Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Feeling shunned and turned out into the cold, what's he going to do? Look for some other soul to fill the empty pit inside of him. Through his sniping, he has marked me - I have become that soul.
He underestimated me. He underestimated my power. He underestimated my resolve. What he has found is a fierce competitor. Yes, he may have (narrowly) won this battle, but will he win the war?
The saga has begun.
But we all know how it ends.
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is the third year I've done this race and it is one of my favourite events that I look forward to. I'd prefer a long looped course, but if you have to ride in circles, you may as well be doing it at Mansfield. I found this year's course especially fun and fast, perfect for single speed - super buff, fast, non-technical single track (typical of southern Ontario), only a few long'ish climbs, a couple short steep pitches thrown in that kept you honest and torquing on the pedals.
My race was pretty uneventful, started out too fast (as always), settled into my pace, tried to take in too many calories to try and compensate for any potential cramping/bonking issues that I might have, stomach went into digestive distress, managed to overcome a mental low during laps 6,7,8 to recover from feeling sick and wanting to toss in the towel, picked my game up, and got on with the rest of the race. I was lucky to hook up with a few fast riders out on course to help pace me along. One such rider was Richard, riding on a tag team with Dave for True North. He was running ss as well, pretty much the same gear, and slightly higher pace than my previous couple of laps (I was trying to recover from nearly shatting myself and an uneasy stomach). We rode an entire lap together. At the end of it (maybe my 7th or 8th lap) I felt revived and ready to get on with the rest of the race.
Eye of the tiger is dirty, dusty, sweaty.
The eye of the tiger wasn't enough. Smart racing was the answer. I give credit to Mark Summers and Jamie Davies for being faster riders than I am, but I give credit to Peter for being smarter (I'm sure Mark and Jamie are smart riders too).
I finished my twelfth lap riding it entirely with Jamie, who so happened to be on his thirteenth. I have no idea when or where he lapped me, cause I never saw him. We went through the timing area nearly at the same time (on my 12th) and saw that he was in first place. He looked like he was hurting, so I decided to stay with him and see what panned out. As we rode together my mind worked away and figured (wrongly) that I must have passed 2nd and 3rd spots along the way (while they pitted?) because on my 8th lap one of the race announcers said over the loudspeaker that I was in 4th. I knew my pace had picked up after my stomach settled, so in complete and obstructed optimism I figured I had moved into second place . . . . not realizing that Jamie was in fact one lap ahead of me, meaning 2nd and 3rd were behind him, out on course ahead of me . . . . follow?
Simply put . . . I was still in fourth. Fugg.
There were a few times in the first 5-7 km of the course as I followed the first place rider that I was feeling good and thought about passing - I knew he was suffering and I wasn't a threat to him, so he most likely wouldn't follow. I opted not, figuring this was my last lap, so I'd take it easy, coast across the line and capture second place.
What a chump.
I didn't think that I'd cross the line in time enough to get out for a final lap. I crossed at 5:50 pm. Cut off to go out for your last lap was at 6 pm, you had to be back in by 6:35 pm or your attempt at your last lap wouldn't count. This gave me 45 minutes to complete another lap . . . . . plenty'o time to do it considering my 12th lap was 40 minutes.
Here's how I wasn't smart: one, I didn't pay attention to my lap times. If I did, I would have known that I had enough time to go out and get one more lap in. Stoopid. Two, I didn't have anyone keeping an eye on the competition - if I did, I might know that Peter was only a minute or two ahead of me when I completed my last lap AND he was running consistently slower laps than I was (ouch! Did that hurt?!). Duuuuuumb. Three, I didn't pit and pick up a new bottle on my way to the finish, figuring I was done. Boneheadddddddd.
Hat's off to Peter though, even missing both nipples, he rode a strong race and beat me fair and square.
Nipples on the far right.
Mari and Jenny taking 3rd (riding ss in a geared division) in the female tag team. Way to go ladies.
The Vegan Vagabond and first place in the solo women's - very exciting race as 8 hrs of hammering came down to the last five minutes. Wicked.
Matt was flying, riding tag with Bill. This was a prep for Solstice for Matt, who rode ten strong and fast laps, then handed the baton over to Bill for the last three hours. As long as Matt keeps the stomach and head issues under control I am guessing that he'll have a podium shot for sure.
And me. Fourth and bitter.
Actually, I'm not bitter at all. I had an awesome race, met some pretty cool people, rode a great course, had a lot of fun, gained a lot of confidence and got dirty. Why do you race?
