Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011

About to embark into the cold
Full speed into a plain white wall

Well, this month illustrated the glorious see-saw weather we can get in Calgary fall/winters.
Not complaining; every day of snow or wind storm was was succeeded with above an seasonal day!
I managed to best my October numbers in all 3 disciplines!

Every time I resigned myself that my dry-road commuting days were done for the year and I should prepare myself to ride indoors, everything thawed out again!
As for the swimming, I'm starting to feel more comfortable, doing as much as 4 straight pool lengths without a break.
Watched a great video of a world class swimmer, Grant Hacket doing freestyle that helped me focus on my glide and propulsion.

I've also begun doing some strength workout incorporating my former Crossfit exercises with bike sprints! Was sore for 3 days afterwards...

On the run-front, I've been doing some intervals with guys from work, and have registered for a 5k charity run on Dec. 16th, the Angus Ambler.

Finally, probably the most exciting development this month for my training was the acquisition of a Quarq CinQo Power Meter!
Took me months of deliberation and research, going with it's extensibility to use with my Road, Time Trial and Cross bikes, as well as it's accuracy and reliability (and availability - thus eliminating the Garmin Vector.)
I took it for my first ride on the trainer yesterday to perform an early winter FTP test.
Results were less than flattering and definitely lower than late August when I did my LT test with Jack.
Good motivation though!

A summary of my results this month:
  • Swim
    • 7 workouts
    • 4 kms
    • 3 hours
  • Bike
    • 27 workouts, including 3 indoor
    • 592 kms
    • 23 hours
  • Run
    • 8 workouts
    • 60 kms
    • 5 hours

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 2011

Terry Fox run, 4 kms
has taken it's toll!
Temperatures have dropped, and I didn't make it to all the cross races I had hoped to this month. Mostly this was due to timing and other scheduling complications, especially this past weekend when I officially DNS'd my first race. Really bummed about it, sounds like it was quite a race too. Definitely will make a point to hit up at least 3 next fall.

Poor spelling, but very thoughtful boy
ABA race calendar is officially over for 2011. Not sure what will be next for me, perhaps a triathlon in Houston in the late spring, or even a Mountain XC race, if I manage to pick up a mountain bike over the winter.

Till then, I'll keep commuting until I no longer enjoy it; probably when it gets REALLY cold and icy out. I'll put my studded tires on first and try to hang on as long as I can.
Also I'll keep running and swimming over the winter, and try to get an established indoor training schedule in place by the New Year, although not quite up for that yet.

  • Duration - 3.5 hrs
  • Distance - 41 km

  • Duration - 20 hrs
  • Distance - 530 km

  • Duration - 104 mins
  • Distance - not far

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blow Street Supercross

Well, finally got my first cross race under my belt.
Had been curious about since before I got my first road bike, and finally got the guts to actually give it a try.
Most guys I've talked to that have raced both road and cross have preferred cross, so I wanted to find out why.

For the last month I've taken the Devinci on the commute and have tried my best to simulate race conditions.
Things like hitting the steep dirt hills at speed, off-road trails in fishcreek and lynnwood, mounting/dismounting while rolling.
No idea if that would be sufficient, if the bike would hold up, if I could handle all the sharp cornering.

One thing I instantly loved about the sport is it's convenience... race location is 30 minutes from my house, and duration of the race was under 40 minutes.
The beauty of such a short race is you have way less concern about nutrition than with the longer road races.
Woke up, had a bowl of cereal and a cooked egg, and off I went.

Race was in a park behind Brentwood Shopping centre. Course was 2km in distance, including a couple of wooden barricades and a gravel pit (playground play pit!)
Saw some familiar faces at the start which was comforting, and got about a lap and a half of warmup in to get a feel for the course.
There were many sharp turns and a couple of steep short hills.

About 50 guys lined up at the start and I did not stress about placing somewhere in the middle of the pack. Didn't want to get run over and have guys cursing at the noob...
Start was a fast 200m on a bike path, followed by a tangle of sharp turns where guys were stalling, falling, and unclipping. You could definitely tell who were the noobs out there, but I was doing alright.
At one point near the end of the first lap there was a 270 degree turn around a tree and with all the leaves covering the ground, I didn't notice the roots protruding... back wheel jumped up a bit and slipped right out from under me. First wipeout!
Didn't really hurt (although afterwards I noticed a nice big scratch on my upper leg), and my chain had dropped. It corrected as I mounted back on and start pedalling.

Managed to pass one or two guys on every lap, but as advertised, the final placement is really decided in the first minute of the race.
After 4 laps the bell rang and I spent the final lap at a pretty high pace trying to reel in a few more people.
There was a TCR guy just in front nearing the finish line and I made a late surge to pass. It was pretty close but I doubt they would've pulled out the photo finish to determine ~30th position... No idea where I actually finished, but honestly I don't really care. I held my own, didn't get lapped, finished strong, but most importantly, really enjoyed myself.

I'll update once I find out my actual placing, or if I find any race photos.

EDIT:  Race results here (I ended up 35/64 - goes to show how many guys there were with such a wide range of skill)

*Found some great pictures such as the one included in this post here

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 2011

Summer seems to have come to a sudden end this month. Temperatures this week have dipped below freezing overnight. Cold winds are blowing in. Leaves abandoning their rooted homes. Mornings are pitch black. The s-word has been heard muttering around the house and on local news shows. Snow, that is. Although usually followed shortly thereafter with the more infamous s-word.

Bring on cyclocross season! While I have been able to get in a few good heard workouts on the road bike still, including recently some hill repeats up Mackenzie Lake golf course road with Darryl, the month has seen me fall-erize the Devinci, putting the big knobbies on it, lights on both sides, and a helmet light.
It's actually kind of fun, knowing there is no 100km race for which I must maintain peak performance and "racing weight".
I've also started to increase my running over the course of the month, and am getting in some laps in the pool while Kieran is taking his Saturday classes. I recently bought a cadence sensor too, which has been very interesting to see where my RPMs are at these days. I remember starting out last year and having everyone I ride with comment about how big a gear I pushed and how low my cadence was. Been trying to get that up, and what I've seen is that by now my average seems to be high 80's, low 90's. I'm quite happy about that, but I will try to increase that 5% by next season.

