Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Racecar bed needs a new garage

Moving is a pain in the butt, always will be. I just happened to have gone through this process, probably slower than necessary but feel the need to tell someone now that it’s completely done.

Continuing…Riding has been on and off this week so far, with moving on my table, I have been more occupied with lifting and driving in my spare time as opposed to riding. I do plan on having a pretty big weekend and if all goes well, I may even opt to do a little cyclocross race on the 5th. Not going to lie though, I am ready to start training for next year.

This is going to stray from last year’s formula a bunch though, staying in Toronto can be a pain in the butt when you are racing against some people who are going to Girona for three months, but to a certain degree I’m sure it’s going to toughen me up. After my season this year I have way more of an idea on how to better prepare myself for this upcoming season. It’s going to be a good time this year, I’m looking forward to going on freezing group rides and watching a bunch of movies on the rollers after long days of work.

I plan on making flexibility a bit of a higher priority this year, looking forward to seeing results…maybe I should buy a Wii so it can tell me how to do yoga.

New job is going really well so far, can’t say enough good things about the people involved with this company. Looking forward to the year ahead and building my new race bike. Can’t wait to post pictures when it’s all finished, Starting off with this and will be changing a part or two…

I'm told that more pictures need to be used here so I'm on the case. Next time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Breaking bad habits.

First and foremost, I would like to thank those of you who have been getting on my case about doing this again. It feels good. I'm sorry.

As you may have noticed, a lot can happen in 4 months. New home, new career, new bikes and new friends to name a few.

To give you all a brief synopsis, the season end was a little bittersweet for me. I hadn't reached most of my goals and I was really, really tired but I have to say that in the fun department, this season exceeded my expectations in every which way possible. And for that I want to do it all over again.

Big news to note is that the logos I sport over there on the side have changed. I now am working full time for Norco Products and am really enjoying it so far. I've already gotten on a few of the bikes and have nothing but good things to say about them and the organization behind them. Lots of good people there and looking forward to moving in this direction.

That being said, I never moved away from the Trek Store because I didn't enjoy riding their bikes or didn't enjoy working there. Barry Near and everyone at the Trek Store are essentially the reason that this sport has grown on me and developed from a hobby into a career and passion. I can't thank Barry and everyone at both Trek Store's enough for everything that they have done over the past 9 years and wish them nothing but success down the road.

In case you were wondering, even though I haven't really been racing, I have been riding. My new office is a lovely 22km away from my current residence and I have been riding to and from work everyday, which has been awesome actually. I've decided it's the perfect distance that doesn't require me to put tons and tons of "focus" on recovery and still keeps me thin and fit for this time of year. I guess you can consider my training for next season started. I haven't started riding in doors yet and don't intend on it until absolutely necessary. When you work for a distributor it's not terribly difficult to come up with the parts to make a beater mtb for the winter months a la Eric and Peter.

That being said, Im in the process of moving and my new place has a pretty swell area for my rollers, so we will see once I get that sorted out.

Went to joyride on Friday after riding in and will be going tomorrow as well so this week should be another good week.

I will be updating this more often now but will have to do things bit by bit because I'm too tired to recap 4 months of events in one sitting so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tasty Lunch

Baby spinach
2 Hardboiled Eggs
Hefty amount of Alfalfa Sprouts
2 Raw Beets (Thanks a lot Adam, now I'm hooked)
Strawberries
Flax seed oil



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canmore Race Report

Done and done. First pro National Championships out of the way. The day was wild pretty much right from the get go based on the sheer volume of waffles that Adam and I consumed (Not to worry, gluten free so no ‘poofy-ness’). With that out of the way it was off to the Nordic Center. Rick Batty and Zach had gone a bit early to set up the tents so it was all business with we arrived, or in other words it was pure chaise lounge time. We had spend a bunch of time all getting our bikes ready the day before and I had decided to change tires to something a bit slicker than my Karma’s. The course was still really bumpy though and flats were a definite concern so I decided to go with Continental Race Kings. They are a fast rolling tire but have big volume so they still soak up lots of impact and on the super bumpy stuff were a huge bonus. Those of you who raced Buckwallow would appreciate them a bunch, they would be perfect for that course assuming its not a mud fest like a few years ago.

I got called up about 4th row in the Elite Men’s category. There were 36 of us in total so that put me somewhere smack dab in the middle of things, if not slightly towards the back of the group. The start loop was short and stupid. We blasted off at mach 10 up the feed zone climb and hit some bumpy doubletrack for all of 30 seconds before we were spit out in a group onto the road. Round again, we went up the feed zone climb again and then back down in front of the nordic center building and then back up another open climb (that’s right, again) before we started the real climb into the singletrack. If that all sounds confusing, it’s because it was. As it was Nationals, the organizers wanted to give the spectators something cool to watch which I can totally understand, but it was boring doubletrack climbing and well we have to start mountain biking at some point. If my description makes it sound hard, that is also true. All that big ring climbing totally KO’d me for the first lap and it turned into one of those survivorman type races. Second lap I had recovered on the totally awesome descent and started catching people on the climb when I could go at my own pace. A lot of other people were gassed from that start pace too. The rest of the race went down with little excitement and I rode with Matt P to the end. Finished 25th or 26th in all. There were a few DNF’s that were inevitable either from exhaustion or the downhill eating parts of your bike.

Even though the start loop was silly, the rest of the course was actually super awesome. 200+ meters of climbing was probably a bit much per lap but it was super super fun to go down with the singletrack being super fun to ride. Look for next years Canmore course to blow this one out of the water though.

Post race was all about recovery nachos. Went out with Emily, Adam, Zach and Rick to the local establishment and ate too many jalepenos. Photo documentation will probably surface on the interweb somewhere.

Sunday’s race was wicked, as I wasn’t racing and could go down to set up and leave all the chaise lounging to Zach who was great to us the previous day and watch him completely destroy the expert men’s field. Putting a 100 foot gap on your field in 10 seconds isn’t easy to do. He ended up winning by something like 2:15 so watch for him to put tons of hurt on the pro field next year. Jon Barnes was having a great race until he unfortunately crashed out and ended up with a concussion. I can definitely sympathize there so I hope he is fully recovered asap.

Currently driving back home to Toronto and are sitting somewhere between Winnipeg and the Ontario border. When we haven’t been driving, Zach and I have been making slide shows of the trip on Imovie so we will each have up our own in a day or two.

Last but not least I want to throw big thanks out to everyone who was there this week. Zach especially but all the Trek Canada/World team were super fun to stay with and also Rick who volunteered his time to help out at the races and feed me during mine too.

Good luck in Europe everyone who is going/already there!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Canmore - National Championships

In the Canmore now, have been for a few days now. For a town that seems to ooze relaxed atmosphere I seem to be keeping myself pretty busy. First and foremost, it’s insanely beautiful here which just makes it so hard to rest and recover for this weekends race when ALL you want to do is ride ride ride.

First day we got here it was snowing. You heard me right, snowing. Blanketed mountain ranges and slush barreling down on the town provided the backdrop for believe it or not, one of the most enjoyable rides I have been on in a while. Zach and I set out when it was pouring rain and went exploring. Both of us have had stints of living out west so we relished the opportunity to ride similar terrain again. Stopped for a coffee break and finished up the ride with only about 2 hours in our legs but it was enough. Rain is rain and it was just nice to get the legs moving again.

Wednesday was course day. Did 3 laps in the morning with the rest of the Trek family. My first impression of the course was that it was so much climbing that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the race on Saturday. Sure enough though, after doing a few laps you get used to the pacing of the climbs and start to understand where to push and where to chill out and you get the hang of things. After cruising down and eating the biggest panini of all time I headed back up and killed another lap and a half but stopped there due to bear warnings and the fact that I was alone.

