Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 2012

Another month in the frozen tundra of Alberta.
Combine the continued cold temperatures with holiday season (read "sprint" training with Isaac and Marc), and don't expect any record numbers...

That said, I did compete in one running race. Well, more of a charity run, but combined with some inter-company side-bets going on I had plenty of motivation. ;-)
It did produce several PBs, including my fastest 5km.

Stats for December
  • Run: 7 runs, 51 kms, 4.5 hours
  • Bike: 10 rides, 14.5 hours (all indoors!)
  • Strength: 7 HIIT workouts, 3 hours
Stats for 2012
  • Run: 75 runs, 621 km, 52.5 hours
  • Bike: 319 rides, 8,300 kms, 400 hours (amazingly that was my exact target hours), 54,000m elevation gain.
  • Total duration for all activities: 470 hours

Bring on January - let the base training begin!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November 2012

Well, the cold and snow has not let up at all in Cow Town. This month featured zero races, but a little more emphasis on my running.
I've also been introduced to, so I'll provide a brief review.
The concept is so simple I'm surprised it's taken so long to come out. For anyone training with a power meter currently, you've no doubt had to juggle reading your garmin computer, your workout video, or your favorite training book.
TrainerRoad lets you combine them all on your laptop. Using an Ant USB stick, your power meter data is sent directly to your laptop (as well as your garmin).
The software provides a nice overlay on top of your Sufferfest video, pre-programmed workouts, or any other movies or TV shows you like to ride to.
Like I said, the concept is great. I did run into a few issues getting it going though, as it wouldn't easily pair with my PM. After a series of random restarts, it finally did.
Another issue I ran into was that it wouldn't display my sufferfest video, after telling me it needed to encode it with H264. Perhaps another restart or two and that one will work. I've had it work fine with others, but do make sure you're not trying the remastered version unless you actually have that video.
The software is not free, but it's pretty affordable, at $10/month (1st month free).
If you live in Canada and slug it out for half a year indoors, it's only $60 for the year. I think it's worth it; anything to help the drudgery of the dreaded trainer!

One highlight of this month has to be getting in a run in Central Park, Manhattan, during a beautiful fall morning.
Also, I've begun doing some crossfit workouts at home with Kieran every week.Scares the shit out of me when he does wall walk-ups, but him and I both are now able to complete them without falling over!

Some stats for November:

  • Strength: 12 workouts, 4.25 hrs
  • Running: 9 runs, 77 kms, 6:40 hrs
  • Cycling: 13 rides, 187 kms, 14:18 hrs (5 hrs on the CX bike)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October 2012

Well, summer has certainly come to an abrupt and painful end in Calgary.
Combine that with the sudden demise of my trusty Caravan and subsequent dealings with loaner car and shopping for a replacement, training volume this month was at a yearly low. In fact, the last time I managed less hours than this month was last October, so it seems to be a down-month for me historically.

Combine that with Thanksgiving and Halloween, and I typically put a few pounds back on; no exception this time!

I did add calisthetics back to my routine however. Kieran and I started doing the 100-pushup challenge, and we threw in a weekly round of pullups for good measure. Damn that little boy is strong! Gonna have to keep him in check before he starts making me look bad!

Highlights for October:
  • Bow Cycle Cross - worn out tires, couldn't stay upright.
  • Beans N' Barley race - snow! Nuff' said.
  • 7 Runs, 66 kms, 5:30 hrs.
  • 13 Strength Workouts, 4:30 hrs.
  • 17 Rides, 285 kms, 16 hrs
    • Cyclocross: 6:30 hrs
    • Indoor: 5:45 hrs
    • Road: 4:15 hrs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beans n' Barley CX Race

The pictures tell the whole story.

Yes, that's Santa... and he kicked my ass!


Kieran warming up while Barry enjoys celebratory barley!

Paauwe and Jobson lined up at the start line

Cross dismount?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bow Cycle Cross

Looking strong is only half the battle,
but sometimes that's all I got!

Not a good sign that I fell about 3 times during the warm-up lap. Remember what I said last time about getting new racing tires, well, um, it didn't happen. Man, would I pay for it on this day!

Alberta fall at it's finest. Long, wet, yellow grass covered this entire course, with nary a tree to protect us from the cold winds. Back tire slipping on uphills, downhills, turns, you name it.
Note the base layer shirt and leg warmers; I decided to go with more padding this time!
It warmed up significantly by the end of our first lap, but I was thankful to have another layer to help absorb some of the impact.
None at high speed or anything, but when you're descending down a bank of about 30% grade, covered in slick mud/grass, and you hit a rock or the divot left by the last guy to crash, it's pretty much inevitable you're going down too.

I'd resorted to be an also-ran very early in this race, probably even before it started. This just doesn't seem to be my thing.
Practicing my pain face for the camera!
Can't beat the workout though, which is why I keep showing up I guess.

Not sure of the results, don't really care. I didn't get lapped, didn't injure myself. And I guess I had fun, although I'm not 100% convinced of that.

There's only one ABA cross race left in Calgary, two weeks from today. I'll get my tire situation straightened out and give it one more shot this year. On the fence about provincials in Red Deer, we'll see how the next race goes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

September 2012


Carry-over fitness from Road season + lack of proper equipment and technical savvy = fun, but pain.
3 races, plenty of bruises and scrapes on knees, elbows, hips, back, neck and wrists.
Also got new shoes, Saucony Kinvara 3's. Not sure yet about them, they're quite light, for a shoe, but more lift than my Vibrams, and have cuts on the tops of my feet from running without socks. May try it a bit more before I go back to the 5 fingers.


  • Run: 6 runs, 59 kms, 5 hrs
  • Bike: 30 rides, 900 kms, 34 hours

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dark Knight Cross

One of many entertaining obstacles 

Cyclocross racing at night, what could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong:

  • Barely any warmup, and only a partial pre-ride of the course prior to starting.
  • Near disaster in the first 100m as racers converge onto a narrow paved pathway - my trepidation cost me a major drop in position.
  • Clipping in - lost time on each obstacle by not clipping into my pedals quickly after remounting. Often struggling with the corner/climb immediately proceeding such remounting.
  • More crashes. On the logs, after the jump. More bruising and bleeding, sore bones in the morning.
  • Sand pit - inability to test it out during warmup, I nearly flew over my handlebars the first time entering the sand unexpectedly. Decided to mostly run through them, which is exhausting.
  • Getting my ass handed to me by the juventus kids dressed up as banana, pig, and one in a bathrobe.
  • Almost got lapped!

What went right:

  • Very fun atmosphere, people in costumes, handing out cowbells. Brought Kieran and he had a blast. Definitely one for the spectators.
  • Great course to experience all types of obstacles and technical challenges. By the end of the race I was feeling a lot more comfortable.
  • Weather held up perfectly, despite forecast of rain.
  • Didn't get lapped - barely! First time in any race where it was a real possibility.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Euro Cross

Euro Cross #1

Oh damn, I'd forgotten how painful cyclocross racing can be!
Actually, upon further reflection, I'm not sure I had it this bad last year. As I learned previously, these races are won or lost by the first 100 meters, and last year's settle-in-the-middle-of-the-pack strategy wasn't going to fly this time.
Because this was my first cross race of the year, I did set out with a simple goal of getting myself in a good position at the start, then hang on, do my best on the technical parts.

After about 3.5 warmup laps, I felt comfortable with the parcours, although even at recon pace, I was huffing and puffing!
The long course featured several long straights into the wind, multiple repeats up the steep side of a hill, one crazy steep embankment, and what can be described as a mudpit with 2 barriers! Oh and of course traditional twisty little wooden sticks strewn throughout the field.

