Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Fat Birthday

Who's your Daddy?

Thirty-eight years old. Fugg. Getting older, slower and fatter since 1972. Tuesday saw no blog post as it was my belly button birthday. Had a nice little quiet family party (since none of my cheap ass friends threw me a huge surprise party filled with food, cake and presents . . . . fuggers), which was perfect. I don't put a whole lot of stock into birthdays, another year isn't a limiter . . . being fat and slow might be, but at my age, another year doesn't amount to much.
Don't get me wrong, I am totally open to accepting belated birthday wishes in the form of expensive gifts and money up until and including March 30, 2011.


I've steered clear of the ego demoralizer machine for a while now, but decided to carefully step onto the scale on my birthday just for shits and giggles. I dropped like seven pounds. Fuggggg! That's seven pounds less of excuses for being slow. And I wasn't even trying. And it was mid day when I weighed myself, right after lunch and downing a big jug of water. So much for my plans of staying the Clydesdale category.

No better fix for this crazy unexpected weight loss than a big heaping portion of some General Tao's Chicken. Me likey long time. And completely wiping off the face of this earth that pretty cake in less than 12 hours didn't hurt either. What can I say, I meet adversity head on.

Despite working nights Monday, I did get out for a short ride yesterday soaking up the sun and enjoying the car-free park.

Pink Lake, not looking so pink . . . this weekend with highs in the mid 20's should knock that ice down.

Only one little spot that I had to dismount on the climb up to Pinks. The rest of the way from Gameline was wide open with only one other icy/snowy spot, which was easily passable.

Not a bad way of spending 38 years on the planet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inadequate Saturday Ride

Hooked up with Disco Stu Saturday for a Wakefield-Cantley loop. It was wicked cold out (-8 degrees), but once we got moving it wasn't bad. My engine was running hot just trying to hang on Stu's wheel. I tried to take a few turns pulling, but seemed like I was only slowing him down. I was happy enough to sit in his 160 lb skinny ass draft (why is it that I only ride with skinny riders?!?!) trying to hold on. Again, I felt like I was slowing someone down and was "that" guy.

Covered bridge in Wakefield

Stu climbing the 18% grade hill leading away from mt. Cascade. A beeatch of a climb.
If you're going to ride hills with me, better bring a picnic basket along so that you have something to do at the top while you wait.

We cut back through the Park to have a look how things were shaping up on the parkway. Above is at the base of Pink. The usual spots had ice and snow, but considering we're still in March we are well ahead of past Spring conditions.

Riding out of the Park we met up with Marc who was also checking things out. Notice his kit and bar tape? White. Marc is one fast mo'fo. He's proof that I am smart to switch the bike over and no doubt it won't be long before I am putting him into the hurt locker. Pffftttt . . . . I'm going to need a whole lot more of whatever to make me fast enough to even beat a senior on a touring recumbent bicycle.

All said and done, just a wee bit over 100 km for me. Finished the ride feeling inadequate, slow and without power with no signs of improving. I've got twice as many outdoor rides so far this year, compared to last but feel further behind in my ability level. I don't want to stop riding with faster guys, cause I won't get faster on my own. But there you are stuck in a pickle, slowing others down. Blah. Meh. Pfft.
It's only March, it's only March, it's only March.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Everything Must Go - New Pricing

Further to my glorious sale from last week.
Now updated . . . make me an offer, everything MUST go!

2009 Vassago Bandersnatch 29’er frame and bits
- ’09 Bandersnatch frame (18”)
- White Bros Magic 29 100mm fork
- Chris King headset
- Thomson Elite seat post
- Salsa seat collar
- WTB Rocket V saddle (ti rails)
- Thomson Elite X4 stem (100 x 0 degree rise)
- Easton Monkey Lite carbon low rise bar (uncut – 31.8mm diameter & 660mm wide)
* extra derailleur hanger included (never used) I am not willing to sell parts, it is being sold altogether. I’ve ridden this bike a handful of times, it is in excellent condition – so are the components.

- will include in the price a team issue Vassago jersey and bib shorts (only worn twice - skid mark free! But I'd be willing to put skid marks in them if that sort of thing turns you on.)

Hope Pro II gold hubs with matching skewers laced to Mavic TN 719 "29 rims with rotors

- used one and a half season
- super excellent condition
- will throw in a set (gently used) Kenda Karmas

hardly a scratch, true and strong - hand built at Phat Moose Cycles

-new rotors to boot!

