Friday, September 28, 2007

Off-air for a couple of days - back on-air Sunday. . . . .

. . . . talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bicycles for Humanity

Came across a brochure at a local bike shop . . . .

Bicycles for Humanity–Ottawa is a newly-formed initiative founded by two friends who found inspiration in Pat Montani's grassroots organization Bicycles for Humanity, and who share a deep desire to make a difference in the developing world.
Pretty cool stuff happening. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TV sucks . . . .

I was able to nab a couple of these stickers at the race on Saturday. I've got one just for you. Want it?

Well you lazy f*cker, you're going to have to work for it.

I did a long road ride, by myself, back in Spring. I took a picture of my cycling computer/heart rate monitor and stuck it up on the blog. What time did it say on my heart rate monitor? (hint: it was either in April or May)
First correct answer (e-mail me - I've got an e-mail link in under my profile to the right) will win the sticker. If you're the winner and live outside of Ottawa, I'll mail it to you.

Good luck freaks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Paul's Dirty (& sandy) Enduro Race Report

Thursday night I was up late, frustrated with the mechanical issues I was having with the Niner and then the unexpected problems I had with the Surly. . . . it almost sent me over the edge of giving up in frustration. It was a long week and I was beat.

I almost didn't go to this race - I'm so glad that I did though. It was more like a big group ride for me than a race. I spent the first quarter of the race riding with different groups of riders. You'd catch a group, then drop them, then someone would catch you and drop you - all the time chatting away. I met a tonne of really cool people Saturday while riding.

This event was extremely well run, the course was fantastic (despite many sandy sections) and everyone, racers included, were laid back.

I hooked up with Kari and Roland at the start of the race and was going to ride with them and just make it a fun day. Standing at the start line I hit 'play' on the ipod and I was off flying, full race mode, pumping the legs to an ACDC tune. Whoops. Slow down. Try and ride with Roland and Kari.

I was in this speed up, slow down pattern the first 15-20km or so. I feel a little bit bad, but I got into a section of single track and hit the gas. It was too much fun not to. I decided then to just ride my race. Once I made the decision to go, I tried to make up for the time I lost at the start. So happens this was right about at check point number one.

Check point #1 to CP # 2 was just brutal. There were many climbs and it seemed like most all of the single track was loose and sandy. Speed and soul sucking sand. I had a difficult time getting up the climbs on the single speed. If I didn't get bogged down in sand, I ended up getting slowed down by geared riders who spun up the climbs easily, while I wrenched on my handlebars to get enough leverage just to turn the pedals over. 40km to 59km just killed me. Every now and then we'd cross a fire road that was 6-8 inches deep sand. Soul sucking sand.

I managed to eat something at cp#2, but it only made me feel worse. Took me about a half hour to start feeling better, just pedaling easy, walking many of the steeper, short hills and one little rest (though I was going to barf).

It was after cp # 3 that the trail changed - it got smoother, faster, not as much climbing and hardly any sandy sections at all. About 5km into this section, I caught up to a few of the ladies on the True North team who were doing the 60km race and sat on their wheel, letting them pace me as I recovered. I was still pretty wiped out from that sandy piece. It didn't take long, and I was feeling better.

Alana, Mari (both on the True North team) , me and their roadie friend Kat (who could climb like a hopped-up mountain goat!).

The girls set a really nice pace, not too comfortable to be easy, but I wasn't killing myself either. It was just perfect. It wasn't long before we got to talking. While riding I got a chance to sit behind each of them and chat a bit, making new friends. They were a hoot to ride with and it was one of my highlights of the day. Two of them were riding full rigid, single speed 29'ers. They could push the big ring and they handled them like pros - fast and with good technical skills.

It wasn't too long after cp#4 that Mari started to have some stomach issues and told us to go on ahead without her - hoping to maybe recover a bit. It wasn't until I was at my car loading the bike on the roof that I found out Mari had to DNF due to feeling like crap.

Alana, Kat and me rode pretty much together for the last 35km or so to the end. The last couple of 25-30km of trails were really good and seemed to go by much easier than the first half of the race - I was feeling better and stronger than I had all day. Weird. I crossed the line somewhere around the 7hr, 20 min. mark. I didn't see the results board after the race - will post once I find out.