Bit of a set back mid-month with a slight cold + lack of sleep, but otherwise pretty consistent saddle time for this time of year.
Also, missed out on the first two weekend Cross races this weekend due to my brakes being ceased up.
Ended up phoning and visiting 4 bike stores before finally finding 2 sets of cantilever brakes for sale, and put those on today.

Highlights of the month were doing the Terry Fox run with Kieran (4 km around his school, over and over, jumping over and dodging kids), and climbing a crazy steep dirt trail hill at the North end of the Mac Lake Golf Course. Garmin Training Center lists it as 29% grade for about 50 meters!  I had tried it once last year and stalled half-way up. This year, I made it on my first attempt!
(I did fail the next day... when I put my weight on the back to keep the torque going up the hill, the front tire would come off the ground and veer off the trail).
 Here is the Garmin report:


  • Bike: 31.25 hrs, 860 kms
  • Run: 5hrs, 57 kms
  • Swim: 25 mins, 400m

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 2011

Talk about a short race season! More race reports in this month than the rest of the year combined. Pretty sad, actually.
This year I've decided that instead of moping that the season is over and having to wait 10 months to race again, I'm going to do a cross race or two.
I've begun practicing my mount/dismount; trying to get comfortable doing that at speed is tough! First race is October first. I'll add it to my target races when the date gets closer and my confidence in attending grows.
For now, the Devinci needs some TLC though... squeals like a pig when I apply any torque to it. Definitely doesn't help my otherwise ninja-like stealth in the daily "Cat 6" race on the bike path.

Lastly, I met with a cycling coach today, Jack VanDyk. Found him through other racers and he offers a fitness/power test. I had that done and man it was hard work! Doesn't help that I slept about 2.5 hours last night. Also doesn't help that I can't seem to hold sustained high power for as long as I want!
Will get the results in a couple days to be able to evaluate where I'm currently at, where I think I can get to, and how I can get there.

Some stats for August:

  • Running: twice only... for 18 kms. (didn't want to run during peak race season, and have had lunch appointments almost every day in the last week.)
  • Cycling: 40 workouts for 1,086 kms, including 5 races.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alberta Provincial Road Race

Sunday, August 21st

80 kms

Well, if waking up at 5:30 on a Sunday then driving nearly 3 hours to Magrath
(past Lethbridge) wasn't enough fun, the 80 km straight out and back through crosswinds, sweltering heat,
and a category 4 deciding KOM made sure we got our money's worth.

The race started out fairly brisk, with a couple of jittery riders jostling for a line in shelter.
The first 20 km have a slight incline, to the base of KOM.
I had made my way to about top 8th before a large TCR gang went on the attack.
In the confusion, I lost both Andrew Paul and Derek Jobson, whom I was hoping to tail up the climb.

About halfway up the hill and I'm drifting between stragglers, trying to get to the front guys.

All I tell myself if this is for my entire season... keep going.
I'm totally redlining, HR peaking at 187! Previous max was 185.
I get to the top along with Darrel from TCR, and just ahead if a Bicisport guy.
He's only about 200m ahead but we are all gassed.
Ahead of Bici are two more stragglers, then the lead group of 3 (turns out its Darcy and Derrek).

I know if I can reach that Bici before he reaches the next, we can catch them all.

Unfortunately, Bici is thinking the same ahead of him.
Not only that, Andrew Paul I see has joined him, now they are 3.
Andrew has been riding very strong lately so I know this hurts my chances.
The 2nd 20km feature a bunch of rollers, and still serious cross/head wind.
I am suffering on the rollers and Darrell is doing a lot to drag me up them.
WHen we hit a false flat I pull, and we are gaining on them.
I just can't get close enough to make that sprint. Keep waiting for a section of road flat enough to do it.
It never comes... damn rollers.
Then the two groups of 3 join and now we are two against 6. Not looking good.
As we reach the turnaround, I count 50 seconds the gap between the first man in the break and myself.
Behind us are other pairs, just as close.

We fly through the 2nd half, team-time-trialing at its best!
But the lead group works well to keep themselves motivated,
while Darrel and I begin to waiver, feed, and I begin suffering from some leg cramps.
Also I've now run out of water and accellerade, and eaten 2 gels and a honey
stinger waffle.
My back is sore, fighting cramps in my legs. 10 km to go and not only is there nobody in front of us,
I see a group behind us now.
Put my ill feelings aside and push the pace again.
I'm not worrying about saving any energy to outsprint Darrell at this point, just don't wanna get caught.

Few km to the finish and we've restored the gap behind us.
We turn into the final stretch, and at the last little climb to the finish I get up
and spend the absolute last ounce of energy to sprint to the line.

I look back after crossing and don't see my TCR friend. I presume he didn't really contest the sprint at some point.
Well, came in 7th. Few more ABA points, but not the 3rd place I needed to upgrade this year.

For what its worth, I did suffer more in this race than probably any other.
Average HR for the race was 89%!

Also notable that Mike came in 5th in cat 4 race. Held on to the break until the final few kms.

Great work by a lot of Speed Theory folks today, as you can read in Darcy's post.

Garmin report

Sunday, August 7, 2011

JayLap Road Race

Sunday, August 7th

Bergen Hills, Alberta
75 kms (3 laps of ~25km), including several rolling hills, and one major hill that ends 500m from the finish.

Well, another long-ass drive to a remote village in Alberta.
Mike and I both contemplating why we put ourselves through this. I guess that's what you get after 2 races in one day.

Well, we start with a nice leisurely pace as predicted; some tired legs in the group.
Speed Theory gang discussed having a breakaway attempt early on and having the rest of the team protect it. And that's exactly what happened. Derrick (don't know the last name, but was riding a sweet S5), Andrew Paul (Bike Bros), and another rider got away less than half-way through the first lap, and ST was making no attempts to reel them in.
It was very windy and I was confident they would not last.

Well, lap 1 came and went, and so did lap 2. Niklas was taking several pulls at front, as well as ST, but we weren't really gaining on the break.
I did notice one of them pop off way up ahead.

