Tuesday 31 August 2010

Sporting clay shooting

FirstEnergy client event today full of fun. I was a few percentage points higher last time I went, but there's a few shooting stands I just zeroed, didn't "get" the geometry. I've done this now twice over the span of two years, and its super fun. Relaxing afternoon, very social, and not intimidating for non-gun types (of which I am one). FirstEnergy hunters orange hat to top it off.

Monday 30 August 2010

M Coupe not doing so well

Apparently this is it, after a morning of having it on the hoist - it's f-d royally: piston rod bearings failed and seized, likely causing the initial and few seconds of knocking/rattling. Piston rod then fails... it (or possibly they, wasn't clear from the description) broke catastrophically, rod itself smashed through engine block, as well as one of the connecting rods. Oil leaked on ground was not from a fallen off filter or oilpan bolt, but a f-king smashed out hole in the side of the engine block when metal snapped at 4,000 rpm and went all to hell. I'm sure a replacement M3 engine is cheap at least though... uhhh, or not. Apparently a known issue for that era of the engine.

Since I was riding with my co-worker who seems to be embodiment of Black Death himself at times, I now have more twisted metal to wall mount than his famous snapped drive shaft.

I needed a living room ornament anyway, a butchered high horsepower inline 6 might be the way to go.

Vernon weekend 2011

A few other random weekend pictures from a totally fun blowout weekend in BC.

FirstEnergy investment bankers and traders sausage fest, with a handful yet to arrive still.  Gambling was the weekend's calling.

A guys weekend isn't complete without armwrestling.

Dinner in Vernon was delicious.

Some nightlife.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Golf is a contact sport


Failure of critical thinking

Not much to add.

Friday 27 August 2010

Good times gone bad

Driving up Rogers Pass on the way to Vernon, I hear a rattle. Turned off radio and listened. A minute later it's all smoke, engine stall, coast to side of road. Oil all over ground.

My co-worker Rudy and I hitched back to Golden, a 5 minute exercise - dude in a souped up Ford truck picked us up.

Car being flat bedded to Calgary. Rudy and I got a rental car Dodge Caravan that can't even pass a Hyundai on a 2km passing lane.

When it was being trailered it looks like the oil filter rattled off, picked it up from an oil change Monday. Fk.

2011 will have more luck.

Thursday 26 August 2010

New mountain bikers

It's been a great year in terms of helping others discover what mountain biking may or may not mean to them.  I like getting calls about mountain biking, the "do you have time to chat a bit on bikes, sorry I don't mean to take up your time" is one of the best calls I ever recieve, and no it's nothing out of my time to talk dirt and two wheels.

There's 6 people who I'm in active dialogue with now/this summer on the topic.  It feels so good.  I try to deliver value to their questions.  I love to see development.  Between skills, equipment, trails and fitness, there's a lot of things to share. 

Only caveat is that little do they know, the last person who approached me with this, then jumped in with both feet, is out to conquer the world by knobby tired biccyle in many respects! 

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Bike maintenance

I haven't had a lot of time to conduct proper bike maintenance lately. Bald tires, rear shock without air, broken pedal, and... uhh... yeah brake pads aren't usually supposed to be see through.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Ups and Downs

Well, I don't know what to say other than the last year caught up with me today like a ton of bricks.  Not a good day by a long shot for my inner workings, but we'll skip that and fast forward to...

...Devin, Craig, Gabor and I met to head out to Moose Mountain to find a full parking lot of riders out there.  We did the full Pneuma up to Special K, on which I did my best to exorcise some demons on the climb (although undoubtedly the other three were just at 80%).  Good god it felt good.  Cleaned the climb to Race of Spades, then had one dab, then broke a pedal.  No good; hard to climb after that.

Started down Special K after Craig, then just had a bit of an epiphany... something inside needed to cash chips in on the "live life, taste death" motto.  My Scalpel with an underpressured rear shock, worn out brake pads, and crap bald tires asked me if we could kick it up a notch or two... which in turn required me to nicely ask Craig if I could slide by.  Next step was relaxing, turning off the brain, looking up the trail and taking long slow breaths.  Somewhere in there the brakes got used less.  Heavenly... just rolled while smiling down Special K's steeps and nice re-route.  

We did ridgeback next, where I came around a corner and scared the crap out of myself and the juvenile moose that was 10' ahead.  Holy cow those things are massive.  I don't need to see them that close, ever!

Nightfall came and we blundered in (ok, I did most of the blundering with tinted prescription lenses) to station flats.

