Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
I also enjoy sharing that enthusiasm with others. But I don't push bikes on people. If people are interested in bikes, they know to ask me.
I guess other people see that riding bikes is fun... FirstEnergy now has two teams signed up for 24 Hours of Adrenalin 2009, with a current tally of 15 participants (verus 7 in 2008), who all asked "can I do this next year" - even with the stories of mud and rain.
That's a measure of success that makes me happy!
Monday, 28 July 2008
Cory Wallace and Lonn Bate had great races, as did Dallas and Gerry. I'm also very impressed with the deadgoat team who did some great times on singlespeeds. Spent a lot of time talking to other deadgoat and other teams who were braving the weather (pretty challenging at times!), although I didn't see them as frequently on the laps...
My physio appointment confirmed what I'd felt... that whole going down at sprint speed then getting footprints on my back in my moments of being trampled then sprinting to make up places for 600m with an awkward gait to keep my right shoe on (note to self for next year, no boa system quick release buckes on the start lap shoes) wasn't the hottest thing for my back... minor progress setback it seems. I like how the physio is going though, I've never liked superficial "treatments" much... and this certainly isn't superficial. Feels very helpful.
Having said that, I'm pumped for the le mans start next year if we do a corp team again, I think based on how it was starting out I could have been higher up in the run... might have to work on beating those old personal best 400m times now that I've built up the engine for a few years! I'm not being bashful, next time it's front row, and someone else prove you're faster by passing me in the open, none of this elbows up crap. I won't take up an ounce of anyone else's space with my elbows in a few strides ahead of the bulk of the normal curve.
My only other pet peeve about that race stemmed from having our tent site right next to the feed zone. The solo riders either knew how to feed on a bike, or were just tired enough that they were moving slow enough for a reasonable feed. Many of the team participants in my mind had it pretty mixed up. If you're on a team, doing 1 hour laps, you don't need a feed. You can eat and drink before in appropriate quantity to last 60 minutes of exercise. ie. you don't need to come blasting through the flat, paved feedzone, showboating how you can pedal a mountain bike 35kph because your legs are fresh, while trying to take a paper cup of water from a volunteer, meanwhile splashing half of it on the volunteer and half on the ground... not to mention those who then actually said or gestured as if there was a problem with the feed system or the skill of the volunteers. Mental note - if Bakke volunteers for feed zone duty, keep sticks away otherwise I'd be jamming a few in the spokes of the clueless. What you're proving by doing this is that a) you're inconsiderate, and b) you haven't taken the time to carry one tiny waterbottle for your one lap. Gimme a break, save the volunteers efforts for someone who really needs it. Carry a bottle if you need that sip through your 1 hour lap, or slow down to a reasonable speed. Just my 2 cents.
Sunday, 27 July 2008
I spent a few minutes addressing lighting, getting as much as possible onto my helmet and bike. After hearing that Tinker is out (had a good lead, then got enough junk in his eyes to necessitate a hospital trip), I fashioned a front fender out of two paper plates and a bunch of duct tape. My fender, and the adapter for the Cannondale head tube, are of course at home in a tupperware bin.
I'm rode again from 3:40 till 4:05. I was hoping to keep my lap under an hour, but the peanut butter mud and the number of people proceeding very slowly on the technical sections meant that wasn't too feasable.
As it turns out, that was my last ride and it was back to sleeping in the wax room. Our team of 7 rode 3 laps each for a total of 21, which put us second to team Lifesport, the XC ski and bike shop, who somehow manages to have an overall fitter level of employees than a bunch of investment bankers.
I think a lot of experience was gained by all, and a lot of fun had too. The thundershowers kept pounding everyone right through to the awards, which challenged our motivation to stay.
The deadgoat single speeders came in second to a US pro team - Ed, Tim, Pat and Tom did awesome. Lonn was second single speeder overall.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
I got bowled over 10m into the le mans. Absolutely unacceptable level of sportsmanship displayed by participant level entrants. Went from 5th to 35th and got trampled, like being under a herd of wildebeast. After that my shoe was undone, so I flat foot ran with my right foot so my heel wouldn't come out. And after 600m, finished run in 7th. Without that crap I could have been top 3, not that it matters, but what does matter is staying on two feet and realizing it isn't won by poor attitude off the start.
Loop through Canmore was a burn, hot weather. Made it through first lap (le mans, prologue and lap) in 1:10. Course loop was 47min.
