Monday, March 31, 2008

Ride and break down

Just playing around with Map My Ride. Haven't quite figured out how it all works just yet - distance isn't accurate at all, but you get an idea of the route I took.

Yesterday I planned on three hours of riding yesterday. I got just a little over two hours in and just on my way back into town and I have a mechanical that would finish my ride for me. Luckily for me it happened right at an intersection, across from a gas station - so I was able to call Chris and ask her to come pick me up. I was waiting for the light to turn at an intersection and my freehub wouldn't engage. It would spin freely forward as it would backwards. It's pooched. You get what you paid for. Just last week I picked up the used rear road wheel from a guy in town. Was cheap, and I hoped that it would get me through the next few weeks of wet, salty roads - until I can bring the Desalvo out.
I spent the better part of tonight putting a replacement freehub on. Tomorrow more rain, but Wednesday looks good to ride!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 30th

Got home with Jacks from our usual Sunday morning walk out at Bruce Pit to find this wicked basket of prezzies for me! Yep, today was my birthday. Jacks very interested in helping out unwrapping, eating whatever was wrapped up or got confused and thought it was his special day - probably a little of each.

Hat head and prezzies
Chrissie got me a tattoo for my birthday - will be getting it done in the next few weeks (check back - it's going to be bike related) - and everything that goes with getting a tattoo: some Tim Horton coupons to use to buy coffee for Julie (and myself) to keep her alert and buzzed up during the session, some advil for the pain, some skin cream for after the tattoo, a new shirt to put on after the tattoo (it's button up - pulling over a t-shirt is going to hurt - ink is going on my back) and finally a really cool book on the culture & history of tattooing throughout the world, The World of Tattoo.

Chrissie is the bestest!

Had a little snooze after a huge and delicious b-day breakfast, then got out for my first road ride of the year. Finally warm enough (2 dgrees celsius) and dry enough to ride the roads.

Roads are covered in salt and in bad shape. I rode out of the city in the country, trying to escape the traffic and melting snowbanks. Everywhere you look there's lots and lots of snow.

I ended up having a mechanical issue just coming back into town - more on that tomorrow. Just a little over 2 hours of riding, about 60km (didn't have the cycle computer on the old road bike) and averaged 85% of my max HR over the ride.

Late Edit: Funny . . . I just checked my blog from last year, same day, and it was in fact my first road ride of the year then too! Freaky. I was, however, up in the Gats - which, by the way, is still being skied on and has an approximate three foot, solid base.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend thoughts and r a m b l ings

Depression: Since coming back from North Carolina I am finding it very difficult to get back into training mode, the snap is missing, the zeal is gone. Partially due to the crippity crappola weather we're having - we have more snow on the ground now, at the end of March, then we've had in all the winter months of the past three winters combined. My mind finds itself replaying the memories of the wicked trails I rode, wishing I was back there. The more I ride there, the more I am learning to like climbing.

Ride & Ski: I was hoping to get out for my first road ride this weekend - looks like it's going to happen tomorrow (high of 3 degrees celcius and sunny!), but today it's just to windy and cold. I am contemplating heading over for a skate ski in the park. I haven't skate skied in over a month, so it's going to hurt. It's not the hurt that's keeping me from going, it's the hate-on that I have for winter and anything remotely related to it. I think that when I get home from the ski that I am going to put on a heavy layer of wax on all the skis and put'em away for the season - I'm done with skiing.

Stable is getting emptied: Looks like the Titus has found it's new home in NFLD. It's going to a good guy who is really looking forward to riding it and sounds passionate about biking, so that makes me happy. I'm not getting what I expected/wanted for the bike - however, like I said, it's going to a good home and I need the money to beat down some bills.

More Doom and Gloom: This leaky roof/house issues is going to absorb all of the sale money from the bike. So out the window goes all my hopes of building a 29'er single speed. I really wanted to ride the majority of my races (I had been even contemplating riding SS of 24 Hrs Solo) - after riding down in NC almost exclusively in the same gear I'd run in single. I feel confident that I can maintain it and do better mashing the pedals than I do spinning.

