Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ganaraska Ride

Last weekend inlaw ride. This past Friday I headed up to Millbrook / Port Hope area to pick up the bairn who'd been camped out at the 'Farm' whilst mum was in Oslo and dad ran around trying to get stuff done in the time not taken up by work or training. Weather as you might know here was outstanding last week and the boy had a great time running about in the yard, sucking on rocks and generally learning how to get back up from spontaneous toddler wipe-outs. I arrived lateish on Friday, spent the night and in the morning after Deco's breakfast and some play time I headed out for a short ride.

As background every time we'd visit there over the years I'd always think "damn, these would be nice roads to ride". Typically curvy rolling hills on the north-south routes and huge long vistas and fairly long climbs / descents on the east west lines.

So, I finally got my chance. Saturday was a beautiful day, Declan was in good form having a blast playing and being spoiled by the old pair and I was at peace with the world. yep, you bet. So I headed out onto No.10 south from Millbrook which looks like this,

and then onto Ganaraska No.9 west towards Toronto. No.9 is an awesome road for riding. Huge hills, bigger views and good pavement. I basically just did an out and back but with 40min each way spent on No.9 that means 3 of these bad boys in each direction.

..the photos don't do them justice unfortunately, but they're good long climbs. Almost a perfect interval hill. So the ride was excellent, the scenery was outstanding and much fun was had.

I noticed this place
and considered dropping off a picture of Declan and my resume, but I've already got so much on my plate I figured I'd only make my life that much more unmanageable.

another interesting thing of note is that apparently 'round Ganaraska way it's mandatory to have a lethal dog patrolling your property. Seriously, I grew up in the sticks, and am not in the lease fazed by big bad farm dogs but the brutes up there were monsters. One was a Pitbull or Staffordshire that had to be 60lbs and was wearing a leather vest/harness. The straps on the harness were the size of seatbelts and he made them look frail. I couldn't count the rottweilers and other notables were the numerous Alsatians with thick, heavy legs. Nothing like the typical american/german sheppard thats lean, low, and fast looking, nope. These brutes looked like they just shook off the plow yoke after a hard mornings work and were looking for a little sport. Luckily none of them considered me 'sport'. Probably looked at me and figured rightly "wheres the sport in that? Better eatin' on a chicken wing anyway.." So it was no bother at all though one did pace me through a few fields on the other side of the fence and made 35km/h look easy.

So, that was Saturday, after an awesome Friday there-and-back to Champlain lookout from home, (first of the year!) and before a 4hr LSD ride with the original Big Ring.

Which brings us to now. and the weather. which has turned to total crap. Cold and rain through the weekend. so, some time might be spent here; unless I don rain gear for a spell. ..which I might. Maybe a Friday double loop of the park at 10 degrees with rain gear to see how much fun can be gleaned from suffering.

which kinda sucks and worse, it's tax time.

..and that means for me one thing. Depression and, or volatile mood swings. Every year without fail I suffer anxiety and depression in the face of submitting income taxes and this year is no exception. fact it seems a bit worse than in past so if you see me kicking my lunchpail down the street, head down muttering at my feet or receive a stoic thousand yard stare in response to a common query or pleasantry please afford some patience my way. Rest assured that at some point this unfortunate time will end and life can go back to normal. I for one can't wait

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Phat Tony's O-Cup

Our own Phat Tony placed 21st out of 37 riders in the Masters 35-39, Sport Male category at the O-Cup this past weekend at Mansfield Outdoors Center. Well done Tony!

Just one thing . . . no love for Big Ring Racing? Affiliated Team/Club?!?!? What's up with that?!

Good advertisement

'lil ringer makes it onto Brodie's web site

When emailing Brodie a few months ago for a quote on a replacement frame for Riley's Menace (frame had lots of cosmetic damage from the Austin shipping fiasco), they had mentioned that Riley should submit a rider's profile for a contest.

