Friday, June 25, 2010

Lake Placid Weekend...non race stuff.

Now that I've gotten the race details out of the way, just a quick blurb and some pics about the rest of our trip this past weekend to Lake Placid. It was my first visit to the Adirondacks in almost 15 years...the last time was a snowboard trip to Whiteface mountain back when I was in University (holy crap! has it been THAT long?!?!?).  Before leaving, there were two things people made a point of noting, 1) the shoulders on the roads are really wide, and 2) drivers are more respectful of cyclists compared to Ottawa/Gatineau.

Huh? What's that in the distance? A mountain? None of those around Ottawa.

The pics I've included give you a good idea of what the shoulders are like, and yes, the drivers are very courteous. 

In a couple of weeks or so, there's an Ironman triathlon taking place in Lake Placid (I can't swim for the life of me, so you'll never catch me doing a tri), and there were some training camps taking place while we were there. As a result, the roads were SWARMING with tri geeks on tricked out bikes.

You get a good idea of the shoulder width from this pic. These were just a couple of literally HUNDREDS of people out training for the Ironman.

Cool shot by Sonia.

Last Sunday was also my first father's day. And I couldn't think of a better way to spend it than to go for a bike ride with the fam in the Adirondacks.

About to set off with Lil' D in the trailer.

Another view of the massive shoulders. This one in particular was as wide as the driving lane for cars.

Outside a bike friendly bakery.

What cracked me up about this was the sign in the window that read "Closed for the day". I think it's been closed for just a *bit* more than a day.

When I first read this sign, I thought "Awesome, a Beer-Dunkin Booth!" But then I realized it probably reads Beer, Dunkin Booth. Either way, they had to make a point of saying that the Independence Day celebration will definitely include BEER!

Lil' D havin' fun in Mirror Lake.

After last weekend, I highly recommend a trip down to the Adirondacks. Great roads for biking, XC and downhill mountain biking at Whiteface mountain, tons of hiking trails, and just being outside the hustle and bustle of the city.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lake Placid Weekend...Race recap.

Lemme just start by saying that this past weekend's race (Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race) was definitely one of the HARDEST things I've done on a bike. Just over 8 miles (that's about 13km for us metric folk) at an average grade of 8% (gaining 3500ft in altitude) makes for one frickin' tough ride. Having never done a climb of that length I didn't know what to expect, and didn't really have any way to prepare either.

 Pre-race with my good luck charm.

The race started at 5:30 in the evening, and despite being cloudy out, it was hot and muggy. I was in the third wave to be sent off, comprising 30-39 men. I recognized Aaron Fillion in my wave and thought "Chalk up another win for Aaron." The pace was pretty high off the start, which was no surprise given the riders in our wave. I managed to work my way into the lead group...about 6 or 7 guys, but considering that the road went straight up from the get-go, I couldn't hold on for too long, got passed by 3 or 4 riders, then settled into an uncomfortable pace.

The road was pretty straight, with slight curves in it, and it felt as though it kept rising at a consistent pitch....never any relief. A couple times it levelled off for a few hundred metres, but it was hardly enough to provide any kind of recovery. I was in my smallest gear (34x25) from early on, and it stayed that way for most of the race. Before leaving for the weekend, I replaced my 11-23 with my old 12-25, and although it was only a small difference, I'm glad I made the switch. Ocasionally I would shift up about 3 gears and stand for a bit, just to switch things up a bit.

Cue sheet on my stem. Reading from bottom to top, first column is mile, second is km's and third is % grade. The numbers are loosely based on the chart below. The cue sheet proved to be completely USELESS. Seriously, when you're suffering, any change in the grade is not really noticeable.

(click the pic above for larger view)

About halfway up the climb, the summit came into view, and I just remember thinking how FAR AWAY it looked from where I was. It was kind of discouraging, actually. Another thing that made the going tough at times was the wind. Along the road, there were some clearings where you could stop to check out the view (which wasn't happening). On these sections, the wind gusted across the road, making things tough. Closer to the top, there was one switchback, and for the first time, I started to pick up speed, since the road was pretty flat at this point. I continued to pick up speed and actually shifted into my large ring for a bit!

View of the course from the summit.

The summit.

Approaching the finish, I was SUFFERING, but tons of people were lining the road, cheering everyone on. There was even a bagpiper offering, um, inspiration (to get out of earshot!). It was a pretty cool atmosphere, and it made me feel like I was at the finish of a mountaintop stage in the Tour or Giro.

 To the right you can see the people lined up and cheering the riders as they came upon the finish.

 Here I am hoping I don't need to be rescued by Wilmington's finest.

Completely spent after finishing.

Overall, this was a really cool, unique experience, and definitely something that I would do again. Not sure how I finished relative to the rest of the field, but my time was about 58 minutes...certainly something I think I can improve on in the future.

This dude rocked a hybrid with no front brake and an old-school styrofoam helmet. Hardcore!

Alison and Dave. I had to get out of my jersey 'cause it was soaked and I didn't pack any warm clothes for the top. Alison and Dave were eating greasy food and downing a pint of beer hours before this pic was taken...rock stars! On another note, Alison has ridden in the Alps, and said this was probably harder due to the lack of switchbacks which actually give you a chance to recover.

