Thursday, September 30, 2010

How do you destress over lunch??

Today is a good day. I am definitely loving the bike!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

8 hours of Sweet Mellons and then Some Beer

All last week I am looking at the weather forecast, Rain Thursday/Friday but sunny and 17 on Saturday, Perfect! Friday I take a half day off work and we head to the cottage. Once at the cottage we get things ready and check the Saturday forecast RAIN/RAIN/RAIN. Of course I brought out my it's not going to rain all will be great comment but I did not believe myself.

Saturday morning I wake up and hear the pitter patter of my son playing in bed as well as the pitter patter of rain on the roof. Now I was getting a little down as I have never been very successful at riding let alone racing in the rain. When I was out walking the dog it was pouring and I decided that screw it, this is going to be a fun day. Went back inside packed up my race gear and packed myself full of Turkey and cheese wraps so we could hit the road.

My wife was driving and I was looking out into the rain that just kept getting harder and harder until what's that ahead Blue sky and Sunshine. As we get even closer we came by spots that had not seen any rain. Maybe we were all worried for nothing. Maybe not... As we pull into the parking lot this crazy mist started it was thick and seemed to slime everything up instantly. I mentioned to a couple people as I passed them that this was nothing compared to at the cottage 1/2 hour away. The reply "so it's going to get worse?".

Went up to the lodge to get my plates and swag for the race and ran into a online/race acquaintance Dave who offered me a spot to pit under his tent. I eagerly accepted. After getting my bike and gear in order I saw my family off as it was not going to be the kind of day to hang out along side the course and cheer me on with a 4 and 9 year old. Back up to the pit area I made some final adjustments to my bikes rear brakes to eliminate the squeal and got my stuff together. Dave then pointed out his car and said to dump my dry post race bag in there. I did this and came back. Shortly after this lady I have never seen before comes up to me and says, "hey, you just scared the s#!t out of me!!". Turns our Dave's wife was sleeping in his car when he sent me over, oops. He then introduced us. She was still kind enough to cheer me on through the race and even mix me some Perpetuem late in the day.

Well back to the task at hand. After meeting and shaking hands with a few guys I have only talked to online in the past we all made our way down to find a place in the starting coral of riders. I met Mike and Jim there and mike gave me my gloves his wife had accidentally packed up 2 weeks prior after the 6 hour race. They were doing this one tag team as mike had raced Crank the Shield a 3 day stage race the weekend prior and was racing The Squeezer on Sunday. Chatted to them and others in the crowd and realized that the Singlespeed Solo guys were all pretty much alligned in the coral. 1 minute to race was called overhead. We finished up with the smalltalk and get ready for the horn.

Off we went into the trails, up up up the beginning climb. I had heard mixed reports on the course being a climbing course and being a technical course. The organizers always say it is a fast and flowing course. At this point I was thinking this climb is not that bad there must be another one ahead that is bad but up we went then back down a double-track section definitely designed to break up the group through a tunnel and... back up the opening climbs. Wow that was the shortest lap ever, well not really next time when we get to the top of the hill we go down a different route and into the course. I think I staged myself a little further back than I should have as I ended up in a tight group of riders through most of the first lap. Everything was slick especially exposed roots but as the organizers said everything was flowing well, but not fast yet.

fast came in the second lap I must have just got in a nice spot just in front of the masses. I realized quickly that Marc was on my tail and chatted with him a bit and kept pushing ahead of him on climbs. He was relentless though and kept catching me in the singletrack. I need to be a little more confident in wet singletrack but have found myself rubber side up too many times in the past in these conditions. Anyways I messed up on a rooty hill crest and got bumped by another rider and pushed off course. The other rider and Marc passed and dropped me quickly. I decided I was not going down that easy this early and gave chase. it took me the rest of the lap but I passed through the timing tent just behind him and caught up to him on the opening climb continuing the conversation from earlier to let him know I was there. I think this was a little of his own medicine.

Lap 3 I just decided I needed to lose him and kept pushing it around the course. I thought I had done this successfully until the end of lap 4 when I had just grabbed my yummy Watermelon slice at the timing tent and was getting back on course. I heard that Marc and Dave had just crossed head to head and were only seconds behind me. I had to lose them. I pushed through most of the lap harder than I had in the last couple laps. I was able to keep in front of them until almost the end of the lap when Dave pushed past me with power that just said you cant catch me. I realized that this was only lap 4 and I should probably slow my pace a bit so that I don't burn out before the end. Midway through the 5th lap Marc was able to squeak by me and start to create a gap.

