Thursday 29 September 2011

best 'cross season ever for this guy

I felt not so hot on Tuesday afternoon but decided to make it to Midweek Mayhem regardless.  Couldn’t justify skipping a nice night where lots of people would be out, and if I didn’t feel that good, no harm in just watching and chatting.


I did a warmup lap with Cindy, then she went out for her second with Jennifer and I did a lap with Chris.  Felt ok but not speedy (do I every feel speedy anymore?) – good enough to race anyway.  Was a few seconds behind a few people who I was in front of by a few seconds last week – that’s just how it works.  Faded harder at the end, and have been sniffling a few days since.  Overall I’m glad I went.  Best ‘cross season ever so far for weather and attendance for me, and that’s pretty much what counts these days.


Trying to get the sniffles behind me for a double header ‘cross weekend at COP with the Saturday night race and the Sunday afternoon race.  Looks like we might finally get some “real” ‘cross weather.  Probably will spend a bunch of weekend time at office too.


This week was also FirstEnergy’s annual dinner.  Good times were had, and the 10 year folks get a statue replica of one we have in the office (once the artist finishes them).  In the meantime the place holder is a bottle of wine.  Both are nice.


Finally saw the Gran Fondo Whistler Giro results, interesting.  Fond memories, and memory that I should try to make time to ride more.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Montana day 3

Buffet breakfast of American proportion started us off at Macdonald Lake lodge. The guests at the table next to us were talking about how beautiful the road up to Polebridge is with the leaves changing color. We'll have to hit that next time.

Nice drive back to St. Mary, then rode up fresh asphalt on much of the east side, although we had to wait for traffic a bit. Beauty day overall. Went for a big of a walk at top and went in the cold lake for fractions of a second after.

Montana day 2

We had a good sleep in, went for coffee at the lodge and saw Finn Pedersen by chance. Small world.

Went down to Apgar village for a rising sun breakfast and some pancakes, then just did some driving to relax. Went to Kalispell and checked out some massive MEC like sporting goods store except it also had guns galore, including small purse size revolvers, and little pink rifles for your 9 year old daughter. Odd.

Saw the General Lee driving home. Got free park entry today, then rode for a couple hours up the going to the sun road. Bikes and hikers could go past Avalanche by 6k, so we went to the nice falls and such. No cars on the road was nice.

Had a huckleberry beer before dinner which was lovely with the sun setting across a calm lake. Dinner was great - our waiter has worked here and as a ski instructor at Whitefish for 29 years. They let us take our wine glasses down lakeside so we just sat for a while longer. So lovely - no wind, no bugs, all scenery.

Sat down near our place on a towel with backs to a big log and had a blanket till the stars came up - nice night.

Montana day 1

Left work at a decent time, but the quick pack and out didn't work as well with traffic out of town. No problem though as we googled for border information for the one by Waterton and it was open till 10pm still.

Had Tim Horton's in Pincher Creek, fairly close to where we're marketing a wind farm project.

Drive south was beauty, all the way up to the border crossing which was closed. Looks like the sign posted was more up to date than the web site, u turn and over to Cardston.

Few minutes down the road a deer came out of the bush on the left at absolute full speed, and even with a swerve left and hit of the brakes, I still clipped its hind quarters. Actually didn't ruin too much on the car, can't really see it other than a small plastic cover piece and one little light. I'm sure it'll be expensive anyway. Deer undoubtedly became coyote food.

Stopped at DQ in Cardston to mix it up with the natives and mormons on a Friday night. Always feels weird here.

Border crossing after dark, then had to do the 2h way around to West Glacier. We rented a place at MacDonald Lake Lodge before knowing that the west side of the going to the sun road was closed. Long drive at night but got in at 11:30 and went to bed.