Today was a little bit more chill, bit of stretching, rode two laps and then came home to eat a monster taco salad. Delish. Some SMR and stretching to cap off the day and Im knackered. Assuming I recover well tonight I might do a race lap and one super easy lap to make sure I’m 100% on the course. Im feeling more and more confident on the course day by day so if I pace myself the race will be painful but should go well and I’m looking forward to it.



Emily riding my 29er. Tell me it's not faster.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Edmonton Canada Cup report

So Sunday came and went with some good company, some great weather and a course that was surprisingly fun to ride. We (Emily, Adam, Eric, Eden, Rick, Zach and I) were staying with Kirk Hamilton and his wife Serena, who were extremely welcoming and very gracious in letting us use their kitchen to eat and floor to sleep.

We arrived at around noon on Sunday so that the Trek Canada team could do a small loop with some super enthusiastic kids before our race went off. Looked like everyone was having a good time. Zach and Rick had gotten there a few hours earlier and set up the tent so when we arrived after watching an explosive and disappointing tour stage we were all a bit shocked at how awesome it looked. Having the trailer, with all the tents side by side looks super great and definitely drew a crowd throughout the day.

It had rained the day before but overnight it had dried up so much that we all decided that running a bit of a faster tire would be the best idea so I went with Bontrager XR0’s front and rear which was perfect. There was one small muddy uphill that had I run something more aggressive I might have been able to ride it but I didn’t see a single person ride it anyhow so I still feel I made the right decision. My race performance however was a bit lackluster. Because of my recent Euro trip I had spent a decent amount of time in the gym but 100% of it off of my bike so as soon as the race took off up the first hill it felt like my lungs were going to get heaved up onto the ground. In the grand scheme of things, this is how it is supposed to feel anyhow so I kept on chugging away into the single track and got caught up in a bit of a train that had formed. Even though I felt like I was pushing hard, my legs weren’t burning like they normally do during a race and actually felt too good considering how hard I was breathing. This was annoying because we were going...well, really slow and I wanted to speed up but could not whatsoever. By the time my third lap was coming to an end I was starting feel really bad and couldn’t recover from the very anaerobically demanding course. Unfortunately, so much that it put an end to my race. I felt pretty bleh after the race and just kind of depressed that I had to pull the plug. On the bright side though, my legs did feel okay and with all the great riding I have the opportunity to do this week I am one hundred percent confident I can make it up this upcoming weekend at Nationals in Canmore.

After the race, everyone on the team helped Zach and I take everything down and get everything loaded back up into the trailer. All the bikes got washed and stored until everything was all purrdy just like when we came. Needless to say, I’m actually really excited to show off all our awesome bikes, the balling trailer and tents at next weeks event. Zach and I stayed and swept the course for markers and tape and helped Kirk anyway we could as thanks for letting us stay with him and for putting on such a great event. Team Trek Canada however, did have an exceptional day with everyone putting in a super solid effort with 2 podiums and everyone putting in a top 10. No crashes and no mechanicals, mostly in part to Zach who made sure that all of their bikes, (mine too!) worked better than they ever have. Would like to thank Rick Batty as well for the feed. That family has feed zone techniques on lock.

In the car right now bout 40km away from Canmore and have hijacked Emily’s Ipod so we can blast Lady Gaga and make Adam feel uncomfortable, even though I'm sure he’s just as into it as we are. Stoked to have a full week of riding here to get my body up to speed with what it should be doing. Ill keep everyone posted as much as possible along the way!

Friday, July 9, 2010

video

Truck stop stories. Zach eating caramel corn. Popcorn covered in caramel molded into the shape of a cob. Delicious.

Alive and well....

Almost there...

Out about on my bike today with the rest of the gang. Zach, Adam, Emily and Kirk (who was very generous in letting us stay here) went to the course today to check it out. 5 minutes in, it was easy to see why I was really enjoying myself, it's the EXACT same as the don valley trail system, just...well..different in it's own westernly ways. Did one lap with Adam, Emily and Kirk then went for a tasty coffee just up the street (this is a definite perk of having a venue in the middle of the city). Zach and I were still ironing out our legs from our long drive so we hit the trail for two more laps and went a bit harder and draining our bottles super fast. It was hot today and the punchy steep few climbs are making me very happy that I added bar ends before I came out here.

Adam trying to sneak attack pictures of people.

Going to take a whole bunch of pictures tomorrow to give you guys and gals back east a taste of this west coast Don feel.

The entire prairies summed up in one photo

Training wise I think this race could go very well considering my recent time off the bike. Heartrate was a little high today but that was expected, all in all. Going to be a great warm up for Nats.



"Did you get all the beer?" - Adam Morka

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Eat your salad, no dessert.



Jeez, I guess I dropped the ball a bit after my last post. Time to make up for it. Things are in motion to get myself, Zach Tatem and the whole team trailer to the Edmonton Canada Cup and then Nationals in Canmore Alberta.

We are somewhere just outside of Thunder Bay right now with one full day of driving behind us. The whole day was pretty painless and we and the trailer are all still in one piece.

Before I continue with this however, let’s backtrack. I arrived home from Europe on the 30th at around 7:30 pm and was supremely excited to get back to everything I was missing ie. Laura, regulated nutrition, bicycles and my own bed. I had been experiencing some discomfort in my right knee and had attributed it to the running and weight training that I had been doing combined with not enough stretching. Fair enough, I had that coming. When I woke up the plan was to head to Durham for hours and hours to got a good long ride in that would leave me gassed and at least get some of my riding legs back before we headed out for this trip. I had been trying to stretch as much as possible for the last bit since my knee started hurting and again once I got home but apparently it wasn’t enough, I lasted about 2 hours before I had to call it a day and head home. After more stretching and a good sleep I felt better and headed out on my road bike for a bit in the morning before heading to The Trek Store to get some work in. Again, lasted about an hour before heading home. Uh oh. At the very least, I managed to get in some good efforts right? After some worrying and intense amounts of stretching I did manage to curb the problem and now my knee is just glorious. Went for another mtb ride on Saturday with Row-bear after work and managed to get a stick caught in my something, which stopped something from rotating, which in turn ripped off my derailleur. Wonderful, half an hour of riding that day with 45 minutes to an hour of walking ahead of me to gt back to the store. Fiddlesticks. That is until thanks to Rowbear’s wonderful piece of Bontrager apparel, we McGiver’d a tow rope and I was pulled to safety. Highly recommended for those interested in electric bikes. Why spend thousands of dollars when there are fit co-workers for free?



Sundays ride was great. Headed out with Mr. Carleton on the road bikes for 4.5 hours after the first crash filled stage of the Tour. Great stuff boys, keep it up. Oh right, forgot to mention it was 40+ degrees outside with humidity. 7 bottles and zero pee breaks. Even tried to ‘givr’ once or twice on the return and wasn’t sad with my numbers.

Monday was good. Good in the sense that I did something that I should have done many weeks ago. Clean my bike top to bottom. It’s wonderful. All the protective nasty tape is gone, all my parts look new, new cables and even made some cockpit changes for these two western races. It’s even cleaner than Matt P’s bike! (who is having a great season on his Gary Fisher Superfly and has provided the reader with some good info on why you should get one too!).



