Saturday, 30 June 2012

BC Bike Race Day Zero

Departing for Cumberland from North Vancouver. Front brake bled, checked in, etc. All good.

I like seeing the bike racing crowd. So many friendly faces. Such a small world.

I'm standing in the line for free sunglasses. The pair in front are talking about how cool it was to see Tour Divide riders go by their town in Colorado; they saw Ollie and Craig go buy. I say "hey, I don't mean to creepy eaves drop, but Craig is my riding buddy and I'm just got so excited about watching all of the race". So we chat, and it gets to they live in Colorado and met a deadgoat named Tim at Breck Epic. I say I'm going to that one with Cindy, Shawn, and Thomas from Belgium. A guy laughs and says "Thomas from Belgium, is that like when people say Mike from Toronto and expect you to know them?" And the girl Sonia says she really does know Thomas from Belgium from Claro Brasil last year; I mentioned I was to be his partner until work got in the way. Chalk that up to a small bike world...

I want to get riding, it's a lot of calm before the storm so far.

Excellent schnitzel and spatzle dinner.

Friday, 29 June 2012

BC Bike Race '12

I'm off to the west coast for BC Bike Race.  I like this race, nowhere else have a found a week of compressed technical riding like BCBR offers.

I've trimmed down myself, my gear, and my bike from years prior to hopefully help ease and speed my way along.  On the flip side, I've got a wimpy arm that hopefully stays in place post the dislocation.  Let's hope it allows me to have fun for 7 days.  I'd like to stay ahead of the "bell curve" of the pack just to help the arm ride with less pressure of other riders around, and make more of my own choices over obstacles than being in the masses.

Either way, I'll be well taken care of for massage.  Cindy is even going to try to ride the Squamish "guest appearance friendly" day.  Will be fun.

Lots of guys down in Fernie this weekend too for Furious3 - good luck!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Craig Stappler is home

I started out this "adventure" of following a little blue dot with some enthusiasm, but boy oh boy did it build.  It just snuck up on me like a wave. 

I knew Craig was an excellent rider, and very well prepared.  He even whispered once of his goal last winter, which perhaps sounded far fetched for someone to say... but not far fetched for Craig to say.  And he accomplished it.  Congrats Craig!

One thing I've learned out of all this is that the blue dot is captivating.  It's more fun to seek out daily detail than to have it force fed to you the way the world normally works.  And it's fun to be fans of your friends... as it turns out, most of my friends find a lot of success riding bikes.  I enjoy the collateral excitement!

Monday, 25 June 2012


Shortly after I got my first computer and connected it to the internet (intermittently in those days), I installed the SETI screen saver.  Perhaps a foray into geek-dom.  But I’d argue not.  The SETI screensaver in those days was a program that a) downloaded packs of data from their server, then b) used your computer’s idle time to process the data looking for signal patterns that were of interest in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.  This was an ingenious, innovative way of harnessing mass computing power, for free, that was otherwise going unused, for the benefit of mankind.  As Jill points out eloquently below, this is a large task, that has merit, and is completely fascinating as well.

Alien Hunter Jill Tarter Puts the Big Search in Perspective

Jill Tarter, one of the world's foremost alien hunters, is packing up her telescope.

SETI's Jill Tarter, the inspiration for the movie "Contact," retired after 30 years as director of research. Ben Worthen discusses on digits. Photo: Getty Images.

The director of research at SETI Institute, the Mountain View nonprofit that searches the cosmos for signs of extraterrestrial life, Ms. Tarter retired from that job last month after more than 30 years. The 68-year-old now focuses on fundraising for the cash-strapped organization.

SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, uses giant radio telescopes to scan space for signals from alien species. Ms. Tarter, who has a Ph.D. in astronomy, hasn't found any signals yet, but says she is more optimistic than ever about the organization's chances.

Max Whittaker/Prime for The Wall Street Journal

Jill Tarter was director of research at SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.

