Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Bday to BR!

Happy Birthday to our beloved Dictator - The Original Big Ring, a man of many talents as you can tell!!!



I dig those new pink Big Ring jerseys!!! I'm so sexxxy!!!

Crunch Time

It’s crunch time. Three months until the BC Bike Race . Time to ramp up the training. No more sissy base rides for me…its time to build.

This will be the first time I’ve ever followed a training program. I’ve always just biked a lot to increase fitness. But I’m pretty serious about this crazy race Kari and I signed up for considering the magnitude of the race...oh and the cash we dropped to do it is kinda motivating too.

Unfortunately this part of the training is beginning during a transition season. Some of you might be thinking I’m kidding myself. Transition season? Its still winter, sister. It will be another 3 weeks until we can even think about the crappy time of year where the lines between winter and spring are blurred. Admittedly, winter may be around for a while longer and a lot of you are still skiing but I am so over it. Winter, you are dead to me.

Anyhow what ever you want to call this weather, most of you will agree that it’s a tough time of year to train for cycling. Unfortunately, my training plan doesn’t care about the weather and this week it said I needed to get in a lot of hours on the bike. What’s a girl to do?

I chose to mix it up, riding outside & inside, cross-training and spin class. Here’s my week in review.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Usual commute to work and yoga class at lunch. 1.5 hour evening spin with Mad-Dog Papa G at the RA Center; Mark’s music cursing in the background. This class is great; Gilles makes us work hard and since its heavily populated with Big Ringers, it’s always a good time. Tough core work at the end.

Wednesday: Sat my butt on the trainer and followed a spinerval DVD for 2 hours. I was so damn proud of myself for this (usually I’m lucky to make it an hour) until after when I saw that I was supposed to do 4 hours according to the crunch time training program Wtf!?! Who has 4 hours to train on a Wednesday??

Thursday: okay so today I really deviated from the program…I was supposed to do some kind of structured ride or something. Instead I rode to work with a little more vigor than usual and then went climbing that night. I’m assuming climbing is probably not useful during the build period. It is good for building strength and maybe short bursts of power but isn’t doing much for my aerobic fitness. But its fun and I couldn’t help myself. Will show restraint in the future.

Friday: So yeah…this day was supposed to be a rest day. I guess soccer isn’t really considered rest, is it? I played my last game of the season though so this will be a proper rest day for me from now on. I promise.

Saturday: Back on the program today. I need to spend 4 hours on the bike. How am I going to do this? I rode my bike to the RA center and sat on a spin bike for 45 min doing my own thing until the PowerFit spin class began. Sweated through an hour of standing climbs and power starts. After class I rode outside for two hours doing errands. It was a beautiful day. 4 hours complete! That wasn’t so bad.

Sunday: 3 hours on the bike is the agenda for today. This time I went to Good Life on Merivale for 3 spin classes in a row. To get an idea of what this was like, image spinning at a night club in Montreal (read: loud dance music) with a drill sergeant screaming orders at you. The class was in a huge room with ~40 bikes lead by an peppy instructor armed with a mic. It was like a spoof of a spinning class they’d do on SNL. I was suppressing a giggle for a while but once I got over it, the time passed fairly quickly and I sweated like Peter so I considered the whole affair a success.

So that was my week. Not bad, but I think there’s definitely room for improvement. Drop the soccer for another rest day and exchange the climbing for a ride. Keep the variety up. Follow the program.

Just a couple of more weeks until I can get outside for the long rides in the Gats! Then riding will be fun again.

This training rookie welcomes any advice or comments on how things could be improved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Keski

I know some time has passed but I meant to do a race report for the Keski so here it is. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so this one is text only. For those that don't know the event the current name is The Gatineau Loppett which consists of a weekend of classic and skate cross country ski races. I have been xc-skiing for 2 years and as usual decided to get in over my head. I convinced a buddy who is a decent skier that we should do the 29km classic event. Since I had never skied more than 10km this seemed reasonable to me.