'08 White Bros Magic "29 fork (110 mm travel)

- used one and a half seasons
- super excellent condition

Truvative Team Stylo ISIS cranks

Velocity Deep V disc "29 hoops
$40 (for pair)

- used one season
- no dings or dents

SRAM Powerglide 9 spd cassette (34-11)

- used one and a half seasons

Bottom Brackets Galore! (two remaining)

Race Face SRX ISIS (113mm x 68/73mm shell) $25
Truvative ISIS (113mm x 68/73mm shell) $20
*Crank Bros & Shimano are gone

Hydration Packs with reservoirs:

26" mtn/hybrid fenders

- like new & with all mounting hardware

BLT helmet lamp

- with original grenade pack battery & smaller battey (built at Total Battery in Ottawa)
- 1.5 hrs of burn
- halogen

Diadora Mtn bike shoes

- size: 10
- great shape and lots & lots of tread, no tears or rips, in great condition

MEC baggie mtn bike shorts (no chamois)

- 36", no rips, tears, or stains
- I'm too fat for these

- large

- large

-only worn twice
- large

- vintage Chico Racing Summer Solstice jersey from 2003
- medium

Louis Garneau $10
- large

Oury & Ergon grips set up for 1 x 9 gripshift
- make me an offer

Flat bars
$5 per bar

- great for all you fixie hipsters out there

*ALL prices (*except the Bandersnatch*) are open for negotiation and 'best offers', so don't be shy I won't bite your head off. But also don't be stupid and offer me some shit price on something.

Friday, March 26, 2010

If I can't be fast, I may as well look fast

My Desalvo dressed in white screams that I am faster than you. Not only am I faster than you, I am better than you. You don't exist in my world.

In an attempt to be somewhat faster on the bike this year I recently swapped saddle, bar tape, and housing to all white. Seems that all the fast guys have white stuff on their bike . . . so my logic leads me to believe that it's not really fitness, skill, genetics, drugs, coaching, and hard work that make you faster, but rather WHITE stuff on your *bike that does. Makes perfect sense to me.

Now to complete the ensemble all I need is a pure Euro white race kit. If it doesn't have the world cup rainbow stripes on it, no worries - I'm sure I'll get those later when I start winning races. What's important is that I am dressed head to toe in white. That also gives me total justification not to smile, acknowledge or wave to anyone (who I'm not riding with) on rides in the Park. I guess all that I have to do now is shave my legs. 'Whatever it takes to get . . . .pffft, look faster,' is what I say.

Unfortunately, instead of portraying the image of the quick, skinny roadie I'm more likely to look like this:

Oui oui!

Vertical stripes! Vertical stripes are the answer - aren't they supposed to make you look thin?

* if you're Tom Boonen white stuff up your nose can also make you faster.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lumberjack 100

Just yesterday I had an amazing opportunity presented to me, to take over someone's spot at the Lumberjack 100. This race sold out in 12 hrs and 16 minutes this year. I had planned on signing up for it, but had no idea that it was so popular. But how could you not expect it to be popular . . .
Michigan's only 100-mile mountain bike race! The Lumberjack 100 will once again utilize Michigan's beautiful Manistee National Forest, but with a new 33-mile loop snaking through the Big-M Ski Area for 2010. The Michigan style single track; composed mostly of hard pack trail, occasional sandy sections, and fast rolling terrain offers twists and turns that demand constant power, and total concentration as the trails quickly turn to nothing more than green blurs of forest. (If you're expecting easy, fire-road coasting, look elsewhere!) Ninety percent of the 33-mile, 3-lap race is comprised of this single track that will eventually push racers over 9,000 feet of total elevation gain.
The Wilderness 101 last year was my first hundred mile race, and a big test, a big ride and a big day on the bike. I'm heading back to it again this year and it looks like I'll have some company.

I'm giving myself until the end of the week to work out the logistics and come to a decision whether I'll be going or not. Motivation is certainly not lacking. Do I follow the race rule of not traveling for more hours than the amount of racing that I'll be doing, i.e. it's an approx. 12 hour lonesome drive to Michigan from Ottawa, sleep for six hours, race for 9-10 hours, sleep for 6 hours, then drive 12 hours home and work the next day.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interview Worthy

Apparently I am interview worthy.

Kind of a joke really, seems that everyone and their dog are being asked for an interview with universal type interview questions. If you note the url address on my interview, it falLinkls under the "food" category. Don't know how that happened, but I guess individuals seeking information on food (maybe how to eat mass quantities of it) might be attracted to it. Perhaps people involved in Overeaters Anonymous?

Speaking of interviews, a long, long time ago I did one with Thom P and mentioned that I'd like to do more in the future. I need to find an interview worthy soul and some good interview worthy questions.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Poo in my pocket

My new career has it's benefits. One being shift work. Some might not see that as such a great thing, but I do. Monday afternoon, no traffic on the roads cause everyone is at work, sunny day and I get to go ride. Put in a nice 70km loop yesterday afternoon out past Aylmer, road some great gravelly roads, up and into the Park and then back home. Laa-dee-daa.

