Sunday 27 July 2014

Pedalhead Perogy Alberta XC Championships

Beauty day for a drive up to Edmonton - I hadn't planned to go but Shawn made some solid counterpoints and off we went.

Pre ride showed it to be a warm day, fun twisty course. Good group out. 

Start was straight up hill. I lined up behind Shawn. Gun went and the group sprinted off with power. How much power?  Too much. As in Shawn's chain broke precisely at the 7 second mark. And me being behind got caught up in the action. So once we were moving, Bunnin was off to repair and I was dead last. I started working through a few of the field, legs felt ok but not great. Then I wasn't moving forward. Then I was hurting. Like way hurting. I was down under a hundred Watts and wondering what the hell was going on. I hadn't been riding a ton, but Tuesday was having fun with power riding with Shawn and Dave. It's not like I've been partying and working.  My stomach felt off... wait a minute... I have two cats at home with giardia and on medicine and a vets instructions to be careful and clean the house thoroughly. Hmm... Anyone who's seen the furry fiends knows keeping them off things is a bit of wishful thinking, they've probably been fornicating with my toothbrushes all night. 

Shawn came by on lap three with his chain fixed. We chatted and both agreed we'd finish.  But 25 minutes later as I cruised into the finish area at hardly a rolling pace I knew the right call was to pull. Shoot. 

Saturday 26 July 2014

1971 Schwinn Paramount P15

The Schwinn Paramount went through a few iterations, well summarized here, during its tenure from 1959-1979.  This beauty is a 1971 P15, which is the road racing geometry with a triple ring in front, 5 cassette rear model.  Almost all original: Campagnolo Nuevo record components, Weinmann rims, original chain and cables.  Only thing new is bar tape and prior owner replaced original tires with ones that haven't dried for 40+ years beyond the ability to hold any air.

Gloriously shining in the morning - I don't know how it gets any better than this.

New bar tape.  Original Schwinn brakes.  Probably newer pads installed, they appear to be coolstop material.

Beautiful quill stem, Campagnolo headset, original cables, "suicide brakes" second levers, Cinelli bars.

Original Schwinn.

There is no saddle more comfortable than a Brooks, but this one alone weighs like 2.5lbs.

Square taper bottom bracket spins with barely any friction, the friction shifters are an art to have a quiet ride.

Lugged construction with red outline - is it just me or have modern carbon wonder bikes lost the artistry?

Two inches of rake.  You don't ride this bike, you glide on it like a magic carpet.

Campagnolo 15 speed drivetrain.  Very minimal front shifter.  Gear ratios stamped right onto rear derailleur.  This was the touring model with the wider gear ratio range and 13-36 cassette and a 36-54 chainring set.

Beautiful cable housing.

Derailleur still works perfectly.

Subtle logos fit a frame like this.

That's a head tube, quill stem and fork I could stare at for hours.  

Seat tube junctions do two things.  1. Hold the frame and seat post together. 2. Display mankind's ability to command materials into art form.

The Schwinn Paramount P15 and it's historic head badge.

1997 Land Rover Defender 90 summer update!

New tires, new rear ladder, hi lift jack, LED lights  that actually provide some light, and Superwinch.

You don't need to be curvy to be sexy.

It stands about 7 feet tall at the rear.

Cannondale Flash 29er update - it's reborn!

The Flash has served well over the years.  This frame is a replacement however, and I'm sad about that.  I liked the original more muted black and white, and I liked it that I'd never warrantied a frame in all my life of riding bikes.  Oddly enough though the rear brake mounts ripped off the seat stay in a race a month or so back.

Somewhere along the way it was upgraded to the new Lefty with better sealing and smoother action.  Wheels have been rebuilt, this time with black spokes.

Drivetrain dropped the front derailleur and went 1x11 along the way too.

Now the new frame brags of "factory racing" on the top tube, but it should say "privateer racing" and be my team colours!

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Riding bikes is awesome

Tonight was one of those nights where I was feeling worn down, had a few stress on the mind issues from work, and wasn't sure if I'd make tonight's ride. But I pulled it together and commuted up with Bunnin. Plan from the ATB/BD&P group was for some intervals. 