One of those classic days where mountain biking just feels so right.  Where we play and go home after the sun sets.  When Craig and Devin and Gabor and I are having just as much fun as we can.  Perfect!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Comedy, non-comedy tunes

Funny stuff these days... show up to work Monday see two broken collar bones in our kickoff meeting... forget the perceived danger of barreling down a mountain on a bike, how about swan dives at 2am on sidewalks or hockey hits.

Tuesday was pure comedy with a chance meeting of a co-worker early in the morning, 3 tries at push starting my car after leaving the map lights on, running into his gf's dad who was on the way to work while this gong show happened, and of course the flying "dead" moth in her car after.

Maybe all that balances out some of this Josh Ritter stuff.

Sunday 15 August 2010

TransRockies post race

Even though I didn't race the entire TransRockies, my head has been occupied by it for the last week.  All the friends that were out there still pedalling when the cold rain was beating on my office window.  All the fun to be had at the after party, which was the plan for Saturday night.  Then the aftermath and return to "real world", which is so hard when life slows, decelerates, and needs a change of mental focus in the midst of being tired.

Here's what a post TransRockies day looks like - no photos though of Thomas as he's the guy manning the camera most often.

Tired bike riders (or bike imposters like me).

Chill, think, live.  Ride more, think less, chill more.

Going to Mackay's Ice Cream in Cochrane after a stop at Ghost Lake to jump from the bridge to chill out.  

Tuesday 10 August 2010

TransRockies day 3

Today was a classic TR stage - empty it out on a road then cross a massive mountain pass in no easy fashion.  Just had to keep moving.  It was hard, everyone suffered the big day out. Good weather and reasonably fun descent, one of those days that has a hundred racer news dramas to find out a tent city after.  Lonn and Steve had some mechanicals.  Pat and Craig seemed good.  Trish and Alana, and Mical and Jeff (thanks for the post race clothes generosity) seemed great today.  The Belgians are happy.  Geoff Clarke outrode his bike's ability to tolerate his power unfortunately.  Ken Hurd is making it along with some stitches.  Cory Wallace is lighting it up.  I'm impressed by the efforts of my co-workers, I'll need to re-open the gap on them with more riding if their improvement continues ; )

But Darren and I departed, along with the rest of the FirstEnergy crew.  Back to reality, I'll miss bike race world.

What I've learned is never balk on showing up due to lack of self confidence, within a reasonable realm of preparation of course.  Too much fun is at stake.  Also sleep is something I need more of, especially when going hard in the great outdoors.  Simplicity would be a great thing too.  Mud and two wheels are simple... who knows about the rest of my existence.  It's all what you make of it.

Hope everyone else out there continues to have a blast.

Monday 9 August 2010

TransRockies day 2

Beautiful weather, can't second guess that.  Long climb and lots of gravel roads - all just needing energy output from a body that's not trained for that.  Can't disguise lack of fitness and power to weight ratio on a 23k road climb like you can in super muddy singletrack.  Ouch.

Chambers had a great day, Lonn and Steve were moral support at the end.  Darren finished after starting super sore.  Scotty seemed chipper as always.  I didn't see any of the front of the action as I spent a lot of time going in reverse.

Loved the downhill, from drop in to the road I never dabbed once.

Elkford hospitality is great, it's always second to none.

Sunday 8 August 2010

TransRockies day 1

If people don't love today, they don't love real mountain biking!

Rainy last night and today.  Massive climb at start up "hyperventilate" and the mud gave me chain suck so it's a mix of middle ring and running for me, which is fine other than some sore hip aductors or whatever ones pull your legs up.  Great singletrack all day.  It's slick - like winter riding - so much of it is either brake or steer, pick one, due to low traction.  Again a bunch more is just zero rider input and coast due to low traction.  Hope and pray for a little traction and pray your yin and yang are in harmonious balance!  I suspect a lot of walking and/or crashes on the downhills for people.  It was sooooo fun, plus hurt so good.  Geoff Clarke was 2:25 and I was around 2:35, I know nothing else for now.  All I know is that means a few hours of fun, rain makes it that mud and washing of mother earth baptism... so good.  I bet the range on the day will be 2 to 4.5 hours.
Came back to hotel caked in mud head to toe.  Couldn't have possibly had more on me.  Walked right into 40 min shower with all my gear on and got it all "clean" by the end.  Barely even messed the room up.

Despite a few suboptimal parts, today was awesome, reminded me why I love this.  Late dinner last night and 1am bed time, late breakfast leaving restaurant 20mins before I'm supposed to be starting the TT.  But hey, that doesn't even seem new to me anymore... I'm just a walking mess.  Bald Racing Ralphs made the descending fun (skiing!), chain suck and no granny made the climbing fun, and glasses I continually licked mud off vs. going no glasses kept the day's ability to see somewhere between jack shit and fuck all. 

