Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tour de Whaaaat??

A mid-week post not reporting on a race??  What the hell??  Well actually, there is a bit of a note to make about a race or two.
First, my buddy Fig is a tad bit upset that I didn’t note his 5th place finish in the Fall Epic 8 hour race in my previous post.  So there it is now mentioned.  However, and more impressive, the Epic 8 hour race is actually a series of three races (A Spring, a Summer, and the Fall race).  Fig place 7th in the Spring race with 13 laps.  He did not participate in the Summer race (wimp!).  He placed 5th in the Fall race with 12 laps.  The series awards point for the racers placing in each race…and the overall series leader wins a jersey.  Fig came in first overall in the solo under age 39 category for the series!  Congratulations Fig!!  This is a post celebratory Fig.

OK…so now that that is out of the way…back to serious topics.
As far as training goes, so far this week I have managed two good weight workouts, a road ride, and a great mountain bike ride.  What made the mountain ride great is that it has been a personal goal of mine this year to clean one particularly nasty climb; today I beat that hill for the first time.  Yay.
Actually, I have been limiting my riding for a couple of reasons.  One; I don’t want to put too much wear on Richard’s (Oops, DickBall’s) bike, and second I am still on antibiotics (today is the last day of them!!) that are messing up my entire digestive system.  They leave me drained of energy, and feeling like a bloated roiling mess of nasty!!  This is me bloated.
Actually, that is a real pic of me from a few years ago.  When I saw that pic, I thought, “Holy shit man, you have turned into a fat bastard!”  That was when I decided it was time for me to get back into shape.

To keep the record straight and to provide balance to the world, this is a more recent pic of myself.

Since then, cycling has helped me to maintain, and stop that fat bastard from returning.
Speaking of pictures, I recently found this one on Lois’ camera. 

She swears it is me.  Guess she must have photo shopped out my tattoos??
(Haha…totally kidding on this!  Lois knows I am her only Superman!  Right??)  J
Anyways, back to riding and racing.  All of the training and recent condensed stretch of races is leaving me a little worn out.  I was considering calling it a season, and riding for fun the rest of the year.  However, NewfieSteve, EnglishJim, and Fig all convinced me to do one more…the Tour de King which is this Sunday.  It’s a relatively short 55km sprint, and the weather looks to be good (knock on Environment Canada wood), so it should all be good!  Planning an early ride tomorrow then will rest up in prep for Sunday.  Then I will have to give DickBall his bike back.  Again, many thanks Richard; hopefully my new bike will arrive within the next couple of weeks…although if it can’t climb that hill, I may have to keep yours!!
Review of the Tour de King, and other news next post!!

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Fall Epic 8 Hour Race Review

So this week I took Monday and Tuesday off to recover from the Crank.  I managed a 2 hour road ride on Wednesday (average 30km/hr)…actually was about 1hour 45min, cuz I got a flat that took some time to repair.  I took Thursday and Friday off the bike in preparation for this weekend’s race; the Fall Epic 8 Hour mountain bike race at Hardwood Hills.  NewfieSteve and I tag teamed this race.  Our team name was DaNoofie An DaNative.

Again I need to thank Richard (MrBall) for the use of his bike (my new one is still not in).  It was all shined up, new brake pads, following the Crank the Shield.  NewfieSteve showed up (on time!!) at my house for our trek to Hardwood.  Then it was off to Fig’s house, he carpooled; he was doing the race in the Solo Under age 40 category, so we shared a pit area.
This is Fig…I have no idea what the silly headgear was all about.