Lined up for the start in the 2nd row, about 7 or 8 wide. I was pretty happy with that spot, and the guys in front of me had no clipping issues so we were off!
Immediately the HR maxed out, and it didn't come down until about 10 minutes after I got home and showered... 70 guys dispersed along the 2.5 km circuit immediately, such that you had a difficult time figuring out what position you were in.
I had some specific problems in this race which didn't help. On the steep pitches, my rear wheel would spin out a lot. I tried standing, leaning back, then the front wheel would come off.
I have a 28mm on the back, but a 35 on the front because I discovered 2 winters ago my bike just doesn't have the clearance. Additionally, it looks like my tread is starting to wear on the back. I couldn't ride up the one really steep wall, and on the section of repeats I could feel my power being thrown away with tire slippage, and sure enough that's where guys would catch back to me, or get away from me.
Tomorrow I might try lowering my tire pressure even more on the back. Today I ran with 50 psi for both.

Other than the tread/slipping issues, I was pretty happy with my performance. I caught guys, passed guys, and dropped guys that had caught me. I did have some issues clipping in, and that created gaps for me to overcome. I realized there was a lead group formed, with Michael Persson, Matt Joss, Andrew Paul, Andrew Rockwell, to name a few. I was in a small chase group, not too far back. It's a little demoralizing when you can't see anyone directly in front of you though, so you end up feeling like you're only racing against the guys immediately surrounding you.
The entire race was full of suffering, but on the final lap, I lost a bit of wind. I was riding with 2 other guys (Cody G - Niklas and a guy from Lamprey Systems), and both scampered up that steep wall faster than me. I was chasing with 1/3 lap to go, but never could get quite enough recovery in to launch an attack. Those 2 sprinted, and I dragged myself across the line for 11th.

HUGE congrats to Mike P for an amazing win. He apparently had a few things go wrong for him, but was able to come right back in and get the big W. That lil' dude is a monster!

Some more great pics of the race are here.

Euro Cross #2

Awoke the next day for more torture. The course had changed a little, but more importantly, it was in reverse now.
After 20 mins on the trainer, I did a lap and a half pre-ride with Mike P. The course seemed easier, as well the 10 PSI less in the wheels meant there was no hill for which I needed to dismount.
Lined up right at the very front, behind only the featured riders called up to the front.
The Chase!
Out of the gate fast, but held on. Probably 10th place going into the first set of single track.

Past guys throughout the first two laps, and found myself in a chase group of 5, following the 3 leaders (incl. Persson again).
In my group were Andrew Paul, teammate Matt Joss, and a few others I didn't know.

Another lap later and we were 3 chasing 3.After sitting 3rd wheel for about a lap, I caught my wind and went up and took a big pull along a straight section. We had a sizeable gap behind us and I didn't want it to close. Also, Mike's group wasn't far ahead.

After my pull there is a steep climb(see pic below), and I fell back a bit on the other 2. When we reached the top I made some aggressive moves to latch back on, but on one gnarly turn my back wheel slid out from under me, and down I went. Down the hill... damn.
Picked myself up, put my chain back on, straightened my brake hoods, shifted out of my big ring, and returned to the race. Having been passed by Matt J and other remnants of the former chase group, I caught on with Lamprey guy from yesterday, Mike Macklem. Something was still not right with the bike, nor the knee.
Within minutes, I went down again! Same knee/hip. At this point, I dropped from 5th to about 15th, and even pedalling was difficult. Bleeding from three places, that I could see, and hip was sore.
Women fighting with a steep climb
Passed by a few more guys, then pulled the chute. DNF... heartbreaker.
Limped back just in time to watch the abominable Mike Persson win back to back races!

Some positives I gained from this race is that given the right course, and proper inflation of tyres, my fitness level is right up there with the best of them.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

August, 2012

Typically, this is the month with most of the road bike races. For me, it was Tour De Bowness, the mid-week time trial, and Jason Lapierre Memorial weekend. (I opted out of the Provincial Time Trial because I didn't feel like yet another trip up to Edmonton.)

The end of the season proved to be successful for me again. I've gotten the vast majority of my upgrade points in the final races; this year I managed 32 pts in the last 2 days alone, bumping me out of cat 4.

Next up is cyclocross season. I'm starting to put in some solid base building mileage again, as well as taking the knobby-tired cross bike out for some technical rides. Assuming my knee is not seriously wrecked (tweaked something badly in the final kilometers of a 180km ride yesterday,) I should be ready for a good season of cross.

Stats for August
  • Run: 4 runs, 35 kms, 3 hours
  • Bike: 33 rides (3 cyclocross rides), 1,101 kms, 39:14 hours, 6,796m elevation gain

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jason Lapierre Memorial Stage Race - Part II

Finish line photo from last night's crit!

Bergen Hills Road Race - 111 km

Well, just like I have for the past 2 years, I awoke on Sunday morning thinking, oh gawd... still have one more race, and I have to drive to Bergen Hills...
However this time I had very little pressure on me. After the great result last night, I reckon I was 1-3 points shy of upgrading to Cat 3, assuming there are no points for the ACSW or JayLap overall classification.
No rush for that I figured, maybe get to race Pigeon Lake in cat 4 next year.

Also, today I had a job to do for the team.
I arrive and warmup with Stephen Kenny and we discuss the plan. With Peter 30s back on GC Stephen would turn up the pain dial in the 2nd lap, try to shed guys, maybe cause a break.
Check. Dropped about 7 or 8 guys on the big climb on the back side.

I was trying to keep Peter from the front by marking the Bici bros, or any other serious attacks. There were none, a couple of solo flyers, none of which stuck.

Last lap, our selection of 14 intact, the pace was nice and easy. As we round the final 20 km, Peter was too far in front for my liking, but you can't contain that man... like taking a kid to Toys R' Us.
I asked Stephen if he could pull from 1.5 km out, and I would take Peter to the 200m sign. He confessed he had cooked himself and would likely not be much help in the leadout to the uphill finish.
Nonetheless, as we approach the last couple km but who else is back in the front but Stephen, behind him Peter, then the Bici's. I'm in right behind them, but the pace is slowing into that nasty headwind. I see Bryon Howard on the right, but there is room.
We pass the 1000m sign and nothing happens. Still have a long climb, then flat, then a short steep punch to the finish.
Maybe another hundred meters goes by and it's my turn.
I go flying on the right side like gangbusters, calling to Peter to latch on as I fly by.
I red line up the climb, then turn on the flat to indicate I'm toast and Peter can take it from here.
Except there's no Peter. Instead I see a Revelstoke guy and the friendly face of Barrie, independent. Then a gap. A huge gap!
The 2 guys I leadout take off and Barrie wins it! I am so roasted, I can barely ride up that last kicker to the finish. Thankfully the pack is still way back there. I barely manage to coast in for a 3rd place, and immediately pull over to the side and rest on my handlebars for about 5 minutes.

Talking with Peter after I guess he had no response to catch on to the wheel, but managed to keep his 3rd place in ACSW GC.


