Friday, April 30, 2010
I rode pretty hard until I got to Brock, decided to take the Bruce Trail after a little loop in the Dump. A really fun trail with some good log hops at the bottom, managed to make them all finally, a couple I had to question then man up and walk back then do it. Once I got out on Treemont rd. I started my tempo, did a couple hard climbs on the road before heading back into the trail. The first set of singletrack climbs right to the top of the escarpment, I had to take a little breather after that one, I felt the heat getting to me. After a couple minutes I got back on and continued the tempo out to Hydro Hill, got a call from Nat (The Coach's boss) and I was to meet them at Allanburg. So I pushed really hard through some trails, across the creek, very hard through the 8x12 and then finished it with an all out effort up Decew. Stopped at The Mill to top up the bottles.
Took the L2L gravel back to Allanburg where we met up with De Cal who was prepping for Springbank this weekend. Shot the shit then rode some trails for over an hour before heading back home along the canal trails. Of course, with not even 30s of trail left before we were to get on the pavement JF gets a rip in his tire, most likely from glass. The glueless patch actually held up for the last 3k. Perfect day for a 4 hour ride.
Just had a huge protein shake not too long ago and now I'm waiting for some potatoes and sausage to be ready. Gonna go to my grandpaps for Game 1 of the Mtl v Crosby series, can you believe they actually came back and beat Washington?
Tomorow is looking like a good day to get out for an early ride while its hot and before the rain comes.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This week's training, back up to Tuesday night's race, lots of attacks right from the start. Lefebvre, Toews and Holtzman got away and when I bridged a small gap to Etzl we put the hammer down and looked back to see we had a gap. Noah joined us shortly, don't mess with his cadence. We were chassing for a lap until they got away from me and I was chassing solo for the rest of the race trying to stay away from Chown, Perry, Hokins and maybe others but I forget. Lefebvre dropped off the first group so I was chassing two guys who were chassing two guys. In the end, no one caught anyone. Some pretty big gaps in the field, wind sure played a big factor in that. I was feeling comfortable above theshold trying to hammer in the headwind, Perry is defenitely right that I have to learn how to hold a wheel in a corner, I'm getting tired of bridging 50m gaps after every turn.
An exam 2-5 pretty much screws up any training you have planned since I like to take a nap after a ride, can't really do that when writting an exam. After the exam I decided to chill out a bit and pick it back up today. I sent out an email to De Cal and Morka on Tuesday to see if I can get a ride set up on today, totally forgot to check my email until this morning. De Cal was probably already out riding since he had work, but Morka wasn't heading out til 11:30. We met at Mossimo's, did some good climbs, battled some good winds and finished off through the Hollows after 3 hours. The initial plan was to head to Jordan but I got a flat heading North on Effingham, luckily a lady rode by on her nice new Trek bike because my back-up tube didn't work and I couldn't use Morka's because he was on his hardtail. I did a doulbe patch job and somehow it worked, so we stuck around closer to home just to be safe. Good stuff.
I told him about my problem with race starts and he said that my warm-up is for sure a huge factor in that, his warm-ups are never under an hour. So I'll defenitely try that out before this weekend's race and see if I can actually breathe for the first 10 minutes.
Tomorow I would like to get out on the mtb before the rain comes, Pipelines might not be dry but it's worth a shot to check it out on my way North.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The pace wasn't very high at all but I always tend to breathe uncontollably at the start no matter how fast it is. Weird, it's not the nerves, maybe a shitty warm up technique? Or I am just brutal at starts, I'll find out in a few races. The first lap went by very quick even fealing as shitty as I was, I started to feel better on the opening climb the second time around but once back in the trails I was just fealing tired and I had lost count of the amount of crashes. I was riding with Jeff Moote when the front Elite guys came by, that was cool to see. The third time up the climb I felt awesome, this is where my race started. A couple stupid moves, but nothing major, started picking guys off and was making very good use of the big ring.
