Friday, 31 May 2013

Wheels for Wells arrives in Calgary

Cindy and I drove out after a hectic Friday to see Kelley, Gavan, Story, Jon, and also bumped into Kelley's dad doing well wishing on the road.

We saw Jon near Dead Man's Flats, turned around at the gas station there, and waited at the abandoned go-kart place on the reserve.  We popped the trunk, and had dry clothes, jackets, an assortment of snacks and a clip on fender laid out for his arrival.  A Snickers and the clip on fender were the two items of most interest.  I clipped on the fender, he made the chocolate bar disappear, and after a small bit of chatter he was off.

Sounds like most of trip was rain.  Bike was absolutely covered in road grit.  We hustled back to sign in for the weekend's races and got news of Jon's arrival at city limits at 8:30.  His estimate when we left him was Calgary would mean a 400km day today for hime - 3:45am to 8:30pm from Revelstoke to Calgary!

20km west of Field, BC

I have only a this photo from Kelley who's gone out to see him, and no context, so let's do a little interpretation. Looks like his gear has gone to the car.

I'd label those conditions as "character building".


Jon you're a trooper!

Jon's wheels for wells progress

His borrowed spot tracker (its Craig's) didn't seem to be on/work/or some other issue for the first day, but here's his progress.

Looks like he rested in Revelstoke yesterday afternoon/evening.  I don't have communications, but the checking I did on Revelstoke/Rogers Pass/Golden showed a range of 10-14C and rainy, so that was a good call.  Looks similar now, but facing that somewhat rested is probably wise.  He got up early today and started making progress at 3:45am!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

60 Cycles - 1965 Tour du St. Laurent

Enjoy a small dose of steel framed, wool accoutered Canadian cycling history.  Beauty!  I love this short film for it's glimpse into cycling history in Canada.

60 Cycles by Jean-Claude Labrecque, National Film Board of Canada

ps. full screen and crank up the resolution on this thing.

pps.  some english translated history of the Tour du St. Laurent is here.

Jon Nutbrown's charity ride, with link for donations

In his continuing role as a person on earth who is friends of all mankind, Jon Nutbrown is doing an excellent self created charity ride from Vancouver to Calgary, using no man-processed water, in support of the challenges of swaths of the world without access to water in the way we take for complete granted.  I’ve appended below his words on his motivations for the cause.  Good people doing good things, plus the two wheeled angle always piques my intrigue.  He has agreed to send some photos along the way, but has indicated the rains have made his phone not work exactly as it should.  I hope to get some up here if they arrive! 

His day one report: Ride time was more than 14 hrs., 378 km, 4078 m of climbing. Not to mention it’s on a bike weighted down with bags and gear and 200 kms or more were in rain varying from steady to torrential. I'm one sore unit and I'm glad to be done.

Jon’s background to the ride is:
I've been personally convicted over the last while about some of the injustices in that we see in the world.  While I enjoy a "cushy" life there are billions of people who, through no fault of their own, are barely surviving (or not) on scant resources that I take for granted.

A few weeks ago I met Alex, and 11 yr. old, who is organizing a charity bike ride called Wheels for Wells to raise money for deep water wells in places in Africa where there is little or no clean water.  I was inspired by him and wanted to do something for the people affected by this problem.

I have decided to ride from Vancouver to Calgary with no water from a tap (all natural sources) and finish the ride with the Wheels for Wells ride in Calgary on June 1st.  I hope to do it in three or four VERY long days of riding.  In the process, I hope to raise money for clean water wells in Africa and remind people to care for other people and their problems even if they are on the other side of the world.

I don't want to slam you with too many stats but here is a little bit to ponder...

About a billion people do not have clean water.

4000 people die of diarrhea a DAY! A malady that is often a bit of a joke to us.

Clean water has a social economic effect far beyond thirst and basic health.  It improves women's quality of life and safety (as getting water is often there job), it provides a more stable environment for children to be educated in and raised in, and it fosters an environment where social improvements of all kinds can be developed.

I know this and other problems can seem a world away but the reality is that these are real people that we could meet and hug in less than a 24 hour plane trip.  The problem is real and we can make a difference.  Not all issues will be fixed immediately but I am sure that we will save and improve the lives of at least some!  And that will be worth it!

