Monday, April 28, 2008

It’s a snowy Monday morning so I thought I would spend the a.m. hours(yes it takes me hours to write these) to write up a little post race debrief. As the wet snow falls Starbuck and I are chillin on the couch sipping a fine cup of instant coffee. Yesterday was the first Ontario Cup race of the season held at the best spring venue in Ontario, Mansfield outdoor center.
The weekend started with turning a couple laps Friday afternoon, one with new singlespeeder Matt McCartney where he laid down some smack. To sum up in one word the course was fast, with great flow.
Saturday I just did a ride from home to double check the bike was working properly. Then I put my feet up and watched Tony Stewart show Jr. how to finish a race. Followed by episode 4 of the final season of Battlestar, which just keeps getting better and better, although darker and darker, but bottom line the best show on television. There is no doubt.
Sunday we loaded up the Windstar and headed over to the race. Even though we had some new rowdy neighbors move in two doors down who kept me up all night, I felt rested. Arriving at around noon I got "kitted up" in my BCC stuff for my first MTB race as a BCC racer. I warmed up with Shane and new addition to the city of Barrie Kyle Fry. Then we headed to the start line where I quickly noticed last years overall winner Derrick Zandstra was not there, something about him eating Belgian waffles or something. Also sophomore senior racer Zach "attack" Winn was absent, as he has not made it back from School in the states yet. Though returning to Ontario Cup racing was Matt Martindill, so we still had a very strong field.
My race plan was basically ride hard till I blow up, with that in mind I started off at a good clip and found myself leading up the first climb and into the first singletrack. By the second lap it was still myself leading with Adam Morka on my wheel which is basically how we rode the last 4 laps. I think he may have had a chain hooked up to my seatpost or something. I kept my pace redlined wondering a) if I was going to blow and b) when Adam was going to pull out and attack me. Neither of which happened and it came down to a "sprint" through a bunch of 180 corners which basically made it impossible to actually sprint. And I was rewarded at the finish line with nice cold chocolate milk. Not to mention with a wicked leaders jersey to wear at the next Ontario Cup at Albion hills in two weeks. (see pic)
Well my coffee is gone and the snow has stopped so I think ill go buy some actual coffee. But before that I have to thank my team manager/feeder Maria. Also the Ruppel brothers along with the whole Chico racing crew for once again putting on a great event. And I also want to wish a speed recovery to Andy Willing.
Quote of the race

"way to go Mike"
"I’m Adam"

"good ride Mike"
"I’m Adam"

"go get em Mike"
"I’m Adam"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

For whom the bell tolls.

That was not I this morning, after spending the evening getting all my gear organized for my third Paris to Ancaster, I set my cell phone alarm for 6:00 a.m. hoping to leave at 6:45 ish. A nice bright sun pleasantly awakened me right in my eyes. I looked at my watch and sure enough 7:22. Ok so there I was laying in bed and I should have been halfway down the 407. To make this worse I was supposed to meet up with another racer from Barrie (well midhurst) at 8:00 to be able to leave a car at both the start and finish (it’s a point to point).
Thanks to my ocd I had everything packed up and ready to go the night before, so all I had to do was throw my stuff in the car and I was on the road by 7:32. The really crappy part was I had to stop at Tim Hortons for "coffee", it was a challenge to choke it down but I didn’t have time to brew up any myself.
After breaking a couple land speed records I pulled into registration at 9:00 to see Brad hadn’t abandoned me and had all my registration kit all ready for me.
We left my car at the finish and headed the 30km down the 403 to the start in Paris. We arrived with about 25 minutes to spare, which on a normal day would have me freaking but it was such a nice day and I was crazy excited just to get back to racing I really didn’t care. I did a short 250 meter warm-up and then lined up to ensure a good start position, since the first 10-15 minutes are pretty chill I decided to opt for a front line spot as opposed to a regular warm-up.
As an added challenge this year I decided to convert my cross bike into a single speed. I knew my chances of winning the whole shebang were pretty much out the window I was still aiming for a top ten overall. I was also lining up for my first full year in Barrie Cycling Club clothing, after a short term cross contract we decided to extend it through this year.
So the race started out pretty much to plan, except during the first couple of pot holed gravel sections, my chain fell of the pulley wheel of my chain tensioner. I back pedaled quick and it went back on. I didn’t want to stop right then cause I would have been back about 200 people in 30 seconds so I decided to wait until the first steep climb that takes you off the rail trail and onto the first gravel road. I knew I’d be running so I’d just double-check the tensioner there were I would loose a lot less positions.
Everything was going well I was riding comfortably near the front end of the race staying out of trouble on the first rail trail section which is known for its crashes. Sure enough about halfway to the run up my 15-dollar tensioner gave way and I was left on the side of the trail looking for the pieces. After a couple minutes of trying to find the pulley wheel in the leaves I decided to try to take out a link with my tool and see if it would work with out the tensioner.
Luckily the chain was almost a perfect fit, it was a bit tight but I was able to ride it no problem. So I put my head down and began the chase to see how far up in the results I could get. I knew there were 249 riders in front of me from the first wave. The next 55km was pretty much a blur of gravel, wind and chasing down group after group. Nearing the end I started seeing some familiar faces so I knew I had moved up a far bit. I caught a large group before the first of two "chutes" which basically signals the beginning of the end. The most dreaded part of the race for many and myself today is the final climb to the finish, its not very long but its steep, I think I was pushing around 30 rpm. After all was said and done I finished 28th overall and 2nd in the singlespeed class.
A big thanks to Brad Watts for helping me out today, next up Mansfield next Sunday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Awenda Ride

Yesterday(sunday13th) i headed up to Awenda provincial park for a long endurance ride. This was the first time i did the ride solo, i've done it a few times with the club. Somehow i only took one wrong turn. The ride up past penetang took a little more time than expected, i was hoping 3 hours but with the long uphill grades, and steady headwind it was closer to 4. I think my average speed was around 20-21 kph. The ride back was a little nicer i just hopped on crossland rode and i was soft pedalling at over 40 so i got home in no time.

View of blue mountain from Tiny Beaches road, come july the scenery in this picture would be breathtaking.

In Awenda , still lots of snow but the road was perfect.

Blue mountain in the distance about halfway up. (pics are in reverse order)

"the olympics are not to be used politically"
(I think it took me about 20 mins to stop laughing)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring has arrived……kind of.

So far I’ve knocked off some of my favorite long rides, including river road, pretty river and a solid moonstone ride that I tacked on the end of the pancake ride.

Today I went for a little trail run, which was made difficult with the amount of snow still in the forest, I think MTB season is still a few weeks off.

Tomorrow im thinking of riding up to Awenda Provincial Park and back, the park road might be a little interesting this time of year.

As a side note, I think I broke my hand today…well not really but it really fracking hurts,

Yes this is very choppy writing, but I haven’t been at this for a while.

"Is it possible to learn the power?"
"Not from a Jedi"
gotta love the spike star wars marathon