Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oversized Tubing

Shortly after arriving home from Spank the Monkey I received an over-sized tube in the mail. Over-sized tubes in the mail are always fun to get cause you never know what over-sized tube-like thing you'll be getting. Over-sized goodies or small pink penis?

Contents: one "Meat Dicky Dillen" poster, one dee-cal and one sanitized cutlery packet with moist towelet.

Signed by "THEE" Richard Dillen. Apparently my girth impressed this wee little man.

Also signed by some other guy.

Would you like one of these dee-cals? If so, don't hesitate, call me at my personal number 416-779-3827 and repeat the phrase: "Air Supply rocks on 106.9 FM" and I'll send you a dee-cal for free. Seriously.

Yes, I put it on my workshop wall.
Buy yours today for only $22.40 (Cdn) - supplies limited.

* I used the sanitized cutlery pack, with moist towelet, to eat my lunch yesterday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spank me no more . . . at least not until 2012

So how did I do at Crank The Shield? Check for yourself. There were eleven single speed starters for the race and I ended up in 7th/11. I finished 76th out of 211 (63 racers missed one or more days putting the total at about 274 in all) racers in total. Not bad considering . . . .

. . . I went into the event with the goal to have fun and finish. Racing with a dislocated sternum/ribs would have been unrealistic anywho. I had hoped that my trip to Colorado two weeks before would boost me to super human status for CTS, however a wicked awful crash on the first day coming down Monarch Crest changed my plans slightly. Despite my injury I did manage to gain some significant Colorado fitness from the climbing/riding at altitude. At no point during Crank The Shield did I feel that I went into the red zone. The intense pain in my chest from heavy, deep breathing was all the indication that I needed to back off any exertion and thus kept me at a steady, manageable effort. I finished each stage feeling good and I kept a steady consistent pace during each stage. I am sure that I could have gone faster, but how much faster - who knows.

At times while riding behind the geared riders my skin would crawl from the sketchy, grindy gear changes caused by copious amounts of mud in their drive trains. Single speed was the way to go for sure. No skips, no jumps, no chain suck. I ran a 32x19 which I felt comfortable on throughout. CTS is a perfect race if you want to destroy some perfectly good bike parts or are looking for an excuse to replace a bike. I burnt through two sets of brake pads (outside of regular maintenance and upkeep, I've never ever gone through a set of brake pads!) and destroyed a bottom bracket. I'm also trying to convince Peter that I need a new bike cause mine got too dirty.

Three days of riding through muck and water and all I get is a cap?
Pfffft. Fail.
The money spent on that could have been used to buy beer glasses (or even these glasses) - a very useful prize for finishing.

I don't recall a lot of fun sections of the course. But two do stand out: first, Sir Sam's. I was pleasantly surprised at how good Sir Sam's Ski Hill was. They did a great job putting a fast and flowy single track course there. It would have been nice to have been longer, cause it was so much fun, but it's only a small hill and I think they did a great job with the space that they had. Secondly, The North Shore Trail - yep, right at the start - twisty, rooty, rocky, loamy, up and down. It was long and difficult, but for some reason I loved it. Perhaps it was because I was still in a positive frame of mind as it came within the first few km's of the race and my spirit and soul hadn't yet been crushed under the sheer weight of the mud that I carried on my bike and clothing as I waded through swamps, bogs, marshes, puddles, and lakes.

Perhaps my wicked bad head/chest cold that developed during stage two, my dislocated sternum, the hole in my wallet that was caused from having to replace parts due to the shit ass conditions, all may have me being a tad negative. If you haven't found what you were looking for in my report have a look at these fine bloggers to see what they have to say:
Two last thoughts, Chico Racing did an absolute bang-up job putting this event on despite the horrid conditions. Organization was flawless, details were not over looked, good food, an amazing army of cheerful and supportive volunteers all were on their side, unfortunately Mother Nature was not. Finally, Adam Rupel of Chico Racing sent out an e-mail yesterday stating the following:
Course conditions were less than optimal, however many felt this was just part of the adventure. Riders who have participated in other stage races around the world including Trans Rockies, BC Bike Race, Transportugal and Cape Epic all said Crank was tougher. It is an amazing achievement just to finish Crank The Shield, whether you did the short course or long course. Congratulations to all finishers!

Many of you heard correct that there will not be a 3-day Crank The Shield mountain bike stage race in 2011, however we will be back with Crank The Shield 3-Day in 2012. We are seeking cash sponsorship, as well as some trail grants to make Crank The Shield 2012 the best yet. The market for mountain bike stage races is small, and the cost of hosting them at a high level is big.

