Monday, June 30, 2008
Results and pictures can be found here: LINK
Good luck with the rest of the race!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The team was comprised of Big Ringers Fritz, Zamboni and Papa G with guest riders Anna O'Brien (Tall Tree Cycles) and Leslie Greene (Chain Reaction).
Zamboni and Papa G arrived at Albion Hills Conservation Area on Friday to set camp at Chico's Fishing Hole along with BRR teammates Tobin (Coco) and Rick (Golonghardman), who were racing solo. The weather had been threatening all day and we feared the worst as rained started to trickle as we approach Albion Hills. However, things took a turn for the best. After we arrived and set-up camp and headed for a pre-ride of the race course, the grey sky turned blue and it turned out to be a beautiful evening. This was a weather pattern that repeated itself throughout the weekend, we didn't know what to make of the weather as it kept clouding over then clearing up.
I was next rider up after Fritz, it had stopped to rain by that time. When I was at the timing time waiting everyone was talking about the treacherous conditions. In preparation, I gave my chain a health dose of Progold lube and lowered the air pressure in my Kenda Small Block8s on the Mammasita. I tagged Fritz off and gave him a big pat on the back. I have to admit I headed out with some apprehension expecting the worst. However, while the course was very damp, it was not sloppy for the most part, the ground had absorbed a lot of the water. The Small Block 8s had no issues with the roots or rocks, they were fantastic! As a matter of fact, it turned out to be quite an enjoyable lap as a lot of folks had packed it in and there weren't many racers on the course.
After I came in from my lap, I checked the standing to find out that we still trailed the first place team but we had a 5-lap lead on the team behind us!! Basically, we had locked up 2nd place by 7am, all that we had to do was another lap (which Leslie was already on course doing). We continued the rotation until 10am at which time we realized we could not catch the first place team. Following some debate whether to continue, Leslie reminded us that the result doesn't matter, rather we should follow through until the end. She volunteered to go again and I decided I would follow her. There was one thing we could still achieve, that is the most laps by a BRR-mixed (formerly Machine Head Racing), the old record being 22 laps. I had the pleasure of doing the last and 23rd lap and it was a lot of fun!!
In the end, despite the bad weather, the team had a very successful race no mechanicals or flats, no injuries and Eload kept the BBR boys cramp free and of course, a podium finish. It was a great weekend of racing with some great teammates. Thanks everyone for making the Captain's job so easy!!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I led out for our team and had a wicked start from the second row. It was fast and furious up there but were soon into the singletrack where I should be able to hold my own. Not so much, I am really struggling to corner and not carrying any speed through the single track. Uh-oh, I am pretty sure my bike handling skills are at least average but I am struggling. I Keep thinking it'll come back, just relax. What the heck. Huh. This is messed up. What's going on? All this went quickly through my head as I searched for my absent left pedal, the crank fell off!!! Explains why I can't turn. Once I re-attach it I'm off and everything is better. I figure I have all my problems out of the way in the 1st lap and the rest of it will go nicely (foreshadowing).
Lap two is really good, I put in the fastest time of the weekend for the team and the legs feel good. We are in 7th place!
We decide to do double night laps and my turn rolls around at 11:00 PM. About 1/4 the way through I break my chain, no problem, I practiced this plenty in North Carolina. I'll just fix it with the chain tool I DON'T have, aww crap. Nobody wants to stop and lend me one so I head to a Marshal and cancel my lap, head back to the pits and put on a new chain. Because we are doing doubles nobody is ready to ride so I head out again pissed off at myself for losing 45 minutes.
The downpour started in the first 1/2 km, I was in no mental state for this. Everybody started crashing left right and center. I think I went down 5 or 6 times including 2 times on the double track. This is where I lost it, I talked myself out of continuing. I don't know why or how but by the end of the lap I was checked out, and I convinced the whole team to shut it down until daylight. Quitter. I have never had this happen before and I still can't figure out what happened.
the only good news is that when we shut it down the campsite quickly devolved into this:
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Chris Eatough - 6 time 24 hour World Champion and winner of the inaugural BC Bike RaceI know that we're not on the "World Race" radar for outstanding riders . . . . but come on, names like Curvy Butt, big ring, the Vegan Vagabond, Phat Tony, and Dr Peter M should be striking fear and a urgent sense of impending doom in the hearts of organizers and racers alike. Organizers will now have to stay up that much later waiting for us to cross the line each day and racers will have to put up with our belly-aching throughout.