Turd place . . . I mean , in third place in my division was the Dark Lord of the Empire himself. Matt, my apologies to Molly.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
The head of the empire has burst my bubble this week at any hopes of doing well at the Opus Epic Spring 8 Hr this weekend. He's filled my head, and comment boxes, with messages that the single speed category is filled with faster, skinnier riders. He said nothing about better looking, so I am going to assume that I'll take first place for most handsome'st.
Note to self: buy yummy bread spreads the day of race.
My goal this year was to better my overall placing and number of laps. Last year I came in 8th/54 riders (there was no single speed solo category last year) with 13 laps. This year Chico's got a single speed category that sounds like it's going to be pretty competitive.
I'll go out, ride, have fun, talk to some friends on course, meet some new ones, and get through the day. Hydrating (one bottle a lap) and keeping the nutrition coming (peanut butter and chocolate hazlenut sandwiches will do nicely . . . . if I have enough left) will be key to keep'in the legs moving.
The eight hour race is short enough that you can't really let up on the gas, but long enough that you've got to pace yourself so that you don't flame out in a discombobulated mass of twitching muscle fibre.
Wish me luck - hugs and kisses.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Curvy Butt was out for a ride the other day in the Gats and didn't notice this little guy until he was about ten feet from him. I'm not sure what's more difficult to believe: that Mark got this close to a bear or that he was actually out for a ride?!?! Bawhahahahahah . . . couldn't resist that dig.
Reminds me of two years ago doing a long mtn bike ride with Rick and we saw five bears in about six hours. Lots of bears up in the park.
Did you know that Winnie-the-Pooh's name comes from the Canadian city Winnipeg? True.
Pooh stuck in rabbit's hole.
That just cracks me up.
Pooh . . . . rabbit's hole . . . . . funny.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I said that I was not going to buy peanut butter anymore.
I did. I also bought the peanut butter a little friend. Have you ever tried the two together on some bread or toast? 'Delightful' does not describe it justly.
For what it's worth, I bought the two 'most delicious spreads in the world' for my 8 hr race this weekend. A few small sandwiches throughout the day should help keep up my energy to place somewhere in the middle of the field. Lofty goals friends, lofty goals indeed.
Since I am going to be racing unsupported I need to have all my bottles ready on the spot. I've got lots of bottles, but not enough to get me through 13 - 14 laps, so Curvy Butt was kind enough to lend me a few. I especially liked the ones that had mold growing in them. Chunky black bits should have some sort of protein or carbs in them, right?
I dug out the arnica cream that I took out to BC last summer to rub into my sore muscles that were caused by Sunday's race. It's a homeopathic remedy for sore muscles, bruising and pain relief. I'm not into the whole artsy, fartsy homeopathic - hippy - free love - voo doo - scene, but I will say that I notice a difference when I use it. Anything to get me recovered for this weekend. But to be honest, I think I'm pretty fugged from overtraining and hurt from the weekend. Who knows? Maybe I'll bounce back . . . . if not I've got a standing invite to ride the "Attack Spak" train from Peter.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It was also a day to recover.
My next door neighbour's kids had a bake sale with all the profits they made going to the Canadian Cancer Society. I'm all for the fight against cancer.
Legs were angry with me, so I took them for an easy spin around Ottawa to
shake out the crap in them from yesterday's race.
- bike path through experimental farm
- boat on the Rideau Canal - check out the name . . . .
. . . . and I thought that he was the only Ottawa "queen"
- view down the Rideau Canal
Fisticuff for Prime Minister
- our parliament buildings
- tea with the ladies
- view of the Ottawa River from behind the parliament buildings
- parliamentary library
Monday, May 18, 2009
After visiting with my little family in Bobcaygeon (yes, it's a place and not just a Hip song), the Vegan Vagabond and I made our way to Matt's place to crash for the night. He lives about 15-20 minutes from the race venue.
Matt's dog Molly kept Tanya warm at night with her fur and farts.
The forecast called for three degrees, a snow and rain mix, and high winds. We were lucky to wake up with a clear sky. It was still cold as f*ck and really windy, but much better than being wet.
On the way to the race we stopped so that I could accost a moose. Check out the sign below . . . I was gentle and I think Wauby actually liked the colon massage.
After getting registered, kitted up and ready to race, the Vegan Vagabond and I headed out for a warm up on the trails at Horseshoe Valley Cross Country Centre. We were surprised to find dry trails. The area had a bunch of rain the day or so before, but we saw very little evidence of mud. We got a good warm up and headed back to the start line in time for the 10 am start. While back in the start line up Tanya had a toilet paper related mishap (clicky clicky for the read) that nearly prevented me from racing because it was so funny. After standing around for a few minutes waiting for the start, we found out that our warm up had been in vain. The race director informed us that we had a 20-25 delay due to a tree being down on course and a couple of horseback riders on the trail. In the cross country ski chalet we went to keep warm.
