Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bells are ringing

So quick recap, thursday i got out for a good endurance ride, i got wet a little bit but nothing major. Then i got yelled at by a diswasher repair man when he drove by in his work truck. Then i headed down to the Bradford/Newmarket area to watch Angels And Demons. I really liked the book, much better than Dan Browns other book that i will not mention the name of. Well i was utterly dissapointed all the things that i loved in the book and wanted to see was left out. I dont' recommend it.

Friday, after a little chat at Starbucks i headed out for an afternoon ride out into Oro. The sun came out and i was able to leave my knee warmers at home. I stopped by the shop to catch up with the fellas after being away for a bit. They were kind enough to show me the ride guide interview i did after the Hardwood Hills canada cup back in 04. Also quick to point out the vast amount of hair i had 5 years ago.

Saturday, i spent most of at the race site turning a couple laps. I attempted a race pace lap but it was next to impossible with the amount of riders on the course. Which i didn't mind at all, but it really pissed me off when people would stop with there bikes across the trail around blind corners. I had my wheel locked up a couple times. And they would give me a dirty look. I also got to see an old friend from mid-canada. She was the manager of a junior expert racer who came to give the easterners a run for their money.

Saturday night we had the Manitoba Duo over for some dinner, before calling it a night and getting a good nights sleep. The race was set for 11:30 so the day was shifted to the early side. It was also my B-day so of course we had to have more cakes then were necesarry.

I got up at 7 to prepare my breaky and bottles. The weather was sunny but on the chilly side. I got loaded up and set out for the site. My car was reading 6 degrees when i pulled in. So again i ask someone to explain global warming to me cause i don't get it. I got riding a little earlier than usual cause it was so freaking cold to stand around. The wind was howling pretty good.

I got lined up, it was still pretty chilly, i was told after the race that i looked nervous and i was shaking. It wasn't nerves it was borderline hypothermia. Swatty sent us off using his typical random start. I got clipped in and was on my way to a good start. The pace on the front wasn't extreme as we had a good headwind and no one wanted to pull to hard. There were lots of buzzing tires. Zach made his way to the lead, i settled in behind him. There was an acceleration going up the first "climb" i got boxed in a bit and found myslef out of the top 5. I pushed hard on the next "climb" and moved into 4th. In the next open section i moved to third.

My legs felt good, loose and fast, we rolled through the first few sections, the pace never really was tested but i was comfortable to just relax and be patient. As we entered coffee run it was nice to just relax and ride smooth. about a third of the way down, on a hard fast left hander i came around the corner and saw a loose fist sized rock right in the middle of the trail. I nailed it pretty hard and they next thing i knew i was laying on the ground. I think i sent the rock into orbit it should return to earth in a couple days. And it felt like i got punched in the head by mike tyson. I rolled off the trail into the bush to collect my thoughts and possibly pass out. I heard a few people ask if i was ok. I mumbled something back along the lines of i was fine. Really i didn't know. It was the hardest hit i have ever taken in a race. I pulled my bike out of the way as well as my bottle to keep from taking someone out. I took off my Helmet to check it quick, it wasn't shattered which was good. I got rolling again with some rules that if i started to feel dizzy or light headed i would pull the plug.

I figured i rejoined in between 25th and 30th. I just followed a couple wheels for a bit to see how i felt. I finished the lap, my balance was a little off in the single track but i felt ok so i kept in it and started to make my way up. My teammate Matt rode up to me to ask if my bike was ok and if i needed anything.(who said it wasn't a team sport) Luckily the Norco EXC 1 didn't take much of the impact. I rolled through the next couple laps picking off a couple guys per lap. I knew i wasn't going to ride back to the top 5, but i was hoping for a top 10 maybe.

Coming through for my last lap my front tire was going down. It was a slow leak so i opted to just get some air. John Hughes pumped me up to 25p.s.i.(ish) in the tech zone, and i was back on it. There were a couple guys in front of me, but i figured it wasn't worth riding it at 15 psi and risk crashing again. Some fatgued started to settle into my legs, but i was able to hold onto 13th till the end.

I have to say thanks to Kevin, John, and Duncan for helping out in the feed and tech zones.

Also to all the riders who took a sec to ask if i was alright.

The day was a big success for the rest of the Ontario contingent sweeping the 4 races again. Also Anna Schappert for pulling out a 2nd in her race. Mith Bailey from Barrie also won his 3rd c-cup of the year,

The team had some struggles but everyone finished strong, Zach who didn't drink enough OJ and was feeling a little under the weather this week finished 21st. Matt, who fired a bullet to ride up to me to see if i needed anything, finished up 45.

On the female side Caroline was 9th and Catherine overcame some things to finish 14th.

this is the A channel segment, which i didn't know was going to be all about me, there were some super solid rides from other B Dotonites.

After heading home for a shower, the Manitoba equivalent to the Norco team's tornado twins, and I headed out to Boston Pizza for a quick bite before they headed out to the airport to head back to the middle.

k this was a little long and im going to put some ice everywhere. somehow the backs of my wrists are scuffed up, i didn't think that was possible.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Saturday morning I got up and got ready for the race ahead. The sun was shining for the course was primed for probably the driest fastest its ever been. After a good warmup I lined up on the front row, and the race started in short order.

I settled into the top five for the first open section, a couple guys pinned it and and I entered the singletrack just within the top ten. I found a nice rhythm and climbed conservatively on the first lap. The first decent was fairly sane and I was able to recover quite a bit. As we came to the bike path I was in a good sized group containing the blue boys, a couple trek boys, Eric and Peter, and Troy Wells came by and took charge at the front through town.