Ms. Tarter was the inspiration for Carl Sagan's novel "Contact," which was made into a film starring Jodie Foster, and her career will be celebrated at a gala on Saturday. She recently discussed false signals, real hope and why Silicon Valley is a good place to raise funds. Edited excerpts:

WSJ: Did you enter this field with any philosophical predisposition toward the question of aliens?

Ms. Tarter: I had just grown up assuming that many of those stars up there in the sky were somebody else's sun. In the past we asked the priests, the philosophers about life out there. But here, in the middle of the 20th century, there were new tools—the tools of the astronomer—that would allow us to do an experiment, make observations and find the answer to this old question in a scientific manner.

WSJ: What would an extraterrestrial signal look like?

Ms. Tarter: Most SETI projects today are looking for radio signals that show up at only one channel on the radio dial. The reason that we look for that is because nature can't do this. Technology can.

WSJ: Have you found anything so far?

Ms. Tarter: There's the Wow! signal detected at Ohio State [in 1977]. They picked up the printouts and this one signal was so strong that the person who collected the data wrote "wow!" in the margin.

The net result is at least 1,000 hours of telescope time has been spent trying to see whether this signal was real. It has never been reacquired. We don't know what caused that. It could perhaps be a valid extraterrestrial signal. It could be some other terrestrial technology.

We also had a very exciting event in 1997 and it kept us going for the better part of a day. A piece of equipment had been damaged by lightning. We fooled ourselves.

WSJ: How do you not get frustrated?

Ms. Tarter: If you go into this field, you need to be mindful of how vast this undertaking is. Let's say space is the oceans of the earth. Then in 50 years what we've done is scooped one glass out of that ocean and examined it and we haven't found any fish. But we're not ready to conclude there are no fish in the ocean.

WSJ: What keeps you going?

MS. Tarter: When we started SETI, planets were a good theory, but the only planetary system we knew about was our own. Now we know that there are many planets.

[We also now know about] organisms that live in boiling battery acid, in the cooling waters of nuclear reactors, at the bottom of the ocean where there's no sunlight. So over my career, the potential habitable real estate out there has expanded enormously.

WSJ: Why do we assume that extraterrestrial life is more advanced than us?

Ms. Tarter: We can't find [life], so we're using technology as a proxy, as a way to infer the existence of intelligent life. If you're talking about looking remotely for technological civilizations, the minimum entry card is 20th century technology. We've had that kind of technology 100 years in a 10 billion-year-old galaxy, in which there are many stars quite a bit older than our sun.

WSJ: What do you think discovering intelligent life on another planet would mean for humanity?

Ms. Tarter: That we have a future. And second, I think discovering a signal, or even actually being actively involved in looking for a signal, has the effect of holding a mirror up to the planet, and making us see ourselves as all the same, all earthlings. It might help trivialize the differences among us.

WSJ: You had to suspend research temporarily in 2011 when funding fell through.

Ms. Tarter: Yeah, that was one of the dips in the roller coaster. We actually lost the secure federal funding back in 1993. We've been raising private funding ever since.

The past few years have been really dismal, as the economy has been in bad shape. We're precarious. If we were in OK shape, I would have put this off longer because fundraising isn't nearly as much fun as observing on the telescope.

[The] first target is $2 million a year. That's $60 million in an endowment. That's significant money, but it isn't impossible.

WSJ: Does being based in the heart of Silicon Valley help with fundraising?

Ms. Tarter: That is a community that we have reached out to. When we lost the funding in 1993, [Hewlett-Packard Co. founders] Dave Packard, Bill Hewlett, [Intel Corp. co-founder] Gordon Moore, [Microsoft Corp. co-founder] Paul Allen, those kinds of folks provided a lot of funding that's kept us going for the past couple of decades.


Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012 recap

Despite “biblical” rains this weekend, nearly 2,000 cyclists rode 230km in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the Ride to Conquer Cancer. $8 million dollars were raised in total – lots of money for a good group of people working to alleviate a disease that affects all of us in some way, directly or indirectly.