I noticed a handful of single speeders, all but one other than me were doing the half marathon course (23.5 km). So I was racing one other guy. He was a skinny dude and looked fast and he was ahead on me on the line. He was also running a higher gear than me, so I knew it was going to be tough to stay within contact on the flats.
Finally we were away. The first 11-15 km were relatively flat double track sections mixed with a few twisty fun single track sections. I found this a difficult section due to my gear choice. With the shortening of the course due to the climbing and all the reports I heard about the amount of climbing I chose to run a 34 x 22. I was spinning the legs out between 100-110 rpm on the flats, while all the geared riders were blowing past me. Skinny single speeder was no where to be seen, he wasn't behind me, so I was going to have to chase. After the first feed zone (11.5 km) the hills started to come and didn't seem to cease until about the 30 km mark.
Once into the hills I started reeling riders back in. The hills started out as double track climbs, some short and steep, others slightly long'ish and drawn out. Gradually we were led into almost entirely all single track. The single track was some of the nicest I've ridden in Ontario - swoopy, fast, buff single track. From the reports we heard, it was described as a technical course - I love technically challenging trail. I didn't find it very technical, except from a few of the tighter, rootier-rocky downs. From a single speed stand point, the biggest technical challenge was making the steep, switch back climbs. If you weren't going up, you were going down and you'd better be on the gas to make the next climb. Keeping your momentum up is everything in single speeding.
From 12 - 16 km I got caught behind a couple of geared riders who I just couldn't seem to pass - once on a climb I'd be on there arses as they slowly spun up, forcing me to struggle up the steep climbs with no place pass, once at the top I'd be in recovery and they'd be away. Next hill, it'd be the same thing. During this time I saw the skinny ss'er up ahead and felt better. A few minutes later I passed him while he was on the side of the trail fiddling with his rear brake. I slowed to see if he was okay and if he needed anything - he was okay and said he was having trouble with his wheel dragging.
Once I passed him I wanted to put as much distance between him and I, so on a down I managed to pass my two guys who were slowing me down on the climbs and I was gone. My push didn't last too long as I dropped my chain (which I have no clue how it happened) - had to stop, f*ck with it and get the wheel tensioned back up. In that time, my two slow pokes passed me. I caught them quickly and soon had an opportunity to pass as the first guy took a slight wrong turn and was able to sneak past them as they got themselves turned around and sorted out.
Once away from them I spent the race in relative alone'ness - just me, the trail and the thought of the skinny ss'er coming up behind me at any moment. This kept me pushing. Speaking of pushing, there were plenty of opportunities to push the bike yesterday. Some of the climbs sucked the life out of me, some were just too steep to torque up. I was probably off the bike eight or nine times walking. I didn't mind as it was probably just as fast and saved energy. Towards the end of the race I was starting to cramp up, so the walking sections hurt. I was never to the point of full cramp lock-ups and was able to spin them out. Having to ration water between feed zones didn't help. I didn't eat enough either. It was a tough course to find places to eat and drink. I have to say that this was the most difficult race that I've done to date on the single speed - to me it was brutally tough and I am happy to have finished.
Was happy to see the last feed zone and cruise the last 12 or so kilometres passing a handful of people to the finish. By the end I was spent, totally wrecked and ruined from the effort. Hopefully I'll be fully recovered for next week's 8 hr.
All alone on the podium!? Bigfoot took second and alien third.
Don't know what happened to the skinny ss'er out there with me. DNF'd? It's a crappy way to take first . . . . no competition. I'll take it and it'll look good in the results, but still - kind of cheap. I did get a Sigma cycling computer for my efforts.
56.5 km total distance traveled
3900 ft of ascent
(reports had it as 7600 ft of climbing, but I believe that was elevation gain and loss - a guy at the finish had recorded only ascent on his GPS from start to finish, which sounds more accurate)
3:50 min. (I think)
1st place single speed
Tanya took first with a kick ass ride.
She had competition in her division, unfortunately my shot was completely blurry so I poached this from Matt's. She scored some dough and a Giro helmet.
Matt took third in his division and was like eight or ninth overall.
Hanging out after the race I felt better about my suffering out there when I heard that the skinny fast guys were into their granny rings.