A couple of months later we get an email to say Riley's one of a few riders who won the contest and will be appearing on various pages of Brodie's web site. Free swag for the little 'ringer as well.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday ride, nicknames and farewell to a friend

On Sunday, Big Ringers got together for the largest team gathering since North Carolina. Also along for the ride were Scott and Joey. The plan was to meet at the border (Champlain Bridge) and do a loop in foreign territory, ie., Quebec, la belle province which also happens to be home to these two clowns. The original Big Bing and shapely bum also met up with us but they went on their own for some BC Bike Race bonding. We rode over the Gats into the towns of Chelsea, Wakefield, Cantley and back to Chelsea. It was a great ride at a moderate pace for the most part with a few spirited climbs here and there. Unfortunately, no-one brought a camera but I was able to snap a few pics with my cell phone and they turned out ok.

At the Wakefield Bakery- Coco, Vegan Vagabon, T-bone, Zamboni, Lenny, Scott

Kari has inherited the nickname T-Bone, the vote was unanimous!

Suggested nicknames for Zamboni: Milk man, Milk bone,
tighty whitie, Bib (The Michelin man), Glad Man. We need a poll!

Zamboni was quite pleased with his bum in his
white spandex - he thinks it is as sexy as Tanya & Kari's!

This was my last ride on my Giant TCR1; the best bike I have ever owned. In the 6 years that I owned this bike, I never had a single mechanical failure (not including flats, of course). I can't say enough good things about Ultegra components (they are flawless) and the very effective compact frame design. The bike now belongs to a young triathlete; I wish him as many great rides with it. My new ride is coming this week... stay tuned!

A farewell to a very dependable friend...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Coco & Zamboni

Who knew that Coco was such ladies man?!?
Hope Anne doesn't find out!

And Zamboni . . . . when are we going to see you in your whity-tighties?

Look'in good Stef. You been working out?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Breaking News: the Gatineau Parkway is open!


I rode from Gameline all the way to the Champlain lookout via Blacks. I came down the same way so I can't say what the Fortune climb looks like.

Very exciting!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Official

The people have spoken . . . . and Tobin's nickname is now officially "Coco"
or "Coco the monkey"

T-Bone says, "What's not to like about being called Coco?"

First timer!

Just getting used to this posting stuff....very easy.

Hey, not that I've had problems with this much in my days but... someone or maybe all of us should share tips on personal lube. I always get asked and since I don't have many problems with this, my answers are limited. But I may want to be more pro-active in my next 24 hrs events.

In Adventure racing, I used Silicone glove cream, especially for the feet since in AR we get and stay wet. This protects the skin, let's it breathe and helps to keep your feet from getting all white... and works for those other private nude review for this one!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Today being earth day I enjoyed a coincidental first (partial) commute to work.
I'd been a good long while since I've commuted on account of the distances and locations of my client locations. typically between 65-84km from home, if not in entirely different cities (but I think I've closed that chapter of my life).

As background I'm a contract designer, draftsman for food industry, so being a 'non-employee' I get to enjoy some freedoms but these freedoms go hand in hand with some restrictions also. Notably supplying my own workstations, measurement tools and other awkward heavy shit. I'm also sometimes required to travel to other client facilities during the day (with all the awkward shit) so commuting hasn't always been possible. However, I've been pretty stable working with one client for a while now, have my own office on site, a change room and a locker so I really have no excuse other than I'm expected to be on site by 8am, and like to be on site by 7:15-7:30 which makes for early mornings if yer gonna jam in a ride on the way.

Anyway, enough about me, what do you think about me?? ha.

so, given the distance, timing and route (half of which is 400 series highway) I'm forced into doing a hybrid commute. I drive the first 40km and park in a (extremely convenient) 'park n ride' car park and ride the remaining 43km from there on classic eastern Ontario roads. which is to say flat flat flat, mostly straight and windy. Eastern Ontario is flatter than a heroin chic runway model and mostly open farm fields so if theres any wind in this hemisphere your gonna feel it full on. Further, theres a curious pattern to the Eastern Ontario wind. Its always a headwind. Seriously, maybe not 100% of the time but easily 99%. It's only redeeming feature is that it's better than a friggen compass. (which are riddled with error given the magnetic pole axis' are out of line with the rotational axis' pole) but no fear! just raise a dampened finger to guage the wind direction and head into it. Doesn't matter where you're going, it's virtually guaranteed to be into the wind so you know if you've got a tailwind yer only screwing yourself for later on. So wheel around until you hear that familiar roar in your ear that's coupled with crawling along in your granny and be content in knowing that you're headed safely toward your destination.