The FirstEnergy “Road Rockets” contributed well financially, and contributed in spirit well beyond that. Many new cyclists have been following Craig’s progress as a reminder that if they’re feeling sore before the first day’s 125km is up, just think about what it’s like to ride so much more. Or look around until you find a yellow flagged cancer survivor riding along with you and realize that riding with one’s health, even in the rain, is a gift.

The ride itself was predominantly dry for the first say half of the group. Those who finished later did get wet. But for the most part Saturday riding was fine, many people really gear up, but if you’re moving along, just cycling clothes were fine. I rode in with Cindy who had a great ride and who’s cycling is really budding – there were say less than 50 bikes in out of nearly 2,000 when we came in. That big smile helped a lot of people feel better this weekend. The skies behind us came and covered the camp site just a half hour after we finished, we had the rain jackets on just for a few dribbles while riding.

By the time we were in the dinner tent, we were frustrated that there was no cell coverage as we wanted to call in supplies to start building an Ark. The organizers did a great job of holding their shit together in a situation like this. Food was great, the Steam Whistle kept flowing, and the band was good. Tall tales were told all evening.

Rubberized gear bags and boots were a benefit to those who had them, but it was survivable for those that didn’t. Tents held out most of the water, but everyone had a few drips in by morning. On a multi day trip this would be tougher, but from what I heard everyone woke up warm and with a good rest, and sleeping bags were damp but not soaked through. That’s fine in the grand scheme.

Sunday was overcast but nice riding weather.  I slept in, skipped most of breakfast, and had a banana and half a power bar type thing in the tent, then asked for a pancake on the way to starting and just ate it from my gloved hand.  After discussing hopping on the “pain train” with a co-worker Saturday night, I was a bit late for the start.  He started hammering earlier, in sport of me trying to chase him down.  It’s a fun thing we have going.  I caught him past Turner Valley, and we finished together with him getting a BikingBakke draft for the last 20k.  I haven’t gone hard in two weeks, and with a visible 3 min gap with 10k to go to close, it was an all out effort.  But so fun to get the body working hard.  All in it was a 2h 45min TT, and we caught the other guys who were up front for fun, then just coasted in together (I haven’t forgotten it’s not a race, but I think it’s fair to get a solid workout in at least one day).  Its fun to chase, and it was great in retrospect to get in before a rain cloud blew through, and the bbq’s were just getting fired up.  Plus this way we can see everyone else who comes in.

Cindy’s sisters are proud of her too, they’re good supporters, look at all those smiles!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012

This weekend, after 6 months of fundraising, some training, and bike preparation, the FirstEnergy "Road Rockets" will ride in the 2012 Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer, from Spruce Meadows to Chain Lakes campground and back, covering approximately 200 kilometers in support of this good cause.  Last year the Ride raised ~$8mm from its ~5,000 riders in total.

Riding size is all relative, and for some new, intrepid members of the 18 person team, this will be the longest riding they've ever done.  More importantly, I feel confident in the preparation people have put in - it's been very fun assisting them in discovering what cycling is, what it does to your body, and how far a human really can move with their power source augmented from basic training plus the magic of a few gears on an efficienct machine.  It's fun to see that "light" go on in people's minds about what is possible.

Considering its “June-uary” in Calgary, they may even brave sub-optimal weather conditions.However, as one of the team intrepidly pointed out, riding with the chance of showers is much less a task than dealing with cancer. The Ride, it’s fundraising, and it’s awareness campaign all help the long term goals of better managing cancer in Alberta.

I'm looking forward to a weekend of a) being on the bike, and b) sub threshold pace. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Worst phone call ever to miss - Stappy called from Cuba, New Mexico and sounded great. I have no idea why I didn't feel my phone vibrate. But it's still great to hear his voice... Craig you've got so many fans!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Test of Metal

Although driving long distances for one day races isn’t super workable with my schedule at this phase of life, I aspire to do these types of events one day.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about “The Test”, and like riding in the area.

Once again, Kate, you’re awesome - 2nd!.  First, look at that picture.  That just says mountain biking hardcore in a nutshell. 