Second lap in driving rain. Didn't want to slow down much, wet techinical I'm usually fine at. Made it through in 51min. Saw Dallas out on course, he sprinted me on all the hills we rode together. Epic lap, I love it when it's full on thunderstorm, it just feels so badass to ride in.
John, Scott, Brian, Eric, Will and Richard are all having fun and putting in impressive lap times!
Friday, 25 July 2008
Monday, 21 July 2008
I have to say it went quite well. They way the lady went about finding my issues was interesting. We talked about what I am, what I do, what my history is, and what I expect to do with myself. They don't seem to think that "go home and rest" is an appropriate fix - the idea is to get you back to doing what you expect of yourself. She thought my cycling tan lines and shaved legs were good evidence that I took the sport and my amateur athlete side quite seriously.
Turns out I have immobility between two vertebrae currently. I don't recall which ones, but it's right near where I'd point with my thumb when people said "where does your back hurt?". Go figure. The way she went about figuring out was methodic - manipulation of the body as a machine in a lot of different directions using the hands as the listening devices for the response. I'm impressed with the profession, to say the least.
The solution is to get the muscles to relax, then be proactive in restoring/keeping mobility in that area. When she stuck her thumbs into the muscles alongside my spine, the left hand side felt like rope cord and hurt when she did it. The right hand side was mushy buttery relaxed muscle.
Thumbs, elbows, rolling pads, heat, needles, and suction cups with electric impulses were used. I felt better walking out of there than I could have imagined... I liken it a bit to when I went in for eye surgery - I could see better 10 minutes after than I could for the 10 years prior, but just had a little blur from the whole process. Will go back again on Friday, then we'll see after a week of self therapy and two sessions how I feel. I feel better in my mind though, instead of a mystery clouding my ability to do stuff, there's a problem and solutions (or working toward solutions) identified.
Jon spent a few calories earning his second spot, so he's trying to replace them as quickly as possible.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
I got home 10 minutes before my next scheduled event, a professional bike fitting. I've meant to do one for years, and even got as far as booking one a couple times, but that atypical ibanking work schedule never really cooperated ; )
This individual was recommended to me through an ex-colleague and fellow cyclist. He made the trip to my house, on time, with the tools of his trade. Everything we went through made a heck of a lot of sense, plus he had the tools to actually make it so.
Everything he made in the way of changes were what I'd call tweaks - which is what I expected and hoped for. After years of logging big miles with zero in the way of repetitive use injury, I was comfortable that my position was good enough to not be harmful, but I wanted to have the confidence that it was good, as opposed to "it isn't bad".
After the two bikes we worked on together for 2.5 hours, I've tweaked the rest of my rides. We'll see how it all feels after some real miles, but the before and after feeling on the trainer is a little more "open" and that I'm "fighting myself less", which I guess are descriptors that may indicate a little more efficiency or a little less wear and tear (or both?) over the long run.
Long day, need to get some rest.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Looking forward to it, and naturally I hope to have a good race. I'm still coughing occasionally, and although I don't think it's aiding my health, I don't think it's bringing me down either.
I'm feeling lazy and tired today. Put a new rear wheel on the Scalpel as my other one is in the emergency room.
Did a few errands, and of course spent some time thinking about Tori's much more interesting day north of the arctic circle. One of the things I aim for is not to get in the way of her ideas and plans, there's enough other "obstacles" life has out there without more.
I have a hard time imagining Tori if she was born at different points in history. Probably would have been an effective prairie settler, hard work and just getting things done suits her. I don't think she would have done well as a post war house wife, or someone born into communism. Some people can function under constraints, others expand into open spaces better. I'm looking forward to her blog posts and whatever other communication comes when she's within range of that kind of stuff.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
If we weren't dead tired before, we are for sure now.
Friday, 4 July 2008
I was climbing well today by my standards, with teams that were dropping me all week. It was steep, I think it was 500m of vertical in 6km if I remember right, with a mini downhill in the middle. I kept an eye on Jon a few riders up and did what I could for the uphill TT.
After that it was a steep switchback descent. I wiped out on a log, no idea why, no damage done though. Halfway down the descent there was a particular ditch that was deeper and sharper, I bottomed out my tire, fork, wrists and elbows. Saw it last second and thought in that split second that this could the "the one" that turns out really ugly. Made it though.
