Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Friday, 25 September 2015

Fall 8 Hour MTB Relay Race - the Pre-Amble

WTF?  A second blog post in a week?  This isn't so much a post, as a quick comment.  Besides, blame Blaze...he seems to like my drivel, and is always telling me to post more often.

Wondering how many will click 'like'.

Anyways...I was looking at the confirmation list of registered riders for the race coming this weekend...and had a few points of note. many 'regulars' seem to be missing...Where is:
Is there a party somewhere I don't know about???  (Guys like me don't get invited to many party's...ever since that Cheese Whiz incident....)

I notice many of the regular solo's are teaming up for this race....
Oggie is on his regular team (Nucking Futs)...he is scared to solo, I think...although he has claimed that this was him training on the beach...

JeffS is tag teaming with his daughter (KT & Dad)...they will certainly podium seeing as there is little competition in their category...yikes...(I joke, if you look you will see their category is stacked...including the duo of Adam/Emily (Trek Store 56)...nothing like competing with the pros!)  They will still podium...

14stone is on a team...KevinM is on a team...Burnsy on a team...SingleSpeed the heck??

What about the Rock & Road crew??  Mark and Jenn...on a team.  Seth is tag teaming with his son.  But John, Giant, and Fig will all be there in their R&R kit....and likely each one of them will lap me at some point during the day.  Yeah...the R&R

I wonder if Jeremiah knows he signed up twice??  (And Jeremiah, where is Ian???)

Then I noticed the competition in my category...very tough competition...
RichBow...serious...Hal...GarryS.  Even BobM is registered to kick my arse...again!!!  And as always, my colleague also representing BicycleWorks, Martin will be out leave me in the dust.  And this is only a fraction of the very many I do not know who have registered solo for this race (there are a ton!!).  I am a-scared!!

Maybe it will help if I throw this carpet down on the course???

Anyways, I am actually looking forward to doing well.  The weather is supposed to be good for a change!!  I am coming in feeling in fairly good shape.  Ribs still sore from the tree incident a couple of weeks ago...but CoachRob has me tapered in....and has forced me to get my weight down (it needed to be...still need more off).

Yeah...not like that I guess.  More like this??

Seriously...I used to be pretty chunky...

Wow...anyways, Lois will be out to help me out again!!  And to take pics....since my officially unofficial photog (JeffS) will be busy racing.  (Hey Ted, will you and your ApexRacePhotography crew be in for this one??)

Maybe Lois will take more selfies??

Anyways...that's enough...for now.  Let's see how this goes!!

Stay posted!!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

XC Marathon Nationals Championships - The Race Review

Yeah, Nationals.  Championships.  You would think that would be a bit of a clue, wouldn't you?  Guess I'm naive (native??) like that....

Anyways, Lois and I (yes Lois joined me for this race!!  Good thing too!) headed up to Horseshoe Valley (the venue for the event) early Saturday morning.

8 degrees and pouring rain.  Well maybe it wasn't raining up in the Barrie area...

It rained the entire way...and in fact it rained the entire dang day...and it may have got up to 13 degrees...perfect racing weather....not.

Anyways....we get to Horseshoe, I register....and get the bike ready.  I prepare to get myself ready, but I already felt like this...

Freezing cold, already wet, I get kitted up in the truck, with the warmest clothes I brought...and go warm up.  As I am warming up (as much as you can 'warm up' in freezing rain)....other racers are also warming up and I notice there are really none of my regular friends/colleagues/fellow racers here; but there are several pros/semi pros presents.  Like Zandstra, Glassford, Watson kind of pros.  Great...and I begin to wonder what I have gotten myself into...and how badly I am going to get my ass handed to me (normally I'm OK with ass-handing, but...).

Anyways, I noticed Louda warming up...finally someone I know...but she is much faster than I, so I don't usually get to see her much.  I also notice that JeffS (the self anointed official photographer of Riot's blog) is not here, and there are none of the ApexRacePhotography (the official photographers of everything MTB) crew around.  Fearing that there would be no photos to make my blog post almost readable, I asked Lois if she would mind taking some pics for me...she immediately took a couple of selfies...

