Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farewell Ride

Today I got in my last ride of the year, and my last ride before my vacation. I rode to Welland on the canal path and dropped by JH's to return his balaclava, and grab some munch. There was a strong headwind on my way out, and the snow on the path was semi packed making it slow and unpredictable. It took me almost two hours to make it to Justin's - a ride that would be well under one hour via road bike and minus the snow. I opted to take roads home finding the snowy path to frustrating. I felt like I was flying with the wind at my back and on the clean road. I just sat up and put it cruse control making it home in about 50 mins.

After refueling, I spent a couple hours trying to think of everything I needed for my trip, and them cramming it into a two bags. I'm only gonna be gone for 2 weeks, and all I'll be doing is snowboarding, so I was thinking that it would take me 5 minutes tops to have everything packed. Snowboard, boots, bucket, outdoor clothing, a few changes of clothes; pretty simple. But then I remembered that I need to bring my own bedding and that I will be to lazy to do laundry, so that meant gathering a lot more soft goods, and expanding to a larger suitcase. It's all good now and I feel relieved, but have that "I'm definitely forgetting something" feeling going. I probably am, but I'm sure I'll survive without it.

So this means no posts for 2 weeks. I'll throw up the best pics/vids when I get back and hopefully have a story or two to share. Inspired by the Jeff M and K's year end wrap-ups I want to write one, but I'll wait till I get back. By then I will have forgotten most of the season and you will get the biased half made-up version of the truth. It could be interesting.

Happy New Year to all and remember to arrive alive; don't drink and drive!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Playing In The Snow

I've been really enjoying the snow the last couple days both on my bike and my board.

Yesterday I rode my cross bike through the fresh 5cm of snow that feel at my park, and lasted 2hrs out there in the cold. I crashes more times on that ride then I did all season combined, but nothing was very serious. It was mainly just me trying to make sharp turns, ride off camber and carve around trees when the grass was slick under the snow. One crash hurt hurt bad though when I actually slammed into a tree. I lost my rear wheel about a quarter into a turn rounding a tree, and that lined me up with the tree somehow launching me straight into it. I took the blow with my shoulder and it hurt for a few minutes then subsided as I kept riding and only felt pain in my legs. Riding on soft grass with 5cm of snow on top is really hard to carry momentum on and takes a fair amount of power even to turn the little ring on. I went home for lunch an hour in to enjoy some turkey soup (what other soup is there this time of year?) and replaced the frozen water in my bottle with beer before riding another hour. Training so close to home is sick for that reason.

Today I tore apart Mt. St. Louis Moonstone with JH. I forgot how exhausting snowboarding can be and felt pretty pouched after the 4ish hours we got in. Multiple laps through the pipe and mini jump line was our line of choice and we did that for the majority of the day. We made the trip to the bigger park "The Outback" and made a few laps through it. I felt like I had grown a vagina this summer cause I was shook to even the smallest jump in that park. It was a pretty Poppy 30 footer that we both straight aired, but last season I was throwing 3's over the 50 footer at Blue without a thought. I felt a lot sketchier than anticipated but it was pretty icy and my first day on the slopes this season. I am also a lot less motivated to go big now since any injury could bring my training to hault; and I have nothing to prove. Hopefully my softness won't disapoint my buddies in Alberta, because as I've ramped down my boarding they've steped it up bigtime. I'm preppared to be called a vag by them after they stomp seven's and backflips on jumps that I won't even air. Hopefully I will at least be able to outride them in the powder with my superb leg strength. Hopefully...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Way Better Than Any Indoor Riding

It's freezing cold out, there's snow on the ground, the sky is dull and freezing rain in the forecast puts a long ride out of question. What to do??? Ride the trainer? Too Boring, and no good movies to watch. Do a strength workout instead? Can't; still sore from yesterday's.