The past couple of weeks I've had a bike company (not telling who, but they're outside of North America) interested in maybe sponsoring me. That seems to have fizzled out for some reason - haven't heard from them and looks like they're no longer interested. They probably looked through the blog a little too much and saw what they were getting - some slow, fat guy who likes to take his clothes off. Can't imagine why that'd scare them off?!?! Seems to me that I'd be the poster boy for any bike company (read sarcasm into this statement).

Rambling is now turned off.

Happy Birthday Mums

It's both my Mum's birthday and my mother-in-law's birthday today. Freaky.
Happy Birthday Mum's!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thinning out the stable and repairs

What's inside?
My Titus Motolite. All packed up, ready to be shipped off to it's new home.
This was a fantastic bike. I only had about 15 rides on it. It is in mint condition!

Long story short: bought the bike, rode the bike, broke my arm, winter and then spring came, got picked up by a bike shop to ride their sponsored brand, didn't ride the Titus again. Shame really. I often look at it and feel a sense of guilt for not riding it more as it sits idle in my workshop not getting any trail time.
I think the new owner is going to love this bike!

The *plan* was to use the money from the sale of the Titus to pay off a few bills and then invest back into a single speed 29'er (or at least a frame, fork and some wheels) . . . . .
at least that was the plan.
Then this happened :

Had an ice damnn form on my roof, which in turn flooded one of my rooms on the main floor. Ceiling and exterior wall was ruined. Could have been worse and we were lucky to catch it. Insurance is going to cover it, however, my shingles on the roof took a beating from the snow and melting ice. Large hunks of ice slid off the roof and tore whole and partial pieces of shingles away. Insurance (for some reason that we're still discussing) says they won't cover it. Sometimes I wonder why we pay for insurance when the companies try to find some way of not covering you. So looks like the money from the Titus is going to be spent on my roof.

Still, not a big deal - at least I have a roof to fix.
Home ownership is always throwing something at you.

Any generous bike companies out there want to send a single speed 29'er my way?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Sock Site & Iron Maiden

Are you looking for socks, custom jerseys, active wear and thermal underwear? Search no more! The Sock Site has it all and at very reasonable and competitive prices. Give Nick a shout or an e-mail and he'll hook you up.

Check out the wicked Iron Maiden jersey that Nick sent up to me:

I dig this jersey and can't help but to rock out in it while playing some
air guitar with Eddie on my chest. I'm sure that all the roadies up in the park this season will love me for wearing it - I'll fit right in with all the European race kits.
Hey, be sure to get a good look at it when you're passing me at races this season!

When I was just a punk kid growing up back in Sydney, Cape Breton I fit right in with the rest of the head-bangers. I remember even chasing the Iron Maiden tour bus out of town after they played a concert - wicked!

Cheers Nick!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Big Ring Racing Monster

Since our return from NC I've had ZERO motivation to do anything outside. Four days of amazing riding on buff, fast single track in comfortable weather . . . . only to return to the cold, snowy, salt covered roads with no sign of winter letting up.

It's almost a depressed state that I am in. Very comparable to after completing a big race - all the anticipation and build up, the excitement of the race . . . . then afterwards, nothing.

So, my near suicidal state of mind has allowed me heaps of time to mess around on photoshop. Taa daa! The creation of the Big Ring Racing Monster. Team mascot?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A storybook road trip

Every year this trip south gets better and better. Eight of us made our way to Asheville, North Carolina to ride until our legs fell off. Our trail guide for two days, The Goat, did his best to help make that happen.

We rode four days straight - in order:
  • First: from Turkey Pen - Squirrel Gap and some God awful stream trail (North Mills River - really, it was a mistake to take that trail!)
  • Second: a few hours at Bent Creek
  • Third: from the Fish Hatchery (see Jeremy's report here)
  • Fourth: Dupont
This trip had all the elements of of a good story:
(to see the rest of them on my Flickr account - clicky, clicky)

brave riders
Group at the end of the airstrip (day four).

a car dancing narrator

paths that would lead our fearless riders towards their quest
(check out almost the exact shot last year)

taking care of our trusty steeds

tales of love
(some bike lov'in not sure of what the end product would look like,
but it would sure as hell roll over everything in sight!)