I was really starting to love the watermelon at the pit's by the end of lap 5 and had found a great groove. I figured I was probably quite far back in the group with no podium chances so just decided to try to do better than the summer race and just kept my average pace as high as I could comfortably. I need to try not to discount myself like this in further races because I always end up closer than I thought I was.

Around lap 9 or 10 I was in a bit of a watermelon stupor when I heard someone off to the side of the course yell my name. A couple guys I thought were ahead of me were in street clothes discussing their day and I had to do a double-take. Not sure what happened to end their day early but it gave me a late day lift and I was off again. I was able to ride with limited pit-stops all day due to the temperature and was still feeling great except for being a little weaker on the opening climbs. On lap 10 Dave was successfully able to lap me and in lap 11 another Mike slipped past too.

At the end of lap 11 I saw my family cheering alongside and knew we were getting close to the end of the day. I grabbed a slice of watermelon from pits and set off. Hearing talk from the guys ahead that it was 5:05pm and cut-off time was 5:30pm for the start of another lap we had all decided this was our last lap. Time to just ride hard and enjoy without conserving energy for any more laps.

I kicked it into high gear and cranked through all of the fun spots in the course and rode climbs as hard as I had that morning. A ride behind commented "you look like you have another 8 hours left in you.". I let him know it was an optical illusion and away we went. The sun decided to peak through the clouds and a couple pine sections actually seemed to ride dry. One nasty section of peanut-butter trail still sucked the energy out of me but that is how it goes.

I came down the end of the track to my favorite section of super fast flowy singletrack and just cranked through it then one more time through the tunnel and out to my family. I hammered to the dismount sign and swiped in in 4th place. What a fun day and I was not completely wiped out. Later it would hit me that maybe if I pushed harder through the middle of my day I may have been able to make up the 20 minutes that Marc was able to put between us but 4th was something to be proud of anyway. Ended up with 12 laps that my cyclocomputer put at 132km ridden.

I grabbed the bike and the family and I went up and gathered my gear and load it in the van. On the way to the van my big toes started to hurt in the worst way. I screamed and my wife thought I had just lost my marbles. I had a quick shower which seemed to soothe the toes and then grabbed a Big Wheel Deluxe Amber and chatted it up with a few fellow riders.

I had so much fun. I don't know if I can remember a better day on the bike. Even though it rained through most of the day and it was all of about 13 degrees Celsius. Of course just before we leave this is what we were greeted with. Silver lining.
I am inspired to find another event before the end of the season but am not sure if it will be do-able. I am hoping that WOW decided to run winter WOW in the end because that has always been a favorite but things look grim on that angle.
I could probably just keep rambling but I should cut myself off. I'm out...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

6 Hours of Fast Flowing Trails....

Could not have asked for a better day. 21 degrees Celsius sunny and clear. I think it was almost exactly the same kind of day as last year. Got there just after Mike. Morning was a little cooler when we showed up and unpacked. We gave ourselves just over an hour to prepare on-site and a little time to chat.

Mike figured out that after a wheel truing the previous night that a spoke had been overtightened and snapped. We also found a bit of a wobble in my rear wheel. All the while the kids frolicked around in the transition zone asking Mommy if they could stay instead of going shopping.

We had a brief meeting to establish rules/safety/etc... Then 15 minutes to gather our things and head down the dam to the starting line. It was very informal down there we all chatted and no-one crowded the start line except for one of the youth teams that was just raring to go. I checked out a sweet singlespeed from True North Cycles that was also prepping to go. A few more words the 5-4-3-2-1 horn blows...

As usual we establish position up an open hill to spread out the field and then into the singletrack that we would occupy for the next 6 hours except for in the transition zone. I took a different approach this year and decided to get up front early and see if I could hold it instead of working through the field like last year. Not sure if this was the best plan now looking back. I found myself in a group of 3 with two tag teams. I was following as they were regulars here (I thought). The leader took a wrong turn the two of us followed. We rode a ways before realizing that we had already done this section of trails. We found our way back to the trails and I continued to chat with the guy from True North Cycles for most of the lap. We worked through the field and caught up to Mike late in the 1st lap. We went through the timing tent with Mike in first place and me in Second after 1 lap.

At the beginning of Lap 2 I decided I needed to put some distance between Mike and I. I passed him early and worked to try to lose him. He just kept catching up in downhills and I would get away from him on climbs and strait aways. Eventually I realised that it was no longer Mike's click click click rear hub that I was hearing but instead it was the hub of Hugh Black on this beauty of a bike that he had built. We chatted for a couple seconds and I offered him the pass but he was happy with my pace at that moment. The lap was finished in this fashion.

