Cold sore coming through, a firm sign that I'm tired enough that my immune system is hooped.
Monday, 30 June 2008
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Food has been fantastic so far. Organization seems very good. Massage tent and team are phenomenal.
Deadgoats all doing well, seeing lots of friends from other races here too. It's one big family really.
Saturday, 28 June 2008
- phenomenal course with copious amounts of delightful singletrack
- it's hot, supposedly hotter tomorrow
- deadgoat's, exclusive of Erik, doing great
- my antibiotic is unpleasant thus far, the notes I got with it say it it makes me sensitive to the sun and may cause digestive issues. Since it's hot and I need fuel, this is tough.
- Jon is great, and riding strong. He may not be aware that behind my glasses for 4 hours I was choking back tears. Need those salts inside me instead I guess.
- most of today was a softpedal on my part, there's no juice inside. I'm hot, med tent checked my temp. I hope I survive.
- The song in my head all day was Creep by Stone Temple Pilots, with the chorus "I'm half the man I used to be".
- lying down on the concrete floor of the hockey rink felt good, we'll see what tomorrow brings.
I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be fun.
I also think they under sell this race on the web site and marketing materials... I didn't see anywhere mentioned that like 25% of the field is 25-40 year old mountain biking chicks. It seems there's more girls riding here than I've seen mountain biking collectively in the last 5 years.
Friday, 27 June 2008
Thursday, 26 June 2008
If you can sell a service for any price, where the alternative is endless waiting, investment bankers are target market number one. I called in at 4:45 saying the same plaugue that's been in the throats of my co-workers is in me, based on my qualified degree in close-ology, but I'd love to supplement that with a professional opinion. By 5:10 I've walked to their building and have lights being shone in my throat and ears. Doctor says the look red and inflamed and uncomfortable. Yes I'm doing a bike race soon. Correct, I'm the kind of guy who wouldn't have bothered coming if it weren't for the race, I would have just lived with it. I'll take all the pills, yes I promise, that's the kind of guy I am.
Meanwhile I've just saved a spot at the walk-in for the kid needing stitches, and at my "family doctor" who could book me in 10 days from now.
BankingBakke believes there's a role for capitalism in the world.
Concept to execution, under 40 minutes, my desk to pharmacy. Sweet.
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
I self massaged and stretched a bit. Tori also kneaded my back. I fell asleep ok, then woke up in the middle of the night not able to think about anything other than that muscle. It made me feel like I couldn't eat, and couldn't breathe. I sure as heck couldn't sleep. I tried to walk upstairs to start digging through cupboards for some ibuprofen but I had to crawl up them instead.
At that point I wasn't a happy camper. I was weighing in my mind if it's just one muscle, can it fix itself quick like any other muscle after a workout? Or is this about to become chronic? I thought about if I could ride a bike for a week (the biking position seemed ok on the weekend) but not being able to sleep doesn't seem ok. How would I tell Jon? Could someone else jump on our flights in time or is it better to stop the whole idea of going?
I had to lay down on the floor to rummage through the cupboard, bending over wasn't an option. Miraculously I found some Robax Platinum, probably from when Tori got hit while driving our car. I had one, and gulped some water. I went downstairs to ponder what I'd do with a long term chronic problem... hard to picture for someone who's self revolves around physical challenge and a body that has stood up to, or been dragged through by willpower, many challenges.
45 minutes later I turned to jelly. Yes, these were effective relaxants. I could sleep by 3:30, and in more than one contrived position. I feel fine during the day if I'm standing, sitting isn't as good. I have bad moments, followed by better moments, usually the latter are associated with a pill every 6 hours.
I'm not happy. This is a stressor, as are my taxes, the reno, simple things like getting the cup holder fixed in the car that's now seemingly impossible. At work I've got more deals on the go on my desk right now than small shops do in a year. That's good, but it's not easy. Every one has their challenges, and right now many of them are making that abundantly clear. Bonus day is tomorrow, and I'm here at 10pm doing a half decent Winston Wolfe (the Wolf) impression "I solve problems" - Pulp Fiction, 1994.
I can't even explain how hopeful I am that a) my back comes around, and b) the BC rainforests are able to bring a little peace to my existence for a week. I have a feeling that this week, that started in the office at 5am on Monday, will find a way to stretch itself right out to 10pm on Thursday before I fly out on Friday to Victoria.
Every time I drive into Radium and see "The mountains shall bring peace to the people" I feel each word of it deep inside me.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
I self selected at the road crossing on first lap. My body was telling me during pre-ride yesterday to take it easy, which I did. Couldn't however manage a restful sleep last night, the headache and craving for water and feeling hot was a bit of a tip off to being not 100%. Body was working hard for not much speed on the course, just didn't feel right. Figured I didn't need to get sick this week if I can still avoid it.
Craig's hub wasn't ready to face the day, Jon's derailleur didn't make it, Andre Sutton and Dallas had flats, Dwayne Ellis wasn't feeling hot, etc.
