Friday, April 29, 2011

Epic Weather

Has it ever been an epic spring for crazy weather. Actually enjoying it quite a bit; it would be nice to pick up on tanning where I left of in South Carolina, but that can wait.

Yesterday was the best day yet! Wind guests of over 100km/h are quite fun to hammer straight into.

I took flight out the door with my bike, on a mission to hammer out some 30sx30s type intervals + some 5 sec sprints, no matter what the wind was sayin. Figured I'd cruise out to NOTL with the tailwind, then get all my intervals in on the way back, into the wind. It was crazy when I left home, but not at the point where shingles were taking flight and trees and fences were being pushed over. I think it was the worst right after I crossed the canal and entered some flat vineyards. Wind was hitting me from behind so hard that I coasted up to 70km/h!!! It was nuts, terrifying actually...cause I would get hit by crosswind guests and have to lean way over, while trying to keep it straight. I only went out 5ish km, before I decided to try and take the wind head on. HOLY F&$K it was tough. Put it in my smallest gear, got as aero as I could, then chugged along. My helmet flipped back a couple times, and I got blown in to the ditch 3 times! I didn't actually fall, but I had to unclip and hop the water to keep my feet dry. Definitely felt like I was wasted, but had super sober recovery ability.

So after some good tempo back to the canal, I turned into the crosswind, thinking the canal path would be good to do some work. Decided the actual path was too exposed so I used the road next to it, which is sheltered by the bank of the canal, and small forest on the other side. The road was covered in branched, but it worked well. Got my intervals done going up and down that streach of road several times, then headed home.

On the way back to my house I noticed that trees had been uprooted all around, some were huge ones that pop'd up sections of sidewalk. A few were down on my street, and my neighbors fence was leaning way over, but my house was fine, excluding a few shingles that broke off, which were about to be replaced anyway.

Found out later that the winds were far more ferocious than I knew. A school near my house had its roof blown right off! Traffic lights snapped right off, and their poles spun around. A building downtown lost its roof and of coarse, the power went out. Survived the night without it, keeping myself amused by playing with candle wax.

Feeling relieved right now, as of the completion of my exams and my first year of college. Lots of free time now, gonna be so easy to train!

Heading to Mansfield tomorrow for a pre-ride.....first time I've ever pre-rode that course. Might help a little, especially since the trails around are unreadable swamps.

See ya there!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Don't Cross the Yellow Line"

Interesting Good Friday Race yesterday in Flamborough.

It was way colder than I was expecting, and the winds were intense. My plan was to race conservatively, and keep an eye on they guys I knew would be strong. Figured one or two guys from each of the bigger teams would go clear in a break lap 2 or 3, and never be seen again with no one interested in chasing. A break went early, I didn't think it was the one, and no one seemed to excited about it. They lasted ~1 lap, then not long after there capture, Bryer attacked. He was on my list to watch for sure, but he went alone, cruising away in the tailwind. The surge/bridge after him that I was waiting for never happened.

I don't remember when, but 2 guys attacked and I guess bridged up to him, one guy being a team mate of Bryer. Now the Garneau team was in trouble, and forced to drive the pace. I was watching Riggs and Schiller knowing they would try to get a guy up to them. Schiller tried a few times, but nothing was working out. I bridged to him and Anton, but we only stayed away for a minute, and that was about it.

On the last lap we caught a Jetfuel rider that was dropped from the break, but the other 2 were too far ahead, even with all the Garneau firepower.

I had no luck at all getting into position for the sprint. There was about 5km of cross-wind, then a right hander with ~200m tailwind to the line. I was on the right side of the road, in a nice spot for a while, but swarms were moving up on the left and I kept getting pushed back. Some were very obviously gaining spots by using the full road. I will admit that I crossed the yellow line too, but never to gain a position, and it was really only when the entire pack was, leaving no choice.