Then Tom came by and said they were planning to strike another attach on the 2nd last turn, and if I felt good should I join them.
Well, I did as I'd been sitting pretty in the back for the majority of the race.
I didn't quite make it before the turn and then spent a lot of energy trying to catch and then hang on. Ian Watts was living up to his last name and soon popped me off.
Just as I was contemplating retirement, another chase group caught up to me.
It contained Tom Kenny, Darcy G, another ST rider, TCR, and one other older gentleman in a grey jersey.
That's all I needed. A short respite, and I was back pulling. Gaining on chase 1.
Quick rest then back to the front.
Almost caught the 6 in chase 1 right at the bottom of the last big hill when they attacked each other.
It was headwind and steep grade, and my ABA point dreams came to an end.
At this point I was racing for 10th I think.
Get to the top of the hill and there's only me, grey guy, and the big ST guy that first lead the chase 2 to me.
He looked like a strong guy, and if he made it up the hill, he could probably do a good sprint.

Having pre-rode this part beforehand, I knew it was a long way to the finish in that headwind, so I tucked in behind grey dude until 50m past the big green tree, or 200m from the finish.
ST was on my back but I spun around grey dude and sprinted to glory. That is if you consider 9th place glorius...

Not a bad race overall. I felt good and only when faced with repeated and unrelenting attack did I fall.
Guess I should have been closer to the action when it happened... again!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

JayLap Criterium

Saturday, August 6th (still...)

After getting home around 1 and wolfing down some grub, I did manage to lay down for about 45 mins for a power snooze. That really helped!
I got up feeling refreshed, and combined with my iced coffee on the way to downtown, I was feeling pretty pumped.
Had plenty of time to get ready, do about 10 minutes on the trainer, followed by 15 minutes of pre-riding the course.
Legs were feeling pretty relaxed. Course is so nice too, very smooth roads and wide turns.
Same as last year, two block rectangle loop in front of the Shaw building downtown.

Fairly large pack of cat 5's, maybe 30-35 guys. Bit of a headwind on the backside, which would serve to keep the group together the entire race.

The pace was quite slow. I had no trouble keeping in the pack, and I'm sure most would agree.
Nobody attacked. It must have been quite boring to watch. I was content sitting at the very back of the pack the whole time too! Learned that lesson from last year.
For the one and only prime point, I found myself 4th wheel going into the 2nd last turn. Callum and a Niklas guy were up front chatting. Nobody was going quite yet.
Final turn those two went for it, and my plan was get on Callums wheel, but in the turn I got boxed out by the 3rd wheel guy. Made a brief attempt to bridge but the sprint was out of my reach. Callum took it.

We still had 10 laps to go or so and I settled back to the back.
I was still feeling good and the race intensity never really picked up. One lap to go and I start making my way up. Get to about 15th place going into the 2nd last turn, and give'r...
I passed a lot of guys, but saw Callum take the win right ahead of me.
I ended up 6th place, earning another 6 upgrade points.

I gotta say, that might have been the easiest points I ever earned!

Lessons learned:
For this particular crit, I should have started moving up a little sooner.
I had marked Callum but somehow lost sight of him near the end. Turns out he woulda been the right guy to follow.

Here is my total point breakdown so far:

Crit: 10
RR: 6
Total: 16

I need 30 to upgrade to Cat 4, by the end of this year, and there's only 2 more road races left :-(

Oh well. Off for now. Bergen Hills tomorrow.

JayLap ITT

Saturday, August 6th

40km Time Trial, out and back, directly South to North then back to South.
It was a chilly, windy morning. Wind readings in Calgary were:

11:00 Sunny NNW 17
10:00 Sunny N 32
9:00 Mostly Cloudy N 35 gust 52

And I can only presume this would more intensified in Acme, AB.
My start time was around 9:30! (This will play into effect later).

Mike picked up me, then Darryl, and after arguing with the lady at Timmies and finding the route with the most construction possible, we arrived in Acme. After pinning new race numbers on and getting dressed, I had maybe 10-15 minutes to warm up. Wouldn't you know it, start times were delayed 5 minutes, so I probably spent more time waiting at the start then I did actually warming up!

Anyway, after a healthy push off from Scott (who was volunteering at the start), off I went.
I knew my 1 min man was a very fast ITTer and would not likely catch him.
I knew the guy behind me wasn't the strongest, and the guy 2 minutes behind me, Ian DeWolfe was a fast ITTer, AND in my omnium race. Also knew that Andrew Paul, also in omnium, was only 4 minutes back.

Nonetheless, I decided to listen to the theory and start the race in a comfortable pace. With the gusty headwind and general incline the whole first half, this resulted in some pretty slow speeds.
I did manage to pass a couple guys, which I think were my 3 min and 6 min men. And I also got passed by Ian D around km 15, but kept in close till the turnaround point.

I felt really good at the half, unlike last year, and the tailwind was still very strong.
I managed some very fast splits, but noticed around km 30 the wind had started dying down. Doh!
Anyway, never did catch Ian, but nobody else passed me there after either.

Finished with a time around 1:07:30 on my Garmin, which is about a minute slower than last year.
It certainly wasn't this windy though. Mike was also a minute or two slower than last year.
No results yet, but off to the Crit in about an hour!

Turns out, that performance earned me a disappointing 14th...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tour De Bowness - Criterium

Monday, August 1st

Well, I spent my rest day sun bathing, swimming, canoeing, and otherwise enjoying Calgary summer at it's finest.
Maybe not the best way to get fired up for what was sure to be a high-paced assault by the omnium contenders...

I did sleep mostly unimpeded by my cold which has now taken a thick phlegmy form (thx for sharing, I know!)
Had a nice omelette prepared by Bev, and off we went - yes the whole family came along finally. A bit stressful at first but I am so glad they came.

Watched the end of the U17 race and then had about 25 minutes of open course to warm up on, so I didn't really need the trainer afterall.
Did about 7 or 8 laps, alternating some low, med, and high intensity.
Felt good, but not exactly peppy. Maybe on account of not having a drop of coffee this morning, which is probably the first time in a year that I can say that!