o.k. it's not that bad and today was pretty tame but it's pretty freaky that I've been on the receiving end of tailwinds about 3-5 times in the last several years of riding and on at least two of those occasions I was lost heading the wrong way so.. today was a headwind. Not a frightfull bastard of a headwind but headwind nonetheless. oh well.. sounds like complaining I know but its really more of a curiosity now as I've given in accepting that I'm just going to have to work a little harder for my speed.
..that I'm only curious until the wind goes up over 25km/h in my face and then I'm bitching & cursing with my head down, burning legs, heart rate stratospheric as the ground crawls by..

but! Today was not that day. Today was a bit of this;

with a lot of this;

which is a pretty awesome way to start a day, headwind included. Even the chicken farm I have to pass each day didn't reek up the joint as much as usual which was a major blessing cause when that place is ripe it's bad. Like, unspeakable bad. Like, how could anything considered "food" in any form come from a place that smells bad like a-cholera-victim-getting-a-perm-in-the-basment-of-an-abattoir-bad. ..but there I go again, getting away from the point. (guess I'm not a linear thinker) which is that commuting rocks and today rocked better than lots.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Ironman Experience

A few Ironman Arizona 2008 Facts:

· One word summary? Extraordinary!
· 2200 athletes including 80 pros signed up for the 140.6 mile / 226.2 km journey.
· We were presented with the 3rd most challenging event in the 30 year Ironman history.
· 95 F / 35 C degree heat and 23 mile / 37 kph headwinds.
· The 2.4 mile / 3.8 km swim = 1hr:15min, 37th in age group and 977th overall
· The 112 mile / 180 km bike = 6hr:38:33, 35th in age group and 943rd overall
· The 26.2 mile / 42 km run(or should I say hobble) = 5hr:57:58, 52nd in age group and 994th overall
· I placed 36th in my age group (W 35 – 39): 130 in my age group signed up,101 started the race and 79 finished.
· I finished in 14 hours and 39 seconds, 993rd out of 2035 athletes who raced.

Race media coverage:

“If you are wondering how tough things were out on the course today, all you have to do is check out the number of DNF's at today's race.
Of the 2035 athletes who started the swim, 2033 finished in time to start the bike.Of those, 1,874 managed to get through the hot and windy bike course.1,830 of those started the run.1689 finished the race.
It sure as heck wasn't friendly to the athletes.
Ironman is supposed to be hard. People like that it's hard.It just shouldn't be that hard.”

“Temperatures in the mid-90s and enervating winds on the outbound leg of the three-loop bike course conspired to plant this season's opening event firmly into the record books as having the third highest dropout rate in Ironman history. Nearly 18% of the field failed to make it to the finish line. Some were SAG'd in, having discovered that there were some times when, no matter far how down you reach, there's just nothing there. Others made it back to T2 on their own power and, in a striking demonstration of how much of a mental game Ironman is, simply decided to let Mother Nature win this one, and packed it in.”

My Ironman experience…

After 6 months of following a strict training regime with a commitment of about 15 hours per week (found in the book, “Start to Finish, Ironman Training”), the final countdown to April 13th was on! I actually enjoyed the weekly challenge of adhering to my training bible, smiling with content and a sense of achievement with each workout that received a checkmark. The preparatory journey allowed me to discover focus, commitment and consistency.

By Saturday night I had checked-in my bike and transition bags at the race site, concocted my hydration mixes, and prepared my race morning gear. I closed my eyes at 8pm; but sleep was a difficult state to achieve… Nervousness, excitement, and anticipation whirled around my brain with fervor like an
Arizona Dust Devil. Perhaps I managed a few hours of sleep… I got-up at 4am, dressed, ate and then Andre and I headed to the race site.

Standing at the jump platform putting on my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles, the canon went off signaling a 6:45 am start for the 80 pro athletes. Now it was my turn to jump into the cold and murky Tempe Lake, along with 2000 other wetsuit clad athletes.