So nice - cool, quiet, rustic.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Pearl Jam

Bakke loves PJ. We crossed paths at the right age back in the 90's, and they sound un-aged and original live. Trip down memory lane.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Tuesday 'cross 3

I’m three for three on Tuesday ‘cross so far this year, which has put a big smile on my face and made the fall fun.  Beautiful weather again.  Great course layout by Keith and crew.  Great turnout.  I’m feeling consistent – each time I start and am passed by say 5 who are hammering harder off the start.  I pass them back after lap 2 and hold on for a few more laps, then a couple pass me at the end.  It’s better than going out super hard and blowing up, and I’m always milking the couple linked turn sections for an extra half second to help make up time without burning more energy since I’m pinned.  Overall I finish like roughly a dozenth out of 30 or 40 showing up for the A’s, but nobody counts that high, it’s just a guess from how many people I see strung out ahead on the first half of the lap when you can see a climb.  It was also nice to have an enthusiastic spectator out – thanks Cindy!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Bow 80ish

My body woke up early in anticipation of the longer drive to Bragg Creek from Banff than from Calgary, despite the fact that we left the dance floor just as a table ornament went up in flames (in a log cabin style building) and the courgars were out in force on the dance floor.

Nice drive in the dark, saw a few deer that decided not to jump out on the road - but pulling into Station Flats the thermometer never budged over -3.5C. I haven't been in below zero for a while. I've felt better before in the morning, and more rested. Part of me wonders why why why one would do this.

I walk to checkin and even with gloves my hands sting. I ended up being in the top 5 at checkin ; ) which is the last top 5 I'll do today. But I see the Ger, and that always makes things better. Then I hit up a few more minutes of tunes, race package and heated seats. Deadgoats stream by. And the sun comes up. Why? Because it is. It's mountain biking. Its awesome to breathe cold air on a Sunday morning.  I was thinking more like this.

Until the fail part. I was riding say 25th with all the fast friends up front and out of sight, then my rear shifter pod stopped working. I bailed at the checkpoint before going on Powderface. At least it happened near a good bailout point. It didn't seem like a good day to try to grind it out in some hard gear single speeding. My achilles felt a little wimpy at 'cross two weeks ago when the course had more run ups on the big hill.

That's all. Underwhelming. Oh well.

Cindy and I did a couple hours of urban cyclocross after which helped round out the afternoon.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Bow 80 Warmup

err, not exactly warm up. But fun. I hope I can be in the finisher category at least still.

Friday 16 September 2011

Deadgoat year end party

Oh so much fun... Great to see everyone. Tori was nominated to DG hall of fame. I think Pat and I tied for longest skid contest held in the alley on some sketchy old bike. Yes, fire was involved.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Midweek Mayhem 'cross 2

Well, no action shot, but pre race sign on and backpack drop.

Fast flowy course of diagonals more than last week's right angles.

Finance crowd had a good showing. Bunnin appeared for real, Hooper I'd guess was 10th after he passed me on lap 5 or so, I was probably 14th. Of course none of this matters as only 1-5 count, but on one of the first big hills I could count the string ahead of me.

Probably 40 showed for A's and more like 60 for B's - great turnout!

Decade, sort of

Decade at FirstEnergy. CFO Chandra, VPD Mr. Ha, CEO JimmyD (fingers say "ten" not bunny ears), Bev office manager, BikingBakke, Liz database manager and translator of all things British.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

The Calgary Greenway Video - Parks Foundation Calgary Initiative

Care of Jim Davidson, who’s yet another supporter of the outdoors and cycling (among other activities) in the FirstEnergy sphere.  Please consider being supportive, as if you’re cruising this blog, you likely enjoy bicycles in Calgary.  Circumnavigating the city by path would be a great addition to our collective cycling repertoire.

I’d like to share with you a brief (5 minute) video from Parks Foundation Calgary (PFC), a private not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to develop parks and green spaces throughout our city.  PFC is building on Calgary’s existing 1,000+km of pathways with the innovative Calgary Greenway project, a 113 km open space, park, playground and pathway network that will eventually encircle the city.  I have the distinct honour of chairing
The Calgary Greenway, a $63 million phased project that when complete will be a year-round destination for cyclists, cross-country skiers, bird and nature watchers, inline skaters and dog walkers.  It will offer a new and scenic continuous pathway for numerous competitive and family races and connect to over 40 communities.

