Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shitty week

Going to keep this one short because it depresses me as I write it. Just want to get it over with and move on. Been off my bike since the post below (10 days or so). Had a pick-up game today and felt out of shape. My plans for a huge week on the bike were destroyed with work and after a full day of manual labour inside a shit-filled barn the last thing I wanna do is hop on the trainer after supper or try and pull myself together and get out for a freeze-my-nuts-off night ride. It's still February.

To make me feel like even more of a slacker it seems like everyone is really starting to pick it up. Especially DeCal, that guy is sick.

I did manage to get out snowboarding at a local mini terrain park called The Pit. I guess the walk up the hill gave a good butt workout.

Next week is an easy week before I start my "Base 1".

The only high points this week were the gold medal hockey games, the fact that Canada has the record for most gold medals won by a host country (and the most this Olympics), and I made a fair bit of cash.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A hilly day it was

The day started off pretty much the earliest it gets for me, I was picked up at 8:20 to go for a trail run through the Short Hills with The Coach, his boss, and Boston marathon qualifier Alain Deschamps who brought me in to endurance racing with cross country in grade 3. The pace was set high and the ice on the hills made for some extra effort to get up. Many hills were climbed and talk of old times brought some good laughs. Got a call from De Cal and set up a training ride that sounded like it would hurt quite a bit, especially since I was running up a hill trying to get enough oxygen in to stay upright never mind talk to the maniac on the other end of the line that wanted to ride saylor's hill a few times. We got back to the parking lot on Wiley rd. with just over an hour of running or 10-11k.

Got back home for some fuel and more coffee before heading out and meeting De Cal right at the bottom of saylor's, perfect. A quick u-turn and the legs were feeling it, 4 laps of the Niagara Classic later and I was toast. This guy would not let up on that climb, by the top when I was barely able to breath he would shift it up a couple times and stand up only to make the hill look like a little bitch as he hammered over the crest. We made our way over to North Pelham for a few more hills and realised that we got quite a bit of ride time in compared to what it felt like.

I got home with over 3h but under 3.5h, I only expected to get in 2 at the most after that run. This topped off a pretty big week as I head in to a forced rest week, the chickens are being shipped out from the barn tomorow so lots of shit will be shoveled. The week after is reading week so a good recovery will be needed to get in a massive week before I start my Base 1.

Oh ya, almost forgot, CANADA WINS GOLD IN CANADA !!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

km/h or h/km ?

Went out for a 3ish hour ride today with The Coach, his boss ran 20k yesterday so a rest day was needed. We hit some trails around Thorold that I have never ridden before. There was a huge selection of atv trails that ran in every direction. Speed wasn't important today, staying upright sure was. It got pretty frustrating at some points, but it was a great core and upper body workout. Took some of the pain away from the legs that was leftover from the last couple days. Couldn't keep the crash count under 20 today, maybe sometime soon I will be in the single digits.

Got back to his house and all the time spent not-so-rubberside-down had me frozen. Had some fuel before getting picked up to go home for some more fuel to be ready for a little game of hockey. I find skating to be great cross-training, it mimics the sweat I would get during a spin class. I have yet to do one of those this year. Speaking of skating, Canada won their first medal today (I think it was the first) in the 3000m women's long track speedskating, 'twas a bronze.

Super-early trail run tomorow and possibly some hill reps to get my workout over-with before I tackle a massive pile of homework. School eh, only 2 months of it left.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tour de Niagara

Since our epic journey in December where De Cal and I attempted the circle route and had a brutal bonk we decided that sometime before spring we would get revenge with our cross bikes. Today was that day.