Wrapped up my warm up when they said 5 minutes left, positioned perfectly at the left-center front, next to the top 2 in the omnium, Jordan B and Anthony Killick. The start went off unexpectedly without a count down, and by the time I got my right foot clipped in those guys were into the first corner, and I was already about 10th.
The pace was as fast as I expected, but I was feeling alright. I sensed we were dropping guys as I soon would see them as we passed them.
I kept the leaders in sight, but due to the aggressive nature of those corners, there wasn't much one could do to advance. Just had to chip away at it. Every lap or two try to gain a position, either on the long sprint, or the small climb right after. Then hold your line as guys converge into one or two lines.
I did not once consider contesting a prime for this race as I just wasn't feeling aggressive enough to bolt ahead from far out.
I did find my rhythm in the 2nd half of the 20-lap circuit though. Was going into the last turn with more speed and holding a line better suited to gain some draft from someone ahead of me killing themselves to catch the wheel in front.
By the last few laps I had gained some ground, but I knew going in that one cannot surpass that many people after the final turn. You could maybe pass one or two, and hopefully not get passed by any. So to win it, you'd have to be top 3 going into the turn, and with lots of gas in the tank, as it was a 200m dash to the line with a headwind today!
Needless to say, I was not in that top 3, but I wasn't too far off, maybe 10th.
I passed one right in the turn, and had my eye on another couple guys in front of me. Caught one of them just as Callum (C4) passed me; same way Mike passed my last year in this race! Arg! Got to find a way to explode better for those final sprints!!

Ended up 9th out of 40 on the start list. Not too disappointed with that actually. Because of this being the Provincial Crit, 9th actually earned me a whopping 2 more upgrade points!

Speaking of exploding sprints, the cat 4 race was won by my other former Bici brother, Brent Topilko. Man he came out of nowhere and passed Ferenc well before the line.

Anyway, it was a nice day, nice crowds, no crashes in cat 5, and a got me some points.
Feeling stoked for JayLap next weekend! Hopefully my health holds up!!

Some pics on smugmug: 1, 2, 3, 4

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tour De Bowness - Road Race (88km)

Another tough day in the cat 5 rat race.
A preview of the start list revealed that was going to be day of suffering; Jordan Bryden (pro Triathlete) was in his first road race as he's preparing for the 2012 olympics this summer.
My idea was to mark him; the guy is 6'5", so it would be easy to find him. Also, he was wearing a Ridley's kit and riding as independent.

As this was my first race that could be classified an A race, i was really hoping my fitness, form and fatigue levels would all be optimal this weekend
Then Thursday I woke to a nasty throat cold, and the subsequent 2 nights it got worse.
Only rode in Mon,Tues, and Thurs, so my fatigue level was low. My fitness felt good as I really put in some hard miles in the last month.
Alas, having to blow my nose and cough every 5 minutes during a race is not good form!

The pace was hard from the onset. Jordan and top gear crew went off through the first lap of 44km blazing. I managed to hang on during the first ascent of the "hill" (see Provincial RR last year), but it took it's toll on most of the peloton.
I hung on to the lead group of about 15 until the climb to the halfway turnaround but then fizzled out. In fact, I was really considering calling it a day with about 2k till the turnaround. I saw Carlos Bonilla (Niklas) fall off the back just ahead of me, so I told myself I'll catch him and we can at least ride in together that last lap.

Well, I didn't catch him, but I got caught by a group of 5 (TCR - Brent Arnholtz, Niklas - Gavin Creighton, Bici, and Callum from Crankmasters). I was happy to see them and we formed a good paceline, soon catching Carlos too. Bici was a cat 4 so he dislodged from our pack and we were 5.
We rode well together, but the 2nd time up the "hill" was a snail's pace.
That said, TCR and I summited way ahead of the others so I knew who would contest my placement in this group.

Carlos fell off but we waited for the others. The 4 of us would ride the rest of the way together.
With about 10 km to go I could see a couple stragglers ahead. The lead group had passed the cat 4 group! With those stragglers in sight, we upped the pace a little.
Going into the final turn (2.5km to go), I started planning strategy.
TCR took a pull for about 500m and Callum was right behind me.
Around the 1300m to go, I made an attack! And was instantly rewarded with a nasty cramp in my left leg!!! Arrgh, you've got to be kidding me!
I pressed through it though, and within seconds I looked back and had created a huge gap.
Then I saw the 1000m to go sign, and a pretty long climb to the finish, and thought, maybe I went too soon.
I was now closing in on, and then passed, another Speed Theory guy (Mark M).
Then caught another Bici guy, Simon, (same one I rode with at Stampede RR).
This guy had some kick though, as he caught on to my wheel through the ascent.
At the top, he was right on my ass so I decided to give another kick to try to shake him. He is a bigger guy and thought maybe he would be tired from hanging on to me during the climb.
Didn't shake him, and with 200m to he blasted past me!! Man he's a good sprinter.
I was also gassed from having gone redzone for more than a kilometer.

Some pictures can be found here and here.

Results are posted now too here. Looks like I came in 14th out of 44 on the start list.

Decided not to do the Hill Climb as I'm still sick and could use the recovery time.

July 2011

Finally some consistently nice weather, as well as some consistent training.
A record month for bike miles, smashing the 1000k barrier!
I managed this by exceeding 300k per week since the final week of June. In fact, since Banff Bike Fest, I've seriously increased my volume and focused my training sessions on the bike. I've been able to do this in large part due to my cessation of running. I was finding my lunchtime intervals/hills were really causing me enduring difficultly with the day in day out cycling.
I started doing the 40k weaselhead loop to work as my default route, and due to construction on the regular bike path, my ride home was often between 25-30km.
On top of that, once a week I managed to get in a metric century! I did one all of last year, and in the last 4 weeks I've done 4! Once was the Stampede Master's race, the other three involved riding from home to work via Bragg Creek, or the reverse.

A couple of mechanical issues this month; first I split my front derailleur in half during one long ride just after the Spring Bank hill! Didn't know they could break like that! Had to ride the next 30km in the big ring - reminded me of my old Schwinn mountain bike!
Then I had my first flat tire of the year this week. No biggie, I had all my gear and swapped it out in about 10 minutes.