I don't have any Mical pics, but it's so great to see the gang keep ripping the trails.  You're riding well too, can't wait to see you two at races later this summer.

Then look at the results, then Kate’s and Mical’s write-ups!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Shoulder debrief

Since the dislocation, I’ve learned a few things. 
This one didn’t hurt as bad as last time – surprises me a bit given how long it was out in total (an hour).  I haven’t had a painkiller since the hospital, Canmore pharmacies were closed, then after that it didn’t matter.  But even without pain, I was keeping it in a sling, so that the fascia and ligaments have a chance of healing up tighter rather than be loose.
The girl at the trail was a Spin Sister or volunteer, not a racer.  I wasn’t super aware, I just guessed since I saw a bike lying there it was a racer.  Jon thanks again for going to start finish when that wasn’t in the trail marshalls’ sphere of things to do.
Conscious sedation didn’t really mean I’d be conscious the whole time.  I was out.  Felt like I had a full night’s sleep, and apparently it was only a few minutes out.
Riding a bike (commute to work) is easier than getting dressed!  Stopped that though after the first day due to rain, and the emphasis by the physio on limited movement.  I’m laying off and immobilizing as much as I can to get everything tightened up well.  Cindy’s massage really helped relax the muscles that are trying to hold it in place (and I felt, holding it in tension against, not necessarily with, the tendons and fascia that are trying to heal).
After this week I’m gonna take off the sling at lunch when I walk through the halls, too many repeats of the same story!
Stopping riding all together isn’t good for healing, I’ve learned this whether it’s limbs, scratches or colds over the years.  Taper back to spinning in garage without real force.  But stoppage of all activity just lets the metabolic rate plummet and junk build up in the body.  The cycling bloodflow, flush of system, metabolic boost have been universally productive for healing through my life, of course caveated with the right “dose”.  Overdoing it does nothing, a light spin when congested with a headcold is like a magic decongestant. 

Friday, 15 June 2012


Craig Stappler is riding awesome ; ) 

Aside from that little humorous artifact from the past, Craig is likely riding right now.  Or if you’re reading this later, he’s probably riding now too.

I’ve noticed how Craig has changed in my mind over the years.  I used to think of him as a strong mountain biker, laying out the hurt, wearing deadgoat kit, looking like this:
Lately, he’s cemented his reputation as a strong, err superhuman mountain biker, wearing deadgoat kit, but he jumps up and down more and looks more blue, with more prominent initials, like this:
I really like blue Craig - I’ve been utterly transfixed by this new Craig now for almost a week.  He doesn’t say much, but between the spot, the forums, the call ins of Ollie and him, it’s like a story book that you have to try to fill a lot in on your own.  It’s completely fascinating, completely amazing.  I almost get asked more about Craig these days than my dumb sling (which is good).  I walk around downtown to get my lunch, and when I see people they say “that Craig you’re buddies with is a monster.  You always said he was a good rider/awesome descender/had unending endurance but holy cow you weren’t exaggerating…" 

… and no indeed I was not.  So maybe people think I’m prone to exaggeration?  That’s beside the point.  The point is there are awesome feats of endurance happening out there by Craig and Ollie and nearly a hundred others, that are unfathomable in size, but that handfuls are latching onto and becoming blue dot trackers themselves.  And fans.  And inspired…

Thursday, 14 June 2012


I’d laugh, but in some ways it’s too close to home.  At least I don’t feel Canada is the worst offender.  Probably why the t-shirt wasn’t conceived here…


Monday, 11 June 2012

Tour Divide is Riveting

So I realize it’s a marathon, not a sprint, to apply an entirely inadequately scaled phrase to this size of event.  But having said that, I’m finding it entirely captivating to think of Craig out there, little dot representing a rider churning circles virtually endlessly.  The guys are riding just incredibly huge distances daily, in what I’m guessing isn’t super weather by Canmore’s indications this weekend, over big hills, with weight, etc.  They’re huge distances if one had a road bike, no weight and a tail wind!

