Sunday, September 28, 2008

I woke up to heavy fog this morning and got everything together loaded up the van for the drive down to Guelph. Starbuck, my mom and I arrived just in time to watch the 11:30 race start. The new venue in Guelph looked small at first but the course was very well laid out to make good use of the terrain. The course featured a lot of technical turns some flat some off camber.

I was a little nervous lining up for my first CX race of the year with all the heavy (southern) Ontario hitters. I started out smart and just sat back a few wheels, and waited for the race to shake up a bit. Everybody was finding there lines through the many turns so there were a couple buzzing tires and quick passes. My first move of the race came on the first lap when we hit the first single barrier at the bottom of a long climb. Most riders opted to shoulder the bike and run all the way. I chose jump back on after the barrier and ride it. There was lots of traction, so the trick was making sure I was in a good gear and hitting my pedal on the first attempt as soon as I jumped on. It took a couple pedal strokes but once I got moving I was able gain a lot of ground and rode from 5th to 1st in no time. But its just as easy to loose time in cross as I learned in the next corner as I tried to pedal through it my foot hit the off camber ground and I found myself sliding sideways. KD and Box got by me thankfully without running me over and I was back in the mix. I was filtered back to 5th or 6th heading out onto the 2nd lap. Where I spent a few sections recovering waiting for the next move to come. Nathan clipped out coming out of a corner, which caused a bit of a break. As we hit the hill I was able to remount again and ride into the lead, this time holding onto it through the corners and down onto the flats. There was still 8 laps to go so I wasn’t sure if I could hold onto the lead. Mark Batty took up the chase but the rest of the field splintered which I think worked in my favour as a group wasn’t formed to drive it back up. I was able to put a couple seconds into Mark every lap and formed a nice cushion with about 4 laps to go. I settled into a nice pace and just tried to ride smart and not bail on one of the off camber corners or higher speed baseball diamond corners. I crossed the line in first, which I was well satisfied with. SRCC awards are always a hit with racers since they distribute Wellington to the top three.

Up next in 6 days is the Hillbilly Hustle, then a couple weeks off racing before the ottawa vs southern ontario showdown in Kingston

Quotes of the day
"Watson, I didn’t know you had a younger sister"
Scott Kelly

"Newman's first law: It is useless to put on your brakes when you're upside down."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

re tooling

So the past week I've spent getting back into a training rhythm. Monday and Tuesday were shorter rides culminating in the last tuesday night road ride. I was aiming for the win but Orrin beat me out, it was a feroucious sprint at about 12.5 kph. The last three days ive started to pile on some hours with some nice "LSD" rides. Each one a little longer than the previous.

I've also been piecing together a new cross bike, built on a Norco CCX 1, I've finally "upgraded" to 10 speed. Still a single ring so it is truly a ten speed bike. All built up its 17.8 lbs, not bad considering its not exactly a light frameset. I took it out for a spin tonight, and its a nice ride. Stiff like a bike should be, and some nice ergonomic features like a flat top tube for nice shouldering. A big open triangle also for ease of flipping it onto the shoulder. Im looking forward to racing it tommorow at the my first CX race of the year in Guelph. I was planning on doing the squeezer....but im not getting into that.

The weather looks like it will turn a little nasty this week so it will be a good test of my motivation. ill keep you posted on future developments.

"Defending Hillbilly champ Andrew Watson put on a show last year winning the first lap preme and then blowing up, dropping deep into the field and then charging the last 20 minutes back to win"

.....thats putting it nicely

Monday, September 22, 2008

cts day 3

Day three was looked forward to by everyone as it was guaranteed to be dry(er). We also were able to sleep in a little bit, as the ride didn’t start till 9:30. The race organization ran into its first hitch this morning when we were greeted by one coffee maker with one pot for everyone. The line for the coffee was unbearable long. After a couple shots of weak coffee we got packed up and headed to the start for a 17km neutral ride led by the OPP.

Matt and I rode near the front and as we looked back it was quite a sight to see 260 ish riders two wide on a awesome country road. We had to stop once cause the a few people were falling off the pace. It was also the coldest morning, which saw a lot of people bundled up.

We staged quickly and were under way for the short 50km run into Haliburton forest base camp. I do have to say one person who was notably missing from the weekend was Kyle Fry. But he thought it would be more fun to stay home and jump over parking cones. Back to the race, the start was the hardest of the race with a 1 km climb up a gravel road with the leaders setting a high pace and everyone else hanging on as long as possible. As we turned onto the hydro cut I got the feeling a couple of the solo riders who had been finishing in front of us the first two days were a little tired, Dave Dermont, Parnel, Ingram were all showing signs of fatigue so I wanted to try and get away with Matt and have a good stage finish. I could also see the 4 lead solo riders and set out after them. I put a little time into them and kept the pressure up.