Heading onto the second lap I knew Peter was on my wheel, and when I made my "move" I was counting on him coming with me so we could ride a good tempo. Coming up to the bridge over the DH course I moved to the front, passing the Blue boys and Wells, I opened up a bit off a gap through the next section with a solid line. The section before the two stage climb I bobbled a bit and lost some time, but hit the climb still with a gap. At that point I thought Peter didn’t make it by and I would see him after the decent. I hit the decent and rode a comfortable pace down it. I was riding my hardtail so I had to really focus on my lines and keep the bike under me. I knew there was a rider about 10 seconds back and by the noise(or lack thereof, you know you OCD when you can pick out a bike by the noise it makes) I knew it wasn’t Peter. When I hit the bike path and entered town Wells caught me and went by cruising on his 29’er.

Heading onto the third lap, I think the effort to catch me weighed heavy on his legs and I was passed him quickly and opened a gap leading through the feedzone. I could also see 3rd and 4th just up the trail which was Widmer and Gagne. I closed up to them on the two stage climb, riding within myself not wanting to kill myself to catch them too quickly and blow up.

Lapping through for the 4th lap, I was about 10-15 seconds closer I kept my pace up and worked the Hardtail good on the climb. I reached the duo by the top and entered the singletrack on Widmers wheel. We also started lapping some people and I got caught up behind a couple and played it safe to avoid a junior/elite heap on the ground. I hit the bike path a few seconds back but it didn’t take long to close it down.

Starting the 5th lap I went by and cranked it, as I grapped my second last bottle I could see 2nd place Hadley about 45 seconds up, he looked back and that was that. When I hit the two stage climb I could see he had cranked it up a bit and put some time into me. The decent was starting to wear on me and I had really concentrate on being relaxed or else my teeth were going to rattle out.

Heading onto my last lap I kept my legs going and and really worked the climb knowing the decent would be a relatively slow portion for me on the last time down. I drilled it right to the line and felt strong crossing in 3rd. A solid race, the bike was awesome, Matt asked the question before we started how Havy can make our bikes feel brand new again every race. Its crazy. Kyle from Norco also was a huge help at the race even giving my bike a post race scrub.
The rest of the team did awesome as well. Stu was still sidelined with his leg injury but he was out cheering us on, in between getting as many numbers as he could.

Post race interview

Caroline was 3rd, just 4 seconds ahead of Catherine in the womens race.

Zach hughes, our young gun was 26th and top 5 U-23. Matt rode a solid race and has some of his own good stories to finish 43rd.

Oh and I discovered after the race that Glassford was on the move but flatted shortly after, which was a bummer as I think he had some solid legs and we could have had a good o-cup esque battle.

We had a solid dinner before watching the Red Bull mountain stoked, thing, it was pretty neat but a little long, I think a 60 minute race would be more exciting.

I called it an early night and got to bed for a good nights sleep. I slept in a little bit had some breakfast, and Matt, Zach and I headed out for a nice spin before stopping for some coffee.
After getting cleaned up we walked over to hang out at the trailer as the DH race was going on. Zach and I got the brilliant idea to try a red bull. Not good, it made me feel very weird, I think it should be illegal. Zach commented that his heart hurt.

We headed up the hill a bit to get close to the elites come down and cheer on Hans Lambert our dh’er teammate. He hauled by us pedaling all the way, where most of the other guys were coasting. He almost bailed at the finish line but held onto the win. So that was the icing on the cake for the Norco team this weekend.

Monday we headed to Petawawa for a bike demo. When we arrived all the jokes stopped when the Norco rep Nat and the store owner asked if we had bug spray. I could tell that we were in for a treat.

The demo went well the bugs weren’t too bad. The highlight was our third lap slow race, which resulted in many Cole trickle passes and our tires being buzzed down to almost nothing. Zach had a nice pass but my over a 4 foot fallen tree cyclocross pass took the cake.

After a solid tex mex dinner in Pembroke we headed to the Best Western for a good nights sleep. Zach lost the coin toss and I got a bed to myself.

Zach and I opted to sleep in (big surprise) and Matt, Kevin, and Nat headed back to the trails at 7:30 for a couple hours of riding.

By noon we were loaded up and headed back to the GTA, I got home at 4:30 ish, after a quick dinner I was out the door to get a good road ride in with the BCC. It was a chilly windy night but 16 people still braved it for a solid south end ride. The finish was awesome as there really was no finish line, it just kept going, basically a race to each light to see if the rest of the group would get caught behind it. Astroboy made the move of the night by hoping on a bumper of a minivan down kempenfelt. I kept the pressure on and not lossing my cool hopped on the bike path to cut off a couple hundred meters to take the coffee shop win. Astro called it dirty but anything goes on a Tuesday night.

Today I headed to Hardwood to turn some rainy laps of the canada cup course. The first lap was good almost tacky but each lap got wetter and sketchier until it was getting scary to ride. I survived to make it back to the car.

Now im kicking back, and I have some catching up to do with Prison Break, and Lost,

Also be sure to check out the new Norco Factory team site please no requests for autographs though......

Friday, May 22, 2009


so, its 4:45 friday afternoon, everything is set to go for the second Canada Cup of the year. I was awake pretty early had a good breakfast, and headed out for a team lap. Followed by my own race pace lap. It went well, im running my small blocks tommorow, which is a first for the season. This race used to be a pretty burly course but every year they just keep putting more and more gravel down, I think they will eventually just pave it.

Post ride, i spent 45 minutes standing in line to register, or i should say say that i was there, cause i already had my plate and was registered. But im staying positive, here.

Matt and I went for a coffee, at a quiet little spot, and had some good chats about various topics. We also had a casual interview with some media, ill try to find the link. ..... here it is, please note the wicked new Ryders Eyewear aviators Matt and I pre-tremblant

But untill then here are some links to a couple videos from last weekend. My interenet is kinda sucky so i haven't seen these.

