Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Best Thing EVER!

I feel like I've been away from civilization for a few days, with most of my time recently being spent in the hospital. I'm gonna cut to the chase...I'm now a Dad! Dalia Mirka Blunt was born September 22 at 9:08 PM. She comes in as a lightweight, 5lbs, 15ounces (or 2696 grams for those of you counting in metric), and 19.3 inches (49cm) in length.
The whole family's at home now, Sonia and Dalia were discharged Friday, and both are doing extremely well. Dalia got off to a rough start, however. During labour, she had a bowel movement while in the uterus, and ended up swallowing a large amount of merconium (stool). As soon as she was born, she was whisked away to have her stomach and lungs suctioned. She then had a higher than normal respiratory rate (which would make breastfeeding too difficult for her), and had to be kept in the nursery on I-V for the first night. On top of that, her bloodwork showed a mild infection. By Wednesday evening, she was off the I-V, had beat the infection and was in the room with Sonia.
Jump ahead to the present, and she's eating and pooping like a champ. We've been out for a few walks around the neighbourhood, and we're looking forward to our first outing soon.
On a biking related note, it seems like I won't doing any cross races anytime soon, and not much riding at all for that matter. But in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn't have it any other way.

 12 hours old

 24 hours old

 48 hours old

At home this afternoon, 3 and a half days old.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paul's Dirty Enduro Recap

Up bright and early Saturday morning to make the drive for the last race of the year, and probably the best race of the year. Paul's is a great grassroots event that's for a good cause, and is family go go go racer attitude here. The other thing that makes it great is lots, and lots and LOTS of singletrack. There's so much singletrack that at times you think to yourself "when is this going to end?!?!?!" It's unrelenting to say the least. This year, however, I would be doing the 60k event, (the past two years I did the 100k). I was banking on NOT having that feeling of riding never ending singletrack...the 100k saps a lot of energy and makes the last 30k pretty tough. A little side note: the reason why I did the 60k this year instead of the 100k, is that the 100k starts at 8am, which means driving down the night before and camping out. But since Sonia and I are 2 weeks away from our due date, she didn't want me away overnight, so we reached a compromise....I race the 60k, which starts at 11am, and allows me to drive down, race, and drive back in the same day.

 Early morning start.

Fog lifting off to the side of the 7.

Near Ganaraska forest, you can buy corn, tomatoes, and, ummmm, not sure I want to know. (This one's for you, Craig)

I wasn't sure what kind of goals to set for myself since this would actually be shorter than most of the races I've done this year. Based on past Paul's results in the 100k, and how I did in the Ganaraska Marathon race back in July, I figured somewhere in the neighborhood of a 3:15 to 3:30 finish, which, based on last years results of the 60k, would put me in the top 3. Hmmmm, a little too optimistic? Not sure.

Race headquarters.

Packed parking lot. There were over 300 riders for this year's edition.

At the start, it was announced that there were 114 racers in the 60k. Conditions were perfect...just a touch of coolness in the air and the sun was out. Apparantly, the 100k racers started with frost on the ground, brrrrrrr. Here's how my race went:
-Off the start, I think I was in the top 15 or so, but couldn't tell for sure.
-I suck at starting races...I can never go full throttle right off the bat...I like to ease my way into the race.
-It seemed to take me about an hour and 30 minutes before I got into a good groove.
-Twisty singletrack is my nemesis....I brake waaaaaaaay too much
-About 2 hours or so in, I figured I was in the top 10 overall...I had passed some riders early on, but was riding by myself most of the way
-I felt like I should have been riding harder...I was probably riding at what was a pace for a longer race.
-At some point (about 2 and a half hours in), I caught a 40+ rider, who told me I was 4th or 5th overall, and 2nd in the 39under...what?!?!?!?! I have no idea how that happened, but hearing that gave me a burst of energy.

 Now, check this funny story: towards the finish of the race, the courses for the 15, 30, 60 and 100k all merge together. I was behind a 15 or 30k rider, who then took a spill. I stopped, checked to see if he was ok, but when I unclipped and stepped down, my left big toe all of a sudden went into a spasm, and I couldn't uncurl it. I tried to straighten my toe, stretch my calf, do whatever, but it wouldn't budge! So, I had to take my shoe off and physically straighten my toe. When I put my shoe back on, my toe cramped up again! This happened two more times before my toe didn't spasm again. Now, while I was dealing with my toe, a few riders passed me, including a 60k rider. CRAP! Now I'm in third. Hopped on the bike and pedaled like hell. Caught the 60k dude then passed him. But he picked up the pace and started chasing. Shit, breathing is picking up, legs are starting to burn...onto some single track, but stuck behind a slower rider. Passed the slower guy on some doubletrack, dude is still behind me, I'm hurtin', get stuck behind ANOTHER guy in the next bit of singletrack, and finally the single track opens up for the finish. Dude and I are SPRINTING, and I make it over the line ahead by a bike length. 2nd place by one second!