He got to my house and, once again, I was not ready. He got my dad going about his fishing so I knew that would buy me as much time as needed. After I was convinced by my dad that Super 88 was the best kind of electrical tape to fix my bootie and 8 different sets of directions on how to get to Port Colborne we were out by 11. We had a good tail wind out to Port Colborne and hit a dead end where we were on an island in the middle of the canal. We could make our way back to a bridge OR use the ice as our own personnal bridge. We, by we I mean De Cal, decided to cross. A couple of rocks were thrown and it passed The De Cal Safety Inspection. We rode our bikes out on the canal which was a pretty cool feeling and gave some more insaneness to the ride. Passed through the Hood and memories of hitting every single tree possible were flashing through my head. This was one of the toughest stetches because our tires forced us to cut through the snow instead of the preferred flotting method.

We rode the tailwind at a good pace through amazing country roads, we even seen a guy riding a horse, and took the highway right into Fort Erie. Quick stop at Tim's for some caffeine and fuel and we were off to Niagara Falls. Working together we managed to keep a great pace into Cliffton Hill where we stopped at Tim's for the same reason as the last stop. Maple Peacan danishes are the shit. From NF to Niagara-On-The-Lake we worked together again to climb like mountain goats right up to the Brock Monument. Down she goes from there.

The stretch from NOTL to St. Catharines was filled with cross/head winds and false flats. There were very little words spoken, just the occasional "holy shit !" We took Queenston road back to St. Catharines and parted ways before I was left to climb the Locks alone before making my way back to Welland. I used a quick cadence rather than force to climb the hill. Something was goin on with my back wheel, it sounded like a spoke was going to snap. Still don't know what it is, I fear that I will find out soon enough.

I can go on for days about how sick this ride was. Never thought I would get in such a powerful 6h ride in when it is below freezing and race season doesn't start for another month and a half. The vues on this route are amazing, a camera will be on the checklist next time we ride The Tour again. Hopefully it is before spring because everything around The Falls looks crazy sick when it is frozen.

Tomorow's plan is a 3h mtb ride with The Coach and his boss. Hopefully get to ride the Short Hills, it's been a while since I've ridden those trails.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Frostbike winner Andrew De Cal got to my house by 10:30 for a complete bike fix-up (swapped the chainrings, derailleur adjust., brake adjust.) while I fueled up. Thanks alot man, the bike was running alot better than the engine today. I got a little crash course on how to adjust a derailleur, we'll see how it goes.

We arrived at The Funkey Monkey with 5 laps of the race course in mind. With the new snow that fell since the race, the trails were really tough. Most of the climbs were unrideable. Alot of the trails didn't have tracks on them and the doubletrack became even harder to pedal through with the fresh layer. De Cal's booties were attracting too much snow so we swung by the car before we started the second lap to remove them and get a little fuel. The second lap went much smoother then the first lap, most of the climbs were still very sketchy but the dismount and climb still gives a good workout. My crash count wasn't too bad at this point.

We did the third lap the other way and after 1/4 way through we knew this was the last lap. Fatigue and hunger brought many crashes and frustration. We had been riding for 3 hours by this point and I couldn't hold a line at all. My legs were still feeling fresh but my upper body was extremely tired and I had a very hard time controlling the bike. This is where my crash count shot up, I convinced myself that hitting all those trees and rocks are just going to make me a tougher rider. We made it back to the car with somewhere in the 3.5-4 hour range. It felt much longer, we got a better workout than we thought we would. Winter mountain biking is sure going to improve my brutal technical skills for the o-cup races.

Tomorow's plan is take 2 at the circle loop around Niagara, should be fun.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2 for 2

Since Monday was supposed to be 2h but I did 3h, today was 2h of endurance. Drove out to St. John's Conservation area to see if yesterday's run was a fluke, it wasn't. I ran for 45 minutes with lots of hills. The trails are only in the 2-3km range but they are pretty intense. I want to take my bike there sometime, the whole trail runs along several ridges with alot of sketchy climbs and descents. Gave a good whole body workout because on the descents I was goin down like Tarzan from tree to tree, ok maybe not like Tarzan but I was using my arms alot on the trees so I don't wipe-out.

