Friday, June 29, 2007

Last photos

Here are a few photos that were sent to me from friends at the race.
Ouuta my way.

The "Man With the Hammer"

Making it all look easy.

3:30am nap

Mark prior to his blistering lap.

Dazed and confused

Crash face.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Solstice Wrap Up

*Sorry for the delay. School year has come to a close and it's been busy as heck.

Once the 'door' was shut, I did everything inside to keep it shut - basically just getting back on the bike, lap after lap after lap and kept pedaling. I can't thank the support that I got from Chris, Matt's mom and auntie (Doris & Ruth), Jenn and all the boys in the Fishing Hole to keep going.

My night laps went by without incident. I was doing back to back laps, then coming in for a break - food, change of clothing, and a quick nap. The decision to stay out of the tent was the best one I may have made. I kept warm by the fire on the cot with sleeping bags and blankets while I ate and rested. Hot soup, watermelon, coke and a few cheese crunchits woud sustain my energy level for the rest of the race.

The worst part of the night ride was the amount of dust hanging in the air. Riding with a HID made you feel like you were riding in fog. Before long day was starting to break off in the distance over the trees. This was a bit of a pick-me-up. The end was in sight.

Before I knew it, I was starting my fifteenth lap, I passed through the timing tent and asked what time the cut off was. I was ready for this to be my last lap. At the same time what I found out was that I was in ninth place. My spirits lifted and I was pumped. Right then and there I knew that I was going to go for sixteen laps - I wanted 9th place.

What helped me decide to push through and do another lap was my experience at the Mansfield 8 Hr race back in May. Towards the end of that race, I was contemplating finishing up my ride even though I had time to make the cut-off. Why bother going out for another lap, I had a good race. What made me go back out then was training . . . . mental training. I thought that if I couldn't go on and ride until the very finish in an 8 hr, how was I going to make it through a 24 hr race? So I pushed on, got one more lap in. It made a huge difference in my standing - I made a top ten finish. The biggest thing though was it gave me confidence that I could go on, not give up and push through. Whoever said that it's 90% mental and 10% physical was right.

That experience helped me decide to go back out for a sixteenth lap. I wanted another top ten finish and to beat my original goal of 15 laps. So that's what I did. I had plenty of time to make the cut off, so I just cruised. I was riding the first quarter of the lap thinking about my entire race, thankful for not having any major mechanicals or problems with the bike . . . . and the next thing I know I flatted. Got a stick tangled up in my rear wheel and the value got sheered off. I panicked a bit, but managed to get the tire changed quickly and off I went.

I got a bit emotional coming across the finish. It was a long, hard race and I was so thankful for being able to conquer the demons that haunted me at the start. I captured 9th out of 30 solo riders in my age division. Sixteen laps equaled aprox. 280km of riding in a 24hr period.

I had a few goals for this race - the first was to ride the entire race, especially through the night (last year I had lighting issues which kept me out of 3.5 hrs of the race), the second was to get at least 15 laps, and third was to place in the top ten. Mission accomplished. This race, thus far in my limited racing career, has been my biggest accomplishment and I am most proud of it.

Next 24 hour solo in August.

*I've received a bunch of photos via e-mail from friends who took shots during the race. I'll try and post them up later today/tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

24 Hrs of Summer Solstice

At times, I can be a pessimist . . . anyone who knows me, knows this. So it wasn’t surprising that my frame of mind the leading up to the Summer Solstice was one of panic, gloom and despair. I was feeling sick and thought the worse. However, my health prevailed, turned a corner and I recovered. I owe a lot of it to resting, drinking liters of juice, taking Cold Fx and echinacea. Saturday morning I could still feel my swollen glands, but my energy seemed to be back. Turned out that Gilles and Mark, who I did part of Rideau Lakes with last weekend, also felt ill.

I love the atmosphere of 24 Hr races. Everyone is having fun, joking around, but pumped to ride their best. I shared a site with Rick & Matt, who were tag teaming, and we got our pit are set up Friday afternoon. The rest of the evening was spent on last minute preparation, eating and relaxing.

Saturday morning was pretty uneventful, with the regular race preparation-taking place by everyone in Chico’s Fishing Hole. A large Ottawa representation was there, as always. I made the mistake of waiting around for Rick to go line up at the start. We ended up standing in line about three quarters the way back from the start – the furthest back that I’ve ever started a race. The start of the largest 24 hour race in North America.

