Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Out and back

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling like I got run over by a truck...*probably* had something to do with the ride from the day before. It wasn't crazy humid out in the morning (for a change), so I got out for a spin at Kanata Lakes. Sadly, it was the first time this year that I've ridden there, and I was greeted by some surprises:

 This is on the trail from Goulbourn Forced Side Road. A little fence hopping got me closer to the trails.

This is what the trailhead looks like now...orange fencing and a wooden stake.

I had a pretty awesome ride, doing an out and back of Outback. Despite just my first time this year at Kanata Lakes, I was riding pretty smooth with just a few dabs here and there. Outback is my favourite trail to ride...it challenges me every time I ride it and is a ton of fun. Some of my confidence on the trail was inspired in part by my new front tire, a Bontrager XDX. But the best part of this thing was the size of it....2.4 inches of wide tractor tire goodness.

Bontrager XDX tubeless.

 That's right, 2.4 inches of wide ass rubber goodness.

 Crappy picture intended to: a) demonstrate the sheer girth of this tire (failed) and b) demonstrate the tread pattern (failed). I guess I could have cropped the pic to better highlight the tread patten, but in the same amount of time I'll create a link to the Bontrager site instead.

It's hard to give a fair review of this tire after just one ride, especially considering it was bone dry out. Here's what it did well:
-roll over ANYTHING in it's path
-grip through corners
-inspire confidence

What it did not do well:
-track well at slow speed...the tire would pick its own path off rocks and roots.

I had it pumped up to around 24psi, and I feel that it could have been a touch lower to take advantage of its size. On another note, I have used 2.2 inch versions of this tire, front and rear, but wasn't crazy about it as a rear tire. It didn't grip as well as other tires on slick rocky sections. I've currently got a Kenda Nevegal 2.1 on the rear right now, which seems to handle all situations like a champ.

And before I sign off, one last pic...

The tour might be over now, but I've got my own little podium girl.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Century

Today, I put in some monster mileage and intensity all rolled into one. With a week to go until Wilderness 101, I needed desperately to get in some riding, so I figured, why not try and simulate what's gonna go down next weekend. I accomplished this first by doing the Cyclelogik ride out to Carp. Almost 85km at an average speed of 36.9 km/hr...yeah, that'll cause some pain.
After that bit of suffering, I went out and tacked on a loop of the park. It was a struggle after such a hard group ride, but I reasoned that I would probably be in the same condition at some point in next Saturday's race.
After all was said and done, here's what I ended up with:

A century in under 5 hours.

I deserved this after today's riding. A "Dagwood" club with a side of poutine. That's 4 slices of rye with a ton of deli meat and cheese. And don't forget the beer!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Substance Projects Marathon #2

Leading up to last weekend, I was a "maybe yes, maybe no" for racing.....ambiguous and undecided. My reason for not racing was as follows: Wilderness 101 is 2 weeks away, and with a lack of riding in the last 5 weeks or so, I needed to maximize my riding on the weekend. If I raced on Sunday, I wouldn't be riding on Saturday, and maybe not in the days after depending on how spent I was. I could easily get in 8 hours of riding between Saturday and Sunday, getting my mileage up to a respectable amount. My reason for racing was that nothing beats racing for training. Plain and simple. Also, I hadn't raced in a while...I was due for a good kick in the ass. So, racing won over lots of riding.

The nice thing about this race was the proximity to Ottawa...for a change. Made the trip down with Matt and Dave (reppin' for Tall Tree) and our chauffeur Imad, rollin' with the Kunstadt van. His speedy driving got us there with plenty of time to register, get our gear together, and even waste a bit of time.