I’ve listened to the phone in messages – they’re neat to hear just little snippets.  I’m also amazed that guys have the balls to just call out the leaders and say they won’t stay ahead at their set pace.  Sure, everyone has their thing.  And yes, maybe slow and steady wins the race.  But really that’s what you feel the need to say in your 30 second message to the world?  Craig – I’m glad you’re riding with Ollie and hope it works well for you two.  Riding stage races is different, but it was always better with partners.  You always help bring people up.

Overall it’s just totally amazing and enthralling to me…. Meanwhile I’m sitting at a desk trying to fend off wrist soreness by typing at a silly angle with my arm in a sling.  I’m glued to the browser tab with the race updates... wow!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Organ Grinder

I mostly enjoyed spectating the Organ Grinder. It's colder than racing. Less heart rate spiking.

Nice day generally - bit warmer, less wet, but perhaps more peanut butter on trail.

Fun chatting. Good watching and supporting.

Cindy did 1.25 laps and was walking and sliding - made no sense. Still happy, rode well, learned a ton this weekend, riding in the oddest condition hopefully she'll see in years.

Tori did 2 laps, then naturally, rode home from Canmore.

Shawn and Jon did awesome, and for most of the above I was the bike washer. All good.

Driving home I was the only un-podium'd person in our car. I hang out with winners. Shawn, Jon and Cindy you're awesome.

Ted thanks so much for the apres dislocation prompt help and hospitality!

Stay clean

Ger's strategy was to stay clean. Fail.

Organ Grinder - They're off!

Relatively nice day. It just feels so weird standing at a start line and not going...

Bike race lodging

Part of bike racing fun is sharing hotels. We ended up with 5 bikes, 5 people, each with 5 views on life, their own jokes, their own favourite youtube clips, their bike race stories from the day, etc.

Tori slept in the living room floor, to practice rule number 5 for Tour Divide. She was happy to have a warm place after riding out from Calgary yesterday.

Jon ate breakfast in the closet while working on his bike, to try not to wake up Tori.

Shawn's bike is showroom clean, go figure.

The random banter all night and morning is so good for the soul!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Iron Maiden part 2

I like tough weather days. Maybe even love them. I don't mind the emphasis on riding slick stuff vs. pure fitness; it usually helps. I was actually really happy out there, and having fun.

I felt good off the start, albeit cold. My fingers and feet were frozen from watching Cindy race. But 3/4 into the first lap, they warmed up. Started spinning easy to save energy for a (relative) rocket of a 3rd lap. I was feeling good!

Ended up passing Mike Sarnecki when he had some issue, and was trucking along. Then, the defining moment of the race.

A young girl (racer) is off the side of the trail, and she yells a warning. I look up through my muddy glasses and try to focus, and the moment I see her, my front wheel goes into the obstacle she was attempting to warn me about. Front wheel goes into a hole hub deep, I launch, and dislocate my left shoulder. She gets alarmed. I'm probably sounding rude, but it's more just curt, cause I don't have a lot of words when I'm fighting to maintain consciousness. Sorry.

Asked (or told) her to move my bike off trail, then for her to stand 15ft ahead of the obstacle, not after, to help next riders. She meant well, but that's the issue I'm upset about as in my eyes I'd have a fine shoulder if it weren't for that.

I didn't see many faces helping me, you sort of white out. I started walking back to start/finish as the little truck sounded like it was taking a while. Jon thanks for running back and alerting them, sorry for buggering your race. Devin when you went by I was still feeling relatively fine. I couldn't put my shoulder back in despite trying.

Ted and Cindy, thanks for the parking lot transfer and Robax.

Hospital. Dr. Quin..., Amy, Barb and Ian - thanks. Feel fine now. Probably will hurt later. Thanks for putting it in while I was unconscious. Not sure how it being out an hour will feel later. Dislocations sure hurt though.

Sorry for leaving you guys up there without clothes.

So much for what was going well!

Gotta heal for Ride to Conquer Cancer and BCBR.

Iron Maiden

Ok, so it was muddy and cold today. So what - man up and race.