Please consider this and if you feel prompted then give freely.  No amount is too small.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Tandeming

Two 4+ hour days of tandeming fit in this beautiful weekend. We went on roads new to Cindy, and enjoyed the look of spring - grass is green, animals are out, mountains are snowcapped, clouds provide beautiful contrasts and rainshowers can be seen for miles (and avoided).

Cruiser commuter

Look who got a Norco City Glide cruiser commuter today!
Detachable basket, lock, coffee cup holder, Shimano Nexus 8 speed, covered drum brakes.

Monday, 20 May 2013

River Valley Royal Rumble, Edmonton

After the Mexico de-training, I tried to get my act back together for the week's leadup to the River Valley Royal Rumble.  Had a great Wednesday night hammer, couple other rides, and "dieted" as long as that word means not eating a pound of guacamole and a gallon of margarita per day ; )

Jon, Andrea, Cindy and I loaded up the wagon for the drive north, and rains cleared not much past Red Deer.  Despite predictions, we had nothing but dry terrain and pure sunshine all day.  The relative forecast between Calgary and Edmonton looked favourable, but this exceeded expectations.

Cindy said she loved the course and that it was "so much fun".  I'm glad she enjoyed it.  She rode well, felt good and was happy.  Can't ask for more than that.

I felt good during warmup, and decided I was going to start in relaxed fashion after Lethbridge's evidence that it worked just fine for me.  I think there was 17 starters in our category.  The first bit was grassy field until the trails, and my first obstacle was avoiding buddy next to me who jammed up his gears in the startline acceleration, looked down, weaved, etc.  Funny I guess, it happens to everyone at some point.  4 guys  in front of me put down power hard, braked into the bunch up at the first corner, accelerated hard, braked into next corner, accelerated up the first dirt roller.  I stayed 15 feet back, soft pedalled, coasted the first corner without braking, repeated on the second, and by the second hill that led into single track, used one little burst to pass the 4 after they'd already done 4 accelerations.  I don't think my heart rate would have been over 170 yet.  So I felt smart in that.

Passed one or two more on first and second laps, it was an "easy" course to ride - anyone could ride it and it wasn't that technical.  The fun and challenge came from milking speed out of every chicane and corner, it was a flowy fun riding course where you maintained speed the whole time.  One rough downhill section someone was behind me, and I started slowing down as a saw the rider in front of my splayed out in yardsale fashion at the bottom.  Once I hit the brakes, guy behind started trying to pass, thinking I was going to downhill awful, so I had the fraction of a second to start yelling rider down.  We avoided the 3 rider pile up narrowly.

I rode the first 3 laps in 10th, which given the field, was about right.  Felt good.  Could see 9th and thought I had half a chance of slowly reeling that spot in.  Then...

... as I kept drinking, I sort of noticed my belly sloshing.  My fluids were just sitting in my belly and not going through.  I get that periodically.  All of a sudden, the guys who were 40m back sounded like they   were 10m behind, then right there.  One snuck by, then another.  Then I'm starting to feel really sluggish, like the last lap and half are going to be torturous rather than fun.  I implode and just keep going in reverse.  I feel bloated.  Towards the end I feel crampy.  I haven't seen results but I'm pretty sure I'm DFL (results now here).  I go rinse off in the river, feel crampy and cranky.  I've dehydrated with fluids in my stomach, and not ridiculous fluids at that.

Jon has a good day, as does Andrea.  Both know they can do a little better, but all in they rode well.  It takes me a coke and 40 minutes to start feeling chatty again.  Bummer.

Beauty day, fun car rides with friends, and if it were a 3.5 lap race, I would have felt like I raced appropriately to my engine.  Oh well.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Shooters

Mexicans love selling gringos shooters, because they're entrepreneurs that understand margins. They're rarely a good idea from the purchaser's side, but the vendor wins. Especially since ingredients like tequila and waitressing are essentially free.

Since my glasses were in the car that was getting the engine replaced, I wasn't seeing so well. That proved interesting when we hit some pubs, I wandered separate from the group, and got to chat with the locals until I figured out where my gringos were. Mexicans are happy and nice. They take great pleasure in singing and dancing, strong perfume, and polishing their rims. I'm fine with paying prices twice locals do, that are still like 75% less than home.

