Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Monday, 30 April 2012

How to Make a Million Dollars, Be Undeniably Desirable to the Opposite Sex, and Have a Happy Life

A few rainy days this week, kept the saddle hours down (no native jokes here please, I know we prefer bareback).  Still managed four good rides between Sunday and Saturday, each of them 2 hours or less, but all pretty intense.

Did also get out this Sunday and Monday...not so much training, but fairly good rides.  Time to get back into training mode though.  Need to get back on the nutrition bandwagon too (again with the native/western reference...however I have no reservations about that), after a soft week in that regard.  Next big race is not until May 20th, so I am keeping my eyes open for something to compete in between now and then.  I believe the Albion race series starts this week so that may be an option.

Finally, I ordered a new bike a couple months ago.  There has been a delay in shipping but the bike is now in Montreal, awaiting final shipping to Waterdown.  Hopefully this week!!  I will keep you posted!!

Oh, and about the blog title; I’m still working on that.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

This Week Mountain Biking (fancy title eh?!)

Week  Activity = MTB 9.5 hours, CX 2.5 hours, Weights 0 hours, Hockey 0 hour.

Sunday was the Paris to Ancaster Race (see previous blog for all the glorious details)...basically a muddy, messy challenge!  And my first time racing a CX bike.
Monday was a solo recovery ride on the local trails.  Supposed to be a recovery ride, but every time I came up to a challenging hill (and there are more than a few of those out here!) I had to test my limits; so more of workout than a recovery.  So took Tuesday off as a rest day.
On Wednesday early morning  I went out for a local solo ride.  Good workout type of hill climbing ride.  Wednesday evening was a group ride with BicycleWorks.  These guys kill me!  They are so technically gifted (far, far beyond far), that it takes all of my stamina to catch and keep up to them...especially after a technical downhill!!   So, overall Wednesday was an intense workout day!  I love it!!
Thursday was a 2.5 hour ride out at Kelso with NewfieSteve.  A fast, flowy ride for the most part.  Then we came down ‘Fire’ a rocky twisty downhill trail), and planned on climbing ‘Ascension’ (we call the climb ‘Grunt’) a 3 stage loosely gravelled road climb, but it was closed for construction.  So we headed up the ‘Green Meanie’ (our name for this trail)...basically a trail straight up the ski hill; it’s one of the longest, steepest climbs around here.  It's not technical but climbing that damn thing was like doing a 200 rep leg press workout!!  A lung busting, quad tearing, soul destroyer; starting as a dirt singletrack, ending as slippy grass.  I love it!!  (I say that the time I was telling myself how stupid this is!, why am I doing this?, when are we quitting?, CAR!!)
Friday was a well deserved rest.  Saturday was a 3 hour ride at Albion with NewfieSteve, and EnglishJim, followed by a BBQ recovery meal at Albion’s campground.  Nothing postable occurred here!!  J
This was a bad week for me as diet discipline gotta get back on that bandwagon!  Fat don’t equal fast, unfortunately!!   Four whole weeks to the next scheduled race though....may have to find one or two to do in between.  Will keep you posted!!!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Paris to Ancaster aka Homage to Mud??

Well the P2A has come and gone; and with it the tradition of inclement weather continues!  On the drive to Paris with Heidi (our shuttle pilot), NewfieSteve, and English Jim, the rain began (as predicted...Environment Canada got this one right!!).

Got to Paris, geared up, then did several laps on the road to get warmed up, and do a double-check of gearing and braking.  Met MikeO, and we did a couple of more laps, but this resulted in getting into the paddock too far back.  Note to self, for next time...’get to paddock early, and get up front’!!! (And what the hell is with people who get to the paddock later than me, but think they deserve to push their way in front???  Next time this happens, someone is gonna eat a whole lotta glove!!)   It continued to rain, steadily; but at least it wasn’t too cold (about 15 degrees at 10am and getting warmer).  And we were off!  The several hundred racers of wave one squeezing their way through the paddock start gate.

It was a serious mistake starting too far back.  The road and rail trail was packed, and it was very, very difficult to pass, and risk being rude or wiping someone out.  (There was a rider down near the start, and it looked serious.)  However, in hindsight, I really needed to be more aggressive.  Getting stuck back in the pack, and not aggressively passing put me too far back to make up.  Note #2 to the future, be much more aggressive passing when necessary!! 

And the mud!!  The spray in the pack was saturating!!  The thin, slick coating on the top of the rail trail was a shower of muddy grit, coating glasses, skin, and clothing.  The quandary was to keep the glasses on and be blinded, or to take them off and get mud in the eyes.  I eventually elected to take the glasses off and hang them from my camelback strap.  Then diving into the first bit of single track, looking forward to getting out of the spray of pooh, only to realize the rain had turned the trail into a gravity enhancing, tire slogging, thick bed of energy sucking mud.  As I ground my way into the singletrack I shifted the front derailleur from the big ring to the small to make the work easier, but no shift.  The mud had clogged the derailleur, blocked the cable, blackmailed the shifter, or otherwise convinced the gods I wasn’t worthy of chainring gearing...and repeated attempts had no effect.  Big ring, it was for the entirety of the race; which meant having to run a couple of the steeper, slicker hills.