I suggested it might be better if she took pics of she took these...

Oh well....maybe she would get the hang of it by race time...and she did...

So back to the race....I got myself into the paddock....well near the back.  Given the quality of my competition, I didn't want to be in anyones way.

thedumbopinion is commissaire and he wanders over to the paddock and says to me "Riot, are you going to win this whole thing?"

See, Lois got some good pics after all.

The front of the paddock....not where I am...

Anyways...SuperflySean does the call-ups...counts us down....and bang!  The race is on!  The start is nice and slow from my perch at the back of the pack.  Onto the trails and into the cold and rain.  The race has a start loop of almost 4km and 200m of climbing!  Including the stupid dirt road climb.  It's stupid, cuz it's easily doable, but it so long, and loose, and wet that it sucks the life out of you....especially if you are trying to do it as fast as possible.  Nice start....and nice way to get into the race.

 This is right off the start....not yet into the hills...

So....into the start loop....up the singletrack climbs....doubletrack climbs...fireroad climbs (that stupid long sandy fireroad)....back down the ski hill through winding singletrack...a racer who had already broken a chain in the first 5 minutes of the race.  Through the back of the feed zone, then up a very loooooong slippery grinding grassy climb where some racers were already walking their bikes ... (there was the racer who had snapped his chain...already repaired and back at it!) then finally out of the start loop.  Through the tunnel under Horseshoe Valley road and through the open field, in the driving rain and wind (Holy Moly it's cold!!) into the Copeland Forest trails.

Into the Copeland trails, at least out of the wind....but the climbing.  Climbing, climbing, climbing.  Steep singletrack switchback climbs.  Steep doubletrack climbs.  Steep rocky climbs.  Steep rooty climbs.  Most of them were rideable but many were not.  Just too steep, and in these conditions too slippery.  There were many racers walking their bikes up hills.  (There was the racer who had broken his chain earlier...walking his bike...but this time it was a broken seat post; having a bad day!!)  And most of the downs were so steep and fast before you knew it you were back into another climb with little time for recovery.

My quads were stiff and sore for three day after this race (like an old fashioned leg weight work out) from the intense climbing.

Then into an off camber descending twisty singletrack section.  Wet and very loose.  Wet, loose, twisty, and just steep enough that as I went to turn around a twist, my wheel and bars turned...but the bike didn't.  The front wheel had become so caked with mud there was zero traction...and into the bush I went with a crash.  Metis, titanium, mud, and leaves bouncing into the forest.  Pick up my bike, bottles and food that had dropped, make sure I still had my technology attached...and carried on.  But I must have crashed at least 4 more times on this section before I realized I was better off to hike my bike here (yeah, I'm slow/stubborn like that...).  Eventually hiked/ran out of this section....but my shoes had become so caked with mud it was difficult to clip in anytime I had to unclip from this point on.

Another long climb....long descent....then it was out of Copeland....back through the tunnel into the Horseshoe resort side of the road.  I passed a racer in a red jacket as I entered the feed zone....Lois graciously handing me a new full water bottle as I passed.

 The fast guys coming through the feedzone

Me coming into the feedzone

Then into the Horseshoe trails....which were composed mostly of the O'Cup race courses....including the long long stupid sandy fireroad climb.  Me and the racer in the red jacket I had passed earlier had a bit of a friendly rivalry going taking turns passing each other.  SuperflySean had put some extra non-O'Cup trails in this race.  Mostly very very steep loose muddy descents...technical with rock roots and drops.  Too slippery for me, so I walked/ran slippery, in fact that I ended up on my arse sliding down them a couple of times.  RedJacket would pass me running down them....and I'd pass him on the climbs.  And some of the nastiest rock gardens on the course were in this race...very nice when wet in the rain.  