- Team Trek, partner Jeff Schalk
Tinker Juarez - Current 24 hour World Champion and mountain bike legend
- Team Monavie-Cannondale, partner Mitchell Peterson
Seamus McGrath - Canadian Olympic Team Member 2004, Training for Beijing 2008
- Team Felt, Team Canada, partner Chris Shepherd - long time Canadian National Team Member
Max Plaxton - 2006 Bronze Medal World Championships Espoir, 2 time World Champion Relay, Pan American Champion Espoir
- Team Rocky Mountain Bikes, partner Andreas Hestler
They did seem to have left the following off their press release:
Curvy Butt (a.k.a. Kark) -Canadian Special Olympic Team Member (cross legged sitting marathoner - demonstration sport) 1996 - 99, 3 x Trans Ass Champion, 4 x Canadian Title Holder for the Curviest ButtI'm contacting the BC Bike Race organizers to ask them to up-date their press release.
- Team Big Ring Racing, partner the original big ring
big ring - most weight dropped in his winter spin class (2007 - 08), Winner of La Grumpy de los Arsehole (2004), mountain bike legend in his own mind
- Team Big Ring Racing, partner Curvy Butt
The Vegan Vagabon - 3 x Canadian National Vegan Cook-off champ, fastest big ringer to cross Canada 2007, sheer-er of fork dropouts
-Big Ring Racing featuring Fresh Air Experience and Joe Mamma, partner Kari "Iron Woman-I'll Kick-Your-Ass"
Kari "Iron Woman-I'll Kick-Your-Ass" - Iron Woman Arizona finisher 2008, likes to strike people with vengeful fists of fury while swimming in large, schools-of-fish-like situations
- Big Ring Racing featuring Fresh Air Experience and Joe Mamma, partner The Vegan Vagabond
Phat Tony - maker of many babies, 2x Putter-Upper Champion of Dr Peter M 2004 - 08, Tallest Member of Big Ring Racing
- Big Ring Racing Ripped Ninja Squad, partner Dr Peter M
Dr Peter M - Ottawa Champion Winter Commuter 2006-08, wearer of Spider Man pajamas, 3x Canadian Team Member of Scientists Suffering from Grandeur & Delusion (shhhh . . . . he thinks he's ripped)
- Big Ring Racing Ripped Ninja Squad, partner Phat Tony
Monday, June 23, 2008
I’ll let our Captain Gilles give a full team recap.
Having never ridden Albion Hill or in the Summer Solstice event before, here are some personal observations:
- The course was probably the best race layout I’ve ever ridden. Every lap had a perfect combination of singletrack, double track, and climbs. If you had only one of fitness or skill, this course was setup that you could still run competitive laps.
- The singletrack on the course was so much fun. It was relatively easy, yet had an amazingly high ratio of risk/reward. If you let the bike roll and trusted a couple of tight blind corners you could save lots of time, but at the same time some of it’s many subtle roots could knock you down in an instant.
- Gilles & Stef have the whole 24hr racing thing organized to perfection. The camp, its location, and the logistics were perfect. Transitions were seamless and each rider was scheduled to ride to their strengths. In a race where thousands of things can go wrong, these guys made it look EASY. For my ‘plug & play’ role this weekend, it made for a super positive experience. Thanks guys!
- Five rider team offers the perfect ride/rest ratio for me. My five hours of riding more than made up for the time/cost investment to get there, but still offered enough time to relax and socialize. The 24hrs just flew by!
- The Pirate plank was hilarious
- I’ve never seen a full suspended recumbent on singletrack before.
- Red Bull is stellar at delaying the onset of cramps.
- Our one female teammate Anna should become a night light model. I’ve never seen a rider wearing clunky night lights look so good. :-O
- Our Big Ring jerseys really stood out amongst an ocean of colorful racing jerseys. There was a lot of positive feedback from other riders.
- Team Big Ring is based out of Ottawa, but ironically I had the pleasure of meeting many of my team mates (John, Tobin, and Rick) for the first time in Toronto.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I just checked the weather for the past few hours down Bolton way and it looks like you guys got a little rain? That will make things interesting on the roots. It'll be good to keep all the dust down too.
Looking forward to hearing a race report early this week!