We saw many familiar faces at this one.  Martin was in the Solo age 40 + category, Egggman in the Solo Singlespeed, Stefan (from the Crank group) was in a tag team (our competition!), and many others!  Unfortunately, EnglishJim could not do it…he was still recovering from a slight injury sustained on day 3 of the Crank.
So…back to the race…Steve took the first lap.  If you are unfamiliar, this is how these races work; we were a tag team (there were also 3-4 person teams and solos), so it works as a relay.  Laps are 10 km loops, and the rider out on course carries a computer chip (which corresponds to the team number, records the team name, and lap times).  When the rider comes in at the finish of the lap (into the transition zone), he/she scans the computer chip (on scanners set up in the transition zone), and passes off the chip to the next rider on their team, who then races off to complete a lap.  The most laps in 8 hours wins.
Each lap takes about 30 minutes to complete.  We usually solo these races, but we tag teamed the last one, and it was just so much more fun!  Tag team allows you to complete the lap as fast as your skill and endurance will let you (in solo you have to set a pace that you think will get you through the complete 8 hours).  Then after your lap, in tag team, you have about 30 minutes to stretch, eat, adjust bike/clothing, or whatever….then go out and give ‘er for another lap.
So Steve came in after his first lap, I grabbed the chip from him and I was off!  The course started out with a long, drawn out, doubletrack climb…then dove into twisty singletrack.  Most of the course was twisty singletrack, with 3 or 4 short bits of doubletrack to allow for easier passes.  The abundance of singletrack made it tough to pass until you hit doubletrack.  The singletrack was flowy with a couple of slippy rooty sections to keep you alert (there were plenty of crashes on these sections…luckily not by me or Steve!).  Steve's early lap times were blazing fast!  He excels at the twisty singletrack!  I do not; my strength is power and endurance (to maintain a high pace for an extended period)…so this wasn’t an ideal course for me, but I maintained consistent respectable laptimes.  Steve and I make for a good compliment as a tag team.
After my 3rd lap I came into our pit, I checked out our note pad…because we don’t have an opportunity to communicate, we keep a note pad in the pit to notify each other of any issues like injuries (usually like “my ass hurts!”), mechanical problems, or other stuff (35 min lap…f*#k I’m slow!!).  Anyways, at this point Steve noted on the pad that he had reapplied diaper cream, but also, and more importantly that we were in 3rd place.  3rd place!!  That was great!  We came into this race with no allusions of grandeur; we were still recovering from the Crank the Shield, I am on antibiotics (from a nagging injury) that are messing up my system, and we were in a very competitive field (lots of fast guys!!).
When I came in after my 4th lap we were in 2nd place!!  Then we fell back to 3rd…then after my 5th lap we were back in 2nd…by only by 39seconds.  We had to give it everything we had; hammer; lay the boots to ‘er…all that stuff…and that is exactly what we did.  We managed to not only hold 2nd but we extended our lead on 3rd to the point where they must have determined that they couldn’t catch us and, after finishing their 13th lap at 7:22, decided not to do another lap (of course, me not knowing we had 2nd sewn up, took the chip from Steve at 7:20; after his 7th lap…our 13th…and destroyed myself to make sure my 7th lap…our 14th…was as fast as I could go).  Confusing?  Here is an easy guide…

I know…I’ve used that one before; but damn it’s funny!!
Point is, we took 2nd in a competitive field, in a race we only intended to have fun in…damn rewarding!!

Me (in green), and NewfieSteve on the podium.
Now the wife thinks I am Superman (her new name is Lois).  Actually it is amazing how much Supes and me do look alike.
Here is Superman.
Here is me at the start line…you be the judge.
Anyways, as for our friends…congratulations to Martin, who came in 3rd in his category (and was only 10 minutes from 1st!), Egggman was 3rd in his category (and his first podium!), Fig did not win/place/or show but completed a very respectable 12 laps.
This is Egggman on the podium, on the right.  Congrats Eggg!

Well, with the wonders of technology we kept the wives and EnglishJim up to date throughout the race…and ended the day at my house with Lois, Lisa, and EnglishJim joining us to recover, with pizza, Sleemans, and 40Creek…and as the recovery progressed…the stories got better…and that is where this one should end.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Crank the Shield 2012

So it has come and gone.  Chico Racing’s Crank the Shield…and very sadly, it may be the last time Chico Racing does the Crank.  If you are not familiar with the Crank, and too lazy to click on the link I expertly provided, the Crank is a 3 day stage mountain bike race held in the Haliburton Forest region of Ontario; through the Canadian Shield…hence the name.  So, here is my experience at this years Crank.