After all was said and done, I finished in 3 hours and 21 minutes, 4 minutes back of first. My time put me third overall in the 60k. Congrats to Tim Carleton who came first, and probably would have finished faster but made a wrong turn at one spot. Once a again, an excellent event, great organization and a fun, friendly atmosphere. I'm still a little sore right now, and hopefully no poison ivy pops up two days from now. Race season is now over, with the exception of a few cross races, but we'll just have to see how things pan out once our little one arrives.

 Cat and Mario getting ready to play soccer after racing. (The knee highs also work great to keep the poison ivy off.)

 Over the shoulder shot of Silver Lake on the way home.

One of the nicest award plaques I've ever seen...the top part is a custom tile.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Newest Addition to the Family

Ok, so this post title is a "little" misleading. No, little baby Blunt has not made his/her debut in this world. Rather, I'm the proud owner of a brand new bike. It's a Trek Soho S (the S is for Singlespeed, but it's also pretty super!). I'm currently using my Fisher Mendotta for commuting, but starting next week, the Soho will take over commuting duties until about May. In the meantime, the Mendotta will get whipped into shape for cross season.

Newest member of the family

The Soho came as a single speed, but it has a fip flop (to the hip hop) hub for fixie goodness. I was forced to get a new fixie this year 'cause some punks stole mine one out of my backyard back in June. It was partially my fault, 'cause I didn't have it locked up. But COME ON, who's gonna steal a crappy old steel bike that was converted to a fixie?!?!? What punk can actually ride a fixie? AND, it had clipless pedals! Talk about an unride-able bike!! Oh well, like I said, it was partly my fault.

Me and the old fixie back in January after a commute from work.

When the Soho is ready to roll, it'll have some fenders and a rack on it. And, like I said, I'll flip the hub and throw on a 17 tooth cog, running a 44 x 17 all winter. The 44 x 17 makes it just hard enough that I have to muscle my way up hills and give a little extra when starting from a stop. But that's what makes it the perfect off-season training weapon. Just don't tell anyone, shhhhhhhh.......

Monday, September 14, 2009

This weekend in review

First in the news, Blogger is 10! Happy Birthday! To be honest, blogger's birthday doesn't really mean much to me, but there's this little birthday cake in my face every time I log on, so I may as well acknowledge it, and who knows, maybe one day I'll be the "Blog of Note" like this dude.

Second, I finished painting the nursery! (That was actually last weekend, but hey, gotta get my props) We've been building furniture and getting the room ready! Under 3 weeks till the due date....CRAZY!!!!!

Third, I got in some riding this weekend (duh, really?!?!?!). Did the usual Saturday morning Cyclelogik loop...the legs felt good and I spent some time up front, putting in some pulls. Average speed for 65km was 37.2km/hr. Oddly enough, the same as last week.

Sunday, I did a mountain bike ride up in the park, more of a training ride, I suppose, to get ready for next weekend, and Paul's Dirty Enduro. Today's ride was a "usual" route, starting with trail 15, all the way up to Kingsmere, up 30, then down 1 (Penguin) to Chelsea. Turned around and climbed back up 1. This part of the trail always gets me thinking that it would be cool to do a trail 1 time trial, downhill, hill climb or something along those lines. It could be an affair that combines the times of descending and climbing trail 1 (or vice versa). It's something that would have to be done on the D-L, at a time when the park isn't very busy to avoid hiker traffic. Oh, and speaking of hikers, there were a bunch of of people doing orientation (would that make them orienteers?) from Kingsmere parking lot. Problem is, they had their heads down looking at their maps, and not paying attention to traffic on the trail. It's times like these that I wish mountain biking was a video game where you get points for taking out clueless hikers.

I call this section of trail 1 the "unride-able" problem going down (pretty gnarly), but I've never made it up. This picture doesn't really do it justice, though.

Back to my ride. I continued up 1, then down 4 into Fortune, and played around in there for a bit. I did like Tanya said, and I got mineself to the pump track. It works much better with the suspension locked out!

Crummy picture of the pump track. Really! That's a pump track! I swear!

Rode the race course, which I havn't done in a while. It seems to me that parts of it are wider than before and there are more lines to take, 'cause it seemed easier to ride than usual. I could be totally mistaken, though, and maybe I was just picking the right lines for once. Jumped across the valley and played around on the trails there...super tight, technical switch back stuff that forces you to perfect cornering skills (aka: good training for Paul's).

Made the downhill trip back home (one of the best parts about doing this ride is that it finishes with A LOT of downhill sections!), and cracked open a bottle of Greene King IPA. This is one kick ass beer! Compared to a lot IPA's (India Pale Ale), it's not overly hoppy (aka bitter), but it still packs a flavour punch. There's definitely some caramel flavour going on'd almost swear you were having a Wurthers. Flavourful beer with no bitter aftertaste...Booya!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quintuple Pave Classic Report

Another early wake up (something like 5:50am, the details are foggy at best now) in order to bike the 20km to get to the start of the Tall Tree Cycles Quintuple Pave Classic. The ride was scheduled to start at 8am, with registration wrapping up at 7:45. I was aiming to get there for 7:30, and despite a couple of wrong turns on the bike paths leading to Lac Leamy, I got there right on schedule.

