Saturday, 28 March 2009

Un-riding mostly

I did a lot of things today that have no effect, other than atrophy, for my legs, lungs and heart. Situational analysis, strategic alternatives, ranking of alternatives, recommendation, action plans and contingency plans don't in this case have much to do with cycling. The only thing that's growing is the page count on the powerpoint file. I caution that I'm not trying to create melodrama where there isn't melodrama to be had, but the parallels, with a little creative license, definitely exist. Phone call. Time line. Action plan. Consequences.

I managed only a brief workout to help keep my sanity and my ability to sleep at night, as my body was getting restless. One hour of repeats up and down the hill by the Montgomery school had my quads searing. I don't recall how many I did, but I think it was near by reverse estimation.  Not overly inspiring, but time efficient and utilitarian at least.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

March Madness, no basket balls in sight

Keith has been doing some crazy talk lately, about big rides.  But he's such a genuine guy, that instead of brushing him off as loco as we probably should, we listen to him like the bunch of addicts we are.  

Dallas, Craig and I met him at Cadence to fuel up for a big day.  To our surprise, Chris Hooper and Frank Woolstencroft actually found the email of Keith's that I forwarded to them appealing as well, and joined us for the morning coffee.  They're total hardcore riders too, but so far, their minds have only expanded enough for them to know that they're a little hardcore, and that the addiction will likely grow... but more on that later.

As we left Cadence, at only 30 seconds past 9am, Kobe Davis and Dan Petersen joined on too - 8 guys in total for what we hoped would be an epic, as long as the forecast rain held off.  It's always nice to ride with fresh faces... or as Dallas would say (endearingly of course), more fresh meat for the grinder.

We rode north, and it wasn't an easy pace.  I was suffering, and to be honest, I didn't really fall into a rhythm till half way through the day.  Out Lochend, past Madden, past Dog Pound, near Cremona.  At that point, we guesstimated the distance to Water Valley (and overestimated a bit too much), so Chris and Frank decided to make tracks back to Calgary.  They were strong the whole way - hopefully enough so that they won't think twice about joining us again.  But it was a faulted decision (if only slightly), as the Water Valley Saloon wasn't actually too far, and their food was worth the trip.  Maybe next time.  I also filled 1/3 of my gel flask with HP sauce - tangy goodness.

The six of us who remained graced the honkey tonk atmosphere with our form fitting breathable apparel.  Service was good, food was good, and Dallas and Craig fueled up with a few beers [side note: the fact that they hand me my ass at will with beers in the system is kicking sand in my face, but the overall adventure experience is still worth it ; )].  We chilled to a little heavy metal that Dallas had fired up on the jukebox.  Good times all around.

We rode west.  We continued to ride hard - Kobe and Dan especially impressed me with their legs.  I had asked Dan at one earlier point if he planned on riding the whole way, just to see if his fuel tank calculation knew it could keep the pace that hard the whole way.  

West from Water Valley is a beautiful road.  It climbs more than I thought, plus the wet parts of the road were tough to pedal through.  We hit highway 40, the forestry trunk road, at about 125km from home on my odometer.  That was our furthest point, and unfortunately that's about the spot Dan's energy seemed to run thinner.  We turned south, and Dallas turned on the gas on the next few climbs.  I have no idea where he gets that much power.  My goal on most climbs was to have him in sight when he crested.  Keith and Craig were light years ahead of me too.

We split up, but a front tire flat on Craig's bike slowed the lead three down enough that me, and then Kobe and Dan caught on, but we broke up again shortly thereafter - I hope those guys made it back - we never saw them again.  Before making it out to 1A, Dallas suggested we short cut left and up and over Wild Cat Hills.  I'm not sure what world this qualifies as a short cut in, as it's a significant climb, and my odometer was about 190k at that point - wasn't exactly looking for "bonus climbs".  At the top of the hill, we heard some ugly noise - oh yeah, that was Craig shattering (his own words).  This might also be an appropriate point to mention that Craig's warmup ride yesterday was 170km.  Yes, you read that right.  Dallas said he forgot the hill was there, that we should have argued harder at the turnoff.  Oh well.  I was out of water, but Dali provided me a few sips.  We got our shit together and came out on Grand Valley, then 1A back to a Starbucks in Cochrane that we absolutely raided for calories.  It was getting cold, and it was a few minutes after 5pm already.  Before we left I notified Tori of the need to order a pizza, make a box of mac 'n cheese, and have a can of tuna ready for devouring.

