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.