Wednesday 30 July 2008

BMX Flatland

I'm don't know anything about BMX flatland... but what I can say is this:
1. this kid has some seriously impressive skills and style;
2. Australian hip-hop is kinda catchy.

Check it out!

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Measures of Success

BikingBakke is a guy who loves bikes. I love the health, lifestyle, fun, adventure and camraderie that come along with riding and racing bikes.

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

24 hours debrief, physio #3

Looking back at 24 hours today, everyone is revelling in how good of a good time it was. For me, it was fun 1 hour intensity training, and a really good team participation/teambuilding event for our company. Lots of guys are all fired up about mountain biking, it seemed to rekindle the kid inside. It didn't feel much like a race to me, other than the first lap, since it doesn't really jazz me up to go blowing by people at twice the speed in the middle of the night when they're just struggling to complete it... I have nothing to prove to them, seems better just to offer encouragement. Courtesy seemed to be the attitude that worked best, although it was a little scarce out there from my perception? Heard a few cranky voices shouting "track" on the bunched up climbs.

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

24 hours pt 2

After sleeping 4 hours on a concrete floor with my thermarest and other relevant worldly posessions wet and in reach, my alarm sounded at 2am. My eyes have pushed out a lot of mud in the last couple of hours. I see Tori left a note on my duffel and has brought peanut butter, trail mix and a toothbrush. Nice to have someone helpful drop in unnancounced.

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

24 hours

Team is having a blast. Weather is off and on thundershowers.

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

Ines Brunn

There's a lot of ways to be awesome, and there's a lot of ways to display awesomeness on a bike. This woman has got it.

Monday 21 July 2008

Physio, first ever

I attended 5th Avenue Physiotherapy yesterday morning, my first time ever to a physio therapist, based on the recommendations of a few other active people.

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.

A Winning Appetite - Nordegg XC supplementary post

For a smaller guy, Jon has a large appetite. As evidence, witness this A&W burger. It started life as a triple cheeseburger, with a side order of 2 other cheeseburgers to accompany it. Jon quickly reassembled it into the 5 patty stack seen here.

Jon spent a few calories earning his second spot, so he's trying to replace them as quickly as possible.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Nordegg "Life Checklist" Marathon XC

Note - blogger is giving me headaches uploading photos but they're all here.

Saturday morning I took a little spin to test out my back... felt ok on the bike except when my hips tilted at all I'd get a twinge and contraction.

Mom and dad dropped by before lunch, then Devin, Craig and Geoff showed up for the drive out to Nordegg.  Fun drive overall, but the long time being seated without motion didn't feel good on my back.

We found our motel, geared up, and rode right from the motel to do a pre-ride lap of the course (Nordegg is a really small place).  The first 15 minutes or so of the lap are a gravel road climb, and once I was warmed up on that my back felt better.  On the first descent I slammed on my brakes and ungracefully dismounted, as we bunched up on a corner and I didn't think taking Geoff's rear derailleur off would go over to well the night before the race.  Back survived.

After the gravel climb, the rest of the course is smooth downhill, singletrack, a kilometer of horizontal traverse, then more of the same.  Really a fun loop, and a little muddy at that.  Here's how my bike looked after the race for evidence of mud.

We had dinner at the Nordegg Lodge, which had one waiter and was out of a lot of items.  Our the motel was full of only mountain bike racers and bikers.  After watching some America's Most Wanted and Cops to kill our brain cells, I fired up the heating pad and went to bed.  I tossed and turned all night, but overall I'd guess my back made a little progress.

Breakfast posed a little challenge for two members of our crew, since the motel restaurant wasn't open.  Craig and I had brought food, but Devin and Geoff went to the general store to get a loaf of bread and peanut butter and jelly.  Everything worked out fine.  We made our way up to the start area, and I was very impressed to see Jon coming down from the food zone drop with plenty of time to spare, even though he drove out that morning (3.5 hours)... after going to bed at 1:30am.

Race started a few minutes after 9am in one mass start, for 6 laps of a 10km loop.  Our pre-ride at a slow pace was 45 mins, so I guessed that the race would be under 4 hours overall.  The feed zone was perfectly placed where it was easy to eat for the next 10 minutes after, and the rest of the course was obviously the same great layout as prior.  I started off moderately in about 10th or 12th and rode within myself for the first climb.  Unlike yesterday's warmup, I pushed harder on the hills, and the strain on my back felt... great.  The muscles were working properly and weren't just bunching up for the sake of causing me grief. 