Yesterday! (almost caught up) Loaded up the trailer bright and early with Barry Near and ZT, who’s name has been phonetically changed to (ZA-CHE TAH-TEM) by telemarketers recently. We headed out around 11 and ended up in White River by around 11, each taking marathon pulls through intense fog in the driver seat. Our accommodations there couldn’t have been better. We were referred by a motel with no vacancy to a small grouping of ‘cabins’ down the road about a km and it was a real treat considering we were fully prepared to sleep in the car. A whole separated cabin with 3 beds, full kitchen, living room, wireless high speed, TV and a very nice lady at the front desk. It was also $55.00 for the night. why can’t they all be like that. A friend pointed out that I should probably write down the name of the place in case we need an extreme northern party adventure cabin. Consider it done Kasia.



After a good family breakfast were off again on the road now and are shooting to get past Winnipeg tonight. We are going to stop mid day and do some form of riding. I have my rollers so worst case scenario rest stop intervals. Have been trying to fit in as many push ups/sit ups as possible during our limited stops and seeing how many I can get up to each day of travel. Yesterday was 180 push ups, 40 sit ups. Did some good jumping squats as well. Should easily beat that today, plus the ride. Aiming for Thursday night arrival in Edmonton or maybe Friday morning latest. Any Trek Canada team members who might read this, your bikes will remain in pristine condition *taps nose*.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have been without internet for about 5 days now. Not good. Have a small chance at a train station to update now but due to time constraints will have to tell you some stories later on tomorrow. Have some good info about travelling and nutrition!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lazer AND Tower?!

As per my title, I'm watching American Glradiators. My breakfast is digesting, its 9:45am and this is the only thing in English that's on TV. It's OK though, it's getting my all psyched up to go to running in the way that only rednecks with perms can.

The view from my hostel room is beautiful. I have been to Stockholm before and remember enjoying it. When we arrived and were on our way to check in, we passed the neighbourhood I was staying in last time so i'll be sure to go check that out.
(Photo taken on photo booth on my mac and doesn't do it justice)


Starting to get the hang of this crossfit thing and I really am starting to enjoy it. Once you start doing workouts like this one, it makes a big difference. Gotta say though, I can not wait to get back on my bike again. All I want to do is go for a 4 hour ride.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who is your team?!" - Crazy Norwegian lady "Blue Jays?" - Me

Good solid days of delicious food here in Bergen. Hours of walking around the city combined with some crossfit workouts to counter my indulgence into Euro cuisine. Took a stroll through a marked the other day and saw some interesting things for purchase. Moose and smoked whale stood out for sure. I frown upon this from an ethical standpoint what with whaling becoming such a problem but man...think of the omega 3's.

Workout yesterday was good:
- 35 minute run
- 5 x 5 Sets burpees
- 5 x 20 Situps with 15 jumping squats in between each set
- As many pushups as possible in 1 minute
- 2 minute break
- As many pushups as possible in 1 minute

Tried to do planks after this but collapsed into a heap on the floor of my hotel.

Saw lots of mountain cyclists around the city here, being essentially in the mountains there is probably tons and tons of trails minutes from here but haven't had time to scope them out. Plus, it would just make me outrageously angsty to be on a bike.

Good photo from Marathon surfaced today. If you scan through them there is an excellent portrayal of Tim vs Puddle.


Gotta go catch train to Stockholm now. Taking the overnight so hope to get a decent sleep, action packed day tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pow! Right in the kisser.

Sitting on a train right now that heads north to Bergen from Oslo. Went for a half hour run this morning around my hotel. Scandinavia, as with most cities in northern Europe, seems to be set up for cycling in a way that dwarfs the best efforts of North American cities, so it’s nice to be in an environment that puts us at a higher priority. I gotta say though, even on my run this morning, the structure of the city makes it super easy to “zone” which could be both a good and bad thing. Good because it allows you to push through pain easier and achieve distance at a perceived faster rate, but bad because according to the Darwin awards, if you “totally zone” when you train, you run the risk of just running off a cliff by mistake.

Another tasty breakfast this morning post run. Hard-boiled egg, slice of cheese, tomato, cucumber and an apple. Carbs this morning were all taken care of by a crepe. Nutrition fun fact: Nutella is available in tubes here. If the world worked the way I wanted it to, I would substitute toothpaste and just brush my teeth with that.

I bought a Runner’s World at the Airport to get myself psyched up to do all this cross training and it’s actually a pretty dope read for any endurance athlete. I’ve learnt that you have to be totally be totally nuts to enjoy “ultra-marathons” and that hill-training provides very similar benefits regardless of the transportation you decide to use. Also there is a wicked article about the pros and cons of using rate of perceived exertion as opposed to heartrate, power, and speed. The result in a nutshell according to most seems to be that training with gadgets is better for the most part but sometimes just going by feel is better to help you avoid overtraining. If you scout around in the interweb you might be able to find the whole article which is called “The exertion factor” and was featured in the June issue of Runner’s World. Lots more info in there too. Learned also that because we are all outside in the sun so much when we ride that on top of sunscreen we should be upping our consumption of brazil nuts. Selenium, which is an anti-oxidant found in brazil nuts and tuna can reduce the skin cancer risk by up to 60 percent.

Probably the most bizarre/intense fact learned this trip from misc running magazines is that Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days to raise awareness for the sport. Some things just aren’t meant to be understood, although you must develop pretty intense cal muscles from wearing heels for so long.

Just passing by a massive green field right now with a lightly graveled trail running through it, then up what looks as if its about a 15-20% grade hill, then off into the distance. I can see why Gunn-Rita ran away with so many wins with this as a training backyard. For the most part though its very reminiscent of Canada, which is probably why we have the fastest riders in the world (give it a few years, I won’t name names now but you’ll see).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Much to talk about. Firstly, last Sunday I participated in one marathon race taking place at Ganaraska Forest. This place is huge if you've never had a chance to visit. The course was 67 km consisting of one big lap. The course was awesome and I have to give big props to Substance Projects to putting on the race and bringing more people out to mountain bike races. It's great having more organizers who are willing to "git' er' done'' so to speak.

The race was fun and I had a great first 25 or so km, after that I was all alone in no mans land and had no idea where I was. Unfortunately I took a wrong tun all by myself and lost probably a full 2 minutes but I can't complain, I was "in the zone." and just wasn't looking. Ended up in an decent position and was stoked that I didn't bonk in such a long race.

Other news consists of the terrible passing of Peter's clavicle. It totally sucks as Nationals is coming up but he is one of the most disciplined cyclists I know and am pretty confident that he will have a god performance at Edmonton and Canmore.

I am in Oslo right now. After a really, really long flight to Helsinki on Monday overnight we transferred planes and landed here shortly after about 2 pm. This city is pretty crazy and I really wish that I had my bike here but am liking the selection of foods here and am doing just fine taking a small break from the bike and replacing it with running and spending time doing crossfit workouts at the hotel gym. We head to Burgen on the train tomorrow but am going to fit in a run early morning and then enjoy another Scandinavian breakfast buffet. This morning was hardboiled eggs, tomato, cucumber, organic bread with slice of cheese and fruit salad. Even though it was canned fruit salad, I have been pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to eat properly here. Drastic difference from buffets in the states where waffles are your best bet.

Wish that I could update with pictures because I have lots to share that can only be shared via visual image but I forgot my camera cord at home. Must sleep now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Decided to take this past weekend off and not race Midland. Would have liked to but complications and my stomach decided to turn itself inside out all of Thursday night. Lying in bed holding your gut isn't really the best way to pre-ride a course. Having only ridden that course just last year I remembered it being super fun to ride but with upcoming trips to Sweden, Norway and Nationals, it's probably a good thing that I saved some money.