As a result, after the gun went off and we started moving, I stood in line at the numerous bottlenecks leading into the first three or four single-track sections. Out of the starting gate.Up, up , up.Coming into the pit area.
I felt very discouraged by this and ended up going pretty hard on my first lap once I had room to move. I remember picking up the pace on my second as well, trying to make up the time that I had lost on the starting lap.

A door opened inside of me and I met “The Man with the Hammer” – pain, misery, and a general hate-on for mountain biking. I can't explain what happened or why I felt that way. Was I not over whatever bug that I had? Did I go out too hard? I rode my first three laps thinking that I would settle into the race and start feeling better. All throughout my fourth lap I thought of excuses that I could use to give up and quit. I hoped for a race ending mechanical or injury. I even considered poking myself in the eye with a stick. Anything to stop. It was by far the worse I felt on a bike.

Somebody, please, shoot me.

At the end of my 5th I was ready to quit. I came into the pit, threw down the bike, had a temper tantrum and lay in the tent. Chris, Jenn, Rick, Doris & Ruth and everyone around who saw me like this did everything they could to get me out there again. I had a bite to eat and, grudgingly, went back out. About a quarter of the way through my sixth lap I passed Chris, who was watching me from a spectators spot, and yelled to her to pack the car, that this was my last lap. I was convinced I wanted nothing more to do with riding a bike, let alone this race.

Something happened to me shortly after I made that comment to Chris and I haven’t told anyone until now. I was on this steep’ish climb, standing, grunting through it and for some reason remembered an article on mental toughness I read in a mtn bike magazine a while back. The guy who wrote it said, “Envision your mind being the driver of a chariot, and your body is the horse. Command your body to obey and drive through” or something to that effect. Corny and silly as it sounds, it was a turning point for me in the race. I accepted it that this was going to hurt (how’s a 24 hr solo effort not going to hurt?!) and got on with it. Even if you are in top notched shape, it's still going hurt. As Greg Lemond once said, "It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster."

I came into the pit at the end of that lap and had some hot soup, watermelon and water. It helped lift my spirit and moral more. I got back out and started to ride, and most importantly, started enjoying it. I closed the door on “The Man with the Hammer”.

More tomorrow . . . . cheers.

Sank you, sank you, sank you

I'm going to get to a full race report, pictures (here are some), some taunting and teasing, photoshop fun, etc. But first I have to say thank you . . . .

My pit captain, biggest fan and supporter . . .
Chris, I couldn't have done it without her. In the darkest, gloomiest parts of the race she talked me through it and kept me going. Thank you, thank you, thank you Chrissie - you're the bestest!

Thanks so much to Matt & Jenn's mom,
Doris, and auntie, Ruth - always awake and in the pit helping keeping us warm, fed and encouraged. Thank you!

The guys who helped with the bike maintenance.
Tobin and Lenny, I know you guys helped out more than once - so much appreciated! Thank you!

Thanks to everyone in the Fishing Hole who cheered, checked in, gave me a kick in the arse, and made me laugh. Mark, Gilles, Step, Chantal, Collin, Pierre, Al, Rick, Matt, Jen, Joey, Steve, Marc. Please forgive if I have left anyone out - my memory is a bit scrambled this morning.

Thanks Jenn for helping massage the cramps out of my quads at three in the morning - couldn't have gotten off that cot if you weren't there.

Thanks to the boys at Tall Tree Cycles for lending me the pop-up and helping me get the bike ready to race. Thanks to my sponsors: Kenda, Wingnutgear, OmegaWhey, Progold Ubricants, Zeal Optics, and Crank Brothers.

I had the best support crew and extended support crew. Everything went smoothly and I couldn't have asked for better. Thanks again everyone! This if for you:
24 Hrs of Nippily Protection.

More to come . . . . Cheers!

Bounced Back

Hold your horses . . . .give me a second . . . .I'll post some news (and pictures) in a little bit. I'm moving slowly this morning. Let me get some coffee into me . . . mmmmmm, coffee.

Got back late last night, I'm off work today (suckas!) . . . . so you can figure that I raced.

I managed to bounce back from the early onset of a cold, flu, chicken pox, malaria, typhoid fever, the plague, bird flue, west nile virus, cooties, heebie jeebies or whatever it was that was making me feel like crap.