Other notables this month is that I rode over a snake, lost about 8 pounds, and got "mooned" one day riding home! Couple of punks skateboarding on the path were taking up both lanes. I rang my bell to pass and they looked at each other, one dropped his shorts at me! I had just watched that same behaviour during the Tour De France so I was not phased by this.


  • Run: 2 runs for 16.6 kms!
  • Bike: 31 rides, 1240 kms, including 5,800 meters of elevation gain

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stampede Masters Road Race

Sunday, July 10th

5 laps of ~23 km. I counted something like 15 starters being in cat 1/2 out of the registered 22. Few 3's, 4's, and not too many 5's. Wonder why....??

It took about 5 minutes for me to find out.
Lap starts with a gradual climb that lasts around 5km and gains nearly 300 feet. Then it turns to the right (into a headwind), and after several kms turns 90 degrees right and bam, straight into a wall (100 feet climb in about 1 km.) This followed by more rollers and fine steep descent to round out the lap.
Now take a dozen semi-pro riders trying to shake the rifraf like me and Mike. Surge after surge.
I literally survived the first lap by sheer will. Some stigma about getting dropped within the first lap.
Not long into the 2nd lap, as we get back to the climbing, I'm working hard to stay on the back. Another surge and I shift down, chain slips. I lose a second of momentum, and a ton of self-doubt knocks me down.

I'm solo, but not for long. Couple guys in front also popped off, 2 from Bicisport and a cat 3 guy from a team I can't remember named Craig.
Craig threatens to bail but we manage to drag him through one more lap. We are working together to make the kms pass. Not really reeling anybody in but at least getting somewhere.
The bici guys struggle with the climbs, and around the beginning of lap 4 I get passed by Darryl Parry. I ride alongside him up the hill to the finish where he calls it a day, after having been involved with a crash.
The pace of us chatting and going up the hill has left my bici bros way back and out of sight.
I ride that last lap watching 2 Master B riders about 500m in front of me the entire lap but I can't bridge (not that I would have been allowed to ride w/ them).
Nor can I see anyone else behind me.
I keep thinking I see Mike way up in the distance, but I never do catch him.
Turns out he popped off too during that 2nd lap, somewhere on that "wall" or the roller after it.
A discussion with my previous auto-bus friends planted a bug in my mind about them not allowing us to finish the 5th lap since we were several minutes behind the leaders now, and although they made no mention or attempt to prevent me from continuing, my mind had decided that my legs,feet,back,ass had suffered enough for one day!
From chatting with other folks post-race time trialing seems to have been a common theme for this race.

For anyone interested, here is my garmin report:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 2011

Well, finally starting to get the numbers up... this despite several weeks' worth of daily rain, and flooding of several main pathways on my route.
I've invested in a good rain vest and helmet cap(?), and my booties mostly work, but more importantly, I've given the big middle finger to mother nature and decided, training in those conditions may actually pay off when a race weather turns sour.
Lo and behold, Banff Bike Fest 2011.

I've written at length about those disappointing but fun events, so no need to add more to that, except to say that I've come away feeling a desperate for redemption. I've immediately adjusted my commutes to include a 40km tour of south Calgary in the mornings, and varying changeups after work, time permitting, including some extra hills.
Also, Darryl gave me a dose of running intervals last week.Man that hurt... took me almost 3 days for my legs to feel normal again!

To wrap up the month, Mike and I decided to get in a nice 100km ride from work to home, via Bragg Creek. But why make only 2 people suffer when you can make 3? And what better way to pay back Darryl... muahaha.
So off we went, at 2:30 sharp, from the IStock HQ. Skies were clear, a little drizzle had come and gone and hour earlier, but it was dry now. A little windy, it would seem. Casual pace through downtown to pick up Mike, and off to Edworthy (shudder).
The hill did not disappoint. Though unstated, there are certain bragging rights for cresting the climb first. Virtual mountain points, if you will. Mike handedly took it, although I did put in a little kick at the end to try and catch him but he sped off with around 40m to go. Darryl "Anarchist" Penner was starting to show some cracking at this point. Poor guy has been marathon training all year, not exactly prepped for this stuff.
The subsequent 5 km are all climb, all the time. And into a crazy headwind. According to environment Canada, the wind speed/direction around 4 & 5 pm was WSW 24 gust 39!
Guess which direction we were going... West, followed by Southwest, eventually East.
So we hit Springbank Road and it hit back. Top speed on the steep descents was a whopping around 34 kmph! Should have been almost double that... Mike commented that if he stopped pedalling he felt like he was being blown up the hill in reverse!
Darryl was looking pretty hurtin' at one point and decided to gracefully turn back. Great job man hanging in a long as you did in that crazy wind with hardly any saddle time. You'll be back...

I was actually feeling pretty good in this section. Perhaps thanks to my rest day yesterday, maybe it was the big bowl of Bev's macaroni at lunch, but I did a lot of the pulling on that Springbank road. That didn't last into  the Hwy 22 turnoff though, as both Mike and I were reeling from the now nearly 2 hours of defying Ma' Nature. A snail pace into Bragg Creek as gust after gust of wind was taking it's toll on our spirits.

Finally made it to Bragg Creek! We only stopped for about 5 minutes to eat a Honey Stinger waffle and stretch the back a bit before heading off, but that did a world of wonder.
Not to mention the roads around Bragg Creek are well protected by trees, and you could start to feel our direction become inline with the wind.
On to 22x and we started flying. The two major climbs out of B.Creek barely dented our pace (yes, more virtual mountain points for Mike!), as we started averaging speeds of 50 kmph. 
So nice to see my trip average speed climb steadily from 24 back up to 30 on the 2nd half.
Gotta hand it to Mike that for all the pulling I did on Springbank, he made up for on 22x!

The final unspoken target was the Cranston/Mackenzie turnoff. Mike looked to hesitate at the Chapparal intersection and I hammered past him, down into the valley and up the last climb to the finish. Victory!