The only tactical mistake I felt I made on the day was not being aggressive enough at the top of the climb, 2 guys went by to take the single track descent first, I didn't suspect they were top 10 kind of guys overall, but I didn't make a fuss.  They were slow on the descent and I could no longer see the crew I had hoped to keep in sight for at least a little while - Devin, Craig, et al.  Andre and Jon were the furthest two I could see up the road on the climb.

The places got sorted out on the horizontal traverse, and the rest of the day I spent enjoying the terrain, temperature, and race.  Didn't change too many spots, but started lapping riders by about the third or fourth lap.  I was having a lot of fun, especially since the last two days, and this morning, I kept reminding myself that if my back hurt badly, the right thing to do was drop out rather than push it.  I was happy that it felt like I'd make it to the end.  Fended off the urge to cramp on the 5th and 6th laps to nurse it home, and I ended up winning the expert group.  Geoff Clarke was second, and Ed Roddy was third.  We could have had a sweet deadgoat podium shot but Ed left right after the race to make another commitment.

The elite class podium was Andre Sutton, Jon Nutbrown and Craig Stappler.  Andre apparently rode without food and with only one water bottle, which boggles my mind.  He traded in the baggy shorts a year or so ago for the skin suits, so that must be what's helping him.  Jon led much of the race but Andre's tenacity on the climbs, and lack of food zone fiddling, added up to a second spot for Jon at the end of the day.  That's a great ride regardless, one can't help but wonder how much of that was helped by the new glasses.  Craig battled it out with the chasing peloton and laid down some extra power on the last ascent to secure a third place.  Jeff Nielsen, Devin and Mike B. from hardcore filled in the next spots.

I'm not sure where Cory Wallace finished, but here's a good sidetrack note.  Cory is training for 24 hours of adrenaline.  To get to Nordegg, he started in Jasper last week and has toured down the Icefield Parkway on his mountain bike with a bob trailer.  I'm sure he passed at least a dozen roadies on the way too.  From Lake Louise he rode over to Ghost Dam then up to Nordegg.  I think I heard that this was 6 or 7 days of riding.  Then he races an enduro, and is planning to ride home after.  He unfortunately broke a chain on course (too much power output probably) and didn't finish in line with what his legs seemed to indicate... in fact he passed me on my 6th climb, I kept looking back and couldn't figure out who was closing in on me... I didn't want to give up the win in our class, so I pushed as hard as I could, but every time I looked back the rider was closer.  Of course it was Cory recovering ground from the chain break.  AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST - Cory has a new girlfriend, whom he asked if she wanted to do a bike ride... meaning she's done the entire tour with him and the race!  And just to confirm, she isn't a bike rider by "trade", and likely isn't gifted with the horse like strength of Cory (although she must be a pretty tough cookie to have made it this far in the trip).  If I heard correctly, this was her first bike race.  Holy cow.


Thursday 17 July 2008

Back funk

My back has decided to be in a funk again, which means I didn't really ride yesderday, and didn't go out to Canmore tonight. It also means once the temporary distress subsides, more work needs to be done on this issue. Lying down beside my desk and hobbling to meetings, and not riding, seriously doesn't cut it.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Oilsands Technology, Bike Fit

Today's been a big day. I'm bagged from the alarm going off at 4:15 to get me started on the way to Ft. McMurray to view/tour a new oilsands extraction technology/operation. I've done a few such business tours over the last few years, and have also seen many more in our office to present that didn't made it to the "we want to view this in the field stage cause we seriously think you're onto something" stage. Suffice to say, I think at this point still that this one has a lot of running room left...

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

Devon Dust Up

I've done the Devon Dust Up two years now, and it's consistently quite a nice race course.  Tough short power climbs, fun single track, plenty of fast flow sections... all in all a very fun course.

Today's weather looked ominous on the way up, but turned out perfect for racing - warm but not hot, and dry with good traction.  

Despite napping for an hour yesterday afternoon, I slept like a log last night and had a hard time waking up this morning.  I was super tired driving up to the race as well, my carpool mates noticed I was a bit zoned out.  Legs felt fine during a half warmup lap, and I thought once the start countdown happened I'd be fine... but in my mind I wasn't really sure.

Once the elites left the start chute in a blaze of glory, with Tim getting the hole shot (go figure), we were up.  I had an inside line, got my foot clipped into my pedal in right away, and made it to the acute angle right hander first.  After that turn we were on bike path for 20m, and Justin Middleton, a junior, was gunning to get by.  I wasn't eager to red line off the start, with BC Bike Race only a week behind me, I figured my strategy would be to ride hard, but see what happened on the last lap when 7 day stage race fitness might come into play.  He went by, and I tried off and on to glimpse him over the next while, but he was powering up the climbs well above what I felt I could do.

