Thursday, August 26, 2010

Days off

Just finished cutting all the grass on the farm so I've got the next three days off before barn prep starts, what to do, what to do... ?

Monday I didn't do much at all but Tuesday I had a solid Tuesday nighter with the cadets and Chown. I was feeling somewhat alright after a day off, launched an early attack and had Perry and Hopkins with me in a hurry. We got away, Chown and Etzl joined us and we had a good thing going for the next 2 laps, after some attacks we were at the bottom of effingham and by the top I was completely cooked. Got dropped by my paps on the way home.

Last night I got out for an easy ride in the rain on some slick and rocky ATV trails with Nat, JF and a few guys from Beamsville, it was a good challenge just trying to stay upright on some trails. I wasn't too tired at work today but pretty sore, I'll take today easy and get a good stretch done in before bed time.

I'll get out for a solid mtb ride tomorow probably on the hood trails and do the club ride on Saturday, we'll see how she goes for Sunday. Good forecast for the weekend, sun and more sun, it'll probably rain...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Woodnewton XC Provincials

This was by far my best race performance of my life, just like last year, everything came around in time for provincials.

After a moderate paced lap and 2 quick laps with De Cal on Saturday I was starting to get a good feel for the course. The laps felt crazy short, doing a lap in 23:30 had us thinking sub 20min laps for the big boys for sure. We were staying at End of the Lane B&B about 15min away on Scugog Island, the place was sick. We ended up having the whole house to ourselves and enough food for a good week, too bad we were only there one night.

Sunday morning the weather wasn't too nice, but better than hot and humid. Having the course a little slick helped me out a bit since the tires I have mounted are the Rocket Rons and with tubeless I was able to run about 22 in both tires. We had a massive breakfast and got our minds warmed up with a few games of checkers while we had some coffee. Headed out to the course for 12:30 and got everything ready, big thanks to the Etzl's for letting me use the nut that goes at the end of a quick release, mine must have fallen off somewhere. Got in a good warm up and I wasn't feeling too bad at all.

Got in the pen a little early to get a spot up front, it's amazing how much better your start can be after a good warm up and lining up first or second row. I missed my pedals a couple times on the start but no worries, I made my way up to fourth on the false flat and eventually the lead before the first set of trails. This was the first time I've ever led an o-cup, hopefully not the last. I was feeling really good in the ST but not so much on the climbs, I would lead in the trails and Matt Ellis from esteem would pull up the climbs. We had a good thing going until Zach Tatem came blowing past us on a climb, I knew the only chance I had at beating him was on the climbs and if that's where he was passing me, he was gone. So now it was a race for second, I was just pumped to be in contention for the podium.

Lap 2 I felt awful, a mix of feeling really tired and wanting to puke, Matt and I were still going at it, I knew if I started to feel better I's be able to drop him on one of the climbs because I was able to keep his pace even though I felt like shit. I focused on riding the trails as smooth as possible to save up enough energy to get away. This lap ended up being my slowest.

When lap 3 came around I was feeling great, I pushed myself really hard on the climbs but felt a little gassed in the trails to ride smooth, I dropped Matt a few times but he would make his way back to me and get in front of me before the trails so I couldn't ride away from him. Finally I got that boost of energy I needed, could have been the gel kicking in, and I upped the pace on a climb. "Have a good race" he said and I was off, the rest of the lap I was running on adrenaline since I was able to see the leaders jersey closing in on me.

Fourth lap I was way too pumped to get caught, I was totally drilling myself on the climbs, trying to stay in my big ring and forget about the on-coming cramps and massive pain in my lower back. I was still able to see 3rd in the trails but when we got to a climb I was pulling away, I knew if I could hold my spot through the back to back slow and slick single track sections I would be good. The Morka-Batty-Glassford-Jette train came by me before those sections and I followed their lines for a bit, I stayed really focused and kept upright the whole time without dabbing. I took another look back after the last climb on the doubletrack section to see I had a good enough gap to stay calm and not take any risks on the last section of trail. No other Elites came by me and it was the first time I didn't get passed by the lead juniors, I wanted to bust out a good sprint to the line but my chain is toast and I dropped it twice before saying screw it and just cruising to the line. Man was I happy.

Solid rides De Cal and the new Cadet provincial champ; Etzy. Also, big thanks to those cheering me on, it's really something to look forward to when finishing up every lap and, of course, big thanks to paps for another pro feed. Another one to De Cal for driving up and around both weekends (Elliot Lake report below), too bad he had a crappy co-pilot both times.