The last time up the climb I pinned in and started fealing very good. My fourth lap was my fastest lap (besides the shortened first one) and I started picking off more and more guys, I dropped my chain for the third or fourth time on one of the steep climbs, but a little on-the-go fix and remount combination ment that I didn't loose much ground at all.
I had no idea where I was, I was hoping top 10, but that didn't end up being the case. Ended up 17th out of 30. Not too bad for my first expert race, hopefully get in the top 10 at Albion and start making my way up to the podium by August.
There was no time for socializing afterwards because I was getting some sort of energy exchange/mind clearing. Pretty cool stuff, did it work? Not sure, I was able to breathe better afterwards but that could have been caused simply by the rest and the fact that I was no longer inhaling second-hand dust. Who knows? Let's just leave it at that.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Got a little later start then I would have liked, but sleeping is the shit. I was still out before 12 which is very good for me when it's a solo ride. I started off with the usual Bauer/L2L trails to get to St. Catharines. I knew it was going to be a sick ride right from the first stretch of trail along the canal, everything was completely dry and I was riding sections much faster than I could last year. Finally using the berms instead of my breaks and pumping in and out of the ruts instead of sketching out and loosing momentum.
Once North, I started off with the Mill trail then got to the Short Hills through Driftwood. The trail comes out on Wiley rd. and at the top there is a gate to go around for the main path OR there is some singletrack going right. Lately I've been exploring quite a bit so I took it until I came to camp Wetaskawin, I was having flashbacks of being there as a little fella in grade 7 and 8. That was our junior high bonding trip, I was always so excited to go because of all the salamanders I would catch and bring home.
Anyways, got lost for a while but did alot of very long and steep climbs and descents so it wasn't all that bad, turned around a couple times and I was back at the gate. Not sure which loop I took but I ended up where we go down that sketchy descent with a sharp left turn at the bottom for the Squeezer. Followed that out to Decew that back tracked but instead of taking the L2L, I took the ATV trail that brings me to the Pipelines. Two super tough climbs later and I was heading home on rail trail.
I rode hard the whole 4 hours and climbed all the hills at race pace, once back on the rail trail to get home I took it easy though. Tomorow is the last chance we get for some early season mtbing, then it's rain and more rain for 2 days straight. May isn't really early season anymore, not mid but not early. Or maybe it is, whatever.
The next couple days will be pretty chill, 4 exams in 6 days starting tomorow. Awesome.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Every time I came out onto a road I spun easy for a bit until I figured out where I was then went back in for some more fun. I had no idea that the place had so many trails. The climbs have to be the toughest in the region; very steep, suprisingly long, and lots of roots. There isn't any flat stuff, you're always riding on a ridge or climbing. There were some doubletrack descents that reminded me alot of a place like Mansfield or Ganaraska. One of them took me real close to the Hollows so I took a short road ride over to St. John's Conservation Area for some more climbing. I always wanted to take my bike there, but never got around to it. Very short but the climbs are very similar to those in the Pipelines.
I made my way back to the ATV trail and took it right to where the map said it would take me, Beaverdams where the red barn is. I took the L2L stretch and the mtb trail along the canal at tempo(ish) and held a good pace into the headwind for the rest of the way home. The ride was 3 hours but it felt much longer, anyone that lives in the region should defenitely ride those trails. There are a few creek crossings that aren't rideable but the hike-a-bike is pretty easy and there aren't bushes to walk through.
Tomorow I'll defenitely get an earlier start, up at 8 and hopefully out before 10. MTB fo sho, probably the Short Hills, Brock, 8x12, should be more like 4-5hrs.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
So on to the first Tuesday night race of the year. Not much to report since I didn't race too long, I left the house at 5 and rode to the star, did half a lap and waited around until everyone got there. By this time I was pretty cold, but so was everyone else, the sun decided it didn't want to shine anymore. The start was pretty calm, I was fealing pretty good so I made my way to the front after there was an attack that got shut down and went off the front for a bit. I knew it wouldn't last longer than a minute.