So falling back on the right, I moved to the left, and got a bit closer to the front, then found myself stuck there, in the wind with no room to move up because I was on the yellow line. I heard Justin yelling for me to get on his wheel cause he found an opening on the right. Damn it! should have stayed there. I guess the shoulder would have been a better choice.

A surge with about 5 guys went just before the turn, and it took a lot just to get on it, next thing were rounding the corner and I'm way to far back to make anything happen. I moved up a few spots on the left side, but had no kick left after a tough last stretch. Actually finished 11th, but excluding the yellow line violators I got a much more pleasing 6th. I guess they were recording numbers in the follow car, getting guys who did it multiple times, or were just at the back, where their numbers could be seen.

Sounds dumb to DQ 3/4's of the field, but I think the race would have been way better if the rule was actually obeyed. Well I should say tougher, cause with the cross winds, the pack would have been shattered over and over with only the strong staying at the front. Instead, everyone tested the commissionaire, and he won.

I was happy with how I felt, not my strongest day, but I had the power when I needed it, minus the sprint.

So Mansfield is up next. Might do an epic MTB ride tomorrow, as long ass its not too muddy. If not, long road ride, then a busy week full of final exams, and some shorter intervals. Tuesday nighter? most likely.


Monday, April 18, 2011

"Two Wheels is the way I ride"

Great new track by Wax

"I start pedalin
I start smile'n
I'm in the bike lane

Funny shit
Had it stuck in my head all through P2A

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Awesome day of racing today out on the rail trails and mud chutes between Paris and Ancaster. I was very relaxed at the start, pumped fo sho, but calm because I knew I was gonna get to start near the front, unlike last year where I had to move up 200 spots on the first trail. Warm up was all right, nothing structured, but then again I was expecting a relaxed first 10km anyway.

Start went exactly as anticipated. I sat in the top 10, and just stayed as calm as possible waiting for that selective climb to come. When it came I nailed it and got in the lead/chase group with only Mike G, Adam Myerson and I think one other guy up a bit. Our group grew a little along the first road, and the work was shared a little, with Box doing the most.

I was feeling solid till the second dirt/grass section, where I guess you could say I "blew up". For a few minutes I just had nothing. Arms heavy and weak to point where I could barley hold the bars, and no power in the legs either. Wasn't too catastrophic, but bad enough to loss contact with the group containing 2nd through 7th place finishers. A few of them fell back to my new group, and Myerson would be out of contention after getting a flat later on. Till the final 10 km it wasn't to exciting. Just everyone in my group fighting for shelter in the intense cross winds, and only short lived attacks and surges against one another. I was waiting for the mud chutes before I tried any moves.

The first one came quickly, and I was surprised no one surged to be first one in. I just croozed up to the front, and lead down it. Came out with a gap, soloed to the next one, then bombed it nice and smooth to seal the deal. Then....I saw a rider ahead. I could tell I was moving a lot faster he was. Did he have a flat? Nope, just Chown, running on empty. Made the pass halfway up the final climb, then brought it home for 8th.

The final climb

Happy to improve on last year, despite not having my best day. Starting position helped a lot, but that's only the first 1/6th.

Congrats to Mike for an epic victory. Very impressive.

Team mate Alex Schmidt finished strong in 32nd. And Justin was able to move up to 65th after starting in the 300's. Nice job boys!

And Sara Byers for winning Calabogie, also, nice job Hoppner for the junior victory, and Etzie for snagging second.

Parents made a creamin meal post race; gourmet lamb burgers! MMMMM. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Ahhhh, final week of school starts tomorrow, then Good Friday race is here. Think I'm gonna do my first SCCC Tuesday night worlds race this week, and that'll be about it for intensity till Friday.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fitness Gains

I'm thrilled to say that today's intervals were a success! I actually went beyond my expectations pulling off an average wattage of 319 for the first 20mins, and then 312 for the second 20mins.