So, there you have it. If Crank The Shield sounds like the itch in your underpants that you can't seem to scratch, you're going to have to wait until 2012 to get to it.

**Note: all who are seeking limited edition photos of the original big ring doing Crank The Shield are encouraged to go to Race Day Rush to order yours today. If you send them to me I will even kiss, rub all over my body and personally autograph all copies.

Spank The Monkey Race Report (Crank The Shield Race Report 2010)

Crank The Shield was "Wee Todd it. Sofa king wee Todd it." (say that three times fast)

I've been contemplating how to write up a positive race/ride report for Crank The Shield that I just took part in this past weekend up in and around Haliburton. I've been reading the past couple days the forum over on MTBR.com and was a bit surprised and shocked . . . . everyone was glowing at how great Crank The Shield was.

Now if there is a guy to throw a wet blanket on a circle jerk of "wasn't that fun!", then I'm your fella. I don't get it . . . . what was SO "awesome", "a great day on the bike", "another fun day", "funnest time yet" ?????? HELLO?!?!? Was I at the same race?!?!?!

Don't get me wrong . . . I did have fun (alot!) seeing old friends and meeting new ones, hanging out at the cabins, lolly gagging and the tomfoolery. The social aspect of race/ride events keeps me coming back for more and keeps me searching for new events to go to. But the two things go hand in hand - riding my bike AND socializing. If I only wanted to have an "awesome time . . . . the funnest yet" then I might consider renting a van, throwing all my buddies inside, driving to Montreal, eat a shit load of poutine, and go stuff loonies and toonies down strippers g-strings (not that that is my idea of fun.....hmmmm, or is it?!?).

Yes, fun is paramount to me when it comes to riding my bike, and socializing is right up there in priorities for a bike event, BUT I AM GOING TO THE EVENT TO RIDE MY BIKE . . . . not push it through mud. A bike race/ride should be just that - I should be riding my bike.

To me, the photo above sums up Crank The Shield.

What about the "rock'on single track" you ask? There was awesome single track? I must have blinked and missed it while trying to wipe the mud out of my eyes. Okay, okay . . . keep your panties on. There was some single track, and some of it was indeed fun. But for a race of this distance, I was disappointed at the amount and the quality.

I perhaps should have considered this as a weapon of choice for Crank The Shield.
Dear Riders,

Just a few notes leading up to the event.

1) Course Conditions

Realize going into this event that course conditions are far from optimal (Northern Ontario has had record rainfall July/August). Haliburton has been hit with a ton of rain in August with no reprieve for September. This is a wilderness mountain bike experience, so the less than ideal conditions are just part of it. Come in with a positive frame of mind as it is part of mountain biking.

Stage 2 has the most difficult conditions and will require you to dismount to cross puddles and a few swamps. There are lines marked around some of the puddles, as well as re-routes where possible, to help you.
- an ominous e-mail from Chico Racing the Wednesday before the event began

The weather was the biggest culprit. To be fair to race organizers, it rained a shit load this past month and as recent as Thursday evening the Haliburton area got a 20-30 mm dumping of rain. Every Chico Racing event that I have taken part in since beginning to race in 2002 has been nothing but stellar. It's a shame that they had such bad luck with Mother Nature.

Despite the horrid conditions, I finished . . . feeling a little dumbfounded nonetheless.
Yes, I poached this from Race Day Rush, but I am buying it for my Christmas card this year.

I was hoping to wrap up my thoughts and experiences in one blog post but like the mud and silt that still lingers in my clothing (even after soaking it and washing it twice) I think I have some more ramblings left in my head about my first, last and only CTS experience. More to come in the next couple of days, then I can get back to my Colorado trip.

Peter delivers the goods to CTS.

Keep laughing . . . you have no idea of what mud infested torture that awaits.

My fuzzy warm kiss blanket wasn't used to keep me cozy at night so much as it was used for a gas mask to filter out Dickie's stink ass farts which permeated every square inch of our cabin the first night.

"Dear Diary, I am having and awesome time . . . the funnest yet. Hugs and Kisses, Peter."

My shoes on the "driest" day. Pffftttt. My shoes were wet the entire race.

My bike on the "driest day". Pfffffttt.

Kenny Rogers (Guy) and Kim. Me and Kenny Rogers were duk'in it out . . . the old 'Guy' had legs.

Mark eating some post race food or a mouthful of mud.

There were good look'in people (Kari) everywhere.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dis'ed & Spank The Shield

Whatever.... to be honest, I'm not really looking forward to this weekend's 3rd installment of Crank The Shield. Tired and me thinks that I'm still in recovery mode from my recent trip to Colorado I can't seem to find the enthusiasm that I do wish I would have for this event. Supposedly it is an excellent event - no surprise, Chico Racing never fails to impress.