We started off at the trails around Simon Fraser University. I would soon find the theme of the day is to ride up a fire road then be rewarded with a long exciting down, much like riding the cross country trails at Fortune (except harder!). The climb at SFU was forgiving at first with some easy, rooty single track up the hill, but then finished with a steady climb up the gravel fire road. The reward was a not quite downhill style trail with big wide turns with a couple of drops and rocky sections thrown in. I think I rode this trail okay on my Moonracer, which wasn't really an ideal bike for the day to say the least.
After SFU, we headed over to the North Shore to some more downhilly riding which would put my XC race bike to the test. I was happy to see one other weight weenie (Rocky Element) during the day but most of my time was spent looking at bikes with twice the travel of mine and probably weight too. This caused me some trepidation to say the least.
We went to Mount Fromme which is the less popular mountain on the shore. Not for lack of fun riding, but because you had to ride up, not shuttle as the fire road was closed to vehicles.
Up the fire road we went until we reached Floppy Bunny. Now you're probably all initally thinking, oh that sounds so innocent...that's probably a good choice for Tanya. Not me. I was being a bit of a pessimist when I thought how usually the most innocent trail names are often the worst.
My fears were for naught though. Floppy bunny was fairly tame with ride arounds for all the jumps and drops. My little bike and I did just fine on this newly renovated (by the well organized NSMBA) super fun trail.
Time to climb back up. Next up is Bobsled. The name says it all. Swoopy and flowy trail at the top finished with some rickety-looking but stable bridges and ramps. Okay, I'm really starting to get into this.
After doing the two fairly tame trails, Cruddick decides I may be able to handle the trails at the top. This means a couple of things. We have to climb for a long way. And the trails are going to get harder.
Breaking all the rules of my taper (reduce volume, keep up the intensity), we slowly climb up to the top of the seven switch backs. I should be ending my ride now as we've already been riding for a couple of hours between the two locations but instead decide to make the ride an epic all day affair.
We reach the top after 45 minutes of climbing. Because Cruddick has an almost-appropriate North Shore bike (as a displaced east coaster, he bought a mini-big bike so he can use it for XC when he eventually goes back home), he's got 10 lbs on my steed so I offer to take it up about halfway up the climb. Wow! what a difference those pounds make and I'm even more impressed by his climbing ability as he does this all the time and at a fairly good pace.
We finally reach the top and start Seventh Secret (read the description of this link - first line: "This trail is not easy"). Cruddick suggests I'm going to do just fine but this is a black diamond on the North Shore and its downhill riding. Oh yeah, and I'm riding a wee bike. All this adds up to not so much riding. This is a beautiful trail with rock armouring and tight switch backs, big drops and lots of wood bridges and ramps. I walked more on this trail then I rode. But that's okay! It was neat to see what Shore riding is all about and to watch Cruddick do all the crazy jumps and drops with relative ease.
Fortunatly after Seventh Secret, the down is not done. Next up was Crinkum Crankum which was hard and I walked a lot here too. But then we hit a few trails which were labeled XC and I found my lost mojo and stayed more on my bike then not. We rode Floppy Bunny on the way down again which now seemed easy and my confidence was back. Last part of the down was appropriately named Natural High, which is designed to be show-case trail for North Shore riding. This well maintained trail was a great way to finish the day as there was lots of cool stunts and jumps for Cruddick with easier ride-arounds for me. What a great day of riding. Thanks Cruddick!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Thanks for the ride boys!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
So, as Mark mentioned, we took the two little Ringers along for their second tour. Melissa and Siobhan alternated in the motherly duties.
After a few clicks in the peloton, some of the boys, mainly Coco and Matt were getting impatient and decided to bolt the group, Rick joined them and I elected to stay. While they managed to stay ahead of the pack, they remained always within our sights. As we hit the dirt road leading to Perth road, the pack slowed considerably; those roadies are afraid of a little gravel! I decided to bolt knowing that we were only 5kms from our Perth pit stop. That was a lot of fun weaving and dodging riders, who were clearly not comfortable riding on dirt!
We arrived at Perth around 10:30 and Melissa, Shaylagh and the kids had a picnic ready for us. Following Mark and Siobhan's arrival. Melissa got her gear together to join Mark and I for the remainder of the ride to Kingston. Tobin, Matt and Mark went off on their own. You can read Mark's post for his account of that leg of the trip. Indeed, there were large groups of riders slumped in the shady patches along the route!
