Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Too much rain

I like high socks and can't deny.

Way too much rain lately. Trails are wet.
Remember kids, go through the puddles and not around them, that only makes the trail wider.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cheap-Ass Bike Stand

After my last post on cheap-ass truing, maybe I should create a blog on cheap-ass ways of doing bike repair. A couple weeks ago at the B4H bike prep night one of the guys brought along a simple home made bike stand.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Dirty Enduro

I was unable to participate at Paul's Dirty Enduro last year - it's one of my all time favourite races to do in Ontario. It is a grassroots, well organized, fun, laid back race put on by people who know the meaning of riding and who support an exceptional cause. Super prizes, great food, awesome atmosphere and wicked single track. They offer a 100k, 60k, 30k, 15k and kids race.

Just got an e-mail over the weekend from the good folks at Bloomfield Bicycle Company regarding trail status in the Ganaraska forest and some of the hard work they and volunteers are doing. Have a look below.
The permanent marking of the 60k course of Paul's Enduro has begun and is making progress in earnest. The map below shows how far the markers had made it by the middle of June. Rick and Mark Linford got the markers down to the C feedzone last week.

The signs are mounted on aluminum plates that are screwed onto happy trees (we leave those sad trees alone)
Many folks have expressed interest in helping out with this project and that is the purpose of this email.
For the rest of the season Rick will be meeting folks in the parking lot at the Ganaraska Forest Centre at noon on WEDNESDAYS. (Every Wednesday, weather NOT considered, they go out even if it rains) and he would love to have any and all help that would like to come along.
If you would like to join in please bring yourself, your bike, your helmet, any snacks or water that you will need to be on the trails for a few hours, a cordless drill (if you have one) with a spare battery and a number two robertson drill bit for sign mounting.
Thanks to everyone for their support over the years for this most ambitious project ... but after five years of talking we're finally seeing some action! Wheee!

- kt and rick and erynn and adam and ali and everyone here at the Bloomfield Bicycle Company.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lost and Found

Healey Cabin. I don't normally ski out this way and I've always wondered about the trail. It's a 'winter only trail' so I've never bothered to go down it. I decided to throw caution to the rain and head on down it to explore where it leads. There were no "No Bicycles" signs, so I assumed it was okay to ride. So off I went.

It was my day off today, so I planned on a ride. The weather-person didn't cooperate. Showers ending near noon. Pffffft. I started riding at 11:40 AM. The minute (no lie!) my foot touched the pedal it began to pour and it didn't let up for two and a half more hours. I knew that I was going to get wet, I actually like riding in crappy conditions.

I had no expectations for my ride. No goals. No plan. No gains. No nothing. Just go ride.

And it felt great.

The trail dumped me out here, looking out to Cross Loop Rd. The greeness, rain, mist, clouds, quietness made coming out into this open expansion a little mystical and freaky. The best part was when I was spinning along Cross Loop Rd, looking out into a vast, green, wet field and seeing a deer canter across it unaware of my presence.

I got a little lost while taking the trail. I had on older winter map with me, which got so wet that I couldn't read it. I knew 'generally' where I was, but still somewhat confused on where to go. The trail finally spit me out near Cross Rd. Got on Cross and headed north, jumped on an NCC road, which put me onto some snowshoe trails, which gradually put me out to Brown's Cabin. Trails I've never ridden on before. And there were NO "No Bicycle" signs. Beauty.

Saw a lot of wildlife today in the pouring rain: many deer, rabbits (almost ran over one), a family of partridge (grouse), hawks, and groundhogs . . . but no bear. I was expecting to see one or two, but no luck.
What was out in swams were the deer flies. In the rain. They didn't let up. I hate deer flies.

No wings on this little girl.

Bottom of the O'Brien climb looking out to Meech Lake.

I still haven't found what I am looking for . . . . legs, lungs, power, speed, endurance, base . . . meh. But . . . .

I found something more important today - my smile. My smile on the bike has returned. It's been gone for a long while and it's so nice to finally have found it today . . . in the pouring rain. Who would have thunk it?

Was "Whooping" it up bombing down the hills in the mud and rain. You know you're having fun when you're by yourself and you're laughing during the ride.
My legs felt incredible. I had a heap of energy. My breathing was good.
Mind you, my speed, power, base and endurance weren't there. Meh.