Well, I survived the inaugural Alberta Cycling Super Week, and all's I got was:
  • One less lung, thanks to mass sprint up COP hill. 18th overall, bitter...
  • Karma points in TdB RR for working for Isaac.
  • Road rash on 1/3 of my body and a bruise on my "lower back" the size of a grapefruit when attempting to cash in that karma point by having Isaac lead me out in the TdB circuit race.
  • More great teamwork in TdB crit covering attacks, blocking, and a decent sprint finish, +6 upgrade points.
  • 10th place in TdB GC, +1 point.
  • 7th place in 20km ITT - first ever upgrade points from the Orbea!! +4 points.
  • After volunteering cleanup of JayLap hill climb, I end up a disappointing 49 seconds behind the leader. GC hopes are shot, again.
  • First ever victory in cycling, JayLap criterium!! -1 karma point, +20 upgrade pts.
  • Back to back podiums, 3rd in Road Race. +12 pts.
  • Despite my atrocious climbing ITTs, I finish ACSW GC in 5th, and JayLap GC in 6th.
  • Add it all up along with the 18 points I had coming in, and that puts me well over the 50 needed to get to cat 3.
 All in all, a tremendous week. The races were mostly well organized, and the comraderie, as Andrew put it, was something I'll never forget. Very thankful they decided on holding off upgrades until the end of the 8 races. In previous years, you would just begin to race with guys and then they'd upgrade.
It looks like we'll have the same killer team in cat 3 next year, and many of the same opponents there as well!
Looking forward to it already, although I'm physically and mentally completely done with racing.

At least until cyclocross season in the fall...

Oh yea, lacking any kind of formal wrap up party, I'm thinking a BBQ in the next couple of weekends is in order.
More deets to come!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jason Lapierre Memorial Stage Race - Part I

Hill Climb - 3.8km

Well, certainly NOT my finest hour, or 8 minutes more specifically! Not really too sure what happened here tonight.
I was a bit conservative in the beginning, keeping an eye on my wattage soas not to overcook too soon (A la TdB HC). I recovered a little in the 2nd km, with my watts being nearly 100 lower than the 1st km.
Then on the steep part up Springbank road I stood up and did a consistent 400W up the hill, coming over the crest and then hammering on the final stretch.

Finished 13th, with a time of 8:14, 51 seconds behind the winner (congrats Andrew!! At least there was no 0.5 second controversy this time!)

Comparing to Mike's (who finished in 7:35, 4th in Cat 3), it's clear to see that during each of the 2 major climbs I lost about 20 seconds. Also, his watts were actually slightly higher than mine, which is a sure sign of something gone wrong considering our weight difference.

I rode with the carbon wheels again to give some advantage in the wind and weight, but left my aero helmet in the car. Meant to come back for it after warmup but never did.

My HR was perhaps a little low, and took a little while to raise too. Perhaps due to my conservative start, or a sign of some building fatigue/injury recovery.
Sizing up the competition before the crit!

Downtown Criterium

Well, when I woke I still had that fire in my belly. You know the one, where you feel like you've let yourself down, embarrassed yourself? Well, it's the feeling I've had. Often, actually. Nearly every time trial or hill climb where I think going in that I'm going to crush it, but end up on the 2nd page of the results...

The beauty of these stage races is that you can channel that fire the next day. I guess it's only a benefit if you are physically ready for it, otherwise, the next day may not be good enough. I think of it like a goalie in hockey that is pulled after letting in 5 goals in the first period, coming back the next game and getting the shutout.

Well, JayLap crit. Third year racing and in each race, in pretty much each category, the story line has been the same. No escapees, no breaks, few lapped riders even. Then sprint for glory.
So, we came in with a game plan. We had 5 riders from STC, well represented. The race unfolded just as predicted. A few half-attacks, easily reeled in by various teams, including ours.
I, however, was not going to be doing the heavy lifting on this night. No, I kinda figured I'd done my share all week and this was my marquee event, so I sat nicely in the back 5 or so, right next to my bud Mike Hoang (winner of this race in 2010).
Each of my guys took some good turns at the front; Peter, Derek, even Darcy, and another chap who's name I don't know.
3 primes went by, and I didn't blink. Let them go.
Bell lap, I notice Mike H is a little boxed in the middle. I pull up behind Peter as we take corner 2.
Go! Peter takes off along the left side, into the long headwind stretch where guys start thinking about conserving energy for the final sprint. On his wheel, we pass the front of the peleton right into corner 3, taking it wider but probably 10kmph faster than the pack.
Mike H and I preparing to duel!
Corner 4 and we cut it nice and tight. Peter pulls to the side and I punch in. Time to go to work.
200 meters to go, I stand up briefly but I'm in too small of a gear. Sit and give it everything... silence for what seems like an eternity. Keep expecting the entire peleton to come flying past, laughing at me for going so early (Ok, I got issues!)
It doesn't happen! I cross the line 1st! Peter caught back on my wheel when I sprinted and finished 2nd!
Wow, all I can say. After missing out on the podium a few times, and the inopportune crashes, I finally did it.

What amazing teamwork this week. For the first time since I started racing, we've had (mostly) the same guys for the last week and it's paid off, not just for me but for Isaac and Peter as well, who'll both have their Welcome to Cat 3 emails coming on Monday.

Tomorrow is the road race so I gotta wrap this up.

Read Part II

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


A mid-week time trial that binds Tour De Bowness with Jason Lapierre Memorial, this race was held on the same course as the Crankmasters Adrenaline ITT in April.

My plan was simple, try to keep a similar wattage as last time, somewhere above 285.
Looking at the startlist, containing such time trial specialists such as Stephen Kenny, Rick Courtney, and Trevor Sorensen, as well as the all-rounders already ahead of me in GC, I was really not expecting more than hopefully top 10.

Lunch around 1, lasagna. PB&J Sandwich around 3. Banana and Hammer Gel right before the race.
Borrowed an STC skinsuit (note to self: Large - fit perfect) and some sweet 80mm rims from Trev. Gearing was a bit fucked with the new wheel but thx to Mike got it to shift nicely just in time to get in a quick warmup (15 mins or so).

With a favorable tailwind going out, I flew out the gate. First lap (5k) was I averaged over 48 kmph!
Watts were a little high, but not enough to worry me.
Second lap, ending at the turnaround, was still pretty fast, 46.4, although less Watts (closer to my target).
Didn't turn very well but got back up to speed/watts quickly.
I counted the time to my 1-min man, and he was still one minute ahead of me at the halfway point.
That concerned me a little, although in retrospect with that tailwind I don't think there was much difference between most guys in the first 10k.

Lap 3 I ran into a bit of headwind, although it wasn't as bad as I feared. Managed to average over 38, and now I was seeing my 1-min man getting closer, as close as 20 seconds now.

Lap 4 was more of the same, although I did struggle to keep the wattage high. Many times did my minimum-power alert start beeping at me to HTFU!

Passed 1-min man with about 2 km to go, although I had to go well over 300W as he'd picked it up a bit too at the end. Finished lap 4 with a speed of 38.3, which considering I dialed it up in the last 2 km tells me the first 3 were below my average.

Official time was 28:37, with an average speed of 42.3 kmph. Averaged 290W.

Results are here.

In comparison with April 29th:

Distance20.18 km 20.28 km
Time 28:39:00 30:36:00
Avg Speed 42.3 km/h 39.8 km/h
Moving Time 28:38:00 30:29:00
Avg Moving Speed 42.3 km/h 39.9 km/h
Max Speed 52.3 km/h 50.7 km/h
Avg HR (bpm) 168 bpm --
Max HR (bpm) 182 bpm --
Avg HR (% of Max) 91 % of Max --
Max HR (% of Max) 98 % of Max --
Avg Power (W) 290 W 289 W
Max Power (W) 764 W 662 W
Normalized Power (NP) (W) 293 W --
Avg Bike Cadence 97 rpm 95 rpm
Max Bike Cadence 114 rpm 127 rpm
Avg Temperature 28.5 °C 14.5 °C

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tour De Bowness - Part II

Courtesy of Ross Dance photography - Love this picture! Look of pain
in the faces of everyone! Also I seem to be taking an extra 5 degrees
of lean on that corner!