At least we had enough snow for the keski this year.....

I skied as much as I could but never really put in anything over 16km though I did regularly tow my little munchkin in her chariot. When I was starting to look a little ragged she would chant "Go Daddy Go Daddy", if that doesn't put a hop in your step nothing will.
















Done with training, on to the race. It was damn cold at start time, -22 C. At least it makes the kick waxing easy, green and lots of it. We stayed inside till just before the start and ended up at the very back of the pack of 311 skiers in our race. Good news is there would be plenty of opportunity to pass on the parkway. We went fairly conservatively and stopped for a couple of minutes at each check point. I was feeling pretty good until the 21km mark and really struggled for the next few kms, blowing one corner and flying into a 10 foot ditch that fortunately was filled with 8 feet of snow. I got my gumption back and hacked it out pretty decently for the last 5 km.

One memorable point was being passed by the leader of the 53 km race just as we passed the 5 km to go mark, yeah, he had skied 48 km in the same time it took us to go 24 km. Apparently the bar has been set fairly high.

We toughed it out and enjoyed the run down Pink Lake hill, into the finish and enjoyed lunch at the school. I finished 184 out of 311 which I was happy with having started at the very back.

The event is super organized and I really enjoyed the whole affair, though it is a bit expensive I can't believe the number of Ottawa skiers I have met who have never done this event. Get out and do it people! I will be back next year and have a goal of moving my average speed up by 10%.

A huge thanks goes out to my buddy Erik who could have dropped me at any time but skied with me the whole way, that made for a much more pleasant event for me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Video of King's stunt

Here's the video footage! Enjoy!! Sorry I am not able to rotate this...


video

Friday, March 21, 2008

King's leap of faith!

King put an exclamation point at the end of our last ride in North Carolina! What a way to end a great ride and a fantastic trip... enough said! Check it out!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

North Carolina Road Trip, Part 1

A few quick pictures before I pass out from exhaustion. First, thanks to everyone for a great trip!

Our guide for the last two days, Jeremy on his Bandersnatch wearing the Canada Jersey (a small token from the BRR folks who benefitted from his hospitality):



Lenny fording a stream in the Pisgah. Note the aura of calmness reflecting his complete confidence that he wasn't going to have to spend the night in the forest completely lost, cold, wet, and fending off covert advances from Anthony:



Lenny may have been a bit too optimistic. Here is the end of that ride, almost seven hours after it began:



And I still don't know what this is:



I can't say enough about the service at Liberty Bicycles in Asheville.
Time for some recovery scotch.
Cheers,
P

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NGR shite weather bike packin'

Roadtrippin Naked Wrap Job!

Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to put your beloved steed on the roof rack on the heels of a proper Ottawa snow storm for a 16hr road trip you'll be faced with a difficult problem to solve. That is how to keep the dreaded salt monsters from invading all the nooks and crannys of your bike so that when you and steed arrive at destination all will be well and said steed may be gently lowered from it's lofty perch, front wheel, seat, pedals carefully installed, and the seasons first ride may proceed to the soundtrack of angels singing and cerubs plucking harps.

What you don't want is the demons of salt and road grime to march their corrosive little selves into pivots, bushings, bearings etc threatening to turn thousands of dollars of blingtastic uber bike into rotting old swiss cheese. ..goes without saying eh? ..so, if it goes without saying, why did I just say it?? ..cause this is a blog and thats what we do here. Say shit. cause lets face it, if you've read this far you clearly don't have anything pressing to do and as such have effectively disqualified yourself from having any cause to complain about my tangential ramblings.

so, back to problem at hand. Bike on roof. Salt on roads. = much sadness and anxiety.
clearly there are limited options. dipping the bike in wax would work but heating up that much wax would not be easy and probably lead to a distinctive odor in the house and a sasquatch-esque carbon footprint from the energy spent to melt it. Not to mention the wife wouldn't much like what it'd do to the bath tub and it would certainly lead to some problems come ride time like hanging onto candlesticks instead of handlebars on a fast downhill. Thus, wax was deemed unacceptably risky.

