Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching Up

Despite my aching back, I can bear to sit a little today to get caught up in some of my blog posts. I'd much rather be out skiing today - just look at the conditions. Alas, I'm supposed to be off my feet for five or so days. I'm already going nuts-o. Got some company coming over in a little bit to wax some skis - will post about that tomorrow.

For now, here's a little of what's been happening lately in my own little world:

Winter commute - if you remember a few posts ago on studding my winter tires, I've been riding them to work each day due to the November snow fall that we've had. Not a lot of ice on the roads, plenty of loose, slushy snow to plow through though. I dig the extra traction, but these tires are pigs. If it were only the tires (minus the studs) there would still be rolling resistance as compared to my commuter tires. The studs make it that much more difficult to pedal and keep the momentum of the bike going - it's like I dropped the chain down to a smaller rear cog. On bare pavement the tires emit a constant "Zzzzzzzzzzz". I think they'll be worth it once the side roads are packed down with snow as they usually are during winter.

New pedals courtesy of Big Ring Racing. Thanks again guys - these are beauties!

I was out of town last weekend and was very sorry to have missed this epic mid-November ride, The Hardfolk Classic. From the report it had all the makings of a memorable ride: beautiful scenery, good food, good company and thievery (yes, I said thievery - read the report). Looking forward to hooking up with the guys in the Spring for some rides.

You may remember my belly-aching about feeling out of shape, not doing anything, looking for a strength building-core conditioning class. I tried the kettlebell thing . . . I can see how people would like this, but it just isn't for me. It reminds me too much of lifting weights. In university playing hockey and rugby I spent many, many hours in the gym lifting, throwing around weights, trying to look buff and get stronger. Gyms tend to be full of testosterone filled meat-heads (no offense to meat-heads everywhere), and the one that attended was no exception. Besides being boring as watching paint dry, lifting weights causes me to bulk up very quickly. Yeah, yeah . . . . I can hear meat-heads everywhere saying "Lighten up on the weights and do greater reps, feel the burn!!!" No thanks, not for me.

So I've decided to get back on the swiss ball once a week at home and take in one or two yoga classes. I'm going to incorporate ashtanga or power yoga and get back to bikram (hot yoga - which I was doing last winter) yoga. Both the ball and yoga will improve my flexibility, balance and strength, won't be as boring as lifting weights and I won't bulk up. XC & skate skiing will work my cardio, as well as the new toy keeping me honest on the bike.

Although being super busy these past couple of weeks, I did get pointed to a new bike site, Bike Rumor. Check it out.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Back - but not really back at it

Just when I think I am getting my head above water, sploosh, I go right back under. Yesterday while at work I was playing ball hockey with my students and I ended up seriously straining my lower back. Kind of lame way to get an injury, but it happened. I can barley walk, standing hurts like hell, sitting on a hard chair kills (which I am doing right now!) makes be winch . . . . so I am going to stop typing now. I've got a load of stuff to blog about - but have just not had the time to catch up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Wind Beneath My Wings

I've got zero time lately to do any interwebbing, or much of anything else besides the stuff mentioned on my last blog post. I did want to get something down today though. I just wanted to say thanks to my fellow team members. I sent them out a e-mail thank you, but I don't think that's enough.

I'm saying thanks for a couple of reasons: first being they are an awesome group of people to train, race, ride, travel and hangout with - they are top notch, first rate, the cat's meow. The other reason is of a little present of appreciation that Peter dropped off at the house yesterday.

I had ordered a set of Quatro Ti road pedals from our gracious team sponsor, Crank Brothers a while back. Peter delivered the goods and turns out the team picked up the tab for them as a gift to me as unofficial team dick-tator. It was totally unexpected and unnecessary . . . . but very appreciated.
I won't lie, it's a lot of work (not as much this year with Lenny, Tanya and Gilles stepping up to help out), but I enjoy doing it. A year or so ago when I was contemplating putting this team together I asked Curvy Butt if it was worth it and his response was, "Anything fun is worth doing." And that's what I kept as my mantra - not just for forming the team, but for training and racing, organizing races (i.e. OPRAH Turkey Time Trial) . It's all for fun.