Big crowd of folks sticking around after the race for the award ceremony and draw-prizes.

Kari and Andre. Andre's second ever race - did the 60km and ate his body weight in free peanut butter sandwiches and bananas at the cp's!

Check out Alana's beautifully painted True North 29'er. She designed the scroll work herself.

You could only be so lucky to ride for True North - amazing bikes and a super fun team filled with laid back and cool people. They do it all: track, mtn, road, cx.

Returned home to my mother-in-laws house (Jeannie Beanie) and was greeted with this! Says, "Congratulations on your last race" Since my beautiful wife Chrissie and mother-in-law couldn't go to the race to support me, they did this. Isn't that crazy?! Check out the spectators - that's them! Dig the candy heart road!

My wife has a wicked sense of humor!

I was able to control myself and my appetite and only had one piece of cake after supper. I finished the rest of it off at 3:20am with a big glass of milk.

I figure that 90% of this race was single track, that's 90km of single track out of 100km! We only doubled back on about 10km of trail for the entire race. This was super fun and I had a blast. I figure that I could have easily have scrubbed off 30 minutes if on the Niner and if I had just raced from the start - probably putting me in or near a top ten finish.
But you know what? I wouldn't of had as much fun as I did if I had.

I will definitely to this race again and so should you!


Late Edit:
*This just in . . .
* 98 riders doing the 100km - 48 males, 39 yrs and under, 42 males 40 years + and 8 female riders.

* my time = 7 hrs. 38 mins. 50 sec. (thought I was a wee bit faster than that)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Suffering to come

Whoas me.

Took a hard knock to my rear rotor on the weekend - can't be straightened. So I put on another rotor on the Niner. Setting up the brakes. Outside piston is sticking, lever pulls all the way in, brake fluid leaking out of the master cylinder. Peachy.

I'm not having very much luck lately with my 29'er : drive train - chain jumping issues, oil spewing fork, bent rotor. Now this . . . .

My drive train parts didn't come in on time anyway, so I would have been stopping to fix a thrown chaing. Besides, I can't get the brake fixed in time for the race - am leaving tomorrow after work. So . . . . that means I'll be riding this

for the 100km race this Saturday. Aproximately 7000 feet of climbing, single track and sand. All perfectly suited for the 29'er. *Sigh*

Maybe it's fitting that I end my race season on the single speed, considering I opened the season on it at Uxbridge. Hopefully I won't end up with hypothermia this time.

Wish me luck, it's going to be a supersized suffer fest.

More naked bike gear reivews mid-to-late next week

. . . . lucky you!

So . . . . you voted for him?

If you were one of the few who would have "chased that all day" . . . . you voted for the fellow's bum to your left.

Feminine as it may appear, Testicle's ass more closely resembles a female Yugoslavian weightlifter. You know that ones that I'm talking about . . . . big, hairy hulking mass of a woman in the Olympics, with the tight track suit on performing the "clean & jerk". Despite their manly physique due to years of steroid abuse, their hynnies are still recognizable from behind as "slightly" feminine.

Well, that's what this guy's ass looks like.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Paul's Dirty Enduro

This annual event is a tribute to a mountain biker, named Paul who took his own life. As a memorial to Paul's memory his friends organized this event to help the CMHA raise funds to be used for suicide prevention and mental health issues in the community.

Proceeds from Paul's Dirty Enduro are donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association in Paul's memory. The goal is to increase prevention and awareness about the tragedy of suicide.
Will be doing this 100km ride on Saturday in the Ganaraska Forest. This is my last race of the season (unless a CX bike lands on my lap sometime soon). I'm wishing for good weather, bike parts to show up in time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flip that fork

Dropped my leaking, oil spewing fork off at Tall Trees yesterday afternoon and what do I have in my hands right now (exactly one day later)? My completely overhauled fork. Whoo hoo! Thanks Will and Thom.

Apparently, White forks need a good cleaning/semi-take-apart-and-clean-job every 20 hours or so. Two 24 hr races, two road trips and loads of riding in between probably put me over by a wee bit. Enough dust and dirt got down and penetrated the seals, causing them to stay open and hence the spewing oil. Glad it was just that - thought that it might have to be sent back to White Bros for service work.

