Giant . A great decesion to change

. Some quotes from the night include "who would have thought it woulda look like this a year ago". This coming from Jer on the fact that a year ago we were all on 26 inch hardtails and smack talking 29er as we are all now on twenty niners. A great ride including a couple near death moments, leads into a great rest day. Weather is hinting for some indoor riding this week, prep work for Saturdays race will be mixed in. I need another cup, oh sweet coffee.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Just what I needed. Sun and fun. Fun being attached to some skis and it's still not done. With the long weekend here and what could actually be called the best conditions for winter activities, umm all winter, I've taken advantage of it. With a bit of a solo weekend, just the dogs and I home I pulled out the my pace training. Saturday found us out on Georgian Bay for a warm up skate ski. Conditions were 97 percent perfect with the sun breaking through the clouds and warming the soul. It was a good mix of cat and mouse with the dogs depending on our direction, I love tail winds. An hour and a half of goodness, can it get better?

Yes, yes it can. Sunday was even more gooder. Loaded up the car and headed to Awenda, first one on the trails so a little fluff to break through but overall amazing snow for a 18 km classic around the park. The perfect tempature, the perfect grip, the perfect glide. Had it been track set. The Molly Monster returned at the mid way point and showed her years of endurance and pacing by taking the lead for the last 5 km, the young whippersnapper started to drag her tail on the last 5. 2 hours with some solid tempo mixed in that time, not hard to do in those conditions. It's also given me a chance to evaluate my thoughts for next weekend. At this point I'm at 96 percent set on the 20 km classic for the Loppet. A little disapointed that I don't have faith in my hip to do the 40. The fitness is there but id pay for it, would be taking to many steps backwards. So far the long term Saturday weather is looks no pretty good.

Just waiting for the coffee to kick in and the dogs and I are off to the bay for yet another ski, the sun is up. May be the first test of the xtc 29er tonight. It's fit and comfortable, I figure there will still be a few tweaks to do. After next weekend, spring can arrive.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Official

Im a big wheel owner,who would have thought. Of course I've already started some changes,the first off will be making it Ontario trail ready. The 700 mm bars are, ummm, well wide is an understatement.I don't think I could get through some of the trees in e big backyard with those on. I barely get through some sections with 630's. Basic fit is pretty much done, finding that I may need a different stem to get me low enough but besides that the bike is pretty sweet right out of the box. I'm being smart and keeping the xtc on a different floor than Chuck, of course Chuck Norris knows its here, he knew before I did.

So when will I get the first offical ride in? No clue, hip is being a nuesence right now and of course mother nature has started spitting out the white stuff. Who would have thought that the weather would change to what it should be doing the momentum I start accepting an early spring by getting all things bike ready to go. Some random thoughts of skiing are on the maybe to do list for the winter long weekend. Dogs to tire out, keeping things pretty simple right now with more focus on flexibility than fitness. Is this what old age has for me in the future? Maybe if I start to bubble wrap myself before every outdoor activity I can prevent injuries. Maybe but for now I'll just null the pain with more coffee.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This and That and This

Could be today, maybe tomorrow. New wheels could be on my door step when I get home. Almost like Christmas even though I do have to pay for it. Spelling of Christmas, also preping for just I case. The Anthem is ready to roll, thanks to Jacob for the rebuild and tune up. A few grams lighter and sporting some shiny new parts. Now I just need the snow to melt everywhere but the ski trails. Picky and demanding right.

The bike side of the season is coming together, my body on the other hand. Just as things started to settle and get better I have my wonderful ass smack on the ice which has set me back a bit. Jumping on it full force right now, hoping for some quick recovery, hoping.

As for training, this week so far has been the train, skate skis and a road ride. Nothing longer than an hour and a half, but controlled intensity. Minus the hip, the strength is coming along. Plans to stat increasing the time will start next week, weather and body dependent.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I've heard the trainer is nice this time of year

Why oh why didn't I think a out my actions. I was over anxious without thinking things through and now I'm paying for it. Oh I'm paying for it. I spent the remainder of the weekend trying to remedy the consequences. The scenario, Saturday morning, new snow, minus 15, sun. Yep looked like what mid February should look like. I went to do what I would normally do on a winter morning, yep I went skiing. Still being on a chill week I figured I'd take it was and ski on the bay. No hills, good glide etc etc, low exertion. I should have stayed in bed or on the couch.