Lap 3 I rode with Hugh's tag team partner again (Unfortunately his name escapes me right now) and we talked about all of the trail systems that were around and the merits of singlespeed. It was nice to take the edge off the race and just ride for a while. I would love to be able to get a custom bike built by these guys one day but don't think it is in the cards anytime soon. Lap 4 Hugh had more gas in the tank than I did and passed me midway through the lap. I did not see them again which I think tells me they were unable to lap me.

The rest of the day was great just riding at my pace and passing here and there when necessary. I was able to make minimal pit-stops and got some great cheering from the sidelines later in the race from my wife and kids. All the while Mike's wife kept pleading for me to slow down. I was trying to push hard and lap Mike so that I knew he was not right behind me but this was not to be. instead every time I heard a loud clicking hub in the woods it was time to increase my speed again an hope it was not him. By the last couple laps I think I must have lost it as the clicking came and went but no riders ever appeared.

My "last lap" was great, I have this odd method of seeing landmarks that I have ridden by all day and mentally crossing them off as the last time I need to complete that today. I did that all the way around the course and when I got back through the timing tent I still had 3 minutes left to start another lap. I was actually surprised at how energetic I was doing a Victory lap before the post race BBQ and Beer. It was kinda odd riding by my landmarks again though.

After the race I walked down and jumped into the lake. Wow did that feel amazing, why did I not do that last year? Then after a quick clean off and clothing change went up and grabbed a Trailhead beer (Thanks Krista). The BBQ was amazing right after the race, big burgers, potato salad, and caesar salad followed by a Birthday cake for the kids. Wellington Brewery provided some Trailhead Lager also but I did not partake as Krista had brought a great mixer pack for Mike and I.

All in all it was a wonderful day with amazing conditions for a ride. 114.55km's later and a first place win did not hurt either!! One lap shy of the first place tag team also.

That's all Ive got for now... I'm out...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A great afternoon...

An afternoon in review...

Was it a #bikeschool lesson?? Well for me no but it definitely has some #bikeschool type lessons involved for those thinking of starting a family etc...

Wednsday anyone who follows me on twitter knows that there was a contest being held for Jonas Brother tickets and my daughter really wanted to go. My wife and I tweeted like crazy to try to win these as we had not planned ahead on this one...

Our weekend plans were to close the Summer off as we had spent most of the summer. Head north to the cottage, Swim, canoe, maybe I may sneak in a ride here or there on my old Singlespeed Nishiki. Plus there are a few summer ending celebrations going on up there in the evenings...

Thursday came and we did not win the Twitter contest, all stays the same right? I am at work and get a tweet from a dear friend that she has been offered 2 free tickets to the 2pm Friday concert for my wife and daughter. We snapped at them still planning to head north early Saturday after the show... Well I think that is a good backgrounder -- lets get on with the story...

Friday I worked from home as someone had to watch my son and the little guy my wife watches on the side. This was easily worked out at work as it was a last day before the long weekend and things would be quiet. Got quite a few tasks crossed off and 3:30 came quite quickly. The extra little man was picked up early and my work day was done...

My wife and Daughter had been in or on route to Toronto since 9:45am and were not expected back until later in the evening. The boys needed something to keep them occupied, and what would a guy like me think of...... Hrm... A bike.

Little guy was happy to hop in the back and head to a park an then dinner. We had a blast at the park dinner then another park. He was running out of gas and there were signs of rain. I put up the roof of the trailer and we headed for home.... Well that was the plan, ran into a friend that had seen me messing around on a longboard at my daughters school pick-up last year and told me of his extensive skateboard collection. Perfect time to check out a couple toys. He grabbed 2 sweet toys and his wife went and grabbed another that was in mint condition but recently converted into a bench for the front hall of the house.

I took an old Tony Hawk board for a little ride around his court and pulled a couple tricks that I had not even tried in years. Then the little guy decided to try it and held my hands as I dragged him around the circle. He had a blast so I took a pic of him on the fun toy.

I was amazed at how much effort it took to climb some of the hills around here on the fixie with the trailor attached. I had taken the trailor out on a variety of different bikes in the past and never had any issues. I did not have to step off at any time but had to fight it a couple times yesterday.

the little guy and I had an amazing afternoon-evening and he is still a little whipped today. Weather conditions and just an overall crazy schedule yesterday kept us home from the cottage but I don't think anyone here would change a thing. Cant wait for our next impromptu father son/father son/or family adventure!!

egggman's Zazzle