Monday, August 16, 2010

Double Double (attempt)

My plan for this past Saturday was to ride a double double. That does not have anything to do with this:

 or this,


I have no friggin' idea what this is supposed to be, or achieve.

or even this (go ahead and google "double double"...some pretty funny stuff there):

No, double double for me meant go out on the Cyclelogik ride, but cut out early to get in two hours of riding. Once home, load up the mountain bike and head to Kanata Lakes for two hours there. Only problem is that the group ride was crazy, HARD fast! Average speed for 2 hours of riding was 36.7km/hr. On top of that, I  spent some time riding at the front. So when the time came for me to head home, I thought "there's no WAY I'm going mountain biking after this...I'm too spent!" I stuck it out for the rest of the ride and then struggled home against the wind. But, I took satisfaction in knowing that I rode the snot out of my legs (whatever the hell that means).

Friday, August 13, 2010


Randomness from the last week:

Started the Cyclelogik ride and got two, yes TWO flats!
A random rider passing by gave me a tube so I wouldn't have to use patches. (On a side note, no one stops for mechanicals on the Cyclelogik ride).
Arrived home in a pissy mood 'cause I only ended up getting 85 minutes of garbage riding.

Rode up to Mt. Cascades to meet the fam for an afternoon at the water park.
Decided that waving to cyclists in the opposite direction is a waste of trying to be one waved back! Oh, wait, I did get one wave, but that was from someone I know, so that doesn't count.
Ran into Rodd, Ariel and Chris outside of Wakefield. You might think "what are the chances?", but in reality, the chances are actually pretty good.
At the Wakefield spring, I signed a petition to have an environmental assessment done on highway work that could potentially affect the spring. In other words, should the highway work go ahead, there might not be a spring anymore.

Hooked up for the B loop of the park. It was a small group, just 8 of us, but it was still painful. Not doing any intensity for awhile will do that to ya.

Went for a quick ride and tried to get some pics. Had a good ride, as for the pics, well, they're *alright*, I suppose.

This shot was supposed to be of my shadow on the road. Yeah, I wasn't even close, but I kinda like the way it turned out.

This is a shot of a steady climb on Cedarview road. It doesn't look like much of a climb in this pic, but it's just long enough to make hammering up it a good effort.

Train crossing on Twin Elm road. I didn't have enough time to take a good pic...the train was going at a good clip and it was only 4 cars long, but I felt obliged to get a pic for the sake of the blog. And um, yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wildernness 101 report

It's finally up, my report of Wilderness 101. This was gonna be my biggest race of the year...the one that I wanted to be most prepared for and the one I wanted the most to do well in. On Friday, I made the trip down to Pennsylvania with Mad Mountain Mike who handled all driving duties. Some highlights and lowlights from the drive included:

-1/2 hour wait at the border
-road construction slow downs in PA
-Interstate billboard that read: "Ultima II massage; Tractor trailer parking available"
-Sign outside a church in Milton PA: "All male beauty contest"
-Interstate billboard for
-horrible American drivers - Learn how to use the passing lane properly on the Interstates!!
-PA could be best described as green and hilly
-I wanted to make sure that I had eaten enough before the race, so I kept stuffing my face with food on the way down, and all Mike could say way "You're STILL eating?!?!?"

That's right, we're in Amish country.

The best way to describe the race is to break it up in terms of the aid stations.  To give you an idea of all the climbing (and descending), check out the elevation profile (it's 3 pages. It's also in the picture of the number plate above...the red part at the bottom is the elevation profile).

 Porta-potty lineup before the race...40 people deep with 30 minutes to go until the start.

The race was slated to start at 7:00 am, with the rider briefing at 6:45. We could hear the briefing from our campsite, and as the time crept closer to7:00, we decided to make our way to the start. Only thing is that as we pulled up to the start the race had already started! So there I was, right at the very back of the pack, pedaling my ass off to get past a good 200 riders. Luckily, the start was neutralized on an asphalt road so I was able to make up for my poor positioning. After the neutralized start was a long gravel, from here to the first aid station was a bit of a blur, except for me riding with about 10 other riders, and our group eventually swelling to about 20 riders. This meant that we were FLYING along...full on paceline riding on gravel roads, taking downhills at close to 60km/hr (sketchy!!!) We made it to the first aid station in just over an hour, and rolled right through. One of the cool things at the first aid station is that volunteers had FULL water bottles of water and energy drink, handing them to riders as they went by (I got a brand new water bottle this way!).