So many deadgoats out, glad to see them all.  So many other bike friends out.  The Belgians.  The FirstEnergy crew makes it awesome, not many people can ride with both their boss and el presidente, man that says something about why I've loved that place for a decade, not to mention our international analyst here too.  The whole stage race entourage.  Awesome!

Love it all, love the riding, love the mud.  Perhaps mildly suboptimal on a few timing and riding details, but no shortage of fun and bike family times.

Saturday 7 August 2010

TR3, here I come

I'm pretty excited to be leaving for TR3 today, I love bike races.  The part that tempers it a little bit is that I barely ride between stage races, which isn't exactly stage race prep material.  Moving does a number on the back muscles, but not so much for the threshold power.  So along with the fun and joy of seeing bike riding friends, it'll be the joy of feeling the legs burn, feeling the lungs burn, and watching the tank empty well before it used to empty. 

A bunch of FirstEnergy guys will be there this year, along with the usual crew of deadgoats, and of course the Belgians.  Fun on the horizon!

Thursday 5 August 2010

Non to Mountain Biking

BikingBakke had to do a shift of BankingBakke last night and this morning, but fortunately Craig was able to accompany our Belgian guests out to Barrier Lake for the bike ride we had planned - superthanks for that.  Hopefully fun for all, sounds like they enjoyed the trails and more Canadian hospitality... while I was more like this for the evening/morning.  Good stuff too!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Pep talk

The ad agency did a good job with this one.  Crank it up - a little Metallica never hurt anyone.

Monday 2 August 2010

Trust. Fully. Love. Bike.

The Belgian invasion is going great, we've had fun for the last couple of days.  Good tourism, good biking in Calgary on Sideshow Bob and the Tuscany ravine, Calgary tower dinner.  I hope they like the riding, we've been experimenting with some technical trails ; )  I sense they're having a good time - I sure am!  Bike friends welcome any time.

Today Jon, Gerry and I took Tinneke, Stef and Thomas to Moose Mountain.  Jon toured us on his masterpiece of trailbuilding - up Pneuma, down Pneuma DH, back up summit trail then down Pneuma/Race of Spades.

Great climbing, good views from the top.  Then the fun starts.  Riding behind Jon makes me feel like a kid again.

Trust:  I don't second guess any line picking by Jon.  Follow, don't brake - trust.  I do.  Jon picks good lines.  Commit.  Roll it.

Fully: back on the trust subject.  Really Trust Fully.  I can do skinnies, I love balancing, and my yin and yang were working today.  Hit every one, rode them all first time, even in the wet.  All the repeats were 100% success too.  Fun!  But... the gap jumps on Race of Spades I haven't done, especially with the Scalpel-non-gap-jump machine.  But why not follow the guy who can, 4 feet behind, same speed, just relax and let it happen? Up the ramp, follow, Fully Trust, let the dirt disappear from under the tires, then let it come back.  Life is good.  I'm expanding my skills.

Love:  love the inspiration and development, and who brought it to me.  Thanks Jon - I'll profess my love for the day, the visiting bike friends, the ride, your help, and you.  Best Moose trail guide ever.  Best technical xc guy I've ever known.

Bike:  man I need more of this.  Except for snagging the second set of shorts in a handful of rides on a stub of a tree branch and ripping a hole in my shorts and skin... and for hitting my handlebar on a tight trees section at high speed, which threw me into the next tree.  Zero velocity instantly, sunglasses launch forward at the riding speed when my head stops.  Lied down as I was pretty near blackout, winded, lucky I went in "vertical" rather than shoulder first otherwise a collar bone could have been gone.  Ugh.  Got back on the horse and tried not to slow down one iota.

Gerry:  now we're on the after stage in Bragg Creek.  Story time and beers.  Essence of the Ger!

We spotted Devin hammering out some road miles on the way home, I can tell that cadence and bike position from a long ways away.  Good to see everyone even if briefly, and good to see Devin looking fast squeezing in a ride.

I hope Tinneke and Thomas are reading about biking.

Some Cadence Cafe action after a few errands, Stef and Tinneke.

Dinner in the Calgary tower.

Our first day riding was Sideshow Bob and the Tuscany ravine.  After that warmup we headed out to Moose Mountain.  Gerry likes biking more than he lets on in this pic at the first well tie in on Pneuma ; ) 

Up to the second well tie in on Pneuma.

Not for cross country bikes, although Jon helped me with things I hadn't ridden previously.

Skinnies with roll out.

The Ger talking to this amazing trail runner we met.  She was as fast as us.  She ran Ridgeback to Moosepackers then down Pneuma in under 3.5 hours.

Time for the saloon.

Recovery drinks.

Carb and protein loading.