Oh yah, I'm going to Scandinavia in a week. My mom's background is Swedish and Norwegian and she has never been there, so we are all taking a family holiday to go explore.

I have been to Sweden before on a trip a few years ago and really enjoyed it but holy smokes is it an expensive place to live. Either way, the big bummer is that I'm not going to be able to take my bike. As much as I would love to go there for a riding trip, we are going to be jetting around too much to make the potentially $1000+ investment of getting my bike there, around and then back worth it. What am I going to do? RUN. I hate running, a lot. In cities at least, but hopefully new landscapes will provide me with some super cool distractions. Needless to say, I'll take tons of pictures and try to update as much as possible to give you an idea of how training is going.

Today I have a 20min test on the road bike and am NOT looking forward to doing it in the rain so I'm enjoying some oats in the meantime and looking forward to another delicious post ride smoothie afterwards.

blueberries
raspberries
silken tofu
soy milk
flax seed oil
2 scoops hammer recoverite

Blend.


Combine this with sitting on the couch in compression garments and you have yourself an afternoon my friends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just a few pics/videos accumulated from Tremblant.

Post race Nutella binge


Bikes on the roof getting slammed with kamikaze bugs.


The car taking another turn for the worst.




Tristan's moustache.




video

I got some iiiiceeee creeeaaammmm

One day, you’ll see. I’ll be updating this thing so often you won’t be able to keep up. However, in the mean time you are all going to have to deal with my lacklustre effort and sub par blogging quality. I’m trying I swear.

I have lots to talk about today. Three races in fact: Dukes epic 8 hour, Mont Tremblant Canada Cup, and the recently raced Hardwood Hills Canada Cup.

The 8 hour was interesting to say the least. I was doing it in a team of 4 with some friends who were all about going to the event with racing as the secondary objective, the first being to have a good time. I was totally prepared, and then some for an atmosphere like this and it was nice change to my typical Sunday race. Of course, I don’t want to give off the image that we still didn’t want to go there and kill it.

The race was going in our favor and we were sitting in second with all of having done one lap. I went out on my second lap with hopes of bettering my first time because there would be far less traffic and getting through the singletrack would be easier. I was about a kilometre from the end and then something happened, however, I’m not entirely sure what. I went down hard, somehow, and briefly knocked myself out. I’m a little hazy on the details but from what I can gather, I finished out my lap totally cross eyed and concussed tossed the ‘baton’ to Nick and went to the first aid tent to use up ALL of their oxygen. I recovered fine from the traumatic event aside from being a little rattled and even tried to go out on another lap but was hurting a bit much in the rib area and didn’t want to push it too hard as I had another race the following week. We ended up 4th but only because the rest of the team were serious troopers and slammed out some pretty solid lap times in my absence.

That's right, someone caught it on camera.



After a week of mostly recovery went by, it was time to get my ass over the provincial border to “La biblioteque de pamplemousse et racinette” (Literal translation for Quebec). Left in the sweltering heat with Matheson on Thursday so we would have a solid night of sleep before pre riding. Having never done any of the Quebec Canada Cups, I had no idea what to expect except what I had seen in pictures from previous years, which was essentially just mud. I thought that was cool, but when we arrived it was 21 degrees out when it was pitch black so our thoughts were that it was going to be warm the next day, which it was. The Tremblant course now ranks as one of the funnest, most awesome mountain bike courses I have had the pleasure of riding thanks to some gnarly climbs, some sweet bicycle atmosphere, and a massive descent. Mountain biking in it’s truest form. My race was far from spectacular but managed to learn a lot about high profile races, like getting to the start pen on time helps you, same with acquiring a timing chip and drinking fluids while you race will probably prevent you from having the cramp of the century. All in a days work I guess. Not to worry though, I still had a smile on my face when I was driving home in the sauna that is Brendan’s car because I still got to ride a super fun course, I got some decent training in the legs, got some better descending skills and had a killer time at a certain establishment post race.

The crepes were awful the next morning though, I might have to write them a letter.

The next race I have to breakdown is this past weekends Canada Cup race at Ontario’s beloved Hardwood Hills. Believe be when I tell you that I have never had a good race here and have had the pleasure of seeing those three horrible little letters next to my name three years in a row due to mechanicals and sickness. Not this year! Finishing this race was honestly my big accomplishment as I was beginning to develop a ‘thing’ with Hardwood and was beginning to think that I couldn’t finish the race no matter how I was doing. All is good though. 

The race itself was all about pacing. I had the pleasure of riding the course on Wednesday morning with Mical Dyck, Steve, and a wonderful customer of the store named Melinda. Following them was great and even though I had ridden Hardwood I can’t tell you how many times, there was still lines that learnt, and riding skills that I’m all about picking up right now. The key from my perspective was that in order to do well come race day, the course was one that required you to be as smooth as possible in the singletrack. There was lots of area where if you were going balls to the wall to pin it, you would be almost start/stopping with all of the sharp turns and tight corners that you had to get around. Pacing was the other thing. In a Canada Cup, the ideal time that race organizers plan for the winner is about 1:45. This usually means that my race will be just a tad over the 2:00 mark. This year the course ended up being 2:05 or something for the winner which meant I was racing for a loooong time. On top of that, I forgot to mention that it was 30 something degrees outside so yah, pacing was key. All in all, it was a killer course that was a blast and the event was put on in stellar fashion by both Hardwood and The Trek Store. Having events like these are what is going to further Canadian cycling so we should all give kudos to those who have the resources and willingness to do things like this so THANK YOU!

Not sure what’s on the plate for tomorrow but I have the day off so who knows, I may do this little practice race in Midland for this weekend. One of those courses you love riding but hate racing. Looking forward to it all the same.



This is a quote from a great movie I just finished watching called ‘No-impact man.’ I highly recommend it. If anything, it will make you really hungry for ridiculously healthy food.

“Its not about deprivation, it’s not about not taking care of yourself. It’s the opposite. It’s about seeing if it’s possible to have a good healthy life simply without wasting so much.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Albion was cold. Extremely cold, snowing in fact.

When I woke up bright and early in the AM waiting for my chauffeur and current expert series leader to come and pick me up. It's becoming a bit of a tradition for us to eat pancakes pre ontario world cup races and Sunday was no exception.

The drive up there was pretty uneventful aside from the snow. Zach and I were half hoping that our bikes didn't work when we got there so that we didn't have to race in sub zero temperatures.

As it turns out, when you push yourself to go as fast as possible, you warm up pretty fast.

My race was far from perfect but my lap times were much more consistent than Mansfield at least, so things are looking up for me. I gotta say, I'm loving being able to race against these guys. Ontario is such an amazing place for those who want to expose themselves to proper elite racing as we have some of the best mountain bike organizers, some of the fastest guys and gals and also some of the best sponsors you could ever hope for.

This year has been a bit of an eye opener but even though so far my results haven't been that amazing, Im sure they are going to get better, especially now that I have a proper coach and some new tools to help me train.

This weekend was supposed to be the first Canada Cup for me but I think I'm going to be sitting this one out and opting for the 8 hour on Saturday. I think the environment will be nice and relaxed for me to get some decent training in at Mansfield, which for what it's worth, is a 29er's dream.

As a bonus to myself, I got a sweet copy of 'Race Across the Sky' to watch tonight. Should get me psyched up to head out on my bike tomorrow.

See ya!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Success on examinations.

I hate that I have allowed myself to become one of those bloggers that starts every post with "sorry its been a while' or something similar but things have been INSANE these past few weeks. Work has been crazy in the store as the days are getting nicer and nicer. It's always nice to have the store be busy because you can appreciate that more and more people are getting into the sport but holy smokes, some of those busy weekend days can take years off your life.