The remainder of the race was the same; however the last half of the race saw less single track and more open road (gravel and paved), which gave me the opportunity to pass many other racers.  Several attempted to hold on and draft, but for the most part I rode away from them.  This was a great opportunity to test my fitness, and the effect of my winter/spring training; and I am very happy with my fitness level!!  However, at some point I decided to reach down and check on my glasses...they were gone!  I had lost them!!  I don't even want to say what they are worth...dammit.  Anyways, I digress; back to the race.  Then came the last 3 km...Martin’s hill...a technical climb for the first 2km, then just a steep gravelly monster for the last km.  I contemplated, getting off to manually shift the chain into the small ring to do the climb; or complete it in the big ring, then run the final steep climb.  I stubbornly elected to stay in the big ring...I didn’t want to dismount, get out of the groove,  then have to get going again.

All along I was watching the clock, disappointed with how close I was getting to last year’s time (2hr 31min 15sec).  My goal was to be faster than last year, and to be as close as possible to 2 hours.  I also wanted to finish in the top 250 to automatically qualify for wave 1 next year.  As I came up the Martin’s hill, I was dangerously closing in on my last year’s time...hence the reason I did not want to get off the bike until I had to.  So I ground up the technical section, skipping the bike over the roots, rocks, dips, puddles, mud holes...and in doing so the legs were in great form...but the lungs were starting to recoil...unable to pull in the oxygen as fast as the muscles were using it.  I’m sure one of my lungs is still in the mud alongside the end of Martin’s road.  And as I came upon the steep section I powered into the climb...only to quickly grind to a slow crawl.  So, off the bike, pick it up and start fast as a forty nine year old Metis, in mountain bike shoes, hacking up a lung, with a bike on his back, on a 30% grade can sprint.  (Did I mention, I also had to pee??)  Halfway up, CaptainSydor (a talented cyclist I met on the MTBR Forum), was already finished and took the opportunity to heckle me.  Someday...!  Anyways, as I approached the top of the hill, and it started to level out...I stuffed a lung back in my throat, got back on my bike to cross the finish line in proper form.  Race done; result...2hr 30min 5sec with a placing of 231st. 

Although disappointed in the overall time (I was hoping for better), I had reached my goal...and in far less than ideal conditions.  And I learned a couple of lessons for next race.  Heidi graciously met me at the finished; threw me in the wheelchair (wheelbarrow?) and dragged me over to the truck to get changed and wait for NewfieSteve  Overall, a challenging but great day.  Can’t wait for the next race!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Training Update; Mountain Biking; Cyclecrossing; Paris to Ancaster

Weekly Goals = MTB 8 hours, Road/Trainer 3 hours, Weights 3 hours
Week  Actual = MTB 9 hours, CX 2.5 hours, Weights 0 hours, Hockey 0 hour.
Current Weight = 193 lbs.

Training Notes
This brings me to the end of my ‘official’ 10 weeks of training; with the first race on my schedule taking place tomorrow (Paris to Ancaster).  Time to see if I did it right!  The nerves are goin!!

This week on the bike(s)
Managed to make it out to Dundas with NewfieSteve on Sunday for a good, long, intense ride, finding some of the more technical singletrack amongst the rail trails and double track.  We also managed to throw ourselves at Martin’s Hill (the lon,g drawn out lung busting, leg cramping climb that makes up the last 2 kms of the Paris to Ancaster race) for a couple of runs.
Monday had me soloing the local trails.  The Waterdown trails are so hilly and technical; an hour ride is like a three hour ride anywhere else.  Tuesday was a local morning ride with Rod.  This man loves the hills which made for a very intense ride!!  If this wasn’t enough Wednesday evening was a local ride with BicycleWorks Jim, for more very intense hill climbing.  BWJim is getting back into shape fast after a 5 week medical layoff!!  I was completely sapped after Tuesday’s rides!!
I also got a couple of rides this week on BicycleWorks Paul’s CX bike that I will be using in the P2A race.   Managed to get it out to Martin’s Hill as well, to check out how the skinnier tires and taller gearing will treat me.  Should be interesting!!!

A 60 km sprint, in what looks to be a warm rainy day.  My main goal is to beat last year’s time (2hr31min15sec).  Also want to keep up to my friends that are also participating.  Fig beat me by 6 minutes last year, but he is far faster this year (and about 40 years younger than me!).  NewfieSteve will have his SWorks Epic out for its first race.  EnglishJim will be out on his shiny, new (this week!!)custom built, titanium 29er!
Look for the race report this coming week!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Training Update; Week 9 of 10

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

Week  Actual = MTB 9 hours, Road 6 hours, Weights 1.5 hours, Hockey 0 hour (hockey is done for the season, out in the first round of the playoffs).
Current Weight = 193 lbs.