Anger and villans
(Edna the evil librarian is not *really* a villan)

acts of hero'ism
(can't wait to see the video clip of this!)

daring drawbridges to be crossed

treacherous & ferocious rivers (or moats) to get feet wet

feats of strength and skill & logs crossed in single bounds
(some actually made it - not me!)

Supermen to fight . . . .

. . . . super monsters

And nipples! (not mine)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Long Drive

16 hrs, both ways.
About 23 degrees and six feet of snow in the difference.
Well worth the trip.
More to come - as for right now I'm shattered and sick - so sick I couldn't make it in to work
(I don't like missing work & I've only missed one day in the past three and a half months).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting Some Action

A little dirt action that is. And you know that I'll be taking my 'kick ass' Action Jeans.

So, I'm sorry . . . . no blog for you! No blog for you!
Heading out the door for some mountain bike driving.

Come back in a week - I have blog for you.

Until then, please feel free to amuse yourself by printing out this David Hasselhoff paper doll page and have some real fun.

Happy Birthday Chrissie!

Love you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I got an e-mail the other day from Paul at Zogics - Innovative Personal Care & Cleaning Products asking me if I would be interested in testing and reviewing CitraWipes.
CitraWipes are portable, non-toxic degreaser hand wipes with natural citrus oil extracts for removing tough grease and grime.
Being a cheap, mooching kind of guy, what do you think I said?

Those who know me, know I hate leaving my bikes dirty. I hate, even more, being dirty myself.I wonder if it could get this dirt and filth off of me?
I can't wait to give these a try.

Stay tunned for a thorough review in the next week or so . . . . . and you know what that means:

gratuitous nudity.

Snow Banks & Road Trip

The main focus of folks from most of Ontario this past weekend, and even early this week, has been the big snow storm that hit us. Ottawa got the worst of it with 51 cm falling. I just got back into town tonight and spent two hours shoveling a drive-way that was partially done. The snowbank at the end of my drive-way is easily ten feet tall. The snow is high, real high, stupid high. I'm tempted to post a picture, but I've done so much of that this winter, I just don't want to anymore. I just want winter to be done.

Two more sleeps and all of this snow will be distance in the horizon as I make my way south for a little road trip.

Just a taste . . .

*none of the people in the video are me or anyone I know, but they're riding trail that we'll be on. Whoot!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dumpity dump

When is it going to end??? Is there no end in sight?!?!?

We got a huge dump earlier this week (29 cm) and now the weather dude is saying that the biggest snow storm of the year is upon us. Between 40-50 cm of snow is to land on the nation's capital. We're very close to setting a new record for snowfall.

Spring is looking further and further and further away.

The only thing that's keeping me going is the team's road trip down south next week. Man, oh man . . . . dirt under the wheels is going to feel so awesome. I haven't ridden outside since mid-November! Four months of sitting inside, on a trainer, spinning and going nowhere . . . . serenity now! The sixteen plus hours of driving (both ways!) is going to be easy, the hard part will be coming back home, only to ride inside for probably another month.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So busy

Been so busy. Will find time for some words on the weekend. So busy. The NC road trip is in sight. I can even see it over the snowbanks. Can't wait.

By the way, I have the most excellent sponsors you could ask for.

Just wanted to say "Thanks for all your support" to Kenda, Sock Guy, E-Load, Wingnutgear, Progold Lubricant, Ergon and Crank Brothers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bugger Me - I'm at my snapping point

I'm going to snap. I can't take this much longer.
Winter has had it's way with me and I'm done.
I have no more room in my head or my drive-way to deal with it any longer.
Another storm hit today. 20-25 cm all said and done. I just finished shoveling the drive-way before work . . . . nice way to start the day . . . . a little stretching, lifting, throwing.