That's just what Cindy did. Cindy, awesome racing. You always beat me! Such good racing, I'm proud of you.


The snow started accumulating and a mini-polar bear appeared!

Canmore weather

It's actually coming down as snow flakes that are absolutely huge, this camera can't capture it. The flakes are big and flat, like little leaves.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tour Divide, hardcore friends

Friends: a person attached to another by feelings of affection, personal regard.  Those who give assistance, supporters. 
Hardcore: unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated.  I’d throw in dauntless too. 

Craig and Tori.  Similar but different.  100% awesome.  I know you’re departing at different times, so this isn’t meant to come across as oblivious to that fact, nor “one size fits all” in addressing your departures. 

You two are bar none the two most impressive cyclists, err, adventurers, err people.  Period.  You repeatedly take challenges head on that dwarf even the dreams of others.  You define hardcore.  I’d go so far as to say the club members view it as an honour we wear the same red and white deadgoat jerseys to be honest.  You’re so firmly in the books of legend in Calgary (and beyond) that it’s just a straight up pleasure to witness and absorb some of the experiences vicariously.  Your fans are among those who perhaps ride close enough to even conceive the challenges you take on, to those who are oblivious yet still find it inspiring.  Your existence and creation of your own adventure is an ongoing gift to those around you.

Craig I wish you had a little parakeet on your shoulder to translate what goes through your mind and eyes to written word; failing that I can’t wait till the pub stories later this summer.  Your riding thus far this year has been fast – freakishly fast.  The deadgoat double header weekend at COP cemented that.  Your ABA students were lucky to have such an experienced yet accessible teacher!

Tori your written words are motivating to all who take the time to read them.  I recall again for the sake of this story the time I got on a bus chilly early morning bus at BC Bike Race, took a seat along with a 50 year old woman from the Caribbean whom I’d never met before, who revealed she entered the event last minute by an email request to the race organizer.  She wanted something outside her bounds for her notable birthday year, and was inspired that she really could do anything she put her mind to… inspired by this Canadian woman whose writing she found on the internet, whom she’d never met yet hoped to one day, who took on grander [bicycle] feats than most people allow themselves to.  I said I found her feats inspiring too, before she even described whom she was speaking of, because it was obvious... imagine that.  I’m not a believer in the big B sense of the word, but you’ve got to believe in something for occurrences such as that to be real.  Tori’s Tour Divide 2011 begins here, bottom up for reference.

You’ll have elated highs out there I expect, but also lows.  If telling your legs to “shut up legs” like Jens doesn’t yield the desired effect, please remember that there’s a lot of people wishing you well at each moment, a lot of deadgoats, Calgarians, bike friends, family and fans who’d put in a pull, pedal stroke, or hand on your back if they could have even kept up long enough to be of assistance.  Yes, you are alone out there in the vast American west.  But you’re never alone when you’ve cultivated such a network; just look at the coincidence above.

Good luck and I hope you take the adventure as far… well… as we know you two can. 

The Grand Tour of MTB
Banff, Alberta, Canada – Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA
One Stage: 2,745mi/4,418km
Self Supported Racing
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

“Decidedly not for sprinters, this battle royale braves mountain passes and windswept valleys of the Continental Divide from the hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies to badlands of the Mexican Plateau.”

I’ll append that this is approximately 1,000km longer than this year’s Tour de France, however it’s sans team cars, scheduled hotels, mechanical support, team chefs, massages and soigneurs. Just think about that for a second…

Free Breakfast!

Non car commuters get rewarded today at my office building. Our building is owned by BCIMC and they actually do a good job of encouraging "green-ness" without being too overzealous.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Kananaskiker Day 2 (Spray Lakes Road TT)

Not sure what to say about an uphill gravel road time trial. It hurts. You never really finish and say "I felt great". I felt like it was an honest result and I couldn't go faster on my own and simultaneously wasn't slowed down by anything other than that feeling induced on the body by uphill gravel road time trials.

Seemed like a lot of traffic when we went up. I caught my 30 second guy just past where the pavement ended and the gravel started. Got close to the minute man but couldn't catch him.