I was rewarded with a day off work today for my achievement, I will use it wisely with some stretching and napping. Maybe a short spin if it stops raining later, my lower back is still very sore today, defenitely something to work on in the next 2 weeks I don't race. Looking forward to some long rides to get ready for the marathon champs and Paul's, then it's pretty much cx training and racing until I burn out. School starts in just over 2 weeks, yay.

Elliot Lake Weekend

Quick recap of the great weekend, my Internet was down all week so I never got a chance to post. For a better report see De Cal's blog.
Friday morning we headed out just 30 minutes behind schedule and stopped in Parry Sound for a quick ride to loosen up the legs. We arrived at Wilderness Lodge and realised that we had driven the race course, sweet, that'll be easy to find Sunday. We cooked some good grub and munched out on our patio, some bike and body tuning and it was bed time.
Saturday morning we woke up and the weather wasn't very nice, especially for a crit, unless you're De Cal. I lined up at the very back and when it was time to start I couldn't clip in, I was using Look pedals and made them super tight to try and get rid of the play. When I clipped in the pack was just 30m or so away, but we go right into a downhill, a couple sick corners where many crashed out on, then it's flat for a few pedal strokes until you take another bend and climb back up the start/finish. Super short and quick laps makes being up front very important. I rode around for 20 minutes then got pulled, oh well, made it out of there without a scratch. Stayed around to watch De Cal crush a chase group sprint then chilled around for a bit before the hill climb. Hill climb I felt awful and went too hard at the start, I thought it was going to be much longer so I played a little conservative until I realised I was 100m from the line. Oh well, gotta save the legs for Sunday anyways.
Sunday I actually felt great, I got shelled a couple times near the turn around but caught back on everytime, except for the time when I stood up to give a little effort to catch back on before a downhill and I broke a spoke. The wheel truck was between the break and the group so I had to ride painfully back into town by myself and wait around and cheer. De Cal had another solid race and just missed the Espoir podium, next year.
I'm already looking forward to the Elliot Lake weekend for next year, defenitely gotta get a good group of racers up at the Wilderness Lodge and maybe stay a little longer to get more swimming and fishing done. De Cal also taught me a lesson in fishing when he realled in a beauty large mouth bass right in front of the damn that was behind our cabin.
Noah, Etzl, De Cal, Perry and Hopkins all had a solid weekend of racing.
Here's some pics;
Mount DuFour (anyone french will appreciate the name)

Our Cabin, beauty

The Munch Station

View from the balcony

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I hope my legs will still be attached

Heading out for Elliot Lake tomorow morning with De Cal, the plan is to drive for 5 hours or so then stop for a ride to loosen up the legs and get some munch. Then another 4 or so hours until we hit Wilderness Lodge about 45 minutes North of the race, at the very end of highway 546. Should be a great weekend, the drive won't be so bad with the right tunes and some good scenery. Packing tonight is going to suck though because I'll always be feeling like I forgot something no matter how many times I check.

Good talk with Chown on race strategy while I was running errands in St. Kitts. I'm feeling pretty confident, well, as confident as I can be doing a century ride with the fastest guys in Ontario when I've never done a race over 100km. Good thing it's two big laps, if I get dropped I'll still get in a solid training ride, but I'm not going to think like that. Ideally, I would be the only S3 that doesn't get dropped so I can rack up some good upgrade points.

Training this week was alright, low volume/high intensity just like the previous couple weeks starting with nothing but my commute to work and back on Monday. Tuesday was the hilly race night, just 2 laps of the regular course. It was almost a replay of the previous one which was a replay of BtB, but this time I managed to make the solo bridge from the chase group to the lead group. I pushed myself super hard on the last climb to finish off a good intensity workout, I felt alright the whole time, like I could ride a really good tempo forever but as soon as I pushed any harder than that I was shutting down fast. Could have been a combination of lack of sleep and being outside in the heat all day then trying to race in it, I'm not too worried about it.

Yesterday I headed out to Dundas Valley with Nat and JF to ride some pretty sweet trails, we met up with locals Greg and Kevin and headed off for a few hours. I still can't get over some of the stuff Greg was doing, he hits the knarliest stuff that you would never think of trying in your life... with spd pedals! I took a good spill which left me with just some good scraping on my elbow and hip and some trail rash, it was one of those falls where you stop paying attention for just a second because the trail seems very easy then next thing you know you're down. Oh well, you ride and you learn.