I heard a long time ago that when you place expectations, demands or dependency on anything or anyone, you're going to be let down. I've been letting myself down a whole lot this season by expecting that I should be at some far better stage of fitness than I am presently at.

So, laa-dii-daa. Isn't life is grand!?!? I've found the joy of riding again.
Does that mean I won't think of how slow, fat, powerless and out of shape I am again? Nope, I know myself better than that. But maybe those thoughts won't creep into my wee little brain so much and when they do come back, maybe I can kick them out a little faster by focusing on what's important.

I rode and discovered some "new-to-me" trails yesterday. All the trails I rode did not display the "No Biking" signs - so everything I rode was legal. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I had the legs and the energy to keep going after climbing out of O'Brien and had contemplated heading down to the 40, climbing up it, then east on number one and make my way back to P10 where I parked (you have to pay to park at the O'Brien lot now). But I ended on a high note, deciding my time would be better spent having the energy later in the day/evening to spend going to the park with my little family.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The Earthquake is going to get you.

Not that earthquake, but this one.

I was awoken this afternoon when my house started to rattle, rock and roll and shake like Elvis' hips. After getting to sleep at about eight in the morning after working the night shift I woke confused and slightly startled. What I thought was happening was our furnace/air conditioner going south and causing the duct work in the house to shake. Got up and turned the air off and tried to go back to sleep. It wasn't until I woke up and wifey told me what happened that I realized I was an earthquake survivor.

Instead of buying this crappy t-shirt, buy my crappy t-shirt (the pink one).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Herridge Cabin - in Gatineau Park there are cabins in which you can stop and rest, sit by the fire, eat and get warm . . . during ski season.
During bug season they're a haven.

Monday morning/afternoon I had the park all to myself. Beauty day. Perfect weather for a lazy loop from O'Brien-Wakefield-Lac Phillipe-O'Brien all by myself. No one to chase and no pace to dictate.

Stopped lots. Lots! Couldn't help but enjoy the sunshine.

No single track yesterday - just fire roads - still very nice.

Stopped to smell the flowers and admire my purdy new King hubs.

My feet at the foot of Lac Phhillipe.
Two words: Lay-Zee

Monday, June 21, 2010


Fritz cresting the top of a tough, pitchy, rocky climb towards the bottom Penguin.

Looks are deceiving - that's a tough climb Curvy Butt gets up.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's all about your attitude - Part II

Eric recounted his accident five years earlier while riding some trails in Gatineau Park by himself one day. He had been pushing the limit of his free-ride bike and took a spill that put him over the ledge of a twenty-one foot drop in which he landed on his head. There he lay for two or three hours late in the day in April (when it still gets cold at night) until a father and his son, who were out for a hike, found him very badly injured. He was very lucky to get found as he was off the trail and hurt pretty bad. A night in the woods, alone and hurt, in April - odds aren't that good.

He spoke about his injuries, down time off the bike, the feelings of depression . . . but he also spoke about the time to heal and the time to put your head down and get-on-with-it. It felt as though he was inside my head and knew my frame of mind. Due to his injury, he rides a road bike now . . . but with the shit eating grin that he had on his face when he spoke about riding, I don't think it matters if he's on the road or trail, Eric is just happy riding.

Funny how sometimes we get to hear what we need to hear (and see), just at the right time.

Oh yeah, here's a photo of Eric and his bike just before he headed off on his way up to Champlain . . . .

This is Eric.

Eric has been a paraplegic for about five years now. He has paralysis of his lower body and due to the head injury he sustained when he broke his neck in his crash, he only has partial hand mobility as well. His accident doesn't seem to have affected his smile though.

He lives about a 45 minute drive from the park, which he does about twice a week to get his 100 or so kms in on his road bike. He rides from Gameline up to Champlain and back. In the off season he plays wheel-chair rugby and is presently in the planning stages of trip on his bike from BC back to his home in Quebec in 2012. This guy is tough as nails.

Eric's hand-road bike.

If you're reading Eric, it was awesome talking to you, thanks for the kick in the ass (which you didn't know that you were giving me) and hope that we can go for a ride together some day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's all about your attitude - Part I

It's no secret that I've been struggling on the bike lately - over come some illness, then allergy-thing, then injury . . . waaa, waaa, whaaaa. It's been as much of a mental hurdle to try and get over it as a physical one. I'm trying and trying, but just seeing no return to any kind of form . . . perhaps I never had one to begin with and I'm so far from the truth and reality that I'm searching for something that was never there, but thought that I DID once have.