The pace was pretty high on our first trip up Saylor's, at the top Noah was off the front solo and when Chown launched an attack the whole pack responded, minus me. I was chassing for a while and the gap wasn't growing but I knew I was only one surge away from being out of sight so I shut it down and headed back up Saylor's and called it a day. Rode back home with Willie Coyle and we had a good, unfinished, talk. Gear ratios and whatnot.
"Yeah Justin, it's all about leg speed. Have you ever seen that kid Noah pedal a bike? That guy does not know how good he is."
I was pretty bummed that I got dropped before the real jam started but that's cool. On the weekend I didn't even think I would be back on my bike before Mansfield causing me to miss another race. So everything is going much better than I thought, meds work good as far as I can tell. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I was right about my sinus infection. So last week I was hit with a bad cold on top of the sinus infection (that I've probably had on and off for close to 2 years) on top of my ear infection. Nice.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Got out for just under 2 hours on the bike I'll be racing on this weekend, I haven't ridden it since November and it felt freakin awesome! So much nicer than my other mtb that I've been riding through the winter, defenitely going to get a wide bar for the beater.
I've pretty much got the fastest/funnest way to get through Welland to be on my way to Port, lots of hopping around once I get closer to downtown and a sweet but very short singletrack stretch to get me to the canal path. I put down some good hard efforts to open up, well, everything a bit so that I'm not a slug in the trails. The trails were super-dry and fast which made for some really fun trail riding, for the first time in a while I felt good. I was on freakin cloud 9 until there was 15 seconds left of trail to ride before I hit the path to head home and I heard a really high pitch sound, a very painful one, mentally that is. My rear tire was completely flat and after a quick check I found a nice big rip across the top and into the sidewall. Looked back on the trail to find scattered glass, I was so pissed, but now that I think back, at least it happened as close to Welland as possible (in the trail that is) and my mom was just leaving for her lunch hour when I called. Yeah, the more I think about it the more lucky I feel, walking home from Port would sure have ruined the day. Another thing I just thought of, I didn't have to ride through the headwind to get home, nice.
My doctor's appointment is in an hour, we'll see what he sais. After this ride, I'm super pumped for the first race night tomorow. With the 8x12 turned into a night racing series on Fridays I'll be at all of the tuesday night races for sure.
-EDIT- Totally forgot to mention Jeff Lemon's 53rd spot at yesterday's race. That guy is sick, can't wait to start the Monday night youth MTB rides in 2 weeks.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I'm not too sure where I'm going with this, but as a self-coached athlete I sometimes find myself thinking that I'm at a disadvantage to those who are fully-supported. Of course I'm at a disadvantage, but does that mean I work harder than they do? Not a chance. To get fast you have to ride, lots, period. You have to go hard, very hard, harder than you think you can go and then even harder. However, you must also know when to take it easy, be able to take control. This is the part that led me to where I am today, no control. My rest week consisted of 4 very hard days in a row while trying to fight a cold. Every day it got worse and worse but I ignored it more and more trying to start a new block tired and weak. Look where that got me, I've rode once since Bronte and I've never felt less rested in my life. I worked my ass off while many were still taking it easy indoors, kicked the shit out of myself to get stronger, and then threw it all away. My hard work, my stupid decision, my fault.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is, even if you have a coach, the only way you're going to learn something is by doing it yourself. Usually by screwing up, and if you don't give yourself shit for it then that's when you need to hire a coach so he/she can give you shit. I may be pissed at myself right now, but I know that down the road I can only take this and learn from it. At the end of a block you feel pretty tired, a couple days of rest and you'll feel like you can take on the world but your body needs to fully recover so you can tackle the next block fully rested and ready to go.
