Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

This week…Victoria’s 100

So to start this week…after the weekend of camping/mountain biking, Monday was a day off the bikes, but included a weight workout, and hockey in the evening.  Not often I take a day off the bike…feels like I am being too lazy.

Tuesday was a solo ride on the Venge out to Moffat to score a buttertart, but the buttertart shop was closed!  WTF!  Dar must be sick/vacation/drunk??  No signs or anything…so nothing to do but head home.  Total ride…60 km at an average of 33.5 km/hr…for 1hr and 48 minutes.

Wednesday morning was a solo ride, Venge, for 30km.  Then in the afternoon NewfieSteve and I made for a local MTB ride.  It was a great reminder, after the last weekend of camping and riding foreign trails, of how lucky we are to have some of the most fun, challenging trails right here in our own back yard. 

Thursday was a one hour ride on the Venge at a 33km/hr average.  The only point of real interest in this ride was how close I came to hitting a squirrel while screaming down a hill at 60km/hr.  Honestly, my life flashed before my eyes!!  And you know how squirrels will sprint to get out of the way when they notice you?  This one looked undaunted!!  Like he could care less!!  Either suicidal or brave??  Didn’t even drop his stupid walnut…I think this was Chuck Norris’ pet squirrel.
Victoria’s 100
So Friday and Saturday again had me off my bike.  Why??  Fig and Centurion convinced me to do Victoria’s 100 bike race with them on Sunday.  Victoria’s 100 is Canada’s only 100 mile mountain bike race (or so it is billed).  The problem isn’t only that it is 100 miles (160 kms), which is stupidly long for a mountain bike race; but that it is held at Mansfield.  While Mansfield has some of the most fun, technically challenging singletrack around, there is so much sand.  Deep sand.  Energy sucking, wheel sliding, tire spinning, bike sinking, speed negative sand. 
Even Mars doesn’t have that much sand.  By the way have you seen the latest pic sent from Curiosity, the Mars rover?  (if you don’t know about this you should look it up)

Anyways, as always, I digress…back to topic.  Sand belongs at the beach (I don’t even like it there)…not on a bike race course.  While I had originally had this race on my schedule, after doing a couple of races at Mansfield this spring (the XC Marathon Challenge 2, and the Spring 8 Hour Epic), I had opted out of Victoria’s 100 because of the sand…and the fact that it was 160 stupid kilometres!!  However, Fig entered it, then convinced Centurion to enter…then they both cajoled me all this week until I capitulated (look the big words up…cuz I’m not really sure what they mean either).  The other challenge with this race, is that generally it’s the top racers that enter a race this difficult.  While I am working hard (very hard, dangit!) to get better, I am far from being a top contender.  As of yet, I am still a fat (compared to the competition) wannabe.  Fig is 12 years younger than me, very fit, and athletic; Centurion is an experienced cycling machine.  This is a pic of Fig and Centurion comparing their quads.