Great ride, no mechanicals, no rain. Definitely got a workout today!
See garmin report below (stupid thing includes my morning commute too though):

Anyway, some stats for June:

  • 41 total workouts
  • 952 kms on the bike
  • 72 kms running
Of note is that this is the first month I've soley relied on my garmin for maps/stats. No more MMR!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Banff Bike Fest - ITT and Criterium

Saturday, June 19

Race Lesson #347: Do not go out zumba-ing until the wee hours the night before having to drive all the way to Banff for an 8am start...!

21 km Time Trial
Tired, but stoked to try out the new Orbea in a race. Scott came along for moral support and let me borrow his FlashPoint FP60 wheelset with Powertapp! It was cool to see my wattage go through the roof everytime I hit a riser, about 5 seconds before my heart rate did the same, but I tried not to think about it too much except to keep both a little lower during those big climbs. Also tried to make sure I kept the watts over 200 for the descents immediately after a climb; that proved hard to do.
Was feeling pretty good in the saddle, although when I got passed by my 30 sec, then 60 sec, then 90 sec guys, I remembered that my fitness was indeed not at my desirable level. I did pass my 60 sec guy, as well as an RV that practically cut me off on the descent out of the Minnewanka loop; veering onto oncoming traffic at >50kmph.
Ended with a dissappointing 34:55 (last year I had 34:12). Definitely a stronger cast this year though, as evidenced by the HC results from Thursday.
I did put it all out there again, though, and felt I put in a consistent effort throughout. Just didn't have the legs.

Lezyne Criterium
Cat 5 - 5 pm start - 22 laps (lap distance 1km)

Well, a cloudy and at times drizzly day, combined with lack of sleep and lack of confidence after two poor standings left me with little desire to race again in the afternoon, even if this was a race much more suited to me.
Had a decent warmup on the trainer under the speed theory tent, then went off for my practice laps as the drizzle continued. "Crash-corner" was pretty slick, and we were worried about the big painted lines in the turn. My heart sank as I passed the start line followed by the announcement of the final lap... I was gonna be stuck at the back again! Not in this race...
Raced back to the start, damn... a good 30 men already lined up. Saw a rather large gap a row up from me and kindly asked could I move up (funny, Scott and I discussed this very problem earlier in the day and he suggested I do just that, knowing I wouldn't be one of the obstacles for someone trying to maneuver to the front.) Know I was right in the middle of the 8-abreast 3rd row. Saw Darcy at the very front, along with Kyle Husband (Deadgoat), and a little shy of 100 RMCC riders. Even as they're counting down I'm thinking I really am NOT feeling into this race...

And we're off... good clip in and easy to the "crash-corner." People were very cautious, nearly stopping to go around it, THEN the race begins.
Rows of 8 turn into 1 or 2 as the speed goes nuts immediately. I'm still about 20th as the next couple laps roll along fairly predictably. Then crash. Not where I expected, the corner heading into the long straightaway. I'm behind it but manage to avoid getting swept in it. Apparently it took down about 10 racers. But wouldn't ya know it, now there's a break, and I'm not in it! Grr. I bust my ass to catch it, and get a sinking feeling of Deja Vu from last year. Me soloing behind a break for 2 or 3 laps. This time the break was bigger, I would have no chance to catch them by myself, nor was I feeling as spunky as last year. I look back. There's a spattering of guys a ways back. I decide to wait up for them. (took me about 10 laps to figure that out last year!)
In come some teammates, Rob Wooley and Matt Joss, along with a couple other guys.
I take a few easy laps to recover but the group is working pretty well together. We are not bridging though.
A few attacks come from some guys behind us and I latch on to each of them. I do not want to be lapped today, and anything behind chase group 1 will be another dissappointment.
For some reason I seem to be able to keep this up, conserving when I need to and responding to each surge.
There seem to be about a dozen people in my pack still.
2 laps to go, time to make my move... damn, Joss ahead of me launches an attack. I whip past a few guys to catch this one. Pace is crazy quick and there are little opportunities to pass people. Final turn and Joss out of reach, but the peddlehead kid between us I think I can take. Single file through the turn and it's red zone time. I do all I can to try and pass him in the last 80m but I run out of real estate and he does well to stay ahead of me. Didn't see anyone behind me but looking at the results there were at least 10 people within a few seconds of Joss. He got the coveted 11th and I came in 13/47, with 6 RMCC guys finishing in the top 9.
Excellent job by Ferenc to have bridged the gap during the crash and dueling the RMCC gang for an awesome 2nd!

Thoughts: Would I have performed better if I had slept in, skipped the ITT, driven to Banff later and been refreshed and excited? Would I have been in that break if I had lined up next to Darcy at the start?
Likely yes to both.
All things considered, I was actually pleased with my crit performance. It was a fast group of guys, but our chase pack only finished 30 seconds behind them.
I chaulk this one up to first race lack of killer instinct. By the end of last season I realized what it takes to be in contention for the podium. The looooong offseason of rain and snow had dulled my intensity, but now it's back.
I can't wait for the next road race or crit. And the one after that.
Too bad they are so few and far between during this part of "summer."

On the other hand, it's probably better that I get some more training time in so as not to be so devastating in my climbing and fitness.
Gotta get the longer rides and 3x weekly run/stair workouts in to lose some fat and build some high-intensity endurance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Banff Bike Fest - Surprise Corner Prologue - Hill Climb

Thursday, June 16th

Well, given the disaster last year, I definitely improved on my process this year.
Rained all day, but I left on time, got there with time to get the early package pickup and leisurely make my way to the start.
Took the bike out and pre-rode the hill once, followed by a nice 15 mins on the trainer (under the van's open hatch to stay dry!)

Then another 3/4 pre-ride, followed by about 10 mins of waiting for my start.
I should mention my nutrition for the day, as it was all well conceived:

- Woke up at 6:30, had a yogurt and took off. Stopped to get coffee and gas, then stopped at Subway for a egg sandwich and a 12" tuna sub.
- Banana, water and coffee for mid-morning snack, then ate half the sub around 11.
- Left the office at 1 sharp, got to Banff around 2:40. On the way I had an energy bar and a coke zero.
- During the trainer session, I drank half my electrolyte/protein/glutamine mix.
- After the race, I finished that, the 2nd half of my sub, and on the drive home ate a protein bar and a banana.

All in all good nourishment.