I used my new Jake the Snake, which is now dialed in thanks to Kurt @ Liberty for transferring all the measurements from my road bike onto it, slightly modified for cross. The comfort was amazing, and with similar handling to my road bike, I kept forgetting I was on a CX bike. It feels very stiff while standing, but I can notice its not as stable as a road bike with the bottom bracket being a bit higher. Its almost 5lbs heavier too, so it takes a bit more power to get up hills.

During the suffering I was thinking about a story Mike G told us at the OCA camp about John Tomac. Apparently there's a video of him climbing a very steep hill, and he says something like "when climbing starts to hurt, just think of the fitness gains". Now that's what I'm thinking every time I'm suffering. And it's true. I'm getting fit! I feel like I may be getting a little too fast a little too soon, so I am going to reduce my intervals for Thursday and, take next week a bit lighter, mainly since Good Friday is of course, that Friday. I plan to get faster and faster till June, maintain till Road Nats, then rest a bit. Must avoid over reaching!

Tomorrow I plan to train in the mud for a little, trying out my secret weapons for P-A. Getting very excited for this weekend, just hope the forecast improves a bit. But whatever, mud is more fun!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Tour of Bronte

Great day of racing at Bronte park yesterday. Turned out to be warm and sunny for the afternoon elite race, which was a nice surprise.

I felt great on the bike right from the warm up. When our race started, a bit delayed, I was excited to get going. Stayed top 5ish for the 9 or so short road laps we did and missed out on the key move that went. I thought it was too soon and was unsure exactly who was in it, other than Zack. Turns out it was Tyson and an M1 up there. After they got away no one in the bunch seemed interested in chasing, except Morka. Seemed like he was the only one doing any work, and when he slowed, no one would take over. I did a bit up there, only when the pace got really slow.

These three would get almost 2 minutes on us before we hit the actual course to do 7 laps. The race got way more fun here, and new guys went to the front to drive the pace. Morka was still doing the majority of the work.

Forget when, maybe on the second full lap, a group of 6 went clear. I must of been at the wrong place at the wrong time, cause I missed this one. I noticed some strong guys were up there, and figured it would stick. I was determined to bridge up to them, but again, no one wanted to chase hard, so they were pulling away quickly. I got a bit frustrated and went to the front to help chase, thinking that if we got them closer I could make the bridge. Shortly after, I was just pulling off to rest so I could attempt to bridge, and then Chown went; perfectly timed and made it up to them fairly quickly. I felt I still had a chance, and after a bit of recovery I went for it. made it about half way across the gap and then had that feeling that if I kept hammering I would be stuck in the gap until I blew up, so I sat up and waited for the pack. The gap was far to big now.

For me it would be a sprint for 10th. I positioned myself perfectly for it, and most likely would have won it, but was forced to go around a guy on the grass, losing a lot of speed. Came through second, which I was satisfied with.

Congrats to Chown for taking his second Victory this season, and playing it very smart. I learned a lot from this race and won't be making tactical errors like that again.

Also teammate Alex Schmidt who finished 2nd in the junior cat. He rode smart and made a big move at the end, that unfortunately didn't last, but he was strong enough to finish front half of the pack still. Justin had a very solid ride also, especially considering that he has been very sick and off the bike the past week.

It was for sure excellent training for the P-A next weekend. I took last week much easier than planned as I picked up a little cold. Seems to be gone now so I will be able to resume with some intervals. I did one 20min int. @ 305watts last Tuesday. Going for the 2 @ 310watts tomorrow. Will let you know how that goes!


Monday, April 4, 2011

A new Family Member

Picked up my newest machine today @ Liberty!.

A 2011 Kona Jake the Snake. It looks sweet, and handles amazingly well, feels a lot like my road bike. Not my lightest steed, but with some fast wheels swapped on for P-A, I'm sure it won't let me down on my way to (hopefully) a top 10. Then, in the fall to some mid-pack CX action. It's about the same weight as my MTB @ 20.5ish pounds, which I guess isn't bad for stock, considering my MTB is worth 3x $more.