Serenity now!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Naked CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer Review

I had always heard that there was a significant difference between mag and fluid trainers. This may well be an understatement. Mag trainers, I have experienced, tend to lessen in resistance as cadence increases and there is often a dead spot in your pedal stroke. Fluid trainers are quite the opposite; resistance increases as pedal cadence increases and is provides a very fluid (pun intended) pedal stroke. Indeed, the faster I pedal the greater the resistance.

My CycleOps Fluid 2 more closely approximates a road ride. With my inexpensive mag trainer I did not always find my workouts strenuous even when the unit was set to the highest resistance and when I was in 53 x 12.

The resistance is smooth, progressive and very real. The construction is also first rate. It is a heavy unit, but a lighter unit may not be as stable when out of the saddle while sprinting or doing those uphill climbs. It is exceptionally stable while sprinting.

Sprinting seated or standing (you don't want to see that horror show) the CycleOps is steady and smooth.

On deciding on the CycleOps Fluid 2, I read many reviews. Indeed, there are some other high quality fluid trainers out there (my second choice would be the Kurt Kenetic Road Machine) and some of the reviews for the CylceOps don’t impress. Many reviewers have had issue with leaky O-rings. I have had no problems with mine.

I'm not the least bit worried about O ring seals, if their good enough for car engines, jet engines and rocket motors then they should handle a trainer just fine. The temperture the oil in the unit is going to get too is not hot enough to cause any problems either; anything and everything will eventually wear out given enough time and use. I've used mine for a year now and not have had one problem with the unit; the unit is not overly heavy making it easy to pack up and stow in a car. The way the unit is constructed without any weird folding thin pieces of metal or plastic makes the CycleOps very strong and stable even when getting on it hard.

The resistence level of this unit is 750+ watts; to put this in perspective, Lance Armstrong can do 705 +watts continuously for 1 hour; this means that for the large majority of riders the Fluid 2 will more then suit their power levels.

Eye of the tiger - smooth and quiet.

All this to say, those of us who live in frozen climates for four to six months of the year or you are considering getting a new trainer or trainer upgrade, go fluid. Whether it's a shorter, intense workout your looking at or a long, three hour suffer fest (which I am so use to now!), and if it fits in your budget, go for a unit like the CycleOps Fluid 2.

  • Approximates an actual road ride;
  • intensifies workouts;
  • bike mounts on unit easily – easy set up and take down;
  • heavy duty frame;
  • stable;
  • quiet compared to mags and other fluid trainers;
  • lifetime warranty on parts, labour and replacement unit if necessary and they pay for shipping for both units.

  • It doesn’t do the workout for me.
Guess I'm going to have to burn this gel seat cover now.

More naked reviews - clicky, clicky

Spinning and spun out.

This weekend provided lots of opportunity for me to sit on my ass and do nothing . . . . nothing but spin. Saturday was an eight hour (12pm - 8pm) charity spin session put on at Cyclelogik. I managed to put three hours of intervals on last night. Had good company and familiar faces around me. Three hours was only a fraction of the time that Peter put in - he did the full eight hours solo, the only one to do so - crazy bastard! (I'm sure a post will be in order over on Big Ring Racing in the next day or two)

Every hour a new spin instructor would appear, who was fresh faced, ready to rip your legs off you and beat you with them. By the time I got off the bike at 8 pm, my legs had been adequately worked.

This morning came early, with my regular three hour spin session at the school planned. Report here (clicky clicky). I was feeling unmotivated, partial physically (put in over 10.5 hrs spinning inside on the bike this week) and partially a mental drain that I've been experiencing with some managerial woes that I've been trying to sort out for the team. I ended up only doing an hour and a half or so and opted to get off the bike to goof around while the other, more disciplined, riders fought through the workout.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

All snow and no biking makes big ring a dull boy

(Can't really tell, but the snow bank is higher than my car with the ski box on top.)
I'm losing my f*cking mind with all of this snow. Got another dump last night/this morning. When will it ever end?