Matt and Stu

My post race interview, from BSP and yes i messed a few things up (im also a hand talker big time)

Mid race


"im so stoked"


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Early bird

Usually im the last one out of bed, but this morning i wanted to get all my stuff done in the morning so i could just relax, and get my legs up this afternoon. Since Leaving BSP its been pretty non stop, i haven't even opened up Alice in wonderland in a couple days.

I got up at 6:45 and beat the kitchen rush to have a very solid breakfast. I also installed some cleats in my new Shimano shoes that arrived yesterday. My goal was to get out the door before Paziuk was awake, i just missed out.

I headed out on the road loop around lake superior that i like to do every year. The course was open, but i needed to get some hours in my legs. It was a awesome day, it was my second ride of the year in shorts, so i think i may have even gotten a bit of a tan. I finished off with a little tempo at the end to open the legs up a bit, followed by a good leg soaking in the chilly Devil river.

I arrived back at 11 ish and got all cleaned had lunch, shaved my face,(no the mustache is still there) and my legs, clipped my finger nails and had my feet up by noon, sweet. The rest of the day i intend to maintain this general position.

I have also updated the posts below with a couple pictures.


Rods and Cones

Sunday: Race day, now im typing this up on Wednesday night after a couple glasses of Australian Red vino, so my recollection of the past couple days may or may not be great. Well anyway, this is what I can remember from race day.

After having a solid breakfast we all headed down to the course team style. After a good warmup, we headed to the start line only to be told it was delayed 20 minutes, so we headed back to the trailer to smash talk and get re pumped for the start.
The usual canada cup suspects were all in attendance. Sticking to my pre race plan, I started conservatively not sure how my legs would feel, the first two laps I rode at the tail end of a little group of four. While the leaders charged ahead and opened up a gap pretty quickly. I was pretty patient and on the third lap I cranked it up a notch, I rode off the front off the group and focused on staying smooth over the many roots the course had to offer. I was really digging the hardtail as I was able to "scooch" around roots and rocks really well. I started to reel in a few riders, but I still wasn’t exactly sure where I was in the field. I kept the pressure on and maintain my lap times. By the end of the 5th lap I was passed quite a few riders. I figured I was in the top 5, which I was happy with. When I got to the top of the climb on the 6th and final lap I was pretty happy, all that was left was to ride the decent safely and get into the finish.
I was greeted by Matt P who unfortunatly was pulled, ill pass on my rant for now, he informed I was 2nd which satisfied me. Zandstra bested me my 2 mins ish. After getting changed I headed to the podium where I got my first real trophy in about 13 years. I was pretty stoked.
Other team results include a third for Catherine Vipond, Caroline Villeneuve in 7th. Stu Alp was 22nd, Zach Huges 32nd in his first senior elite canada cup, And Matt P rounded out a nice 39th,
As we headed out for dinner, Stu started to feel a little sore in his left leg, even some ice from the cute waitress didn’t help and by morning his leg looked like a sausage.
A big thanks to Kevin Haviland and Casey for feeding and taking care of use during the race.

Monday: after packing and cleaning we headed to the Baie st Paul ER. Unfortunatly they shut it down for lunch, which I don’t get but whatever. Stu had a couple x-rays and got some prescriptions, and we where outa there by 6 ish and headed back towards montreal. We stopped in a slightly nicer motel this time, and all had a very comfortable nights sleep.

Tuesday: After some good eats in the A.M. we were on the road and heading to St Jerome to set up a bike demo at a local Tuesday night race series. Stu also headed to the ER again to try and get some ultrasounds done on his leg, but I think his being a foreigner didn’t help and we got turned away.
The demo went well, Matt Zach, and I jumped in the race with a couple other senior elites, who absolutly destroyed the start. Zach managed to fight his way up to the lead and stayed there for a lap of the pretty technical loop. Matt and I hung back and just worked our way through the guys slowly. The crazy this was we started at 7:40 and they sent us out for an hour long race. But at the end of the third lap they pulled us in. After almost hitting every tree out there I was going to pack it in anyway. If the day ever comes that nationals start at dusk and finish at night, the riders from the independant nation of quebec will destroy all of us.
We got loaded up and drove the rest of the way to tremblant and settled into our wicked palace here.

Wednesday: after a couple long days on the road we all had a good sleep in. After waking up my morning went downhill pretty quick, I wanted to take a quick shower before breakfast, but I couldn’t figure out how the frack to turn the shower on. I sat there for 20 minutes, and could not get it to work. I settled for a bath/shower and then got out to find there were no towels. I was pretty grumpy at this point.
But after a good breakfast, I was feeling better. I also found out the trick to turn on the shower which is really messed up.
We killed the grocery store and headed back to the place. After a quick spot of lunch and late afternoon espresso I headed out for a 90 minuted ride of the bike paths and trails.
Good dinner, now, again, I am tired and my "roomies" want to go to bed so im going to call it a night.

I have internet now so ill get this updated more frequently.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quick update

Just found some internet, but its only updated to saturday, ill try to get some sunday/monday stuff up soon,

its been an eventful trip, a good race, today was spent at the baie st paul Hospitol with Stu who kinda wrecked himself yesterday, more on that later.

Blog day 1:

After doing a solid endurance ride in the am, and after some excitement which included calling 911 for a certain forrest being set on fire by a certain group of young students from a certain high school. (Bear creek). I was on my way to Woodbridge for a 2 p.m. departure for the independent nation of Quebec.