I slowly swam over to the start buoy – trying to imagine the scene that would unfold in just another 10 minutes… I had no idea what to expect! After all, I had only done a handful of short course triathlons in my career, one Olympic Tri last summer with only 110 athletes and 2 Sprint Tris in 2002 and 2001.

Surprisingly, I felt reasonably calm and gave myself the standard Kari pep talk… “Just get ‘er done”. The swim course is a 2.4 mile / 3.8 km single loop swim. The turn-around bridge looked so far away and was directly into the sun, so sighting was a challenge. Cheering spectators lined the bridge and the shores. And then it began…

2035 frantic bodies moving in unison; yet fighting each other only to achieve the same goal, one buoy at a time. It was a full-on mob scene, ultimate fighting, and full contact swim match! I was relentlessly kicked, punched, elbowed, scraped and mauled. It was crazy! I thought tri-athletes were peace loving happy people! The metamorphosis occurred and I also turned into a raving, fierce swimmer, inadvertently dishing out random acts of violence to unsuspecting nearby victims. Under the bridges, near the buoys and at the turnaround the aggression was heightened as bodies converged. It was far more savage than I ever imaged, but I just kept swimming…

My goal was a 1:10 to 1:20 swim and I had no idea how things were going. The swim distance was not too difficult but I climbed out of the water feeling battered and bruised; this feeling subsided immediately once my feet hit solid ground. It was time to focus on the next task - the 112 mile/ 180 km bike.

My transition went fairly smoothly 4min 56sec (Ave time = 8mins, fastest time = 2min 14 sec, slowest time = 27 min) and I ran out of the bike pit glancing up at the timing clock. I disappointed to see a time of 1:35… I guess my swim took longer than I had hoped L – it was not till hours later that I realized I needed to subtract the pro start time. Which meant my swim was 1:15! Exactly what I wanted! Cool!

The fastest swim of the day was from a male aged 18-24 in 47 minutes, I placed 37th in my age group and 977th overall. Only 2 athletes needed to be rescued in the water.

I was happy to settle onto my bike, the only discipline in this crazy rat race that was in my wheel house (pardon the pun). However, I was confronted with a double whammy; 95 F / 35 C heat and 23 mile / 37 km per hour headwinds… But, so was everyone else…

As always, I am reminded that Mother Nature possesses supreme power; although as humans, we think we are superior beings – we must embrace and respect to her strength… Incessantly, carelessly and disrespectfully we endeavor to overpower her force, beauty, purity and wisdom… Oops - I digress… It was damn windy and hot!!!!

Needless to say, the conditions were extremely, extreme! However, I found a comfortable pace and actually starting passing many people; this felt great! Of course, I too was passed by many; like a pylon, marking the route for these lean, fit, aerodynamic, legs on lungs, cycling machines! It was inspiring!

The bike course consists of 3 loops past downtown Tempe, ASU and then through the Pima- Maricopa Indian Reserve; passing tall green
Saguaro Cactus standing in salute, bright yellow spring dessert flowers smiling in encouragement and Red Rock Mountain watching and waiting patiently at the turnaround. Getting to the turnaround was a constant battle against the wind. I just keep looking at my speed and my heart rate monitor trying to stay sub lactate threshold, telling myself to stay in control, settle, relax and breathe.

The turn around offered a huge reward – a tailwind! I kicked up the gear and was smoking. I was passing people and felt strong. I even managed to get my speed up to 40 miles/ 64 km at times. I finished the first loop in a time of 2:08 – almost on track with my goal of 2 hours. Now I just had to repeat this 2 more times! Andre and my small fan club of local friends screamed out encouragement as I zoomed passed. It was getting hotter and windier but everything was going well and I felt good.

Bike laps 2 (2hr:11min) and 3 (2hr:19min) were pretty much a repeat except a bit slower. I finished the bike course in 6:38 hours, which was slower than I had planned but not too bad considering the extra mental and physical challenges. I was 35th in my age group. 160 athletes had dropped out of the race during the bike segment. The fastest bike time was 4:32 from another male pro and the slowest time was 8:52.

I started feeling nauseous towards the last hour on the bike but not too severely. I thought that everything was under control. Hydration and fueling felt on track, my legs were a little fatigued but again I felt this was manageable, I was ready for the marathon!