The commute home from Cochrane wasn't a coast in - first Dallas decided to light it up on Cochrane Hill, with legs that seemed fresh.  Second, as we regrouped at the top, the flags of Gleneagles were being tattered by an east wind, so we had to slog home into that.

All in riding time for me was 8 hours 15 minutes for 227km.  That's a hair under 28km/hour for a very climby, quite windy, half gravel, some spring breakup mud sink on the roads.  I'm toast, but honestly I feel pretty good afterward.  Probably won't be riding tomorrow...

I live for this stuff.  The adventure, the friends, the challenge.  The rest of my life fades into the background as long as I can pound out some weekend miles with the gang.  Call me an addict, whatever, it's probably fairly accurate.  This stuff is what gives me life itself.

I look at that map and think back to the days when out to Cochrane and back qualified as something to tire me out... then the next level being out Big Hill Springs to 22x and back through Cochrane.  It's almost funny to view the map in that context.

The other awesome thing about getting home was that Tori shredded 120km of Priddis/Millarville/Bragg riding - the 85th street SW classic, Coal Mine road, etc.  Our house looks about 2 steps above the house in Fight Club, but our priorities are straight at least.  Craig did 400km over the last two days, and our household is in a close second at about 350km.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sunday Ride

Keith, Dallas, Craig and I met at Cadence, along with Bill Quinney and super sprinter Craig Deb-many letters sounding French. Dallas joined for coffee, then left to ride the Speed Theory noon ride, and said he still felt shattered from yesterday. As we left town we bumped into Adam Boyko who joined us as well. Generally speaking, there were more fresh legs in the group than not, and right up the first climb of Stoney Trail I felt a little empty - so much so that I ate my only pack of cliff blocks within the first 20 minutes.

I don't know how it was for the rest of the guys, but with some yesterday fatigue in my body, today's perceived exertion was high. We raced a few hills, and I guess the best way of phrasing it was at least I wasn't embarrassed by the Keith and Craig duo. After venturing north of the city for a few hours, we came back to Cochrane with perfect timing to intersect the Speed Theory group, although none but Dallas dropped into Cochrane for coffee, they were just doing a little 40k out and back.

Craig, Keith and I decided to keep going west to reverse one of our favourite loops, where I started running out of gas, but still tried to do a few training intervals where possible. I presume they enjoy riding with me as it's constant reaffirmation of their prowess as I'm never the first to crest any hills. To be honest I don't even mind, my little accelerations are just the sucker punches that let them take off and duke it out. Keith brought back some out of this world legs from planet Tucson, he pulled us home in fade-less fashion.

All in it was 5 hours and 125k. I didn't have a spedometer yesterday, but my best guess is this was a 12 hour, 300k weekend. Feeling good for this time of year, although yesterday might have come close, I'm feeling sort of un-bonk-able, which is nice. Whenever I'm low on energy it feels like the fat metabolism can tide me over.

Tori left a big pan of potatoes and onions on the stove. It's like distilled love as far as I can tell. Pure carb bombs with some flavour. And she's bringing home a large pizza. This week will consist of a few commutes at granny pace to keep me from seizing up, and probably a few intervals Thursday, and lots of R&R.

Saturday ride pt 2

Yesterday's ride brings to mind one of my absolute favourite cycling qoutes, which I believe is attributable to Viatcheslav Ekimov.  I wish I could do it better.  Dallas does it very well.  Simon showed us an impressive version of it.

"Ride strong like bull, smart like tractor."

Ride hard.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


I left home at 9:15 today, and Dallas, Shawn, Devin and I departed West Hills at about 10:15.  I got home a couple minutes before 6.

Between A and B, we maybe did 90 mintutes of not riding.  It was warm, windy and tiring.  Before Bragg, we caught up to Simon whom we rode with a bunch last year at TransRockies.  Most people who ride Trek 6700 mountain bikes probably don't route as much power through the drivetrain.

We rode to Millarville then near the south end of Calgary, where Shawn and Devin peeled off.  The rest of us sort of retraced our steps back home.

That was my longest ride of the year so far.  And Simon and Dallas are officially complete savages.  I'm impressed.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Spring Classics

Spring classics aren't only for Europe.  Devin, Dallas, Craig, and for half the way, Shawn, made our own spring classic today.  6 hours saddle time, lots of hills, lots of beautiful roads, lots of hammering, on a Priddis-Bragg loop.  Generally speaking, Dallas and Devin did a good job of laying the pain down.  We may not be Thor Hushovd in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, or Tom Boonen in the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, but we do have our way of making the miles hurt pretty good.

I'm sure I'll recover by April.