I was somehow recruited to do some heavy lifting around the warehouse. Once Stu, Zach, Kevin and myself got loaded up at around 6, we were on our way to pick up Matt in Oshawa.

We were mostly eager to pick Matt up since he had some delicious fresh turkey sandwiches and rice krispy squares with him. The next excitement came when we started playing the gas game, seeing how long we could go without filling up the truck with diesel. And with a couple of gas stations along the 401 closed for rebuilding we were left relying on the gps, and my own instincts. I made some quick decisions and basically coasted into a Sunoco in Cornwall.

After that it was smooth sailing straight through Montreal, and then we decided to call it a night. It was past midnight so again it was on me to find us some suitable accommodation. We headed into Joliet, which I believe has some prisons, I choose the Motel Bonsoirs. It was awesome, two beds almost enough room for a blowup mattress,

I wasn’t going to be picky, I just wanted to get some sleep, after putting on a protective layer of clothing I settled in for a good nights sleep.

Day 2:

We awoke at 8 ish and vacated the premises pretty quickly, with the next stop a nice roadside diner for breakfast, somehow Stu who has never been to Quebec spoke the best french and translated that I wanted two eggs and two pieces of french toast. It was a big problem which got worked out.

It was another 4 ish hours to Baie St. Paul, and we arrived at the quaint accommodation. Its very clean, very nice, but the floors are on a solid 3-4 degree angle, but there are lots of beds and room for everyone to spread out. After the cloose quarters last night it was nice.

After some good shopping at the crazy IGA, where I was able to secure a couple liters of coffee yoghurt, we were back home to make some “homewreckers” and awesome burrito esque, meal.

The rain started and it took some mustering to get out the door for a ride. Stu, Zach and I headed to try and find a shortcut to the course. Turns out we are staying basically right at the top of it. It took about 2 minutes to get on course. And we were ripping around. Well I was just spinning Stu was on a mission, head down missing turns.

After a visit to the very creepy crawlspace to find the hose turn on valve, which was unsuccessful, we washed the bikes,

Now im tired, and im going to make my bed.

Day 3:

So today started with an awesome breakfast prepared by Stu. After some quick bike adjustments I headed down to turn some laps of the course. It went well it was my first solid pre ride of the year. I did a couple solid laps, then a race pace lap. I was a little miffed when It only took 16 ish minutes to turn a lap. I was ready to unleash on some organizers, but then I rode a lap with Matt and realized I had missed an entire loop with the awesome marking they did on the course. I think its still a pretty quick loop but its solid.

After coming home having a good sandwhich and having a really solid nap in my bedroom aka the living room. Only to be awoken by the tornado that is Stu and Zach coming in from there ride. Not wanting to sleep to much I got up and headed down to the site to get signed in. Again I had too cause problems at registration when Stu and Zach paid less today than I did two weeks ago. Quickly we realized it was a mistake and they didn’t pay enough. Stu and Zach booked it out quick.

We set up the Norco compound and headed back to prepare dinner, which took us about 2 hours to eat, it was awesome, rice, fish, sweet potato’s, salad, red wine.

It seems I am becoming the grumpy old man on the team. After making a snap about them eating before dinner.

Now, I am again tired and feeling the need to hit the sack.

“How did that work out for you”

“well I got mono”

Day 4: Still no internet, its been a tough go for some of the guys, Matt is starting to get the shakes from withdrawal. I’m doing pretty good, its nice to get away from the computer for a while or at least use it for pure business purposes such as typing up reports for the blog or looking at the days HR data. I’ve also gotten a fair ways into Alice in Wonderland, pretty crazy stuff.

Thinking we could ride till noon, we again had a multiple hour breakfast, before Kevin called and said we only had till 11:00. There was a Quebec cup Time trial on the course today. So I booked it down, I really only wanted to ride the start loop to ensure there were no big surprises. I got there at 10:30 and was stopped by the officials saying the course was closed, I asked if It wasn’t open till 11. They said yes the course was open till 11. But then said that the course was closed. (meanwhile a bunch of riders from a certain province seemed to be able to go out on the course.)

I bit my tongue and made a little detour around the start area, and was on the start loop in no time. It’s pretty straight forward. It starts to narrow pretty quick. I finished that off and went for a couple intervals on the road before chilling in the Norco compound. Its pretty pro looking now, with a bunch of new tents and panels. We all commented that we need to represent even better now. Since we have the most “stoked”

Now, just chilling in the house, doing some laundry, and a little kitchen cleanup after the tornado twins.

The plan for tomorrow, since this won’t get posted before the race its no big deal to spill the plan, Start conservatively and build into the race. There is a ton of climbing per lap and we are scheduled for 6. It’s only my third race of the year so I have to be smart about my efforts tomorrow. I really don’t want to find out the hard way I went out to hard.

Its looking like we will get a little rain, the course handles the rain well, the roots will be the tricky part if it’s wet.

K, nap time, I think.

“Hey Andrew do you want to see what I did to my bike this week?”
Ryan Atkins, bike durability expert tester

“so whats MTB racing like”

“well its like putting your hand in a car door, and getting someone to slam it for 2 hrs”

"cross sounds like fun"

"thats like putting both hands in a car door and getting someone to slam it for an hour"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Into the breach

So, im going to try and make this a quick post (yeah i know, im funny) yesterday, i just relaxed and got all cleaned up after the wet weekend, A couple loads of laundry, and a solid bike wash and i'm good to again this weekend.