First, a couple of ‘Thank Yous’ are in order; Richard (DickBall) for lending me his bike (if you missed it in a previous posting, my bike has gone to bike heaven, and the 2013s are not yet available, so I am bikeless).  Lending a bike is no small thing, especially for the Crank, where a bike can really take a pounding, so many, many thanks Mr. Ball. 
Since losing my bike I have obtained a new bike carrier...
Second, thank you to Chris.  Chris has a cottage in Haliburton, actually within a 10 minute drive of the start of the Crank.  And Chris graciously invited everyone he knew who was racing in the Crank to stay at his cottage on the Thursday night saving us all a 3 hour drive up on Friday morning for the 11am start of the Crank.  Chris’ cottage would put most homes to shame (a pic is below), high class accommodations to say the least…so thank you to Chris. 
Taking advantage of Chris’ offer included me, NewfieSteve, EnglishJim, NotherJim, John (Jean Luc Picard lookalike…and soundalike), Stefan, and Alex.
You tell me they don’t look the same…except MTBJohn is much better with the ladies…

Day One started with it raining at 8am….and it rained the whole damn day.  What does that mean?  Mud! 

And slippery singletrack…the only thing worse than sand, for mountainbiking, is mud!!  Energy draining, lung busting, gravity assisting, tire slipping mud!  The trails in day one included the Dog Head, Red Trail, Chico Loop, Chico Trail (all of these somewhat technical twisty singletrack), Hydrocut (a very rocky and hilly doubletrack), and Lookout Hill (an incredibly long, loooooong, very steep sandy climb).  Also along the Hydrocut was the Beaverdam…an actual beaver dam that resulted in a 50 metre stretch of 2 to 3 foot deep pool of water.  This was actually a godsend to ride through because it cleaned the mud off the drivetrain. 
This is me riding through the beaverdam at the 2010 Crank (no beaverdam pic from 2012).

At about the 4hour 30minute mark I hit the 1km to go sign…and I was coming up on another racer who was in front of me so I said, “Seriously, we are already done?” (I expected to be out about 6 hours).  The other racer said, “Are you kidding?  It has been long enough!”, as I passed him about 500 metres from the finish line.  My time on day one was 4:35.  What I did not realise, was that the racer I passed just short of the finish was my buddy Chris (yes Cottage Chris)…sorry, Chris.  NewfieSteve followed 15 minutes later, and the rest of our crew wandered in later.  A rainy, muddy, wet day one was over!!  Off for showers, supper, and recovery (beers)!


Day Two was sans rain, and we actually had to ride a couple of kilometres to the start line.  Everybody got lined up and the race started off immediately into singletrack, which created a huge bottleneck.  And the first half of the day was twisty, muddy singletrack…which is definitely not my forte…but it is what NewfieSteve and Chris excel at.  Chris left me behind right off the bat…and NewfieSteve dropped me somewhere mid-singletrack.  Eventually the singletrack opened up into gravel road where I managed to reel in and pass Chris.  Then the road gave way to the hilly, rocky doubletrack of the hydrocut where I was hoping to catch NewfieSteve.  However, struggling through the technical singletrack of the first half of the day had sucked the energy out of me, and I just didn’t have it to catch Steve.  When I came up to the 1 km to go sign I knew it wouldn’t happen.  When I crossed the finish Steve was there, and he had beaten me by 4min.  We road back to the camp where it was time for recovery.

Before I get into day three, there was a bit of an incident over the previous night.  The Crank the Shield is a 3 day stage race; however there is an option to race two days (Saturday and Sunday), for those who don’t want to do the entire 3 day.  The race organisers (Chico Racing), put us up in a high end summer camp (Camp White Pine) and there were 9 of us racers in our particular cabin for the first night. 

 However, for the second night we had a couple of extra racers who were doing the 2 day.  Sometime during the night I woke up to the strangest sound…and EnglishJim was awake wondering as well.  It sounded like the noise was coming from the rafters of the cabin…and it sounded exactly like a squirrel chewing through the shell of a very thick walnut; only very, very much louder. 

Apparently, one of our new campers had picked the bunk directly above EnglishJim’s (bunkbeds), and the new camper had a serious problem with grinding his teeth in his sleep!!!  I had never, ever heard anyone grind their teeth that loud!!  And if he wasn’t grinding, he was snoring!!  Luckily, I can sleep through almost anything, so once I realised what the noise was, I got back to sleep.  EnglishJim was not so fortunate, and was up all night…and had developed a serious hate for the new guy!! 