Well if your lucky enough to have a cross bike (an MTB will work too) you can have a blast on the bike while gaining fitness and serious skills. All you have to do is ride over to the nearest public park, observe the terrain, and then make your own cross course. My park has lots of trees, a small hill, barriers (entrance to playground), ledges (in and out of wood chip pit) and a chunk of 2*12 that is perfect for bunny hop practice. I made a whole bunch of tight twisty turns through and around trees, off camber turns on the hill, bunny hop on a straightaway, dismount over the barriers, bunny hop in and out of woodchip pit, then back though the tight twisty turns. Some snow makes this a lot cooler because its like you're cutting a trail that you can follow and see you're previous lines.

I think my trainer will be collecting dust this winter because I have no reason to use it unless we get long periods of rain which is unlikely. Yesterday I went to the gym and really worked my back hard by doing dead lifts and back extension. I warmed up with static core exercises and did some squats, but kept them light. I also worked my Hamstrings pretty hard while there. My strength training plans have changed a bit since I started this blog but I think its because I keep learning new things and have been listing to my body rather than following a schedule. My arms are feeling jacked, so I no longer have to focus on them but will continue to do push ups to keep em tuned up. For my legs I'm going for the burn more and increasing reps. Pushing big weights has its benefits but I feel like it just puts on bulk rather than functional muscle. I'm just gonna play it by ear and do what seems to work until the end of February; then I will just be riding as much as possible.

I added some more blogs to the list so check em out. A couple more local fast guys and some needed humor. Also Share The Damn Road has some cool messages for motorists trying to run you off the road. We're lucky to live in Niagara cause most drivers are good, but I wouldn't mind a jersey that reminds the assholes to give us our 3 feet.....

Tomorrow I will be X training by tearing up Mt. St. Louis Moonstone with Justin. It's a small hill with boring terrain, but they have the illest park in Ontario and an impressive lift system, so you can have loads of non-stop shredding.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Freezing My Arse Off

Training Update: Sunday- 62km endurance mountain bike ride. About 40k of it was with the Shorthills Cycling club. I was riding pretty strong right till the end and made a few hard efforts to hold some other local racers wheels. The trails were in great shape and our bikes were actually dusty after. After stopping at Timmy's to have a bite and sip some fine coffee, I headed home on some singletrack with Jeff K.

Monday- 1 hour strength workout focusing on my core. I held three front planks for 3 minutes at a time; a new record for me. Did two side planks on each side then some push ups, body weight squats, lunges, sit ups, bird dogs, wall sits and pull ups. I also did some squat jumps and jumping jacks to help get the blood pumping.

Tuesday- 1 hour strength workout focusing on total body power. I bought a kettlebell Monday night so I was able to do a few sets of swings at home. They feel great and require a ton of core strength. I did some deadlifts, step ups, pushups and a front plank for 3 minutes. I left for work a bit early to mess around in the snow on my cross bike. Man is that thing fun!

Wednesday- 2 hour Mountain bike ride working on technical skills. I took the singletrack along 12 Mile creek and up to Brock so I could meet up with Justin and get a coffee at the MickyD's. Unfortunately he didn't make it due to mechanical issues, so after enjoying a coffee and thawing out, I headed out on my own. I was feelin a little sluggish and was too cold to ride the more open trails, so I stuck to the trails behind Brock and did 6 or 7 laps through Switchback City. I choose to do laps through there because it is the slowest trail in the region with tones of twisty turns (hence the name) and some tecky off camber stuff. I was trying to bring as much speed as possible through the turns while keeping it safe and smooth. After that I headed home to warm up again.

Happy holidays everyone........

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Third Winter Ride (don't worrie my titles will get more creative soon)

Today's training: Solid 50km endurance mountain bike ride. Felt great and both guns were firing until I spun out while climbing out of the saddle and whacked my right knee/quadricep of my shifter. A loud "AH FAWCK!" helped the pain temporarly but it came and went during the remaining 35km of riding. I still rode well, but I was definitley pushing harder with my left leg from then on. My right leg is a bit stiff now and sore to go up and down stairs now but it should be good to go for a ride tomorrow.

Recovery meal:
mmmmmmm :P

A few beers will keep my knee feelin good

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Second Winter Ride

Took my MTB out for the first time since W.O.W. today, after a long debate between it and the cross bike. Cross bike was fun yesterday, but I wanted to ride as much single track as possible so the MTB seemed better suited. After getting used to the cross bike, the MTB felt like a monster truck with its fat squishy tires and 80mm of sus up front. It felt slow and I felt tired, but the trails were nice and frozen and very fun to ride. Some of the open sections thawed out in the midday sun, but they were fairly avoidable and easy to see.