About what I have going for me is what some may call toughness, some may call stupidity, what I consider my willingness to tolerate pain more than many might.  But, damn…I knew this was going to hurt.
So race Sunday started great.  Fig and I were going to carpool, Fig was to pick me up at 4:00am (yes 4…two hour drive, race start at 7:00am).  4:10, no Fig…text message…twice…no answer.  4:20 start packing my own car.  4:30 on my way to Mansfield alone.  I get to Mansfield in time…register get ready…Centurion has shown up by this time and is getting ready as well.  Fig rolls in, in a bit of a panic…and very apologetic…slept in…dumbass.  He gets registered quickly.  Finally, EnglishJim rolls in…WTF??!!  He had decided to register, last minute, for the 80km (there was an 80km option for this race).  Well!  Could this be a fun day after all??
The race was 3 laps of 54 kilometres, with 4 feed stations along the way (including at the start finish).  And we were off.  I am typically a slower starter, and take some time to properly warm up.  About 10 kms in I caught up to Fig, and passed him on one of the few gravel road sections; and surprisingly he didn’t hold on to me.  There was one gravel road section that was 4 – 5 km long, and was a great chance to ignore the pain, hammer, and make up some time.  Otherwise most of the course was very fun, technically challenging singletrack.  About 40 km into the first lap I came down a descent into a bog of sand…surprise, and paying attention to the sand I was sure I saw a directional arrow out the corner of my eye, pointing left…so left I went.  After a km I was wondering…something didn’t seem right…another km…no bike tracks…f’n shite!!  I have gone the wrong way!  I took the opportunity to take a ‘nature break’…I had been holding it for a while (sorry too much info?...happens in a mtb race you know).  I headed back…yup took a wrong turn…now back on track, but an extra 4 km to my lap.  Had Fig, and Centurion passed me??  Had everybody??  I hammered!!  It’s amazing how a little adversity can be motivational.
About 13 km from the end of the first lap, I was flying down a steep hill, hit the bottom where the trail curved gently to the left, when I felt the front wheel start to wash out in the sand.  Just as I thought, ‘I can pull this back.’ Boom!!!  I was down!!  In a 30 km/hr tangle of bike, sand, bush, and Metis.  The outside of my right shin had struck something hard…like the handlebar or a small stump.  I scrambled up, inspected the bike; it was all good.  Got on, and hammered!!  It’s amazing how a little adversity can be motivational.  I told myself not to look down, cuz the shin felt nasty.  I looked down…it looked nasty!!  It looked like someone had stuck a softball under my skin!!  But it wasn’t hugely painful so I continued on…however every little brush with a twig, grass, or bush reminded me that it was injured.  I finished the first lap in about 3.5 hours.  Filled up my water…I was almost out as I hadn’t stopped at any of the stations along the way…and I was off for lap 2. 
Fatigue really started to set in about halfway through lap 2…I was hurting.  Hands, shoulders, neck, back all started to hurt; and I was tired!!  All I could think about was napping.  I made it to the end of lap two, and asked the officials at the start finish about Fig and Centurion.  They had not passed this checkpoint yet!!  I was still in front of them!!  Damn…that meant I had to keep going!  Off I went for lap 3.
I was still hurting…and so fatigued!  I stopped at feedstation one…for chainlube, water, and food.  The gentleman manning the station asked how I was doing (I believe he is Dan, the race organiser's dad).  I told him I was hurting.  He asked me if was going to keep going.  I said yes, cuz the two guys who talked me into this mess were still behind me.  He laughed and said if I was going to keep going, to make it worthwhile and finish strong.  And dammit he was right!!  I needed that kick.  Off I went.  Now, immediately off of feedstation one is the longest, steepest, longest, longest hills I have ever seen on a mountainbike trail…I got about 1/3 of the way up when I spun out in the sand.  I unclipped…and thought dammit, my bike muscles are tired, my walk muscles need some work; and I briskly walked the hill.  As I climbed I heard another bike or two pulling up to feedstation one.  Damn, are racers catching me??  Near the top, I got on and hammered!!  It’s amazing how a little adversity can be motivating.  Whoever was behind me I left them behind.  (Thanks, Dan's dad!!)
In a race like this, this long, it’s amazing how long you can go without seeing another racer.  I did pass a few people who were hurting as much or more than I was.  However, I went for hours without seeing anyone but the volunteers manning the feedstations.  About 15 km from the finish, still alone on the trail, I had to pull over for another ‘nature break’.  As I leisurely went about it…I heard bike noise coming up the trail!!  WTF!!  Is someone catching me??  I whipped Mr. Happy back, and got on my bike and hammered!!  I wasn’t going to drop a placing…especially to Centurion, or Fig, after managing to stay in front after all this time!!  I did finish strong…considering my condition…to EnglishJim cheering me on (EnglishJim had successfully completed his 80km race…way to go Jimbo!!!).  I finished in 11 hours 52 minutes.  I beat Fig by 7 minutes.  Centurion had dnf’d (packed it in, quit, stopped) after lap 2 with stomach issues and mechanical issues (both not uncommon in a race like this).  There were a lot of dnf’s!!  Again, not really surprising in a race like this…especially with the heat 30ish degrees Celsius and humid.  And surprisingly…very surprisingly, I finished 3rd in my category!!  I was very, very happy…felt great, considering how crappy I felt!!  Thank you Fig, and Centurion for talking me into this!!