Dan,at Substance Projects, did an excellent job putting on this first race. I was impressed with the organization, use of volunteers, race course, trail marking and grassroots feel of this event. I'll be back to do as many of them as I can.
Who farted? No one wanted to admit it.
On the drive home we were both completely shattered, silly and hungry. I felt more wiped out from this than I do from an 8 hr. All the food stops helped.
Next stop: Opus Epic Spring 8 Hr
Saturday, May 16, 2009
This first race takes place at Horseshoe Valley, which is a ski resort north of Toronto. The races in this series were advertised as 70km loops. This particular race was cut back to aprox. 60km due to all the climbing. I've never ridden here and only have read a handful of reports. If there is as much climbing as rumored, then my regular 32 x 18 might be a wee bit steep for climbing ski hills. I'm limited in my possible cog range and left it too late in the week to get once that I figured would work best. So, I'm stuck riding 34 x 22. This will be very much under-geared on the flats and downs, but my legs will probably be happy with it on the climbs.
More on Substance Projects . . . .
substance projects fuses founder Dan Marshall’s passions for mountain bike racing, well-organized biking events and charitable work.
“I was looking for a new challenge, a different kind of event,”
He created substance projects to provide racers with the opportunity to experience a new kind of event while making a difference in the community.
“Each substance project will depend on the community and give back to the community.
“The cycling community creates the experience – at the start line, on the trail, during the awards ceremony.
Participants give back to the community by donating to food banks and supporting IMBA through their registration fee,” Marshall continues.
Marshall has been a pro mountain bike racer for over 10 years and has coached and trained other racers for eight years. Marshall’s recent biking efforts have taken him on several endurance cycling events including overseas trips to Australia, New Zealand, and Belize.
In 1997 he founded and ran the University of Toronto and Ontario University series – events that set new standards for racers and events organizers of collegiate mountain bike events.
In addition, he has volunteered at and worked for several charities, assisting people with disabilities and campaigning for fair-trade production and environmental responsibility.
Marshall wants you to take the substance challenge: experience substance projects that will get you moving, take you down new trails and help you make a difference in the community.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The ride was exactly what I was looking for - something punishing, something to strive to get faster for, some good folks with no attitude or egos to ride with and a fun time. I surprised myself by being able to stay near the front as we climbed Pinks. Every time I looked down we were averaging around 21km/hr. I thought for sure I'd be shot out the back, but by the time we got to the top I had hung on and not lost my position. I guess my fragile ego must have dug deep to find some great courage to dance on the pedals long enough to stay in the group (how's that for a Paul Sherwin commentary?!). However, as soon as it flattened out, the pace stayed high enough that I had a hard time staying on as I tried to recover. The group basically held together until the Fortune climb.
Felt like someone ripped off both my legs and beat me with them.
I must have blown my load in my effort up Pinks 'cause I had nothing on Fortune. By the gate to the Fortune Parkway near P10 I was off the back and basically rode to the top alone with the only goal in mind was to keep them within eye sight. I was almost successful. The guys were kind enough to wait at the top near Lac Fortune for me - seemed it took me so long that they were able to set up a card table and got through a game of Crazy 8's while waiting. The ride up to Champlain was good, as it's a gradual climb and the pace wasn't too bad.
Of all the places to fall off and totally lose contact was on a down. A small gap opened between me and the last guy and before long it was huge and I couldn't gap it. What I'm learning about riding in a group of roadies who know what they're doing is that you have to pay attention, stay on the wheel in front of you and anticipate any change in pace. If you don't, you're spit out the back. As difficult as it is trying to keep up to guys a calibre or two higher than I am, it was a lot of fun.
Speaking of the Tall Tree guys . . . .
The Tall Tree crew is planning a dam ride. Unfortunately I cannot make it. Dam it. It's going to be a dam good ride. Check it out.
- My Eyes! They burn! Yesterday morning, while reading my morning blogs and trying to enjoy a bowl of granola and coffee, something disturbing made me I throw up a little. No, it wasn't because it was his fourth day in a row of reporting on the DSG race (is three laps really worthy of four days of blogging?) Click on over to Dicky's blog, cause he has given a whole new meaning to the word Fjear. I know that most of you continue to come to my blog in hopes of a new Naked Gear Review(can I help it if I'm eye candy? And, yes, I am working on a couple of reviews). After visiting Bad Idea Racing you won't want to go back. Leave taking off your clothing to the pro's Dicky.
- The Goat is Back My favourite person and riding buddy, formly from North Carolina, Jeremy is back in the blog-o-sphere with adventures from Colorado. Great to see him on his bike again. Clicky clicky.