Devin had a good looking performance, as did Jon until the mechanical.
Tori liked the course for her lap and had a fun hanging out all day.
I need some rest tonight, especially considering I've got a 5:45am conference call to lead. Looks like it's going to be another one of those weeks.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Tori left earlier in the morning with Pat Not Doyle (thanks both of you, I'm becoming more of a princess lately demanding adequate sleep). She was busy hammering the hills by the time I was in the car. As it turns out, there weren't enough girls for the Novice category, so Tori raced sport. Not as if the categories really matter, both she and I are out there for the fun of it and hanging out with the "gang" of iron legged, iron lunged cyclists that make up the Alberta scene.
As I left town, Jon and Craig passed me, so our commute out turned into a bit of a proxy for a hammer ride, trading pulls. I might need to lay off that to keep my no-speeding ticket record going through my thirties.
When we arrived at the Nordic Center, it was a rather meager afternoon - rain was coming down sporadically, sky was gray, and everyone racing was covered head to toe in mud. Tori found me right away, and let me know that she had finished second in her race. Sweet stuff, last couple of races she's been filling out our carpool with another podium position. But really the reason I think she's started taking to mountain biking more is a) everyone knows and likes here there, it's kind of like walking into Cheers, b) there's other people who can't ride over every log, and c) if she didn't come out, she might never see me? Tori can fill me in where I'm wrong, but that's my guess.
I knew from my first warmup lap, that wasn't actually much of a warmup lap, that my legs and body were feeling good, so I spent most of the remainder of the pre-race time hanging out. John Chambers spotted me riding before I recognized him, he looked happily mudded up from a ride with his brother in law Eric de Nys. We'll all be doing the 24 hours of Adrenaline on a team in a month or whatever it is. I can't wait, and rumor had it John was out doing 6 hours in the saddle just so he could crush the remaining guys on our corporate team when the time came ; )
Despite the crummy weather reference in the intro, today wasn't really a "see what was inside" kind of day for me. I've got this new strategy for racing, which I don't recommend to anyone. Try to waste as much time as possible on the first lap, then attempt to dig yourself out of that hole. Within one hundred meters of the start, on the climb that was supposed to string everyone out, I crashed. I don't usually crash in races, and can't really think to any in a peloton where I was the middle of what went down. Without going into play by play here, let's just say this... I obviously didn't mean to crash myself, and sorry Canmore guy, I know you didn't want to go down either. Trust me, I don't start races looking around for who I can derby with.
After that little schmozzle, I red lined it back to the start/finish area to try to get myself even remotely near the riders I wanted to be near. Devin and Mike were way up front, and we started into the technical trails I hadn't pre-ridden. The first steep descent was muddy and slippery, but I didn't find it too bad to ride the first time through. After that, I'd been on many of the trails before, so I wasn't particularly uncomfortable. Considering where I was in the group, I was riding the single track slower than I would on my own, and with more dismounts on obstacles that were giving people a hard time. After another kilometer or whatever of muddy XC trail, we hooked right for the day's big descent, some off camber descent that dropped away to the left, with lots of loose soil and wet roots to make sure you were going to end up somewhere down in the ditch. I walked it the first time, as everyone in front of me did, but started thinking about the next lap...
It opened up again to XC trails, with the remainder of the lap being dedicated to making up the vertical back to the stadium, with some single track mixed in. A highlight was a high speed XC trail corner where I managed to stay upright through a 3m full on two wheel drift in the mud, that was pretty fun. Lots of climbing, including the longer Georgetown climb. I had dressed for the expectation of poor weather, and thought it was "too nice" at our start to last consistently through the race. I was wrong, and I roasted up the climb, which became the foundation for time wasting maneuver #2, on the first pass through the feed zone I pulled a 45 second take helmet off, take jersey off, remove undershirt, put jersey and helmet back on special race against the clock ordeal. By this point I've thoroughly shot myself in the proverbial foot.
By the time I was rolling again, Canmore fellow whom I aided in wiping out at the start passed me, and he let me know it as we were on the trail. I passed him on a short uphill, then he pushed ahead on the downhill. Once we hit the single track, I wasn't working too hard. I didn't think the "let me pass next time you need to dismount" line was going to go over too well, so I stayed behind until we got to the steep off camber downhill, which instead of walking, I "bulldogged" (right leg out as tripod and 2/3 riding the bike, but not pedaling). A root grabbed him halfway down and shot him a few meters off trail, and I was on my own. The Georgetown climb felt great with just a jersey on in the cool air, and I focused on pacing myself out for the remainder of the lap, and deciding where I was going to spend the most energy on the next laps.
For the last two laps, the single track took on new meaning. I'd pass the occasional rider from another category, and a couple in our group, and a couple with mechanicals from either the elites or our group, but generally was unhindered in the tight stuff. I can't believe how good my tires were hooking up in the slick stuff, I had them both at [top secret] psi in the parking lot. For a low tread tire, they're certainly doing what I wanted... I have to say I'm not missing the Nobby Nic's at all.
