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