With nicer days though comes the anticipation and desire to ride more. Training has been going well since Mansfield. I had a good week capped off by a 4 hour or so mtb ride on Sunday that was great. Felt like I was 1 step ahead of this massive rain cloud the entire time.

This week leading up to Albion looks promising too. Im looking forward to using my new fancy little yellow computer that tells me when I'm slacking off. Seems like a good purchase so far.

In other news, today I saw a nutritionist. I am fully willing to admit that I have the most spastic diet ever and I'm hoping she can help. It went really well and I got a whole bunch of interesting ideas passed along. The only thing that is going to take a bit of getting used to is ditching coffee, or seriously cutting back at the very least. I think I can handle it.

Going for a good ride tomorrow and will regale all with photos and potentially a new video entry. Watch for the shoddy camera work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

MANSFIELD!

That was awesome. Super fun race. First elite race in Ontario this year was at Mansfield outdoor center. Woke up bright and early at about 8:30 to get my stuff ready and start making pancakes before the fastest chauffeur on two wheels arrived at my house. Pancakes were....delicious. Aunt Jemima can adopt me if she really wants to.
Arrived in time to get the scoop on the course from Barry and be re-assured that it wasn't ni face going to rain cats and dogs. That was a huge bonus but at that time I wasn't quite sure how much dust I was to be swallowing in the near future so I was only temporarily put at ease. Elite men had a hugenormous field this race as team QC came down to hang out too. It made things better too because Im sure it pushed the pace a bit. Once we went off I had slotted myself into a great position through the first lap moving nice and quick through the singletrack with all my pieces in tact and then came around to the feed zone with a big smile on my face thinking I could totally do this for another hour and a half. By the 4th lap, I had started to fade a bit for sure and was making silly mistakes in some of the singletrack. I misjudged a corner a bit and accidentally ran my front wheel off the track and burped it just slightly. Not to worry, the group I was in didn't get too far away as I re-inflated it with mach speed. However, when I was sprinting back up to them to catch up, it was lights out for me. I turned off. I for sure didnt drink enough water throughout the race and that sprint to catch the group I was in just flatlined me. I finished the race in an ok position but could have definitely done better. Had a great night with some tasty Thai food and a Mcflurry to make me feel better.

Overall, great experience, Can't wait to race some more and finally get all this dust out of my lungs from yesterday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RECAP!

For those of you who don’t necessarily follow my antics on a regular basis, let me take this opportunity to enlighten you as to what exactly I do here.

I sit currently on an Air Canada something or other plane, contemplating the good and bad things that have happened to me since starting this blog and subsequently, my adventure in becoming a pro cyclist. Let me tell you there has been a lot of each. To be fair and try to keep you reading a bit longer, I’ll start with all the amazing stuff that this trip has given me the opportunity to do.

Ask yourself these questions. What is your passion? If you could do anything in the world utilizing your skills as a human being, what would you do? Sky is the limit here people so don’t hesitate in your answer because of work obligations or money savings or material commitments, I didn’t. For me the answer is simple. Bicycles. I’m kind of nuts for them. The functionality, mechanical efficiency and finesse of riding a bike might as well be the peas to my carrot. Me of course being the carrot.

Sifting through my confusing analogy which I now regret using, what I mean to say is that on any given day, no matter what I’m doing, chances are, Ill be thinking about the next time I get to ride my bike.

Recently, in the past few years I have taken a huge interest in racing my bikes. Who doesn’t like to go fast? This interest, which started honestly with a friend saying “Hey, you should race Patty.” has exploded into well kind of what I do now...which brings me to the reason I’m sitting on this plane. People don’t really get the opportunity to say they ‘went for it’ in their lives. In the later months of last race season and the last year of my undergrad, I decided to do just that. I saved my ass off working 7 days a week, still found time to train a bit and hang out with my awesome, supportive girlfriend who doesn’t get my attention nearly as much as she deserves, and booked it down to Tucson to train for my first season as an elite level bike racer.

The three months are over, I rode (pardon my French) a fucking ton, and I did my first pro race in California just last weekend and still managed to finish with a smile on my face. Aside from needing a few minor tweaks here and there with my fitness, things are looking up towards fulfilling my goal of racing at the World Cup Finals in New York state this year. I had a total blast on top of that too.

There were a few minor hiccoughs along the way however. On January 20th, I crashed on my road bike in Tucson and broke my left clavicle, pretty bad I might add. It broke really close to my shoulder so simple surgery wasn’t an option as the bone on one side of the break wasn’t long enough to get screws drilled into. This resulted in a full week totally off the bike, cursing the beautiful weather and that I was alone for the whole thing. My week of bicycle abstinence was followed by a week on a trainer graciously sent down by the BEST STORE IN THE WORLD, which allowed me to train enough so that I didn’t completely lose the fitness I had gained previously. How many employers do you know would do that for an employee? That’s what I thought. Once I got the OK from my orthopaedic surgeon in the states to ride, It was back to longer rides pretty quick. I had company at this point so I didn’t just spend the whole ride focusing on my shoulder, which was nice. I cant say that this was entirely why my performance was so poor at Fontana but I don’t mind playing the blame game a tiny bit. That was the other thing I was sort of grumpy about. Granted, it was my first pro race and I had no idea what to expect, I really did think i was going to do better than I did. I thought my fitness was good at the very least but I guess I have a lot of work to do when I get home. This however, I am looking forward to...a lot. The race was the punch in the guts I needed to really realize what it takes to go fast. The sheer volume of riding that I did means that my fitness base is great and I felt that throughout the entirety of the race. I wasn’t going very fast, but my body was up for doing about 10 laps. The thing I need to work on is the punch that will get you into a good starting position off the back of a start line and keep you there for the rest of the two hours. This, I am excited to achieve.

To keep this short and sum up exactly what I have been trying to say this whole time, is that this was by far, the BEST experience I have ever had in terms of reaching goals. Despite those few problems, I can’t help but look on the bright side of this. I got to go ride my bikes in the sun for 3 months, I got to ride with and race against the best of the best in all of North America, and I even got the chance to explain to some curious people in waiting rooms why the Canadian health care system is pretty neat. Oh, and my tan totally kicks ass, you can ask Barry about that one.

I will surely keep blogging away with my learnings on and about the bike this summer and hopefully people stay interested in what I have to say. I know all my family only reads this for the recipes.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oops.

That was one hell of an experience. We had done a small grocery shop Thursday and there was a small kitchen in the hotel room so Friday night before the race I treated myself to a tasty microwave sweet potato and a bit of pasta with black beans. Saturday morning, the big day, we all went downstairs to enjoy some coffee, juice and helpings of our tasty continental breakfast before quickly returning to our hotel rooms to prepare bottles and equipment. The women’s race was great to watch as it gave us a bit of an insight into how we were going to have to battle against the wind. Needless to say, it looked debilitating. Here is some insight into what we all raced in. (VIDEO) Congrats to all the women who did a great job yesterday.