The bike to run transition was quite smooth also – this is one that I practiced a lot, 3min 48 sec. The fastest pro did the transition in 1min; many people took their time here (some over an hour) to try and recover from the heat and wind.

Now to start the marathon – it was about 3pm and very, very, very hot! The run course was 3 loops around Tempe Town Lake, where we had swam hours ago. This is known as the most spectator friendly course on the Ironman circuit. There were people everywhere!

I started to run, but my legs hadn’t yet adjusted to the switch of activity. My stride was short and slow. My stomach felt a little queasy. Don’t worry Kari, you will pull it together – be patient… I was about halfway to the first mile aid station and my left quad and left calf cramped! I have never, ever had a cramp before. My leg straightened and I yelped in pain. I tried to bend my leg and kind of crumpled like a little marionette; I wanted to control those puppet strings but someone else had high jacked the reigns! I remembered back to many adventure races when my team mates would cramp, cry out in pain, gasping for air, writhing in the dirt; while I stood by helplessly, with a silly grin, thinking “oh come’on, suck it up” and wondering how bad could it really be? Well, now I know!

I tried to walk it off and just keep moving in the right direction, trying to pull myself together. All of a sudden, like something out of the exorcist, I unleashed the most unexpected projectile vomit - a colorful rainbow of Gatorade. How pretty! NOT! I vomited so forcefully that I popped my ears and couldn’t hear out of my left ear! The left side of my body was failing me. I almost started laughing! Things were just not functioning the way I wanted. It’s ok Kari – you still have the right side. Use what you have and please keep moving. I hobbled to the first mile aid station, ate and drank. Now reality set in. I still had 25.2 miles / 40.5 kms to go and I was a mess! I must recover. I hobbled to the 2nd mile marker, ate and drank some more and experienced limited improvement. Onto the 3rd mile marker… Same deal – no improvement. It had taken me about 50 mins to travel only 3.5 miles! My goal of a 4 hour marathon was shattered and I was now in survival mode. It’s ok - you will be an Ironman – just keep moving…

I tried to run but the cramps returned and my stomach was not working. I just kept on moving, walk and run, walk and run, don’t stop.

I looked around and was amazed at 2 things. Firstly, I was amazed at the number of athletes who were walking – wasn’t this a running race? Why was everyone walking? Oh, yes – I remember, this is brutal! Athletes would hobble up beside me and feebly chat, each short conversation started the same way, “The wind killed me…. And then I cramped… It’s so hot…” This started to become monotonously humorous.

Secondly, I was amazed at the other half of the athletes who were running! I felt so proud of them and wanted a taste of their energy, leg strength, and mental conditioning. Why was I walking while they could still run? A man ran beside me and put a gentle hand on my back, ‘come on’ he said and my legs obeyed. I ran for a little while… Was this all it took? I took note of how such a simple gesture can motivate. I think in my next Ironman I would like to just run around the course and motivate others who are feeling down. One day this will be my goal. I will be the Energizer Ironbunny!

Anyhow, the remainder of the 1st lap was a mixture of walking, running, cramping, puking… I couldn’t seem to pull together. But I kept a smile on my face and just kept moving. I finished my first lap in about 2 hours. The thought of bailing never really entered my head. It just wasn’t an option.

I started my 2nd lap, many athletes were on their third or had already finished. I tried not to feel discouraged. By this time most people were walking and were in survival mode, very few were still running. A man walked up beside and initiated the standard intro, “The wind killed me…”, you know what comes next. I gave him an understanding smile and I said, “I know and I’m only on my second run lap!” He looked at me, crusted in salt and dripping with envy and exclaimed, “this is my first!”.

Andre was waiting for me on the side of the course about one third through lap 2. It was great to see him. He ran beside me for a few minutes and provided words of encouragement. What an awesome surprise.