I put a hard effort in on the bike Monday, some structured training, some intervals and shit. All in hopes of feeling better. Tuesday, the plan was to do a long ride - build that base back up again. Plans are made to be broken, forgotten about or messed up . . . and my plan lay in shattered pieces by the time I got myself out the door Tuesday morning.

Morning started out with some road and climbing up to Champlain Look-off.

Planned ride turned into, "I'm just going out to ride and enjoy the day and see what happens and stop the fuck moaning about how out of shape I am in this season."

Then it was onto some gravel fire road.

Even squeezed in some single track. CX bikes are so versatile - big fat 30mm Grand Bois tires - fast and smooth on the road, squishy and forgiving on the trail.

Bombed down the 40 to Meech Lake.

Despite going out "just to ride", thoughts about how far behind I am in the season and how much of a Sucky McSucks A-Lot-on-the -bike I am right now kept creeping into my head. I didn't bring any food with me and about 65 Km in I started to bonk for lack of a decent breakfast and decided to head for home. Despite the beautiful day I was feeling down about my efforts and how far I had ridden.

Legs heavy and spirits grey I swung into the Gameline Parking lot to fill my bottles for the slow ride home and noticed a guy unloading his bike out of his truck, getting ready to go for a ride. I've seen the guy and the bike once before, but this time I stopped to talk. I remarked to him about his ride and he was more than happy to tell me about it - why wouldn't he, it was a cool bike - one you don't see very often at all. We got to talking, comparing rides and shooting the breeze when he told me that he used to only ride free-ride type bikes, but now is only on the road.

Continued tomorrow . . .


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sound of Music Ride

Doe, a deer, a female deer . . .

Ray, a drop of golden sun . . .

Me, a name I call myself . . .

Far, a long, long way to ride . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cross Road Panorama from two-Saturdays-ago ride.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday morning ride - lookoff

Thursday, June 10, 2010

B4H Bike Prep Night

Wednesday evening was bike prep night for Bicycles For Humanity.

About 167 or so bikes from the last bike drive to prep for the container at the end of the month.

Luc, Scott, Marc, Cedric and myself got through about 100 - wheels off, pedals off, handle bars turned, seat dropped, front wheel zipped tied to bike, kick stands removed if there was one - just to get it as compact as possible to squeeze as many bikes as we can in a shipping container.

I think Marc is thinking of trading in his speedy road bike for this neon beauty. I don't think that I could keep up with this skinny, leg shaving, mtn goat climbing fiend even with him riding it.

Even Seb and Sandra got their hands dirty. They're the brains and organizers who work tirelessly behind the Ottawa chapter of Bicycles For Humanity.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cheap-ass Truing

I've always wanted a good truing stand. It's been one of those things in my workshop that I'm missing - one of the last things (along with a torque wrench and headset press) that I need to have a complete bike workshop.
I can get a wheel close just by eye'ing it, but I find it easier to do this:

Two great things about using a Popsicle stick:
  • 1) you have to buy a Popsicle (or Fudgesicle) and eat it, and
  • 2) it's cheap as chips.
Mmmmm, chips.
Albeit, it's not as precise as a proper truing stand, but when you're a cheap-ass like me it does the job.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Caterpillars, Turtles and Me

No rainbow. No legs. No lungs. No motivation found.
I did get rained on the first twenty minutes or so of the ride.

Over cast and grey skies . . . meh. I needed to get on the bike today . . . I needed to get on the bike. Like searching for the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold that's supposedly there . . . my pot of gold: legs, lungs and motivation. I should have been riding here yesterday, but looks like I dodged a muddy, wet bullet.

Caterpillar - lots in common with him - eat my body weight in food daily.

Trails were pretty lonely. Cooler temps, rainy day, and Rideau Lakes Tour might have kept some people away. Plenty of caterpillars to keep me company. These guys are making a mess of the park - trees are almost barren.

Meech lake at the end of the 40 - what goes down, must go up.

I rode pretty much less than half of this ride that I did about the same time last year as preparation for the Wilderness 101. Pretty much less than half left me pooped.

Damn it.

Turtle - lots in common with him . . . slow poke.

Spot the turtle and win a prize.