Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Friday, 30 March 2012

Mountain Biking This Week; Training Update Week 8 of 10

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week  Actual = MTB 7 hours, Road 0 hours, Weights 0 hours, Hockey 1 hour.
Current Weight = 193 lbs.

Was all on the mountain bike this week, no road...which was OK given the chilly windier weather this week.  Were we really that spoiled by the great weather earlier this month??  OK, I was...want summer back!!
This week had me and NewfieSteve spend an afternoon on an MTBR group ride out at Turkey Point.  Great flowy trails, but would like to get back out there to find some more technical trails and climbs...I am told they exist out there.  And the sandy base there makes the trails rideable in just about all conditions.

The remainder of the week had me riding locally, solo other than for the BicycleWorks group ride on Wednesday when we rode the ‘Dump Run’.  Used to be that I was terrified of this trail, cuz of how difficult and technical it is; but I am getting used to it.  I need improving most with my technical skills, so these kinds of rides are of great benefit for me.
Broke a spoke this week, which ended up with me feeling relieved because I initially thought the sound from the rear end of my bike was a damaged hub!  Also flatted this week, landing a small jump onto some sharp rocks, tearing a hole in the side wall that Stan’s couldn’t plug fast enough.  Also required a bit of a wheel truing.  It was good timing though, as it was time to replace the heavy winter tires (Specialized Control Captains), with new racing tires (Specialized SWorks Fast Traks).  It is amazing what a difference tires can make.  Lighter tires with less rolling resistance make the bike feel like a rocket!  Is it all in my head?  Maybe some, but reducing rotational weight really does make a big difference.   Now if I could only get faster!!

No more riding for this week, as I have thrown in an unexpected race for this Sunday.  The Homage to Ice out at Mansfield promoted by Substance Projects.  Although I am not down to anywhere near the weight I would like to be at for a race, it will be a good test of my fitness to date, and let me know how much harder I have to work!  Plus the trails at Mansfield are great fun, and not normally open to the public.  Here is hoping conditions will be OK, and both my bike and I survive!
Wish me well...otherwise just send beer!  J

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Training Update Week 7 of 10; What a Week for Mountain Biking!!

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week  Actual = MTB 12.5 hours, Road 1 hours, Weights 1 hours, Hockey 1 hour.
Current Weight = 193 lbs.

The weather and trail conditions made for a great week, and multiple opportunities to get on the trails.  From our local trails (Waterdown, several options minutes from my driveway), to Turkey Point last Sunday, to Kelso yesterday.  Managed to get a short road ride in Thursday with the BicycleWorks group (Thursday is typically the shops group road ride), before thunder and lightning cut it short.  NewfieSteve, BicycleWorksJim and I are heading to Turkey Point today to ride with a group from the MTBR Forums, to start off a new week of riding; however, a couple of busier work days, and an intent to taper a bit to prepare for the Homage to Ice Race on April 1st could see reduced ride times this week. 

Let’s see how it goes!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Mountain Biking So Far This Week

Turkey Point

Managed to hit Turkey Point this Sunday with NewfieSteve.   Can’t believe that we have never been (yeah I know, I write like I talk).  First impression was how dry the trails were for this time of fact, too dry.  They were actually slippery dry...and boggy sandy in spots!  The marked trails are extremely fast and flowy, the downside is that except for the occasional tight tree-through, and stumps along the trials edge, there was not much technical challenge.  The unmarked trails, past the dam, were more technical with a few sharp climbs, roots, and log overs.  However, two hours flew by, and we had to head back to the trailhead before dark with a ton of trails left to explore.  Will have to head back, perhaps for a camping weekend, to hit as much of the extensive trail network as possible.

Though I say the trails were not that technical, NewfieSteve managed a couple of impressive incidents.  Now, I have to say that NewfieSteve is one of the most technically proficient (that means good) riders I ride with, which is one of the reasons I enjoy riding with him.  I am all power and endurance, which means I am technically giftLESS (that means bad), and riding with NewfieSteve helps me to learn and improve on this aspect.  Anyways, about a half hour into our ride NewfieSteve managed to endo while hopping over a 4 inch (yes 4 inches...that’s about 10cms for you young’uns), and hit the ground with the ‘whump!’ of 180 pounds of falling meat.  Once I was sure he was OK (other than for the dirt in his helmet) I laughed heartily (hey, that’s what good friends do!).  He quickly blamed the endo on the fact that he came unclipped because his pedals were too loose.  Well he has been complaining about this for two months, but never taken the time to tighten his now he took the 3 minutes required to rectify the situation; and we were off again.  Not too long after, speeding around a switchback, he managed to nearly clothesline himself (to the point where his bike almost flipped over backwards), on a small tree hidden by a larger tree.  Left him with a very impressive bruise in his shoulder, but otherwise OK.