Thanks again guys, you're the wind beneath my wings!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Life has certainly been busy this past couple of weeks (this one included). Family commitments, a basement renovation, stoooooopid report cards & IEPs to write . . . . all work and no play makes Craig a dull boy.

Hopefully back to regular blogcasting mid-to-late this week. Lots to write about, lots of missed opportunities to ride my bike, hang out with the team, get the skis ready, start my training, report on top secret stuff, and cycling news that news to me. More to come - stay tunned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Off Air

stay tuned . . . . new post in a couple of days

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Studded Rubber - I'm a stud part II

Front tire complete

two layers of duct tape and a heavy tube will do the trick

Rear tire here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Naked "Naked Gear Review" Review

I found myself with a little time this past weekend, on account of all the rain and my slothfulness, to sit down for a bit in front of the computer. I noticed it's been a while since my last Naked Bike Gear Review. I haven't purchased or received any new bike related equipment for some time now . . . . . to the disbelief of my fellow team members and blog followers out there, I do not buy a new bike as often as I change my underwear (the later I don't do that often anyway).

I'm very, very keen to do a NGR of this (photo here of Ben tearing it up on his Fisti), but looks like I must wait a while for that to happen. I've purchased a couple bicycle related clothing items, but what's the point of doing a review of something that covers my killer bod?! Do you really want to see me do a naked gear review of leg warmers and a hat?
So I decided it was high time for new NGR.

Yes, this how I surf the inteweb at home . . . sometimes I wear knee warmers if it's chilly.

I know that my mother shakes her head in disgust every time she is reminded of me being some-what 'naked' on the interweb, that there are some voyeurs out there who visit my blog and have no interest in bicycling, there are those too who are keen to read what I've got to say and avoid at all costs having their retinas burned from their eye sockets.

Really, what am I going to say about my own NGR's? I've come to two conclusions without having to go into copious detail: one, I need to do more naked gear reviews and soon (potential sponsors: please send me stuff and I will drop my drawers for you) and two, NGR's are fun to do! Whoot!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

CX blow me down

My 'little' nephew Mike (the guy is like six foot something or other and in his mid twenties . . . . phhffft, little) was up to Ottawa this weekend, so I thought I'd take him out to watch the CX race this morning out in Kanata. He's a bit of a roadie, triathlon, xc runner guy so he would appreciate watching some guys and gals suffer for an hour. It was not a very nice day. Rainy and windy earlier on in the morning, then it turned windy-er-er and snowy. You couldn't pay me to ride today. Those cx racers hard sickos for punishment.

It was so windy you could lean back into the wind and it would hold you up, as Mike demonstrates. Biking into the headwind would have really sucked.

"Ahhhhh!! Someone save me! I'm blowing away!"
Being a slight little thing, I nearly blew away during one of the stronger wind gusts.

Osmond Baker puts an early gap onto the field with Warren right behind him, on the only big climb on the course.

Warren (yes, he should be paying me with all the publicicty that I give him!) navigates his way through a slippery, muddy section on the hill.

Tall Tree rider (I think that's Neil?) on the same muddy section.

Mike and I took off about a half hour into the race - we were too cold. Phffft, whimps.
Race results found here. Only two races left in the Ottawa CX series. If you haven't gotten out to watch and cheer on, you should really get out there.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Since race season finishing up in September, training has fallen off the map . . . . along with motivation, eating right, personal hygiene, grooming, brushing my teeth, washing clothes, doing the dishes, vacuuming, dusting and generally taking care of myself. I've been whingeing on the blog from time to time about how lazy, sore, tired and unmotivated I've been feeling. From my experience, I begin to feel that way when I cease physical activity. And a visit to the scale the other day proved, without a Weight Watchers doubt, that I have in fact ceased regular physical activity as of late. The glowing, triple digit numbers on the scale do not lie and was the impetus (that's the second time this week I've used that word) to get off my ever-growing-fat ass and do something about it.