Me picking my way through the nastiest of the rock gardens.

Louda, a much worthier rider than me, flying through the rock garden like it was a flat.

And damn...somewhere along the way, I'd lost my new water bottle!!  Shite.  But as we came down through the back of the feedzone....I grabbed another one from Lois.  Lois asked me if I was going to continue, I said "of course."  Apparently many racers had quit after one lap, discouraged from the tough course and conditions.  Lois did an awesome job making sure I was fed, taking pics, and continually cowbelling me on!!  Many thanks were given this day...and still are!!

Coming down into the back of the feedzone.

Then it was back up into that looooong stupid grassy climb...

The loooong stupid grassy climb

Then it was through the start/finish....lap one done...2hours38minutes...then into lap two.  Through the tunnel, across the grassy field...still with RedJacket on each others wheels, into the Copeland Forest side.  

On one of the long rocky slippery Copeland climbs that we managed to ride part way up....then walk/run the remainder....RedJacket stopped to refuel (eat), I kept going, leaving him behind.  I didn't see him again for the remainder of the race.

Then going up another climb farther on, there was a red jacket in front of me.  What the heck??  I struggled to catch him, and wasn't RedJacket, in fact it was a racer with the same red CrankTheShield jacket that I was wearing.  I passed him heading up a very long loose rocky climb.  As I climbed, from somewhere in the forest ahead and above came a whistle and a yell to "give 'er!!  Keep going!  Hurry up!!"  As I followed the climb into a switchback there was a racer waiting.  He was the one yelling....he said "Sorry, I thought you were someone else."  I said, "Same jacket."  He said, "Yes."  I said he is right behind me... and laughed as he waited and I continued on.

Then into that loose single track where I crashed on the first lap, except this time I got off and ran/walked right off the bat.  No more crashing.  But CrankJacket and his friend passed me here...they were much faster running their bikes than I was.

I caught them again, as we crossed from the Copeland side back into the HorseshoeResort side, and passed them as we climbed into the feedzone.  Another new bottle from Lois, and into the trails.

The trails had gotten even slicker...climbing even more challenging.  Those very steep technical descents put me on my arse again.  Up the stupid loose sandy road climb.  My quads were now on fire.  I was still ahead of CrankJacket and his friend....and I used them as motivation.  I was getting excited to almost be finished!  And looking forward to the finish, I sped down a descent that had gotten very very slick since the first lap.  I washed out, going down at speed.  Then BAM!!!  Directly into a tree with the side of my head and shoulder.  Trees have no give....felt like a cement pillar.  Knocked myself silly... once I realized what just happened, I shook my head to get the cobwebs out.  Shoulder and rib very sore....very surprised nothing was more damaged!!  (The shoulder and rib are still sore...but OK).  After a quick check the bike was OK actually didn't make contact.  However, the tree looks like this now...

On the bike and on I went, still a bit foggy, but still motivated to stay in front of CrankJacket.  (You know...better to come in 50th than 51st....or whatever it may be....I knew I was getting my arse handed to me by the very high quality of racers in this race).

Through the back of the feedzone where Lois was now alone, as the bulk of the racers and their assistants had already finished ahead of me, but she cheered me on, cowbell a clanging.  And continued to cheer as I continued, struggling up that looong, now even more slippery grassy climb.  I was so spent...wet...sore, and not sure how injured I was.  Still motivated to stay in front of CrankJacket and friend....then finally, finally through the finish, where Lois was waiting and SuperflySean announced my finish.  5 hours 22minutes...7th place out of the 10 racers in my Category (age 50+).

You know it's a tough race when someone like Louda (a very experienced, fast, fast racer) says its tough.  She finished 5th in the Elite Women category at 4 hours 35 minutes.  Very well done!!  Lois caught a pic of Louda at the finish.

As it was still raining....and I was still hurting....and whining like Fig.  In truth, this is likely the toughest race I have ever done.  So much climbing, combined with the conditions....and extreme competition.  I was so done, cold and wet, we headed straight for the truck to dry off, clean up, and go.  This race in the books.