Spraying down the bike with silicon spray, pam, diesel oil or similar. Abandoned for various reasons. Aerosol = larger carbon footprint and we're just not down with that kinda thing. Diesel is gross, I was not even remotely serious about that, Not to mention the 'ride time problems'. Riding a bike that smells like a train wreck or a greasy spoons' exhaust fan. yeah, that plan got shelved like fast..

but wait, whats that??? It's a faint flicker of light over my head. An idea. possibly even a good one! (or at least much better than diesel oil. That was dumb) What's the idea you ask?

Saran Wrap.

or to be more accurate. Industrial strength stretch wrap. Thats right kids it's a full body condom for your bike. Guaranteed* to protect your bike from salt, wind, rain, prying eyes, alien invaders, (er, scratch that, I was thinking tin-foil for a moment) and customs inspectors (I very much hope). Furthermore, its sexy! It's like a translucent BDSM outfit for your ride! It's even "Aero"!! Shit, if the cranks werent' bound up like a Guantanamo Bay guest it'd be a full on time trial rig! I could do triathalons an all sorts. ..but I wouldn't do tri's cause you know, there, well.. tri's..

so without further ado, I present the wrap job that would make Spiderman jealous and 'bike bras' obsolete. You may be asking "my god! whats will come out of that beautifull cocoon?
Will it be a butterfly?
Will it be a Bee??"
Nope. Better still it'll float like a butterfly and sting like a bee! ..MTB NGR style of course..



Anyway, should you find yourself in need of such a wrap job, there are stations in most airports that will wrap up luggage and presumably bikes also, though it's not an easy thing to hold a bike down and pull tight the wrap. (Assistants are necessary) but it may very well be worth it. Doubly so this time of year.

..and thats a wrap..




* no guarantee stated or implied despite what might appear otherwise. Participants will freely absolve author of any and all untoward ramification real or imagined including but not limited to burned retinas..

CitraWipes

CitraWipes are portable, non-toxic degreaser hand wipes with natural citrus oil extracts for removing tough grease and grime.
CitraWipes have a pleasant mild citrus scent and are enriched with aloe vera and lanolin. These handy wipes are self-drying and require no water for use.
Filthy buggers we are . . . . in mind and body.
Luckily the team will get a chance to clean up, at least the dirt off themselves (I can't promise anything, but we'll work on the potty mouths and keeping our minds out of the gutter).

Our reputation must precede us, because Paul at Zogics e-mailed me wondering if I'd be interested in testing them out and giving them a review. Why pass up what sounds to be a fantastic product? I also volunteered the team to test/review the product too. Keep and eye out for a naked review in the coming weeks by one of the Big Ringers.

You can be sure Paul knows what he's doing with these wipes, as he is a former m
ember of the U.S. National Cycling Team, three-time US National Champion and US Record Holder. Sounds like he probably had his hands dirty a few times working on bikes in his lifetime!

What catches my attention about this product besides it keeping you clean, its portable & convenient, it's got natural stuff in it . . . . but it's that the company is a member of 1% For The Planet, an alliance of businesses committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier environment. Members donate at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental organizations worldwide.

Very cool. More to come.
Cheers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Part II of SoCal rides

With the foot of snow that just got dumped on us, this is either going to lift your spirits or get you more depressed.

On Friday, I decided I wanted to venture out a bit farther up the coast and get a long ride in. I decided to hit the Coast highway (hwy 101) and go as for a long ride. It was a beautiful day but a bit on the cool side by San Diego standards. So, I had to layer up a bit.