Monday night, i headed out for a bit to eat at BP's, with the first person who hated the moustache, then packed into a theatre full of trekkies for the new Star Trek film. Very good, better than i expected. I think true die hard trek fans will be a little grumpy with it. As it at times even makes fun of the original franchise. Now i never watched any of the original series, but im a fan of the feature length films. The story was good, the acting was very good. With Karl Urban nailing McCoy, he takes the cake as the closest to the original character. Quinto takes a close second as Spock, which isn't a huge departure from Sylar from heroes. Chris Pine, basically made his own Kirk i think. Im rambling, its good. My friend had never seen a star trek episode or anything and she loved it.

Today, i spent mostly packing and getting organized for the trip to quebec tommorow (wed) i also got out to chapters to pick up a couple books. This evening i headed out with the tuesday night ride, it was a great ride, smooth roads, nice steady pace, perfect for spinning the legs out. I used the finish just to simulate a little budget motor pacing jumping on a few wheels with 6 foot plus guys to get the leg speed up.

Ill try to keep things updated, but finding good wi fi, can be tricky in the nation of quebec.

k, hitting the hay, up early to get a good ride in before leaving.

"Live long and Prosper"
Leonard Nemoy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Links as promised

I keep meaning to add some links to some others blogs, here are three of my favs,

First is Peter Glassford's , Peter is pretty much the most balanced person I know, hes a racer, coach, weakly race series co-organizer/organizer (i don't know the exact position) and probably still finds time to volunteer at hospitals and such.

Next is Kyle Frys , it used to be one of my favourites, but i'd be lying if i said he wasn't slacking lately. Kyle is another bicycle racer, who mixes up some road, mtb, and cross into his season. Trying to find himself i guess.

Third, Matt Spak, 24 hr solo "specialist", but he also runs his own business. Another goal of his is to upgrade to senior elite from expert. 4 laps is just too short for him i guess.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day festivities

Yesterday im not going to go into a whole lot, i drove down to Albion in a crazy rainstorm, it let up a bit, i rode a lap, and was not feeling the love. Then i drove home in a crazy rainstorm, to get re-centered.

The high note from yesterday was clearing walmart out of 50 cent, powergels.

On to today, this morning i awoke and got my mothers day present unhidden, i know my mom looked but it was hidden well. I then had a feast of slow cook oats and kicking horse coffee, then got loaded up and headed down the 400, but not before stopping at Starbucks for an americano.

The weather was chilly but at least the sun was shining. When i arrived i was not surprised to see tons of muddy people/bikes, as it looked like the course didn't dry out at all. After settling in to the norco setup, before long it was time to get dressed and get the warmup going. I was again not feeling the love from my legs warming up. I rolled to the start line and was happy to see two returning riders from the southland, Ben Dawson and Zach Winn. After giving Ben a hug and Zach a nice hello. i was called up to the front of a stampeding hoard of u-23's and Juniors all out to qualify for the canada summer games. Not to mention everyone trying to win it for there mothers.

I was 100 % focused on getting a good start, when Adam (chico) said go, i was outta there, Zandstar took the lead and i was quick to settle in. I think we even opened up a little gap. I was just happy to be into the singletrack in the top ten. Derock was quick to open a gap, attacking every little climb, i was having none of that sillyness and just road my own pace. When we popped out of the singletrack Morka, and Eric came by and gave chase, i was happy to sit on. It also wasn't long before Pete "the hammer" Glassford showed up.

The first 2/3 thirds of the course were bone dry, fast, and flowy. As soon as we crossed the road to the last 3rd it completely changed to greasy clay mud. This was were my tire choice allowed me to just relax on the climbs and recover a bit. The others were riding "less aggressive" tires. We came up to a Crank shield esq. mud bog, Adam tried to ride it but almost ended up taking a header, Pete and I conceded to the bog and ran through it. We hit a bit of a running section, and i felt right at home getting on and off. I remounted and was able to ride smoothly up the hill with good traction. I made a mental note of that for following laps. We lapped through and i knew it was going to be a long (by modern standards) race.

Peter, Adam and myself rode together till we hit the mud again, When we came to the first mud bog i tried a line up to the right to try and bypass it. I was unsuccesful as it ended in a tree. Peter followed me, and consoled me by saying it was worth a try. I had a stick in my rear mech, so i jumped off again to get it out, by doing so i blocked peter a bit, i apologized but still i think he almost swore at me, one of his grumpier moments in life. We came up to the run up and i used my cross/tire supercombo to open a bt of a gap. I'd be lying if i said i didn't punch it a bit. I rolled through the lap with a bit of a gap, thinking if i could make them work a little harder to catch me then keep doing that maybe i could wear them down.

But as i started the third lap, my legs felt a little heavy and i lost all power on the flat fast sections. It wasn't long before Peter was on my wheel. He came by and i jumped on, i was able to hang with him untill a bit of a climb before the muddy stuff, but he laid down a solid Glassford attack.

A Glassford attack, is basically Peters nice way of dropping someone, he speeds up but not all at once. Its a gradual build, which allows the attacke, to feel not so bad about themselves.

A Zach attack, by contrast, is all out trying to rip your legs off, hateful, vengeful, anger driven effort meant to shut the person down on the inside as well as on the outside. I also checked, and a though a zach attack is most effective in the first 15 minutes of a race, it is by no means limited to that.

Back to lap 3, i was off in no mans land, even on the muddy climbs and running sections i was only able to keep him in sight.

By the start of lap 4 i was really starting to feel not awesome. My energy was good but my legs felt like cinderblocks. I tried to keep my rpm high. Adam came up and before long went by. I put it onto damage control, and was just waiting for a train of u-23's to come flying by for there last (meaningful) lap. The mud section i again felt right at home. we really started lapping a lot of people. The course was long but it really wore people down and the fitness differential is exagereated on tougher courses. So at the top of one of the run ups, i catch up to Matt
who, was doing some sort of adjustments, it made me feel uneasy and im glad there were no young children around.