Oh yea, the race. Well... less surprised this time, so I felt I put in a good consistent effort.
Came out the gate a little fast, or maybe my HR was a bit high, but by the corner I felt a bit more relaxed.
Hit the "wall", something like 18% gradient and suffered internally through it, and mustered a half-decent push in the final 50m to the finish line.
Looked at my bike computer and it looked like just over 3:30. Meh. Hoped to break 3:30...

Results aren't posted yet, but I suspect I'll be somewhere near mid pack.

Not a lot of time to dwell though. Need to wash the mud off the Trek, and prepare the TT bike for Saturday morning.
Going out tomorrow evening so won't have time for any of that.

Addendum: Just got the results... very disappointingly I actually lost a second to my terrible time from last year and came in 18th! Also concerning is the fact that there seems to have been an injection of about 4 or 5 wunderkinderen, 2 of which had faster times than all the cat 3's and 4's ! I guess I'll get to see them on Saturday and the following couple of races until they upgrade.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May 2011

Some highlights of the rainy month past:
  • ~600 kms biked
  • ~50 kms ran
  • 0.5 kms swum (swam?)
Yes, it was a milestone in that my first race of the year contained a water element.
No need to elaborate on my exuberance on that topic again, save that I have since bought a half-length wet suit, and discovered a pool with open lap times very near my work.
I may even go there one day... Tossing the idea around to do another sprint in September such as Banff Subaru, or perhaps just doing Blitz Duathlon again around that time.

Anyway, this race was followed by some very intense resting in Houston.
Ma Nature, delighted to see me return North, decided to bless us with a good week and a half of heavy rain storms.
Well, up yours Mme N! I did brave the elements on most days and continue to commute and even took in a couple of weekend excusions on the TT bike.
Definitely need to get used to that aggressive positioning as my neck has not yet fully recovered from last week's 50k'er.

Missed out on Pigeon Lake unfortunately. Looks as though the Cat 5 race stayed mostly upright this time.
Would have been nice, but now it will be BBF as my 2011 inaugural ABA race(s).
Looking forward to improving on my HC and ITT times, as well as having a good ride in the Crit like last year.

Oh, also of note is my acquisition of a Garmin GPS watch to replace my defunct Timex Ironman.
As such, I will now enter my training info into Garmin Connect and not Mapmyride, as of June 1st.
Don't see any value in that site which GC lacks, and GC has much more features than MMR, including free reports, etc.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CB & I Triathlon

May 7th, 2011

I came, I saw, and I didn't drown.
Goal #1 achieved.

Waking up at 4:45 AM in order to race was far from the worst part of the experience (Vince may disagree).
First ever race involving a swim for me. No swim training whatsoever. We get to the race and find it to be very well organized for the most part. Vince had left his timing chip at home and thus was forced to arrange a new one from the registration table; a process that took up nearly all of his pre-race prep time. Lesson learned? Hmm.

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After the 7 pros departed right promptly at 7 am, the wave including Leith and I were next. It was a water start, meaning we got to dip into the mild temperatured lake and treadwater (also known as water footseys swith 80 of my closest friends) for a minute before the gun went off. Except that it took about 5 minutes. First misfortune to realize was that my Timex Ironman watch was fogged up and shorted out. With all the technology I was going to use for this race (HR monitor, GPS sensor), without the watch they were all useless!
Nearly toasted by the idling, when the gun finally sounded it didn't take long for me to notice I was definitely going to struggle to complete the 500m distance.
That suspicion was confirmed as I reached the turnaround buoy along with 5 or so other wannabe-survivors. At this point the rest of our group had established a substantial gap on us, and the group behind us was over taking us. Tried as I could to front crawl I just couldn't maintain any rhythm without swallowing a bunch of water, so my stroke could best be described as "ensuring survival".
Walking out the ramp onto land my legs were wobbly and I must have looked a mess. The pictures will soon tell...Fairly slow transition 1 as I tried to put that brutal "swim" behind me.
Had the worst transition location, right near the water exit, and furthest from the bike exit.
Had to run that on my road shoes, then struggled a bit clipping in.
The bike portion was a nice ride. Without a speedometer I had no real idea how fast I was going. I was passing people, a lot of them. Counted 20 from my age group alone. But I was not really pushing it, knowing I still had to do a run and that my brick workouts this year have not produced strong running speeds.
The 15 mile ride went by pretty quickly and I felt quite good at the end. My clip on aerobars were slipping as well when I put any presure on them. Lost time in transition as people were whipping past me with shoes still clipped in and running through the gates.
I was carefully trotting on my road shoes, careful not to wipeout!
Putting my vibrams on went great though. Each toe slid right into position without a problem, and off I went.
I realized the benefit of my shoe choice immediately as I passed a bunch of guys on the bridge ascent out of the park. My legs felt light and I just focused on my pendulum running style that I know would provide me the fastest run.
Again, without my working watch, I had no idea of my pace. I kept hoping that Leith would appear since I hadn't made up the time on the bike, but alas, I would only see him at the finish.
Crossed paths with Vince and then Eric.
I picked up speed around the halfway point and pushed steadily to the line.

Overall, I ended up a minute slower than my projected time, possibly attributed to my slow transitions and bike split, although I put in a faster run than I anticipated, so I'm happy with that.

Vince had apparently been suffering from stomach cramps during the run and had to stop a few times. He also had a 3 minute T1 because of having to dig through his pack to get his bike shoes, then feed the straps through the sockets, etc.
Could all have been eliminated with proper preparation...

Eric was neck in neck with his bigged AG threat through T2, but then succumbed a couple minutes to him on the run to take 2nd. Still awesome. His bike time was only marginally slower than mine, and he had the best swim time of the Paauwes.
Eric's girlfriend Jill came in 1st for her AG. Not a large group, but not bad for her first Tri.
Astrid too did well, however the results have her listed among the men, along with a bunch of other girls, so he final time is still TBD.
Leith had a great swim, then thought he saw me go past him on the bike and was determined to catch me. He was so competitive that during T2 he chose NOT to put on his vibram shoes at all and go barefoot to try to catch me!
Hope the blisters from running on the hot concrete are very painful!! LOL
Leith's brother Brandon also did his first triathlon and said he had a blast.
Another brother spectator is going to do it next year, as are some of Jill's kids.