I rode my usual 50km loop, but after cutting some trails near the end that I suspected would be to soft, my total was just over 45km for the day. Trail of the day was the Swayzy Falls loop (trail 1) in Shorthills. It was my fav becaused it was all frozen, seemed smoother than usual and the sections that are mud bogs all summer were actually dry!

Today's antifreeze of choice was Appleton Estate rum. It kept my water in its liquid state, but I realized I don't like rum, so I won't use that again. I think keeping one bottle in your jersy pouch at a time and rotating after drinks is the best way to prevent freezing; unless you like rum.

View from top of Hogsback

Frozen Swayze Falls

Cool technical line on trail 1

My bike took a crap on my garage floor

Good thing I didn't bring it inside to thaw.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My First Winter Ride

I woke up at 5:30 am this morning. Not because I planned to, but I just did, and I couldn't fall back to sleep because I was starving. I got up and fixed myself a huge bowl of cereal, drank some OJ and then laid down on the couch to try and get more sleep. About half and hour later, I was passed out and woke again just before 8am which was the time my alarm was originally set for...perfect. I was hungry once again, and ate a peanut butter sandwich made on some very tasty pioneer bread (dark rye bread with no sugar or yeast added).

I'm guessing the reason for this hunger was because of my intense strength workout yesterday. I am proud to announce that I completed a full lap of lunges around my block with 25 pound dumbbells in hand. I was able to do sets of 30 all the way around and it took just less than an hour. About a quarter way around a lady asked me if I invented "that exercise" and I almost said "yes" sarcastically, but I took her seriously instead and explained what it was and how to do one properly. She was thrilled to learn it and said she will do them daily to strengthen her knees. I ate a bunch of high protein food after and a had a lager than the usual dinner, but I guess that just wasn't enough to feed the guns......haha.

So on to today's ride now. The trails were finally frozen again this morning, but an icy road made me think the trails would be very slippery. I took my cross bike figuring that it would be fun on the trails and on the road if the trails were to slick. I took the canal path to get to some of the Lake to Lake trails, and then took them back to downtown adding in the "Switchback City" trail. There was a dusting of snow on all the trails that made it feel very wintery. In the past I had never touched a bike in the winter, never mind riding one, so this was a first for me and I would have to say that I loved it. The headwind on the Canal path sucked, and my legs hurt bad from yesterday, but the fact that it was snowing put a smile on my face. Once I got to some single track, that smile got bigger cause it was a blast. Cross bike + frozen trails = good time. I surprised myself by riding almost everything, and was pretty confident on the skinny tires. I found the hand position hard on my thumbs, but I guess they will get used to it with time. Other than that the cross bike kicked ass.

Oh and a shot of vodka in each bottle is not enough alcohol to prevent your bottles freezing in minus 6 for more than an hour.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where I'll be in Two weeks....

This is the view out my buddies window in Canmore Alberta. I would be living there with them if I didn't bail on the move due to failure at getting a snowboard instructor job out there. They still don't have jobs and are kickin it on the floor cause they don't have furniture yet; with the exception of one couch. I really wish I was there for the adventure, but it really would have hurt my training, so I am happy with the two weeks I will spend there starting on new years eve. Snowboarding and beer pong will keep me in top shape while there...just like it did last winter while living at Blue mountain...haha

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rained In... Again

I really wanted to ride outdoors today, but mother nature had different planes for me. I would have rather done a strength workout than ride my trainer, but I am still recovering from Friday and haven't logged in many miles lately. I chose to throw in a movie and ride easyish while watching it. The movie was Public Enemies which was phenomenal, and the ride lasted 2 hrs. I only made a few hard efforts and did a couple one leg drills to keep it interesting. I was gonna ride to some live US CX action, but the broadcast kept skipping, going offline and loosing audio, so I gave up on it.

