Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some time with my bicycle

A wee bit of snow fell Sunday night, enough to leave the roads too shitty to ride on for 5+ hours so De Cal and myself headed out for a 4+ hour hike in the Short Hills with my dog who was chassing dear and squirrels the whole time. He's getting a little braver and starting to venture way out of sight only to come running back onto the trail to catch back up, pass, and jump back off the trail to do it again. Maybe one day he'll actually bring something back with him, but doubt it. We threw in some push-ups and attempted some pull-ups so we can feel like Rocky, it worked, I felt ripped.

Tuesday morning I hit up the Short Hills for 3 hours with the studded tires, I don't know if it was me or the tires but I was riding like shit for what the trails seemed like. On Monday there was an ice base layer and a little bit of snow on top, Tuesday it was pretty similar but the snow was a little firmer and ate my wheel quite a few times. Oh well, crashing is fun in the snow. Energy was very low as I was finishing up in the 8x12 loop so I decided to finish it up on the road to get back to the car. Followed that up with a couple hours of strength work on the farm carrying pales of chicken feed around.

Yesterday was supposed to be crap out and my boss needed me, plus I knew I'd be tired so it was perfect. After a couple hours of work it was really nice out and I wasn't feeling tired at all, oh well, can't complain about making money. For the first time in a long time I was motivated enough to come home and ride the trainer for an hour or so. Today I was planning on 4 hours on the road, it would have been pefect if I wasn't stuck in my big ring. I tried to downshift coming out of my street but nothing, with no choice but to hammer all the climbs and keep a decent pace when it's flat I ended up with 3.5hrs, after killing myself up DeCew I knew I wasn't going to bother with another little loop to get the time in. I felt really good today, recovered quickly from uphill efforts and stayed strong the entire ride.

It's good to finish rides this time of year feeling like you could have kept going physically and mentally. Physically because this isn't the time of year (for those starting their race season in April like myself anyways) to be putting in those kinds of rides because that calls for an early season burn out, especially if you live where it's a little colder than places like AZ or Cali. Mentally it's great because you're already pumped for the next ride from the second you get off your bike and wipe it down.

So I guess training is now in full swing, so is calorie consumption. I'm hooked on dates now, I always seen De Cal munching on them when we were at races and whatnot but never really liked them that much. Now, for some reason, I can't open the fridge without popping one or two in my mouth.

Hmmm, what else is new... I'm in charge of groceries now and cooking most nights so pics of deliciousness are defenitely on their way.

I haven't decided on mtb or road tomorow, if we get alot of snow then it's going to be mtb for sure, but if we get more than alot I might head out for another monster hike. Saturday is supposed to be nice enough outside for a few hours on the road and then some, we'll see how she goes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Frostbike - déja vu

I was feeling really good heading into the race yesterday after an amazing pre-ride on Tuesday and a very similar one Saturday. We did a lap and a bit with the big frenchman in the picture below who ended up taking second overall! I felt I was riding strong and started to find some good rhythm in the trails, top that off with am amazing bike tune-up by none other than Mr. Derek McCaulay himself and I was good to go.

Got to the venue just after 9am to find that all the prime parking spots were already taken, so I found a nice hidden spot right by my dumpster friend. Got registered and was surprised that the guys from the SHCC had reserved my number for me, big thanks. Did the usual pre-race shoot the shit, get kitted, complain about a thing or two like the cold and eventually get spinning. We headed out onto the course for a lap and my rear tire was slowly losing pressure, I topped it up and made it back to the start/finish with a little less pressure again. You'd think I would do something smart like throw a tube in there or swap wheels, but no! That's just not how I roll. Well, I didn't roll far.

The start was pretty relaxed, settled in behind Spak with JC leading the train. He started pulling away with De Cal right on his wheel so I was looking for a spot to get around Spak. First attempt was unsuccessful because my chain jammed, I got around him on some pavement and hammered into some awesome singletrack with JC in sight. I rode his wheel for a bit then when things opened up again I hammered and didn't look back until the next set of singletrack. I had a decent gap but the one between De Cal and myself was even bigger. Next thing I knew I was almost riding on my rim, huge thanks to teammate Alex for stopping to give me a CO2 despite a hard chassing JC. The tire filled well then emptied even better before the end of the next doubletrack. The walk back was long, boring and shameful but it is what it is.