Circuit Race

Team strategy this time was to just all stay near the front, cover attacks, and we were gonna be lead out by Isaac on the final lap for glory.

Well, the first 4 or 5 laps of the circuit went pretty much as planned. I was always near the front but rarely right at the front.
On the final lap, I found Isaac on the long straight right before entering Glenmore park again, and secured my position. I heard a tire blow directly behind me and had a sneaking suspicion that was Peter (confirmed later.)

1000m from the finish, the road narrowed, guys were getting frisky and people started jumping. The problem is that some guys move right up but can't maintain the speed, and thus act as pylons on the road.
The faster guys have to swerve around them to catch the wheels up the road.

There must have been about 5 guys abreast and an RMCC guy collided with Isaac in front of me.
I could see it unfold but was boxed in like a sardine.
They went down and I went over, then down. Then I got run over.

Lay on the road, along with about 4 other guys, one of which sounded like he had a broken collarbone, howling with pain... yeesh.
Isaac was hurtin' too. I was pissed off, but didn't feel anything broken or bleeding too much.
Picked myself up, straightened my hoods, unlodged my brakes and pedaled to the line.

Below are some pictures of the carnage to my body and a dent on my bike.
(kieran counted something like 27 separate instances of road rash on my body, not to mention the swelling on my lower back from the chainring puncture and stiff neck from the head impact)


Well, after a painful shower, a bottle of polysporin, new helmet, gloves, replacement kit, minor tuneup, a restless night, and a box of tegaderm (thx for the recommendation Andrew!), I performed a damage assessment in the morning, and thankfully felt somewhat okay.
My wrist felt worse and the lower back was quite sore, so I decided to head out early and do a nice long warmup ride on the trainer.

Still felt fine after the warmup so no DNS for me!
Lined up at the front alongside my #2 and #4 GC teammates Isaac and Peter. Bit of a botched clip-in, but off we went.

Stayed in the front 8 for most of the race, twisting around the gnarly streets of bowness.
Much more in control when you're up near the front.
On the 3rd and final prime lap (intermediate sprint), I found myself sitting in second going into the final turn, right behind the overall GC leader, Evan Burtnik (juventus).
Sat on his wheel for about the first 150m and decided I could over take him so began my launch. Just then a cyclemeister's kid knocked into my handlebars with his as he was attempting to pass me. We have 4 open lanes to ride on and this kid was way up in my space! I backed off immediately... not worth crashing on a straight open road going for $100 prime.

On another lap, APH guy came from outside in on corner 2 and I found myself heading straight into the curb. It's sort of a half-curb alongside the curb, only a couple inches above the ground, so I jumped it and kept my position!
Me chasing down the pink leader's jersey!

Peter launched an attack and I immediately went to the front and blocked to slow down the chase. He lasted out there by himself for about a lap and a half, surprisingly, with little help. A couple other attacks happened but were reeled in immediately.
Then Isaac attacked with about 5 laps to go.
Juventus team had just worked to reel in another attack and were too tired to respond. Peter and I went to the front and blocked again. It was working. A couple guys tried to bridge but we reeled them back.
Burtnik did manage to bridge and the two rode it in, with Isaac just missing out to the young Juventus power.
In the bunch sprint that followed, I came around the final turn in about 10th and managed to sprint past a number of guys, only getting passed by the pure sprinter Mike Hoang (he looks like he has a turbo in his bike when he sprints it's incredible).

Ended up 5th in the sprint, 7th overall. Not too displeased with this as I believe nearly the entire field stayed together, again. Wow, that cat 4 group is very tight.
Peter came in 9th too so we had 3 Speed Theory guys in top 10.

General classification remained the same since there were no time bonuses or gaps, I think I ended up 10th overall. It all came down to the hill climb, as predicted.

Next up is the midweek 20km ITT, then Jason Lapierre Memorial weekend, with all events counting towards the Alberta Cycling Super Week General Classification.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tour De Bowness - Part I

Part of Alberta Cycling Super Week, the Tour De Bowness kicks it off with a hill climb, road race, circuit race, criterium, and an overall classification.

Hill Climb - 1.25km, 3-up time trial

2 years ago, I attempted this brutal race. It's 1.25 km, on the switchbacks road up Canada Olympic Park, parallel to the bobsled track. It's a 3-up race, meaning you and 2 competitors start together in 2 minute intervals.
In 2010, only one guy from my group showed up (Andrew Paul). We worked well together, but neither of us are strong climbers. I ended up 26th in Cat 5, clocking a time of 5:00 (the Cat 5 winner did it in 3:56 - to add some perspective.)

In 2011, the Stage Race was exactly the same format, and with me not being in omnium contention, I decided to skip the hill climb and rest for the following race.

This year, the format has changed to a general classification (overall time, not points), and they've moved the hill climb to be the first race. Much less chance of a DNS that way.

So, made it over there, and paired with Niklas' Bryon Howard and Bicisport Peter Swart.
I had 2 game plans going into this race.

First, I would try to ride at my max 4 minute pace, somewhere around 450 watts.
Second, if I was paired with a really fast guy, I would try to hang on as long as I could.

Right off the start, Peter takes off. Woah... Bryon and I are left in the dust, and it takes me about 10 seconds to catch his wheel. I'm thinking "yes! Got a fast guy in the group!"
The garmin is screaming numbers over 700W at me, and I have a sinking feeling like I should have followed my first plan, not the second one.
A couple switchbacks in, Bryon and I pass Peter. I'm hanging with Bryon for a couple turns, but as the grade gets steeper a funny thing happens.
My RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion - aka, how much it hurts) stayed the same (really high), but my watts started slipping down. I was bonking, hard.
Bryon slipped away and I could not respond. I'd cooked my legs too soon and had nothing left.

Rolled through the finish line in 4:15. Yes, 45 seconds faster than 2 years ago! Nonetheless, that served to land me a mid-pack 18th place in Cat 4. 25 seconds behind the winning time in Cat 4. (Michael Persson of Highwood pass ride 2 weeks ago crushed it, winning cat 5, coming in faster than the cat 4 winner!)

So, not surprised by my results, and not really disappointed with my time either, considering how much I've improved.
Here's the strava file with warmup and cooldown (note the big spike at the start of lap 2, 1150W max! First minute average was 583! Finished with an avg of 422W, so quite a drop at the end and thus lower overall than I'd hoped for.)

Road Race - 88 km

Speed Theory had a strong lineup in cat 4 for this race, including Isaac Beall and Peter Regier, both recently upgraded from Cat 5.
Not much of a game plan going in, except that I figured Peter and I would work to get Isaac the win.

This course consists of a 44km out and back loop, done twice. At the half way point of the lap, there is a very steep, often decisive climb.

