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.