I got back to the truck, threw a tube in and was destined to hammer out an awesome lap to try and get a spot on the podium. I started off strong and motivated only to find myself on some crazy slick trails and I knew it would take one hell of a ride to pull off a good time on a course like that. I guess you can say I rode like a knob, a knob on a mission though. I wanted nothing but to hammer my brains out and found myself down hard a few times, again, you'd think I'd learn and slow down, ride smooth, not! In the end I missed the age cat. podium by 10s. On a positive note I did have the fastest second lap time, but that, of course, doesn't mean squat.

Huge congrats to team L!B for 2 wins and a third (+ age cat. win), they killed it. JC is a machine, old news, but a 2nd overall is a great way to start a season to be raced in expert. AJ posted a crazy fast time despite riding 3 times since November!

Of course, big thanks to the SHCC for all their hard work to get this race going. It was a great time, already looking forward to next year.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rider(s) announced for awesomest training camp in the world

It's official, the applications came in and the selection was made, riders attending the super awesome 10 day training camp are;

- Justin Henri
- Your name here

Originally I had plans to go to Blue Mountain for 5 days but when I found out I could be riding 3-6 hours a day straight out of the armpit of the world I couldn't resist. Big reason is that I've been slacking, school work has something to do with it, but in the end I blame it on poor time management.

Today was day 1 of the training camp and it was a solo 2.5hr ride until I met up with Keith Fleury and Chris heading towars DeCew, shot the shit then we parted ways heading up DeCew. It was a great ride, the wind was strong but it wasn't cold so it wasn't bad at all. First ride without a jacket this year, pumped about that. Too bad it's going to get cold again by tomorow morning, -6 isn't too bad but the wind coming from the North is freakin cold. That being said, Frostbike cold go either way conditions wise, if the trails got flooded from the melt we just got then I might be better off swapping the spd's for my skates. If the trails managed to stay alright then the little bit of snow we're supposed to get will make for some perfect conditions, we'll just have to wait and see.

So the next days of camp should look something like Frostbike pre-ride, Frostbike, century ride and a 3-5hr ride Tuesday morning before I have to be at work for 1. Wednesday I told my boss I'd work a full shift because he needs the help and it's a good way to get two birds stoned with a rest day and a money making day in one. If I'm feeling motivated I'll hit up the trainer afterwards or maybe, just maybe, I'll put a lamp on my head and go see how many times I can eat it before I get tired and start crying for my mommy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Say it ain't so

It's been quite some time but my life isn't all that interesting, especially with the lack of physiology-related courses this semester. I do, however, have zoology which is kind of cool, sponges are sick, that's pretty much what I learned so far.

I'll start from where I left off about a month ago, that weekend was pretty rough, turned out to be a 3 week process because I was only able to work weekends. My weeks have been pretty much the same until this past weekend where I didn't have to work and I was able to ride Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I've been getting out as much I can during the week and making some money while cross-training during the weekend. I might have to work this weekend, it won't be so bad now that we got about 12 feet of snow! Snow day yesterday was awesome even though I didn't get much done because I was tired from all the outdoor riding. It's crazy how much of a toll the cold takes on your body, but push through it and the body will adapt. The only thing that keeps me going when my hands and feet are numb is that it will only make me stronger. I'm pumped for the third year exercise physiology course I'm going to have with Dr. Cheung to understand the scientific explanation behind those adaptations.

Hmm, what else? I tried to ride the Hood sometime last week and the trail wasn't packed in at all so I stayed on the ski doo tracks for a couple hours. Today I didn't even bother with the outdoors because I had a 2 hour window to get some tempo done so that brought me to my first trainer ride of the year. Thursday mornings are good for trainer rides because I don't have much time and tempo work is pretty efficient on the trainer. Tomorow I'll try and get out on some trails, I have a loop in mind, depends on the weather and tonight's festivities.

Now that De Cal has announced it I guess it's official; I'll be riding for team Liberty! Bicycles this season, big thanks to Kurt for how generous he's being for us. The guys at Handlebars are awesome but it's hard to build a solid relationship when the shop is over the border and I am rarely racind there on top of that. Great group of guys though and I hope to see them when I head over there for some racing.

Now that training is in good swing, I wouldn't say full swing yet, I'll post up here a bit more often. Frostbike is coming up quick, then before you know it it'll be race season. Some big days on the calendar include National's for road racing because it's real close for the next couple years, there's Hardwood because it'll be my first legit Canada Cup, and of course Green Mountain.

Oh yeah and this thing needs some pictures once in a while, so next post will have a few of those... maybe. It's pretty darn cold out to stop and take some snapshots and I'm not one for self-portraits on the trainer. So maybe pictures will have to wait a bit afterall, ok now I'm just wasting your time. Later.