Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toronto Crit

Had a great day in Toronto on Sunday.

It was my first time ever racing the TO crit. I had heard a lot about though........."its very fast". "Its super sketchy". "The fencing around the course will grate you up like cheese if you go into them". - Sounds like a good time to me.

The race seemed to have lost a bit of its prestige from previous years as it was now a morning race, with less prize money and fewer "pro" racers. It was still run quite well though, crowds came out to watch and seemed excited, everything was on time, the only negative I can think of was unclear instructions. When they said 4 to go, 4 to go! I thought there was four laps to go. Seemed way to soon, but hey they said it. Turns out it was for a prime.

My race went well. I made one critical error, lining up too late. Had to start from the back and use the first couple laps just to get to the front half of the pack. By then, the winning break of 6 had gone clear. Shit! I new they were gonna lap us. 6 strong guys, one or two from each team there. Who was gonna chase them? It was left to the independents. When I felt good I went to the front and drilled it. Ended up spending a few laps hovering off the front as I would gap the field on some corners. I was riding well and feeling very confident in the tight corners.

Once we were lapped things slowed down a bit as the teams tried to protect there riders from the lead group. A bunch of primes were called, and made for some fast laps, but I never went for any. They separated the leaders from us to have the field sprint, which I got 6th in, thanks to Justin getting me close to the front on the backstretch. The lead group did another lap before there sprint which was taken by Kyle Fry. Congrats Kyle and the Garneau team on a great victory!

Post race Toronto stuff was just as thrilling as the race. Started off with some beer and a burger, then migrated to the Kensington market (spelling?) to explore. Saw some interesting things/people, got more beer then made our way home.

For sure a race I'd do again, I know I can do better than 12th. Sprint could use some work, but its time to focus on the MTB now, Hardwood is just around the corner.

Going to race the Liberty! 12mile tomorrow night. Should be fun!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Nith Rver Road Race

Yesterdays race was a real tough one. Not a very tough course, with no hard climbs, but it was up and down along the whole route and very windy. The wind, combined with a lot of strong guys coming out made it quite challenging.

The race started nice and calm with some neutralization, but picked up as soon as we hit the cross winds. In the toughest cross wind section, the selection was made that would form the lead group. Was it still the first lap or the second? I can't remember. when this happened we were all single file drilling it along the edge of the road to try and get a little shelter. I was maybe 12th wheel, right behind Anton, fighting for my life to stay there. I looked back unsure if if the pack had even split. I was surprised to see no one behind me, with 100m or more gap already. I was suffering to stay on the back of this group, in the worst position. They started to use the full lane, so the first 9 or 10 had shelter, Anton being the last one, then me, on the very edge of the road.

I was happy to make the selection, but if my position didn't improve or the pace didn't slow a bit I was going to pop. I fought hard, then the pace ramped up, and I was gone. Pretty much blew myself up, but I knew I would be fine by the time the remainder of the pack swept me up.

A group of 3 or 4 were trying to bridge up to the break, and I could have jumped in there, but figured they wouldn't make it, and that I needed to recover so I let them by and waited to jump in the pack. When I got there I was a bit pissed, cause I knew those 10 guys would only get further and further away, but my legs came around and from then on my goal was just to make the best of the excellent fitness I was experiencing.

I sat on for a few mins, then I was up at the front working with 5 or so other guys in an echelon. We brought back the other guys, then a counter attack went clear that contained Bayden and 3 others. Would have liked to go with them, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and recovering from a pull. 5 or so of us continued to work together, with a few others doing the odd pull.

We kept Bayden's group in sight for a while, but we we not closing in, and not many guys would help. My group, the remainder of the peleton was shrinking rapidly with guys dropping out each lap. We soon became what I would call the scraps of the race. The lead group was long gone, and now split up, with the other group floating between them and us. I was trying to convince everyone to pull through, really just to have us come in 10 mins behind the winners, rather than 20, but Jetfuel and Garneau guys would not do a thing saying "I have teammates up the road". I was thinking no shit......half the guys in the race are on your team. We were not going to catch any of them. Now its a training race......you have nothing to lose.

Near the end of the 5th lap (of 8) Kyle Fry did some silly attack where he sprinted from our group only to stop and coast for a bit after. Must have been dick'n around with sign sprints. Anyway I jumped on his wheel and he slung shot me off the front to what would be a 50km solo ride for me. I was planning to attack around that point anyway, so it was perfect. Why would I want to pull the group around to have them sprint me in the end?