I actually somehow ended up getting a pretty sweet call up, about 4th or 5th row. I have no idea how that happened because I currently have no UCI points and did not compete here last year and haven’t raced at all this year. Ill take it though. The start loop was interesting to say the least, the ground was loose, it was twisty, tight and fast so 100 pros going through there at almost top speed meant a lot of people washing out/un-clipping and fighting for position. It was a pretty big shock to the system and my good call up got thrown out the window. Up the insanely steep climb I was probably in something like 60th position and at this point it was too tight for out section of the group to all be riding so off our bikes we got and up the hill we went. I had started to settle into a bit of a groove on the second lap but due to my own silliness, when I was coming through to get my feed on to start my third lap, I was looking down, frustrated with myself for being in the position I was in, subconsciously shook my head while I dropped my bottle, which signalled that I did not need a new one. Oops. Huge thanks to Cindy Batty though for feeding me, she is a feed zone guru and it was 100% my fault for shaking my head. Oh well! No bottle it is and I'm off on my third lap. To make up for the missing bottle in my bottle cage I had a gel, which was tasty for about 10 seconds until I had no water to wash it down and then became stale in my mouth and just tasted gross. It was much better than nothing though. I kept going and finished out my race in 73rd, out of about 90 something starters, losing a few positions on that lap.


I had no idea what to expect coming into this race but I’m not going to lie, I really did think I was going to do better than I did. I have a lot to do and even though this was a poor performance from me, I realize now what needs to be done for me to fulfill my goals for the season, which remain unchanged. I know my performance will improve now that I know the intensity that I have to train with. Overall however, It was a great experience on one of the toughest courses in the North American circuit and in some of the craziest weather. Im just satisfied I didn’t DNF like many other people.

Next on the chopping block is to get packed up and head home to Toronto. I am really looking forward to getting into my own bed and back to my old training grounds so I can improve for my next race which will probably be Le Bicicletta’s Hell of the North and then Paris-Ancaster for some more intensity before the Ontario and Canada Cups start. Mansfield is about a month away and Im still hoping for top 10 in that race.

See you in Canada!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

WInd, 2:30 start times, race days.

Its 9 am here in Fontana, made the beautiful drive here just fine on Thursday so we could ride the course a few times before the big day (today). Just had my tasty continental breakfast and am drinking a hotel room coffee, looking outside at the gale force winds that are literally bordering on uprooting some trees. Its pretty wild stuff. Luckily for us, we start our race at 2:30 and hopefully it will have died down by then.

The course is nuts, its the first bit of real mountain biking I've done in a while which is really nice. Tucson has some great trails but they are either straight up, straight down or totally flat and boring. Not going to lie, the nerves are starting to get to me, so I'm just ready to get this done with. Our 5th lap is going to suck big time.

On a lighter note, Barry, the owner of the Trek Store is in Fontana and might actually be racing right now. He brought me a brand spanking new kit to race in and like I've said before, if you look great you'll do well haha. Anyways, gonna go stretch some more before we head down to watch the pro women's race so wish me luck everyone and I will have a full race report ready tonight or tomorrow for everyone to read.

See ya!

Sunday, March 21, 2010




*thank you Emily for taking the pictures.



Great training up Lemmon today with some Ontario folk. Made some sweet videos. Here is shoddy self video of my daring attack of the easy paced group ride.




Two first names for a last name explaining the benefits of elliptical chain rings.

Friday, March 19, 2010

oh dear, this is really happening.

Up early, having a cup of coffee and making some black beans for breakfast. I have had a good last few weeks as far as training goes. When my mom was here I found a great new road that took me out for over 5 hours in the brilliant sunshine.
I have been loving the weather we have been having as of late but nicer weather also means that other things, aside from summertime are approaching. The first races of the season are right around the corner and I can't tell you how excited/supremely nervous I am to get out there and mix it up.

It all really started to soak in last weekend when the first US Triple Crown race went off. Aside from the brilliant performance of the other Trek Toronto infused athletes Adam Morka and Peter Glassford, I was finally coming to terms with the fact that I was going to lining up at Fontana with not only these guys, but Kabush, JHK, Plaxton, Taberlay and the list goes on. Luckily, due to my zero priority starting position that I will have, I'm pretty confident that I won't have to deal with following any one's wheel haha.

What are my expectations for this race? Do I have any? No, not really but let's be honest, considering the field, I would be happy with not coming dead last in my first pro race. I watched the footage of last years race on Cycling Dirt last night and made a few goals for myself that I think are going to be realistic for me.

I would absolutely love to be able to finish top 40. In a field of 120 men like last year, I would also be totally happy with my ride to finish in the top half. For the most part, I just don't want to make a fool of myself and see those horrible three letters next to my name at the end of the race. Unless there is some sort of catastrophic mechanical though, I can't see this happening. My full proof plan is to go out to the start line, rip it and see if I can't push my way overly aggressive tires I brought down with me up and down that hill as fast as the next guy.

I am really excited to race my new bike, with friends in a crazy huge race and just be toasted when I cross the line. I will have a brand spanking newly designed kit for the race too so I mean that's gotta move me up 5 or 6 places at least too. Looking good is half the battle.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hey, it's something.

Not much of an update but here is me cruising through a street that takes me to my favourite place to do intervals. I promise my camera work will improve one day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bug Spring trail MTB ride

Fun stuff today on the MTB. Apologies for the ridiculous sudden tone drop in my voice. I also have no idea how to turn off my camera apparently.


Friday, March 12, 2010

What is it you want to hear?

Video update. Sorry for the shoddy camera work and the template changes. I have been experimenting.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recipe! Vegan 'Neat'-Loaf


Okay, this actually turned out better than expected. Consistency was that of a rice bake more so than what I can remember from actual meatloaf but held together nicely was so good to have next morning as breakfast side dish. When and if you do make this, just keep in mind that it is not at all supposed to re-create the taste of meat loaf (it's better).


1 cup cooked basmati rice
2 cups chopped/peeled carrots
1 cup red lentils (I was out so I cooked up some black beans and that worked out just fine too)
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cup thick rolled oats
2 stalks of celery
8-10 ounces tomato sauce
2 teaspoons of sage
2 teaspoons curry powder.
1 egg (optional)

m'kay...

  • Start by making the basmati rice (it will be done when it's needed to complete the loaf).
  • Steam 2 cups of carrots until tender enough to mash and set aside.
  • Simmer 1 cup of lentils or beans in two cups of water until soft (15-20 minutes, note: dried beans take WAY longer), then put them in a strainer in the sink and drain excess water.
  • Use a potato masher to mash carrots, then combine the lentils and carrots in a bowl with onions, sage, curry powder, oats, celery, tomato sauce and cooked basmati rice.
  • *fun part* - mix all ingredients really well with your hands. This is where the optional egg comes in. If you are planning on using it as a next day sandwich filler or something similar then the egg would just hold everything together a bit better, so if so crack it in and start mooshing everything around.
  • Grease either 2 loaf pans or one casserole dish (i used casserole dish as you can see but once you get to this stage you can see how much filling you have to work with, its a lot) and bake in the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes. When finished it should be browned a bit on top and the middle shouldn't be too moist. Let cool for 15 minutes then serve.

Lots of good for you stuff in here but if you wanted to make it even tastier serving it with avocado is excellent (my breakfast this morning). Also, I'm sure there is a way of incorporating quinoa into this but will have to experiment next time. Cheese would probably make this tasty too but I'll leave that up to you.

If anyone tries this and likes it, or has any suggestions I'm all ears!

Monday, March 8, 2010

digging this band right now, great riding tune. They are playing in Tucson just before I leave...hmm

Don't be sad if you can't see the whole video.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dude, look to your right. Look at that guys shorts.


The past week has provided, with a few minor exceptions, hands down the most perfect riding weather ever. This is totally starting to make up for the rainy days that aren’t as much fun.

