Monday, March 29, 2010

Firsts of the year

This weekend saw many firsts for my riding season this year:

-first ride to Wakefield
-first non-solo ride (with Craig aka the OBR, see photo #1)
-first ride over 100km
-first climb of the Cascades 18% killer (see photo #2)
-first sore ass of the season
-first time trying Accelerade (see photo #3)

Saturday was pretty damn cold, with a biting wind and evidence of frozen water further north of town. As a result, we kept our stop in Wakefield to a minimum. The return leg home was into a fierce southerly wind that didn't have any warm, southern hospitality.

Craig, cresting one of the climbs near Cascades. This one is relatively short but steep...11%

After climbing the Cascades bee-yatch. I'm in "a bit" of pain here.

So I tried Accelerade for the first time. Not sure what I think of it, yet. My drink of choice for years has been Hammer Perpetuem, but I like to have something else kicking around so I'm not always drinking the same thing, and then getting sick of it. The Accelerade has a good mix of different nutrients, but has a bit of a weird milky taste.

A quick ride on Sunday took me south of Ottawa, amongst the farms and fields.

The thing I like about this part of town is that at times, it almost feels like you could be out West in the middle of the prairies. Yee-Haw!!

This upcoming weekend has LOTS of promise...a long weekend with forecasted highs in the 20's....bring it on!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bike fuel....

I got out for a ride this past Saturday, which started with some fueling on Friday evening:

Montreal smoked meat on rye, a side of poutine and a Mill St. Organic lager at the esteemed ESD (aka Elgin Stree Diner).

 This is a pretty crappy picture. I guess it illustrates how crappy it was out Saturday morning...grey cloudy skies and even a few flurries. Made it tough to leave the house.

It's also hard to leave the house when this is what you've got at home.

For my Saturday ride, this is what I had planned: 3 to 3.5 hours, doing a loop to Carp with a couple side trips thrown in the up the mileage. Go easy for the first hour, moderate for the second hour, and easy again for the third hour. With the wind the way it was, my plan got blown (no pun intended) out the window. Instead, it turned into "hammer against the wind" and then "spin it out with the wind". I would "hammer" riding as hard as I could, look down at my computer and think "Jeez, only 23km/hr???? But then I would change direction, and cruise along at 40km/hr without even trying!

Lots of geese hangin' around the Carp river.

Towards the end of my ride, my legs actually started to cramp on me...I'm talking hamstrings seizing up and not letting me pedal. What the f!@#!!!! This shouldn't be happening!!!! I tried to stretch my hams and massage them while pedaling. A few minutes of this worked the cramps out and allowed me to get home.

After all was said and done, I got in almost 100k, averaging 29.1 km/hr. I figure the cramps were probably due to dehydration...I only had two water bottles with me for my whole ride, and in colder temps, I find I sweat quite a bit underneath the wind proof layers.

The forecast ain't lookin' so hot for the rest of the week, and I refuse to get on the trainer, so it looks like the next ride won't be until Saturday. Just means more time to chill with Lil' D.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wilderness 101, here I come!

I am officially signed up and registered for what will probably be my biggest, longest, toughest, hilliest, hottest and maybe funnest (I know, funnest is not a real word) event in the upcoming season, Wilderness 101, in Pennsylvania. Just the thought of the race stirs up excitement (this will end up being one hell of an accomplishment), and nervousness....160km in a point to point race, with a sh*t load of climbing and possibly some hella hot temps is something I've never done before.

The above picture makes the race seem like it's not so bad after all. But on closer inspection, apparently, you ride over snakes...snakes and I don't get along. *shudder*

Oh yeah, I guess I should also get my ass in gear and get my passport renewed so I can get into the ol' U.S. of A.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh so lonely...

 The lonely road.

Saturday, I dusted off the road bike (pried it out of the trainer, actually), and got out for my first real road ride of the year. Man did it ever feel much faster than what I have been used to for the last 4 months or so (fixie with a studded tire....SLOW). It was a solo schedule didn't match up with anyone else's, so I was off on my lonesome, to contemplate the upcoming season and what not. And the thing that I was contemplating......I REALLY need to ramp up the mileage. With all the nice weather we've been having, and hearing about all the riding that others are doing, I feel like I'm a little behind the 8 ball this year. Yes, it's early, and there's plenty of time to catch up, but that's the thing...I don't want to be playing catch up. Just have to cram in riding any way that I can, and if it means an extra long commute home or getting up extra early, then so be it.