The first lap I surprised myself, hodling threshold the whole time, and closing in on Bayden's group. No one was in sight behind me. Second lap (alone) hurt, and I was slowing down, but kept it going alright. Group ahead had about a minute on me. Last lap I sucked. Still had good power and energy, but I was cramping up pretty bad and the usual back pain made hammering in an aero position no fun.

Turns out that in the end there was only 3 guys left in the peloton. The guys on the big teams did no work only to quit the race? Wow guys, how are you ever going to win a race if you can't finish with the back half.

So 14th would be the result for the day. Doesn't seem like much, but it was probably my best performance in S1/2. I made the selection, a first for me, although it didn't work out and I popped. Also I was strong start to finish, taking on more wind than ever before in a road race.

I'm happy, and motivated to keep improving. Next up it the TO crit, and maybe the Dandelion GP the day before.

Congrats to Sara Byers for taking the woman's race, and Etzie for another junior win.

All for now.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Woodnewton weekend was success, despite the all the rain, and cool temps.

Justin scored the same b&b that we got last year, in Port Perry, and we were joined by teammate Alex Schmidt this time around.

Pre-ride on Saturday was awesome. Trails were in fantastic shape, and I was enjoying the man-made rock features and some new singletrack. The burmed downhill is always a blast. I felt better on my MTB, the trip to Hardwood must have been an effective refresher.

Post-pre-ride we hit up Subway, then got some good stuff to cook a pre-race feast. Made some meat/veggie sauce pasta that was nutritious and delicious. The we had a bunch of time to moss before bedtime. Caught some Louis C.K. on Comedy Network before hittin the sheets.

Woke up feeling pumped, and started the day off with a bowl of granola to get the metabolism fired up. Then, started cookin up a french toast feast. We ate till we almost felt sick, then relaxed for a couple hours to let it all settle. Found the Giro live on the Satellite there, and got to watch Contador crush it before heading to the venue.

Got there to watch the 11:45 starts. In Cadet expert Meg looked very solid finishing lap one, made a sick pass utilizing the tough rock garden to take the victory. Congrats Meg!

After a solid warm-up It was time to line up, and I got my best starting position yet getting in the second row. Stayed calm and just held my spot up the start climb. Managed to move up a few spots, but also lost a spot or two in the tough muddy section. I was battling with Zach Winn for a while, then he fell back, and I saw a couple Lapierre guys not far back. I worked hard to maintain a gap on them, and held it for a while. Souter caught me on a muddy trail while I was being held up by lapped traffic. I never gave him a chance to pass by keeping a high pace on all the doubletrack. I saw I was closing in on Ryan Atkins, so I made an effort to catch him, rested in his draft for a few seconds, then made the pass an never looked back. I was alone for a while again, but got caught and passed by Kinsie on the 4th lap. I kept with him, and attacked a climb to try and get away. It worked and I came into the 5th lap 11th place with a comfy gap. Just before starting the 5th lap I had a nice crash while passing a lapped rider. I took a less than ideal line and clipped my right hand off a fence pole, and went down in the mud. Recovered quick, but of course my chain was off, so I lost 10 or so seconds. Still had my gap though and felt good. Thought I might be able to catch another guy. When I got to the tough muddy trail, there was a ton of lapped traffic holding me way back. Most guys were good, but some would not move over. I told one guy I needed to pass like 6 times, and he kept saying "ya ya", then fell infront of me, taking me down. Of course Kinsie was now right there and rode around us both. I got back up to Kinsie quickly, and tried to attach on the climb I had lost him before, but I never had the legs and he stayed with me. Let him lead for a while, planning to attack again on the longer climb. He had the some plans I guess cause he drilled it up there faster than I could, and I had to let him go. All I could do now was roll in for 12th.

"The Rock Garden" - photo credit - Ryan Jakob

Still very happy with this result. Felt way better than Mansfield. Back is stronger, and only a little sore.

Nice job Justin, getting into the points, and Schmidt for making his way up to a solid 6th place finish in junior expert.

Next two races are on the road, so I'm not too sad that our trails are flooded again.

All for now

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mansfield -> Now

Just finished up a big week of training, top off with 3hrs at Hardwood Hills yesterday.

