Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bike the Bruce

This past weekend was the Bike the Bruce road O-cup up in Wiarton. Headed up there Saturday morning with Justin so we could do our Saturday ride on the course. It felt silly to be pre-riding a road course, and it was really was not necessary, but we got our lines dialed in anyway. Max met us for a lap and I showed him the way around...

I liked the course layout. It seemed to have more climbing than I expected, with a 50m ~10% pitch before the line and 1km climb on the Bruce road stretch. The laps went by fast, so that was a good sign as I was scheduled to hammer out 24 of them Sunday. 132km would be the longest race I have ever done; distance wise and my first crack at an S1/2 road race.

I wanted to make it to Sauble beach Saturday afternoon, but lost my motivation to make the drive with the dark sky and decreasing amount of time to just chill out. I decided to hit up Sauble after the race instead, as it was on the way home anyway and a swim would be the perfect way to clean up and cool down. We did check out Owen Sound's Kelso beach after dinner, but it was weak and only hung around to play fetch with a guys dog for bit.

Sunday we made it to the race on good time. I somehow managed to drive straight past the course for the second time; dummy. We watched the Cadets finish and it was exciting to watch Etzl kill the sprint and Hopkins take 3rd. I set up our cooler in the shade to watch the S3 race, which was very exciting. A break went early with Jug and a few others. They got pulled back, but only close enough to have others bridge up and make them stronger. Max got up, but unfortunately, Justin missed his chance. This move pulled away and In the end Max totally dom'd the sprint with Jug coming in second. Justin cramped in his sprint and had to sit up ....way she goes? Next time I'll get another bottle to ya.

1:30 came around fast and my race began shortly after that. I warmed up for 30mins, but not as intensely as I would for a shorter race. I felt good at the start, but as soon as the attacks started going I was red-lined. The pace was all over the place. A guy would attack, we would surge to 50, then after the catch we would slow to 30. repeat this what seemed like 100 times, and that was the first half of the race. After a group went clear the pace steadied a bit as a chase formed. This was the fun part, because I was able to settle into a fast tempo and catch a good draft. I was always at the front, and did some work up there when we started to rotate through. Then, more attacks and surges began. God dammit! I hated this style of racing. I was getting sick of sprinting after an attack again and again and so were my legs. They told me to stop by cramping up on me. I started to drink a shitload of fluids, and in the end I had drank 8 bottles. 4 with Heed, 2 Gatorade and 2 with Coke. After some other groups got clear the main pack slowed way down, and shrunk in size every lap. Everyone must have been hurting because we were crawling along, guys were still getting dropped and surprisingly the gap to the leaders was not growing fast. the 10-15 of us that were left in the pack all worked, but not hard. Some would skip pulls, and when I pulled hard I would gap them. If it wasn't for the damn cramping I would have takin off from this group for sure. In our sprint for 17th, Ryan and a Darkhorse guy went early, and I pulled the group chasing after them. I said "pull through" to the guy on my wheel, and he said "no, thats my man up there". So it was all me, and of course Dark Horse #2 rocketed out of my draft to take 17th and I finished just behind Ryan getting past Dark Horse #1. I could not believe that they were using team tactics to beat me in a sprint for 17th. What dicks! Oh well, I was just happy to make it to the line, after fighting cramps for over an hour.

I was very happy with how I performed in this race. I felt like one of the stronger guys there, and always heard guys breathing harder than I was. My muscles will need time to adjust to these longer races because red-lining it at this fitness level, for this long is new to them. That is my only explanation for the cramps. It was not hydration for sure. I don't doubt that I could have finished top 10, because I had to sit up when the key moves went to avoid my legs seizing.

Its sad to say that the road season is nearly over, and I want to do Elliot lake now. It is far though and between the last two MTB o-cups. I will have to decide soon and determine which ones I want to be fast at. I don't think I can be strong 3 weekends in a row.

All for now, peace out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Not much training going down this week. Training is a sign of weakness; I have no weaknesses. I have spent some time practicing victory salutes and going over tactics, but that's about it.