I think people can see human qualities in people anywhere, which minimizes threat feelings and communication challenges. We had maybe 7 guys at the end of the night walking home. I asked a few people for directions, but our hotel has two locations, and most people just know the one on the beach. A 20 something girl walked 7 gringo guys home late at night because she was going our way and also knew which hotel it was.

Dining in La Paz

La Paz is a happening spot, nice city. Safe city. We dined at Tamarinds. It covered the usual bases - giant margaritas, delicious guacamole, and singing and dancing. I had giant camarones. We also got to witness our friends flailing at a pinata.

It also had various birds and chickens. Remember that time you went to a restaurant, and a little chicken bird jumped on your friend's back, then when you tried to shoo it away, it boldly jumped on the table, marched down the table of 16 people tring to tell it to f-off yet wasn't intimitaded one iota, then walked back to its corner and hopped off? No? Oh yeah, cause that's not normal at food establishments. That's what these little pricks did though.

Happy Mother's Day

It comes a day earlier in Mexico. I actually think this was meant to "celebrate" mother's day.

Wide Open Baja day 2

Beaches, mountains, flats, missing the road and into the bushes, a sputtering sparkplug, a brokenn cv joint, big floater jumps, part of a famous race course, a failed radio and therefore no communication of hazards, and a blown engine were some of the trials of our group today. Out on the trails for a solid 10h, and oh so scenic. We're so tired.

Van driver from the parking spot to the hotel:
Driver: "Does everyone have a beer?"
Group: "yeah, everyone except ___ and ___."
Driver: "grab them cold ones quick, there's the cops at the next intersection checking cars."
Group: "uhh... Ok."
Driver: "cops will be suspicious, its weird here to drive around a van of gringos if they're not all drinking beer."

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mexican Lunch

This qualifies as my favourite Mexican lunch spot.

Fun times

Off road and fast.

Heading out

Near future: sand and dust.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Monday, 6 May 2013

warmth is here!

Alberta felt like another country this weekend.  I rode both days, bibs and jersey only.  Even peeled off the gloves half way through the race, and didn't even start with them for Sunday's road ride. 

Shawn, Devin, Kate and I met at the Ladybug Cafe for some too-delicious French pastries to get our butter/flour/sugar quota met, washed down with some exceptional French press coffee that arrived just in time to have Shawn's caffeine withdrawl surpressed.

Out lower Springbank, then over to Cochrane.  We kept it good in the group, but did some hard efforts where appropriate, especially on the last climb on airport.  It's amazing how quickly you can get to Cochrane on road bikes, in a pace line, wearing no bulky winter gear.  We cruised through town and went back on the gravel road by the retreat.  I felt that with a pending client trip off the bike coming, I had to get out my energies on the way home, and worked hard to add some intervals. 

Spent a couple hours mingling in the chamois still at a get together on the way home, it was nice to be able to raid an appetizer tray!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Lethbridge Coulee Cruiser 2013

First, hats off to organizers and Lethbridge - great land access for the new course, that's a real asset to the town, great organization, and thanks for calling in the most beautiful weather of the year... warm, dry, but prior day's rain made course perfectly packed, no dust... and no wind!

Good day for the deadgoats:
Shawn 1st elite men
Trish 2nd elite women
Andrea 3rd elite women
Cindy 1st novice women

I'm the un-podium guy at 6th in elite, but I'm happy with that too.

Aside from the picture of Cindy actually winning, this was a day of winning overall, so nice to be out!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Deadgoat hammer ride

I just got back from the first deadgoat hammer ride I've made it out to this year. I spun and did threshold stuff periodically all winter, did Andalucia, and did Whiskey 50, yet this is the first time I've cramped and tasted blood. That counts. Hammering it out on road bikes, chasing around Shawn and Steve, making an attack with Trish on a little hill, dealing with Calgary headwinds - nothing beats that intensity. It was heavenly, in a sadistic way. The Cervelo rebuild feels beautiful!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Monserrate

We went up Monserrate during our "tourist time" for the guys who hadn't been here before. Top is 10,000 something feet. This dog had a tiring day keeping the tiles warm, and my colleague bought a flask that's a cow's foot. I'm sure customs will like that. The inside is just leather too, no plastic. I think he'll have to err on the side of higher proof booze to retard bacterial growth.