Coming through for my last lap, i hit my lap button, and said the hell with it, i can make myself hurt for another 28 minutes. If i blow i blow. I put it in the big ring and started punching the climbs. I started to feel not to bad and new i would be able to hold on for 4th. Once i hit the mud, i relaxed and new the end was near. My last lap was 40 seconds faster than my 4th so i was happy with that.

But i again failed to make the top three at Albion. grrrr.

After helping to pack up the Norco site i headed home to spend some couch time with Starbuck who i haven't spent much time with this week.

Now, im sitting here enjoying a lakeport honey lager, that i was sure to get before sitting down.

im supposed to add some links to some other peoples blogs but im too tired maybe tomorrow.

Its also looking like ill be seeing star trek tommorow. then outa here wednesday for the first big race of the year, Baie St Paul.

"Wow, your gift was so much better than your brothers, your my favourite son"
(thats what i heard at least)

Friday, May 8, 2009


Wednesday evening was a blast, other than it was a little on the chilly side, it was a good time. Matt Paziuk and I hung out at the Norco trailer for a while, just making things look legit. We did a cople quick laps, the course was insanly fast, like out of the big ring maybe once or twice a lap.

The start was actually across the road, then into the trails, we used to line up about ten feet away from the singletrack and just gave er. It was pretty aggresive,(every start seems to be aggresive for me these days) With Matt almost hitting two parking cones used to mark out the start. He took the lead and i settled into 4th. We were set to do 4 laps of the 12-13 minute lap.

just found this (click "this" to see it) page from the organizing shop in newmarket.

back to the race. Steve Prosser, from sutton jumped on Matt pretty quick and i settled in behind local, young rider i thought i'd just relax and let my muscle memory take me around the course, i was impressed when the youngin started gaping me in MY singletrack, turns out he lives right near the course and has spent a little more time there the past couple years than me.

Matt was out for blood and laid down a nice "glassford" attack on the long climb back to the start area. I moved to third and made my way onto Prosser, where i settled in and rode through the lap with. I passed him out of the berm and pinned it on the 400 section. And headed out after Paziuk, it took 3/4 of a lap to get up to him, but i eventually did. He again started to hammer the climbs, and i knew he wasn't messing around tonight. I rode on his wheel, which gave me flashbacks to crank the shield when i kept blowing up at the end of the stages and had to hang onto his wheel. Early in the third lap i punched a couple of the climbs, and then laid down a massive "Zach" attack on the long climb to open up a nice gap.
I burned through the rest of the 3rd lap, having more fun racing a bike than i've had in a while. The fourth lap i settled down and negotiated my way through some lapped traffic. And finished up feeling good, it was the first time i've raced a hardtail since 2004, (fully rigid singlespeed excluded) it felt good, definelty takes a little more energy and concentration in some sections, but im digging it.

After assisiting kevin in taking down the demo setup, i headed back home to get some good zzzz. Totally forgetting Lost was on, which i had to watch on tape at 10, but it was worth it, that show just doesn't stop getting better.

Yesterday, i headed out for a nice steady solo endurance ride. I headed up horseshoe way sticking to the smoother roads in Oro, at the top i bumped into Tuesday night worlds winner Peter, and rode back into town with him. Of course i had to stop in at the shop to show off my new norco road bike. They tried to hide it but they were very jealous.

I got home had some good eats then headed out to buy my birthday present, a new 75-300mm zoom lens for my camera. which brings me to another good one, so i go to Henrys in the bayfield mall, and ask if they do price matching as i noticed future shop had it on for 25 dollars less. The employee was nice and said sure no problem she just needed to confirm that it was in stock. I said they barrie doesn't have them but orillia does, as the future shop website said, but she insisted on calling to double check. So while shes on hold a couple customers walk in and up to the counter, don't get any help and leave. Then she has to call orillia and again, shes sitting there on hold while customers are coming in and out. Over 25 dollars, that in the end she knew i was going to get, now i don't have a business degree or anything, but im thinking there must be a better way to handle that kind of thing.

With the lens in hand i jetted out to Oro to snap some shots of the TT, 6 brave riders came out in the threatening conditions to give it a go. The lens was wicked but i need some more pratice. People come up quick, i managed to get a couple good shots,

the race was very close, with the top 4 riders all within a few seconds. And the rain held off for the TT.
Today, i headed to Orillia for Mothers day lunch at 1, but not before going to every garden center between Barrie and Orillia. It was a massive feast, im going to start ordering kids meals at restaurants i can't handle the portions they serve now.
After getting home i parted ways with the family, they went to Georgian Downs to donate some money and i grabbed some golf clubs and headed to the driving range. I only brought my wedge, 7 iron and big driver. After a couple so so shots, i actually found a bit of a groove and started hitting the clubs the way they should be hit, the driver was going nice and straight, and the 7 iron and the wedge were getting some height to them. Ive always been told to look at the ball, but i found that if i looked two inches behind the ball, i was hitting them nicely. After finishing up in the rain, im back home now with the feet up about to watch the curious case of benjamin button.
full report to follow, tomorrow im heading down to pick up my bike and turn a few laps of Albion. The race is sunday which has always been a rough one for me, there is just something about that place, i can't find my "swing" there. I've never managed a top three there, we'll see, i need to chat with the coach to see what the strategy is.
"I could have killed you"
Matt Damon
"i figured by the way you were hitting those balls, i was pretty safe right in front of you"
Will Smith, Legend of Bagger Vance

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So monday night was awesome, we showed up and there were about 30 flygirls all hanging out at the trails. They thought we were kinda looney toons, one cause we all parked in the ditch,hey thats what sport wagons are for right? two we were riding at night, which was way out there, and third we were on singlespeeds. The ride was good, Molly kicked all our asses, i have no idea how that dog can run so fast downhills. After commenting on that she totally nascar'd me like some first year u23.