Haha I wish it was that easy. Lots of intensity and low volume has been my formula for the week. I did some intervals today, and Tuesday, now all I have to do is rest till race day. This road race is in Wiarton, which is fairly flat, but open and very close to water, so the wind will make it tough. My goal is to hang out near the front, and watch and learn how things work in S1/2. If I feel incredible, I may go with some moves, but I will race conservatively, 132km is a long one. If it comes down to a field sprint, I will be all over it. I will battle for good position and then launch the missile when the time is right. I would be happy just to have a mid-pack finish, but I will not hold back.

Wish me luck! Peace outs

Saturday, July 17, 2010

BIG week

Today was the end of what was my toughest week of training to date. I managed to get in 24 hours of ride time, with loads of intensity. It started with the Buckwallow O-cup last Sunday, which was followed by a fun 2.5 hour recovery ride Monday, where I felt way too fast for a post race day. I kept calm though knowing what was coming this week, and never let my heart rate exceed 150bpm.

Tuesday was another story. I set a knew PB for the circle route, completing the 136km loop in 3:56. This was a solo effort where I managed to average 34.2km/h. Calm winds helped, but it was the 30/30's I did along the parkway that got my speed way up. I also sprinted out of every street crossing along the friendship trail, after slowing to make sure it was clear. All I ate on this ride was one banana, and I never got hungry surprisingly. Two stops for water was a must though in the humid scorcher of a day it was.

Wednesday I got out for a MTB ride with some co-workers and had a ride time of about 2.5hours. I felt great and made some short efforts. The group was small with other rides at the same time, but if your interested we will be leading road and off road rides every Wednesday, from the shop (weather permitting).

Thursday. haha Thursday was a Suffer fest. I shared and extra large serving of hurt with Henri and Max. We hammered to Smithville, then rolled over to Grimsby where we dragged our asses up the three big climbs 3 times each. I felt good on the climbs, but may have done them faster when I was more rested. It was great training none the less, and I'm sure the other two were enjoying the 20% grades as much as I was. We caught Stan out there, an ex pro, and convinced him to climb 50 road with us. He seems to be quite fit still. We got organized in a pace-line to get home quickly, and shared the work to keep the speed around 40. I made it home with 1/2 hour till I had to get back on my bike and ride to work. That was fun.

Friday I had no gas what so ever. All I could do was spin around for a couple hours. I don't like going slow, but it was my only speed on Friday.

Today, I bounced back and put out a solid 4.5 hour ride. I was a bit tired, but felt very fit. My strength came and went, but I put out 7 solid climbs up Saylors as I did laps of the Classic. It was a windy one out there, and of course the wind was blowing straight down the hill. The rest of the loop was fun though. Got my average speed up to 31.2 by the time I got home, not bad in those conditions.

Tomorrow I want to MTB. Maybe I'll hit up the Hood, but no matter where I go I will be going marathon pace for 3-4 hours. It will be fun.

All for now

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Once Discovered, Never Forgotten"

So I got my first Elite podium at Buckwallow. Finished third and was only 20 seconds off the win. With most of the top guns out west for the Canada Cup and nationals, the field was wide open. My goal was a top ten, but when I saw the field I new a top five was within reach.

I had the course dialed after doing 6 or 7 laps Tuesday, then 3 more Saturday. I was going fast and riding the technical stuff very smooth. I have always loved Buckwallow, since my first time riding it two years ago, when I sucked but still had fun. Buckwallow is not comparable to any trial system near Niagara. It's a different world. Trails like this can only exist on the Canadian Shield, where you can find exposed rocks bigger than your house, and have plenty of car sized ones to link to flowy turns. The course was reverse direction this year, making some lines interesting, but nothing overly tough.

I had my tire pressure way down for this race, with 15psi front and 18psi rear. With big Conti Race Kings set up tubeless you can go this low (depending on your weight), and really benefit from the increased traction and comfort. I also have some new rims now, the Stan's Alpine. They look like the Olympics, but are lighter and have the new wider inside with smaller sidewalls. The beads of my Race Kings seemed to really snap in and sealed up very easily.