What's next?  The Fall Epic 8 Hour on the 26th.  So working towards that.  Lot's of longer rides to train (as you can see by the Strava widget on the right border)....and CoachRob wants my weight down to 172 by then.  So this is the diet plan Lois has put me on...

Just kidding, she has made me do my own cooking....which is a good enough plan on its own...
Or maybe I need this guy...

But I'm more likely to end up like this guy...

I don't know why I put that last pic in, it doesn't have anything to do with this post.  I just thought it was funny....Lois says it's mean.  She is probably right...

Anyways....once again, very off track....and I think we are probably done here.  So I guess the next post will be a review of the 8 Hour.

Stay posted!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Tough Guys!!!

Since I didn't participate in a race last weekend this is just a short post to give kudos to friends who did do a nasty race (or two!).


The Gaspesia is a 100 mile mountain bike race which was held last Saturday in the Quebec Gaspe region; the Forillon is a 100 mile road bike fondo which was last Sunday in the same area.  Yes, back to back days!!  200 miles!!

Was attended by these folks:

Dave, Cole, Giant, Kevin...(and a bunch of other folks but these are the ones I know...).

It was the first time for the Gaspesia, so it was expected to be a bit of a shite-show (as many first time events are).  First of all its in the Gaspe so plenty of rocks were expected...there were(advertised as 'Worlds longest rock gardens');  lots of extreme climbing and descents were expected....there were(4000m!!!).  In fact there were climbs where you had to put your bike on your back and climb up ropes!  WTF??

And this guy thinks he did well...

Yeah....anyways.  There were sections where you had to wade waist deep in the Atlantic ocean!!  Again...WTF???(Nothing like riding on a salty chamois!!)

There were log rides over deep canyons...

Anyways...the combination can play havoc on body and bike...especially over 100 miles!!...and it did.

Kevin said it well in his race report...
"Gaspe 100 complete... against ALL odds!
Race Report - 15km blew front tire, 20km blew rear shock and rear tire, 40km blew rear brakes (not fixable, good thing it's my left finger that's broken :0), 66km 3 of 4 front chain ring bolts fell out (rough course) no front shifting 24 tooth ring only. Not in a good place (fell to the dark side). 100 km at R5. Not fixable no parts race done ( RIP Yeti). Oh wait race volunteer takes off in A TV comes back 5 min later hands me HIS bike and says you want it? Kevin: I LOVE YOU!!! Little tweak here little tweak there, race back on. 140km right pedel seizes (I begin to cry, true story) I run bike 4 km to next aid station and we are able to free up. Race back on. 160km I finish!!!!!! That was one hell of a race."

So....Giant finished in 11hrs7mins to come in 14th out of 37.  Kevin finished 11:35; Cole 12:07; Dave 12:57.  Well done gents!!

But wait!!  Still to do the road Fondo the next day!!!  Dave was so beat up from the MTB (back, shoulders, arse...all in agony), that he opted out of the road Fondo (and I don't think Kevin did it).
But Giant, and Cole (who is only 15 yrs old by the way!!!) both did it .... and finished.  Well done gents!!!

But wait!!!  They have this thing...where they add up your times for the two events (for those who were crazy enough to do both)...and guess what???

Giant won the whole damn thing!!!  Yes!!!  That is huge!!!

Holy shite!!!  kudos!  Kudos!!  KUDOS!!!

Well, I don't know what I can do to follow that up...

Yeah...wish I was doing that race (don't read that the wrong way!!)...

But I am doing this, this weekend....

The Marathon Nationals...out at Horseshoe Ski/Copeland Forest; with 1400m of climbing, it's no Gaspe but that's more than enough for me!!

Race report to follow next week!