Yesterday I bailed on a ride before work because I was a little sick with a runny/stuffy noise and felt a little dizzy. I figured riding in minus 10 would be a bad way to get over a cold. I left early for work though so that I could mess around at a park and work on some cross skills, and had a blast. I felt weak but really enjoyed bunny hoping some curbs and twisting around trees. I feel a lot better today, so taking it easy must have worked.

I'm gonna try to watch the elite mens US CX championship race now, peace out.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Clean

Just a couple pics of my road machine after a good cleaning. Also finished taking the stickers of my rear wheel and was happy that they peeled off much easier than the front; probably from the oil spray coming off my drive train. I am happy with the stealthier Ksyrium look, and they are so much lighter ;) I think she will be kept indoors till the spring, unless the weather turns for the best.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rained In

Watching the weather network last night got me pumped for what I thought would be my first day waking up to the white stuff. But no, all there was on the ground at 8am was slush, and rain was coming down hard. I was hoping for snow because my cross bike is ready for it with new fenders, and I want to carve it through some snow at my park, and go plow through it on some gravel paths to get some miles in. This was the scenery this morning....

You Can see the shitiness out there and why I have decided to ride indoors instead.

Yesterday I lunged all the way around my block for the second time. I did some Adam Morka agility jumps for a warm-up, and was surprised at how fast they got my heart rate up. Thanks for that one Adam.

About 1/4 way around the block I was thinking "that sucks how I've already made it all the way around, cause if I back down now, I'm quitting something that I know is possible". I think that's what got me around because I was in some serious pain, and almost fell over during a couple lunges. I did get around easier than last time though, probably because I controlled my sets doing 40 lunges every time, and 30 on the last 3 or 4.

At the new Liberty Bicycles, we recently discovered that we had a pool at the bottom of our elevator shaft. It was about 14 inches deep, and the pump located in the back corner was not functional. Derek and I went in with our shop vacs and four garbage cans to see if we could suck some water out and get the level down to a point where we could access the pump. After about 16 garbage cans full, we opted to just reach down and pail the water out, because the shop vacs were a little slow and the water was barely going down. After about 28 garbage cans full total, I called it quits because the water only went down ~4 inches. We will have to go back to our original plan of renting a pump, but the issue with that is that we will need over 100ft of hose to make it outside and close to a sewer. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

How I've been starting my days.....

I didn't know my parents even had a press, but I sure love the coffee it brews. Yummm.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My New Ride

Here's some pics of my new whip....

Unfortunately, I didn't get out to Shorthill's on it like I was hoping to because I was tired all morning and spent a while in the afternoon tweaking and dialing it. I messed around with it for an hour or so on my street and at the nearest park once it was set up with the cross-tops off and and an upgraded stem. I practiced some tight turns around trees, off camber turns on a tiny hill and bunny hops. I was very impressed with how tight the bike turned and how the tires really dug into the soft grass. I felt like I could rail it through hairpin turns. My bunny hops need a lot of work though if I'm gonna clear any barriers. I can tell this bike will be perfect for riding through snow and mud this winter.

Soon to happen upgrades:
- front and rear fenders
- Cateye computer
- Q-rings (will ride the rounds for a bit, but I'm not liking the feel after being so used to the ovals)
- lights/reflectors
- some gnarlier tires for nasty suff

Looking forward to a trail ride ride on it sometime this week.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Running out of Gas

This morning I hit the road at 9:45 for what would become the most epic road ride I have ever done. I met up with Justin Henri in Thorold at 10:15, and we decided to ride the 140km circle route (canal path, Lakeshore road, Parkway, friendship Trail). We headed back to my home in St. Catharines so that I could grab some sandwich baggies for my toes, and then we hit the canal path.

Today was the coldest weather I have ever ridden hovering around zero, with cold wind chills near the lakes. I new my legs would not have much punch as they were not fully recovered from all the lunging lately, but they weren't sore, so I was good for the long-haul, so I thought. I felt good riding around 32km/h and was nice and warm until about 50k in when we arrived in Niagara falls. We stopped at the Timmys on Clifton hill to grab some coffee and a muffin, and got asked a hilarious question by a tourist in line. She noticed all our winter clothing, but not our bikes and asked "what sport are you guys doing?..... speed skating??" Trying not to laugh, we answered "cycling", "like mountain biking?" Justin said "no road biking". I guess she has been watching some speed skating on TV and our booties make cycling shoes look like speed skates. Too funny.