 I, surprisingly, had no incidents...crashes, or mechanicals.  Life was good, and to repeat myself to make a point, we will have to visit Turkey Point again!

Other Stuff

Managed to get out Monday morning for a short 1 hour ride on the local Waterdown trails.   Enjoyed the more technical nature of our local trails, and they are surprisingly dry for this time of year.  Also got out for an early morning ride Wednesday with BWPaul, and will get out with the BicycleWorks group ride on Wednesday evening.

Need all the riding I can get in since Launchzone talked me into registering for the Homage to Ice race on April 1st!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Training Update Week 6 of 10; And Buttertart!!

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours
Week 6 Actual = MTB 0 hours, Road 16.5 hours, Weights 0 hours, Hockey 1 hour.
Current Weight = 195 lbs.
A week of great weather made the trails too mushy to ride, but left a great opportunity for road riding.  I am not a big fan of road riding, and given the choice I will always choose my MTB.  However, the road bike is a great workout, and in my opinion is the best way to build endurance for the MTB.  Plus, they are so fast and efficient when I do ride the road bike, it gives a bit of a rush.  With the incredible weather this week, I took every free minute to get on the bike; much to my wife Heidi’s great joy.

Tour de Buttertart
Finished the week off on Saturday with a 112km (including the 15 km from my house to ride start at Domestique-Cafe in Dundas) group road ride.  The idea of the ride is to hit several ‘local’ (local meaning within the 100km ride loop) bakeries along the way and consume buttertarts (really, in my extensive medical experience there has to be something either biologically or psychologically wrong with someone who does not like buttertarts).  What a group to ride with!  The ride was planned by GarageMonster and NerdGirl of MTBR Forum fame, and I think the fastest riders in the province showed (or just the people who had the greatest need for a buttertart!).  Anyways my computer showed an average speed of 29 km/hr for the ride. 

Mother Nature gave us dense fog and cool temperatures to make the start a challenge, but otherwise it was a great ride, fantastic workout; and finished in royal style with a couple of dark stouts at Domestique!  And special thanks to Heidi, for coming to enjoy a latte while listening to the BS stories of a bunch of sweaty bikers and bailing out my exhausted arse with a ride home!

Homage to Ice
This is a race promoted by Dan at SubstanceProjects.  I did not plan on doing this race, because conditions at this time of year are normally tragic.  However, there has been nothing normal about the weather this year, and my buddy Launchzone, who has been working on the west coast for the last 5 months (seriously!), is returning and has talked me into doing with race with him.  So, ready or not, this will be my first race of the season (April 1st!).

Today, NewfieSteve and I are looking to ride at Turkey Point.  Here’s looking to another good week to ride!

Friday, 16 March 2012

This Week on the Road and Questions From the Heart

One of the best thing about cycling; MTB or road in my geographical area, is getting back to nature.  Getting out of the city, into the trails (or concessions/sideroads) and seeing the natural order of things. 
Anyone notice that there doesn’t seem to be as many birds this year??

This week, the trail conditions has resulted in many hours on the road; which has its goods and bads.
Road Riding Pros:  Endurance, endurance, endurance!!  Can’t get the MTB endurance needed without it!  Fast!!!  Dem bikes is fast...almost makes the MTB feel like a tank!
Road Riding Cons:  Sausage suits, weak looking bikes, idiot traffic, headwinds.
Anyone got anything to add??
Hey, anyone else lurk on the MTBR Forums?  Why does every thread on the Eastern Canada MTBR Forum turn into a bickering whine-fest??

Wednesdays Road Ride
Typically, Wednesday is the BicycleWorks group MTB ride; but the trail conditions turned this into a road ride.  Problem is that they don’t leave till after 6pm...which doesn’t leave a lot of time before the sun sets.  So I set off at 5pm to get some solo time in before meeting the group at 6.