Kananaskiker Day 2 (Nordic Center TT)

First, thanks to the Bicycle Cafe for sourcing some long valves and getting my wheels done right. So easy, should have been like that to start.

We had a great dinner, slow pace at Luna Blue. Great pasta. Lounged in room. Just unwound.

Really nice morning today, and I was up first for the TT to accommodate a conference call. Rode a selection of the course from yesterday. I focused on getting up to speed then trying to ride the singletrack clean. Sort of powered out at the top of the first climb and wished breakfast was an hour earlier in me, but not so bad. Liked the "level" singletrack, then thought I could recover and get the heart rate down on the Coal Chutes before the Georgetown climb. Got to the bottom of the 'Chutes with very little heart rate drop; it's funny how super aggressive bouncy descending isn't actually "rest". Ok Georgetown climb then tried to keep power through the remaining singletrack. Ouch. Drew Simpson started 30 seconds behind me and definitely closed the gap a bit.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Kananaskiker Day 1

The photo is of a valve of insufficient length, and is currently the achilles heel of my very nice two wheeled toy.

Shawn and I had good sleep last night, great breakfast this morning. Nice weather, gray but warm enough. Nice start line vibe. I tried to air up my tires a bit at start as they were tiny bit soft, but no pump would grab the small valves I have that are wrongly installed. Guy helping me says "those valves are too short". Yes, I know, waiting for right ones.

Nice neutral start up to the hill, I fell into a logical position around 6th. Half a lap in on the singletrack once we were at highest elevation point, before any downhill, I had moved to 4th without burning matches. Note me advancing places on hills isn't a very normal event. Downhills were fun and easy - great course they set up.

Front was Graham Torre, then Shawn and Brian Cooke trading places, then Leighton Poidevin and I settled in and traded spots for a few laps. All smiles, and each time up Georgetown climb I'd open up time. So fun! First lap through stadium though Leighton and I lost 45 seconds with no marshall and no signs or arrows for a turn then yelled back to the guys who became oncoming toward us - they turned and it took us 5 minutes to get through the group again.

So then we get to the last lap, and since I started with tires a little low, and I was washing on corners. Leighton was gapping me on the singletrack, which is generally against my policy ; ) but I couldn't do corners and was riding gingerly not to bottom out. I thought I could make it to end of race, but then realized I'd have to air up.

You think a CO2 thing is going to grab those valves? Guess again. Frick. Front one get's a smidge of air in while wasting most. Rear just is a disaster, cracks the presta nipple off in the CO2 valve. I eject it from the inflator valve gizmo with some CO2, but can't get any more in the tire now. Tire is too soft to ride. So I force the valve into the rim to deflate it, pull wheel of bike, and use my tube. In the midst of this I go from 4th to DFL with guys zipping by. Such is life, but let's just say I wasn't the happiest at that point. With Brian Cooke ahead, and Leighton and I just waiting for a final hill sprint hoping to go the way all the other hills have gone thus far (Leighton even made this comment himself at the finish, which should temper me sounding too dumb/offside for saying this), I was just so excited to be on the verge of what was going to be a good ABA result (for me, the ageing desk jockey). Argh.

Graham Torre won, Shawn 2nd, Brian Cooke 3rd, Leighton 4th.

Gotta figure out what to do tomorrow; I've begged Andy Holmwood for first TT start and Last TT start so I can fit a work conference call in the middle.

Friday, 1 June 2012

New Bike

I like building bikes.  I have lots of extra parts, and bought a few.  Craig donated a frame to someone who really will enjoy it on our Ride to Conquer Cancer ride in 3 weeks.  Right now it has a mountain bike tire on the front, but this weekend it’ll have two 1.5” road type tires on it, after which it’ll go back to a mountain bike for general fun and commuting.

I’d say this would pass as a race bike (ie. Brian Robinson passed me this weekend on the same frame, similarly equipped).  It’s nice!

Thanks Craig.  Valerie – enjoy!