Anyways, back to the race.  This time we had to ride 15 kilometres to the start of the day 3 race which was at SirSams Ski and Bike.  This was great as a warm up because it was Zero degrees Celsius to start our day!!  The beginning of day 3 race had us climb up the ski hill, then the trail was a bermy snake down, then a twisty climb back up the hill, followed by a steep very technical downhill (aptly named Rockyroad), then the race opened up into gravel road, then a good 10 kilometres of hydrocut (the same hydrocut from day 1 only opposite direction…which meant we got to ride through the beaverdam again!!), and several kilometres of technical singletrack including Big Ben’s trail (VERY technical), the Pass, and Normac (very hilly!).  The day ended with about an open kilometer sprint to the finish line.  Day 3 was by far my best day; I felt strong and fuelled the entire day!  I finished several minutes ahead of Chris, and almost half an hour ahead of Steve (although Steve lost at least 10 minutes to repair a flat) to conclude our friendly rivalry.
This race is tough on the body…we were all battered and worn.  The pic below is what my hands looked like.

Now before I get flooded with masturbation comments…which is what happened when I posted this pic on my facebook (thank you to all my so called ‘friends’)…anybody who REALLY knows me would know that if that is what I was doing, it would be my forearms that would be chafed, not simply my palms.
So Crank the Shield 2012 is in the books…and unfortunately may be the last CTS ever…very sad.  Chico Racing does a great job promoting these events...and the Crank will be missed...hopefully they bring it back in some format. 

Results from the Crank are here.

I took Monday off to recover…Tuesday it is raining…so will be back at it Wednesday; have to prepare for the upcoming race on Saturday.  The Fall Epic 8 Hour race…NewfieSteve and I are tag teaming this race.
Will keep you posted!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Oh, Think Twice… Another Week for you and me in Paradise

What’s with the title?  (I know it’s ‘day’ not ‘week’ but that just didn’t work)  Well my work is slow in the summer (will get very busy by end of October and into the spring), which gives me time to cycle; three races coming up in the next three weekends; I have a hot young wife (OK she’s is older than me but that’s still young right?...and by hot I mean hot…not menopausal…don’t get me in more trouble than I already just did).  Anyways…you got me off track right off the bat…yeesh!!

So…after the long weekend rides I took Tuesday off the bike in an attempt to let my injury heal up some.  Did get a weight workout in on Tuesday though…shoulders and arms.
Wednesday I was still without a Mountain Bike, so I got the Venge out for a solo road ride…80 minutes at 32 km/hr average.  Every time I get on the Venge I can’t believe how fast it is…and how much that makes a difference to making a road ride enjoyable!! 
Also got in a 60 minute weight workout…back and chest.  Also Wednesday had me meet my friend DickBall to borrow his mountain bike (many, many thanks again Mr.Ball !!  And hopefully your arm heals soon…but not until I can give your bike back.)  I took his bike directly to BicycleWorks to upgrade a few components…mainly the drive train, to get it to perform as closely to mine as possible (also my way to pay DickBall for the use of his bike).  It’s not an S-Works…but it’s the next best thing!
Thursday…another day off the bike to let the nagging injury heal (just not happening…).  Also the mountain bike was still being upgraded.  Did get in a leg workout though…more weights. 
Friday, I got to test out DickBalls revamped bike…my first time on a mountain bike in almost two weeks!!  And it was with the BicycleWorks guys…Paul, BicycleWorksJim (not EnglishJim, two different guys), and Rod.  These guys are so dang fast!!  I may come near to compete with them in endurance, but their skill on mountain bikes leaves me in the dust!!  And they did…and of course they always want to do the most challenging trails.  So while they played stop and wait on the Dump Run and Limeys (local trails), I played catch-up…however, it was a great way to get me used to DickBall’s bike.
I used Saturday as a rest/recovery day (injury still nagging…so is the wife but that’s expected; especially after this post intro).  Sunday, NewfieSteve, EnglishJim, and I headed out to Turkey Point for a two hour ten minute mountain bike ride.  Turkey Point trails are a ways away (hour and a half or more drive), but they are sand based and great for the conditions after a rainy Friday night/Saturday morning.  After the ride we stopped in Port Dover on the way home for the famous pan fried perch and chips at the Dover Hotel.  Great recovery meal (OK it tasted great…nutritionally I think the fries may have been suspect)!!
Monday would be my last day on the mountain bike before the Crank the Shield (three day stage race).  I did an hour and a half ride on our local trails…really the best trails around.  Our trails have it all…challenging climbs, steep descents (which are climbs in the opposite direction…of course), roots, rocks, singletrack, doubletrack…all of it(OK, no coed cheerleaders…yet).  We often travel to hit other trails for the variety, but the best in the province are in our back yard.
Tuesday was the BicycleWorks group road ride.  Another workout for the Venge…and likely my last ride before the Crank.  As I pull into the shop parking lot (where the ride starts from)…out walks Jordan, suited up and ready to ride.  Jordan is the fastest cyclist I know…road or mountain bike; he is a professional athlete (7 time Canadian Superbike champion), and uses cycling as part of his training.  So I knew that this would be a great training run for me, fighting to keep pace with Jordan.  And it was…with a couple of good climbs, 82 minutes at an average of 33.3 km/hr; and would have been longer if not for dusk setting in.  A great way to end the week of training before the Crank this Friday.
So there you have it…OK, maybe not paradise, but I had the song stuck in my head and had to use it.
 Will take the next two days off to rest (maybe fit in a little recovery ride Wednesday)…head up north Thursday…the Crank goes Friday to Sunday…will report in on that next post!!
Adios amigos!!  (Mexican metis????)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Road Training Week,Apparently (Translation: “My Aaa Certs!!”)