As quick as the race itself was, the post race events dragged on. Sun had also fully emerged and temperature must have been over 90.
Fully sunburned and with a healthy dose of humilitation, we departed for post-race pool and margaritas.

Very fun event, but embarrassing to be left in the water with only the ducks remaining.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 2011

Well, unfortunately this month’s report will not contain the expected racing kickoff; ma’ nature has sabotaged the first two races of 2011 – including the one who’s name/style are cloned from a race dubbed “hell of the North”!
That says something.

I did manage to get in my first group ride a week prior. Good ole’ Road to Nepal. For some reason I seem to get this categorized climb out of the way in early Spring each year. Glad it’s behind me now.
It was tough, for me. Dave Holmes seemed to fly to the top whereas I definitely became acutely aware of ever gram I accumulated over the loooong winter, and my lackluster spring training took it’s toll.
Despite a lengthy (20 min) respite at the “summit”, about 20 km into the ride, I was not faring well at holding the tire in front of me, as the pace averaged around 45 kmph. I ended up as part of a 4 man splinter group which diverged to cut about 15 km off the original 80 km trip.
That pace was very light, combined with my 2nd wind, but it was definitely an enjoyable ride, with the company of Mike Huang, a new guy named Aryeh, and a guy on a cross bike.
Not two days later we got another massive dump of snow and cold that would push all us roadies back indoors for another week.

Overall, the month ended well with consecutive double digit temperature days, which cleared the majority of the ice from the pathways!
Days until my first triathlon, and to say I’ve insufficiently prepared for the swim would be an understatement.
My goal will be a) to survive, b) complete the race. A stretch goal would be that I can bike fast enough to catch Vince, or run fast enough to catch Eric.
Leith looks like the strong race favorite. I should be able to beat his bike time, but little else.

Some stats for April:

Bike: 20 hours, 548 kms
Run: ~4 hours, 44 kms

Some perspective - comparing stats to last year this time:
Mar 2011: 163 kms

Mar 2010: >700 kms
Apr 2010: 40 hours,  >1000 kms (including 1 race and no less than 6 commutes via Glenmore reservoir - > 40km  - today this is still impassable due to snow!)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March 2011

Well, not much from a performance persepective, but I did manage to finally get a few outdoor rides in on the weekends, and last week I even resumed commuting to work again.
Just when you thought spring was here.... wham!! 2 feet of snow on Saturday! :-(
Oh well, warming up again today so this crap won't stick around too long...
Only 2 weeks until race day! Yikes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February 2011

Definitely a lacklustre month for getting outside.
I probably burned more calories shivering than any other form of exercise.
I only officially logged 5 trainer rides and 4 runs, with not a damn thing in the last week as I've been fighting off a debilitating cold.

A positive is that I had a friend-of-a-friend weld the Devinci back together, and he's now making adjustments to the bend in the chain stay so that we can put a true wheel back on.
Although I've no desire to ride in this -30C weather anymore, in fact, I'm not sure I ever really did...
I can't last forever though. In fact, first races are mid April, so it better clear up soon...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 2011

A rather lacklustre month by all accounts.
Between glacial freezing, and a major mechanical setback, the numbers just weren't to be.
I did manage a couple nice runs amidst the lowlights.

Some stats:
Cycled: 210 km (started riding the trainer on the Orbea - fun bike, HATE the trainer...)
Ran: 13 km

As for the aforementioned mechanical, here's what happened.
Early one Thursday morning, as I leave my freshly cleaned Devinci leaning by the front door, I prepare for my day as per the usual, brushing teeth, etc.
All of a sudden I hear a loud BOOM from upstairs! Kailyn.... I heard her wake up, and feared she must have fallen down the stairs or something.
I rush upstairs to find her in one piece (thankfully, I know), but my bike is laying on the ground.
Well, it IS a cross bike, and I have wiped out and hit a large number of obstacles this winter with it... should be fine.
I do a quick 12 point check on her and I see no apparent damage.
I depart.

About 2 blocks down the road I come to the realization that my left shifter (derailleur and brake) are not functioning. At all.Crap. Hard to ride 20km to work and back in the small ring with no front brake.
Gotta turn back. I perform a quick inspection at home but given I have about 10 minutes to change if I wanna catch my bus, I swap the bike clothes for civilian clothing, and take off.
Later that evening, I attempt to apply some of my mad mechanic skillz to the stubborn cables, but to no avail.
I would have to take it in on the weekend.

Saturday rolls around and I stop by to see my buddies at Ridleys. Service triage guy checks the cables, etc, and comes to the same conclusion as I, with the ominous warning that I may need a new set of shifters! A small hernia is born when he gives me the estimate.

Monday, I check in, as though phoning a hospital to find out about a dear friend who's just gone under the knife.
Shifters are good, says Dan, but I got some bad news for you... there's a whole in your bike (dear Liza).
Apparently, friction from tires (slightly askew) has eroded the side walls of the rear stays, one to the point of being worn completely through! (picture upcoming)
Did you not hear anything? Couldn't you feel it rubbing against it?
All great questions you ask...

Since putting on the studded tires this past November, I have a) always worn plenty of headgear (dampening sound), and b) always rode on snow/mud, and probably assumed any dragging was caused by the studs, thickers tires, extra gear, etc.
It always spun fine on my stand, so perhaps somehow my bodyweight on it affected the tire's rotation.

Anyway, now I am desperately seeking either a cheap cross frame (58"), or a proficient aluminum welder.
Until then, trainer it is...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 - and December

Well, what a year. perhaps with the MapMyRide site refresh I can get some cooler stats going forward.

December was not exactly ground-shattering, but I guess that’s to be expected.

Combined 2 weeks of inactivity, between car troubles mid-month and holiday vacation, I only mustered a measly ~300 km.


As for the year totals, I didn’t reach my target of 10,000 kms… only made it to 8,562. More than ever before, so I’m not unhappy about that.

If it wasn’t for the weather/jobs/kids/angry bird, I could’ve made it!

I did break 1000 kms in a month twice, in April and in June, and several 900 kms months.