Lots of nice singletrack, bridges, roots, rocks, etc. After a few optional drop off lines (I think I've done a lot of stress testing beyond what the carbon Scalpel might be made for this week - can't say enough good about it) my rear tire was low, burped a little air out at one point. When I CO2'd it I think I bent the valve stem a bit, so it kept leaking periodically. Had to stop 5 times during the remainder to keep topping it up.
I didn't know a 47km "short" stage could be so hard - even the organizers mis judged it a bit thinking the leaders would be in a half an hour earlier than they were. Winning time was around 3 hours. We were around 3:30. No idea how we finished up, but I can't recall ever being pinned at redline for 3.5 hours that hard before, I'm going to sleep like a zombie tonight.
Pat and Andy finished 2nd today and by finish line timing, appear to be now 2nd in the GC by only a minute or two. In a lot of ways I'm impressed they even made it to the end, as I've never seen Pat as hurting as he was a few days earlier this week. It goes without saying that 100% effort went into todays stage especially, they aren't the kind of guys that leave anything on the table. Their competition was flying today, they passed Jon and I three times and finished ahead of us (the whole stopping for air ordeal had us jockeying).
Trish and Craig rolled in looking well spent - Trish left enough energy on the course that she had to go for some alone time in the field before chatting with everyone. I keep kidding with Trish that I'm proud to know someone famous like her, even if the circle that recognizes her impressive athleticism is somewhat small...
Being the slower partner is a hard task on all of "us". Max redline all week would still be "insufficient" if the goal was to be as fast as our significant other. But the goal is really to make it through with what you've got, as a team. The three teams I had windows into this week looked like they did a fantastic job of being real teams and doing just that. Faster partner has to be the helper, facilitator and motivator. Slower partner has to be "boss" by dictating the pace and riding to their limit but without cracking - and they're the only one who can navigate that fine line.
Jon had his breathing under control enough this week to say a lot of helpful things... I suspect (hope) he knew my limited verbal responses were more a result of not being able to interrupt the oxygen delivery system and still hold the pace than lack of appreciation. It's just like people clapping at the side of the course, for those few seconds of passing that can be the most helpful thing on earth.
This should help my fitness for the season, noting like volume and intensity crammed into one week. I'm also happy to say that in the highest density spurt of highly technical riding I've ever done, I don't have so much as a single scrape to show for it, other than the ones from bushes at the side of the trail. I'm healthier than when I started. Also, the ultra-light Scaplel's only mechanical was needing a little more air in the tire on the last day, after 7 days of riding where a lot of it was probably a bit above the bike's true design goals.
Great race, a true mountain biker's evernt!
Thursday, 3 July 2008
We started climbing right out of the start, which strung the pack out nicely. I had planned for a conservative start, which translates a little loosely from the usual "conservative" definition. I got right up to max and kept it there for only about 15 mins... sweet to redline right away. I wore a deadgoat ninja jersey today and it worked - Jon shoulder checked and looked right at me 4 times, then turned to Pat and Andy and asked if they'd seen Erik around. I've never been so stealthy on someone's wheel before. Everyone was trying to hole shot for a skinny bridge through mud so it wouldn't get backed up, but 2k of pavement climb and another couple of doubletrack made it a non issue.
Trails today were beautiful again - much of the Test of Metal course and the Gear Jammer courses. Great shaded singletrack, steep technical decents, nice flowing burmed corner section to rail. One big gravel road climb I survived, 5 miles I think, though it's easy to feel like your climbing is inferior when Jon's making it look effortless hanging around at my pace.
Long fast downhill after that gave way to technical singletrack. After checkpoint 2 we went out for another 10k loop in the woods of more great technical singletrack. Finished through a little residential then 2k of path around a park. Some guys rocketed past us on the residential but we wound it up for a short steep climb plus the last 2k and had a big gap open again at the finish.
Swam in the pool, ate pizza, massaged, and ready for another day.
Pat had a rough start again but things turned part way through, they started feeling better on the big climb. He's talkative after the race whereas yesterday he was in the hurting place.
Trish and Craig had another solid day, Trish rode with Pat for a little.
My back is totally fine, legs feel ok (zero soreness at start today vs yesterday I started sore), my biggest problem in life at this point is that some gel pack blew up in my feed bag and everything I own is sticky, so really things aren't too bad.
Not sure right now where we finished, I'd guess roughly the same as last few days. We took 3:55 to ride, Hestler and Plaxton won at 3:15. I guess I have to learn to hold 70rpm in my big ring on the climbs.