Tomorow I'm hoping to get out for a ride, going to see the doctor for sure to get some antibiotics, I'm pretty sure I have a sinus infection of some sort which would explain the ear infections since both systems are closely connected. Hopefully this is the last depressing post on how shitty I feel. It better be because Tuesday Night Shit Shows begin in 2 days! When you get some of the fastest guys in the region together and the goal is to ride as fast as you can, good things happen.
To end on a more up-beat note, some awesome results today from the P2A with De Cal 13th, Perry 18th, and Etzl 44th. That's pretty freakin sick considering there were over 1200 racers.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Monday I woke up very sick; a combination of overtraining, cold (as a result of overtraining), and an ear infection. So for the next 3 days I was coma-toast chillen on a couch. I had the shakes Tuesday night and just felt like a complete bag of shit all week. I guess it came at a good time, even though the weather was nice, it's early in the season, C-priority race on the weekend that I can easily not do, and right between the end of school - beginning of exams.
Doing nothing at all gets you thinking a whole lot and I realised that I was being a hyprocrit when I said that "you're body will tell you everything you need to know" going on about how I don't train with numbers. My body was surely asking for a rest the week of the Good Friday Road when I trained hard through the weekend and last week leading up to the ToB and what do I do ? Ignore it, nice. I'm surely paying for it now though, so I guess I'm not totally a hipocrit. Just gotta add "and if you don't listen, it will kick the shit out of you... from the inside".
Today I didn't feel so bad when I woke up and the weather channel said it was 20 degrees. I decided I would do an hour on the race mtb to get both the bike and the legs spinning. The bolt that holds the bottom pulley of the rear derailleur is stripped and that thing has shark teeth now so it did just over an hour on the road bike and it didn't feel as bad as I thought. Sure didn't feel like 20 though.
Oh and one more thing, I got the best KMC chain for 9 speed last year for 80$ and 2 links broke in a month. I just found another broken one today and I didn't even ride it once since November. Defenitely getting myself some Dura-Ace before the first O-Cup.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I spent a little too much time out front and when Perry attacked there was only one guy that went with him and no one felt like working with me to bridge. At this point Etzl was by himself and it looked like the top 3 spots were gone. There was a couple guys in blue, a Wheels of Bloor guy, Dan Dakin, and myself left to try and bridge the gap. The Wheels of Bloor guy and I took some good pulls and kept driving the pace, I didn't realise there was so few of us left until about 3km away from the line.
If we would have got organised the race could have been a little more interesting but everytime one of the guys in blue would get to the front they would wave their hand for someone to go by after 20 seconds. This is a good amount of time for a pull if you are doing any sort of work at all in the pack. The finishing stretch was very sketchy, a guy in blue did the short pull/hand wave thing and when no one came by he started going all over the road almost causing a big crash. Now I see how the kind of shit in Good Friday Road happens, stupid riding. I tried to be patient and thought I would have the legs to make a break 1km from the line and make it, but I didn't. The group latched on and, like a sucker, I towed them to the last 500m. I had nothing left in me for a sprint, yet again.
In the end I still have a lot to learn about road racing strategy, but I'm pleased with the effort I put in. So far the P2A is still out, we'll see what the week brings me.
Big props to Etzl and Perry for the 1-2 and to Noah who was in a sick solo break when I left. Can't wait to hear what happened with that. Big day for the St.CCC with Tyler Holtzman adding a win for the club in the S3 race.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Next up was a pretty tough climb called Park and I started to feel really good half way up so I put in a good effort for the rest of the climb but decided not to go up Moutainview to try and maintain my good feeling. That all went for a complete shit when Chown rode by in a group of 8ish and told me to get on, so I tried to bridge for a while and he dropped back at a turn to help me finish the job. I pulled through a few times but that was it, easy spin to Tim's.