It was also Matts birthday, we gave him some good verbal birthday beats, not wanting physically hurt him.

Tuesday morning i spent giving the Mazda some TLC, a little bubble bath, a window wash, and rain x treatment, followed by a penetraing rim cleaner, and to finish of nice wet looking tire stuff. She looks likes shes off the show room floor.

After a good stretchign session in the afternoon and an early dinner, i headed to the evening ride. I had a good time, but i heard a ton of grumpy people grumbling. When i hit the front a couple km from town i hit the accelerater and guttered it pretty good. Again......k i'm bitting my tongue, i could go on but i won't, it was good ride, could it be better yes, but again im bitting my tongue.

This morning i helped in the backyard making some micro adjustments to some hanging baskets. There is a scene from The Wrestler, were he's working in the Deli, and the women keeps asking for more then less potato salad. Until it was exaclty 1/2 pound(or somethign like that) anways, ill just say i totally understand why he lost it and put his hand in the meat slicer. A little higher.......a little low...

Once the baskets were laser and gps checked, I headed to the mall to do a little shopping. I don't go shopping very often but when i do, i don't mess around, its fast and its furious, I pilaged the sale racks at sport check, as well as the two for one shoe racks, in 22 minutes i basically have a new wardrobe. I cruised around a little more, and i noticed i must be shrinking or clothes are getting bigger cause, im too the point where i was looking in the youth boys section for certain items.

Now im home, and getting ready to header down to Coulson hill to take on the wednesday night race there. Thinking back im pretty sure the last time i raced there was sept 11th 2001. (it was on tuesdays back then) Anyways thats where it all started for a young 13 year old in 1996 who thought it would be a brilliant idea to race a bicycle through the woods. I remember lining up parrallel to the 400 with 75 other guys wondering what the frack i was doing there. And the tree I stopped at every lap to take a breather is still there too.

Kevin is setting up a bit of a Norco demo night there so i jumped at the oppourtunity to take part. I know there are some fast young whipper snappers from Newmarket that do the race. I really want to hammer the hills so i think it could be some good racing.

"a little higher.....a little lower........a little higher......"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Highlands

Today I awoke to a beutiful crisp sunny morning, and got ready for the days event the aformentioned Dundalk interclub. I had my oats and apple sauce and coffee like usual, i had my bag all packed last night all i had to do was load up the van with Nigel and Robb, and get on the road. I was trying to make amens for the blatent ungreeness on friday by carpooling today.

At 20 to 8 Nigel knocked on my door, informing me it was going to have to be a solo effort as he had some family things to do and that Robb, was feeling iffy. So i switched car keys and loaded up the Mazda, with my bike in race trim, meaning i used the carbon rear wheel instead of the 4 pound powertap. I figured it would only serve to physch me out if i was pushing really hard.

The drive went well i even got this shot of the windfarm near Dundalk, it serves to show how fracking windy it can get on the highest ground in Ontario. I don't think its the highest point, but the overall area is the highest in the province, so im told.

I arrived and got registered but not after getting a very hefty guilt trip laid on me for riding in group 4. But i laid down an equal guilt trip about the groups exploding before the first lap is over. In the end they combined group 4 and 5 to make one 11 man group. Which i think worked out well for everyone. I got a little warmup and got caught up with some of the other riders.

I lined up with the 10 other people about 20 or so minutes behind group one. But the biggest threat was the bigger group 3 starting 5 minutes ahead. The start was actually with a tailwind for the first long stretch. A rider that will remain nameless (Tony) kept the pace high and the group was on the verge of explosion, i did my best to keep the group together by not pulling through and keeping the other riders on my wheel and forcing the dirvers to ease up. I really wanted to keep it together for at least a lap. When we hit the second long stretch that was pretty much straight into the wind it was nice to have everyone on board and pulling through. I think we lost one rider but it was mostly still together. The pace settled into a rythem, with people getting onto wheels they liked. Also in the group was one Jake McCague, if you ever wonder why i am the way i am, its due to him and his buddies totally corrupting me at a 24 race back in 97 when i was 14. I was never the same after that.

anywho, we also had crank the shield singlespeed winner Mark Summers, who opted for a couple gears today. The group was able to put 2.5 minutes into group 3 on the first 22 km lap. This is when the pace was really lifted, and my hr data file confirms it. We started to loose a few more riders. By the first corner again it was again close to exploding as we went past the first couple of dropped riders from group 3. Just before turning onto the back stretch Summers flatted basically exactly halfway around the course. The group settled again with 5 of 11 riders, the gap had fallen to 40 seconds heading into the wind. I was starting to get a little ancy to catch them quick, as i was prety redlined and was hitting some pretty good hr's. I could also see the group 1,2,3 all merge, and got a little worried as it was down to Neil, Tony and myself puling the most, a couple other riders were moslty hanging on but pulling through when they could. The gap stayed at about 30 seconds for what felt like forever. In a little dip in the road i put a good hard effort in cause i really just wanted to get in that group. It closed it up a little more and when we hit the last little "climb" before turning north we were on their wheel.