I've been shopping around my neck of the woods for a fitness class that would give me an all-around workout, focusing on core body strength. I've got cardio covered for the winter with classic & skate xc skiiing and spinning on the trainer with my new toy. However, cardio is not enough at this time of year. Strengthening and repairing the body is very important for the upcoming season.

So last night I went to my first kettlebell. I'm not going to go into details and give my opinion of the workout yet (I did like it), until I have had a few classes under my belt (which I've had to add a few notches too). Anyone who has jumped into a serious exercise regime with both feet, without any prep time to acclimatize the body first, will tell you that you are going to hurt like hell the days following. I actually don't feel too bad at all today. The second day is always the worst - so if there is no post tomorrow, I can't get out of bed. More to come. Cheers!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm a stud

Search no more ladies!

I had an appointment and had to run errands after work, so I drove to school today in my car. It was the first time I did so since school started back up in September. I feel pretty good about that. I'm staying fit, saving money and helping the environment.

Gwad, driving was awful. I forgot how terribly horrible sitting and driving in traffic was. I would rather stick forks in my eyes. I think it was an impetus for me to start work on my winter commuting tires.

Ever since switching over to 29'ers, and the best damn bike company in the world, I don't have a wide selection of 26" tires anymore. And being thrifty (*cough* cheap*cough*), I chose an old set of WTB Velociraptors to begin work on. The only problem was the wire bead had let loose. I didn't want to go through all the work of putting in studs and then have the bead tear away when I went to mount them.

exposed wire bead

some dental floss (mmmm, minty) and some handy stitching -
nylon is strong and the waxy coating made it go through the rubber side walls easily

after I fixed the bead, I drilled small pilot holes through the knobs that I wanted to sink the studs into

self-tapping metal screws (6 x 3/8), screwed into the knobs from the inside out - will be eventually covered over by two layers of duct tape (and a heavy duty tube will ensure no flats)

hard to see the pattern - they're just for commuting, so I don't need as many studs as if I was riding on icy trails

Will post some more photos when I'm complete.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Toronto International Cyclocross Races

The Midweek Cycling Club hosted a full day of cyclo-cross action that included all the OCA Southern Ontario categories along with the main event, the Elite Men and Women UCI-C1 races. The race showed off that Ontario is fast becoming a North Amercian hot bed of CX racing. (as seen on Ontario Cycling Association website)

Nope, I didn't compete . . . though I'm sure if I did I'd would have won it all. I could have . . . . if I wanted to. I'm just saying . . . .

I didn't race, but my buddy Warren did. He was in some fine company with the US National Champ taking part.

That's Warren just starting at the barriers (white, black and green'ish kit on).

*Shudder* hill climb

Warren got a boo boo during the race:
"over the bars on the muddy decent off the ski hill side slope, front tire washes out, I super man in mud for 50 feet down the hill on my stomach...and then see my shin wrecked from the pedal...NICE!! scars!! wicked!!"

Warren, I see stubble - time to shave you razor packing roadie.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Whoot! Check the gas price! I can't remember when it was that low. That's 60.9 cents per litre to all the American readers. Prolly still not as cheap as you pay, but it's damn low. I filled the car up on the way home from the ride on Friday and took this as a keep sake . . . . gwad knows when they'll be that low again. I even kept the receipt to show my children and my children's children. I'm lucky cause I also don't remember when I filled the car - I hardly use it anymore as I bike to work everyday and walk or ride to places in the neighbourhood. Dr. Peter summed it up as well here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Split Personality

I blew off work yesterday, played 'hookie', took a 'mental health' day. Glad that I did because I was really starting to go mental. I planned on it earlier in the week and set up a ride for Friday afternoon with some of the big ringers. I get an e-mail later Thursday night from Simon wondering if I wanted to do an early road loop of the park in the morning. How could I say no?

Two rides in one day? I hadn't done that since late August or early September. A little worried that the legs wouldn't hold up. Also considering I've ceased training and gained a little bit of weight since the end of the season . . . . and I was even carrying more weight yesterday after eating a large pizza the night before (carb loading!?!) with extra olives made me bloated, round and plump. Alas, what are days off for? Ripping ones legs off, of course. And it was a beautiful day to have a multiple cycling personality experience: roadie and mtn biker.