Stay posted!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

OCup #7 Provincials - The Review

So there ya go...OCup 7, the provincial finals held at NordicHighlands trails just outside of Duntroon, was held last Sunday Aug 30.  This was the last OCup of the season, everyone would be out...especially for provincials.  Meant all the fast guys would be here too.  Would make it tough for me...I needed to finish in 9th or better to maintain my spot in the overall standings for my category (currently 4th).

Giant and I headed up Saturday to camp and pre-ride the course.  Our campsite was interesting...felt like I was back in Saskatchewan.  We were camped in a farmers field....literally.  I believe the venue is owned by the farmer and his family.  These were our neighbors.

Ooops.  Well maybe not that last one...I don't know....ask JeffS as almost all of the fine pics on this post are his.  Thanks Jeff!!

So, anyways....Giant and I prerode and got familiar with the course....which was important.  There were very fast flowy bits of trail with the odd technical feature thrown in (usually a rock over, or rock drop that you had to launch, and a short but rather bumpy rock garden), and if you were not aware they would come up on you quickly.  Approximately the first half of the course was climbing, the second half was mostly downhill, except for the last km or two included a very nasty rocky ridge climb.

 So, race starts at 10am....get a good half hour warmup...or more...and get set up in the paddock....looking all serious and stuff.

Photo cred to John on this one

Yeah....slick new kit...compliments of BicycleWorks....thank you BicycleWorksPaul!!!  Guess I should look happier??

This pic was by John that better??  Actually I'm smiling cuz that's as close as I knew I would get to ChrisBL (the guy in the cool shades) all dang day.  Plus, I often just think random funny things....the voices....

Anyways...I was chatting with serious, till he got called up...then wondering where BobM was...he wasn't here....and he is fast!  Then the countdown, and boom...we are off!

And I actually had my best start of the season.  I was up with the lead group as we tore up the ski hill.  Then up the looong doubletrack climb, I stayed up with the leaders....but it was killing me.  My heart rate was up to near 170...which is huge for me.  I was actually happy for the bottleneck that happened when we hit the singletrack....especially since the first bit of singletrack was not easy.  It was both very twisty, and steep....then a steep, loose, sketchy left turn out of the first singletrack and into another doubletrack climb.  I was still with the leaders at this point....including MikeL, Jacques, and serious just directly in front of me.  But my heart rate was still sky high....and I was struggling.  I had to let the leaders pull away while I recovered a bit, otherwise I would have blown up.

The course continued alternating long doubletrack climbs providing opportunities to pass followed by twisty, flowy descending singletrack...and frequent rockovers and drops on the singletrack with opportunities to catch air.  It would have been a great opportunity for ApexTed to capture some great pics...but Ted was taking a very deserved day nobody taking pics in the singletrack.

There was a spot where we came out of the Flowy Fun Trail into a sharp switchback right and up another doubletrack climb, and up the climb you could see racers behind you entering the Flowy Fun Trail.  And there was JP, just entering Flowy as I climbed the doubletrack; he was well back of me, and I was relieved that I didn't have to contend with him....we had close battles in past races.

Then into Marshall Law, a piece of single track with fun rock jumps, and ended in a rather loose bumpy rock garden.  Many racers were walking the rock garden....another opportunity to pass.  Then out of the rock garden then into a screaming fast (but new and bumpy!!) singletrack descent that shook your bones at 50 - 60 km/hr.  Then into the trail 57 Chevy...loaded with narrow roots and a sketchy bridge.  Thick with Maple trees, you could smell the sweet maple sap in the made me want pancakes every lap!

Out of 57 Chevy past a sugar shack and up a steep singletrack climb on the very edge of a ridge...and it was rife with rocks!  One wrong move on the rocks and you would get bounced into a nasty fall down the ridge.  Then a twisty thick sandy descent off the ridge and over a fun little rock drop near the start corral...where fans were gathered to watch racers jump the rock.  Here some pics were taken...


Spinner gettin air.


Too bad there wasn't a video....wait....what??