The first lap was fairly inocuous, a little punchy on the rollers, then we got to the big hill and sure enough, pain cave...
I hung in, drifting down to around 15th at the top. I felt good at the top and soon began driving back to the front, thanks to some encouragement from Andrew R to shake some of the guys that barely made it up with the group.
Little did I know, Isaac had flatted at the bottom of the hill, and I was only making it harder for him to catch back on.
But, like the monster he is, he did regain contact, and shortly after the start of the 2nd lap, he was back near the front with me. Andrew R and Rob Leishman (APH) put in a valiant attack and we left them out there for a while. When I saw them ahead, working really well together and growing a gap, I realized that having a team of 5 and nobody in that break meant we should probably help pull it back in, especially since Andrew was 3rd in GC, only 1 second behind Isaac, so I surged to the front and initiated the catch. We caught them shortly before the hill, which was perfect.
2nd time up the "hill", it was a little slower though. I guess our group had shed a dozen guys or so along the way, but by now the group of 20 strong were not going to let anyone get away. 
Peter, Isaac and I were near the front, covering some surges.
A quick plan was born that Peter and I would lead the charge from about 10-5 k out, ensuring there were no late attacks or funny business.
I was hoping to wait until a bit later, like 1-2k so that I wouldn't lose too much GC time to my closest rivals, but around the 8k mark, a couple guys ahead of me all but performed a track stand in order to avoid doing any work at all. We had already been warned several times by the commissaires to speed it up, so I moved to the front and began the loooong leadout.
Pushed around 280-300 watts for a couple minutes, then Peter came around and took over.
We traded pulls, with Isaac nestled in safe behind.
Not a soul came up around us.
Final turn and the base of what Strava considers a category 3 climb to the finish, 3km from the line.
Peter passes me, but this time I am so roasted I cannot swing in behind him. The pack of 20 slowly pass me, and I latch on to the back.
The climb flattens a little 1km later, and with the tailwind and full draft I was able to recover a little, to my surprise, and even found myself moving up again.
Going up the last kicker and final 1km, I pass a few more guys.
Final sprint and although I'm spinning out with a cadence ~120, but passed a couple more guys, finishing 9th.

Pleased with the contribution and teamwork we showed today, and I'm surprised I still managed to muster a top 10 after all that. Didn't lose any time in GC, and a few of my competitors did.

Click here for part II

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 2012

My badge of honor - A reminder for me
NOT to try something so stupid again!
Well, what a great month for cycling in Alberta!
Historically, I seem to get in all my good mileage in during July, and this month was no exception.

Some highlights of this month include:

  • Stage Race in Canmore
  • Longest ride ever in Kananaskis - 171.59 km
  • Successful completion of Strava's Rapha Rising Challenge (7,032 meters elevation in 8 days!)
  • Broke records for distance, time, and elevation gain in a single month (as well as a best week)
  • One Wednesday Night Race, a 41.4 km ITT - in which I averaged an impressive (for me) 39.5 kmph. This would have smashed my pre-season goal of breaking the 1:02 mark for a 40k. 
  • A few more Strava KOMs, but also recruited a bunch more folks to strava - folks that will only serve to dethrone me soon enough...
Here are my stats for July:
  • Run: 4 runs, 34 kms, 3 hours (yup, only once a week)
  • Bike: 
    • 38 rides, 
    • 1,610 kms
    • 56.25 hrs, 
    • 13,595m elevation
Currently enjoying a well-earned taper week before the Alberta Cycling Super Week!!

This will contain Tour De Bowness (hill climb, road race, circuit race, criterium), Crankmaster's 20km ITT, and Jason Lapierre Memorial Stage Race (ITT, Crit, RR)... 8 races in 10 days, with general classifications prizes available for each weekend and for all 8 events! The best part is, it's all around Calgary!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

RMCC Road Rage Stage Race, Canmore, AB

This report will be quite lame, not only because of my mediocre results, but because in a fit of sleep deprivation I accidentally deleted a full report I had written up right after the race!

Pre-rode the course and had high hopes for a good result in this course; basically a 4.25 km time trial along a rolling bike path in Canmore! Didn't pan out that well, I realized within a kilometre that my legs were not feeling very snappy. I think I started too hard, reeled back considerably, then turned it up in the 2nd half.
Ended up 16th.

Very fast paced. 8 corners, most of them tight, limited the opportunities to pass and move up.
I avoided the crash leading up to the prime lap by staying near the front.
Not near enough for the final lap and ended up boxed out going into the final sprint. Managed to surge past a couple guys for 11th place. Big crash after the finish line which tangled me up a bit, hitting the crash wall, again. Just a couple scratches, nothing serious.

Road Race:
Very hilly course, from Canmore nordic centre. Included 4 laps of out and back. Total distance was about 70k. My goal going in was to just hang on as long as I could and hoped to finish in chase group.
Ended up hanging to the lead pack of 11 right up to the very end. As the final accelleration began up the last climb I could not match it. Sprinted past one guy, had one guy sprint past me right before the line (didn't even know he was there). Finished 10th.

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 2012

This month featured a lot of racing. Despite this, my overall volume remained consistent with previous months (see below).The month included the following races:
  • Wednesday Night Series
    • Mercx-style 16km ITT - finished a respectable 8th in Category A field containing some very good racers.
    • 2-up Sprints - somewhat reeling from Banff, and largely due to disastrous sense of timing and focus, the evening only salvaged by a decent post-race ride with Mike and Isaac B.
    • Giro-style RR - 32.4 kms, 4 category 4 climbs, 600m of climbing - 'nuff said! Not my favorite race, but can't argue with the training benefit of hanging on as long as I can to the Evan Bayer train up 5-10% loong climbs...
  • Underwear Affair 10k Run - Official time 41:42.4. Good enough for 8th across the line.
  • ABA
    • Banff Bike Fest - Great prep work leading up to the event, solid result in the prologue, weak ITT, and abundance of power in the crit, despite the unfortunate involvement in 2 crashes.
    • Devon GP - A week after Banff, and just days after discovering I had been upgraded to cat 4, my form felt great and placed 5th and 4th on consecutive days.
Next month, there will only be one weekend of ABA races, the RMCC Road Rage SR, July 14-15 in Canmore. It features a 5km prologue along the ski-roller path (think hilly bike path), a downtown crit, and a road race.I'll train through these races in order to attempt a second peak during the Alberta Cycling Super Week in August.

  • Run: 10 runs, 80 kms, 6:50 hrs (most volume of runs recorded in garmin connect over the last 13 months)
  • Bike: 34 rides, 982 kms (+1 trainer ride), 39:40 hrs

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Devon Grand Prix

Saturday, June 23rd - Provincial Criterium

After a weak performance in this past Wednesday's sprint contest, I was re-evaluating my rider profile.
Nonetheless, the weekend free'd up, and Mike and I headed up to Devon, Alberta (near Edmonton) for a a couple races in our new respective categories.

With little expectations, other than as Mike put it, "don't embarrass myself," we were quite cool and relaxed as we prepared for the races. I would also be the lone Speed Theorist in cat 4 on this day.

Cat 3 - pre-race
The cat 5's went out first, and Peter and Alan rocked it, the former getting the silver medal!
It was quite hot and nary a cloud in the sky as I rolled up to the start line. This was a points race, in that were to ride 25 laps in cat 4, with every 5th lap being a "prime" lap, or intermediate sprint lap.
First one across gets 5 pts, second gets 3, third gets 2 and 4th and 5th get 1 each. For the final lap, the points and spread are doubled, so first is 10 pts, etc.

I knew of a couple guys in the group that were pretty fast, and I figured everyone would go for the very first prime, so I deliberately left that one alone. Sure enough I end up at the back for that 100m, but then everyone was gassed so I moved back up near the front.
The next two I made sure to get either 4th or 5th. Would've like more, trust me, but those top 3 guys were really quick so I was really just sprinting for the single points, hoping that might pay off in the end.
On the final lap, I made my way up nicely and ended up 5th in the final sprint. With my prime points, I ended up in 5th overall too!
Marc with silver medal and the cupcake!
Quite pleased with that effort as I was able to hang on even get some decent upgrade points in my first cat 4 race!
Oh, and I had a blast. That format made it so exciting to race in. Never any real slowing of the pace, at least not for very long. After each sprint, there would be attacks too by the guys that didn't contest the sprints. I even did one!