All I need to happen so that I'll be racing the Niner this weekend is for my drivetrain problems to be cleared up - here's hoping that the spider for the Middleburn cranks turn up so that I can swap the bb and cranks over from the Surly.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, hilly Sunday.

As a prep for next weekends 100km race in the Uxbridge forest, was able to twist Mark and Tanya's arms to come with me for a wee bit of a jaunt through the woods. T'was a cool, but sunny, Sunday morning when we started out from Kingsmere (P7).

At the look-off at the top of Penguin. Then we rode to . . . .

the top of Fortune. Once here we did the long race course loop. Then . . . .

We climbed Brian's. Once at the top, Mark and I worked on my rear rotor that was rubbing badly. Tanya took advantage of the warm sun. Once we got going again, it was down the new run, "Black Bear" and onto . . .

O'Briens and Meech Lake.

My fork blew up and started spewing oil. Rebound was hardly there. All the downs on the O'Brien loop were a little sketchy. Rode to Wakefield, to Lac Phillipe, back to O'Brien's then onto the number 40. Once at the 40, it was climb, climb, climb . . .

Mark was rewarded at the top of the 40 with this sweet pair of clip-on-sunnies. Lucky dog.

From the 40, we carried on Ridge back to Kingmere .

Stopped by Champlain look-off for a look-see. Lots of people in the park today.

"Son, do you realize that you were traveling over the posted legal limit? Do you know what we do to punks like you in these here parts for traveling over the posted legal limit?"

Great ride. We figure somewhere around 70-75km of a ride. Lots of climbing, so that's always good . . . . . yeah, sure.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

BC Bike Race

Registration for 2008's race opens in three days. Word on the street a while ago was that this was going to run earlier (end of May - June) than the inaugural event. That would mean that there would be no chance to do it - impossible for me to get the time off work. However, next year's race is June 28 - July 4th. That changes everything.

I've been dying to do a race like this. During the last 24 hr race, a thought kept popping into my head, "I'm riding in circles." A point-to-point race, in a place I've never been before, on lots of single track . . . . . how exciting is that!

Hopefully the planets will align themselves and next June 28th I'll be lining up at the start of this race. Who's coming.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Assessment, doggone it

Nope, not an ASSessment of the on-going poll, (get it? funny, huh?!) but rather:
  • assessment |əˈsesmənt| noun the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something
You may or may not know that I am a special education teacher. As an educator, I am either reading psycho-educational and academic tests scores or summaries OR am assessing how my kids are doing via formal testing or making anecdotal records of their performance. I was at a professional development day today (yes, we do work during these) where we were coming up with ways to set standards for assessing Section 23 (special education in Ontario) units within the province.

On my bike ride home from the inservice, it got me thinking . . . . not about my job, but about my abilities (or lack thereof) on the bike.
  • What am I doing/using to assess my own progress as a cyclist?
  • How am I or how can I track my progress?
  • Am I getting fitter and faster?
  • Have I become a better bike handler?
  • Do I need to assess myself if my only goal is fun?
I guess it's kind of normal to be asking these sorts of things with the end of the race season coming to an end. How I collect this info and what I do with it will depend upon the goals that I am going to set for myself next season. Perhaps I'm a little late on collecting data (I use to use a polar heart rate program to track all my rides, heart rates, etc.) and may need to rely on my memory, race results and how I generally feel about the season.

That kind of objective data could be construed differently one day to the next depending upon how I'm feeling about myself. I'm kind of wonky like that.

Either way, I think it's good to look at where you were and where you are now. Not just in relation to biking or interests, but as an example of inward growth as a person.

Time for my personal, daily affirmation . . . . say it along with me:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gatineau Batineau Night Loop

Brrrr . . . . that time of year. Temperatures in the evening are getting noticeably cooler, the leaves on the trees up in the park are starting to turn, light is fading faster. I feel a little sadness that the summer is over, but the door is opening for my favourite time of year.