Not much to report on other than mud and hills for lap three, and the joy of just riding my own pace. Lap 4 was entirely the same, until the last 1/3 or so of the lap, when all of a sudden I heard Pat Doyle trash talking me from behind, only about 10 seconds back. For crying out loud I was now going to have to pin it for the last 1/3 of the lap in an attempt to save my pride (Pat eats the pride of other riders for breakfast, lunch and dinner as he was chasing me down on his single speed!). He kept my finish honest and rolled in 10 seconds or whatever behind me.
Once I could breathe again, I took note that Mike and Devin were the only other two in our category standing around looking beat, so it seemed I had lucked my way into a third spot somehow, which made me happy. I could also now take a minute to see how far grease and mud had pushed their way into my calf by the way of introduction from my big chainring during the wipeout at the start. Nothing lengthens healing time on a few punctures like having some Finish Line Cross Country Wet Lube making friends with my epidermal layers.
Mical came rolling in a few seconds after Pat, after starting 2 minutes (I think??) behind us, and working her way through the entire field. Sweet!
The Team Bow Cycle Cyclemeisters had awesome prizes and draw prizes, I was sent home with a nice Specialized saddle, just the kind I like, for my result, and a Pedro's shop apron for a draw prize, which will serve me well. Tori received an "I Love Bowness" girly t-shirt and a big haul of Enervit products. Nice!
Shawn "Whole Wheat" Bunnin, as coined by Roddi, graced the podium with his GQ post race wardrobe in 2nd after chasing the flying Dutchman around for 2+ hours, Mr. Heemskerk. A team Saskatchewan rider whom I don't think I know rounded out the elite men. Hopefully Shawn can blow all his prize money on his sister's birthday dinner tonight, and to reward mom and dad for being good bike supporters! Bummer for Andrea who crashed and gets to commute home to Saskatchewan tomorrow with sore ribs.
Great rainy day event, see you all at the Summer Solstice in a couple of weeks!
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Sunday, 1 June 2008
The side I'm less excited about is how I feel right now, I've never felt worse after a bike ride. I think I had a moment on the hot climb at La Ruta 2006 that was similar, but that at least dissipated after a while. I'm still feeling terrible 3.5 hours later.
My chosen career isn't very conducive to proper training and rest. I felt good for 3 hours, which is about the number of hours I've ridden each of the last two weeks. Working 80 hours a week, coming home past midnight from the office, is a downright shitty way to prepare for endurance events. No time for riding, and just as importantly, not proper time for rest.I knew today would hurt, I just didn't know how bad.
On the slightly lighter side, on my second last lap, I thoroghly bonked and lied down next to Josh who was course marshalling. I have to say I actually don't remember much of it, suffice to say Josh probably thinks I'm spacey (I was). Jack also appeared out of nowhere to brighten my spirits, and Cindy. The positive output of that stop was that I noticed the grass and mud caked into my rear derailleur lower pulley wheel. The grass probably got in there on lap 2 when I really tried to let it fly and went a few feet off trail on the long fast grassy downhill. I started picking at it with a stick, then broke the stick. Josh lent me a tool. I got some chain slack so I could try spinning the pulley. It took a three finger grip to turn it. I think I sunk a lot of energy into battling friction today. I spent 10 minutes digging all the grass and mud out, then took off.
It was like riding a rocket. I could pull 5 more gears on the hills, not granny. Yes, part of it was a little rest. But I could feel my energy going to motion. Also explains why my chain was "piling up" before, it wasn't spinning freely at all. Geez.
Either way, the sum of the above two points was a race I'd call embarassing. At least it was a good workout. My body was ready for a 4 or 5 out of 10, and this got me up pretty near a 10 - empty beyond wisdom. In fact if it wasn't a 10, I'm not to keen to figure out what a 10 feels like. Only thing I'm happy about is that no matter how many times I told myself to pack it in, my stubborn side reminded me that quitting isn't an option. For 90% of my last lap of pain I actually was gunning for, and thought I might make the cutoff time for another lap.
Everyone will have their stories, but mine for the day was lying in the dirt after the race for 35 minutes with a rain slicker on as a blanket, my body not willing to move or be vertical. My guts hurt, my legs were full on cramping (my fingers are still cramping now, and were also cramping when I was using utensils to devour some dinner).
Tori went by on the last stretch, wind at her back and on the slight downslope, just blazing. She was probably in the last dozen or so to finish, having passed through the start/finish some time before 2:59 so she could start another lap. That's an 8+ hour plus race. Made me want to cry with pride, but there were no fluids to spare. That's the most hardcore girl in the province who's sporting a novice ABA license, a total misnomer.
Reflecting now, I'm so impressed at how strong the field was, and the overall showing by the deadgoats. 6:30pm equals bed time.