At the halfway mark, I was mentally feeling better, physically not much had changed. I saw a young guy sitting on the side of the run course with his head between his knees. I asked if he was ok and he looked up at me but didn’t say anything. I held out my hand and said, “take my hand, I’ll pull you up and we will walk together”. It was more of a statement than an offer. Hesitantly, he grabbed my hand. I pulled him up and we stayed together for the remainder of the race. He was a 27 year old marine from North Carolina, named Brandon. His pregnant wife and 2 small children were here to support him. We walked for about 25 mins before he said anything to me. His first words were this, “I wouldn’t have kept going without you”. This made my day and was one of the many highlights of the event.

The spectators and volunteers were incredible. My name was written on my race bib so every few minutes someone would cheer for me by name. This celebrity status was encouraging and appreciated and never seemed to get old. I smiled and thanked each cheerleader.

Near the end of the second lap, the fiery, hot, orange Arizona sun slipped quietly down below the Tempe Lake bridges, casting a peaceful dessert glow over the race site. The sun looked tired to me and seemed to have a smug look on her face. It was as if she was saying, “You wanted a challenge so you got it! I worked hard today to heat things up. Now I’m going to sleep. See ya tomorrow!”

Even the calm Tempe Lake waters were looking at me saying, “Whaaat? Look how tranquil and serene I am? Why were you acting so turbulently agitated this morning?” Don’t worry folks – I was not hallucinating – just being in the moment, enjoying the scene and relishing my Ironman experience. Just one more lap for me! Yay!

140 athletes dropped out of the run…

My new friend, Brandon and I decided to run a little more in the last lap and attempt to complete our Ironman in 14 hours. The final lap was pretty uneventful. I knew that we would make it and today I would become an Ironman!

As we neared the finish line we could hear the erupting cheers of the crowd. It was just a matter of time. We ran the final few miles using pure adrenalin. I told Brandon that we should run across the line together. He said no – he wanted me to run in first and savor the moment. He reminded me that he wouldn’t have stood up if I hadn’t pulled him up.

Running through the finish chute was a complete blur of emotion, fatigue, noise, cheers, lights, cameras, and Mike Reilly, (the voice of the Ironman) shouting, “You are an Ironman”!

The finisher medal was hung around my neck and the 140.2 mile journey was completed in 14 hours and 38 seconds.

What an absolutely awesome experience! Before jumping into the water in the morning a camera man approached and asked why I was doing Ironman and thrust a microphone toward me. “Because I can”, was my answer….

Ironman offered an opportunity to exceed self imposed limits and to “feel” life; feel my heart beat, feel the blood run through my veins, feel the oxygen in my lungs, feel tears sting my eyes and simply feel alive.

Everyone has their own Ironman… Please remember…
Be all that you are – everyday. Everyday is a miracle. Every breath is a gift.
Thanks for reading my story.

The day after the race, my lips were cracked and bleeding, my left calf and quad were very sore, my left ear was still ringing (from my power heave), my eyes were blood shot and wind burned, my butt was aching from wearing a very small bike shammy in the long ride, my arms and neck were chaffed and fried from the sun, my feet were one big giant blister, I weighed 110lbs (even after eating and drinking like crazy – 116 was pre-race weight)… And I felt great!

Here is a cool you tube video of the swim start:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Congratulations Kari!

Just wanted to post up a big congratulations to Kari for finishing (and finishing very respectably) in her first ever Ironman Triathalon in Arizona last week. Way to go Kari!!


Phat Tony and I went out Saturday and did managed to get in our second "Century" ride of the season, (the first being the Tucson Century back in February). We started out at 0700 and did an hour easy warm-up out Prince of Wales, across Hunt Club to Riverside, to Hog's back, and down Colonel By, 24km in total. We arrived at CycleLogik at 0800 and joined their weekly group ride, same 81km route as I posted two weeks ago. This is a fast-tempo group ride (33km/hr this week) that I'm really enjoying. We then met Tanya and Stef at Cyclelogik at 1030 and headed out towards Manotick. Check out Anthony's new wool Molteni jersey, a la Eddie Merckx which he got for his birthday (which is actually today -- happy fook day assface!).

The ride to Manotick started slowly in the heavy traffic on Wellington street, but we felt safe because we had a pace-bike keeping the road clear in front of us:

Conditions were lovely for riding, here we are on River road. Notice the radar has our pace running pretty high. It slowed down a bit once Tanya stopped pulling the pack. Tanya had also been out riding for a couple of hours so we relied on Stef for most of our pacing.