Good week of training. Some intensity, some mountain biking and some long rides. For the most part though, I have been feeling kind of like my body is lagging behind me a bit. Not that much, but enough for me to take notice. I made so much progress in the first three weeks that I was here it was crazy. In my head I had made fake plans to continue improving at this rate and by the end of my three months here be the fastest...person...ever. RIdiculous I know, but it sure felt that way for a while. Although after my collarbone break, improvement tapered off a little bit, I am now improving more and more and taking it day by day, the only thing I have to come to terms with is that it’s just not at the same rate as when I first arrived. No big deal.

Having a blast with some of the workouts that I have been given to do down here. Since we are closer to race season, my intensity has ramped up and my long easy rides are starting to get toned down to only about two days a week now, instead of 4 or even 5. As far as intensity, on Wednesday, Laura was leaving so I wanted to spend as much of the day as possible with her so I had 2.5 hours planned. Did quick rip around the Saguaro loop and then took the long way to Catalina Highway (the highway that goes up Lemmon). I have a love/hate relationship with this road now because it is perfect for doing intervals on but well...usually when I’m there, im killing myself doing intervals. My ride home from there is about 15-20 minutes of cruising so it’s perfect to finish off rides there and get the sensation of putting in strong efforts at the end of a race. Killed it with some 40/40’s for about 20 minutes, then 10 minutes of cruising up and down the road, then another 20 minutes of 40/40’s. That second set of efforts is the one that gets you making silly faces as you are cranking away at the pedals.

Thursday was a bit of a bust because of how sleep deprived I was after Laura left. Her flight was leaving at 6:50 in the morning and because she was traveling internationally, it was recommended that she arrive nice and early for her flight. Needless to say, the shuttle came to pick her up at 3:15...EUGH. Even though it was a beautiful day I did two easy hours and then called it quits to come home and stretch and relax. Friday however, was awesome. I got a decent nights sleep and had some tempo intervals to do so up the mountain I went. 3x20 minute efforts were good. There was a bit of wind so it was hard to tell how I was improving because even though I felt great, my speed seemed slow for how hard i was pushing. The next thing I have to sort out when I get home is some sort of power meter. The more I’m training now the more I can appreciate the benefit of having that as an objective way of determining progress. It can get pretty windy down here and that can screw with your head a lot. A super windy day can completely destroy you emotionally even if you are pushing hard or make you think you are having a great day when you aren’t doing anything special. But either way, After doing my tempo workout up to mile 15 I came down, grabbed an Iced tea at the coffee shop and kept onwards to do another lap of the ‘east end’ finishing with a 74 mile day with lots of climbing and what seemed like a billion kcalories burned. I felt wiped but my legs felt great all day and this morning when I woke up at 5:20 to get my ass to the shootout, they still felt good. It takes me a long time to get to the university starting spot where the ride leaves from, about an hour or so. So theoretically, riding there, doing the whole ride to Madera and then riding home from the university would be a 7 hour day with tons and tons of intensity. Eff that. I have found an excellent formula of meeting up, pushing myself in the lead group till my heart feels like its going to explode, then riding home, usually taking a few detours along the way. Today was no different, except my legs exploded a bit earlier than I had hoped. Oh well, still got 4.5 hours in with what felt like a 40 minute sprint.

Tomorrow Im going mountain biking again. This time heading to what seems to be Tucson’s answer to the Don Valley trails. It’s called “Fantasy Island” and is something like 4 square miles of land but has 28 miles of flatish singletrack packed into it. Excited.

Oh forgot to mention that there was a guy at the shootout this morning who had old school Sport Swap shorts on. CJ, two first names for a last name and I were flabbergasted. New goal is to find out who that is.

Here are some pictures of the last little while.



Laura and I ate at this place near the Trek Store here in Tucson called the Guadalajara Grille. Holy smokes it was amazing. Here is Laura's meal.



On my first mountain bike ride.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It doesn't get easier, you just get faster.

All by my lonesome again. For a little while at least. Laura M left on the 27th, was great having her. Laura B left this morning. Sad goodbye at 3 am when the shuttle came to pick her up. In retrospect though, It is only 27 more days until I am caching my own flight home so I'll survive. Can't believe it's gone by so fast.

I tried to get out and do a proper ride this afternoon and actually thought my body was feeling good after a small core workout but even the sunniest of days couldn't keep me out for longer than 2 hours. I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep right now after waiting up with Laura and did not feel good on the bike so going to take it easy today to prepare for 5 hour day with tempo tomorrow. Going to try to get up early enough to do the shootout on Saturday, maybe I will see some Canadians?

Yesterday, today were amazing weather-wise and it looks like the rest of the week are going to be stellar as well, so looking forward to working on my silly tan. Had lots of arm warmer days in February so it's not as bad as some might think. In about a day I will be done my book so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. So far this trip I have read:

"What is the what" by Dave Eggers (I actually had started this book about a year ago but it got put on the backburner and then I finally finished it when I got here. Despite my procrastination, it is actually a super interesting and intense read about a refugee who makes his way across the better part of Africa during the height of civil war.)

"The Cyclists Manifesto" by Robert Hurst. (About bicycle advocacy. I like it a lot actually, lots of interesting history about the bicycle and not preachy as one would expect)

"World War Z" by Max Brooks. (An oral history of the zombie war. Sound stupid? read the reviews, its incredible, super fast read and super interesting)

"Let the Right One In" by John Lindqvist (Great book, If you liked the movie, which was hard not to, then you will love the book. Lots of great back story to the characters that you didn't get in the movie.)

Good news though is that mother bear is coming to visit soon so another Costco trip is in order!

Now that it's March, my training has cut down slightly on hours but has definitely increased intensity. A lot less long easy rides and now more long-ish super intense rides. I like it though, structure and me work well together and I like the progress that I'm seeing so far. In a way I'm looking forward to getting back to Ontario to get back on my old road ride stomping grounds and see if some of those hills still hurt like they used to. probably.

I went mountain biking on Tuesday. Managed about 4 hours all together and had a blast. Took it nice and easy on one or two of the descents (reallllllllly don't want to crash again for a bit) but ended up climbing up Lemmon on the road part to mile marker 7 or 8, went in the Bug Springs trail and climbed, climbed, and then climbed some more. Its pretty steep and doesn't really let up but is one hell of a way to get your heart rate up. Had a total blast on the way down, took me about 10 seconds to get used to my bike again. It's so awesome. Anyone who has been apprehensive of the whole 29er thing - THINK AGAIN. Go HERE and try one out, they are wicked fast. I recommend the Superfly ;)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rain.

video

Not that I really have much to complain about but this is what I woke up to this morning. Lots and lots of rain. Riding in weather like this can either make for great rides or miserable times. Had a pretty hard interval session planned for today and hammering it out in the rain was incredible, especially with the right tunes. Flatting on the way home and barely being able to fix it because my hands were frozen...not so much. I was filthy when I came home but it was just a great time.




Spent some time downtown yesterday, drank some coffee read books. Reading 'Let the right one in' right now. Excellent.


While downtown yesterday made another shopping trip to Food conspiracy co-op. GRANOLA!


Left to right Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Local Honey, Fresh organic almond butter (cheaper than I have ever seen), Fresh organic cashew butter, Fresh organic peanut butter
Underneath is a bunch of oils and soy sauces.


Not a bad view from a ride earlier this week.



One of the only pictures I have of me that wasn't a self shot. Felt I had to put it up.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why are you doing...whatever it is you're doing?


These days, focus in the cycling industry all seems to point towards the future. What is the next evolutionary step in the technology we use? What are we going to do to prepare for next year?