Fueled on caffeine, we headed back out into what seemed like much colder air to make the long stretch of the parkway to Fort Erie. My legs started to feel achy here, mainly in the butt and outer thighs, but I still had power. About half way there, we noticed some snow patches, and the closer we got the deeper the snow got till it was around 3 inches deep. The roads were clean though, until we made it to the friendship trail. The friendship trail was covered in snow, ice and water making for a slop fest that we had to get away from. We opted to ride a road parallel to it that was clean, but the ice messed with Justin's pedals and he couldn't get locked in, so we stopped at a little restaurant that we could bring our bikes in to defrost them. The lady working there didn't want the bike in, but I explained our pedal issue and she understood. We pounded a couple more coffees and then headed back out, and it felt even colder out. It definitely was with a could breeze coming off lake Erie that chilled me to the bones.

Shortly after this break I noticed my energy going down and started to feel weaker and weaker. Justin was putting in much longer pulls than me, and was definitely the stronger rider. Once we entered the outskirts of Port Colbourne I started to feel light headed, and really weak. We pulled over and I pulled the plug, making the decision to call my dad for a ride home. I said I'd meet my dad at the Moe's in Port Colbourne, so my total distance would be 120km. I hit up a convenience store for some beef jerky and than showed Justin the way to the canal path were he headed back to Welland still riding strong. I then went back to Moe's to wait for my ride.

I wasn't bonked to badly, and could have made it home for sure, but the sun would have been down by then, I would be risking my health riding so cold and depleted. I also would have been much later for my 4pm meeting time to pick up my new Kona cross bike. Yes I bought a cross bike, just as cross season ended so I had an excuse not to race it. It's a lightly used 07 Jake the Snake that I will be using to train on all winter, and race a little next fall. I just have to tweak it to my likings, throw some pedals on, and then it'll be ready for rip though Shorthill's tomorrow.

Peace out

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well I made it all the way around the block this morning. It was hard, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done off the bike, but I did it, and am satisfied. I got props from an elderly lady out walking, and a couple guys looked at me like I was crazy, which I think I am. I had to stop about six times to walk around in circles for recovery, but other than that I went steady the whole time. I started counting how many lunges I was doing between breaks and the result was sets of about 70, 60, 50, 50, 40, 40, 40, 30. As you can see they got shorter and shorter as I got tired. Next time I will limit myself to sets of 50 right from the start so that I don't ware myself out early on; hoping I can do sets of 50 all the way. I checked the time before I went out and I turned out that it took me just over half an hour to complete the loop. Doing it with 25pound dumbbells rather than 15 seems possible, but I will do it a few more times with 15's first.

To get warmed up I spun for 10 min's, did some core work and some push ups while getting pumped listening to some good tunes. I don't think I could have done it without them. the songs that did it were:

Idiotuque- Radiohead
All I Can Do- Felt
Bridle- Sage Francis
Take Me To The Basement- Aesop Rock

I'm gonna be hurtin tomorrow, but soon as I feel recovered I'll be givin'r again. I'm excited to see if I can notice gains when I go to do squats again.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lunging Around the Block

Well, not all they way around the block, but I think it was more than half way. Yesterday morning I took advantage of having the morning off work to do an at home strength workout. For the main part of my workout I was planning on grabbing some 15 pound dumbbells and going around my block (about 400m) competing a lunge for every step. After a bunch of core work and some step ups for a warm up I was headed out. I tried to do the best lunges possible by going down slowly till my knee gently touched the road then springing back up much quicker. I thought I would be able to go around the whole block easily, but by the time I was a quarter way around I knew I was not gonna make the whole loop so I turned back and pushed hard to make it home. It turned out to be much more painful than expected; but a good painful.