**MOM, got your message:
David had the chicken pox, I had the mumps & measels. I never had the chicken pox. I hope I don't get them! **

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Quick update . . . . I feel like crap. Physically feel worse. Mentally I'm on a downward spiral into depression as I watch nearly six months of training, time, money, hopes, aspirations, motivation swirl down the tube.

I've lost count at how many times I've wished and prayed this away. "Please make me well, let me get through this race, then you can strike me down with whatever viral illness you like, but please let me do this race."

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Training down the drain???????

Woke up this morning with my right gland, on my neck - near my jaw swollen and sore. I tried to tell myself all day that it wasn't happening and I could "will" it away. No such luck. Ear is aching, throat is getting sore when I swallow and am feeling achy.

I'm taking tomorrow off work to rest. I've been drinking soup and juice since I got home. I'm hoping to flush this out of my system and hopefully recover enough to race on Saturday. I'm taking echinacea, vitamin C tablets, and Cold FX . . . . anything to beat this.

What's worse is I've never had the chicken pox before and we just had a small break out of them at school a couple of weeks ago (14-21 incubation period) - I might be due!

I feel so down right now . . . . nearly six months of training . . . what are the chances and dumb luck . . . . will all my hard work go down the drain?

Monday, June 18, 2007


Last year I used my ipod during the night laps. It gets pretty lonely out there, it's dark, a bit cooler, you're on your own and you need to stay focused and awake.

Got any music suggestions for me? I'm loading my shuffle up for the 24 hr race and am looking for your help. What would you listen to?

Please nothing s-l-o-w and lovey-dovey. Fast, good beat . . . . from Iron Maiden to Moby. Anything (except country!) to keep my head in the game.

Love my nipples

Do you know what this is?
It's about the size of a quarter.
This little foam, sticky cover is going to keep me comfortable during the race this weekend.
Yes, I suffer from painful nipple abrasions.

Go ahead and laugh, my nipples won't be chafed this year during Solstice. Last year they bled from my shirt constantly rubbing them. It was all that I could think about towards the end of the race, "Man, my nipples hurt!"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rideau Lakes

Just got back from the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour. Great weekend away - a little riding, a little driving, a little babysitting, a lot of eating, a little swimming, a little supporting.Chris & Deckie in the park
Pace line

Mark, Siobhan & Melisa Gilles & Me

Melisa and Gilles finished up in Kingston
One salty dog
I can't tell the difference, can you tell the difference?

One ugly foot

Friday, June 15, 2007

Race Support - anyone??

My nephew and his girlfriend (Hi Mike and Allison) were supposed to come and help do pit support with Chris next weekend at Solstice, but have unfortunately had to back out. No worries guys. I've been trying to find someone else to help out. Chris did it last year, but has a hard time staying awake at night, let along kicking my ass to keep going.

I need someone who won't let me quit if things go wrong or I'm fading. You up for the task? All expenses paid! Give me a shout if you want to do it.


This week and the next are so flipp'in busy for me on all fronts.


  1. end of the school year, report cards to write, staff meetings and parties to go to, end of year wrap up, break down the classroom, etc. Freak'in nuts. I'm not complaining (cause I've got two months off suckas!), it's just a lot of work.
  2. Summer Solstice race to plan. This takes a good two weeks to get ready for: buy all my shit, sort out logistics, pack, get the bikes ready, prep lights, sort my food/nutrition out, etc. I write lists, and re-write them. So much to do. If I over look one thing, could mean the difference between DNF'ing and finishing.
  3. Chris and I are running support for Mark, Siobhan, Gilles and Melissa this weekend as they do the Rideau Lakes Tour . Not really support, more like babysitting . . . well, yeah, actually babysitting their kids. BUT, I get to race, I mean drive responsibly, Gilles new German, fancy shmancy car! I may even jump out and ride with them for a few km or so.
  4. got to fit some riding in. Can't let myself tighten up and I don't do well if I'm not riding(I got two months off work suckas!)
  5. planning our trip out east. Found an 8 hr race in Nova Scotia which I'm trying to work the lostics out so that I can do it. I'm on holiday, so anyone want to do it tag team? Joey, you going to be out east this summer? (oh yeah, I'm off all summer too . . . suckas!)
  6. got a list as long as my arm of stuff to do around the house: put in flagstone path, paint our hallway once Rick finishes the bathroom (eechem. cough. cough.), fix our patchy lawn, put up a pergolla and hammock, etc. (but I have all summer to do this as I am not working . . . suckas!)