From my point of view right now though, it feels like looking forward is the last thing I need to be concerned with. Sitting down at a coffee shop on a rainy rest day in downtown Tucson, Arizona, a city that hasn’t changed substantially since the late 1800’s and where pigeons haven’t reached that stage of urban de-evolution where they no longer use their wings and simply waddle away from predatory child-kicking, has me thinking about what aspects of cycling really have changed over the years?

I mean of course interpretation has a lot to do with it when you closely analyze the mechanics of what has evolved in the construction of a bike, but objectively? A bike is the same as its always been: two wheels and a frame that operate on a chain drive and propel the rider forward under their own power. The same can be said for the lifestyle that modern pros experience. Sure a training camp nowadays is compiled with a lot of nonessentials like media exposure, high tech bike fits and nutrition counseling, but really isn’t it still really just a bunch of group rides in a row with some people who enjoy doing the same thing you do?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the other dimension of the sport too, the one I spend hours and hours a week reading about on the internet, in magazines and in books. The kind that has me fascinated by wheels with a 50mm dish that weigh under 1000 grams a set and about outrageously intensive and structured training blocks and nutrition restrictions that make your head spin...I’m totally hooked, but I respect that It’s a luxury, nothing more. All this I can do without, and sometimes, it’s the best. When you have access to power meters, heart rate and cadence monitors, altimeters, gradient meters and more, sometimes the only thing that I give a shit about is riding my bike as fast as I can until I’m tired. It may seem silly to some, but the core values of training that I respect more than anything, are the ones that embody the cyclist that wins because he/she went out riding on the days when you were too tired because they love riding their bicycle and not because a coach made them. When they were bundling up in winter clothing and braving sideways hail for four hours, you were watching a movie and having your third “rest day” in a row. That’s the type of stuff that winning cyclists nowadays have in common with those from 50 years ago and something that I hope never changes. Even with all this amazing technology that helps us no doubt go faster, it still comes down to the individual’s “drive” and the motivation created from the love of riding your bicycle. You don’t even have to race to share the enthusiasm. Working at the Trek Store in Toronto, I’m happy to say that I know many many people who can get just as jazzed up to ride bicycles to and from work as they can from a 6 hour mountain bike ride. It’s nice when the people you work for love what they do.

I’ve plotted out a huge ride for tomorrow. I’ll map it out and post it tomorrow when I return. Should be in the range of 6/7 hours. Giddy up. Also to report is how awesome the shootout was. Tons of intensity and tons and tons of wind. Shoulder was feeling pretty good too but I called it slightly early and headed home as I had an extra hour to ride back home than everyone else. Still 5 hours before noon on a weekend, fun stuff.



Forgot to mention, we found a skull on the hike.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yes Yes Super Excellent Fun Happy Time

For any type of athlete, there is for the most part an off season. It includes anything and everything you can do to properly prepare yourself for the upcoming races or contests of whatever type that will ultimately dominate the other part of the year. One thing lies in common with all types of sport that experience this phenomena, that first race of the new season.

I don’t think it is possible to be fully prepared up top for that first race. You can train like a monk for those few months between last race and first race and still think on that start line… “I totally could have done more.” Then you have to worry about the other people you race against. “I bet that they didn’t have that extra glass of wine.” When all this boils down, if you are like me, you just have to put your head down, do your work and show up to the first start line of the season only knowing that you are going to have a great time pushing yourself to the limit going around that course, no matter how fast that may be. Most of the time, I’m pleasantly surprised with the result...most of the time. This year I’m coming into race season fitter than I’ve ever been but still those questions are still looming, am I doing enough? There are times when I think there’s no way I could possibly train more in a week then I have, and others where I can’t help but think if I would be that much stronger if I hadn’t taken that effing corner wide and broken myself. The point is, I’m still learning and the only thing that I can know for sure is that I’m having a totally awesome time riding myself into fitness this year. One thing I’ve learned for sure is that you have to indefinitely change things up to keep yourself motivated. For instance on Tuesday instead of a four hour ride we decided to go on a four hour hike to explore some mountain bike trails on Lemmon.


Turns out, hiking smoked my legs, in a good way. Had lunch overlooking some of the best scenery and in one of the best settings I have experienced this whole trip.

Next day had a four and a half hour ride with a solid 50 minutes of intervals on Catalina highway to finish it off. Today was a tempo day up to top of Lemmon 3 x 20 minute tempo efforts had me feeling awesome. Its amazing how much my comfort level has improved during those efforts since I have been here. Good sign.


After seeing this article on Velonews I had to give it a try. Anything to help with recovery. I happen to have a freezing pool outside my apartment so I stood submerged up to my midsection reading my book for about 15 minutes. Combined with some stretching tonight, I will let you know what my ‘results’ are. The overall experience was terrible at first but once you are in, everything kind of numbs and it starts to feel pretty good so we will see.

Easy 2-3 hours tomm and then ‘the shootout’ for some intensity on Saturday. Pretty sure the national team will be there too so it will be a good sight to see a bunch of Canadians throwing down.


Went to the Desert Museum on my off day. Big huge mountain lions surveying the gathering crowd and noticeably singling out the young and weak.



FACT: All things dog related like to munch butt, even big huge wolves.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Its the dream we all share, it's the hope for tomorrow...$%!# YA




I feel that being by being in the states, now for longer than a month, that I have certain obligations that require me to tolerate the odd Amurikuh-nism. I'm fine with this, in fact I have been finding that down here people have been fantastically helpful, friendly and polite. That being said, there are just a few things that push my buttons and make facepalm like no other. Let me elaborate.

Last night the plan was set in stone to go to IHOP this morning so we could truly be a part of the American collective. We all agreed that this couldn’t be done more effectively than through all you can eat pancakes. I was loving this idea, everything from the ridiculous slogans that try to convince you with rhymes that fried steak, 5 eggs and hollandaise sauce are your friend to our supremely awesome waiter Kalvin. Also I would like to point out that despite how it may look by reading my blog, that I actually very, very rarely eat pancakes and that the aerosol/all you can eat novelty is the only reason I have indulged the two times recently. Continuing on. Here I am enjoying my breakfast coffee and one of my four flavors of syrup to top my pancakes with and these two ladies and a gentleman sit down at the table next to us, order, and start reading the paper. The entire remaining time that we were there, they spent it loudly discussing their distaste for our waiter (who like I said, was awesome), and making him uncomfortable. I’ve been in the presence of obnoxious people and in the service industry long enough to just put my head down and cruise through rocky transactions with a smile but I have to give Kalvin a big kudos for that one. Not only that...and here’s the kicker, they were laughing hysterically at a Marmaduke comic, saying “Oh that is so us.” Let me set the record straight here. No Marmaduke comic strip has, is or will ever be funny. It is the worst, most inane frustrating part of the entire paper. I won’t continue to dwell on this but it totally put a damper on my “patriotism.”

4.5 hours completed after my super breakfast that included heading up to Summerhaven at the top end of Mt. Lemmon. Did some Muscle Tension intervals about halfway up and actually felt really good once we arrived at the illustrious cookie cabin. Man was it ever cold up there though. Saw some awesome sights while we were up there. The views up there blow me away every time. Came home to some tasty spinach salad and some butternut squash risotto. A good stretch and shower has me primed for tomorrow’s ride too. Really want to get some foam rollers...yet another thing to purchase when I come home.

National team is in town for a while too so the city is littered with Canadians. Good stuff. Getting more and more stoked for race season but still have much to do between now and then. Terrible shame about Uxbridge Icebreaker though, I had only done last year for the first time but had a great time and was looking forward to it again. Maybe I will give Paris to Ancaster a shot instead.

Last but not least, I'm very interested in this new venue for provincial champs. It will no doubt prove to be a fantastic course.