Then up the hill through the feed station....through a bit of climby singletrack....then the switchback through the finish line for lap one.  But on the switchback there was serious just going through the finish...he was just that close in front of me!  I was so surprised to see him...I gunned it to catch him...but he has a bigger gun.  He was also surprised to see me, and sped off dropping me as we entered lap 2.

Into lap was important to maintain focus, otherwise it was easy to make a mistake, especially on the fast twisty singletracks.  And I tend to lose focus easy...

Ooops....see??  You do know this is MTB related though, don't you??  Hint:  You going batty??

Anyways...I began catching lapped riders...there was JP still behind me as he entered Flowy...and I still wanted pancakes...through the feed station again but this time I took a new water bottle as Giant handed it to me.

I powered up the hill from the feed station, through the finish to complete lap 2, then hard into lap 3, up the long doubletrack climb.  Last lap to give it all I had, into the twisty steep singletrack, heart pounding, sucking air.  Through Flowy then up the doubletrack...JP still behind me.  Good.  Into Kate's Kitchen....and as I came out of Kate's and started up the doubletrack climb into Marshall Law I saw MikeL just entering the singletrack.  What??  Usually he is much faster and so far ahead of me I rarely see him.  But he doesn't like the technical and there was enough of it here to slow him down to my speed.  I pushed, determined to catch him.  And at the rock garden at the bottom of Marshall Law I caught him as he carefully picked his way through the rock garden, but there was nowhere to pass.  Then we came out of the rock garden in the screaming fast singletrack...again no chance to pass.

Then we came into the doubletrack climb to 57 Chevy.  I floored it to pass him, but in the open Mike's engine is bigger than mine.  He pushed too, and we were side by side up the climb...but he had the inside line into 57 Chevy, and entered it in front of me.  My lungs were exploding, but I stayed on his wheel....over the roots, over the sketchy bridge....slower than I could have been going but there was just no place to pass.

Out of 57 Chevy I tried to pass again as we raced by the sugar shack, but he was too fast....then up the ridgeline singletrack...I was right on his wheel again.  Through the ridgeline rockgarden on his wheel...but no place to pass.  He pulled away as we came off the ridgeline, but I caught him at the rock drop because he took the around.  Then we raced together again, but he pulled away as we raced through the now empty feed station...and up the hill to the finish.  He crossed the finish line just seconds in front of me...dammit.  I was spent...and then some!!  I was just happy to see this...

I finished the day in 12th spot.  Not as well as I had hoped but not too bad with all the fast guys out.   That put me in 5th spot overall for the season in my category.  I felt strong on this day, and finally almost fully recovered from my injury, and almost back to my fighting weight.  Speaking of, I made my way to our campsite for my recovery meal.

Other notables for the day...

JennR won second overall for the season in her category.

Congrats Jenn!!

Mark was happy for her...see?

Seth went fast...

John raced singlespeed just for laughs.....and won...and laughed...

CoachRob finished second on the day...and second overall in his cat for the season!!  He is one of the best at this game!!  Helps make for a good coach!

"Game??  This ain't no m***f***king game!!!"

This is Oggie...(random Oggie pics abound!) sum up my OCup season.  I finished 5th overall in my category.  That is WAY better than I expected.  I have always considered myself more of a marathon/endurance racer.  But with CoachRob's guidance, gearing my training for the shorter 'sprinty' racing of an OCup, helped me to achieve better than I thought I would.  In fact my only podium this year (so far) has been at an OCup...actually lucky enough that it was a Canada Cup...

Thanks CoachRob for talking me into this....I will do the series again next year!

OK, enough bragging-ish bullshite.

OK....I a minute...

So what's next??  Some of those long endurance races.  Next one is the Marathon XC nationals at Horseshoe on Sept 13 put on by Superfly Racing.  Next is Paul's Dirty Enduro, then the Fall 8 Hour.  And CptSydor has challenged me to do a 120km race up in his new neck of the woods in Oct.  So lot's of season left!  So the training is geared to the longer races again...which means I better get out there...

Stay posted!!