During the second half of the first lap, I thought I might have been leading again, as a Juventus rider was climbing up out of a ravine on a fairly tricky, narrow descent.  I passed and asked "are you ok, is your bike ok" to which I got two yes answers, and I thought it may have been Justin.  Either way, I just kept doing the pace I could do, as at hairpin turns or longer straights without trees I could see Mike Sarnecki chasing.

The second and third laps felt great, I settled into a rhythm, wasn't fatiguing much, and was thinking ahead to each upcoming part thinking how I could carry more speed through the section, or complete it with less energy consumption.  My tires were hooking up great on the fast flowy sections, so each time I'd brake less and carry more speed up the following inclines.  I rode all climbs other than two where I'd decided pushing was just as fast and used less energy (one of them I forced myself to ride every lap last year, and it just sapped too much from my legs for what it seemed to be worth at the end of the day).  I didn't see a single rider all day when I was navigating the kids park with the gravel in it, so I don't know what others elected to do, but I did a cyclocross dismount/remount and pushed through it rather than riding.

At the end of the day, I didn't pass or get passed by any riders the entire race, other than 10m in, and by the occasional other category racer out on trail, but even those occurred perfectly in wider trail areas so I just rode my pace from start to finish.  Ended up second, which I is fine by me, so experts were Justin Middlefield/Erik Bakke/Mike Sarnecki.

Elites ended up with Tim Heemskerk/Andre Sutton/Brian Bain.  Tim took about 10 minutes more than me to complete one entire additional lap (experts rode 4, elites rode 5, my time I think was about 1:42 or so, Tim's was 1:54, although those last digits might be transposed).  I'm sure he also stopped for two pee breaks and a snack along the ridge with the view too ; )  Shawn elected to cheer for me rather than complete his race, mostly since he's such a nice guy.

Single speeders (this was the AB championships) were Peter Yez/Tom Brodinski/Tim Brezsnyak.

The deadgoats were rounded out by Gerry, Pat and Mark.

Sweet day overall, and it only got sweeter with the stop at Taco Del Mar in Leduc on the way home, and the torrential hail that slowed the number 2 highway to a crawl south of Red Deer.

Here's the vanity shot Shawn was kind enough to take to commemorate this rare confluence of events - podium + beard.

And here's the single speeders - sans two deadgoat jerseys!

I don't have a picture of the elite podium as I was trying to find someone to hand my Devon questionnaire to, I found a pen on the ground so I was able to do my civic duty by completing it.

Thanks Hardcore guys for a great race!

Saturday 12 July 2008

Day before Devon Dust Up

Shawn Bunnin, Brian Bain and I are carpooling up to Devon for the Dust Up tomorrow (side note one spot available if anyone is so inclined).

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

BC Bike Race stage 8

After we made our way to the hotel, we showered and had a 15 minute nap to prepare for the 8th stage, which included the banquet, awards, and after party. We were drinking Red Bull and vodka and the odd beer as fast as we were eating power gels all week. The 8th stage ended when the Garibaldi Lift Co. closed down at 2am.

If we weren't dead tired before, we are for sure now.

Friday 4 July 2008

BC Bike Race day 7

We started in Creekside at Whistler, same place I stayed last year when I was here. After a few hundred meters on pavement, we started climbing the mountain. Talk about a hard start!

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

BC Bike Race day 6

Rained a little last night, nice as it kept the dust down today. The wake up call came an hour early, once I figured that out I went back to sleep. I was super tired, so instead of breakfast I slept an extra 45 mins, had a boost, water, and a baked potato I kept from dinner last night. My body seemed really glad for the extra REM sleep.

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

Happy Birthday Jon

Doesn't matter how old you ever are, you'll always be the same kid inside having fun on bikes. Every day here riding with you has been a blast, even if the fun was hidden pretty deep inside on those first couple of days. Sorry we couldn't get you that stage win for your birthday ; )

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!

BC Bike Race day 5

Fantastic course is an understatement. Started off fast on some crowded climbs, legs were tired from spending energy yesterday, but fine. We were steady but not quite as quick.

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

Day 4 result

Jon just looked it up and seems like we were 13th overall on the day.

BC Bike Race day 4 more

Oops, hit send early.

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.

BC Bike Race day 4

After waking up at 4:30, doing some bus and two ferries, we lined up to race at 11am. Shortly before I noticed that in transport someone took the liberty of putting as much air pressure in my tires as they could without blowing the bead. Someday people en masse will understand tubeless I'm sure.

Started out conservative, climbing right away.