Busy, busy (suckas!)

Busy, busy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wheelie Dealie

Hope Pro II hubs en rouge
Picked up my wheels tonight. Real puuurdy! Thanks Will and Thom.

PpSsssssssssssssssss . . . . .

That's the sound I heard as I was 1/4 of the way through my second lap. Thought it was the guy in front of me . . . . I hoped it was the guy in front of me. Took the risk of not carrying any tools, tube, levers or a pump - it was a short race, why bother. I got burned. You race and you learn. It's only the second time that I've DNF'd in a race.

Arrived at Fortune to register. I thought most all of the guys in my ability level were riding in "Expert", so that's what I registered to race in. Turns out most were racing in "Sport". Kind of funny, I actually laughed. It worked out better, "sport" were only doing two laps, "experts" were racing three. Fast, fast group of guys. The experts and elites started together. Rounded the bend on the first climb and most of the field was gone! Poof! Fast!

The whole first lap I was sucking wind just trying to keep up. As I started my second, passing through the start/finish gates, I started to recover and get into a groove. Got up the climb, bombed through some double track, down the hill, across the bridge and pipe - caught a heap of air, started the long gradual climb up the road and . . . . . .Pssssssssssssss . . . . flat.

Lots of friendly faces out there last night - a real good turn out and atmosphere. Met some new friends. Met Steve (or Stephen? sorry if I got it mixed up!) last night in the parking lot before the race. Got to talking and turns out it was his first race ever! Way to go Steve! Hope you're hooked.
Way to go Steve!
Anthony (947)

Joe & Mike @ were at the hill taking photos. Good job guys. I hope you don't mind me poaching these to share. You can see more at their website and over on
** edit: my apologies to anyone who's picture that I did not get up and posted. So many faces to remember from the race. Let me know if I missed you and I can post it up. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Racey racey

Got my first Sunset Series race tomorrow night at Fortune. Missed the first one due to some plumbing issues that our washing machine surprised us with. I'm looking forward to it, it should be a lot of fun. Going to know tonnes of people racing, so will be a hoot to see everyone out.

This is strictly a training ride for me - intervals (one big one) so-to-speak. I'm surprised that my legs still feel a bit shagged from the weekends effort. I even did a recovery ride yesterday!! What's up with that? I thought that that was supposed to make everything better!?!

I typically don't do well in the short events, takes me a long time to warm up. To top it off, it's going to be a scorcher with high humidity tomorrow - I hate the heat and humidity. Are these excuses for tomorrow? Better believe it! Tune in tomorrow for all the reasons why I didn't do well.

Still don't have my wheels for the 29'er yet, and I'm still using the shop's. Hope someone is reading and they can get them ready for me real soon. Really looking forward to getting them, to break them in a bit and work out all the bugs before Solstice (less than two weeks away!). A 24 hr race is no time to be trying out new equipment.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Recovery & baths

My legs didn't like the commute home this afternoon. Would have been good if I could have just spun the legs out, but 44:15 gear ratio isn't about spinning.

I did drink lots of water today, ate a little extra protein, had a real good stretch, and went for a real easy road ride tonight - spin, spin, spin . . . . easy, easy, easy. Ain't it difficult to go slow?

I've been trying real hard to work on my recovery. Last week I even attempted a cold bath - supposed to be good to you. I sit in the tub, turn the water on to the coldest setting and wait . . . . that's not so bad, ooooooo . . .it's hitting my bum, yea-ooow. . . . it's really cold. Water rises another inch . . . . . and I drained the tub. Couldn't do it - way too cold for the boys.

Will stick to the recovery rides instead.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Carbon Copy Minus the Bears

Today's ride was pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday's ride, except only one loop and no bears to speak of. Might have something to do with the time of day and the heat. They were probably sleeping under a tree in the shade all afternoon . . . . as you do, when you're a bear.

Today Mark, Colin and Chantal joined me on the ride. Except . . . Chantal didn't join us until half way through, because the dumb-ass forgot her shoes. Ended up going home, driving all the way back and did the loop in reverse until she met up with us on the 50. What a trooper!

Mark and Chantal, just when she met up with us.

Colin draping himself over his bars, taking a breather. I hear you bruth'a!