I got the smell of blood in the water and just went with it. I would check over my shoulder to make sure Matt was still there. When I did I would see a Norco jersey and was pleased with the pace Matt and I were riding. At the top of a climb I looked back and realized it wasn’t Matt and it was actually Norco solo rider Imad. Matt was at the back of the group of 4. When Matt and I got back together we settled into a high tempo and got back to riding our own race. The stage had some big climbs and along with them came some good decents. We played these safe even with my 800 gram unflatable tires I didn’t want to take any chances with flats as we were only 25 minutes up on second place who I know are strong riders. Ingram, dermont, both flatted early. Matt and I rode straight passed the first feed station and headed up a long climb. We were joined by "random dude" Basically after two days of seeing the same riders around us it was odd to see some new guy come out of nowhere. I would later find out it was Les Symmes the Senior expert provincial champ from mountainview cc. He quickly rode away from us. As the stage went on Matt and I started to have more fun just riding the awesome trails, and kinda let the stage just happen. Knowing we at least had the overall barring a big problem.

While on a long climb all we could here was yelling from behind, Matt informed me it was Mark Summers. Riding a fully rigid singlespeed, we quickly formulated a plan that involved Matt holding him down and me breaking his leg. He rode up to us on a gravel road section and just settled in behind. We hit the normac trail which we knew was the last section of trail before the finish. I stopped for a nature break, figuring with all the press at finish line, cnn, cbc, bbc, to name a few I wouldn’t be able to get away. We gathered up up Imad who also flatted and finished up together.

As the olympic single speed champion I have to give Summers mad props and fear that he will show up the worlds next year. I have to say I was more sad than relieved to finish. I had an awesome time, the whole experience was awesome. I couldn’t have gotten a better race partner Matt kept me positive the whole time and kept me pushing right to the line each day.
After an awesome BBQ and awards Starbuck and mom drove me back to buckwallow to pick up my car and I headed home. This morning I woke up and felt weird not getting dressed and heading out to a start line with over 250 other people for a day of pounding through mud bogs.

"Do you guys have any brake pads"

CTS day 2

Kandalore to Halibuton 85km

At the previous nights dinner Sean went over the course for the next day and promised it would be dryer which would be good cause there was a lot more ATV trail and less road than the first day.

It was the earliest start at 9 but we had to roll out of camp at 8:30 to ride to the start line which was at the same place we finished at on day one. After a quick call up of the top riders we headed out. We rode gravel road for about 1 km before turning left onto the "b" trail which was 14km of mud bog after mud bog after water crossing. We were riding on more exposed rock, which I guess was part of the Canadian shield, it definitely shielded the water from emptying out of the low points on the trail. We had a good start Matt and I got caught behind a couple guys and I was worried the second place team would sneak by so I put in a good effort to get into sight of all the leaders. Once I knew they were all solo guys I settled into a good solid pace with Matt.

I should have put this in the first days report but the Third place team was Bretton Matthew’s (whos like 15 or 16) Tomas Wood. The second place team was non other than the Long Sault Long shots. Paul Loughran and Mike Davidson. If you refer back to my 24 hour post back in august they were the team that we(BCC) battled with the entire race and lost by a hair on the last lap. And Paul was "my guy" that I was always chasing at the 24 hour. So I felt obligated to win it not only for Norco but for the BCC. We had 10 minutes after the first day so we wanted to at least hold onto that if not extend it.

Matt and I quickly formed into a group with Hamish Gordon, Terry Schinkel, and young rider Cory Hancock. This is basically what it was like, one guy leads and tries to find the best way through something and everyone else leaves a gap and waits to see if it was a good line, then depending on how the leader does tries a different line or follows. Sometimes you would make it through other times you would sink down to your waist. We caught up to the over 80 team as they were basicaly chest deep in water and mud never saw them again. Thinking back we should have stopped and pulled them out but they looked like good swimmers.

After an hour of that Cory, who was riding with a gps, gave us the bad news that we had only done 13 km. We all looked at each other as we did the math 85 divided by 13 = a long day of riding and we could only hope the course got faster. We stopped and refueled at the first feed station and found ourselves on a nice gravel road for a couple km which was nice before headed back into the rough stuff on our way to Minden.