With the recent completion of Phase 1 – The East Calgary Greenway, fundraising is now underway for the 18km pathway, Phase 2 – The Southeast Calgary Greenway.  In addition to the pathway, this phase will feature a comprehensive wetland experience (boardwalk, lookout tower, bird blinds, telescopes), family fitness area and dog park with training facilities – enhancing Calgary’s outdoor space and our quality of life.  As campaign chair, I encourage you to learn more about The Calgary Greenway and to consider contributing to this iconic and valuable project.  You can find additional information by viewing the following video link, with comments by Henry Burris, Mayor Nenshi and others (, or at

I welcome you to contact me directly and look forward to speaking with you.
Yours very truly,
FirstEnergy Capital Corp.

James W. Davidson
Chairman & C.E.O.

Sunday 11 September 2011


After the 54-40 concert last night, it was a beauty day for downhilling. Sunny, warm, not super busy. Had a post Fondo celebratory breakfast then picked up our gear. Gear reservations here a bit pointless - recall Whistler is attempting to be a real business, but at the end of the day their troops on the ground are transient 19 year olds from Quebec and Australia who are there to get their fair share of snow, trails and party and don't exactly give a shit.

Got about 8 runs of blue and green in, plus I sidetracked a bit for some personal excitement in the blacks. Dusty conditions, but cool in the woods and great just getting the DH flow vs the road bike cardio burn.

It's nice to do the bookends of the two wheeled sport back to back - very different but each helps the other.

Fondo redux

I liked the fondo, but not 100% sure I'd do it again. I'd need to be fit enough/carry enough to stay in a good group in the giro, or just go moderate social pace enough to chat with people in the back. I guess that means actually training like someone who road races and doing more than one road event per year. I do miss the paceline racing, even missed it on TransRockies with big gravel road sections gone to be honest. It's a great way to push hard. The first group of a hundred or so in the fondo is big, jittery, and too much of a vibe that's jockeying for (an irrelevant) position (since they're all say above 75th I'd guess) without wanting to be on the front. I'd rather be ahead or behind that. The ten person paceline we had is a way more fun/scenic/quieter and overall more enjoyable way to do an event like that from my point of view.

I don't entirely get the start times. My understanding is that the giro men/women can't draft anyone in the other categories. So they've put the women start at 6:40, men at 6:50, and rest at 7. But this means the giro men go through the giro women at some point and create the issue/temptation. Obviously early early morning logistics are one factor. But the race men and women might not need quite the same intro speech considering they probably do 30 race starts a year, and the race groups can probably go out with one motorcycle vs. a bunch of extra machinery as they know the drill. Seems to me that a 6:37 mens start and a 6:40 women's would be ideal to separate those two out, and give both enough time before the herd. People would say "but the women might catch on" which is true, but the other way around it's virtually guaranteed they'd interact. Oh well.

For the overall womens content in this event, I'm very impressed.  Large proportion of women, all ages and all goals.  Seems to fit with a Vancouver demographic and value set.  Great to see.

I think doing it as an out of towner more next time I'd be inclined to stay at matching hotels downtown Vancouver and Whistler, do a minimal backpack check with the race to have a bag up at whistler just with basics, then ride back next morning with the backpack on, and shower at the same hotel if they'd let you leave bike box and other luggage with the bell desk, and skytrain to and from airport. Staying right by the start would be good for sleep in and washrooms vs. riding over in the morning.

Side note: I remembered that part way along the climbs after Squamish there were boxes of brass tacks someone threw on the road. I could see them as I wasn't in a crowd, but maybe later in the race they got someone. Many looked run over and smushed by car tires, which is obviously good. Idiots.