Good pace today. Legs felt really good even after yesterday's marathon. Had all the intentions in the world of going out and doing a road ride when I got home - wanted to get my two days of 6hr rides back to back completed. Such is life, didn't happen and I don't feel guilty or bad for it. Had a good weekend of riding. It was my last weekend of long rides before Summer Solstice. And to be honest, I'm looking forward to the break before the big race. Got more riding to do, but a lot shorter rides, some interval work and a short race Wednesday night.

Besides, my arse is sore and swollen. Feels like someone took a meat tenderizer to it . . . .now if that ain't something to invision! Let this be a lesson to you kids, make sure you keep your chamoise nice and dry and take good care of your backside. Forgot to spread the love before I left yesterday and got wet riding through a big mud puddle.

Wild Weekend

Busy weekend . . . .didn't start out that way. Sick in bed with some sort of stomach bug on Friday and was worried it was going to screw my whole last weekend of long rides before I go into tapering for the 24hr race in two weeks. Luckily whatever it was worked it's way through my system.
Saturday started out sitting around waiting to for the beast to get his shite together.
Don't let this beast fool you kids, he can hammer!
We finally hit the trail at 2:20pm Saturday afternoon. Tip to the kids at home, don't plan your rides around people who have time management problems. You know who I'm talking to.

Rick and I ended up doing two complete loops from O'Brien (returned to the parking lot after the first lap and then went out again for a second). First lap was pretty cool, about 3/4 of a km from the 50/52 intersection I almost hit a young black bear sitting in the middle of the trail just at the bottom of a small rise. Was flying up and over it and had to lock up the brakes to avoid a collision. Was about two bike lengths away from it when it took flight. Don't know who was more frightened. For the rest of the ride I kept my eye on the look-out - damn chipmunks would give me a fright as they darted in the woods, making a ruckus. But what are the chances of seeing another bear!?!?

The only other highlight of the first loop was Rick making some cute girl working at the Lac Phillip canteen blush. I'll let Rick explain that. Rick?

Got back to the parking lot when we realized that there was no longer a vending machine which sold water down by the beach. Shite! I had enough e-load to maybe get me back to Lac Phillip if I conserved, but the big sponge (Rick) was completely out. So he drove around the parking lot begging people if they had any extra water as they left the beach. He finally got some from to young Kiwis who were travelling around Canada for their big OE. Only cost him five bucks for three bottles!

So off we go again. I was a little nervous that we'd lose out day light on the next loop, as it was getting late. I picked up the speed up until the intersection to the 52, hoping Rick would follow suit. Once we turned on to the 52, I was 10-15 metres in when off to my right, about six bike lengths away, there is this huge son-of-a-bitch black bear sitting in the grass just behind some trees. It spotted me as I came to a stop. I figured it was going to bolt, when it started to turn my way . . . . that's when I began screaming like a little school girl, "Bear! Bear! Bear! Bear!" Then it took off, fast as hell. Amazing to see and animal that size move that quickly.

I turn to Rick, who at this point is just making the turn on to the intersection and I says to him, "Did you see that!??!?! It was a huge friggen bear!"

"Why the hell did you scare it away? I wanted to see it!!" Rick exclaims back at me.

Excuse me!?!? Sorry you didn't get a look at the cuddly bear . . . I didn't feel like finding out why it was starting to come my direction! This ain't Lorne Green's New Wilderness dude!LORNE GREENE IS DEAD! And if you read the fine print on his headstone, it says that he died from a bear attack!!!!!

Once recovered from almost being eaten alive, we were on our way again. Nothing to note on this lap . . . filled up on water at Lac Phillip (was starting to fade) . . . . .Rick made the pretty girl blush again . . . . . then we saw another bear! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!!! Freak'in crazy! We spotted this bear, a small one, in the same spot as the large one (50/52 intersection) - no doubt a mother and cub. Probably the same bear that I first spotted yesterday, considering it was in close proximity.

The foot of Lac Phillip. Purdy.

It's getting dark!On the way back to the car, took this shot Pretty freaky if you don't know what you're looking at.
It's a young doe standing in a bog alonside of the trail feeding on swamp grass.

Got back to the parking lot at 9:05pm. 6 hrs, 45 min ride time. Not a bad training ride. One beast of a training partner, 3 bear, one dear, 3 partridge, 1 raccoon, & countless chipmunks.
Got home, ate, showered and went to bed.