We chatted out to our point of destruction and were instructed to lap a 1km course one lap recon, one "on" and one off.  So 4 all out efforts. That can't be hard right?  They're under 90 seconds. 

Not hard unless Bunnin and Dave Cook are present. I hadn't known Dave until this year and these group rides. Dave's credentials include prior national team status and hilarious stories from racing a decade or two back - like getting in an 80km 2 man break at the Tour of Texas with some guy who was "so strong and focused riding solo, strong as a horse and did 80% of the pulling". Some British guy he hadn't heard of before. Chris Boardman was his name...  ; ) Dave generates some serious power out of tree trunk legs! Three of us alternated leading each other out and simultaneously slaying each other. I haven't felt that hyper exerted in a while. The sun was shining, we pushed each other, and it just felt like a full reset on life. So good. 

Nobody in their right mind could do that solo. That's what makes riding with friends so awesome. 

Friday 18 July 2014

Blackcomb tele ski camp

Here was a representative ski day I thought I'd log on Strava for fun.  If there's one thing I know it's that between tele skiing and biking by the time I'm done with this world my legs are going to very well used!

Nighty nighty at athletes village.

Not often that I can wear shorts and sneakers on the chair. It's 3 chairs and a bus ride of commute. 

Beauty day. 

Mud to snow transition. 

We weren't allowed over there. The big one is too big for me, probably on anything, but for sure on tele but the one just behind had my eye all day! There was serious spinning and inversion going on all day. 

Another view from the more mogul and freestyle side. 

We got a lot of runs in. The new Volkl's don't back down from ice. It's very different thinking about being close to a gate and having an edge that gives zero argument about taking you there.  Good coaching from a guy I met at Silver Star this spring. And the same truth as before - it's a diverse group but tele people are nice people. Completely awesome mindset to be around high performance skiers. Loving it. Nap time then dry land then dinner then video review then bed. 

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Tour de France

Marvin and I share an appreciation.

Saturday 12 July 2014

ATB/Highwood Fondo

Early morning rise for carpool out with Bunnin to the ATB/Highwood Gran Fondo. Both of us are a bit sick from BC Bike Race. Ashley told me I didn't look good, I don't fault the honesty. Did a 7am conference call en route to the event, faff'd around in parking lot until just in time to go.

Riding was beautiful. Peloton was so enjoyable. First 30k or so people rode totally normal, chit chatted, caught up with each other, etc. Nice morning temperature. I had jersey and no arm warmers or gloves, and it was pleasantly cool. 

Pace picked up at the KOM sign which was 17km from the summit. Each roller fractured more of the group, and I realized coffee had combated my initial feeling of the day enough to hold in. I was with lead group to the bottom of last climb with about a dozen people. So you could tell who had engines, then that last couple k's of steeper bit was going to sort out who's power to weight ratio was superior. We went around the corner in one's, two's. I climbed with Hooper; Jared and Jay were ahead and climbing awesome, Bunnin and one other led.  Gary Chambers was just oozing out the Watts today and made the lead group. Awesome riding Gary!

We quickly coalesced into a group of 5 - Jay, Jared, Chris, myself and one guy from Canmore. Happy spot. Net downhill to finish, all in top 10, and save for Devin who wasn't here and Shawn who was up ahead, that's our Friday afternoon bike talk as drink coffee group. Awesome. 

We reeled in Trevor Gunderson who was solo in no mans land since we had the 5 group going. At times we could see the lead group, but we didn't close. Trevor eventually cramped and imploded instantly leaving it to our 5. I was needing plain water at one point and begged some from Chris. Turns out it was a FirstRowdy water bottle so he agreed to share ; )

We rolled in together - Jay started the lead out train being the smallest guy and assumed he'd be dropped. I didn't think that'd be sporting or that this was so cut throat so I pushed him when he faded instead of going by, so Jay got the legs good and fried with the run into finish. He was worried he'd suffer in the net down last half being of "climber build" but showed he's an all rounder. Canmore guy was on a different program of achievement expectation and sprinted us (he was only one in 40+ so it was irrelevant IMHO) but Jared followed the jump and shut him down. We were all within the second anyway. 