When I did lunges at the gym I felt like I could keep going for an hour, but I think that was because I took a quick recovery break after two lengths of a squash court. When your outside and actually trying to cover ground it's a different story, and it feels like your not moving at all. When I eventually made it back home I did more core work and some push ups till I felt exhausted.

I felt a little tired today and a little sore all over in the legs. I rode my trainer for a half hour after work but felt weak so I went easy. Tomorrow morning I plan on making the full loop around the block (if I feel good) even if it means taking a quick break every 10m. I want to be able to do the full block with 25 pound dumbbells by the end of the winter. I recommend trying this to all, it really puts the hurt on. fast.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tearing It Up

What have I been up to lately? a whole lot of demolition. I have been pretty busy working at the new Liberty Bicycles lately, and the work is very laborious meaning that I have been to drained after work to train. The demo is decent cross training though with all the heavy lifting, pulling, pushing, smashing, sweeping and swinging. I've spent most of the past two days tearing down a plaster ceiling, that involved two hours of bashing pieces down with a hammer. After that I spent hours pulling down wood with a crowbar, and cleaning the debris. We had a huge dumpster delivered yesterday which we felt more than 3/4 full in two hours thanks to the help from Shorthill's Cycling Club members Tom, Brad, and Paul.

The new shop is close to being in a skeleton state with almost everything torn out excluding some plumbing and electrical. The building is so huge with three stories at 5000 square ft. each and a freight elevator to access them. The possibilities are endless and Kurt has been spending a lot of time with an architect to design the ultimate bike shop layout. I'm sure that the end result will be one of the coolest and most original shops in the world. By next fall we are planning to have a complete spin studio upstairs including virtual racing. To reduce our impact on the environment we will be putting some green life on the roof; maybe some single track up there?

I got to the gym on Wednesday and mixed things up bit there. I worked my legs really hard by doing tones of lunges with dumbbells, four sets of squats, and eight sets of hamstring curls. I'm going to back off on the squats for a little though because I'm finding them hard on my back where the bar rests, even with thick padding. Because my lower back let me down at WOW, I have started to do some dead lifts because they work it like no other exercise can. They feel great to as long as you have the form perfected. Dead lifts combined with a bunch of leg stuff will be the foundation of all my workouts. I plan on getting out on my road bike tomorrow, weather permitting. I can't wait for the trails to dry up so I can get out on some night rides.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Winter WOW Race Report

Today was an epic day on the trails at Mansfield; as was every other time I've been there. The weather was very summerish for a "Winter Enduro" with a high that felt like 15, and the sun shinning on and off. The trails were very dry, even to dry in some spots making for the odd soft turn. The trails with the leaves blown off were my favorite but it was all fun, except for maybe a few climbs I had to hike up. I felt like I could have ridden all of them as I had the power, but lost it when I picked bad lines.

The race started off good for me and I was sitting right were I wanted to be; behind some Jetpower boys who I knew were very strong riders. I felt great until about 10 minutes into the race when both my shoulders started to hurt and feel weak. I think all the painting and demolition I've been doing lately may be to blame for this, cause I've never felt this before. This was no big deal though cause I'm fine with staying seated till they loosen up. As they got better my lower back started to hurt, probably because I was using my arms to a minimal, but the pain was tolerable and I've had much worse in early season races. This made me want to sit up for a little, and I did till I recovered a bit. No one caught me but I lost the guys I was with, who I would Have liked to stay with. I never really started to feel good until the half way point and shortly after I passed the two Jetpower Boys who had stopped at the feedzone. I guess they decided to make it a fun race because they kinda sat up till the finish. I upped my effort from there, but spoiled it by riding off course a bunch of times where the leaves were hiding the trail. I was quick to get going again all but one time where I went a ways off and came out on a gravel road. I was lucky to see the some riders in the forest, so I chased after them to get back on track. There was a single speed rider who lead me back up to the Jetpower guys. I had to re-ride about 500m of trail, but I saw where I went straight though when there was actually a sweeping left turn beneath the leaves. I think four riders passed me who I caught shortly after so it was no big deal.