So…after post race chat, recovery beverage and food…we packed up and headed home.  The end to a great, memorable day!  However, tragedy on the way home.  Topic for another story…RIP Black Beauty.

Until next time…

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

'Nother Week - Training, Livin' the Dream

Never mind the is how it went.

Sunday- 80km road ride at an average of 29km/hr – 146 minutes (that’s two hours, 26 minutes) with BlueStreakRiders Ian (Sciurus), Fig, and CL.  A typical route north and east of town to catch some hills.
Monday – I got out for a solo road ride managing 46km at an average of 31.2 km/hr (88.5min).  Solo road riding gives one a great opportunity for introspection; I can’t really let on what I introspect about though on a family blog.
Tuesday – I joined the BicycleWorks group road ride for a great blast of 59km at an average of 33.1km/hr (107 min.).  Loving the new Venge!!  Made for a great calorie burn workout!!  Then I had to rush to get off my bike and get to the arena for a 9:30pm hockey game (1hr).
Wednesday – I managed to join the BicycleWorks group mountain bike ride for 1 hr out towards  Kerncliffe park.  This was a more leisurely ride, to take the stiffness out of the quads after yesterdays ride and hockey.
Thursday - Fig and I got out for a 75min local mountain bike ride.  A decent pace made for a good calorie burn!
Friday – NewfieSteve and I took off for a weekend of camping and mountain biking in the Gravenhurst area.  After setting up camp we managed a 2 hour ride at Buckwallow.  A good pace over the challenging rocky terrain made for a great burn!!  Allowed for beers and great camp food that night!

Saturday – NewfieSteve and I headed to Porcupine Ridge for a 2hr ride.  However the extremely technical trail (twisty, steep, rooty, and very rocky) made for a slower less flowy ride.  Our carbon XC bikes were not the right tool for this trade.  So we headed over to the Devils Gap for a 1hr blast.  This was basically ATV trails that were leafy, pine needle covered, soft ground, with the occasional rock.  It felt like gravity was doubled, or riding with a flat.  It made for a great workout, as we always needed to be cranking…coasting wasn’t an option.  More camp food, beer, (and maybe a little Jagermeister…shhhh).  Jager can be in the nutrition plan...can't it???

Sunday – OK…I know I am overlapping into the new week here, but what the hay…if you can’t break the rules every now and then…  So after clearing our heads with breakfast and coffee (with Jager??) NewfieSteve and I managed to talk EnlishJim to join us for a ride in 3 Stages (Collingwood), which was kinda on our way home from camping.  3 Stages is very fun trails…some flowy, some technical with roots and rocks…plenty of challenging climbs on the escarpment; much like our local trails!  The problem was, an hour and a half in it started to rain, which wasn’t a big problem on its own, but the trails were clay based…combined with the roots and rocks …made for very slippery conditions.  Very dangerous when you are fast, but limited in skill. 

Finally, a roll of thunder had us heading for the truck, to call it a day; with plenty of trail missed but there to discover another time.  And wouldn’t you know it; the sun came out as we had a ‘recovery’ beverage at the truck.

Oh well, unfortunately for Heidi, it was home earlier than planned…which leads to another mystery.  Why is the back patio door always open when I show up home unexpectedly….?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Training, Buttertart Fail, Venge = Quite the Week!!

An eventful week on the cycling side of my life.  Lets get into it!