So onto the race. I started at the back and was the last guy motoring along the doubletrack start. I got by maybe five guys before the first singletrack, but still had some ground to make up on the top 10. I always felt like I could be going faster than the guys I was following, so when we came out on the doubletrack, I would go faster and bridge to the next group. I was in a train with Anton, his teammate and a Mountain view guy for a lap, and was willing to work with Anton on the doubletrack, but lost him by the first singletrack of lap 3. I was alone for a while, and kept my pace high to hold my position. I was stoked to be in fifth. On lap 5, I caught Tall tree Neil on the big climb, and asked "are you Elite?" He said nothing but started to hammer to hold me off. I guess that's a yes? I held his wheel for a while, and was confident that I would get by him before the finish. While we lapped one of his female teammates, she totaly blocked me. "I said on your left" She drifted left. "ON YOUR LEFT" she moved all the way left till I was off the trail, and as I passed her through the rough, she laughed and said"Ohhh Left" I said "ya do you know which way left is??" I shut the gap down on Tall Tree, and we passed Zack before I passed him. Before the last sinletrack section I caught Souter, and held his wheel through the trail. I disliked his pace, but there was no room to pass, and I figured sprinting for second would be fun. A lapped rider fucked up the big rock big time so we both had to dismount, loosing time on Stu who was in sight. When we came into the feed zone the sprint began. I was gonna go around him on the right side, and as I started to pass he drifted right. I yelled "ON YOUR RIGHT", and he went all the way to the right forcing me to brake and coast across the line to avoid being squeezed into the fence. Weak man. Just weak. The most exciting thing in cycling is the one on one drag race sprint. I love watching these, and being in these, but Souter totally ruined this one. I had a solid chance to beat him, I can sprint, but it would have been close, it would have had all the spectators standing on their toes in excitement.

I did not say anything to him, because, he knows. I will get him back by ending his winning streak at the Lake to Lake.

Thanks for the cheers Jeff, and others. Thanks so much Henri Family for the weekends accommodations, and feeding and such.

Lots of training going down this week with no race this weekend. Will update soon.

Peace out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

CHIN Picnic

So my first race as an S2 went quite well for me. The field was huge with the M1's in there totaling to just under 90 racers. The first half of the crit I was working my ass of just to hold my spot which was about 60th. I was trying to get up front by sprinting out of every turn, and trying to pick the fastest lines, but everyone in this cat was doing the same thing. For a while I felt that no matter what I did I would always end up with the same guys around me.

After about 45mis, I finally started to get closer to the front, and was able to sit comfortably in the top ten for several laps. You can see how my heart rate dropped fair bit 3/4s of the way though.

This is because it is a lot easier to ride at the front, especially on a technical course like CHIN. The reason why is because the top 10 or so can nail the turns without using brakes, and carry a lot more speed into the straights. At the back of the field, especially if its tight you have to slow way down for the turns, then sprint as fast as you can just to prevent the leaders from gaping you. All this sprinting had my legs hurting pretty bad, but they kept on working preventing me from ever slipping back.

When I was at the front, the pace slowed and that was when the winning move went clear. I was right there, and could have grabbed a wheel, but never tried to. I know I could have made it up there, but highly doubt I could have pulled through, and did not want to mess up there pace line. I'm guessing I would have been dropped from this group anyway, so decided to just hold my spot at the front as long as I could instead. I slipped back a little when some groups came up from the sides, but was always in the front half. On the last lap I moved up a little but got boxed in on the straights and could only do so much. The pace was so fast that the group split, and I was happy to finish in the middle of the front group. I could have gained A few more spots in the sprint, but did not want to risk causing a crash by weaving around guys. A crash did happen just in front of me that had me on the brakes in the final meters. Luckily all but two stayed upright.

CHIN was a great event, and I really enjoyed the course. The turns were so fun, and being surrounded by very experienced racers made them even more fun. I felt very comfortable in this field, but realize the gains I must make before I will be able to stay at the front, or peace out of the pack.

I owe a huge thanks to Kurt @ Liberty! for fitting me to my bike. I found out that my right leg is shorter than my left by 5mm, and that I need a varous wedge and ++ arch support to avoid power loss in my shoes. I bought some Specialized pro road shoes, that fit me properly, and notice a big difference already, without the cleat shims and proper soles even in yet. If you have any fit issues I would highly recommend booking a fit with him. It is a very thorough process that involves many tests of flexibility, and precise measurements. Exciting stuff for sure.

No race this weekend means a loooooong mountain bike ride for me tomorrow, after watching Le Tour of coarse.