On the ride home with Rob W. I was getting very discouraged about how shitty I felt which made me feel even shittier and I was in a downward spiral of shittiness. I had no confidence left in myself until I read the comment from De Cal on my last post, if I keep telling myself that I'm burnt out and I don't feel good then I'll never get out of this rut. It's all about being confident and pushing through the bad times like pushing through a great big pile of chicken manure, just get it done. So screw it, I don't care what my body is telling me tomorow because I sure as hell won't listen. I'm going to put the hammer down until I don't think I can go any longer and then I'm going to go even harder, there's no way I'm coming home tomorow knowing that I didn't put it all out there. If that means getting dropped in the first lap, then so be it.
I don't think I'll be racing the P2A next weekend. I'll be taking Monday off for sure, Tuesday will be an easy ride, Wednesday and Friday will be longer rides, Thursday I might do some intensity and I'm going to go hard on the weekend club rides. The week after I'll see where I am and hopefully hop back in my Base 2 block and we'll see how she goes for Mansfield.
Good luck to everyone racing tomorow at Mansfield, HoN, and Bronte.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Since workload is durantion x intensity, if I were to keep putting in the same amount of time on the bike but just raise intensity my workload would be too much to handle and I definitely wouldn't make it to the end of a 3 week block before my body gives out. Less time, more kicking the shit out of myself then adding more time and more kicking the shit out of myself is how I hope the next couple months go if I respond well, if not, simply back to the drawing board.
Another thing I did wrong was putting in 15hrs in the last 4 days of my rest week while adding intensity and having a cold on top of all that. Coming into this week, first week of my 3 week Base 2 block, I'm fatigued and still trying to get over a cold. I'm cooked. A very wise man (The Coach) once told me; "Those hours, they don't come free you know." Words to live by.
Since Monday, I've put 5 hours on the bike and as I type this I still feel very tired. Yesterday was a good workout on the trainer, warmed up then did 5 reps of 5on/5off (minutes that is) and cooled down for a while. Today I was struggling trying to get some easy spinning done, both days were on the trainer because the temperature has done a huge drop and there's no way I can handle it the way I'm feeling now. Especially if I want to race this weekend.
Tomorow I'm going to meet the club in Jordan and push hard until Smithville then I will take in a massive amount of calories and spin home the flat way at a pace so slow I might even tip over.
Oh, and although I can take credit for some of the realisations, 90% of what I just wrote was what Nathan Chown told me. He doesn't read this so I could have taken the credit, but I told him that one day he will read it, and he will. Even if he doesn't get through a whole post, this page WILL be displayed on his monitor.
For those of you that do read, see you around.
Monday, April 5, 2010
New thoughts on racing, making specific goals are pointless at this point of the season. Every race has the same main goal; to go beyond just draining the legs. Like nothing you would ever do in a workout or a group ride. Even if it means not taking the win.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The echelon was really starting to kick the shit out of me, I pulled through every time anyways, I should have stuck in the back. Oh well, after a little while I completely blew up and had to drop back... way back and eventually lost sight of them as they were sprinting for signs. I made the wrong turn but was lucky to see another cyclist who was heading to Smithville.
I had to keep my head down in shame as I pulled into the Tim Horton's parking lot because I knew I was going to get it from Chown, and I did. If I could remember what he told me to put as my blog title then I would have made it that, something along the lines of "Riding your bike all the time doesn't do nothing and you don't know how to ride your bike". All in good fun, my boss on the farm sais worse to me when I do a good job.
I'm surprised at the legs I had for yesterday and half of today after Friday's race and being sick. Both days were 4.5hrs each, I think I'm gonna sleep for a few days now.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
There was a small break on the first climb that I was letting go but I started to feel good and bridged up before the top, the wind was so much warmer on top of the escarpment it was unreal, like 5 degrees hotter, maybe more. The next climb went much better and I stood up and put a good solo effort in and went back down to the last rider and came back up. My legs were feeling a little burnt and I was coughing and blowing out massive amounts of mucus but other than that I wasn't feeling too bad at all. The next big climb I followed an attack at the bottom and we battled it out until Nathan Chown came flying by us and there was no chance for a response. We did some good tempo into the headwind and I was taking some long pulls and there was still no sign of being cooked, if only I had rode like this yesterday.