I headed south and west from Waterdown, and planned to go until 5:25, then turn around to get back in time to meet the group.  Made it as far as Crooks Hollow, then turned back.  The Snake road climb makes for a good mid ride burn.  Met the group at the shop, including British Bob, Newfie Steve, BWJim, Martin.  We headed north of Waterdown, to try to get a decent ride in before darkness.  I typically try to drop the hammer for the last 10 or so kms and sprint out the finish, and see who wants to keep pace.  All in all, about 2.5 hours in total, and about 2500 cals burned.
Question:  What really is the proper way to spell ketchup?  Think the Freemasons have this secret?  On that note, what is buried at Oak Island???
Thursdays Road Ride
Thursday is the BicycleWorks group road ride.  I again headed out early to get time in before the 6pm group start.  Headed south and west again, into West Flamborough then south on Middletown Rd only to find that the road had been closed to traffic.  I slipped through the road block but the normally nasty climb out from Middletown to Governors rd was muddy...made for a HUGE workout climbing out...only to head east on Governors the north on Weirs Lane...another killer quad smashing climb (who’s stupid idea was this??).  These two slow arse climbs had left me behind on time, so had to sprint back into Waterdown to meet the group in time.  This group included NewfieSteve, BWPaull, and BWJim.  Paul set out maintaining a nice 30-35km/hr pace...then he kicked me into a sprint for the last 12km again.  Had to keep going, quads were a twitching mess.  Great ride again!  3 hours and 3200 calories.

Supposed to be in the 20s this weekend!!!  Trail rides???  Here’s hoping!!  Green beer??

Question:  Did the Mayas have it right?  Whats happening Dec 21??  Why am I asking all these stupid questions???
When’s the next post?  Stay tuned!!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Soft And Mushy, Warm 'N' Wet

The warm spring weather is making the trails unrideable.  Makes for the opportunity/necessity to break out the road bike!!  Which is what I have done so far this week.

Sundays Ride

Sunday had me riding with Fig, NewfieSteve, and CheeseLegs.  We started at 9am, with the temp at 8degrees C.  There was a solid breeze coming from the West, so we decided to head out into the breeze so we could have it behind us for the way back.  Really was an incident free ride for the most part.  Other than a couple of farm dogs running out to consider diving into a meal of sausage suited road cyclists (Fig apparently has a fear of canines) , and a huge turkey vulture fighting a small flock of crows (proper terminology is ‘murder’ in case you care...really...look it up, even!) for a raccoon ‘sleeping’ on the road, the only excitement was trying to stay far enough ahead of CheeseLegs to avoid his incessant chatter. 

 The return loop was a blast with the tailwind for the most part; pushing to keep on Figs wheel for several kilometres at 45km/hr.  NewfieSteve had just returned from a week long holiday, so he was battling some cramping, but managed to hang in there without getting left for dead.

All in all, resulted in a great ride, almost 88km in total.


Headed out on a solo road ride Monday morning early, before work.  Quads were really feeling the last several days of riding, so took it rather easy for a 47km ride, just under 2 hours.  Solo road riding is a rather mind numbing experience (wait!  Be’s ‘serene’!), so hopefully can goad someone into joining me next time...or just have the trails dry out soon!!

That is all for now...except for this pic...

Maximus (our cat) joining me to watch LifeCycles.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Training Plan Update, Week 5 of 10; Saturday's Ride; Other Stuff

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week 5 Actual = MTB 6 hours, Road/Trainer 4.5 hours, Weights 2.5 hours, Hockey 1 hour.

Current Weight = 195 lbs.

Saturday's Ride

Saturdays is a group ride from Bicycleworks.  The temperature got down to about -8 C on Friday night so the trails were frozen solid, which made for IDEAL hard pack trail conditions at the start of the ride at 8:00AM.  It was BritishBob's birthday so he got to pick the route, and chose the 'Classic'...a series of technical, twisty trails with several serious technical climbs and descents; really a great choice for the perfect conditions.  Conditions made for a fast fun 2 hour ride.

There were heavy winds during the week that left some branches and sticks on the trail.  I must have picked one up on one steep twisty descent; broke a spoke which then wrapped around my rotor and wedged itself between the rotor and pad in the brake.  The back wheel immediately locked.  Luckily out of our group of ten riders, Martin, Frank and Fig were behind me; and Martin is a Honda motorcycle mechanic.  So Martin managed to get the wheel un-wedged, Frank pulled out the offending spoke and put it in my pack, and Fig and I watched (Fig is a great supervisor; I should get him a white helmet)...and we were back on the way; sprinting off to catch the rest of the group.

The only other incident during the ride was that Paul got to try out the rape whistle on his new Camelback...can't tell you more than that (what happens on the trail stays on the trail?).