Just got home a little while ago from a road ride with the curvaceous MacNab and the Vegan Vagabond (a.k.a. Grabby McGropes-a-lot). We figured that we were going to need light towards the end of the ride (and we did), so we donned our helmet lights. Not 'proper' roadie edict, hence the snubbing and stares from all the skinny riders. Meh . . . .

It was a fun loop of the park, laid back and with the usual silliness: sprints and giggles.

I left Mark and Tanya at the parking lot and started my ride home along the river that would lead me across Champlain Bridge to Ottawa, then home along the bike paths. On my way home, by the river, despite the cooler temperatures, my HID picked up lots of bugs out in the darkness flying around. Where there are bugs near water, there are usually bats. No exception tonight - tonnes of the little guys. It was just before I headed over the bridge that I picked up a traveling partner for a piece of the ride home.

Right at eye level, about a little less that an arms reach in front of me, a little bat swooped in to my beam light. I figured it was going to dart across or away from me like all the other bats diving this way and that way on the path as I rode along. But this little guy stood his ground and stayed just in front of me for about 25-30 metres. It was really cool! You could see his fury body, his ears, this feet and legs tucked up behind him and his wings beating madly.

It reminded me of that movie/documentary that was done a few years ago about the Canadian geese following around an ultra light (I think it was called "Fly Away Home" ?). I didn't have a chance to get used to him being there before he was off chasing bugs again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Straight Chain Clothing Works

I just received some stickers and info from my blogging friend at Keep It Street Level. He's connected (he assures me it's strictly as an "unpaid cultural advisor") to a line of cycling clothing called Straight Chain Clothing Works. Check it out . . . . some pretty cool clothing and a cool business model: simple, honest and honorable. Great prices too.
I'm saving up for a hoodie!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kingdom Trails Road Trip Vol. 2

Another fantastic weekend riding in Kingdom Trails, East Burke - Vermont. A couple early bike sacrifices kept the bodily injuries away from the group (except for Hannah's swollen baboon ass at the end of the ride on Sunday).

Scott was good enough to break a seat post and wheel. Steve chipped in with a broken pivot axle/bolt. Both mechanicals didn't keep the boys out of the riding very long at all - Scott rebuilt his wheel with a $15 rim and Steve lucked out when the bike shop had a replacement kit for the Santa Cruz.

Good times as always. Pictures tell the story. . . . .

Swooosh! Fast, speedy rider on buff, flowy Vermont trails (Moose Alley).

Faster than Stef's car - we're number one! I think Tanya was calling Stef's group "Losers!"

You can't visit Kingdom without stopping at Miss Lyndonville's Diner.

I don't know what the hell Hannah is doing to Mark . . . . did Stef know this was going on?!?

What's with my expression!? Blair witch?
Nope . . . . Miss Grabby McGropes-A-Lot "accidentally" getting a handful of rectangle.

Speaking of rectangles . . . .
Lenny's small'ish rectangle . . . . some men just weren't created equal I guess.

Magill Fields tight pace line.

Group shot with Burke Mtn in the background.

Steve leading across Loop towards Bemis.

Stef catching some 29'er air on Poundcake.

Pierre zipping down Old Webs

Multi burst shot.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

More to come . . . .

A couple casualties this weekend. More tomorrow.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Random Stuff

Rear tire psi poll results are in. I can't seem to draw any ground breaking conclusions from it . . . . 30 votes, most folks run between 45 & 30 psi. Personally I run my 29'er rear tire at about 27psi. There you have it.

New poll next week - stay tuned, there's an ass involved . . . . and it's not mine.

Got out for a road ride tonight to loosen the legs for the weekend. Did a nice Gat loop, got snubbed by some roadies, temps were hot and humid. Haven't ridden this week since Sunday when Mark tried to rip my legs off while on a road loop of the park. We both agreed that it was the fastest road ride of the year. We aren't roadies, so our land speeds are pretty lame, but we maintained between 18.5 - 19 km/hr up Pinks.

It's been a busy week with starting back to school. Kids have been pretty good, so far . . . honeymoon period. I'm sure I'll have my hands full by the end of next week.

Heading out tomorrow to Vermont for a weekend of riding Kingdom Trails - second time this past month. Can't wait to get on some buff trails with some good friends.