We did a sort of figure 8 loop and made our way to Mountainview climb which would be the longest one of the day. I broke away early and stayed away for quite some time until a group of 6 or so caught me and I sat in for a bit and broke away again, this would end up being my best effort of the day. On top of the climb the 7 of us started an echelon and Chown put out a massive attack and would survive until Smithville. He had us working hard in the echelon to bridge and one by one people were dropped until there was 3 of us that joined him and we spun easy into Smithville.
After Tim's the group split up and there was 5 of us (including Rob Watt and Jeff Moote) battling the headwing until we climbed Saylor's and parted ways. When I got home I went right to my bed and was unable to move for half an hour until I got up to make some food and now I'm back in bed. Lots of fluids and vitamin C and we'll see what tomorow brings.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Last night I started to get a little congested and this morning it got worse and I had a slight cough, not a good start. It took a little longer to get there then I thought so by the time I got to the registration tent I had 30min to warm-up, that's if they wouldn't have ran out of pind, which they did. If it wasn't for Brandon Etzl's mom then I might not have had a number on my jersey.
The start felt pretty good until 10min later where there was a huge crash with carbon and sunglasses flying everywhere that had me ride off the road. I slowed down a bit because I've never seen a road crash from slow close and some guy came by me and said the medical team was right behind us already. De Cal had taken off on a two-man break and I had no gas to bridge.
The next two laps felt very uncomfortable, I was having a hard time bridging small gaps and keeping up on the climbs. By the third lap I started to feel much better and we had realed in all but one, who ended up winning the race. I was right up at the front and had enough gas to pick up the pace when it was my turn to pull. About 3km away from the line I tried to get away but that didn't work at all and neither did my second attempt. Coming in to the last corner I knew my race was over because I had spent too much energy trying to get away rather than save it for a group sprint. I made my way through the cassette to my biggest gear and started to get a little momentum when there was a huge pile up right in front of me that I managed to miss but in the heat of it all I forgot I was still in my biggest gear and the top 15 or so were already across the line. I took it easy because there was no one around me and I managed to pick up another spot when Dan Dakin ran his bike across the line.
I will chalk this one up as a learning experience and hopefully things go different at the Burlington road in just over a month. I'm excited to compare our average speed to that of the S3 field, our winner was 40km/h right on. Huge congrats the De Cal for being in a break for so long and still managing to take the field sprint and to Etzl for his win in the Cadet field.
What a perfect day for a race, over 20 in April, nice. Now it's time for some fishing.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I got the tubulars mounted Tuesday night on the second try and they looked super sexy on my road bike. Big thanks to De Cal for swapping the cassette for me so I can take them out for their first ride yesterday for a 1.5hr loop, but 15min away from home the back tire got soft. By the time my ride came it was completely flat.
I went over to Chown's to see what was goin on and got a 36$ parking ticket for blocking the sidewalk for 5 minutes. After class, I drove to Liberty! and Derek helped me out with some Stan's, the guys there are sick. Nothing worked out so Chown hooked me up with some tubulars and I got those remounted today so I should be good for tomorow.
While they were settling I took the beater out down the Canal Path and L2L stuff to do a quick lap of the Mill trail then I took the roads home. I did a couple sprints to open the legs up and now I'm feeling pretty confident for tomorow.
Got my license from the OCA today to find out that I am signed up for Senior Elite. My receipt sais Sr.Ex so I'm not sure what happened, I thought about it for a bit and was super pumped for a whole 2 minutes to go and get destroyed at Mansfield. I realised that I want to earn my spot in that field and not get in from a typo.
If that was just an April fool's joke then it might take the award for best prank from Rob W.
Exactly 14 hours until the gun (or whistle?) goes off to start the first race of the season.