Sunday did not start our very well for me. I hardly slept the night before, only about 4hrs of sleep - too hot, bed not big enough, etc. I also woke up with a wicked sore back. When I finally made it down to breakfast, I grabbed a bag of ice and put down my back and swallowed (Hannah, if you are reading this, cover your eyes) a couple of Ibuprofens. After breakfast, Siobhan, who was riding the first leg, left before Mark and I. We hit the road at 8am. We rode out leisurely and hung out in a pack out of town. As we hit the first hill at the 401, Mark and I slalomed though just about everyone to the top and off we went with a tail wind at our backs. This could be good! My back? Didn't feel it. We picked up a few riders along the way and made it to you our rendez-vous point with Melissa in Westport 30 mins ahead of schedule! There, we met Matt, Tobin and Rick. No Siobhan??
We decided not to wait for our support crew and headed off to Perth with the three amigos. That part of the ride was a lot of fun, again we had a great tail wind. I lost the group for the last 40mins after Coco and Matt launched a suprised attack. Coco, having complained that he had "cement legs" and was not feeling well, launched a sneak attack. I got caught off guard and let them go. Although, I wasn't really worried, with the tail wind I could maintain 35km/h comfortably but I did hook up with a few riders. So, that was all good.
When we got to Perth, Siobhan was already there. She had made the trip, non stop in a blistering 2hrs45 - we will need to ask her for a urine sample!
Stats: Ride time 5hrs35, max temp 42c, avg temp 28c, calories 4521
So, if you are wondering how my shortage of long rides affected me; it didn't cardio wise but the lack of time in the saddle did affect my comfort. I had very sore shoulders and neck and numb hands which I never had before even during long distances.
I should also mention that the eLoad and Zone Caps worked well in those hot blistering conditions. I had one small cramping incident on Day 1. After popping a couple of additional Zone Caps, it took care of the problem. Great product!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
o.k. ..it's not so quick but that cause there's lots to cover!
First, going into it I wasn't really motivated for a long road ride. I'd only recently got the Brodie built up and am still in the process of final tweaks (more on that later) so have been really focused on sorting all that out, and coupled with the scheduled training transition from heavy miles with shorter hard efforts to almost exclusively hard, short intense efforts on the MTB, I was concerned that 12-14 hrs on the road bike was pulling valuble time away from the MTB training (that I'm quite worried about). ..anyway though, we'd paid, signed up, commited to it so off we went.
Siobhan had signed up intending to do the full there and back but having battle competing demands from work, home, Decko etc. didn't feel enthusiastic about riding the full distance so was only going to accompany me to Perth where Melissa who was in the same boat training wise and was driving the Kinderwagen to Perth would switch up places with Siobhan. That seemed a definite win-win for them as they both got to enjoy a manageable ride each day and spelled each other off on taking care of the bairns (with much help from Shayla).
Anyway, so back to the ride.
As mentioned, I wasn't really into it at first. I've ridden that route to Perth many times and it's o.k. but a bit boring. Flat, straight, no hills, and heading west you're virtually guaranteed a headwind. Which is what we got. In spades. I'm guessing 30km/h headwind at least which was relentless with no trees or cover of any kind until Ashton. Riding in a group mitigates much of the headwind however, I'm a MTB'r and Siobhan isn't a group rider either so we had some difficulty staying in draft for awhile. Basically we were on our own much of the time until Ashton where we really got the hang of group riding. That was a hard slog into the headwind which actually gave me a headache with the damn noise. I hate headwinds and would rather have a 30km sustained climb than a 15km headwind. I was actually pretty dark from Ottawa to Ashton thinking I should be out on the Brodie climbing hills in the shelter and shade instead of headdown into the roaring wind on a boring stretch of farmland road.
After Ashton however, the road starts to get a bit more interesting and Siobhan and I had better success hanging in with a friendly group for much of the way into Perth. In that group I met Riel (sp?) an accomplished adventure racer who was doing his 20th(!) RLCT. When I mentioned that I was meeting up with CoCo he became quite animated explaining that there was quite a rivalry between his team (phoenix) and Tobins teams in past years. He dished out some good trash talk for me to pass on to Coco but it was also obvious there was a lot of respect and admiration there. Another page in the "it's a small world" book!