- Giro - If you're like me, you hope that if you watch fast guys on bikes that somehow you'll be fast too. Interested in watching the Giro d'Italia and can't find it on TV? Rodd put me onto Universal Sports. Bagged from the beating I took at the ride last night, I fell asleep while I watched stage five last night.
- Cycling Tips - since I'm a roadie now (does doing one loop of the park with guys who road race make me a roadie? I'm still not going to shave my legs though) I can share with you the place where I get all my cycling tips that make me so fast.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday night fun socks - Aloha!
The Vegan Vagabond went down boom and got a boo-boo. Ouch.
She also got lost. Yes, lost. How long have you been riding in Kanata?!?
And to make matters worse, she just completed a long course to become a search and rescue volunteer.
Aiyyyyeeee yeeeeeee! I hope I never get lost and the call her!
Met up with Dave and his buddies while on Outback. The last I saw of Dave was Sunday at the race while he was supporting Eva who raced in the female single speed race. Dave's got a cool blog (clicky clicky).
The old man was out tearing it up.
The forest has eyes . . . . and hooves, and ears and cute white tails.
Is that a scary thought?
I'm not saying that I've got a beautiful mind. Have you seen the movie? I'm just saying I relate to the voices going on in Russel Crowes character's mind.
I've got this cycling-related-voice in my head that likes to visit me sometimes, especially so in the past when I raced O-cups. It was a voice that reminded me constantly that I had a race coming up and that I sucked ass. It would tell me things that made me question my ability, it would me make me lose sleep a night or two before an event worrying about it, I'd have a tough time getting any food into me before a race, I'd get so nervous prior to the start of a race that I'd be at the point of almost throwing up anything I had managed to eat. If I had a good race it'd find fault with it, if I had a bad race it'd beat me up for a week and tell me to never riding a bike again.
Needless to say I didn't enjoy my experiences racing O-Cups a few years ago and stopped doing it. It was a self-inflicted thing. I was racing for all the wrong reasons and none of the right ones.
The voice is there, but it's a lot quieter the past couple years. Three seasons ago I decided to try racing again, but this time I was only going to do it for fun.
How do I know the voice has pretty much left me? I haven't been nervous on the line for a race this year. I also don't lose sleep worrying about them. I look forward to a race, traveling to the race, the excitement and adventure of the race, the people I'm going to meet there, the new trails I'll ride, seeing if I've improved or gotten faster, and seeing how much fun I can have. All the right reasons.
I had a long drive home back to Ottawa Sunday evening with lots of time to think and feel how disappointed I am at myself and my effort (or lack there of) in the race on Sunday. I don't care who you are or what you say, coming in second last in a race would make you feel a bit down too. So, an old friend came to visit.
Burn down the city! Burn it all down!?
Okay, you're the boss.
The voice was my little leprechaun friend from the past - Irish accent and all. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care what people thought about how I did. There's a little part of me (which sometimes makes a lot of noise in my head) that worries about how I look. Say what you like. I could give a rat's ass about what people think of me as a person, as an employee, a family member, husband, father, what I look like or how I act . . . . I'm comfortable, happy and have accepted myself a long time ago - flaws and good points. If you don't like me, go pound rocks - I don't care.
But when it comes to the bike, I've got this gwalky teenage attention seeking, "won't the cool kids accept me" kind of personality. It rears it's ugly head in me from time to time (seemingly at times when I’ll be tested, i.e. races) making me question myself and my ability and can take away the fun of just riding. I didn't notice it before, during or immediately after the race - I had fun. But it was this personality sitting next to me in the passenger seat all the way home Sunday and it wouldn't shut up.
Caring too much about what others think comes from the phenomenon called social approval. Social approval is the need to be validated by other people. Let's face it, we all want the respect from our peers. But at what price? Do we allow it to rob us of the enjoyment of the experience? Do we let it control us?
After my race experiences from a few years ago I had to be taught to focus on what's important, and not focusing too much on the fear of failure. I needed to ask myself, “Do you compete for yourself *or* do you compete to gain respect or approval of people around you?”
I knew the answer then, and that's why I stopped racing. The answer today is entirely different, and that's why I choose to keep on racing whether I come in 3rd place (yeah baby!) or second last (booooooo!).
Woody Allen says, "If you're not failing, you're not trying anything."
Didn't Woody Allen have some sort of weird sexual relationship with his step-daughter?
Great guy to take advice from.
*in an attempt not to be outdone by Dicky and the number of blog posts that one person can do based on a single cycling event, I'll be posting about this O-cup for the next nine days.