Beauty day, all smiles at the finish. Couldn't ask for a better event and better way to ride with buddies. Shawn then proceeded to lock his keys in the car. Oops. 

We bbq'd at chez Bunnin as I'm out of the house for a bunch of girls doing a bachelorette party. 

Ok guys, for this photo I want beards in the left. Jay, where's your helmet? Erik, Jared, TDF build Hooper, Jay, Bunnin.  The downtown Friday afternoon coffee "team" had a very consistent showing!

Deadgoats partially incognito. Shawn, the powerhouse Gary, and me. 
Summit turnaround.
Half bearded chase group. 
Jay's hill attack near the end.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Newest Bakke - Maggie!

We got Maggie from a farm this week. 9 weeks old. We've never seen so much energy. She weights less than a cup of coffee. After the scary car ride home and a first night in life alone in laundry room, we discovered we certainly didn't have a wallflower. The next hour was a power hour of running, jumping, mauling a fluffy bow tie toy, 45 mins of solid hyperactivity with a dingle ball. Marvin chased her until she ducked and ran under his legs when he tried a head on pounce. It was ninja like. Suddenly from behind she turned the tables and chased him until he was too tired to move 20 mins later. She's 1/9th his size and just owned him.  When he eats, she walks under his legs and eats under him from his dish. When he has a toy, she goes and plays with it too. She out jumps him to places in the house he can't get to and has very clever play fight techniques. No fear.  I don't think he was expecting it. She also purrs like a tractor, can climb anything, and has love to give. The good thing is he seems to be love having a friend despite being befuddled by such a bundle of energy and confidence.

Saturday 5 July 2014

BC Bike Race 2014 Day 7 - Whistler

I had comfortable time gaps front and back, especially for a short stage, so didn't have that on my mind like many other racers today. Plus it's not like I'm fighting for a podium spot, it appears I'm due for the round number 25. Cooler morning, and first day where my legs felt sore. I pushed hard yesterday and was "within" or "better" than my 5 minutes per hour Bunnin ratio. 

We climbed right up easy does it and my legs felt like cement. I was really going backwards. Felt better when we got to the flatter portion, then ducked into the downhill trails. Only issue was on one of the fast longer alumnus a guy bit it really hard about 3 riders up. I started stopping traffic behind right away. He was out cold, and had [presumably] slid his front tire either by braking or just wet slipperiness on the bridge and put the noggan into the adjacent tree at a pretty good speed. Ouch. Typical procedure is not to move someone, but people put him on the bridge lying down as the way he came to a stop was rag dolled across bridge with back on it and limbs drooping over both sides which didn't seem appropriate to leave. I knew trail enough to know the gravel service road was a bit ahead so walked through woods around bridge once everything was settled. Once a dozen or so riders were there a doctor and first aid responder were in the rider mix. I told first person with walkie talkie his name and number that his partner in the race had provided. After that you kind of shrug and realize you aren't going to be much help so proceeded on. Slowly. Every wet rock and bridge looked different after that. 

Eventually got down, did the 180 back up the climb, and legs again felt like cement after they'd done the first long descent then got asked to steep climb again. 

Transferred into the Lost Lake trails and felt better, tons of fun winding through the technical. Then before I knew it it's back to the finish. 

Shawn was in, Jon was shortly after, and then this proud mountain biker came in with big smiles for finishing her first BC Bike Race. There's always room for improvement for any rider, but even being able to navigate a solid week of west coast trials means someone is a good enough technical rider to ride just about anything!  Cindy is twice my ranking as she's 12thvin women and I'm 24th, same as last year but in what I feel was a harder field. 

Friday 4 July 2014

BC Bike Race 2014 Day 6 - Squamish

Nice morning, warm but not hot. Good riding weather. Squamish always is a fast start, the couple km's of pavement flat then climb really let's it ramp up. My legs felt good off the start, everyone was swarming the sides of the peloton but I felt on the climb it's sort out fast so didn't waste energy. Once we hit the steep pitch I could see Shawn ahead, then looked up to see Kris Sneddon. Despite the face that the field was stretched out already, he went from seated to standing there and continued to gap everyone. 

