Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Thursday, 25 October 2018

The Howling Coyote - A Test of Bones

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away Linda found her prince Craig and 3 years ago they decided to move to Mono (Mow-Know), a land of fabled trails systems, and unending gravel roads.  It is a veritable paradise to providing the pursuit of their mountain bike/gravel cycling passion.

It soon became their dream to share this paradise with others who were also infected with this passion.    So a holey (yup that is spelled correctly) alliance was arranged; with DanOfSubstance and his mountain bike race promotions company Substance Projects.  Dan already had a gravel race series (called the Stuporcross...his name, not mine...), so in collaboration with Linda and Craig the Howling Coyote was born.  A new race in the Stuporcross series, through the trails and gravel roads of Mono, Ontario.

In planning, Linda and Craig wished to have sweeps.  (Sweeps are folks who ride behind the racers, ensuring no one gets left behind, and assisting any racers in need). It's been 6 weeks since my crash breaking my collarbone and ribs.  I still am not in condition to race, but I thought that sweeping would be a good test for my repairing I offered.  SingleSpeedSarah had already offered to sweep the 80km version of the race (PeterF ended up joining her as sweep...both on fatbikes!), so I offered to sweep the 40km option.  (And I am glad I didn't do the 80...Sarah and Peter were out there for 5.5 hours!!)

Sarah and Peter sweeping the 80km Fat style...

So, Sunday morning Johnny (who was racing the 80km) and I packed up the truck and headed up to Mono.  A very nasty, frosty cold windy morning....but it was great to see so many members of the mountain bike race community, after weeks of me being absent.

Gratuitous shot of me, surviving the cold.
Photo by BarryC

TeamColin schooling me on blog writing.
Photo by TedA ApexRacePhotography

United Nations of blog writing.  
TeamColin, Steve of RideCycleSpin, moi.

This guy always gets in there somehow...

And from my perspective, the race was amazing.  Now I realize, many if not most race reviewers are all rainbows and unicorns...all races are great, amazing, phenomenal.  That's not me, at worst I will call it as I see best I won't comment at all.  So, as I saw it...this race was amazing!  It was great to see the race from the sweep perspective.  I could take it easy with folks, encourage struggling riders, converse with marshals, talk to volunteers.  I could skip the hills. sweep I had to cover the entire course (the 40 km course).  So, I couldn't skip the hills.  The hills were brutal.  Dan always seems to do this in his races...long, steep, long, never ending hills.  Brutally sweet challenges.  I can still feel my heart rate bursting though my forehead...

This wasn't even the biggest one!
Photo by Christina

But the hills made for spectacular views...the fall colours beginning to burst from the greenery.  And as sweep, I could take the time to enjoy them.

Still not the big one...
Photo by SteveS

The volunteers were all pleasant and engaging...encouraging racers to refuel, hydrate, and maintain the pace.  Some volunteers were Dan's team/family, some like myself were racers who chose to volunteer support for various reasons, and some were locals providing community support for the event.  The community support was evident and fact the mayor of Mono baked pies with local ingredients as prizes!!

This is not a Howling Coyote, this is Bruno.  
Bruno and his mom and dad were volunteers.

Bruno drove them up in his Westie...
Photo by BarryC

The feed stations were minimally stocked, but the meal options at the finish were amazing.  Hot and delicious, meat-eater and vegan options.  I believe the finish meals were also prepared by locals.  I think these people want us to come back!

However...possibly the most memorable piece of the event was the proliferate gravel road options; quiet country roads rolling through the hills and forest of the county.  And so often, within view of the gravel were obvious trails winding through greenery...nature's enticing call to the mountain biker.  A place of dreams to the gravel rider/mountain biker.  I will have to get up there simply to enjoy the riding sometime soon.

Chatting of old times...or the last hill...

Photo by TedA ApexRacePhotography
The Lapdogs chose to ride together and finish together as a team in honour
 of their fallen comrade Steve Hart.  Steve passed unexpectedly, but 
peacefully in the days prior to the event.  I did not know Steve well...just the 
occasional 'hello', but I feel like I do after hearing all the stories and anecdotes.  
By all accounts he was a special soul, which perhaps explains why he went 
too soon.  Quick with a smile, or laugh...a master of trash talk, a devoted
 hardworking teammate, and a powerhouse on the bike.  My sincere 
condolences to all of Steve's family and friends.

So there you have it.  If you missed this race, you missed a great one.  If you were there, you survived the cold, and the hills...and you loved it...good on ya!!  I'm betting you'll be back.

And some of the best swag ever at this event.
(I had to drink enough to see the logo on the glass)

Finishing up...

As for me and my injury recovery, I survived the experience fine.  A little achey for a while after, but OK.  And I have been able to get on proper mountain bike trails this week.

A happy sweep.
Photo by BarryC

But how can I complain when there are so many friends in similar or worse circumstances.  Barry with a recently separated shoulder, Valerie broken collarbone, SuzyQ shattered leg, and now Linda broken leg surviving getting hit by a truck!!  Some tough ladies!!  (Ya, you too Barry!). I wish you all the fastest healing possible!

And now I have about 25 extra pounds to lose.  Some beauty fall riding to get into.  And Dan's fatbike series to look forward to!