Saturday 10 September 2011


Beauty day and lots of fun. I forgot how fun road racing is. I think I was around 3:40, which was an ok ride but sub optimal from a few points as to how it went, but that doesn't really matter.

Cindy and Tania were all smiles and looked great in the "Hot Wheels" team kit. I'm hoping for smiles at the end too. Cyrus saw Cindy in Squamish and said "looked strong".

So starting the 10 minutes early was a blessing and a curse. No sketchy pack riding, but up Taylor way it was fast right away. Or at least faster than I'm used to doing at 6am equivalent Calgary time after a couple nights of scant sleep.

Formed a group of about 10 that wasn't quite the back of the race group, so that seemed good. Pulled my share but not more (unless you count pulling my flab up the hill as a pull), and an hour in felt settled, solid, knew my group buddies, and was having fun. All good. That lasted till about the 70k mark when I ducked into a feed station as fast as I possibly could. My bottles were dry. Problem is, I couldn't close the gap back into the wind. Got close on the hills as I was climbing better, then 10 people downhill are just so fast with no effort. To race this you need either feeds or carry more bottles. So I caught a straggler or two, but 70-90k was solo tt anywhere between 20 seconds back and a minute back of the group. Uphill into the wind. I knew that wasn't going to end well, but it's not like I was gonna sit and wait at the side for a group. It was beauty, great temp, I felt strong, so I just did my thing.

Of course solo into the wind has a predictable result... tired. So I grab a gel and am chugging some water, and hear a noise behind me. Shoulder check and there's a hundred people coasting in a peloton. I get in and I go from 280W to like 100. They surge on the next 5km of hills and I drop cause I haven't recovered yet. I see some of our other group of 10 in there eaten up too.

Once I'm off, Kelley Servinski catches me, he got caught up behind a crash by the sounds of it. Or crashed. Indeterminate. We chat for a bit but split up.

I settle into another pack that is big enough that "everyone" seems to have conserved more which is nice. Headwindy at the end. Some lady next to me biffed a traffic cone and ended her event 3k out. I don't get it, there was kilometers of lined up cones. That one shouldn't have been a surprise.

Guys were lining up their teams for some big train finish... For like a two hundredth spot or whatever, so I just stayed out of those shenanigans.

Watched people stream in for a long time. Tania and Cindy were speedy and happy at the end. Tara who hadn't been riding had a tough finish. And many riders gave rave reviews of their hot wheels kits.

Fun event overall. They have enough money for lots of niceties. It's big though, and 7,000 people just is kind of mayhem.

Friday 9 September 2011

Whistler Gran Fondo bound

After my 10 year at FirstEnergy party and probably a little more wine than I needed, I did a half day at the office and headed west. Everyone asks about this fancy bike bag Shawn lent me.

Check in for race was efficient, nice sponsors exhibit area, bikes together, and now going for dinner.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Tuesday night cyclocross

I love Tuesday 'cross. I don't know of anything else that intense. I don't know why riding across grass is the most energy sapping thing possible. It was warm, huge huge field size, I got mid to perhaps upper half of the A pack which was nicer than being DFL, and after riding home with Shawn and Devin I've got the next best thing in the world: Tiger Malt.

Monday 5 September 2011

Whistler Gran Fondo last training weekend

Yesterday was about 3 hours down on Millarville and Priddis area roads to warm Cindy up for what was her first big adventure ride.

Today was supposed to be about 70k but it was closer to 85. Not a huge difference, but the climbing was way more than I thought too. Started in Millarville and went west on the 549 until the fork for McLean creek or the Gorge Creek trail heading south. After doing a few huge climbs we got to a road closure that dampened the plan. Apparently it's been closed for years due to a washout of the gravel road. We saw some hikers who said the road was fine and open for bikes, and looked at the map choices. Didn't want to do a bunch of mountain biking on the 'cross bike so continued on. Super nice valleys back there.

Few hours later made it to Turner Valley to refill empty bottles then did the 11km time trial back to the car.

Big day!