We ducked into trails and I had my first wipeout of the year - strongly aided by a guest rider. Yuck. Its good marketing, and I know they get a speech before that they're guests and to chill, but they don't. Got back on, and next corner was a left 90 degree at the bottom of a gravel path.  Buddy a few riders up somehow navigates this superman style in his stomach. Not fun on gravel. 

Nice trails after that, good climbing in "Rupert's" followed by some granite slab features. Took me like 20 minutes to make it back to about where I had been. Had some good wheels to work with on the gravel road commute over to half Nelson, which has had a lot of work done to it from last year, amazing quality tables and pump track style jumps. 

Really didn't light it up on the enduro, I was feeling weak at that point and had eating just before, but couldn't focus or pedal enough to make that count. Oh well. Got my act together for the crumpet woods climbs and had a respectable finish. 

Cindy had a longer day, said she was climbing great but struggled still with speed on the powerhouse plunge that's just one snarled bunch of roots and rocks from start to finish with no smooth areas outside the bridges. 

Thursday 3 July 2014

BC Bike Race 2014 Day 5 - Sechelt to Langdale - Highway 102!

Little cooler this morning, few clouds in the sky. I woke up without leg soreness. Was cautiously optimistic. We saw on overall results that Cindy had moved up several spots in GC which excited her. 

Warmup felt good. Legs felt comfortable. I sat in group until the gravel put climb and just went forward up that steep pitch without really thinking about it. The cautious optimism turned out to be valid. I credit it mostly to the Frank's Red Hot sauce available for the first time last night!

Once out of town, we were in non stop single track climbing. Amazing. I knew I was having a respectable day when 2h in I was ahead of Brian Cooke. He said he was pacing afte a hard day yesterday but I'll take what I can get. He cracked me on the gravel road after aid 2, and I didn't see any other riders until the finish. 

Highway 102 was as buff and as fun as ever. Then we exited to some new cut trail which I'll refer to as Sneddon Special Chunder. Acute angles, soft moss, up and over logs and roots. Full body riding that takes effort to flow. I like that stuff. 

Hard to beat days like that on a bike. 

Jon, Cindy and Shawn had solid rides and Chambers had an incident that led to a few more scrapes!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

BC Bike Race 2014 Day 4 - Earl's Cove to the infernos of hell, err Sechelt

Yesterday post race we did glorious nothing. Lied on grass, overlooking the ocean and island, among giant trees, and  talked. But it was comfortably intermittent as it can be when relaxed and among friends. 

Cindy and I float planed over which allowed me to join in an hour long conference call to start with some relaxation. 

Race got going before noon. It was hot. In start queue sun without air movement my GPS said 33. Riding in shade it was saying 27, later it was 30 in the sun. That's hot for me. BakingBakke is a situation I don't thrive on. 

Paced moderate off start, which worked for me at the end of the day. Made conversation. Felt dripping sweat, arms just glistened. Kept drinking. 

It all worked at the end, didn't cramp or blow up, but didn't really have any fast bits.  Ending singletrack I kept seeing Wendy but just couldn't close it, right to finish she was 20 seconds ahead. So smooth. 

Shawn felt the effects of heat, Jon had a satisfactory birthday ride all things considered. Cindy came in smiling as usual and didn't look too worse for wear. 

Happy birthday Jon!  Sunny day riding with friends is still good, although I'm sure it'd be better with more skin!

Tuesday 1 July 2014

BC Bike Race 2014 Day 3 - Powell River steals our hearts

We're doing more evening commuting this year to facilitate that first day on the shore. We arrived at Powell River as the 9:30pm sun was low over the ocean. People were lining the dock to see us in. Drums were playing. Bagpipes were playing. As we walked along Main Street to camp old ladies had bowls of sliced water melon to hand out. I think it's slow here so people like to see this stuff, but beyond that there's a community spirit I just don't see and feel elsewhere. It's really amazing. The world I function in daily doesn't take time for things like that much.  It's too bad. 

Beauty trails and beauty day. Everyone has smiles on. Jon rode and finished. Shawn was fast. Cindy rode happy. 

Powell River is such an awesome place to ride. Here's temporary home.