The cat 3's ripped it up superbly. Waldhuber, Marc Enter and Dave Holmes all executed perfect team strategies, and came just 2 points short of the gold medal for Marc (see finish video)!

Sunday, June 24th - 97km Road Race

Feeling good after the crit, but a bit nervous about a supposed "selective" hill on this long road race.
Again, the sun was out and it was warming up, so would I have enough fluids?
I brought 2 bottles of mix, 2 gels, and ate a honey stinger waffle at the start line. Ironically, I would later get stung by a wasp or something, 20k from the finish!

The cat 4 course featured an out and back, with a deep valley about 30km in.
Going out, it was all smiles and laughs in the peloton. An ERTC rider took off very early, and the other teams were content to leave him out there to cook. Being the only ST again, I sure as heck wasn't going to sacrifice myself to bring him in.

At the valley, we descended quickly and emerged in one piece, and it remained fairly calm for the remainder of the first half and back to the valley, as the cross winds were starting to pick up.

Down into the valley on the return and back up, it was yours truly leading up the steep bank to the top.
Unfortunately, the top was not really the top... it was also the beginning of a looong stretch of road that kept inclining. And that's when ERTC's teammate decided to try and bridge up as we could now see the runaway.
Honey Stinger! Pulled 
this baby out of my sternum 
Sunday evening!
That caused a spring in the peloton, and I soon found myself, head down, last bike in a group of 3, 2 bike lengths ahead of them to another group... I dug and dug not only hang on, but try to bridge to the group(s) ahead. Finally near the top I slowed again, and a selection of 10 persisted, including me!

The slowing didn't last long, as attack after attack occured. First RMCC, then PRW, then ERTC. Rinse repeat.
I rode anywhere from 1st to 4th wheel for much of it, covering many of the attacks myself, and letting a few go through, latching on to the tail of the group then moving back to the front.
After what seemed like a dozen or so of these assaults, we settled into the headwind at a leisurely sunday pace. A few castaways even reattached to us, such that we were almost completely intact for the finish.

On the final turn, we passed the 1000m sign. I'm sitting in the 2nd row, riding 3 abreast. ERTC in front of me is looking frisky... Juventus star Burtnik next to me is too.
800m and bang! Off they go... seems too far, into a headwind... PRW Dave (giant of a man) comes plowing to the left of me, bumping me a couple times (good guy though, worked his ass off in this race!). The contact sets me back just a smidgen, and I've now lost contact with the wheel in front of me. Craaap... still, it's a long ways to go. I go to the suitcase of pain or whatever, again. Hard dig and catch up to guys. Then pass them. I knew they went too soon. 100m to go and I give one more kick.

Crossed the line and don't see too many guys in front of me, so I'm quite pleased. Ended up coming in 4th, so not only do I get another good chunk of upgrade points, but I get a whopping $40 prize!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Banff Bike Fest 2012

Surprise Corner Prologue - Thursday, June 14th

Described this one before, but essentially a 1.5km time trial, featuring 61m of climbing, peaking at 13% near the finish.

As usual, it was raining that afternoon, although much less than the years past. In fact, during our warmup and race, it was actually dry and even sunny!

Drove out to Banff with teammates Peter Regier and Steve Pickett, and after getting checked in and a light feeding (1/4 of a Tuna sub), we warmed up.
Pre-rode the race course, and maybe it's because I wasn't warmed up yet, but it felt painful going up it. Spun for a bit on the trainer right before in order to get the legs ready with some high cadence.

Then off we went. First sign of trouble was that I've come to realize that my Fulcrum race wheels, or rather the cassette on them, is not the same width as my commuting wheels. See my Velocity RR report for more details, and I never really tuned it since. Noticed a couple of "sticky" gears during the warmup ride, but decided it was better to leave it somewhat off, then risk making it worse right before the race.

2nd sign of trouble was the weigh in. Now, I have no delusions about the fact that I am at a competitive disadvantage on races involving elevation increases, due to my aluminum 58" frame and mid-range componentry, but it's never fun to see that 8.2kg on the scale (minimum weight allowance is 6.7kg, and there are plenty of bikes that are under that weight and forced to add things to make the minimum.)  Add that to my weight, which is probably 10kg more than the guys like Mike W and Darryl that I train with, and I can be assured I'm going to need a helluva lot more watts to get up those climbs.

Nonetheless, I had an open mind going into the race, as I do with all of them. I saw the field size was pretty small at 22 (small for an ABA race, but more than each of the last two years.) RMCC had 5 or 6 guys representing, which is always worrisome because these are guys that live in that high altitude (Canmore), are often involved in a winter sport at a very competitive level (biathlon, nordic skiing), and can rip it up those climbs.

My training for this event consisted of 2 parts. The first is 100% thanks to WKO+ software, in that it has helped me define my power profile, and allow me to measure my 1 min and 5 min max power efforts throughout my training. In fact, I can see my max power for ANY duration, and work on improving that.
Much of my winter training centered around the 5min max.

The 2nd part of my preparation was in the past week and a half, I've reduced my volume, and added some high intensity, power climb workouts. For that, I will thank Strava! There are now about a dozen segments in South Calgary with which I can explode on, test different pacing strategies, etc.
Managed to get 3 KOMs back in the 2 or 3 workouts leading up to the prologue, which also didn't hurt building up some confidence!

Anyway, the race... 30 second start intervals meant there was little chance of getting caught, or catching anyone else, on such a short distance, which means you really just have to do your own race.
I found a garmin report from D. Ashley Myers online from last year, and unlike my previous strategy of conserving some energy during the first 600m false flat, he hammered it!
So I was going to try this. I set out really fast; averaged about 42 kmph until just after the first turn. Quarq crapped out for some reason, but it would show a strong push at first, followed by a slight recovery where the road dips down right before the turn. Then wall. 2nd half average speed was ~20, with a minimum in the middle around 14! I felt like I was going to stall at that point, shifting down furiously (luckily no derailleur problems). Hit the last part of the climb and saw my clock at 2:00. Could it be? That re-energized me, and I turned myself inside out to the finish, heart and legs about to explode! Crossed the finish line and my clock said 2:50-something. Strava and the ABA clock gave me 3:00 and 3:01.66 respectively.

I was quite pleased with the clock, despite feeling like I totally bonked on the steepest part of the climb. My time was 40 seconds faster than last year! Some of that was undoubtedly a tail wind on the first part. Also, I went with my aero helmet this year for the first time.
Went down to await the results... couldn't believe it.. 3rd! Podium! Upgrade points! In fact, that gave me 12 pts, which coincidentally is what I needed to upgrade to cat 4! Wow, finally.
Amusingly, Steve finished 4th and Peter 5th, so we all came away with some precious ABA points!
Will continue to race cat 5 for this event, but with no pressure for points.

[EDIT] Due to some technical glitch the rightful owner of 3rd place was categorized as cat 4. Bumped me down to 4th so still have a bit of work to do! [/EDIT]

You can see where I rank with other riders of past and present:

Banff Bike Fest - ITT - Saturday, June 16th

Pre-rode the course the night before. I was feeling pretty good about it. Rode the hills pretty easy felt good on the Orbea. Looked at some past year's results, and I figured in order to get top 8 (and thus get my
precious upgrade points) I'd need a sub-33 minute ride, and having speed at 39-40 kmph would ensure top 5.