Talked with a friend from Mexico who did La Ruta last year who was basically asing how someone learns to ride this stuff. Some people have been doing it since kids, some learn this week, and some take paractice.
It's especially worth noting that this race is totally worth doing for mountain bikers, but if you're a roadie convert with no technical skills, you need to brush up. There are a few "green runs" here, but we all follow the same route, and there's also plenty of "black runs" in the race, as some are finding out. TransRockies is a lot more forgiving for the roadie crowd.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
I hope we're riding bikes together till the day we miss the proverbial 90 degree left at the top of the cliff and move on to biking heaven, which is probably out here in BC anyway.
Remind me in 2019 to ask you to come challenge the 80+ category in the BC Bike Race!
Last 13km was downhill singletrack of the technical variety. Jon displayed downhill skills that were hard for many to believe, in addition to some similar uphill skills the other day. Nothing like passing 4 teams walking down a section with loose gravel and drops. They didn't even see him go behind them, they turned around and thought someone had crashed into the woods behind them, but he was already 30m down the trail. That left me in the humorous position of trying to negotiate with them to let me pass so I could catch up to the apparition none of them really even saw go whizzing by.
Saw a spectacular wipeout, guy flew off a ledge. Must have not seen the 90 degree left judging by how airborne he was. He rolled down the hill in starfish mode, probably 5x over. Seemed ok after. Probably ended up 20m down a large ravine ledge.
Tim the singlespeeder extra-ordinaire from La Ruta crashed and dislocated his shoulder.
Pat Doyle, man who doesn't let suffering slow him down, didn't have words at the finish when Jon saw him. Those who know Pat know he's tough as nails, and he's had now two days of having to dig really deep.
Trish took a little spill but is fine.
We kept rubber side down, rode all the skinny's and bridges, and kept an OK but not fantastic pace. No mechanicals thus far either. My leg muscles are a bit sore. The Scalpel is a really well handling downhill bike, I tested the traction limits of the front tire no less than 28 times on the downhill.
Apparently we finished 14th, I'm unsure if that's on the day overall or just open men (couldn't catch Wendy and Norm early on, then Katie Compton and her partner dropped me like a bad habit on the climb after checkstop 2).
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Worked our way through a lot of the front field on the climb (we started at the back of the A pen as we were screwing around trying to find a pump).
I wasn't rocketing up climbs by any means, but I was making it up the majority of them without dabbing, and people were walking all over.
Trails were great, lots of singletrack. We actually took 4 wrong turns today, but none cost more than 2 mins I'd guess. We passed both Andreas Hestler and Tinker, so I should probably just quit racing now cause I'm sure that'll never happen again (Tinker's partner was cramping, Andreas was waiting for Plaxton but he was way ahead... oops). By about kilometer 50 of 60 we caught Wendy and Norm, which was a TR regular occurance at that point. Tried to rail the singletrack but she's so superior in the technical we couldn't open it up. Jon burped a lot of air out of his front tire on a mix up at one spot on the trail, so we had to stop and I gave him a CO2. We caught and passed the 4 teams that passed us in a couple mins by hammering the shit out of a stretch of gravel road.
Rode hard right to the end. Every pedal stroke all day had power, without a twinge of cramping. Instead of sitting in Jon's draft praying to get my hollow body to the end, I took some pulls. I do,kt even feel like I've worked hard, I've absorbed all kinds of recovery magic foods and feel great.
Last highlight of the day was getting a massage when I saw two race people walk into the finish area with 20 boxes of pizza. I jumped off the table to get my piece. I nearly lost a limb in the frenzy, they were gone in 60 seconds.
It feels so good to be a bike racer rather than a shell of one. On the hot direct sun climbs with no wind I could temperature regulate, vs the other days when I'd just slow to a crawl or pop since I felt like I was roasting alive. Everything I ate went to my quads in 12 minutes, no problems. Every burst on a hill I'd recover from one minute later rather than feeling I'd spent something I'd never get back.
Trish and Craig did good, Pat suffered like Pat hasn't suffered before - hyperventilating and sharp quad pains. Pat pushes so hard though and they only lost a couple minutes to their competitors, which is total coup for having a bad day.
I can't say enough about Jon's patience. He found ways to work and entertain himself last few days, and today was more of what we came for.
Started out conservative, climbing right away.