Thursday, May 29, 2008

West Nile Time Trial

Tonight was my second TT of the year, it was out on the Phelpston loop again. The last time we were out there it was cold rainy and a strong southeast wind. It Basically the exact opposite as tonight’s conditions. Nice sunny, and a lighter northwest wind. The funny part was we had 14 riders out on the crappy night but only 9 out tonight. (As a side note, I’m watching lost right now, and I can’t believe it just gets better and better. I almost gave up on this show in the second season. I’m really glad I didn’t) back to the TT. (Like seriously, this is fracking awesome)
My game plan for tonight was too head out at a conservative pace into the headwind keeping my legs turning over 100 rpm. Once I made the second turn at the halfway point and turn into the tailwind, I stuck it in my 53 11 and did my best Jan Ullrich impression, and brought my average wattage up another 30 watts for the final 7.5 km. I finished with a time of 22:18, which was 1:46 faster than my previous time on that course. Granted I did push more watts, on a faster bike, but I still think the conditions were faster. It seemed like everyone was about a minute faster. It was fast enough to lock up first with Kyle Fry second and Keith Columbus third.

Im pretty happy with the ride also because I set new wattage pr’s for 5 10 and 20 mins. I feel pretty good heading into this weekend. The title refers to the insane amount of mosquitoes.(see picture) I had to drive with all my windows down to try and blow them out. Well I have to get up early and head to the airport so ill leave it at that.

"your going to be a quarter century old"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

early week

Its been a fairly relaxing couple days back home. Monday was spent mostly unpacking and cleaning up from the saturdays race. I also redid the cables on the MTB, with a new special rear shifter housing routing.Which has turned out much better I then headed out for a couple hours on my fixie on some flat to rolling roads to give my legs some different cadences. Monday evening was capped off with a solid singlespeed ride out in midhurst which of course it rained for. There were a few rule violations with warnings being givin out to riders for using gears on their bikes.

Tuesday morning I continued the unpacking process, which is still unfinsihed. Followed by a bike/car wash party. And i also got my bike ready for the tuesday nighter. At 6:00 i headed over to sunnidale park for the ride, there wasn't the turnout i was hoping for but its a lot nicer riding with anybody when the weather isn't all that nice. After getting yelled at for riding at 26 km/hr on the front, i pulled off and let some others control the pace, funny enough it went up to 50 shortly after. After the first sign sprint,(which i led Fry out for the win) i looked back and noticed Larry and Tracy weren't there and turned around and rode back to the 7th. When i didn't see them i figured they wen't straight down the 7th to lakeshore. So i turned around and rode solo back into Barrie. When i got there Tracy was at second cup, he asked me if i saw Larry, i followed with "i thought he was with you". Turns out tracey snapped his rear mech off and had to call a friend for a ride back to town. Larry waited with him then was about a concession behind me all the way in. So not my favourite tuesday night ride i've ever done.

I had a few more things to do to my epic to get it ready for this weekend. Fry stopped by this morning to lend me his xtr crank tool, so i could switch my rings off. But i had to run to canadian tire to get a L t-30 socket cause my t-handle didn't have enough leverage to get the granny bolts off. While searching around i found a great deal on a whole whack of allen keys and torque wrenches in a kit. So of course i bought that. Well lets just say 24 minutes after buying the tools i was back in line at c-tire getting a refund cause the t-30 broke in half the second i tried to use it. I think it was made from aluminum. After procuring some more hardened tools i finally got my bike dialed for a test ride. So i headed out for a mtb training ride.....yes thats right i went out on a training ride off road on my MTB. You can breath again. I know i was shocked at myself. It was a good ride and i think i might try to do a little more this summer.

Up next is the clash of the titans 1.0. The 15 km bi weekly TT with be host for the watson vs fry eddy mercks style show down. Then the Manitoba team is flying in friday morning, so ill be shooting down to the airport to pick them up before presumably heading out to see sundays course.

until then

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Yogi Berra

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A few pics from Tremblant, all courtesy of Marek Lazarski

Finishing up

Post race debrief with Coach Vipond


Sunday, May 25, 2008

What is that big ball of gas in the sky called again???


The week leading up to the Tremblant canada cup was well the definition of Quebec in May. Cold and wet was the motto for Tuesday through Friday.

Tuesday after getting settled we headed out for late afternoons ride in a couple of groups. I headed out with Ben Blake along the road to the backside of the mountain. The skies looked threatening but not unbearable at about the 25 minute mark it started raining then the rain started to hurt. That’s about when we did an about face and retreated back to the mansion. The evening i put on Without Limits for the kids to watch and get them pumped up.