Got back in the soccer mom minivan and parked at the end of the Steve Bauer trails for some xc skiin and to check out the loop I ended up at on Monday. I headed back to the van after 35 minutes, I couldn't seem to stay upright on those things anymore.

Back on the trainer for some very exciting stationnary saddle time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hooked Up

Not hooked up as in I got free stuff, but hooked up as in for the next 48 hours I'll be connected to a heart monitor. The echocardiogram showed that I have a leaky pulmonary valve. The doctor said that since this is a relatively low pressure zone 90% of the time it won't get worse. I can keep doing what I'm doing and not have too much to worry about.

Sorry for the partial nudity but I don't know any other way of showing you what the set-up looks like. I'm not a stereotypical teanager who takes shirtless pictures of himself in the mirror and posts it on Facebook haha. I don't even have Facebook. I could do it in person, might not want that since I can't shower for the next 48 hours and I have a pretty big training day planned for tomorow. Might have to bust out the baby wipes so I don't scare off too many people at school.

Legs are pretty freakin' sore today from the last few days, I'm glad it's a rest day. Apparently there is a storm coming in tonight which could make tomorow's xc ski adventure alot of fun.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Post-race triathlon

I needed a good workout to put yesterday's mishap behind me, what better way then a winter triathlon. Well, my version of one anyways.

The Run: Got home from class, had a second breakfast of oatmeal with banana, crushed walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Got a couple layers on and laced up the runners. I decided not to wear my orthotics today and see what gives. Ran the Steve Bauer trail so if the compartment syndrome were to kick in then it wouldn't be too far of a walk. Somehow, someway, I managed to run for a full hour and not feel any "bad" hurt. Explored around Pelham and found a sick cross country ski place where there are trails running along cornfields and figure 8 loops around several joined cornfields. Got back into my neighbouhood with 56min so a little loop around the field at the end of the street gave me my full hour.

The Ski: Same attire, some water and a vine of grapes later and I was in the backyard learning how to xc ski. I've never even been strapped in to a pair so I'm surprised I even got that part right. I was also surprised how quick trees come at you and my complete inability to stop. I've hit more trees in the past 4 days alone then I ever have. Once I was confident I could get moving I brought them over to the Steve Bauer trail and rode up and down a little 200m section a few times. Just wanted to get the hang of it because I plan on going back to that place I found on my run sometime this week for a good hour, mission accomplished.

The Bike: Back home for some more fluids, dried off the outer layer a bit and threw a lasagna in the oven. It takes 2 hours to cook and the planned route was 2 hours, beauty. I am out of cytomax so I decided to make my own drink; water, salt, and half a lime squeezed and dropped in. I was pretty scared to drink it because salt water tends to speed up the "exiting" process, but all went well. Got on the cross bike and before I can make it to the canal path I get a call from a friend who is locked in her bathroom. U-Turn and I was off to the rescue on the Guru-Mobile. Braved the busy roads to the canal path and rode that out to DeCew and then Cataract road back home through Pelham and back on the Steve Bauer trail.

Great day, the sun was shining and no clouds in the sky. Just what I needed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frostbike Winter MTB Race

Woke up this morning more tired than I usually am in the morning, nothing a couple of coffees can't fix. It seemed much colder than it has been it a while. When I got to the venue the sun was poking out a little, the wind was cold but in the trails that doesn't matter. Got registered, debated about raising my seat or not (I didn't) spun around for a bit, a couple of sprints and the racer meeting was beginning. A few words of inspiration from the one and only Jeff Kerton and I peeled a layer off to get ready to go.