After a 4th consecutive restless sleep, awoke bright and early Saturday morning (although not as early as the day-trip folks!) 8:08:00 start time. Teammate (and office neighbour) Rob Wooley was to be my 30' man, but was a no-show.
Warmed up on the trainer for about 30 minutes, then borrowed some sweet Reynolds wheels from Trev exactly 5 minutes before the race start, and headed over to the start line.

At the gun, I realized I'd forgotten to down-shift and was stuck a huge gear. I burned a match right out the gate trying to get up to speed quickly. I think I topped out at 1100 Watts!
Nice tailwind heading out of Banff, but I went out too hard.
Got to the gate (2km) and my average watts were still over 400!
Dialed it down a bit, but I still really hurt by the time I reached that first big climb.
Saw my 1:00 man from RMCC up the road and closing in quickly. He managed to hold me off until the last 4 kms though, as I flip-flopped a bit with the climbs up to Minnewanka.

On the descent, the headwinds were gusty in places, and I had a few moments where I was blown sideways and focused to stay upright.
Past RMCC guy at the gates on the way back into Banff, and kept looking at my speedometer. 38.7, 38.8, 38.9... Clawing my speed up in the last couple of flat kms.

Flew through the finish line and was content with a time of 32:28.
Initial results came up and had me at 11th place, but that has since been updated to 8th. A few guys got penalties for late starts.

Crit next! If the results hold up and I get my last 2 damn points, I'm going to play the teammate and bust it at the front, even leadout. Try to get guys like Peter and Steve some more points.
Maybe go for the prime.

Here is a quick comparison of my performance on the ITT in the past 3 years:

Official Time34:1234:5532:28
Avg Speed36.836.339.0
Avg HR-174172
Avg Power-257283

Criterium - Saturday, June 16th

WTF... no way I would have predicted it to go down this way.
First off, the course was totally different than the past two years, no longer including the 180 degree hairpin turn. But it was very windy still (see ITT report above), which would hopefully cause some havoc on the pack.

After an ample warmup, Speed Theory lined up nicely in the first 2 rows. Off we went, sitting close and together for the first couple of laps, then, crash, right in front of me. I brake to avoid going over, someone clips my back tire, more skids, then more crashes. Carbon crunching and moans behind me. Sensing blood, the front accellerated. I dodged and weaved to stay in contact. Thankfully, there were still around 30 guys left in front, although various in packs of 5-8. I spent the next 10 minutes or so moving up about 5 spots each lap. Bridging groups ahead of me, steadily progressing.
About the halfway mark I could see only a handful of guys between me and the lead motorcycle... finally!
By now, we had lapped many guys, and the side of the road looked like a charity ride, with folks nonchalantly chattin away, 2 or 3 abreast.
At this point, I was sitting very comfortably in about 4th or 5th wheel. Recovering nicely, and thinking to myself I really have a chance for glory today.
Great shot by Perdomo!
A few laps later, on one of the tighter turns, some of those lapped guys were a little encroaching in the road. The guy in front of me made a dramatic evasive maneuver which forced me to slam on my brakes mid turn. I saw the crash pad on the fence and ensured that when I slammed into it that I stayed upright, even clipped in still. Nonetheless, I went from 40 to 0 nearly instantaneously, and the 4 guys in front of me didn't. By the time I rounded the corner they were pretty much out of sight.
I did spot an RMCC guy (Murray Oshanyk) and we took turns pulling for a few laps, until I spotted Steve P and another ST, Chuck dangling up ahead. I upped the pace and told them to hang on.
With 2 or 3 laps to go, I kept the steam up strong. Going into the final lap, RMCC guy attacked with 2 corners to go, but Steve vaulted past him to take the coveted 8th spot. I finished just behind RMCC in 10th.
The results website has been rather flakey, so I can't be certain of any of my placings from yesterday.
To make matters worse, I forgot to start my garmin for the Crit, so no power data to work with!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WNS - 16km Mercx TT

Man vs. Road
Tonight was a 16km time trial, near Cochrane. Except this week, no time trial bike, no aero helmet, no disk wheels, shoe covers. Mercx-style, baby!

Here is a link to the race deets.

As you can see from the photo on the left, I would have a rocky start. After a dismal day including thunderstorm warning in Cochrane, with large hail, it cleared up mostly right on time. After an adequate warmup, I went to roll out to the start line, going about 0.5 km/hr. Not sure if it was congested, or gusty, but all of a sudden I tipped right over to my left side, and sure enough, as tough as those pedals are to clip in, they are equally hard to clip out of. BAM.
Oh, now get back on and roll to the start line!

Course starts with about 8km of pure, unadulterated, unrelenting headwind (26kmph with stronger gusts). Blood was dripping from my finger too, I must have cut it going down and the pressure on the handle bar was making it come out hard.

Passed Mark, my 1 min man about 4k in, and was gaining time on Walter, my 30 sec man, steadily.
Mike, 30 sec behind me, had not yet caught me. I looked back and saw someone closing in just before the turn. Then I was suprised to find out it was Karel B, not Mike. He was 1 min behind Mike!

Made the turn, and finally some relief. Downhills, great tailwinds. I saw Mike right before the turn, and managed to build a bit on my gap during the descents. I knew the final 500m contained a pretty serious climb though, so I just wanted to hold him off till then.
No sooner had I caught Walter but Mike caught me. I managed to stick pretty close to Mike as we crossed the line.

Looking at unofficial results on Strava, Karel and Isaac both schooled me, and it sounded like my Velocity pal Evan Bayer made them look like pylons!

I'd blame the leg scrape, but the fact that I held Mike to just over 30s is not too bad.

Overall I felt pretty good at the start, and that long straight, slightly rising with some rollers and nasty headwind really felt painful.

Results are here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Underwear Affair 10k Run

Team Bunstock
Wow, 3rd post in about 3 days! 2 races plus month end, within days of each other!

So, the ante was set, the chips were in, and now the deal.
The Underwear Affair, 10k run, 5k walk, in support of cancers below the waist. Historically features some crazy costumes and general merriness.
Of course, while running and raising money for charity is all well and good, it wouldn't be complete without a little competition.
A gentleman at my work, Dustin, was also doing this event. His fitness background currently involves crossfit, and somehow it became a cyclist vs. crossfit thing. The loser was to pay $50 to the winner's charity page for this event, as well as treat said winner to a beer after the race.

While I was extremely confident (maybe a bit cocky?) leading up to the race, I had a moment of self-doubt on Thursday, when, after a laboured and slow run at lunch, I realized it had been 2 weeks since my previous run, and only the 3rd run all month. All my efforts have been put into cycling miles, so it's not like I was fresh either!
In fact, following my race on Wednesday, I put in 5.5 hours of cardio on Thursday and Friday. Much of it was at recovery pace mind you, but when I awoke this morning, I sure didn't feel recovered.

So, we mustered at Max Bell arena, and after a day filled with clouds and at times heavy rain, we pleasantly encountered a gorgeous afternoon! So instead of staying inside and maybe hydrating or resting we all stood outside in the sun, basking!
I think we were out there for nearly an hour and half before we corralled back inside for the start.
Yes, bizarrely, the start/finish line for the race was actually inside the arena. Damn, that is gonna f*** up my garmin is the first thing I thought.

Sure enough it did. No matter, we all gathered right close to the front for the start, and Melissa tunnelled her way through the crowd immediately. Darryl and I did our best to side step the masses, and after the first km it thinned out enough on the pathway toward the zoo that you could easily run at your own pace.

I took it conservatively for the first half, ready to pounce if Dustin caught up and passed me. I was sticking to my target average pace of 4:30s comfortably. (the previous Thursday I averaged nearly 5:00 kms, so I didn't want to go out too hard today). So funny, seeing the guys at the 2km mark stopping and gasping. Dude, you really thought you could sprint a 10k race?!