To sum it up, this was the most spectacular ride I have ever done in terms of scenery! Picture a highway with a bike lane on each side and bordered by the ocean on one side. The asphalt was in good to perfect condition, the terrain was flat for the most part with some rolling hills. Perfect for a start of season ride. There was only one short section of the route, in Encinitas (I think), that did not have bike lane but as I mentioned in my earlier posts, drivers were respectful of cyclists. I could go about about this but here are some photos and video to give you a better idea.

This is not a shoulder; it is a bike lane, signs warn drivers not to stop there.

Heading South with the ocean right at your side

Del Mar

video
The bus is not as close at it appears!


I rode to Oceanside before turning around to head back south. As I started out, I noticed a bike shop, Pacific Coast Cycles, that had a Surley fixie with bring orange rims in the window. As I was taking a picture of it the owner stepped out and invited me in. It was quite a small shop about the size of Phat Moose. It had really old school gear, mainly steel framed bikes, fixies and SS. It carried Surley, Masi, LeMond and a few KHS 29ers. The owner owner told me he was also getting the Surley's Karate Monkey 29er. I chatted the owner up for bit. He was a really nice guy.

A few things I noticed about roadies in Southern Cal: a lot of people carried camel packs and roadies do say hi!, even when they were on the other side of the highway... unlike the posers we often come across in the Gats.

By the way, the following day I took Melissa out for a drive down the same highway and we came across the boys from Big Ring Racing. As you know, that team is based in San Diego.

Aaahhh, if only I could be there today...

Monday, March 3, 2008

African Adventure - Let the pictures do the talking


Well its been at least three weeks since I've returned from Africa and I've finally got around to doing this.

Please enjoy my pictures with commentary on Kari's & my recent trip to Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam

Let's go on a safari

The Orphanage

Misc Bike Shots

Kilimanjaro

Here is a video of me on the summit. Its noisy because of the wind and the only thing you can see is my headlamp.
Kilimanjaro Summit Video

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Epic Trainer Session #5

Week number five at the gym. This will be the last inside three hour trainer ride for the next two weeks. Hopefully once back from the road trip, and with cooperation with mother nature, we'll be on the road riding.

What do you mean your 'working'?!?!?
The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Dude, is that a hemroid or a chicken in your pants?
It's a poo-let
(French for 'chicken' = poulet)



Golonghardman chokes his petite poulet.

video

Three hours of this?! Sounds more like a curling bonspiel.

(my apologies for the strong Golonghardman content - as this has been his first and only trainer session this year with us, he needed to make up for lost photo space)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hitting the road in SD County

On Thursday after getting lost and driving around in circles, I finally made it to B&L Bikes and picked up my ride. I was a bit leary hitting the road because people here are really aggressive behind the wheel. Anyway, I decided I was going to ride around Mission Bay and surrounding communities and stick around the coast. I zigged and zagged around and enjoyed the views, stopping a couple of times for some pics.

One of the many great views in La Jolla (la hoya)

After a couple of hours I decided to head back. However, on my way back I saw this guy riding in the opposite direction; so I pulled a U-turn and chased him down to ask him where he was heading. He was going north on a long ride. With a couple of hours under my belt, I didn't want to slow him down. He suggested that I do the Mount Soledad climb - good climb, great views and fun ride back down, he said. He pointed me in the right direction and away I went.

still a long way to go...

It was a pretty long climb but a constant grade. There are three parts to this climb; the first part seen above is the longest (1.5 - 2kms), a middle part through a ritzy neighbourhood and a third short climb to the summit.

End of first climb



Views from the summit

The climb was well worth it, the views were spectacular. The ride down was a lot of fun! In the end, I ended up riding for just over 3 hours.

Oh, on more thing, my fear about the aggressive drivers turned out to be unfounded. Drivers are great, they respect your space, leave you plenty of room, very courteous... unlike those in Ottawa. I should also point out that a lot of the streets here have dedicated bike lanes.

Stay tuned for Friday's ride which was entirely spectacular!!