Wednesday the mission for the day was a double workout, a ride in the AM and then chill for a few hours and head out for a second ride. The first ride I led a group around Lac Superior and again it rained, the ride was about two hours but took a lot out of people so most called it a day. I headed out for an afternoon ride but I soon discovered my legs were a little shot too from John Fischer hammering the climbs. The day was topped off with Ryan Atkins cooking team cooking up a nice salmon and fresh cooked veggies.

Thursday I headed out for a recovery ride, to spin out my legs, the rest of the team headed out to try and get on the course to turn a few laps and get used to the tremblant singletrack. Dinner was one of my favorite, chicken and or steak fajitas.

Friday was a semi chaotic day, with the course not be "officially" open till noon, it meant that after training we would be spending the afternoon cleaning instead of putting our feet up and relaxing. Friday night was my cooking teams night to shine. We had a big challenge ahead of us, with Kyle Fry pulling out a Lobster the night before. But Jane, Jacob, John and myself put together a simple yet delicious helping of Pasta with alfredo, or Red Sauce, (oh yeah full menu) We used a secret Thomson family recipe for a kick ass Mandarin orange salad. The meal was finished off with a banana split, brownie, ice cream, desert.

Waking up Saturday morning my legs felt fresh and ready to go. After discussing high vs low glycemic foods with Fry for a while we decided to put quick oats vs slow cook oats to the test on the course. I warm-up as usual and headed to the start line. My plan was to get to the singletrack in a top 10 position. When we started I guess everyone else just wanted to roll out nice and easy and I ended up getting a 30-foot gap at tempo. I rode in the lead until the top of the course on the first lap. When a group containing Zandstra, Toulouse, Raph and myself. We lapped through together and headed out on the second of five laps. In the first piece of singletrack Zandstra lost his chain and which jumbled things up and left Raph up the trail a bit and Toulouse and I wheel to wheel about 10 seconds back. On the main climb I went by Toulouse and rode up to within a few bike lengths to Raph into the single track. Raph was able to put about 20 seconds into me which I wasn’t able to close up on the climb and the gap grew from there for the next few laps till I was 1:45 back. Going into the last descent I decided to play it safe and make it my smoothest run down, to avoid any crashes and or flats. I was able to enjoy my ride into the village, which was nice to be racing in the top three again after a couple years.

The evening was highlighted by the final team dinner out at the pizza teria. Followed by a little walk around the village before catching a shuttle (thanks fry) back to our house on the hill.

I had a great time with the project especially meeting and riding with a bunch of new riders. Abig thanks to John Hughes, Nick Vipond and Kevin Simms who along with the OCA put together a great trip which saw a lot of high finishes(mostly 4ths for some reason)

check Fry's blog for some team shots

Next up the canada cup at hardwood which is always nice to be able sleep in my own bed for.

A few choice quotes

"Its like riding aluminum all your life and saying carbon sucks"

"How was the OCA trip"
"Good. there was a shortage of chairs"

"Oh, this isn't the bike path?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Post Bromont

Well Sunday greeted us with warm temperatures and sun. So the team decided to ride into granby on the paved rail trail trail for a sit down coffee. The ride was also to double as a recovery ride, which was good cause my legs were toast from Saturdays hill workout.
It turns out I rode way to hard on Saturday cause I quickly found myself riding at the back and being pushed back on by Mike Mitchnick. The post coffee pace wasn’t bad and my legs actually started to come around near the end. We finished the day with a trip over to watch the Downhill, where again I was dropped while hiking up the hill to the DH.

If you looked up Bromont Weather in the dictionary Monday would be it. Cold, cloudy and rainy. We developed the theory that they built a track here as a rain collector. The team split into three groups for the days ride, one worked solely on the technical riding which was aided by the rain. Another was a climbing/exploring group. The third was a steady training pace with a some good climbs and descents. I hooked into the third group with LJ, Fry, and Hughes. It was great to have some people to ride with in the rain. Zach led up the climbs with LJ bombing the DH’s. I was always in the middle it seemed like.

The afternoon was spent cleaning and relaxing with a few movies being watched. We went to sleep hoping we could get on the track Tuesday morning.