Crossing the Champlain Bridge.

Registration area, complete with bike racks!

The ride got started a bit after 8, and with the cool morning temperature (it was about 8 degrees, if I remember correctly), I was actually shivering once we were rolling. It didn't take long to warm up The first 8km were neutralized, after which we stopped for the official start AND a much needed mass pee break.

The first 20km were ridden at a mellow pace, and the group pretty well stuck together. Despite some accelerations and a bit of breaking up of the pack, the majority re-grouped at the 44km where a bridge was under repair, and we were forced to walk around (except for Rodd, who rode the whole detour...badass! Of course, I don't have pictures here to show you how badass it was, but trust me, it was!)

View from the dam near Low.

Photo shoot on the dam.

Leading up to the dam near Low, the roads featured a lot of loose dirt/gravel sections that made riding tricky...especially for me, since I was running 25 width tires. Normally, these would be fine on packed dirt roads, but a little more float would have been nice for those dodgy sections.

After Low, and some paved roads the pace seemed to pick up a bit. Onto some more dirt roads, and our team (Rodd, Matt, Neil, Nathan and myself), plus a Euro Sports rider were riding alone ahead of the rest of the pack. Back onto paved roads and Nathan had a flat (go figure). While he changed it, Euro Sports and the Wheelers passed us. On a side note, Neil got yelled at by some lady for taking a piss in her driveway. It seemed to provide some entertainment for the rest of.

Matt taking a piss in a field, not a driveway.

Matt and Rodd, stone cold chillin' on Cross Loop Road.

By the time we made it to the end at Gamelin, it was roughly 2pm, and we didn't have to wait long until the Wheelers and Euro-Sports came cruising through. Everyone raved about the route, the weather, the format...a good time enjoyed by all. The post ride BBQ was also a nice bonus (big up Glenn and Marilee for volunteering their time).

Neil, stone cold chillin' at the end.

I'm actually at a loss for words now 'cause it's getting late as I post this, but if I don't do it now, it'll never get done, so enjoy the next couple of pics!

Word is this is the Tall Tree team van for next year!

New beer that I tried when I got home, nice flavour (hard to pin down, hint of toffee maybe?), not too hoppy and lightly carbonated. Gets my vote!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday and Saturday (Reader's Digest Version)

Here’s Friday and Saturday in a quick nutshell.


Rode at Kanata Lakes…linked together a bunch of trails including outback, of course. Did a side trip down rockhopper (at least I think that’s what trail it was), and came across a new obstacle.

Pretty creative way to use existing features.

I gave it a couple goes, but didn’t clean it. The loose small rocks made it tough to maintain traction, and the turn at the apex was pretty tight. I’ll give it another go one of these days.

Got home and tried a new beer.

Nickel Brook Premium Organic Lager

Don’t have much good to say about it…it tasted kinda funky, was cloudy, didn’t have much carbonation, and was a little bitter for my liking. Oh well. Live and learn.


Did the Cyclelogik ride. Great weather…the route took a couple of different turns today, and overall, was FAST! From the start, it was a large group, maybe 40 or so, but over the course of the ride, (and after a couple hills), the group was whittled down to a lead group of 13. Average speed for the ride was 37.2km/hr!!! (over 65km). The thing is, almost all of the pulling was done by Aaron Fillion…this guy is a friggin’ machine. I couldn’t get over how often he would take the lead and just PUSH the pace. Unbelievable! It seemed like he would pull for about 5 minutes, take a break for a couple of minutes, then take over at the front...again and again! I was talking to some riders later who said Aaron Fillion has been getting stronger and stronger over the last month....I guess that's what being a national champion will do for you!

Stay tuned for a ride report on the Tall Tree Quintuple Pave Classic.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Whatever happened to Greg LeMond?

I don't check out very often, but I happened to come across an interesting article. Perhaps not really an article, and because I'm tired right now (but this bowl of chocolate ice cream should perk me up), I can't think of a better word to describe the category of writing that this piece falls under (which is why I'm anything BUT a journalist, boy this is a run on sentence...I'm gonna stop...NOW). It's more like a non-fiction-journalistic-memoir/lamentation, or something like that.
I thought this would be more of a LeMond bashing piece, seeing as how anytime he turns up in the media, he's pointing the finger at other riders. But, it turned out to be something different, and it reminded me about the years when I started following cycling. I remember the classic duel between LeMond and Hineault, I remember when LeMond beat Fignon by 8 seconds, and I remember those cool Vetements Z kits (at least they looked cool to me back in the day!)

This piece brought me back, and made me forget, for a short time at least, the negative attention LeMond has been bringing upon himself recently.