Once we hit a hydro cut most of the bad stuff was behind us and the course became much more rideable. We gathered up Terry Vanden heuvel, who was starting fade a bit. I asked Cory if I wanted to know how far we had ridden and he quickly and firmly said no. I didn’t push and figured we’d get there when we got there. We came through Minden at about 3 hours in, which we knew was over halfway and it was a nice ride right through town, I was tempted to stop and try to find a nice coffee shop, but remembered it was a race. We came up to the second aid station which was 35 km to go. When we got there we found Imad who was riding with the lead solo guys for a while but kinda hit the wall and was chillin there. We did a pretty long climb out of the feed and I put the pressure on I really wanted to get to the rail trail. Which was the last section. A 19km slight uphill grade to Head lake park in Haliburton. I knew if I could get to that I could shut off my brain and just ride in. In the process we shed a couple riders and it was down to Matt, the two Terry’s, Cory and myself. We hit the rail trail and thanked our respective makers that we didn’t have to ride through anymore mud.

My endurance was once again tested as I really started to hit the wall in the last 5km of the rail trail. The Dutchman and Matt put in some hard pulls which shot me out the back and I had to fight my way back on. Matt noticed I was in trouble and pulled off the front and let Cory and Terry come through to sprint it out. As Matt pulled me in a couple seconds later. We were able to put on another 15 minutes into the 2nd place team which was nice.

A tough day for sure. A few people got pulled off the course for not making the time cuts. We loaded up on buses or a short ride to camp white pine for another amazing dinner and some very nice accomodations.

Quote of the day
"It will be a lot dryer than yesterday"

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Im going to split this up into three separate posts so that if I fall asleep mid report there is something to read.

First off there are two huge thanks I have to give to Norco Bicycles, and my riding partner Matt Paziuk for having me on the Team for this weekend. The bike, a Norco Faze, and the on site support was world class. And secondly to Adam and Sean Ruppel, Matt Douglas and the entire Chico racing crew including all the volunteers and helpers who made it an amazing three day adventure.

Buckwallow to Kandalore 75 km

I headed up to Buckwallow for the 10 am start with some time to spare to double check my bike and make sure everything was ready to go. I was anxiously awaiting the start. Before I left in the morning my mom even commented on my pacing and uneasiness the prior few days. After a pre-race meeting we all lined up, I think about 275 people. We started out at a nice easy pace for our loop of Buckwallow for 10km of nice rolly terrain and the last single track we’d see for a couple days. We dumped out onto the paved road and headed in a northeast direction on 16 km of mostly paved roads. A huge group formed near the front of the race the pace was raised a few times but nothing ever stuck, with MTB gears on fast paved roads nothing was going away.

After an hour of just rolling along we turned left into the first atv/snowmobile section. The race basically just shattered at this point. This is when the adventure started. I knew it was going to be wet, but oh man I have never seen anything like this. We were off our bikes every minute or two running around a bog. Or we would try to ride on the edge off one until your rear wheel would break loose and you would end up sideways. Sometimes you would try to ride them to discover it was wheel deep. It was a blast for the first hour then it quickly got old and I just wanted to ride my bike. Luckily there was plenty of gravel road sections in between these rugged atv trails. So there was plenty of time to regroup. Matt and I would use these sections to recover cause it took so much energy to run them we wanted to be good and fresh going in. At this point I wasn’t too sure if we were sitting in first in the team race or not. There was a two man team just behind us which we would find out later were in the over 80(combined age) category. But other than that we just tried to ride a good solid pace. We ended up catching up to a couple riders, Imad and Rob which turned into who could crack the best joke competition. This was around the time we were walking over a beaver damn between two big ponds.

At the second feed station we stopped and grabbed a bunch of food, and drink and carried on knowing we were getting close. Matt and I kept the pressure on and as we popped out onto a gravel road Sean Ruppel was there telling us it was 7 km on the road to the finish. This is about when I started to crack and Matt went to the front and rode us in to the finish. Kyle Douglas who was MC’ ing the event told us we were the first two person team so I was pretty stoked about that.

After the stage we had to keep riding to the Kandalore summer camp we were staying at. Kyle gave us some quick directions and said it was like 3-4 km. As we were riding I ran out of fluid, and started to shut down. As we quickly realized it was more like 6 km mostly uphill which finished with a categorized climb into camp.I really started to struggle. I threw it in the granny and almost had my head on my bar. I think Matt noticed I was hurting but didn’t want to say anything. At the end of the day we rode about 75km but only climbed 800 meters so not much climbing.

We grabbed our bags got cleaned up and mowed down on some food while we socialized and bragged along with other riders about how hard it was and how tough we are. Dinner was awesome, after awards we all settled in to our cabins, Matt, another guy and myself were in "the riddle" it was ummm well, rustic. Basically four plywood walls, and a plywood ceiling. But it was dry and clean so no worries. As I got into my sleeping bag I was pretty warm so I took off some clothes, but by the time 4 or 5 in the morning rolled around I was freezing and struggling to get some clothes back on.