Well surprise surprise the track was too wet to ride. So we packed up and headed to a slightly different type of track. The Granby go kart track. And these weren’t no sissy wasaga beach karts. These were pretty close to the real deal. Powerful brakes and fast motors. With money on the line the entire project of 17 people headed out for a 20 min free for all. Groups quickly formed I found myself with preston wagler for most of it. There were some spectacular crashes which left the track littered with spun karts and tires. Myself and Preston battled for about 5 laps with his Brother Tyson coming in do a little shake and bake. But he quickly found himself sideways and it was back to me and Preston. We traded paint in a few corners coming into the final couple laps things really heated up with Preston driving me into the inner tire barriers on a left hand corner. I remembered the PIT maneuver and in a move my Brother would be proud of, I tapped the brake, which brought his rear wheel to my front, and I turned right as hard as I could and hit the gas. A beautiful spin insued and I was left to bask in my glory.

Fastest time went to Jacob, with me in second, Kyle fry had a smoking time of 10 seconds faster than anybody else, but later analysis showed he cut the course and was later dq’d……again.

Im currently in the van with the team heading to Tremblant for my 10th race. Maybe I can repeat my first win here ten years ago?

"Can we stop for food"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Criterium Canada Cup

The weekend started off with a 1:00 p.m. departure from Barrie on Thursday with the Ontario team. I was invited as a "Role Model" which was quickly shortened to RM. To help give the young guns a little guidance and a few "when I was your age….." speeches.
After losing to Kevin Simms in License plate poker, stereotype the driver, and the song game we arrived at the Bromont Cycling centre at 9:00 p.m. Basically we all the just crashed and got some sleep.

Friday was the typical pre-ride day, we did a nice group lap which took about 17 minutes with stops. The lap was a 4km nascar style course. With 96% of the climbing in the first 6 minutes. Then some rolling singletrack before coming back to the climb for a total lap time of 14 minutes. The race would be 8 laps even after my best efforts to make it 9 to stay in line with UCI regulations. We came back and feasted on pre race food. I had the opportunity to sit in with coaches Nick Vipond and Kevin Simms as they had one on one meetings with all the athletes.
Morning of the race, I was pleasantly surprised to see the weather report say no rain, something that is basically unheard of at this race. I had my usual breakfast of coffee and a little bit of food. And we headed over to the race site. The race was scheduled to start at noon……but since we are in a different country they decided maybe 12:30 would be better. After chilling in the ontario team tent for a bit (p.s. there is a shortage of chairs) At 12:15 we headed over to the staging area for call up. Racing for team Ontario in this wave was Ryan Atkins, Jacob, Fry, myself as the seniors. Ben Blake, Tyson Wagler, John Fischer, and Zach hughes as juniors men. Jane Thomson, and Ashley Barson would be the Junior Women.

The cadets, Mitch Bailey, Preston Wagler, Natasha Oldcorn and Cayley Brooks raced at 10. All with some great results, Mitch had a little bad luck and had to run it in with a knee the size of a football but he finished.

The race started off as usual kinda fast but actually not fast enough. I got boxed out and found myself doing trackstands up the first climb. Mike Garrigan charged up the first climb but the rest of the field held back which caused chaos in the middle of the group. I reached the top of the first climb in 15th ish, and headed down the ultra sketchy ski hill in a cloud of dust to the second climb of the lap a 2-minute grind up the singletrack. I think I passed on or two people on this one and was definitely in the top15 going into the single track section. The next couple laps I just though pacing was key to make sure I didn’t blow up on the 6th lap. I rode behind Marty for a couple laps just inside the top ten. About halfway through I shifted down a gear and "Attacked" Marty and built a bit of a gap, while going past a few fading riders and Matt Toulouse who flatted his 300 gram tires. I found myself in 4th place for the last two laps. Which is pretty much where I stayed. I think the thing that kept me going was trying to guess who would give me my bottle on the next lap. We recruited the Cadets to feed us and they took turns so each lap it was someone new. I rolled in for 4th which was my best first Canada cup in about three years. I also think it was the toughest course I have ever raced on.

We capped off the evening with a nice long meal at the golden retriever restaurant, were they do not serve golden Retriever.

I would like to thank the lords of Kobol, the OCA for giving me some wicked on site support, The Barrie Cycling Club for their support.

"Andrew are we on the 4th lap?"

"No, we are on the 3rd"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers Day Showdown

The weekend started out with a little pre-ride of the course on Friday afternoon. The race this weekend was held at Albion Hills conservation area just north of Bolton. A fairly fast course with a long of short punchy climbs, and a few tight pieces of singletrack. And of course the infamous Green Monster a 100 meter(ish) long middle ring grind.