With just finishing the 160 km Victoria’s 100 race (almost 12 hours straight on the bike), I was hurtin, so I took off Monday and Tuesday as recoup days.  By Wednesday my hands were still a little torn up, and I had a bit of a sore area near my left sit-down bone (yes that means arse).  However without a mountain bike until the 2013s are available (and I still had not got around to looking into borrowing/renting/buying an interim bike), that left the road bike.  Road bike = fantastic training opportunity…but was not going to be gentle to my injured areas.  So it went like this:

Wednesday – 65 km road ride with NewfieSteve at an average 30 km/hr.  Yes this was a buttertart run to Moffat…and Dar’s was open!!  So we enjoyed a tart mid-ride.
Thursday – 63 km road ride with Fig at an average of 32.2 km/hr, a great blast.  Then an hour of hockey…the last game of the summer season (championship final…unfortunately we lost).
My hands survived the rides fine and were well recovered…the other injury though was not faring so well.  So, took off Friday and Saturday to see if it would recover…and it began to, then…

The long weekend had me and EnglishJim join NewfieSteve and his family, and extended family, for a cottage stay near Severn Falls…and the road bikes joined us.  So…
Sunday – Centurion and Sciurus came up to join us for a road ride.  We rode as a full group for about 40 km until Centurion and I peeled off for a longer ride and Sciurus, NewfieSteve, and EnglishJim headed back for home (they ended up doing about 65 km).  Centurion and I went on a hill climbing run, (actually it ended up being a ‘who can make who puke first’ kind of ride); the ride totalling 110 km at an average of 31 km/hr.  It was an awesome ride…but my derriere was not happy!!  FYI…nobody puked.

Monday – EnglishJim, NewfieSteve, and I started the last day of our long weekend getaway with 67 km ride at an average of 32.2 km/hr.  Another great ride…an awesome end to a great week, however…
The injury – a raging, swollen mass in the nether regions is somewhat alarming…so off to the Dr to make sure it was not more than an overtraining inflammation…and happily, that is all it is (if I am to trust the doctors diagnosis)…so we will soldier on.
Other points of interest this week:

-  EnglishJim, not owning a roadbike borrowed my Roubaix (which is up for sale).  He did so well at the road rides, and is an obvious natural; he enjoyed it so much he decided to buy the Roubaix…a great bike off to a great new owner.

-  My very good friend DickBall (don’t ask), offered to let me borrow his mountain bike until my new one arrives.  Thank you Mr. Ball…I owe you!! 

I am one fortunate fellow to be blessed with so many great friends!!