Fast forward to the race. The start was mad fast (I have Matt to thank for that!). I don't normally try and come out of the gate with the engine firing on all cylinders, but knowing that this was a shorter marathon (52km) with a lot of strong riders, the pace was gonna be high and I had to keep up. Well, I think I used everything I had at the start 'cause the rest of the race was a struggle. I have all the excuses lined up, but I'm not gonna bother. Simply put, I didn't have anything in my legs to put in a strong effort. I also didn't have the mental energy to put in a good ride...there were many times when I said to myself "this sucks!". That had a lot to do with riding through grass. Barely chugging along at 13km/hr though patches of mowed fields is not exactly fun. What singletrack was included in the course was fun, but at times a little slow...too twisty/turny, which killed any momentum. I manged to finish in a little over 3 hours, and although it was racing, it didn't really make for good training.

As far as the course goes, I don't think there are enough trails (the race was held at the J&J/Glenburnie trails) to make a true marathon. The better option, as someone said, would be to make the course shorter but have the riders do 2, 3 or however many laps it takes to make it a good 60km or so, with a lot more of the fun singletrack.

The results amongst our crew were noteworthy, especially for Matt, who picked up the win.

 Matt wimped out and didn't opt do a winner's cannonball into the pool.

 This picture, taken from too far away, is of Trish, who added another first place for the Ottawa crew. She also decided not to cannonball into the pool.

So now, it's 11 days and counting 'till Wilderness 101. I got out tonight to do the A loop, which was a much better ass whupping than the one I got on Sunday. Need some more of that if I'm gonna survive 160km of mountain biking!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Perth and Back

Trying to find ways to fit riding around family time, I was happy with what I accomplished this past Saturday. Our (the fam's) plan was to go to our friend's cottage for the day, just off Big Rideau Lake, outside of Perth. So my plan was to ride to Perth and Sonia would meet me there with the car. We'd then drive the rest of the way to the cottage. In the evening, after a day of swimming and lounging, I did the same thing, but in reverse. From my house to Perth was 70km, which I managed to do in a little over 2 hours. The ride home was a little slower (that happens after a day in the sun), but I managed over 4 hours of riding, along with quality time spent with friends and family. (Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? :P)

A fun day of riding, swimming and lounging.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best ride of the year?

Having not been on the bike much lately, I needed to get some semblance of riding in, so I decided Thursday evening to drive up to the park for a loop. (I would normally ride up, but I figured almost 2.5 hours of riding in this heat might not be the best idea). On the drive up, there were some rain clouds forming, which had me thinking "no, don't rain, please". At the Gamelin parking lot, thunder rumbled as I unloaded my bike from the car..great. Once I got going, the wind was HOWLING, but it was nice and cool, unlike the the furnace-like air we'd been getting. And then, about 10 minutes into my ride, after cresting the Pink Lake hill, it started to rain, just a little at first, and then heavier, then heavier still. It never reached full on downpour status, but it still didn't take long for warm puddles of water to form inside my shoes.
However, the rain was absolutely refreshing, and actually made my ride enjoyable...extremely enjoyable. I was riding well, and just hammering as much as I could. I kept thinking to myself how much fun I was having, riding in the rain, and pushing myself up the climbs as hard as I could. What made this "best ride of the year" was that the rain was unexpected, but it actually made the ride better. It was probably the most fun I've had on a ride this year, or at least a ride on my own. Lets hope for more little pleasant surprises like this one!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mid-Season Resolution...

...I need to ride MORE!!!!

Looking back on June, I only put in about 20 hours on the bike...an average of 5 hours a week. YIKES! How did that happen?!?!?? Well, there were a few rainy weekends, I was battling a stomach inflammation (which isn't completely resolved yet), and some moments where I just plain lacked motivation to ride.

So, with 3 and a half weeks to go until the Wilderness 101, I need to ride...A LOT! Problem now of course is this frikkin' heat. How do I get in enough hours to feel ready for a 160km mountain bike race without melting away in the heat? It's gonna be tough, but it's gotta get done somehow. If it means getting up an hour early to get in a quick ride (like I did this morning), then so be it. AND if it means riding in the heat after work tomorrow, well, I'm ready for it. I'll bring along extra water, to drink and to pour on myself. Hopefully I don't chicken out at the last minute!