It was DeCal, Etzl, and I who were taking off first. The first chain skip happened about 3 seconds in and it was all downhill from there. They dropped me pretty quick on the first doubletrack section but the gap didn't seem to be growing that fast. It started to grow as soon as we hit the first singletrack when I hit a tree and pulled a beautiful superman into the soft stuff. I don't remember too much, just being very fustrated that my chain wouldn't stay on any gear I put it in and it would either drop towards the frame or outwards off the big ring. Anytime I would try and crank it I would be spinning and going nowhere. Got a time-check that I was 40 seconds behind Etzl and DeCal was a minute up from him. The gap was growing but at least it wasn't 5 minutes like I thought it would be. After a little log I tried to tork it and, of course, the chain dropped again. This time when I stopped to put it back on she was broken.

Oh well, I have 2 laps. Running towards the start zone The Caveman suggested I use his bike for next lap. I've never ridden a single-speed or a rigid or a 29er and he was offering me a rigid singlespeed 29er, perfect. Riding a bike is always better than not riding a bike and the fact that it was SS ment that I wouldn't have to worry about shifting problems. Tore off the #69 plate from my bike and flipped it around to use the unbroken holes at the bottom. Still read 69, beauty.

Alls I can say about my next lap is that was the best full-body workout I've ever gotten in 45 minutes. Everything was hurting; my upper-body being the suspension, my core from trying to stay upright, and my legs from having to torque it everywhere and get them big wheels rollin. It was alot of fun, thanks alot Jay for letting me use the bike and for dragging my bike all the way back to the start. Won't be forgotten.

Shot the shit with Derek McCaulay, DeCal and JC Roberge afterwards over nachos and a debate over who owes who a beer. I was called out on the fact that everyone at the table had a medal but me. Dicks! Haha, great job guys.

Today I learned that mountain bike racing is not all about the riding but it is very important to know how to repair/adjust your bike so that you can perform the best you can because, like I said, it's always something. There is no time worse than a DNF.

The SHCC put on such a sick event, I can't thank them enough for their time and effort. Next on my to-do list is a lesson on derailleur adjustments from DeCal. Had my money on him for this race since the day he signed up, where's my payout ?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Frostbike pre-ride x3

Finally got the spoke fixed on the mtb on thursday, just in time for some pre-riding on friday and saturday. Took off from Lock 8 park friday morning with Derek from the SHCC who showed me the loop, thanks. Back there that night for a 6:30 start with Rob Watt for another lap and again this morning with DeCal for a lap and then a little more.

Overall, course is pretty fast for mountain biking in the winter. Not too much ice, DeCal was doing better than I was and I had the studs while he was riding on Rocket Rons. Tomorow is going to be one lap with studs and one lap with Rocket Rons for me. For a detailed review of the course check out Jeff Kerton's blog (on the right side of mine because I don't know how to link haha).

Crash count was defenitively somewhere in the 30s over the 3 days. A couple good highlights; branch up the ass, missed gap right into a tree, knee off a rock, hip smashed off a tree, countless front-wheel-washouts-to-supermans are some of them.

Pretty stoked for tomorow, goal is to get on the podium but we'll see what race day brings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just needed a little inspiration

After a poor weekend of training (2h on the trainer and hockey) I started to feel shitty, especially with the race coming up in a week. Reading De Cal's use of the shitty weather I was inspired to climb. Got home from class and the sun was shinning, stuff was melting so I dressed for above 0 temps. Of course when I get outside the sun goes away and the wind picks up. After 10mins I turned around and head home to add a layer NOW I was off. Took an extra long way to DeCew, including the ATV trail down right beside the canal and claiming victory over The Mill trail that had me down a few times last time I rode it. Didn't have to use my insane dismount-and-run cyclocross skills once.

Made it to the bottom of the climb with 1:20 ride time. Rode the longer one a couple times, then the steeper straight one, then went into the 8x12 trails on the initial climb and just kept alternating between the 3 until I hit 2h. The longer climb on DeCew has to be my favourite climb in the region, it's pretty steep and weaves quite a bit... Makes you feel like you're climbing in The Tour for a whole 5 minutes. Refuelled on the go then headed home on the roads. Total was just under 2:45 ride time, now I feel good.