Stay posted!

Yup....that's a cat and a coyote...

Friday, 19 October 2018

Four Non Blondes - YaYaYaYa

So just another brief update, what's goin on, with the situation.

The bones continue to heal...and the surrounding muscles are beginning to relax.  So we are getting there...not as fast as I'd like, but ahead of schedule.  However, still gaining weight.

So in order to keep the weight under control, and to try to maintain some element of 'bike shape', I have been getting out for a few easy paced rides...and a hike that possibly got out of hand (a road too far...).

Stolen from MykalP just this morning.

However, apparently I have been doing too much under my current condition...and my body is letting me know it.  Various chronic inflammations that I historically have fought off are recurring and hitting all at once (like plantar fasciitis, and a couple of other -itis's), and a head/chest cold is trying to take hold (I never get colds!!).  This body seems to want to use its energy on healing.  So I have taken a couple of full on rest/recovery days to try to get healing and health back on track.  And things are looking better.  

Getting older, trying to be more aware and careful...since I don't think I have 9 lives...

Stolen from VirgilC just this morning.

So, healing and health seem to be back on track, and as such my Sunday ride will be me sweeping the 40km at DanOfSubstance's Howling Coyote.  A casual 40km ride on either a 29er or 29plus bike to keep it safe and more comfortable.  Will you be there??

Then hopefully next week or so, I can switch from healing mode, to getting back into race shape mode.  Or maybe I should just let the weight go until I can compete as a Clyde??

Anyways, in order to not make this all about me, a couple of other friends have generously also managed to get dinged up this past week.  TeamColin conked his noggin...and Unglued separated a shoulder.  Well wishes to you guys!  Get well fast!

So, now how about some happy news!

SingleSpeedSarah has a very well written blog that she does not post enough to.  However, a recent post reveals a couple of exciting and positive events going on her way.  Check out her blog Crash Caylor, for her latest very interesting post.

So....that's What's Goin' On.  So far.

More to come...

Stay posted!

Staying Posted!!!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Update on the DownLow I go posting again about a drab, mundane topic.  Me.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I prefer to post about topics other than myself.  However, people have been asking (bikecurious??) about my injury recovery...and someone (Heather?) even suggested that they find my blog posts/strava  inspirational.  Who knew??

Yeah, sorry...

So be is my update.  I am healing...slower than I would hope...but mostly as expected.  Last Sunday was 4 weeks since the injury occurred.  And this Tuesday I had my update with Dr. Smith...the fracture specialist.  The collarbone and ribs are mending.  The clavicle healing faster than the ribs.  (ribs can take 10+ weeks!?).  Mostly it is the muscles cramping/spasming around the injuries that I find most annoying, and debilitating.

Also, weeks of relative inactivity has my core weakened and is going to need a lot of work to get back up to bike fitness.

Also my wieght ballooned up to 208 lbs.  (Yeah....fatter than I have been in almost 15 years...). Need to lose about 25 of that...or more.  Now that I have put this out kind of makes me accountable...I guess...dammit.

So....the good news...

I have had great friends come over to visit and keep my spirits up!  And motivated to get back out there!

Friends keeping the Sunday Riot rides going...

Even though they could work on their Riot face trail pics...

This guy has it down....almost...

Anyways...back on track...   The last couple of weeks I have been stretching, and doing some light weight workouts to try to stimulate healing, and to maintain range of motion.  So I currently have almost full range of motion...however huge lack of strength, and reduced capacity to move quickly without discomfort.

How I think I look weightlifting...

How I really look...

And, a big one for me...after over 2 weeks of sleeping in a recliner, I am back to sleeping in bed (yes, my own bed...).  Although, still in a semi-reclining position.  

And the best news.  I have been able to get back out on a bike this week.  Sunday marked the 4wk anniversary of the crash...and so I got out for a short, easy ride.  On the road, on a mountain bike.  An hour...21 kms...slow.  But it was the max the back muscles could endure before spasming.

Then Monday, over 45 kms...still on a mountain bike...but threw in some rail trail...

And Wednesday...over 55 kms...on a road-adventure bike (Ti Kona Rove) on road and gravel.

So far that is the farthest/longest the muscles and bones will tolerate.  So far yet to go.

Still not fit enough to tolerate a bike ride, and weight workout in the same have to mix it up for now.  However, my sights remain set on repairing and getting race fit over the winter for next season.

The short term goal, for now is to get healthy and fit enough to act as sweep for Substance Projects' 40km Howling Coyote race.  Which is coming up very soon!!  You registered yet?

So there you have it...that is where I am at.  Enough about me...

There have been some very cool races/rides in the previous 4 weeks.  Besides the Fall 8 Hour, there has been Christian's Invitational Dirty Nein, the Batty Cross, The Energy Crusher.  By all accounts, all of them looked to have been amazing.  So much cool stuff has been going on!

And to finish off...with some folks way more exciting than me.  A video that Giant had posted on his page.  I think this video is great...the XC MTB women promoting their sport.

To me the women's XC World Circuit is some of the most exciting bike racing to watch.  Not only because we have local hero Emily in top competition...but it seems to be way more competetive than the guys.

So on that happy note...till next time...

Stay posted!