Otherwise, it's supposed to get up to 16 degrees C, for Sunday (today), so I am off for a 9AM road ride with Fig, NewfieSteve, and CheeseLegs.  I will let you know if I survive!!


Friday, 9 March 2012

So Far This Week

As far as biking activity goes, got out for a Mountain bike ride with Rod on Monday.  The conditions were great!  It was very cold (7:30 am), but the trail was frozen and solid....made for a great 2 hour fast ride.  By the way, Rod is a climbing machine!!!  Hills tremble in his wake...I don’t think there is one too steep for this guy! 

Got a weight workout in that afternoon between work appointments.  My back tends to cramp up on longer rides/races (+ 2hours); so I try to work on core each week.

Wednesday, was too warm, made the trails were too soft and muddy to ride.  Meant an 8am road ride (yeah, I know) with Rod, and Jim and Paul from Bicycleworks.  Was very windy, which made for a great workout ride.  Jim is recovering from 5 weeks off to recover from surgery, so him and Paul hung back and rode easy.  Rod and I let er rip...until Rod broke a spoke on a steeper climb (remember I remarked on his climbing power earlier).  At the time I thought I dropped him...but he made the circumstances clear at the end of the ride!

Let the legs rest on Thursday, but fit a weight workout into the work day.

This morning (Friday), saw a trail ride with Rod and Jim.  It got to freezing temperatures over night, but just enough to freeze the top surface of the ground...leaving mush underneath.  Conditions made for a grind of a ride...great workout, but not much speed to be had.  At least the frozen surface let us ride without damaging the trails.

It is supposed to get cold and freeze tonight.  Should make for good ride conditions in the morning!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Road Ride With Fig

Managed to get out for the first road ride of the year yesterday!  Why road, you say?  This is a Mountain Bike blog, you say!  Well, true dat...but, road riding gives a viable alternative when trail conditions do not allow a trail ride; and it is amazing endurance training!!  In other words I road ride to be a better mountain biker...almost Zen, ain’t it?

Anyways, I was accompanied by my buddy Fig (yes another nick-name...get used to it), which is significant here for a number of reasons.  First, he is 17 years younger than me; second, he is a competitive gymnast, and a gymnastics coach; he commutes 5 days a week to work and back by bicycle (at least 8 million kms each way according to his tellings).  In other words he is lean, fit, and fast on a bike.  (Fig races as well, and my only saving grace in keeping me competitive with him is that his high metabolism has him burn through his nutrition quickly, that and I am not smart enough to know when to quit).  So, just the right riding partner to make me hurt...especially considering that we chose a route to give us some nasty hill training.  Add that it was -8degrees Celcius, and windy. 

So, I did manage to maintain and keep up the Fig-pace for the most part.  However, where he appeared to be barely breathing, I had body parts questioning my commitment to our relationship...lungs collapsing, diaphragm rupturing, quads threatening to run away with the glutes for a trial separation.  Exactly the right kind of road training ride.  We got in about 80kms, including 2100 feet elevation (climbing), burning 3100 calories, and averaging about 26 km/hr which wasn’t bad considering the hills and the wind. 

Bottom line here is, if you want to get better, ride with someone better than you; with someone who will push your limits and make the effort worthwhile.  Yes, every good story has to have a moral, and now that I’ve made it, I’m done...for now.

Training Plan Update, Week 4 of 10

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours

Week 4 Actual = MTB 6.5 hours, Road/Trainer (including MTB on the road) 2.5 hours, Weights 2.5 hours, Hockey 1 hour.

Current Weight = 195 lbs.

Wuh Happen This Week

Once again snow falling and melting made hitting the trails less available than I would like.  So, resulted in hitting the trainer...yeehaw....not.  Made for one trail ride that the trail was a frozen crust on top, but a half frozen mush underneath...resulting in an intense grind of a ride...great workout...but not alot of fun.  Saturday’s ride had me riding the MTB on the road...I know...sacrilege!!!  However the trails were mush, the road was wet, and when I pulled out the road bike off the trainer the rear tire was slick as glass (from the trainer) I grabbed the MTB.  By the way it was HUGELY windy (65km/hr winds).  In fact the BicycleWorks crew had planned a road ride for that morning, but bailed because of the wind.  I was not smart enough to bail...but it turned out to be a great workout ride; even though it was my MTB on the road, the headwinds and my choice of very hilly roads made it a good two hour burn!

Hopefully, mother nature will be better to us this week, and give us good opportunities to trail ride!!