So, we rolled into Perth to chow down. Refuelled in no big hurry with the kiddies doing their best to keep us from staying in one place and once refueling was complete Gilles & Melissa headed out towards Westport. They got a bit of a headstart on me as I wasnt' quite sorted yet, but figured I could hang onto a fastish group for long enough to reel in the 10 or 15 minute lead.
When I headed out I should have noticed that there weren't any other groups going out cause it was pretty barren out on Christie Lake road. Not too many riders out there, just ones and twos and all of them were taking it easy on account of the heat & headwind. I had a hard time keeping it above 24km/h for the first 10 or 15k but I likes me my heat and after about half an hour i'd started to see large groups of riders slumped in the shady patches along the route. The ones still on the road appeared for the most part to be suffering a bit from the heat and slowing down as a result. and. ..I love that shit. Damn, its perhaps a bit twisted but the more riders I saw slumped in the ditches with blotchy complexions the faster I got. I started cruising by folks easily at 28-30km/h for awhile then about 45min from Perth I caught up with Gilles and Melissa. They were just getting on with a group of runners "who just happen to bike" who apparently were quite happy with the size of their group as it was before we showed up.
..yeah, it was sorta like that..
anyway, I didn't care. I'd been working alone against the wind for the last 3/4 hr and was at that point thinking to myself that I'm only really halfway there so I'm going to recover a bit to be safe and if these clowns want me gone they'll have to drop me or drop off. So we hung with them for 10 or 15min until they had an 'issue' that forced them all to stop whereupon we continued without them..
It was around that time that my camel-esque desert furnace kicked in and the continued sight of large groups huddled into shady spots or small broken up groups sluggin along was too much. I felt so good I just took all their suffering and fed off it. the speed just kept going up until I was cruising around 34-36 on the flats (which there weren't many of) alone with a bit of head/cross wind and was powering happily up the climbs and easily overtaking riders. **
That section was more than worth the boring flat section into Ashton and the speed kept going up all the way to the Westport Esso. I stopped at the Esso to buy up some fluids and Gilles & Melissa and Paul rolled in only a couple minutes behind and we all hung out in the shade for a bit chatting and drinking. I'd had my little hammerfest so when it came time get going I stuck with them and we all cruised together to the next stop.
On a couple other RLCTs I'd noticed the folks that stop at one of two or three lakes for a quick cool down and thought
"gee, that looks like fun, but I wanna get this thing done and riding with a sopping wet diaper isn't too appealing"
but this time it was too hot, sunny and the lake was too beautifull to pass up. so we stopped and jumped in.
Best decision all weekend!! Unbelievably good way to cool off, and it really added a great experience to the trip. about 10-15 minutes later we were back on the bike and the whole sopping diaper thing wasn't even an issue. I'd forgotten that it was even wet 5 minutes later, so that is a definate do-over for next year. The rest of the trip went smoothly, our group broke up a little while later when we stopped for fresh squeezed lemonade and Melissa picked up Shayla who rode the last 20km with her. Gilles and I stayed together until Kingston where we got seperated at traffic lights but met up again at Queens. So there you have it. Saturdays ride 7hr 19min, 6100 calories, and 198km.
Sundays ride to follow. Police warnings, tailwinds and fast times.
** Yes, I know all the legitimately fast cats were already way off the front if not already sipping tea and admiring their matching aero shoe covers in Kingston but this was one chance where a shmoe like me gets to feel fast so I'm grabbin it and holdin on!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
When I heard last week that Giles was backing out of the Mt St. Marie training weekend I went through a range of emotions: shock, disbelief, sadness, anger . . . then relief. Cause that meant more juicy, smoky bacon for the rest of us. Whoot! If I could eat it everyday (without all the negative repercussions that go along with eating it) I would!
I weighed myself this morning . . . expecting to be lighter for the hard efforts I put in on the weekend. I went through the same range of emotions I had felt last week: shock, disbelief, sadness, anger . . . .the original big ring got a little bigger this past weekend. I'm sure it's in muscle mass in my legs, cause burgers make your muscles grow - at least that's what I am telling myself.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Day 2: 5,338 feet, 77.39 km, 3:29 actual ride time, 22.1 kph average speed, 63.9 kph max speed.
Lowest point of elevation was the corner right before the dam where the pickup and boat trailer almost ran over Tanya.