After Mansfield my body was pretty beat-up. My lower back was the worst, painful enough to make the rest of my body feel great. A short hike to loosen things up Monday revealed that just about everything would be needing rest.

Lots of time was spent with my body in a horizontal position during the day Tuesday, and if it wasn't for the cancellation of the ZM crit, I would have just done an easy spin - to speed up recovery, but now the SCCC Tuesday night'r was on the schedule. It was cold and rainy, but a decent sized group showed, and we hammered some shortened Niagara classic laps for about an hour. Most people left early, but myself and Dan Dakin toughed it out.

My back was tight, but didn't hurt to much to ride hard.

Wednesday was going to be an easy 2hrs. 170-190 watts average. I started decent, then started to hurt at an easy pace, then I dropped my power to 150, and just kept the cranks turning to get home in 2:15. Bad day, as I expected after digging deep Tuesday without being recovered from Sunday.

Thursday was a lot better, but with a bit of tension still in my back, I decided to scrap my planned intervals, and just ride steady. I felt better and better as I went along, then I saw a bright yellow jersey coming straight at me. It was teammate Alex Schmidt, warming up for some intervals. I turned around and joined him. He had a bunch of 1min efforts to do, and I said I would sit in his draft during them if he didn't mind. Decided to do some 5-10 second sprints around him as he finished the efforts. This was fun, kinda like motor pacing I guess. The only problem was that I would get a big gap after sprinting as he spun it out, then he would start his next go 30 sec later and I would have to surge hard to get back into his draft, where he would be half way through the minute. Still fun, and a great way to keep each other motivated.

My sprints were not my best, but the 12 I did were all over 1200 watts, with my best one being the 12th, hitting 1426. Not to bad.

Friday turned out to be a great 4hr ride with Justin. Saw Port Colbourne, and Port Dalhousie in the same day, and it was not the lake to lake. Nice weather again, and I felt stronger than I expected to.

Saturday I met up with Justin again, to do laps of the classic. Rode laps steady, and pinned it up the hill each time. Had 5 solid climbs up the Eff, feeling great each time, puttin down over 500 watts on the way up.

Yesterday was a road trip to Hardwood, to get a little time on some singletrack. Trails around here are still sloppy, so I felt the trip was necessary, also the trails there are soo much fun. Rode every trail, except Radical which was closed due to a bunch of down trees. Did cranked and fun again to get 3hrs in. Great day on the bike, and I felt like I shed most of the rust from my technical skills.

Feeling confident for Woodnewton this weekend. Going to have a restful week to prepare for it, and hopefully be in or close to the top 10.

Now time to watch the Giro!!! The universal sports coverage seems totally worth the 20bucks, thanks Dad!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mansfield Ocup

First Ocup of the season went alright. It was a big improvement on last years result there, and the field was very similar, with the Quebec team and a Nova Scotian present.

I lined up 1 second to late, and had to start near the back, but it wasn't a big deal with such a wide/long opening climb. I moved up to about 18th by mid lap one, and was feeling solid, then I started to hurt a bit, and wasn't riding my best. Laps 2 and 3 were painful. I felt a little off my game, not riding very smooth. Held my ground though, only losing a spot or two each lap.

I had a fluky crash just as the lead train of juniors was catching me. I was turning right on doubletrack from singletrack, and stood to hammer, winding up flipping over the bars somehow. Did a stick go into my front wheel? Just rear wheel slipping? No clue......it happened so fast.

I was fine though, just mad that bars turned, and brake levers had moved. Lost 30 seconds maybe. I was able to make back the spots I lost, but the 4 juniors were never seen again.

Lap 5 I started to come around. I made up 2 spots and my legs were strong. Too bad my back was hurtin me, just totally killing any buzzes I encountered. No matter how strong my core is, the first ocup always seems to totally wreck my lower back. Just happy to get that over with, so it can recover and get stronger for the next race.

Congrats to teammate Megan Fleury for a solid 2nd place finish in cadet expert, and Alex Schmidt for 10th (7th On) in junior expert.

Justin Henri had a great ride too finishing only a few spot behind me in his first elite race. Nice job man!

Not sure whats next for me, ZM crit is supposed to be next Sunday, but I don't see anywhere to register for it. If that's not happening then Woodnewton is next up. 2 weeks to get ready for it.....hopefully the trails will dry up before then, I need to MTB more!

All for now....