The results are can be found here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Because Lance says it's cool....

I came across the link for this video on where they mentioned that Lance tweeted that "This is badass". He's right though, it is. Enjoy.

(If you follow the link or watch it directly on youtube, it plays in widescreen mode, which it doesn't seem to do here. oops)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Substance Projects Ontario Marathon #1

First off, a brief but not so heartfelt apology for the lack of pictures...I was in a bit of a zombie state for a good part of Sunday, the taking pics for the blog completely slipped my mind. So if you were hoping for some pretty pics to look at rather than read my ranting, too bad, so sad.

Sunday marked my first mountain bike race of the year, and only my second time even RIDING my mountain bike this year. So, I decided why not make it a true marathon of a day and wake up before 5am, pick up Mike, and then drive to Ganaraska forest, race for over 4 hours, and then drive all the way back home?

On the drive up we saw:
 - a moose on the side of the road, who decided to cross the road in front of us as we got ready to pass him
- a hawk on the side of the road...not exactly sure what it was doing, though
- a sign on the door at Coffee Time that said "Day old doughnuts. $6 for 70". Man, who needs 70 day old doughnuts?

As far the race went, I got off to a slow start (as per usual), and for the first while, had about 6 guys in my sights ahead of me...Yellow kit guy, Mike, Singlespeed Sound Solutions guy, helmet cam guy, red jersey guy and Northern Cycles guy. After some time, the first 3 got away from me, I dropped helmet cam guy, and the last two were right in front of me. On any downhill section, Northern Cycles guy would would scream ahead, but then red jersey guy and I would catch him again on any climbs. The problem though, is that red jersey guy was behind Northern Cycles guy, and couldn't hold his wheel on the downhills, and as a result, was slowing me down a bit, too. After a feed zone, they were both gone while I stopped to top off my bottles. Some time later, I was passed by helmet cam guy (huh???) and then by a singlespeeder, which made me think CRAP, I'm not doing so hot. I decided then to just take it easy for 10 minutes and recover for a bit. This worked out well for me, and I started to ride a bit stronger and smarter. I started to feel good around 2, 2 and a half hours, except for my right hamstring trying to cramp up on me. I then reeled in Sound Solutions guy, then red jersey guy, and even yellow kit guy! Wicked! Time to put the pedal to the metal!! I'm feeling good! But where is everybody? I'm riding fast and not catching anyone! Screw it, just take it easy to finish.

Overall, a great race with TONNES of singletrack, lots of fun trails, a well marked course, and good organization.

Considering that this was only my second time mountain biking this year, AND I have put in A LOT less mileage than last year, I can't be too disappointed with my result...14th overall out of 45 finishers (53 starters), 7th overall in the 40 under category (out of 10 finishers).

Now it's time to rest up and gear up for the Whiteface mountain hillclimb this Saturday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blah of a weekend

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted anything here in bloggy land, mainly 'cause most of my riding has been "the usual" type stuff....Cyclelogik ride Saturday mornings, A or B loop Tuesday nights, commuting to work, a couple of family outings, and not much else.

Well, this past Saturday, I figured I needed to get in some mileage on my mountain bike, since A) I haven't been on it yet this year (yes, I hang my head in shame) and B) I'm registered for my first race of the year on Sunday. I wanted to get in a good 3.5 to 4 hours riding up in the park, doing the usual trail 15 to 1, ride to Fortune and play around on the trails there etc..

Before heading out the door, wifey gave me the cell phone to take..."just in case" (bet you can see where this is going). The ride was going just as expected...getting the workout that I wanted. Then, over an hour into the ride, I was barrelling down Trail 1 towards Old Chelsea, going over that one super rocky downhill section, when my rear end (the bike, not my ass!) started to feel strange. I thought something was up with my suspension. I bounced around a bit and it felt ok, but then I felt it...the back tire was losing air. CRAP! I think I was more in disbelief, since I've ridden tubeless for YEARS and never suffered a flat. I couldn't find the leak, but I threw a tube in there anyway. Before getting going, the front felt a *little* squishy. Whatever, I'll just top off the air and make my ride a bit shorter. So coming back on Trail 15, which has a lot of downhill sections, I felt the front bottom out on something, and then VERY quickly, the front went flat. CRAP! Double flat and nothing to fix it! This of course is where the cell phone came into play. Called wifey and asked her to come pick me up. An hour later, after getting rained on, reading the interpretive signs at Pink Lake and killing  10 horse flies (or deer flies....I never know the difference), the family showed up to rescue my sorry ass. Once home, I discovered that my front tire had not just one, but TWO punctures. I didn't investigate the rear though, I just said screw it and left the tube in there.

Now there's a moral to this story. No, it's not carry two tubes with you (which seems rather obvious at this point). It's that when your mountain bike has not been ridden in over 8 months (yes, it's been THAT long), tire sealant WILL dry up and NEEDS to be TOPPED UP!!! (stupid me).

One good thing did come out of the ride...I discovered a new riding drink that agrees with me.

Not too sweet, doesn't leave a pasty feeling in your mouth, and the great combo of blueberry and pomegranate. On top of that, one serving has almost 500mg of sodium, perfect for those days when you can scrape the salt off your face.
One canister is $22 and has approx. 35 servings.