Notes of noteworthy note this week
The Homage to Ice race last Sunday (see previous post!)
An hour on the road bike Monday, on local roads, as a recovery from Sunday.
Borrowed BicycleWorks Paul’s CX bike for a ride on Tuesday.  Paul wants me to use the CX in the upcoming Paris to Ancaster race.  I am considering but need to log some hours on the bike to get used to it.  Also not sure how the gearing will handle on Martin’s hill.
Three hours on the MTB on Wednesday on two separate rides.  A local trail solo ride in the morning and the BicycleWorks group ride on ‘The Dump Run’ in the evening.
Thursday had me and NewfieSteve out for a 4 hour road ride.  We headed north to the village of Moffat stopping there briefly at Dar’s bakery to fuel up with a couple of Dar’s buttertarts.  We then headed west to Dee’s bakery near Valens Conservation Area on Road 97 to refuel with a couple (OK three!) of Dee’s buttertarts.  We then headed south to Dundas to have a recovery beverage at Cafe Domestique where my very (very, very) good wife Heidi met us to carry our sorry arses home.  This may have turned into a calorie neutral ride but it was tasty and fun!!
Saturday was two hours on the MTB with group from BicycleWorks out on the ‘Dump Run’, ‘Limeys’, and ‘RockCliffe’.
Hoping to get a ride in Sunday morning before having too much turkey and ham in the evening.  Also want to confiscate Paul’s CX bike this week and get some ride time on it if I am to use it in the P2A!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Homage to Ice (Chain?)

Well this race turned out to be quite interesting.  It rained/hailed/sleeted almost the entire hour and forty minute drive (NewfieSteve drove) to Mansfield, letting up about 5 km out from Mansfield.  Once registered (looks like a load of blue t-shirts again this year!), it was time to get geared up, then warm up and try to get the moisture off the brakes (the discs howl like crazy when they are wet).

It was cold and damp lining up in the starting paddock, but the body and mind felt good and ready to go.  And we were off.  I got started farther back in the paddock than I would have liked, so I pulled a fast pace to get more towards the lead pack within the first km or two.  The trail was in great condition!!  The sandy earth in Mansfield was nicely packed from the rain and the moisture in the air.  And I had a great pace going!  I was hard on the wheel of the rider in front of me, looking for the twisty single track to widen up to find a safe position to pass.  Then disaster struck (insert overly dramatic orchestral music here).
About 10 – 12 km in, on one of the longer singletrack climbs, my chain let go with a loud ‘thunk’!  I looked down to see it hanging, snapped in half.  Off the bike, flip it over off the edge of the trail, throw down gloves, riding glasses, and pull out the chain breaker.  Snap off the offending broken link, and pull out a quick link.  Meanwhile everyone I had managed to pull in front of off the start was passing me.  NewfieSteve passed by and offered to lend assistance but I told him to keep reason to ruin his race.  I snap the quick link onto the opposite ends of the broken chain and pull the links together, but they refuse to link up!!  After many choice words and repeated attempts to get the link to snap just won’t.  I pull out another new quick link (I just happened to have two), and repeat the process, but again, it just would not link up.  (Have I mentioned yet that I am quite possibly the world’s worst bike mechanic??).  By now EVERYONE has passed me...I was Robinson Caruso...alone and abandoned...forever.  Not sure what to do next, I assumed that perhaps the broken chain link, had twisted the neighbouring links, so I pull out the chain breaker again and pull off these links, apply the quick link (again), and after several more attempts it partially links up!  I flip the bike upright, and apply some torque to a pedal, and the quick link snapped into place!!  My glasses had gotten messed in the wet leaves, so i shove them into a pocket, throw the gloves on, get on the bike and get going.  The chain repair was not perfect, the chain skipped in certain gears, but it was go hard, or go home...I had so much ground to make up!!  The repair set me back 20 minutes exactly!
So....go hard I did.  It was, full on, balls out riding.  With no one in front to slow me down, it was a full out 40 km sprint to finish.  I was pushing my quads, back, and lungs to the limit.  But I was just too far behind to make up enough time in that remaining distance.  I passed many riders, but the main group I was after was out of reach.  However, my main reason for doing this race (it was not originally on my planned schedule of races), was to test my fitness level, and I was very happy with my effort.  I was able to go all out, without any issues; no cramping, and the legs and lungs were willing to go as hard as I could push them, which is great for this early in the season. 
There are a few things I still need to work on, but this was a fun race, and I am glad I did it.  Saw a few familiar faces, got to test myself, and the trail was fun and challenging.  Dan of Substance Projects always runs a first rate race.  Looking forward to the next one!  Here is hoping the rest of the season is ‘mechanical’ free!