Not far after getting back on course I had my only bail of the day when riding an A frame skinny over a log. I didn't actually fall of the skinny but I came off it to the right and rode straight into a small tree that flipped my of my bike. I wasn't going fast so I got back up in no time. After that my race was incident free and I tried to put the hammer down, but without any intense riding or racing in the last month, my heart wasn't pumping like it did in September.

In the end Peter Glassford took the win on a singlespeed, and I finished 4th in the 19-29 cat. I think most riders coming in ahead of me race cross, so they are likely in better form this time of year. I had a great time though and would like to thank WOW for the great event and the awesome post race chili and brownies, and of course Mother Nature for the unbelievable weather.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Secret Weapon

I had ordered myself a new MTB crank a couple days ago and it arrived at the shop today so I went in to install it, with a 40 km ride planned after. The crank is the new Rotor 3D crank with the 40-27 double chainring combo. The crank is around the weight of an XTR triple and if your a ball'r there's a version with a ti spindle that's 40 grams lighter for twice the cash. I already had the Q-rings on my road bike and liked how they felt, so I was stoked to have them on my mountain bike. If you didn't already know what a Q-ring's are, they are oval shaped chainrings that when positioned properly will simulate a smaller chainring in the deadspot of your pedalstroke and a larger one in the down/up stroke. This means that you will be in the high power output part of your pedalstroke longer, and that you will be able to put out a more steady power- which means better traction. Some will say that these rings won't shift well because of their shape, but believe me they shift just as well as any shimano rings, there is just less room for error in the position of your front derailleur.
The crank performed very well on the trails and I love the double chainring combo. I felt like I could stay in the 40T for pretty much anything, but had to use the 27T for a few steep climbs, and a couple slick spots. I feel like in most O-cups I will be able to keep my chain in the middle of my cassette, and just switch between chainrings for climbing vs. flats/downhills. Simple is good, and a double crank definitely simplifies your drivetrain.
With what looks to be another nice weekend ahead I have decided to head to Mansfield with the Mid-Pack Rider to race the WOW winter enduro. I have never done this race before but Have done 3 others at Mansfield and love the trails there. They are fast and flowy with a sandy surface twisting through a beautiful forest. I didn't plan on doing this race in advance but I've been itching to race since FallFest at Holiday Valley and had to give in. It'll be fun time no matter what goes down.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another November day in Shorts

The weather has been surprisingly summerlike so far this fall and today was another perfect one to shred the local single track. I did my usual 55km loop and with great legs and aimed for a respectable average speed of over 21km/hr. In the end my ave. speed was 21.7km/hr which I am very pleased with considering the fall trail conditions and the fact that I am not fully recovered from recent strength training. Yesterday I worked my hamstrings hard and the day before my quads. Although I am pushing these muscles harder than ever, they aren't getting sore after like they used too. Does that mean that I should continue to up the weights? Perhaps. So far I have gained 8lbs this off season and think the majority is muscle mass, and the rest water weight from beer consumption. I'm aiming to gain a max of 12lbs through the whole winter. Nothing too exciting happened on todays ride, except almost getting hit by a cop car on my way home when they oficer decided to make a sudden 3 point turn. I heard it's gonna be nice tomorrow again so I'll have to get out there.
Happy trails

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another day at the gym

Today's focus was on the quad's, with some core and tricep work while the quads recovered. I did squats of course to work my quads and did a lot more "isolated" ones with 10lbs more than last time. 225lbs felt easier, but I will not up the weight till I can get a little lower with it because I know I'm not going all the way down. Yesterday I took advantage of the warm weather by getting out on my MTB. I rode 55km and my Cateye says I averaged 20.5km/hr. My fastest recorded ave. speed for this route was 22.1 km/hr but that was in August when there were no leaves and minus the "Switchback Mania" trail that is very tough to carry speed through. This tells me that I definitely haven't lost fitness since the race season.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Best ride in a while