So, will be off-air until Sunday or Monday (pending on how tired I am from the weekend).
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nudies are now fixed

Apparently there were problems Blogger and my pictures wouldn't show. Hope all you perverts who e-mailed complaining to me that you couldn't see them can do so now. Happy trails.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Naked Wingnutgear Review

Ever since I began mtn biking seriously about seven years ago, I always used a traditional hydration pack, like a Camelback. I've tried and owned various sizes and brands - they've all basically fit the same and provided the same sort of utility.

I've been testing Wingnutgear Hydration packs since March. For the past two months, I've been specifically been using a Hyper 2.5. This is a very unique, intelligently designed, and extremely well built. The Wingnut uses a low-rider harness design which is fully customizable and easy to set up. Want the pack to sit higher, no problem. Lower, you got it. Easy to do.
You can also see the compression lacing system so that you can carry extra gear/clothes on the outside of the pack. The bladder compartment sits behind (close to your back) the large, main pocket. It is easy to get the bladder in and out. There is an opening on both sides of the reservoir for the hydration hose to come out, letting you choose what side you want to run the hose.

The pack sits low and allows you upper back to breath. Pockets on both sides are easily accessible without having to stop while riding or taking off the pack. This is such an advantage while racing!
The pack is not cumbersome or bulky. The side pockets help hide those unsightly love handles too!
I'm often asked how I like it. At first I had to stop and think because you hardly know it's there.

Some older reviews, on other sites, had a few complaints about the mouth piece and amount of water that flowed. I, personally, had no issues and liked the mouth piece. It never leaked and I didn't have to suck to get the water to come. The hose routes under your arm. The bladder is easy to clean and fill as it has a large opening (you can fill it with ice if you like).
*one con of the pack is you must buy, from Wingnutgear, the bladder separately. However, other generic bladders could work just as well.

The mesh pockets hold A LOT of stuff - I usually carry a couple bars, a gel or two, a chap stick. etc. on one side and my camera in the other, with plenty of room to spare. You can see the fully waterproofed zippers above . . . . in these pockets I usually carry my tools, first aid stuff, etc. The side pockets are totally accessible and easy to get in/out of while on the move. They also wrap around your waist a bit and provide extra stability.

I've always found my other hydration packs bounced around on the technical trails. On a night ride, with a full bladder of water and some gear . . . . I would feel unbalanced. This pack is super stable and feels like it becomes apart of you while riding.

The sternum strap is comfy. Smart design has an integrated whistle in the buckle. Note the mesh shoulder straps. On one side, in the front, they've built a very smart pocket to fit a gel flask or cell phone - quick access.

I can't imagine going back to a traditional hydration pack. With how well made this pack is, I may never have to. Get yourself one, you'll be happy you did.

Bike Polo

Tanya, Chris and I went down to watch the Mallets of Mayhem invitational bike polo tournament this weekend here in Ottawa. Teams from around the US and Canada participated. Apparently it was one of the largest tournaments - 17 teams.

It was my first, up-close and personal experience watching bike polo. Another strand of bicycling that I have to someday try! Some crazy aggressive play was had, amazing bike skills and good times.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Get Yer' Naked On

Mark in your freaky calendars . . . . more naked bike gear reviews on Tuesday.

Saturday Afternoon Fortune Ride

Beauty day eh to ride in the Gats. A sunny, cool 20 degrees made all the climbing pleasurable . . . . or at least as pleasurable as climbing can be.

Met up with Lenny, John, Tanya, Stef & Hannah for a nice easy paced ride on some ski hill single track. A little greasy in spots, but overall the trails were in great shape.

John climbing up a technical section on Brian's.

Allez allez allez Tanya!

Hannah, Tanya and Stef on the quad over looking Fortune.


Who's the tool with the double chin?!?

Haven't ridden Brian's Trail in nearly four years. It was a lot of fun, especially coming down the new trail, Black Bear. Fall is my favourite time of year - I'm looking forward to getting back to Fortune a few times this season. I always forget how much fun it is to ride there.

*my camera crapped out and couldn't get a shot of Lenny, again. You should have stuck around, I was able to get a quick few shots out of it later on.