There was a decent headwind going out and I felt I could really turn it up on the return, so after the turnaround and dialed it up to ~4:00 kms. Saw Dustin way behind, knew Darryl was in the top 5 and I wasn't terribly far behind. Started passing more guys like they were going backward. Amazing what a difference that 30sec pace change makes!
At the end of the zoo, I caught a guy with a fake ass on his shorts and a name tag like pedro or something. He was running pretty good and him and I took turns running in front. We approached the overpass on Deerfoot and saw a couple guys up ahead, looking pained. Told ourselves we'd reel them in. Sure enough, as the elevation dialed up, these guys collapsed.
Pedro passed me early on the final climb and it took a lot just to keep him within 10 feet. Halfway up a camera man ran down and followed us for about 50m. Nearing the top of the climb, I caught Pedro and blasted past him. I thought the finish was right there, but turns out we had to run all the way around Max Bell. Legs were fried and screaming but I was NOT going to let Pedro pass me at the end...

Held him off and nearly took out some girl at the finish line (walker?)

Strava time says 41:29. Garmin says 41:15. It also missed the first 400m, so I don't know.
Results posted at the arena had me at 14th place, but it also showed 3 girls beating me and I know for a fact there were none ahead running, because I passed the 2 girls that got trophies for 1st and 2nd.
So, I'd like to think I came in 10th or 11th... not bad, there were something like 900 people registered, half of which were just walking the 5k.
I guess they'll post the official results soon, but I have my doubts about the accuracy. Weird since they used a chip system.

Oh well, still had a blast and was pretty impressed with my run despite my lack of preparation for this race!

[EDIT] Official Results seem to be a bit of a problem for this event. They do finally have them posted, but there is something very wrong between chip start time and weird finish times, as well as a couple of women injected to 1st and 2nd place that shouldn't be there.

I took those 2 outliers out, grabbed the top 20 men and women and sorted by finish (gun) time, which looks ok for that sample, and here is how that top 20 looks (probably can subtract 3 minutes from the actual times posted though):
  1. Steven, Griffith-Coc    37:48.60
  2. Jason, Dyck 41:08.00
  3. Alex, Harmer    41:10.30
  4. Darryl, Penner  41:41.50
  5. Greg, Medwid    41:54.80
  6. Brad, Bevill    44:05.30
  7. Mark, Staples   44:34.20
  8. Reinier, Paauwe 44:46.00
  9. Terry, Arsenault    44:58.30
  10. Patrick, Zeiler 45:10.90
  11. Shay, Dodds 45:18.10
  12. Scott, Rose 45:33.10
  13. Andrea, Rice    45:57.50
  14. Henrik, Pedersen    46:14.80
  15. Peter, Walls    46:19.90
  16. Melissa, Currie 46:23.30
  17. Adelino, Tanedo 47:15.70
  18. Clayten, Wenaas 47:16.60
  19. chad, bailey    47:22.20
  20. Kevin, Murphy   47:35.60

Friday, June 1, 2012

May 2012

This month began with a business trip to Seattle, where I got in many hours of hill walking (from hotel to office/back), my first ever spin class in the hotel, and became reacquainted with Strava by a cycling colleague of mine.

For anyone that doesn't know about Strava yet, you will soon. This is quickly becoming the facebook for cyclists & runners. I reviewed this site about a year and a half ago, right before switching from MapMyRide to Garmin Connect, but found the site to be underdeveloped and the "upgrade" features didn't really entice me either; features I found for free on other sites.
Then again I looked at it last fall. I noticed they had this feature called segments, and a leaderboard on those segments, but it didn't appear there was any usage happening in Canada, and I couldn't really tell how those segments were created (or did they pre-exist?)
Then in Seattle my colleague showed me his recent ride, and how he achieved 4th overall on a particular hill during his commute to work. We did a quick scan of Calgary, and found about 3 or 4 in the city, with a couple more just on the outskirts. Ok, now I could see some value in it.

I went home and immediately uploaded my garmin's previous month data to it. Still not much doing, except that I "followed" my friend from Seattle, and everytime he logged a ride, it would appear on my dashboard. Ok, that's pretty cool too. Compared with Garmin Connect's terrible Explore feature, where you have to know the exact username and location within a certain range in order to find their workouts, this was way more usable.

There still weren't many segments created, and certainly none by any of my various commutes. So I began creating them. And I invited my riding friends. Then my work friends. They in turn invited other friends.
You can comment on other people's rides (or runs). It tracks your personal best times in running distances and riding segments. Segments are merely sections of road that you can isolate on your map, and whenever anyone rides that exact (or nearly exact) route, they essentially take part in that segment. Their name goes on the leaderboard for that segment.
If you have the fastest time, you are crowned the King of the Mountain (KOM)! There is no greater honour!

Now, everytime we ride to work, on any route, we are thinking about these segments. They are often hills, or long sections of contiguous road, and at times it's made it difficult to stick to recovery pace when your competitive juices are flowing!

Nonetheless, I think it's a brilliant idea. Now you don't need a multi-thousand dollar bike, spandex body suit,  racing license, collarbone-cracking-cat-5 mass start road race pileups to get your racing fix on!
You don't need to wait 9 months, drive to Edmonton, race for an hour, drive back, wait another month or two.
Find a segment near you and hammer it!!
I've personally witnessed 2 of my friends mention that they now are thinking about buying faster bikes so they can go for those KOMs, and that they are learning to appreciate how fast some of us can really hit those hills!

Anyway, enough about Strava. Here is a link to my page, follow me if you don't already.

After Seattle, I was home for one night, then Mike W and I drove up to Edmonton for Velocity.
Needless to say, I was rather disappointed with my results despite feeling that my fitness has vastly improved. I also attended all but one of the Wednesday Night Series races.

Suffered some sort of minor injury during the road race 2 weeks ago and have resorted to endurance and occasional tempo rides for about a week after, concluding with the 2-man TTT this week.
Gladly, I'm feeling better, even managed to move the chains on my 1-min max power to 593 last night on the ride home, taking the Cranston hill KOM! Next week I'll resume working on my 10-20 second sprints as I start reducing volume before Banff Bike Fest.

Here are my May stats:
  • Run: 3 runs, 23 kms, 2h... weaksauce!
  • Bike: 39 rides, 1,250 kms, 44h, 7,975 m elevation.
Other notables:
  • Achieved 3 of my 4 pre-season targets (CP1 > 7.7, CP5 >4, FTP > 275W) - CP means critical power, at the number of minutes post-pended to it, so CP5 means the maximum amount of effort you can perform in 5 minutes, measured in watts/kilograms. FTP is Functional Threshold Power, which is essentially CP60, and often used by endurance athletes as a benchmark. In this case I targeted a specific value as I was not interested in losing weight to achieve that value.
  • Only one remaining since December is to break the 1200W marker. I have come close, and I'm confident that I can hit that with a bit more specific training this summer.
  • Other goals that I've added unofficially mid-season are a) Improve my 10 and 20 second power such that my fatigue profile is less steep, and b) improve my zone 4 to zone 5 power - I seem to do really well if I can sprint out of zone 3 or below, but have a hard time going from 500W to 1000W. I haven't really quantified these goals for this year, but I will for sure for next season, I just know I need to improve in those areas (as well as the existing areas.)

Next up, Underwear Affair 10k running race tomorrow! Sure it's a charity run, but in this case, there's pride, dollars, and pride on the line...