Put some Q-rings on it, and may need to get a set back post, but other than that I will keep it stock, minus wheel swapping for races. Oh ya, I also swapped the stem, and will likely get a Specialized saddle to.

Bigger head-tubes are better.

Love the paint on this one!

You could have one too for only $1500!!!

Kinda looking forward to some threshold work tomorrow, part of my final preps for Bronte. I don't feel sore from yesterday at all (surprisingly), so I think I'm on track to see improvements.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Homage to Slush

Wow...what a hard race.
I had no idea there could still be so much snow in Mansfeild. Almost the entire course was snow, slush or ice covered. There was some awesome singletrack that was dry, but most of the course was early spring type doubletrack.

Started the day off right, with a cup of Starbucks thanks to J.Henri. Then it was of To Mansfield with an unplanned detour along the way. Drove there soo many times now without and issue, but managed to fudge it up somehow today. Oh well, got there with a full hour to spare anyways.

Warm up was good...felt strong. Climbed Airport road twice to get my legs and lungs working.
(off topic note: show on Discovery says that Jellyfish are taking over the ocean....and lakes around the U.S.. (I say we nuke em)) Start was fast, and I sat in a nice 3rd wheel draft till the first turn, where I took over. I could not believe the snow. It just never ended. When we hit it I thought it was just a patch....but no. It was everywhere!! I was forced to run a fare bit, as the snow was deep, soft and rutted out. I was doing quite well in the ruts though, able to keep balanced, and put power down. Before I ever got frustrated I thought about the people who rode there trainers all winter, and how frustrated they must be. After hammering for a bit I settled into a 50km pace and just rode smart and efficient the rest of the race. Had one small bail on a downhill where my bare legs got covered in snow, but it wasn't to bad. Just cold.

It was an epic day for sure though, very tough, but I enjoy a challenge. Huge thanks goes out to Dan for turning a cross country ski loop into something race-able on bikes. Massive difference from last year..

Congrats to team mate Meg Fleury for winning the 25km. Go team Liberty!!!!
J.C. finished 4th, which is awesome, and Jeff K was not too far back....nice work SHCC. J.Henri is quite sick right now, so its great that he was able to finish. Good technical training at least.

Can't wait to hear the results of the tour of Pelham. Predicting Etzie or Perry took it, but Chown was getting fit in SC, so who knows.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Racing in two days?

Hard to believe that the season kicks of in less that 48hrs. I should be riding strong though, as I'm feeling fully recovered from all my winter/early spring training. I did some intervals this week and they went quite well. First ever 30 min tt/threshold interval I've ever done went down. I was hopping for 300-310 watt average, but I came out just shy at 292. My goal was set based on the 300 I hit racing up Caesars Head, and I thought I could beat it after some rest. Not quite the case...yet....but I'm sure the race adrenaline, and fact that it was up an uninterrupted climb made it a bit easier to keep the power down. Going to do 2x20mins next week, and aim for 310 watts each time.

I definitely need to boost my threshold power. Being able to ride tempo for hours can win me marathons, but will not get me on O-cup podiums.

After hours of salt and erosion removal, my MTB is ready to race again!!

Looks brand new again!

Oh....and here is a pic of my new road bike that I said I would post way back....

This is an amazing machine. I notice the stiffness every time I stand to pedal. Looks soo stealthy too.

So I don't really know what to expect on Sunday in terms of the trail conditions. Mansfield drains fast, but there still may be snow on the trails. Definitely won't be a dust storm like last years edition of the Homage, but I wouldn't be shocked if it was dry. Haven't ridden my MTB since the Frostbike, but am very confident in my skills on it with so many hrs spent on it in the snow this past winter. Going to ride it on the roads/grass tomorrow to fine tune some skills/ make sure I put it back together right. Should be a fun day!

Schools over in 3 weeks, so there will be an increase in posts per month when that comes around. Profs are really piling it on right now, and with the rush to dial my bikes in/get fit, I have not had any time to spare. Look forward to some race reports coming soon though!