Time to start packing, getting stoked!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

O-Cup #6 Kelso

Munching on some post-post race All-Bran bars, post ride was pasta and chicken wings. You know what's aggravating? The fact that these big companies like Kellogs and Quaker can advertise a product that is high in x that is good for you when they contain so much of y and z that are bad for you. People buy into this stuff and wonder why they aren't loosing weight when they are eating this crap, not that I'm trying to loose weight, but it tastes so good haha. Anyways onto the report;

I had an amazing start after a good warm up with Etzl and De Cal, felt good enough to move into 5th on the opening climb. I punched it in the following singletrack and got on Bayden's wheel. We moved through some traffic then I started loosing and gaining positions, passed 3 guys before and after the first feedzone where I didn't take a bottle. I knew I was in good position on the second climb.

The second time up hurt quite a bit more and I was surprised to see Emily Batty at the side of the trail cheering everyone on, training for Worlds I guess. I was sitting maybe 5th at this point and I wasn't feeling very cooked at all so I pushed very hard on the DT, people were drafting but I didn't mind, I wanted to move up. I realised how exciting it was to race up front, was having a good time on the rock gardens and berms, should have worn gloves though.

The feedzone was brutal for exchanging bottles, almost lost my front wheel. Took a bottle this time and punched it before the climb, I don't know where I was but I'm guessing maybe even 3rd at one point before the top of the third time up Ascencion, Trev was gone so it was a race for second. I was pumped I was in contention for a podium. I lost a few spots here and there and couldn't move up from 5th or 6th the whole lap. Coming down one of the rootier gardens I kicked the rock I always came so close to and my shoe popped out of the pedal, luckily I stayed up. Lost a spot before the feedzone but we were bridging to the group ahead then I seen a guy sprinting so I thought it was the last lap and I went for the line haha. The guys at the table told me to get back on the course from the back so I had to turn around again, got some chain suck and watched the guys I was with disappear in the trees.

So now I was racing for 7h with a couple other guys, I treated it as I was going for a podium spot since I really had no idea where I was at the time. There was quite a bit of traffic with the Master Exs and a few elite women here and there, but there were plenty of lines to take to pass so it I wasn't really getting slowed down at all. I passed Erica Bota on that rooty downhill and my shoe popped out of the pedal again but this time I didn't kick anything, pedal's loose again, probably from kicking things. This time it was way harden to stay up because it happened before the hardest part. Luckily stayed up and I pushed hard knowing it was my last lap and I might be near a top 5. Sprinted for the finish and crossed the line feeling pretty cooked and also very happy I had a good race. Looks like the form is coming around afterall.

Watched De Cal crush another sprint and headed over for some intense first aid, cooled down and talked with the Vegan Vagabond and Kerton about their races, bummer. Solid rides De Cal and Trev who dominated the Expert category today, the race was much closer if you don't count his time haha. Big thanks to paps for the drive and the pro feed.

Just checked something;

Hardwood: 84.4 upgrade points

Buckwallow: 89.6

Kelso: 91.9

Total: 265.9

I now have enough points to go Elite, defenitely not before provincials, maybe I can be convinced in the off-season. Alot depends on provincials, I'd like to get that closer to 275 so I'm hoping for a top5, a podium would be nice.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Practising for a competition

Kind lady: "Watch out for the arrows, we have people out practising for a competition."
De Cal: "What, you mean the o-cup?"

Good ride today at Kelso, there were times where I would be riding very smooth and my lines were bang on then I would start riding like crap. It makes a huge difference following the lines of an Elite rider and we even hopped on a Two Wheel Express/3 Rox train for a lap which helped with a few more lines. Hopefully tomorow will be all good riding and I won't see De Cal until after I finish. I didn't feel that great on the climb(s) so hopefully that changes tomorow.

This is by far the most confident I've felt the night before an o-cup, top that off with the fact that it's 11 and I'm already home from work ready for bed AND the drive is less than an hour so I don't have to be out of the house until 11-11:30 which leaves lots of time for sleep. 6 laps in total on the course and I'm pretty sure I got it somewhat memorized; grass that will tear my legs off, a climb that will rip my lungs out and a whole bunch of rock gardens and tight turns to get me recovered and ready to do it all over again... something like that.

So I remembered the camera but didn't snap a pick of the rock garden because apparently it was never in the race. I want to say it was a useless wipeout but there's always a lesson learned when you go down hard. Big thanks to De Cal for the drive.