Riding along a long road in farm country I spotted this big heaping smelly pile of dirty horse crap . . . and immediately I thought of Peter. Not for the obvious reasons: like he stinks . . . or he's full of shit . . . but for the reason of sending him something. You probably don't read his blog, and I can't really blame you (there's nothing to really read anymore other than the odd post about a t-shirt he bought or lengthy multiple posts about Florida), but if you did, you may remember him moaning and groaning about people not sending him stuff in a while. So, I thought, "What a perfect gift for Peter, " and picked it up, stuck it in a bag, lugged it home and will be sending it to him shortly.

Traveling over the Kingsmere overpass, which 'overpasses' the Gatineau Parkway, you can still see lots of snow on the road and where people have still been skiing. If you ain't from Ottawa, the Gatineau Park/Parkway is closed to vehicle traffic over the winter and the roads/trails are groomed for skate and xc skiing.

The gate to the entrance of trail # at Kingsmere on the 15th of March.

One week later and taa daa.

100% Goodtime BBQ Basement Blowout Sale

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's only March

Thursday's ride with Matt left me a broken man - physically and mentally.

Matt is one hell-of-a fast rider. Dude's been putting on mileage all winter and BIG mileage as of late in preparation for some Spring races. So right from the get go he's waaaay ahead of me in pretty much all areas on the bike. What made the ride worse, Rodd, who I thought was coming and was going to use as a second wind shield as I suckled he proverbial "second wheel" teat the entire ride, didn't show. This left me alone to stay in Matt's skinny ass draft. Fugg.

The first 50-60 km of riding with Matt I did my very best to hang on to his wheel, and was fairly successful on the flats and slight inclines. No surprise I got dropped, and quickly, on the climbs. No skin off my nose, as I was expecting that to happen anyway. My mindset to begin the ride was that it was going to be long miles at an endurance pace . . . I guess I should had made it clear to Matt that I was looking to ride *my* endurance pace, not *his* endurance pace, which is *my* LT or race pace, which is *his* recovery pace. Fugg.

Matt, sans beard, on Rue de Chamonix's rolling scenic dirt hills.
Keeping up I 'embarced' the mantra: "It's only March. It's only March. It's only March."

I could go into every detail of the first 50-60kms or so of riding with Matt, but to be honest my head was down most of the time so fixed on his wheel just trying to hang on. Long story short is I blew up, legs cramping badly and the tank empty just after passing by Woodsmoke. Physically spent. What made it worse, I was slowing Matt up. I tore myself up (maybe too early in the season?) early on a big ride.

Nothing buggs me more than slowing faster riders up. For me it's a catch 22 . . . if I want to become faster, I NEED to ride with faster, better riders. Unfortunately for them, they pay the price in waiting for my fat ass and missing out on their ride. How long do you impose yourself on your buddies before it's too much to ask them to ride any slower? The guys are great, and I love riding with them - no egos, uber friendly bunch, I always always learn something, and there are good laughs. But how long do you keep showing up for rides being "that guy"? "That" slow guy. "That" guy who we have to wait for. And what's worse, if I get faster, stronger . . . they too most likely are getting faster & stronger, thus I will ALWAYS be "That guy". Fugg.

"You" meaning me.

After a few miles of mentally beating myself and envisioning Bill Murray telling me in my head that I suck, and like a wounded straggling soldier in a bad action movie, I had to plead with Matt to go on without me. To his credit he was more than willing to stay with me and ride it out. I, however, was able to persuade him to go get his ride in and I would limp home, and get a final total mileage of 131 kms, at my snails pace.

Matt has hit speeds up to 101 km/hr on this 18% hill over by Mt Cascade.
What was probably the most humbling part of the entire ride was climbing the back-half of this hill at aprox. 7.5km/hr and have Matt do cat-walks on his road bike ahead of me while we climbed. Fugg. I would have taken video of that too, but I was completely cooked and had no energy to reach for my camera and film that craziness.

Cross Rd. - freshly graded

I was getting pretty negative about this ride as I limped home on my own. But I was able to think about some of the cycling related things that Matt and I had the opportunity to speak about as he pedaled slowly beside me while I was walking out some cramping issues. There are some valuable lessons that I learned from this ride which I won't go into now cause this post is getting waaay too long.

I kept seeing these realty signs on my way back home near Chelsea along the 105. Something about buying a house from a guy wearing a tuxedo just doesn't feel right. NOW . . . if he had a top hat, monocle, tails and walking cain . . . that'd be a totally different story!

Friday's recovery ride had me on the bike paths along the Ottawa River just spinning the legs out. The Ottawa R. has been broken up for quite a while, but still clumpy, chunky ice bits are floating down stream.