I opted to start in the next town over with a rough plan to ski Hoggs Bay, my plan failed quickly. It took all of 6 strides to know that it was going to be a lot more work than I originally planned, the first 5 strides were on snowmobile packed snow, then came the light powder. I should have known better, cold and fresh snow, doesn't pack well. Screw it, toughen up, be a man,keep going. 5 minutes later I'm stopped, this sucks. No ski traction, no ski glide, the wind is a lot colder than I thought, forget being a tough guy use common sense and turn around. That is exactly what I did.

A few minutes later and the hands were frozen, still not back to shore. Why didn't I ride the trainer? Why didn't I take the classics into the woods? Getting closer, getting colder even though I know I dressed right, minus the wind chill. I've been it for ten minutes and hated every second of it. I finally reach the shore line, come to a stop. It wasn't hard since I was barely moving. Catch my breathe, look to the left, look to the right, nice view. That's when it happened, for some reason I found my balance shift onto my right ski, then my balance completely fail. When is the last time of fell on ice? Obviously for me it was Saturday morning around 9:43 and guess what, it friggen hurts.

After the first few seconds of shock went by the pain started. I came down center tailbone. Yep I fell on my ass. Of course being a skinny cyclist means not a lot of booty back there. So now I'm on the ice with my low back and ass screaming in one tone and my hands freezing and screaming at me in another. Attempts to walk it off were useless, instead once home I tried to spin it out on the trainer. Now I'm doing everything and anything I can to feel better, yoga, stretching, heating pad, ice, laser, voodoo, meditation etc etc. With the Loppet only who weeks away some ski mileage is needed, also a random thought about the FrostBike race this weekend has returned. Hopefully my ass recovers quickly, need it two so I can get it handed to me on skis.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Yep, I'm a sheep. I'm following the trend, drinking the kool-aid, buying into the fad. I have a big wheel bike coming. Sticking with a Giant, will be rolling on an xtc 29er by the end of the month. It's funny how this has come around. It's not that I really wanted to change bikes, I still plan on racing the dualie most often but I like options. I love having a hardtail for certain conditions and just even technical riding. I need to have a hardtail, that's where the problem developed.

I like my Blue, at one point I loved it. Now though I have a bit of a fear of it. I know that sounds dumb, being afraid f a bike but when I ride it I'm always just a little hesitant on it. Every time I stand up and put some power down I pause, back off, or worst sit back down. Why I went over the bars last fall for what I consider one of my most painful injuries to date is still a mystery but it's always in my mind. It happened on the Blue and I. just can't seem to get past it. This is a problem, how can you tride aggressive if you have fear your bike may hurt you, I'll never push on the Blue again. So that's why it's has to go. It's still an amazing bike and hopefully it will be a great race bike for someone else.

This is where the debate went in, new 26 inch bike or do I chance it and see what all the fuss is about with the big wheels. I thought long and hard, about 6 minutes, roughly how long it took for me to drink a cup of coffee. Some research was done, option list was made, the search began. Less than a week after really looking and planning I have a 2011 Giant xtc 1 coming. It's black, the Chuck Norris bike will either be happy to have a friend or the world will catastrophically implode. Some plans for a Stan's wheel build up have already started. I haven't even got the bike yet.

The countdown to spring has begun, I'll be a little more anxious for it next week. For now, another cup of coffee before heading out for a ski in the winter like conditions

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

needed, deserved

Little happening as the week hits the midway point. Rest week became a reality, body is draggy and craving sleep. That day job plays its toll on the play job sometimes. A light spin on the rollers helped make the body feel better, unsure what tonight will bring. On the happy side of things, new goodies for e Anthem are rolling in. Bike will be ready for spring riding when spring shows up . I am guesstimating that my be on the 29th, just a wild guess.

Doesn't look like I will make it down to the FrostBike race this year. A little disappointed but there is always next season. Timing just not working for me at this point. Thoughts on the the ski race the following weekend, I'm wondering if I should start looking for some wheels to bolt on. Hoping winter and mother nature sends a little white stuff our way.