Sunday…took it as a rest day…OK so not really an eventful start to the week!
Monday…30 km road ride at an average of 30 km/hr, (made for an hour riding) in the morning.  In the afternoon went for a solo one hour mountain bike ride on our local trails. 
Tuesday…Out to Dundas for a 1.5 hour mountain bike ride with NewfieSteve.  My bike developed a massive creaking (never good for a carbon bike!), so we cut the ride shorter than we intended and dropped the bike off at the bike shop (BicycleWorks), to have them check it over.  Of course they then convinced Steve and me to join them on the Tuesday evening BicycleWorks group ride.  So off we went to our homes to get our road bikes (as the group ride was only half an hour to start).  The road ride was 2 hours…60 kms at 30 km/hr average.  Turned out to be a great blast!!
Wednesday…since the BicycleWorks crew was working on my mountain bike in the morning, I managed to get in a needed weight workout; an hour of shoulders and arms.  The mountain bike was not damaged, just needed pivot bearings cleaned or replaced, so I joined the shop’s group mountain bike ride which worked out to a 1.5 hour ride.
Thursday…thanks to mother nature, this was a rain day.  This made for a good opportunity to get in another weight workout.  65 minutes of chest and back.

Friday…So there I was, hanging out at BicycleWorks (I do that a lot), when Paul convinces me to try the new Specialized Venge for the weekend (since yesterdays rain made the trails too muddy to ride).  Paul is like a crack dealer, he knows exactly what he is doing; he is like a mysterious candy shop owner from a Ray Bradbury novel…just enough of a tiny bit of evil to coagulate the deceiving flow of good intentions.  Anyways, we swapped road bikes for the weekend.  Off I went to take the Venge out on a test ride…35 km in an hour.  First impression of the Venge; much more aggressive positioning on the bike, and it is much more aerodynamic than the Roubaix.  Oh, and FAST!!  Much stiffer and more efficient than my Roubaix.  Not quite as comfy as the Roubaix, but surprisingly close for such a stiff bike.  Did I mention that it is fast??  Every pedal stroke is a turbo boost…I had to look down to make sure there wasn’t a motor in the bottom bracket.  If effort X = speed Y on the Roubaix, then effort X = speed Y plus 10 on the Venge (for all you math geniuses out there)…and the Roubaix is not a slow bike!!  I needed to get out for more test rides for the weekend.  Paul had me hooked with the first little taste of rock candy.

Saturday…So wanted to get a longer ride in today, and give the Venge a real test.  So riding buddy Fig and I planned on going on a buttertart run…about a 100km ride hitting several buttertart bakeries along the way.  At 9am we hit the road, 30 km later we were in Moffat at Dar’s Bakery enjoying buttertart #1.  After scarfing said tart we headed west planning to hit Dee’s bakery on highway 97 near Valens Conservation Area.  About 15km from Moffat I felt a couple of slaps in the face.  I knew I was too far from home for it to be Heidi, but I still didn’t clue in right away…it was a couple of large rain drops!  We continued for another 5 – 10kms before we realized the rain had set in for a solid pour and was not going to pass, so we bailed and hightailed it back to home.  Thanks Environment Canada...lying bast^6$!!!   Anyways, the Venge cut through the rain and wind like a shark…it is so aerodynamic if I wasn’t soaked and cold, I would have barely noticed.  Our ride still ended up being 85kms and we averaged 31km/hr…not bad for the conditions.
Looks like the Roubaix is up for sale.  A good training week…but expensive.  More to follow.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Training This Week

So here is a recap of my training activity for this past week.