What's worse, as I mentioned in my first post on Colorado, I will be riding with a newly dislocated sternum. DISLOCATION! My second dislocation injury of the year! Stellar.

After x-rays and a thorough inspection, my doctor believes that I popped a few of the upper ribs or sternum out or inwards when I crashed. Since being back home things seem to have gotten worse - every little movement hurts: breathing, turning, laying down, sneezing and coughing are the worse. Sleeping is super uncomfortable and I only get a few hours of restless sleep a night. Got out for an hour ride yesterday and it kills to be on the bike. Three days, 235 km of trail, on a rigid single speed, racing . . . . fugg me.

Racing . . . indeed. I don't think I have to tell you that I won't be racing. I thought after coming back from riding at altitude that I'd be a God . . . however, after two short rides, I feel slow, tired and beaten. Three days of Crank The Shield will be well spent taking my time getting from aid station to aid station in one piece.

At least at the end of each stage there will be mountains of food (or there better be!) to be eaten and I'll have my 'bunk buddies' to carry my bag, clean my bike, tuck me in, scratch that itch, hold it while I pee, and read me a bedtime story Friday and Saturday nights.

Too busy to post for the rest of the week. Race report to follow, then it'll be the rest of my CO trip to talk about. That is all. Dismissed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Colorado Day One - Monarch Crest/Greens Creek

Actually, the following is Day Two of my trip, the first real day riding. Day one consisted of driving to Syracuse at 6 AM, coming "this" close to being stripped searched at customs, flying to Chicago, then onto Denver to be picked up by the Goat and family.

I was expecting the moment that I stepped off the climate controlled airplane, that flew me up to a mile high above everything else, that my chest would implode and breathing would become near impossible. It didn't feel like I was trying to breath through a straw, it didn't feel like someone was standing on my chest. Breathing, however, did feel slightly laoboured. I had to consciously think about my breathing - take deeper breaths, in & out. If I tried to breath normally I found myself getting a little anxious, as if all the oxygen around me was being sucked out by some invisible vacuum cleaner. I can almost relate it to what an anxiety attack must feel like. Also, the air was noticeably dryer than the humid nation's capital I reside in.

A very scenic drive out of Denver to the high country on Thursday morning led us to our first riding destination; Monarch Crest. "Go big or go home," is what Goat must have been thinking when he planned our rides. Monarch sits, from where we began riding, at 11, 313 feet above sea level. . . 11, 067 feet above Ottawa. Jeebus!

At this point I was slightly dizzy and my head hurt AND I hadn't begun to ride yet.

Right out of the gate we were climbing . . . and we climbed . . . and climbed. Sean and the Goat always in front. My heart rate shot through the sky and it seemed to take a long time to get it under control once I stopped or hit a flat section. Recovery was brutal.

You can see Sean and the Goat way off in the distance, above tree line on this mostly alpine ride.

Coming down Monarch Crest I bit it. Hard. It was like my mind was reacting two steps slower than what my body was experiencing. I found it difficult to concentrate and work the bike. It was a fairly smooth, straightforward section of trail.

I was headed downhill at a good clip, then the next thing I know I'm laying on the ground. I hit so hard that I didn't have time to get my hands/arms out. I landed on my chest with my right hand underneath me and heard and felt a loud "POP" in the middle of my chest. It would be a week later that I would learn that I dislocated my sternum (more on that later).

Sean at the trailhead of Greens Creek.

Towards the bottom of Greens Creek. It beat the shit out of me. It was rocky and bumpy and in my state, after my fall, being light headed, with a terrible headache and totally whipped I was glad to be almost done my first day in the mountains. Any other time, Green's Creek would have been fun as hell.

Almost dusk on the way to our campsite in a valley just outside of Crested Butte and we could this guy having an evening snack.

We had our own late night snack Hobo Style. Fire cooked beans and steak (in the tin foil).

The Gourmet Goat fixing us up some beans and steak.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Just back very early this morning from my trip down south in Colorado. One word sums it all up: Un-freaking-believable.

Gimme a few days to get all my 352 photos up on Flickr..... when you're surrounded by the beauty that I was riding in you end of taking a lot of shots. If you just can't wait, clicky clicky here to view Goats and Sean's photos. I did steal two photos from them that sums up the riding and the beauty.


Strand Hill Ride

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tour de Goat - it begins

Out of the office.....here's where I am:

Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman - Crested Butte, CO

Doctor Park - Crested Butte, CO