After aid station 1, there was a bit of climbing which split up our big group. All I remember is two long descents...the trail was doubletrack width, but there was only a skinny little trail cutting its way through the grass. These descents were looooooooooong, but there was no need to touch the brakes, as they were pretty straight, and they were FAST! A quick glance down at my computer showed over 50km/hr...holy crap! There was some flat singletrack with with burly rock gardens (everyone kept talking about the rocks!), and then we came up on aid station 2. A little aside...Before the start of the race, we were given two big ziplock bags with our number on it to be used as drop bags which would be taken to aid stations of our choosing. My first drop was at aid station 2. About 50 metres before the aid station, volunteers were calling out rider number plates so that other volunteers could pick out your drop bag and have it ready for you as you pulled up. So as I pulled up, I had a volunteer asking me what I wanted, what I needed, filling up my water bottles for was awesome! On top of that, my rear derailleur had come loose, and there were techs at the aid station ready to help out. They even had extra tubes and CO2 for those that needed it....amazing!

People who had done the 101 before kept talking about "the climb after aid station 2". If you look at the profile, it's one big spike. To be honest, I didn't find it that bad. Yeah, it was long, but I just got into a steady rhythm and maintained it, trying not to go into a "this is painful" zone. What was tough was the descent. Crazy, rocky burly singletrack that had me squeezing the crap out of my brakes, my triceps screeming at me, and my fingers wanting to give up and let go of the handle bar. It was the first time ever that I was wishing for a downhill to be was THAT long and rough!

Another comment I heard from a lot of riders was that the section from aid #2 to aid #4 was the toughest part of the course, but if anything, the stretch from 3 to 4 was like being kicked in the nuts when you're writhing in pain from being nailed with a good ribshot. The climb after aid station 3 was BRUTAL! At this point, the course had covered 100km, and being faced with a slow, rocky, rooty uphill was discouraging. It was the first time this year I had to use my granny ring (I HATE using my granny) and at one point I got off and started walking 'cause I was going WAY too slow pedaling. This at least gave my legs a bit of a break and I felt better once I was back on my bike. This of course was followed by two more crazy ass my-arms-are-gonna-fall-off rocky descents that made me want the descent to be over! Oh yeah, there was some fun singletrack in there, too!

Right after aid #4 was yet another long climb...a slog that reduced me to walking again. Followed by some singletrack and a nice doubletrack downhill. A stop at aid #5 for some coke, and it was the home stretch. There were some stretches of rail trail that included old railway tunnels, and let me tell you... biking in broad daylight and then entering a pitch black tunnel messes with you. I entered the tunnel, and then came to a screaming stop 'cause I had ZERO sense of perception. After about 10 seconds, I could see the light at the other end but still couldn't tell what was in front of me. I ended up walking through the tunnel until there was enough light to see what I was doing. Once through the tunnel, one last climb, one last rocky section and ANOTHER tunnel, I was back at Coburn park, 8 hours, 28 minutes and 101 miles later. Results are up on cyclingnews. In my field I was 48th out of 184 riders, and something like 62nd out of roughly 270 finishers.

Mike, all smiles despite having 4, that's right, FOUR flats!!

So overall, what did I think. First off, this was by far, my best race of the year. I had been dissapointed with my racing so far this year, but I finally felt good about a race, felt good during the race, AND had fun. For a race that was 160km, it was FAST. There were LOTS of gravel road sections, which made the course fast. I think there was just the right amount of singletrack, especially considering it was rocky technical trails. Threre were some fun flowy sections thrown in the mix, too. Given the length of the course, I think you have to limit the amount of singletrack, or else the race would take forever to complete.
Perhaps the best part of this race were the aid stations. The volunteers were awesome...they made it feel like I had my own support crew taking care of things for me. (see above)
My goal for the race was 9 hours, so being able to beat that by 1/2 hour was a huge bonus.

Part of the reason why I rode well: brand new merino socks that didn't match my kit! I've developed a superstition about "lucky race socks".

As I rolled through the finish, I collected by prize, and then filled it up....emptied it, then filled it up....emptied it, then filled it get the picture. The kegs were flowin' and I had carbs to replace!!!

Would I do this race again....yes. Do I want to try some other 100 milers....hell yeah! So I think I covered everything. If I think of anything else important to mention you'll hear it.