 Shouldn't be too long before all this snow is gone.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First and last of the season.

Got out riding today, but not bike riding *Gasp!*. I know, it was a glorious day, and the roads were dry as a bone. (Never understood, that one, since the inside of a bone, the marrow, is kinda wet and squishy.) Nope, the riding I did was the on-snow type...snowboarding. I didn't get out at all last year, and this year was also looking bleak. So I seized an open window of opportunity and headed up for a day at Edelweiss. Met my buddy Karl and his brother in-law Matt for a day of snow shreddin'. Conditions were epic (just minus the powder and huge mountains). The sun was out, it was warm, the runs had good coverage and it wasn't too crowded.

 View from the chairlift. In the summertime, I can be found in the hills in the back ground on my bike.

The riding KRU.

 Poutine and beer. I think next winter I need to go snowboarding more just to make this my staple meal.

Karl said I looked angry here. Maybe it's because my poutine and beer cost 13 bucks.

 There was a big air comp goin' down. If you click on the pic, you might be able to see someone going off the hit (he's camouflaged in the trees). I would have entered and showed them how it's done, but I wanted a chill day with my bros.

On the chairlift. The sticker on my board says "Freshjive". I'm fresh. And I can jive, brotha.

The mud field they call a "parking lot".

Glad I managed to get one day in this year. It's biking mode for me now, but I've vowed to go snowboarding more next year (provided we have more snow next winter!).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

'Cause you just never know....

Over the years, I've only had a handful of encounters with dogs while riding my bike. Only once have I ever come across a bear while mountain biking. And thankfully, I've never had a confrontation with an angry motorist. But these are all situations where, according to Competitive Cyclist, you might need a Kimber Pepper Blaster.

The best thing about this product is the write up in Competitive Cyclist. Here's a little snippet:

"We think guns are perfectly fine things to own. We shoot them periodically. We wish there were a form of biathlon that incorporated bikes instead of skis. But taking a gun on a bike ride just doesn't make sense. Foremost, they're heavy. It makes no sense to carry a 4lb weapon when you're astride a 15lb bike. Secondly, they're potentially dangerous to carry (read: Plaxico Burress). Thirdly, while we're comfortable with the idea of pointing a gun at an unwelcome human inside our home, it's tough to envision an uncomplicated outcome when you point a gun at an asshole at an intersection. So, in short, packing heat on a ride is unadvisable."

"Packing heat on a ride is unadvisable." I LOVE IT!!!!! Only in the states! I can't think of anything witty that can top the quoted paragraph, so I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend February!

Got in two, that's right, count 'em TWO rides this weekend! Both rides were short, with more focus on intensity than longer base building mileage, mainly due to time constraints.

Saturday, in easy to read point form:

-Sonia sarcastically wished me to "have fun" as I left and she went upstairs to a crying Lil' D.

-Windy, very windy. My route ran from north to south and north again. With a northeasterly wind, my energy was sapped by the end of my ride.

-Riding on a soft,muddy shoulder, against the wind, equals aforementioned sapped energy.

-Because of the wind, riding with music is useless. The draft caused by my speedy riding, combined with the wind, creates so much noise that I have to jack up the volume, making me deaf by the time I get home.

-I witnessed what fluctuations in temperature can do to a smooth stretch of road. It renders in into a wavy, crumbling strip of asphalt. Makes you wonder how much time and effort really goes into repaving our roads.

Sunday's ride was a bonus ride, since I originally had no plans to get out, but I managed to wrangle some time on account of the glorious weather. And I wasn't the only one thinking of riding. I saw a good number of other cyclists on the road, and briefly ran into including Rob, Dave and Trish. They were coming back from riding to Carp...a loop I hope to do in the near future. Only downside was that I completely forgot to bring the camera along with me, but there'll be plenty more opportunities, as I'm ready to welcome spring and pack up the trainer.