The Manotick leg was 58 km done at a 27.7km/hr, almost entirely zone 1 (except when Tanya had us going 70)

Got home 100.7 miles since the start of the day, and spent the afternoon doing some work outside with Anita and Kona cheering me on. They are both getting bigger by the day:

I was very pleased to get this ride in, since I have been an allergenic wreck all week and had called Anthony on Friday night to tell him I might have to bail after the first hour because I was feeling like shit. Turn out allergies only make you feel terrible, they don't seem to sap your strength as much as you think.

I'm taking today off to enjoy this taste of summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Commuter gets a cleaning . . .

With the warm weather I decided that my commuter could use some lov'n and I figure the best way to do that is to start with some cleaning. The bike hasn't seen the entire winter, like a lot of them have and I had hoped mine would, but it did get to commute at least once every month which says something I guess since we did get 13 feet of snow this winter!!

Here she is . . . all 50 bucks worth. My buddy Scott thought I would like road riding so he hooked me up with this ride last spring. I put 2k+ kms on it last year so I think I got my money's worth.

One of the things that I keep clean on my bikes is the chain, unfortunately the commuter doesn't get its share of this cleaning. Sometimes I use a typical chain cleaner, sometimes I soak the chain in degreaser, then brush it, rinse it and dry it. I don't know about you but one of the things I hate is getting greasy from a dirty chain.

Sometimes it happens on the trail when I am fixing a broken chain . . .

and sometimes it happens at home when I am cleaning up the commuter!

Either way the end result is that I have grease where I don't want it!

No matter how it gets there it can be a real pain in the A$$!!

I recently tried a "Citrus-Powered Degreaser Hand Wipe" or CitraWipe that is made by a company called Zogics. They come in a very portable and convenient little package that can easily fit in a jersey or a pack.

The pictures above were just taken a few minutes ago in the garage and this one is what my hand looks like after a wipe down, pretty sweet huh!?!

Here's a shot of the packaging and the wipe after I beat the crap out of it. . . . or into it as it were.

I'll definitely be carrying this in my hydra-pak this summer but I hope I only have to use it on my hands!!! I better throw one in my seat pack on the road ride also in case I get a flat, it'd be good for cleaning up after any messy incident.

P.S. If you're wonder'n whether or not the grease came off everywhere you'll have to ask the boss! :-o

Monday, April 14, 2008

Almonte, Paris-Roubaix

Three Big Ringers braved the elements to make fools of themselves riding mountain bikes at the OBC Paris Roubaix on the weekend, in celebration of the Paris-Roubaix race. Here we are at the finish (picture unceremoniously stolen from Craig's Blog, where you can read a longer account):

In the end, the ride was 76km which we covered in about 3hrs and 2 minutes, putting us in about 90th spot of the 115 entrants. Now, to be fair Craig and Fritz could have easily finished a fair bit higher (even on mountain bikes!) if they hadn't been waiting for me to catch up after every hill in the 2nd half. It was nice to have team mates watching out for you, even if they were the ones who broke you in the first place. Fritz, I owe you a beer.

Now, it's not like I didn't know I was going to blow up, it was more of an experiment to see when. I had done the CycleLogik group ride the week before and was quite pleased to have been able to run for a full 2 hours at about 85% of my max HR. Trying to keep up with Craig and Fritz however had me running at 90% (just over my threshold). I figured this was a good opportunity to see how long I could last doing that. About 90 minutes it turns out:

The good news is that when we slowed down to my pace, nobody passed us and we still reeled in and passed at least two groups of people on Cyclocross bikes. The bad news is that my legs were none too pleased doing 40km of commuting today.

After the race, we had some of the best hot chocolate ever made (according to Craig). The secret recipe you ask? NoName (tm) powder, hot milk, mixed in with three and a half hours riding in the cold with mud splattering all over you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Day 2 Ride 1

Day two started off with a ride called Amasa Back, an out and back (actually up and down) of about 25 km. A short road ride amongst some huge sandstone walls and you are onto the doubletrack climbing.