I arrived a little bit earlier than normal on Sunday and watched the 11:30 races start, and began the hunt for a feeder. Since my Mom had to work, I don’t think mothers should have to work on mothers’ day. They should be at the kids bike races feeding them. My search proved fruitful with securing the services of Kevin Haviland, if he had a dollar for every time he has helped me out, he would have a lot of dollars. The day was a little on the chilly side, with overcast skies and a cool breeze.

I was a little unsure of my legs so I started conservatively, and just tried to settle into the pace of the race. The first half lap saw a flurry of attacks, most notably Cam Jette, who took a page out of the Zach Winn handbook and launched a very intimidating burst of speed. My legs felt a little heavy and I was hoping the pace would blow out the cobwebs, after the green monster a lead group of 5 formed. Mike G, Zandstra, Morka, Batty and myself. After coming back down off the green monster my legs were just not recovering as fast as I had hoped. I switched onto cruise control and lost contact with the lead group. It wasn’t long before I was collected by Pete "grizzly" Glassford. Knowing Pete would ride a steady pace I latched onto his wheel. I’ve always struggled a little at Albion, it’s a great course but I have trouble finding a good rhythm on it so it was nice to follow a wheel around. The gap grew to about a minute thirty to the leaders in the first two laps. Which is where it pretty much stayed for the final three, well at least for Peter. On the fourth lap Pete and Myself moved to 4th and 5th with Zandstra and Morka leading, and Mike G somewhere in between. I was excited to start the final lap, knowing it would only hurt for another 25 minutes, and hurt it did. I knew that if I could get up the green monster without blowing I could roll the rest pretty good. Which is pretty much what happened With Pete cracking the whip and shedding me ¾ of the way up. From there it was just about damage control, with the race going over two hours (a rare thing these days) I could feel my endurance being tested. Nearing the finish line I saw Brendan Matheson, senior expert contender, just ahead of me I thought just get to his wheel and he’ll pull me in. Nope he pulled over and wanted to hop on my wheel (slacker).

I rolled in for fifth, 2:16 back, I’m not exactly thrilled about the position, but I think it could have been worse. I really wanted to win it for my mom, but I think everybody had the same idea.
A big thanks to my mother, Maria, for giving birth to me a quarter century ago, Kevin Haviland for the feeds, The BCC for their support, and others.

Next up, a trip to Quebec for the first two rounds of the Canada Cup series at Bromont on Saturday followed a week later by Tremblant. I’ve been invited on the OCA Development Project for the two races as a "Role Model". I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to impart some wisdom on some younger riders. Something I was lucky enough to have as a younger rider, which helped me a lot.

"i can't think of anything"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

First TT of the season

Well this past Thursday was the first club TT of the season, the weather wasn’t great it was windy and drizzly and dark and cloudy and windy. Usually these conditions keep some riders indoors so it was nice to be there and see 14 riders out for it. We were testing out a new course up Phelpston way which is nice for me cause its a lot closer than the oro course. Instead of an out and back it was a loop with four corners. It was nice not having to do a 180 on a narrow road. But it made for a tough ride since it felt like I was fighting the wind on all but one stretch of road. I was last to start, and my minute man was Shane. I started out at a good clip and by the second corner about halfway I did a time check and had put 10 seconds into him. Another nice thing about corners is its easy to do time checks. The third section of road was tough, slight uphill, rough pavement, and a good crosswind. I was pushing hard to break 30 kph. Then we turned onto crossland road for the final stretch of road south to the finish. Usually the wind would be strong from the north but today it was from the south and made for a grind right to the finish. By the last corner I knew I had put about 30 seconds into Shaner and I came across the line in 24:04. Yup that was a tough 15 km. At the wattage I pushed I can usually go under 22 easy on the 15/16 course we do. But I’m looking forward to going back and bettering that time, a nice northwest wind would cut some time off for sure.

Tonight (sat) I’m a guest speaker at the OCA cadet camp. Which I am kinda nervous about. I’m not good speaker no not me am. I did something similar a couple years ago for HH devo and it was a disaster along the lines of Brittany Spears last performance. So hopefully tonight goes better, I have some cheat sheets and a little better idea of what they want me to talk about. I hope they know ill be missing battlestar to talk to them, they better appreciate it.

This afternoon im spending some time working on my sewing skills as i change my large leaders jersey into a small for the upcoming o-cup.