Sunday – Road ride to Fergus and back with Centurion (See details in last post).  156 km at an average of 31 km/hr.
Monday – Solo MTB ride local; 65 minutes.  Also weight workout (shoulders, arms).
Tuesday – Weight workout (legs, back).  Hockey 1 hour.
Wednesday – HIIT on road bike; 14 intervals of 800m sprinting, 400m casual.  Solo MTB ride 60 minutes (slipped on the railroad track, bruised up arm and leg protecting my bike from making contact…body repairs itself; bike doesn’t).
Thursday – Weight workout (chest, back).  Hockey 1 hour.
Friday – HIIT on road bike; 15 intervals 800m sprinted, 400m casual.
Saturday – rode to Cambridge (45 kms) to go for a road ride with BicycleWorks Jim (40 km), then rode back home;  130 km total at average 30 km/hr.  It was 34 degrees Celsius this day…and humid as hell!!
I continue to track my nutrition on MyFitnessPal.  Getting much leaner, but the weight is only down to 190 lbs as the weight workouts are putting on muscle.  (Is being lighter more important than overall fitness??  I do not think so.)
So there ya have it.  That’s my week (minus work, family, and the Olympics!!).  Till next time!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Centurion the Destroyer

So Sunday morning, 8 am, had Centurion, CheeseLegs, and Sciurus meet at my house for a bit of a workout (read road ride).  Road rides are strictly for a workout…when you go with Centurion they are a WORKOUT (get the picture…foreshadowing).

The temperature was great, around 20d Celsius.  Centurion and I were planning to ride to Fergus and back for a total of 160ish km.  CheeseLegs and Sciurus were planning on breaking off somewhere along the way for a shorter route. 
I will attempt to describe our ride and route...but if you get lost here is an easy guide.

OK then...we started out heading north out of Waterdown at a leisurely pace between 25 and 30 km/hr.  We headed north through Kilbride making it to Moffat about an hour into our excursion.  We stopped at Moffat to top up our water and take in some fuel (that means eat).  In case you didn’t know Moffat is home to Dar’s Delights, a small bakery that makes some of the best buttertarts anywhere…however the owner, Dar, is also known to be quite moody on occasion…at least to cyclists.
Then we continued to head north up First Line, and we picked up the pace to 35 – 40 km/hr.  When we hit Arkel Road CheeseLegs and Sciurus decided that they would head west to Arkel and loop back making for a 70km ish trip.  Centurion and I continued north to Fergus, averaging 35km/hr or more.  We pulled into Fergus before 11am, and stopped at the local Tim Hortons to refuel and rehydrate.  I partially topped up my water, but I should have fully refilled my camelback, as it was heating up to over 30d Celsius.  Eat, drink, stretch, for a total stop of less than 15 minutes we were back on our way.
We headed northeast on Wellington Road 19, then turned southward on Wellington Road 26.  At this point we follow this road for a good 25 kms or more; so it was a full on head down hammer at over 45 km/hr!!  The couple of times I tried to lead, Centurion basically said “F’ you Riot” and pulled back in front…which was OK…it was all I could do to hold on to his back wheel!!  We eventually hit Wellington Road 124 where our route turned into a dirt road for a couple of kilometres (we will have to find an alternative to this for next time!).  Then we headed up 6th line to Campbellville Road, Centurion was pulling away, I was slowing down and I struggled just to keep him in sight…by this time I was just about done.  And my water was running low, so I was really rationing it…but ran out by the time we hit Campbellville Road.  We headed up Appleby Line to Britannia where we headed east to Milborough Townline and on into Waterdown.  All the time I was fighting some mean cramping in the quads…likely brought on by the effort and dehydration.  I almost never cramp…so I am not used to the feeling…and fought to keep pedaling through the hurt.

We eventually made it to my house…I was a wreck…finished.  Centurion was fresh as a newly picked rose (OK that doesn’t sound very manly, but you know what I mean).  Anyways he looked way better than I felt.  So we dove into a couple of rehydration beverages,

Actually it was more like,

We threw back some snacks, some good Metis bannock and chatted with Heidi about her marital problems. 
Another great training run in the books…156 km at an average of 31 km/hr, to start out another week of riding.