Quote of the day
"And here come a couple riders finishing up."
Kyle Douglas announcing through a loud speaker with absolutely no one around for miles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

less than 24 hours

Its the morning before the morning Matt Paziuk and I set out to win CTS. I'm just trying to get organized and ready to go. Im heading up to Buckwallow this afternoon, to get registered and pick up the bike im riding for the weekend. Hopefully ill be able to get a lap or two of the Buckwallow section of the course in. We can't register till 4 so it will be a late afternoon return home for the final packing, and then its to bed early for a early drive back up for the start at 10 am.

I can't really remember being this excited to start a race. The weather looks like it will be awesome for racing. Just under 20 and sunny.

Also i have a funny story, which really makes it easy to believe why the US is having huge financial problems and Canada isn't far behind. I walked into my bank just to get a form, and the nice teller says that i automatically qualify for a 20,000 dollar credit card, a 20,000 dollar line of credit, 3,500 dollar overdraft, and a Loan which she didn't say for how much. I almost started cracking up laughing. Without getting into my finances to much ill just say i shouldn't be able to get over 40,000 dollars in credit. When i said i wasn't interested she looked at me like i had two heads, or like "are you stupid? take it, its free money" kind of a look. I bet i could get a sub-prime mortgage on a half million dollar house if i said please. So if you think its bad in the states just wait.

"Luckily i'm diversified, i have 25% in Lehman brothers, 25% in Merill Lynch, 25% in AIG, and 25% in Little Shavers, its shaving supplies for toddlers"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

a little stir crazy

Well im packing in the vacation a day early and getting back to training tommorow. I tried for 4 days off, but couldn't pull it off.

I just can't take another day of not riding, when its this nice out and the season isn't anywhere close to being over.

if your reading this Matt, you better get your carbs in, there will be some serious wattage put out next weekend.

Also my Beautiful Epic is up for sale fyi

"how many bikes should we lock up tonight?"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mountain view?

Saturday night i headed to downtown Toronto to the 54th floor of the TD center and the Canoe Restaurant for my cousin Kyle's wedding. We made it just in time to be seated right beside an amazing view of the waterfront. It was a really nice wedding, though my idea of the perfect wedding is two tickets to vegas and and Elvis minister. After a nice gourmet meal, of a crazy salad and "B.C. Sablefish" which we later found out was Cod. We headed home but not after my Grandpa explained to the server that i was racing the next day so he was drinking for the both of us.

After the wedding on Saturday night I was a little tired and slept in to the best of my ability. I think I made it to 10:00 a.m. I was hoping for 11:00 with an 11:30 departure to head up to the hill. I woke up to pouring rain and checked the weather for Midland which showed 90% chance of rain.(I never learn) I ditched my dry wheels and went for a more aggressive tread. Sure enough when we arrived at 12:30 the rain stopped and the sun starting to come out. I was all registered so all I had to do was show up on the start line at 1:30. I did a little warm up and the legs still weren’t feeling much better. So I was pretty sure I was going to DNF. Since 1997 I have only once finished a provincial MTB race once without winning, which was a 4th in 98. Other than that it was a win or a technical DNF. So I was just wondering what would it be, flat? Chain? Pedal exlosion?

The race started out heading straight up the "mountain", it was a good way to start the race it sorted itself out pretty quick and we filed into the singletrack. Stu Alp lead the start up the hill and took the pressure of the rest of the field so I wasn’t thrown out the back right away and I rolled into the singletrack in around 10th. I was pretty comfortable there, I knew it was going to be a full length 2 plus hour race, not a 1:40 sprint race. So I was patient and tried to stay relaxed and see if my legs would follow. I was riding on KD’s wheel and Glassford came by so I jumped onto his wheel, knowing a nice steady pace would follow. KD jumped on my wheel with Ryan Atkins chasing up from behind on his Big Wheel. I was feeling good about being on Pete’s wheel until he forgot how to ride a bike for half a lap and started bouncing off every tree, before finally falling out of the way. I knew exactly what that’s like (I actually hold a patent on it) and knew Pete would snap out of it and ride back up in no time. Stu was still ahead of us and putting on some time until he crashed over some tape on a tricky left hand corner. Through the flat singletrack at the bottom I could hear Atkins rear hub (it puts out about 98 decibles of noise) coming up and soon enough he was on me. Before the last climb of the lap Atkins, KD and Pete came by me. I just held my pace steady and tried to stay with them. The last climb had some running in it, at least every time I hit it there were people off there bike in front so I’m not even sure if I could ride it. Near the top there was a switchback corner which I dismounted and ran every lap and each time either passed someone or put a good gap into them. This is where I got passed atkins and I was back with KD and Pete again.