First, I had to drop the mother of my child soon to be born at work . . . sucka . . . work is for chumps. Is that cool to call your preggo wife a 'sucka' then a 'chump'? Ahh, she don't read this here blog no more anywho. After dropping 'the wife' off (she hates being called that), I took Jackie-Boy for a big long walk . . . . then he came home and slept on the couch.
"Don't tell Chrissie I was sleeping on the couch. She'll get mad at me." Your secret is safe with me Jacks!

Champlain Bridge - a wee bit froggy
It was a bit cool in the morning, but quickly warmed up. + 17 degrees Celsius
(62.6 Fahrenheit for you American readers)
for this time of year is wicked.

Misty, you're up on 'political correctness', what's the new catch phrase that replaces "Indian Summer"? People Who Were Here First Summer?

Gats still carless. Weeeehooooo! Not many riders out this early either.

Simon. He's new to Canada, all the way across the pond from London. He was out with us a few weeks ago on the mtn bike and had a tough initiation to the technical trails around Ottawa, but started to find his momentum. On the road bike it's a totally different story - I had a hard time keeping up with him. Great riding with you Simon!

The Canadian Geese are usually wearing their polyester pants, white shoes and belts, playing Canasta, and talking about politics and the weather down south by now. With the "First People of the Land Summer" we're having, they're sticking around.

King kissing the bars on a technical little up on Garter Belt (done in reverse).
King usually wears polyester too. Today, however, he was sans sleeves.

Phat Tony was out with us today rock'in his new Vassago Optimus Ti. Gwad this bike is beau-ti-ful! And light too, coming in at around 21lbs. Jones H-bar, tubeless WTB wheelset, White Brothers Rock Solid rigid fork, Middleburn cranks, etc. If I only had the money I'd get me one. With this recent build and his new road bike, he has taken over the title of 'team bike whore'.

The Mule. Nope not the hydropack, the guy . . . I made Lenny stich this onto this pack (yes, he is a handy embroider - one of his few talents) so not to forget that the only reason I ride with him is so that he can haul my shit around (not literal shit, cause I don't buy into that whole "pack out what you brought in" camp . . . . my crap is organic and it can stay in the woods).

Speaking of light . . . . the Mule bitched the whole day about how heavy his pack was. So I took my camera out. The weight didn't seem to affect him though cause he was riding real well all day.

The Mule cleaning a real nasty & difficult descent off of Rock Hopper.
**LATE EDIT: click on the photo to make it look larger. Notice anything? The Mule is possessed!**

L to R: Phat Tony, King, The Mule, tree, Kevin.
King rode pretty much all day like that, seated backwards, and still made us all look like chumps.

Thanks for the ride bitches. It was the most funnest!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Most Smartest Man On the World

clicky clicky for a 'sound bite'

Nope. Probably tricked you in thinking I was typing about myself. Nope.

It's Jerome. But I could see how you could be confused. He's even handsome like me (is it cool to call another dude handsome without sounding gay? [not that there's anything wrong with that!]), as modest, funny like me, super duper popular on the blog-o-sphere, women throw themselves at the both of us when we walk/ride down the street, we are the fastest bike riders in the world, immensely talented, and smrt. We also both own bad ass Vassago t-shirts. Want to be as cool as me and Jerome? Get one here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

After School Fall Road Ride

I'm pretty fortunate to work so close to home (10 minute bike ride) and for an early dismissal of my students. I usually have meetings and work to do after they are gone, but today I had "an appointment" in which I had to leave as soon as the knuckle heads were gone.

My appointment was with my bike and it was to take place in he Gats. Weehoo! So out the door I rushed and spun like mad to get home to get dressed and out the door before the sun went down.

At the top of Pinks I stopped to snap a photo. With daylight savings time the early evening colours are purdy.

Sun at my back as I climb up the Champlain Parkway.

Sexy bare legs. +18 degrees today! No need for knee warmers today.

Hazy from Champlain lookoff. No cars (the parkway is closed for the season) only riders. And tonnes of riders in the park this evening! I lost count how many riders there were.