Got out on the MTB today and logged in almost 55 km with over 40 on singletrack. The weather couldn't have been better and trails were in pristine condition with a lot of the leaves blown off and the mud spots were few and far between. Legs were surprisingly strong considering the amount off beer consumed last night and the fact that I didn't get home till 4am. I had the climb of my life on the steep side of Hogs Back as a guy walking his dog down the hill said "You'll spin out.... you'll see" as rode by him at the bottem of the climb struggling to get my worn out Spz Captain rear tire to bite into the greasy leaf covered hill. At one point I was stopped dead with my tire spinning, and three times I was sideways accross the hill aimed for the bushes. I didn't give up and somehow pulled it off making me so happy to have proved that guy wrong.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I went running today

So I took advantage of the nice weather today by going for a 10k run. It took me 50 minutes exactly which means 5 mins/Km. Not sure if that's any good, but I do know that it hurts, and will hurt tomorrow. The pain is mainly in my calf's, but everything below the waist is sore. This was only my second run this season so my legs are far from used to that movement. I think that running can do good things for my cycling, so I will try to get better at it through the off season.

The pics were lame from snowboarding the other day, but I will leave you with a clip from last spring when we had snow in April. The trick is a switch frontside 180 to nosepress, with a nollie back 180 out. Enjoy..

Friday, November 6, 2009

Backyard Snowboard Session

Right when I got home from the gym yesterday my buddy called to say that he was gettin some snow from the arena to set up some tables and get a jib session goin on the hill in his backyard. I said I was down although I knew that my arms would be useless when it came to moving wet snow around, but miss boarding so bad that I had to do it. It was near freezing out so the snow was barely melting and was rock hard. After about 45 mins of shoveling we had a pick up truck full of snow and were all exhausted. After a breif brake to get some carbs in us, we resumed with setting up an in-run and building a jump to get onto the tables. We soon found out that we had taken twice as much snow as needed to make the set-up work. I finished shaping the jump then the session began. We stuck some dope tricks with spins on and off the tables and didn't call it quits till 11pm came around. We figure the snow will last a few days so I'll be goin back tonight. I'm hurtin all over today from all the shoveling and plan on spinning for an hour sometime today.
Pics to come.....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gettin'er done

So I rode through the downpour of mixed precipitation to get to the gym again today so I could work on the opposite muscles I pushed yesterday; my hamstrings and biceps. To work my hamstrings I used the hamstring curl machine and switched it up between one leg at a time with 75lbs and both legs with 100-175lbs. Between sets I did every type of bicep workout I know, and just gaver till curling 15 pounds felt like 40. Biceps aren't too important to me, so in the future I will only work them to keep them fit. I did a little core work as well, but my abs were hurt'n from yesterday so I couldn't do much. I didn't realize how exhausted my hamstrings were till I went to put my jeans on and struggled to lift my right leg high enough to get in them. Same thing with my arms as I found it oddly hard to reach my face for washing.

My target is to get two strength workouts like today, and two like yesterday done every week this off season with spinning in between. I will gladly substite for riding when the weather is good of course. Come March and April I will be just ridding as much as possible to log in the basemiles, with occasional tune-ups at the gym.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The king of all exercises

After a morning of putting up plaster on my recently dry walled basement, I managed to make it to the gym by noon. My main focus was on my quads and triceps. To work the quads I did approximately 10 sets of squats gradually working my way up to 225 pounds. After a few 8 rep sets of 225, I backed down to 135 pounds but isolated the down and up motions. I did this by lowering the bar down to the safety stops allowing them to take the weight off my back, then after pausing for a second or two I thrusted the weight back up. You can also do this by sitting on a bench at the bottom of your squat. Squats are called the king of all exercises because they work your whole body, and make your lower back very strong; which is one of my weaknesses. Between squat sets I worked my triceps by laying on my back on a bench and lifting either 20 or 25 pounds in a jab punch like motion 12 reps per arm doing one arm at a time. I also mixed in some core work and some calf raises to complete the workout. When I got home, I spun on my trainer for 45 mins to keep everything loose and speed up recovery. Tomorrow I plan on working my hamstrings and biceps.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My first bolg

Hello and welcome to my blog. This space will be used mainly to tell stories about racing bicycles and training to get faster, as well as other interesting things that I encounter day to day. It will be a challenge for me to overcome my laziness to get posts up, but I should be able to get one up a week, hopefully. Well that's all for now, thanks for stoppin by.