At that point i was feeling pretty toasted and just wanted to sit in. I wasn't sure if Tony or Neil were going to attack the group, but if they did i had no intentions of going after them. I sat in and slid all the way to the back, and chatted with Orrin and Ben Aubin a bit. Mainly about how they were critical of my clothing choice before starting. I asked Ben how he was and he said "cooking"

The whole tailwind section was pretty chill, some of the other riders were dreading the headwind section and sounded like they were already packing it in mentally. As we rounded the corner into the wind an eagle attacked, it was chased down, i took the oppourtunity to counter it but i knew pretty quick it was futile, as no one would go with me. I settled back into the group and waited for Tony and Neil to make there moves. The pace was really low, as everyone was trying to recoup as much energy for the last push to the finish. On one of the "climbs" Neil jumped the group, Tony and I jumped on it pretty quick. Along with two others. The one rider commented, "good break, good break, lets work" which i think he regreated as we kept the pace high and the two couldn't pull through and just sat on. Not wanting to pull them all the way in, Neil and I maxed out the next "climb" and detached the two. So with about 5-6 km to go it was down to Neil, Myself, and Tony. This was the point that i said eh 3rd isn't bad to myself. We worked right to the last corner which sets it up for a tailwind slightly uphill, 200 (ish) meter finish straight.
I shifted into my 52 11(yes for some reason i have a 52 big ring) and waited to see what would happen. We lined up pretty much three wide, with about 100 meters to go, i knew the only chance i had against Tony was to get a gap and try to hold it. I pretended to be pushing buttons on my hr monitor as we rolled along, but i hit the gas full tilt and tried to open up as much of a gap as possible. Neil wasn't able to get up to speed quite fast enough, i was able to hold Tony off right up to the line, but as it crested the little rise he got his front wheel infront of mine take it. I felt really good the last couple km, better than the second lap. The legs are really starting to come around. After i did some calculations i figured out we averaged 38.3 km/hr, so not to shabby.

After a cooldown/chat i headed to the car for some eats, and get changed. It sounded like everyone had a good time, with most of the people that got dropped being able to group up again and ride together. Just as Mark Summers came running in Barefoot, after running 10 or so km, back. Definetly gets the tough guy award, not only does he do Crank the shield on a fully rigid singlespeed he runs 10km barefoot on pavement pushing his bike. I would have sat in a ditch and waited for someone to pick me up.

While driving home i passed a couple guys getting ready to long board down the honey wood hill on county road 21. I pulled off and grabbed my camera to take a couples shots. Which turned out well as i had 30 seconds to setup and they were cooking pretty good.

Up next monday night, night singlespeed ride out in Oro, which i havent ridden yet this year.
better be nice or else Spak is getting an ass whooping.

"good break, good break"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"thank you, Thank you"

Thats what my legs were saying upon waking friday morning. The old stair test went well and i knew i'd get a solid day in. I loaded up the Mazda, and drove to the bottom of pretty river road. I know what your thinking, how not green am i driving my car to ride my bike. And i can't deny it. At least im not driving a hummer. Its not my fault that the glaciers couldn't leave a sweet 7.5km 15-20 minute climb closer to Barrie. So yes i feel guilty so you can lay off.

I got dressed and did a nice warmup on the flat roads around Duntron. I hit the climb marking out a nice start spot, and riding a nice tempo, with some efforts on the pitches to finish around 16 minutes and change. From my start spot to finish line in Rob Roy, it climbs 780 feet(some day ill figure out how to take screen shots and post them) , later in the summer i think ill turn left and keep climbing and make it an even 1000 foot climb. But for now ill keep it the same for a little while. I did three climbs up and three fun decents down. My bike was making some really loud squeaky noises that sounded like a noisy bb shell. It was actually driving me a bit nuts, and i was trying to figure out what to do if i couldn't fix it. If i showed up Sunday with a bike making that kind of noise im sure i'd be ridden into a ditch.

The bike, a Norco CRR was a beauty on the climb, the decendig took a little getting used to. With the lightweight alloy frame, it doesn't quite carve through the turns. It takes more of a countersteering technique, but once you get it dialed its a great nimble descender.

After a solid cooldown and some good eats i headed back home. The weather was fairly nice, i was able to get some sun on my legs, for a change but if i wasn't doing some solid efforts i would have been a little chilly.

When i got home i got to work trying to diagnose the noise, i worked my way out from the BB, trying to isolate the noise, eventualy figureing out it was my rear wheel. Once i got it figured out all it took was a little servicing, and voila quiet as a tv on mute. ( i couldn't think of anything else)

For dinner i had my favourite dish, pita pizza's, with the added bonus of some wild leeks freshly picked that you could smell through the tupperware, through the fridge, through the front door and down that street. They were so good.

This morning my legs felt even better after having all the carbon blown out yesterday. I got ready to head into the bluffs to kill some short steep punchy climbs on the new hardtail. so Granola if you see someone riding around on kenda karma's it was me. If you could back track me to my house then i'd be super impressed and mantracker would have nothing on you.

After riding some of the fresh singletrack thats being cut, i started riding a loop that has three punchy climbs on it. The rain started to come down a little which was nice to cool me off a little. The legs responded well, i can feel them starting to come around. i know i can ride a high tempo till the cows come home but its time to get my gearbox tuned up.

Tomorow is going to be another good workout as i head over to Dundalk for the first interclub race. Its an Australian pursuit event, 5 groups start staggered with the beginners, chill riders, off first, each group is slightly faster than the previous, and the time gaps narrow. The idea being to work together to catch the group (s) in front of your group. Thats the idea at least and on most courses it works out well. But for some reason the Dundalk course always blows the groups apart. Its pretty flat, but the winds are usually howling pretty good. And the differences in fitness vary a little more early in the season.

Two years ago, i attended this race and thought I was tough stuff and joined into group 5 or the scratch group. Well that was a mistake, imagine Rasmussen in a group of four others including, Jens voight, Backstedt, Cancellara, and Robbie Mcewen. Guess which one would get dropped first. The start was straight into a wind, and before the first corner i actually set a new 6 min power record then got popped off. So im going to opt for group 4 this time around.