Basically this one goes up an old jeep road with some moderate angle and moderately technical climbing. At the top you get some nice views of the Colorado River.

No pictures of the ride down, it was basically a rowdy descent as fast as you could go over drops , rocks, ledges, and little gaps you had never seen before. Because it was wide you had lots of choices to make but some of them had negative consequences.....

my only flat all week!

Day 2 Ride 2

After a quick lunch we headed North on Highway 191 for Baby Steps , it was supposed to be a light ride but it turned into a bit of effort, 20+ km of rolling desert single track and some slickrock. Excellent riding especially the hard pack, twisty singletrack, it was like being in Albion Hills without the trees.

The coolest thing was the Dinosaur footprints, seriously.

And another one for scale

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Starting the Cycling Season Off Right

Starting the Cycling Season off Right

With the snow starting to melt and the temperature rising, we are all itching to get back out on our bikes. For those who have put their bikes away for the winter season, it is extremely important to build back to your previous fitness level and form gradually in order to prevent overuse injuries. This is even more important if you have a history of previous injuries.
Early in the season is when extra keen cyclists are at particular risk of injury.
So to start the cycling season off right :

Bike Tune Up
Make sure that your bike is safe and in good working condition.
Worn out or improperly adjusted bearings, brakes and derailleurs can lead to a less efficient ride and more work than necessary.
Have your favorite LBS examine the condition of your bike and tune it up for you if you are not mechanically inclined.

Review your Cycling Clothing and Equipment
Check your clothing and equipment for wear and replace them as needed.
A worn out saddle or shorts will affect your comfort on your bike and as a result may affect your entire riding position on your bike.
Make sure that your handlebar tape and gloves are still offering good comfortable padding.
Make sure that your cycling shoes aren't worn and too flexible in the sole. This will be less supportive and may lead to discomfort and numbness in your feet.

Dress of the Weather
With the cooler spring weather make sure you keep your body and working muscles warm. Cover your extremities, hands, head and feet well if it is cold. Dress in layers so you may remove one once you or the weather has warmed up. Keep a light rain jacket in your back pocket in case the weather turns foul.

Build a Base
Start the season off with shorter rides and easy spinning at 90+ RPM. Your easy rides will allow your cycling muscles to slowly and safely build and adapt to the new work of riding again. Ride different bikes. Road riding is a valuable training tool that can help build your aerobic fitness and endurance. Supporting your body differently and requiring different muscle recruitment patterns helps prevent injuries.
Avoid pushing big gears up hills or against those nasty spring headwinds. If you can; go out against the wind and back with the tailwind to give yourself a nice recovery ride on your return.
Increase your mileage slowly to build your endurance.
Start off with non-technical rides and slowly increase the difficulty to retrain your riding skills.

Warm Up
Always start each ride off with a warm up at an easy pace for the first 10 minutes. This will start the blood circulating in your muscles to warm them up. Even if you feel energetic and enthusiastic, don't start out like a bat out of hell ! This is the best way to strain a muscle/tendon or flare up an old injury.
After 10 minutes it's a good idea to get off your bike and stretch your quads, hams and calves. It only takes a couple of minutes.
Gradually increase your pace and your body will thank you.

Cool Down
Ride easy for at least the last 10 minutes of your ride. This will flush the toxins out of your working muscles and allow your body to properly cool down.
After your ride it is important to stretch for 5 - 15 minutes to help your muscles regain their flexibility.
Tight inflexible muscles will increase your risk of injury. Stretch your major cycling muscles :
Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, and your back. Repeat each stretch 5 times holding for 20 seconds. You should feel a mild tightness, but not pain with each stretch.

Pay Attention to any areas of Discomfort
Other than tired muscle aches your ride should be comfortable. So be particularly aware of any discomforts in your back and neck or knees early on. If any pain does not disappear over the next couple of rides and maybe a couple of adjustments to your bike; then make sure to have someone take a closer look at your riding position. Continuing to ride in a poor position can lead to a serious overuse injury. Back and knee pain are not an integral part of cycling as some have come to believe. Mountain biking should be a fun and enjoyable experience.
These simple tips and patients in building your foundation will translate into a season of success !!

Safe and Happy Cycling !!!

Mary Paterson PT