I gave my goal for this race some thought, I would be happy with a single-digit result, top 5 would be awesome. Since I haven't cracked the top 15 yet, my goal will be top 10, but not 10th, actually come to think of it I'd still be pretty happy with 10th. Ah now I just don't know what I think. All in all, I'm just hoping for a good race.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This would have been a good time for a peak

Pretty much on a every other day training plan right now, nothing but intensity when I do get out. The way I had planned my season during the winter was that I would start my peak right after the CDMBR and try and hold my "race" fitness as long as I could. When I would feel a loss in fitness that would be the end of my peak and I'd go back to long easy rides for a couple weeks then try to build something up for cross. Maybe next year.

This would have been the perfect time for a peak since I could hit all but one of my goals of the season in the next three weeks; try and get on the podium for kelso and/or provincials, get enough points to upgrade and try to get enough points at Elliot Lake for an upgrade. Regardless of my points for road at the end of the season, it's going to come down to how well I do in the 150km road race with the Elites. As for mountain bike, I won't be requesting an upgrade or taking one if I just barely get enough points unless I surprise myself at the next two races. I'm looking for 90+ points each race, I really want to get in to the top 5.

So this week I had a good ride with the club on Tuesday, a group of 4 managed to get away. Pretty much a replay of Bike the Bruce; I let them go a bit then was never able to bridge solo or with someone. Chown set me up for a beauty solo break that I was able to hold to the line then nearly pass out. Last night I headed to Kelso with Neil Armstrong, the course was sick, met up with Ian from The Hub and rode three quick laps with him. There is one rock garden that is just nuts, I'm not sure if it will be in the race or not but I'm going to ride it tomorow at least 10 times after the massive spill I took. Somehow I managed to get out of it with just a bruised ankle and some minor scrapes on my legs, could have been alot worse for me or the bike. Got back to the truck just after 8 and we headed back home. Thanks again for everything Neil.

I brought my camera with me since it came to my attention that I haven't posted any pictures (besides the last post) in quite some time. Tomorow I'll remember to snap a few shots of the rock garden I'm talking about.

In the meantime...

Pile of tires collected in the garage to make some room for...

With quite a few days off work lately I had time to pin up every number plate I've had since grade 9 from #976 being my first high school track meet to this past weekend's CDMBR where I was #69. However, I'm missing 4 races; Twilight Crit 2009 and Good Friday, Bronte, Niagara Classic from this year. The empty spot is for this year's o-cup plate.
On a very positive note, my boss is starting to realize just how important rest is and that even though working on the farm is going to make me tougher, it won't make me faster. Afterall, the lawn mowers aren't pedal powered. However, it's prime off-season training and you won't have more respect for or from your boss anywhere else and did I mention no chemical spraying in the massive gardens or growing hormones for any chickens!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Canal Days MTB Race

My legs felt pretty good as I headed out the door and onto the Bauer trail, I was a little behind schedule looking at a 10:50 arrival when the race starts at 11. I got my plate yesterday when I was out there pre-riding in case of something like this but I was unsure if we needed chips. The start was delayed a bit so I had some time to chill.

I knew De Cal wanted to get a gap on right away and when he started out fast Etzl was quick on his wheel and Tom on his then me. Good thing he slowed down because my legs were already burning a bit. I got bumbed back to 5th going in the first trail, the pace was a little slow so when I had to get around DeBoer who flatted I was able to hammer back to them. First set of double I couldn't make it around Tom and when I did De Cal flatted. Rode smooth the rest of the lap and leading De Cal through a short section of ST was cool.

He went off and I lost both him and Etzy by the end of the lap. I got caught in Mud Lake but in the first section of ST I punched it on the short climbs and made a good gap. Pinned in during the second lap trying to chasse and hold off and the same time. Cramps started to get me so holding off it was. Next time I saw anyone was at the finish.

Finally a decent day on the mtb, I know I still got another notch that I hope I can find at Kelso and provincials. Plans are being made for Elliot Lake, should be a good time and some good suffering. Until then I'll be on the road maybe twice to do some sprints and the rest mtb then the following week will be all mtb. Maybe I won't take that month off racing if I start to come around, still questionning Paul's though haha. This week is barn washing which is a little easier than the cleaning but still a tough job nonetheless. Maybe 15h on the bike?

Solid rides De Cal and Etzl, everyone I know had a solid race, sometimes it just takes a local race like this to bring the best out of you. Good food afterwards but not before I got a good rub down, my lower back started seizing up about 20min after the race. Got a pretty sweet stem after trading with Anderson, anyone need a 90mm RaceFace Evolve XC? I'll most likely be posting a bunch of things up for sale tomorow like a fork, pedals, helmet (a beaut), crankset, and possibly some shoes for either mtb or road.