Heading out to the second lap Pete put in a bit of a charge and left me and KD, at this point we were 6th and 7th. KD was really hurting me on the climbs so all I could do was hang with him and hope my legs would open up. About halfway through the second lap Pete was pretty much out of sight and it was. On the tricky climb I ran by KD when he had a second delay getting out of his pedal. (insert cyclocross joke here) and decided to put in an effort and see if I could put some daylight between us and test my legs. With a good run through the switchbacks and a solid first climb at the start of the third lap I managed to open up a gap and close down the Gap to Pete. At the top flat section I could see Pete and closed up to about 5 seconds of him which he determined about holding onto. It took me ¼ of a lap to close 25 seconds but another half lap to close the final 5 seconds. Again on the last climb of the lap I dismounted and had a good run through the switchback to open a gap.

Coming through heading out to the fourth of five laps I could see Adam Morka in 4th, and by the top of the first climb he bobbled and let my by and I was now in 4th place. I kept a good pace going but I could feel my legs starting to fatigue a bit. I found I was able to flow through everything really nicely and piece everything on the course together nicely which I really focused on so that I could recover and really be able to punch it on the two climbs on the lap. I was starting to catch some lapped riders but it wasn’t too bad the long course really helped to keep it down and I was able to slip by just about everyone.

Heading out on the last lap I was very happy that I only had 26 more minutes of pain to endure and I was done this xc season. I think that helped me push through. I passed Michael Joseph Garrigan early on the last lap and continued to ride smart and conserve my energy in the singletrack and push it on the climbs. I pushed it right to the line, which I don’t think I have done all year and finished a strong third. I was pretty happy that my last three laps were very consistent and that I didn’t DNF. My brother and Terri were able to make it out to watch which was nice.

Next up is a couple days off to make sure I’m good and rested to win Crank the Shield with Matt Paziuk in less than two weeks. This weekend I’m planning a couple long gravel road, rail trail, trail rides to make sure I’m comfortable riding off road for 4-5 hours.

"i cannot think of anything"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mountain View?

Just got home from pre-riding mountain view, yes you heard right pre-ride. Since i had never ridden there before i figured it wise to do a couple laps. Scott and I drove and turned a few laps with some Arrow riders, it was good to ride with people that have ridden a few laps.

The course is great, im a little skeptical of all the tight uphill singletrack(greg reain woud be cursing it to no end), its challenging which is good but passing lapped riders should be interesting. But the lap is pretty fast and long enought to cut down on the lapping.

I'm off to a wedding this afternoon......though my mom is on the phone right now having a frantic conversation about it, so maybe its off.

Should be an interesting competition tommorow.

p.s. my epic is for sale and will be available for pickup in less than 48 hours.

"I give you 50 dollars and i can't get three zip ties"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Black Sunday

Thats what i am calling this past sunday, when i completly exploded on a century ride I organized. I haven't had a ride like that in a couple years, actually the last time i blew like that i think was a few years ago riding home after visiting a certain bike shop in Keswick. But lucky for me there were some guys on the ride that helped me home. I guess me waiting all those times while other people blew up paid off in Karma points. Other than that it was a good ride. Only 5 people came out for the whole thing which is way down than previous years on the same ride. But good times were had by all that came out.

It was a rough day but i got home and ate as much as i could and hit the sack early. The plan for labour day monday was to head over to my brothers for dinner. Usually i would ride all the way over to Beaverton but i thought better and opted for a pickup near Orillia. Intini came with which was good because i didn't recover a hair from the day before. After 30 minutes i was back to the little ring with Kevin towing me out to the 14th.

I was wondering what the hell was going on so i called my coach who gave me a good pep talk and some advice, which i guess worked cause last night i felt a lot better not 100% but better. I was able to put in some good pulls a break the group apart.......well actually it was already broken but i was able to ride away from the pieces.

Today also went well i headed out to try out some new pave in Oro, it seems every week they are paving another road out there. I did the whole ride i planned on doing and made it home with energy to spare.

The rest of the day im going to be putting some gears back on my cross bike. Even though cross is a big question mark right now. But i figure i should have a bike ready to go if i race.

Tommorow is the club TT championship. Im heading out to it, but not sure how hard i will push it. Im pretty excited though there are rumours floating around of a certain young Espoir coming out to demolish the course. We'll see what happens.