Check out the AWI Racing site, new team members announced. I need coffee.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another good one

Another great weekend with a solid mix of outdoor adventure, the highlight was Saturday. With the cross country ski conditions here very limited we loaded up the car and drove north, way north. 2.5 hours later we were in Killarney Provincial Park in hopes of some great skiing. Overall it was pretty good, what was surprsing was that they didn't have all that much more snow than what we have, they just didn't get the rain. This made the trail a lot bumpier than they are probably used as we made our was out to Freeland Lake.

Lots of tracks that we're not owned by skiers, deer, moose, wolves, cougars, well we think it was a cougar track. Unfortunately we didn't see any of the culprits that left these tracks. The return loop had us out on the ice, I was craving some skate skis at this point, the conditions we perfect for them. An inch of snow on mirror smooth ice, life is tough. Some more photo opps at what would normally be a canoe portage, this time of the year though the skis did have to come off as we waked passed the water falls. George Lake was also spectacular with great snow and awesome ice waterfalls along the rock faces. Yep, it was worth the drive for the 2 plus hour ski.

Sunday was back at home and on the two wheels, an our of solid tempo pace out on the road before meeting Shannon at the parking lot in Copeland. For the next two hours we made all the xc so IRS shake their heads and smile as we ripped around the trails which yet again we better for bikes than skis. Maybe I'm a ski snob now but I just didn't like hearing the bases being shredded off. Hopefully some snow will return. Of course the dogs were with us both days.

Good weekend of training, feeling that there maybe be a couple chill days this week. It's been a few weeks of unstructured structured workouts. Body is craving a little rest, just a little.

Friday, February 3, 2012

when given lemons,

Oh Copeland forest trails, I've missed you. I know I've played on your wide paths many times this winter but it's your narrow winding trails. You know what I'm talking about, singletrack. This is not a word many talk about in this part of Ontario at this time of year unless you have a trip south planned. Thats changed this year.

After a quick start and stop on the road, I just wasn't in the mood to ride on the road yesterday and the dogs we in need of a run I did what I normally would do, in June. I went to the big backyard. My thought of this was pretty simple, it was either going to be awesome and amazing or it would be completely unrideable but the dogs would atleast get a short run. It wasnt the later. The snow was just hard enough to roll on and just soft enough to give some traction. No studded tires on my bikes, just big wheels. The 29er winter beast was in its element with the 2.3 tire. Started out on the ski trails, I'll be honest I would have been content to just ride around on these but after close to an hour I noticed one of the marked snowshoe trails looked solid and made that left turn that puts a smile on your face.

Again they were perfect and with the dogs still in chase I found the pace quicken. It got the dogs fired up and Molly showed signs of her old self by passing and then ramping up the speed even more. Yep I got dropped by a 8.5 year old dog, I smiled. I was having fun, I started to craving spring. The biggest reason, I want smoother trails, my head is still rattling from the bumps on the trails and the rigid bike. It was worth it. Even made my way up the wall singletrack, some of it while on the pedals, some of it was pushing the bike.

2 hours of play time that will help me deal with any boring trainer time, the dogs a tired, the legs are tired. Hmmm thinking I may have to do that again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

which way

Ground hog day. Grab your gun and threaten any of the rodents. My only problem is which way would I influence it. Have to admit that I would still like some sort of winter but on the others sorts the legs are looking pretty pale. Hmmmm, I feel that I need to have atleast another cup of coffee before deciding. Trainer last night, something outside tonight.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Almost wasted

Shoulda, woulda, coulda, didn't. It felt like a waste but it was needed, a rest day. In what was almost tropical like conditions for January I failed to take advantage of it with some sort of outdoor training, instead an easy stroll with the dogs who probably weren't complaining. After 4 days of solid winter based training my legs were mad at me. I did get a little spring fever though on the walk, that thought of riding without seven layers of clothing. It doesn't seem like it will be all that far away. More than likely it won't be, let's see what the rodent says tomorrow.

Some race discussion was brought up at the MNS snowshoe. Some debating on my part to be had. The thoughts of a 24 hour may be in the mix yet again. Yes I said I wasn't go to do one this year, I may have lied about that for the second time already. Let's see how the body feels over the next few weeks.

Feeling chipper this morning, craving some exertion, ski, bike? both? Will see what the rest of the week brings.