Thursday, June 25, 2009
It was pretty much like old times....had to leave Saturday at 10am, do a 3.5 hour drive, a pre-ride, stay in a crummy motel, and race on Sunday.
I can't say things went to plan...
1) I borrowed a guy's floor pump in the parking lot and put in 32psi ...which is normally perfect for me; however, I was being bashed around like crazy. It was way too high.....so being me, I waited until I was half-way down a 15 minute downhill to do something about it (because I was going nuts). I got off the bike, leaned over the front wheel to open the valve and my forearm pressed against the brake rotor. I managed to nicely scald myself. It actually looks pretty cool now because you can literally see the rotor design burned into my arm in dark red.
2) Following the burning, I continued down the fast downhill. A few minutes later, a wallaby hopped across the trail causing me to lock-up and swerve and eventually end up in the rhubarb. I wasn't hurt, but I bent my derailleur hanger and my shifting was pretty f'd. (with about an hour left to ride)
...point "2" actually made my whole weekend. Sure, the bike was broken, but how often in life does a mtb'r crash because of a wallaby! ...and, there was no way I was going to hit it because it may have started boxing me. Surprisingly, spotting a wallaby in the wild in NZ would be about as rare as spotting a bear in Gatineau. Sure, they are there…but seeing one on a ride doesn’t happen very often.
..overall, of the "Masters" riders I came in 3rd. (which is pretty decent because there were about 40 of us) Ironically, I finished the race with another guy on a 'niner. (not the same model we have though....and naturally, he was a single-speeder...man, I'm useless in single-track these days)
That's about as exciting as it gets for me. It's quite cold right now in Auckland so I'm looking forward to summer in O-town.
Anything new with you?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
yes that is snow building up on our arms
Monday, June 8, 2009
My dad committed to doing the OBC's Rideau Lakes Tour for the first time back in the winter. Getting back into riding after years off the bike, he was to take on two consecutive days of riding that far exceeded any distances he'd ridden before. I decided to set the Sunday aside for an out and back interception ride; we'd ride his last 100k or so together.
Jamie's computer shows he got over 200k. I've come close many times, but have yet to get there. I think I've been shy by a few ks a few times. Just a silly thing, but I had hoped to get the digits on Sunday. Ah well, I think I'll have to wait until our next Dam/n ride!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Albion Hills -- Ontario Cup #2
I usually really like racing here -- fast, smooth and flowing -- a real race course and nice counterbalance to Quebec's rocky wet courses. Especially early in the season. That's why I wasn't happy to see rain and huge mudbogs at Albion this year. The smooth, fast doubletrack had some unrideable sections that really took the life out of my legs... I slogged in for fourth place in the Old Man Expert race. My girl Trish pulled off a 6th place in the Elite race for her first real mountain bike ride of the year -- not bad at all! Anna is continuing to learn the ropes of Elite racing and finished satisfied. Neil had the ride of the weekend with 12th in the Elite Men race. After breaking his ankle last winter he likely had some fitness doubts that were put to rest after Albion. Good job.
Syracuse Road Race
Trish's road team were competing in this two day (three stage)race so I decided to tag along and race the final day's big road race. My ambitions for the race were pretty low: make all the splits and be there to contest the finish. Mission accomplished. This actually turned out to be a satisfying accomplishment as the course was very hilly (including a 1.2km uphill drag to the finish) and windy. I completely bungled the uphill slow motion sprint and finished 6th. By that point the climbs had reduced the "peloton" to 8 survivors so I was glad to be there. Trish's team dominated the women's event and she finished 2nd overall to her teammate Sue.
Mont Tremblant Canada Cup
This is one of my favourite races of the year. The complete opposite of something like Albion Hills: significant climbing and some seriously insane descending. This has been an odd season though and this year the Tremblant race was (gasp!) dry! Still the opposite of Albion Hills, but in an opposite way -- confused yet? Either way, rocks, roots, a bit of mud, bridge structures, cobbles(!) and the always competitive Quebec racers always make this a memorable one. It's the kind of course that can either leave you with a really satisfying feeling of accomplishment or a lot of self doubt. This year I left happy! Third place behind the ubiquitous Jon Barnes of O-Cup fame.
In years past I really used to dread this course -- the sloppy rock strewn descents were just too much. The last couple of years I've had personal best results there and I (seriously!) attribute it to my bike. The big green Niner hardtail with a 100mm Fox F29 is absolutely perfect for this kind of racing. Light and fast for the climbs but also extremely stable descending. A couple of years ago I switched from a 29er to a 4" travel 26" wheeled full suspension race bike. I really did have Tremblant/Fortune in mind when making the switch. I figured the rear suspension would make me a descending star. Not at all. Getting the Niner with a longer travel fork, Avid Ultimate brakes, XO/XTR drivetrain and Stan's wheels was like a revelation. I can't think of a bike I'd trade this thing for.
Okay, I'm officially hogging the blog now...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Matt and I had been hankering to get back to the Hastings Highlands since doing our second Hastings Hilly Hundred race last fall. The riding is spectacularly scenic, quiet and tough. Plenty of double digit steepness, with the steepest touching 20% in spots.
So we tried to rally the troops to come on back to Jacques house for a sleep and ride, and many expressed interest, but when the day came Steve was our sole wind buddy.
So off we drive to Jacques, via the scenic route.
Truly unbelievable views on the way up via Renfrew, Dacre, Foymount, Quadeville, Palmer's Rapids, and Combermere.
Arrive at Jacques just as the sun is setting, and unload. It's always a treat to get to enjoy Jacques and Adriennes hospitality at Stone Wall Farm. We are truly blessed to have such a welcoming host and hostess who so patiently open their retreat to a rotating crew of cyclists and cross country skiers. Thanks you two!
So we say our hello's, look over the bikes, admire Jacques tractor, layout clothes for tomorrow, have a snack and to bed by eleven(ish). Weather looked to be cool but sunny next day, chance of precipitation in the afternoon. Less than 1 mm they said (HA! says I)
Roll out after a hearty breakfast at 8ish, promptly plummet down two steep descents.
(which we would rue on the return trip), and hung a right on Siberia Rd.
Familiar terrain, we entered the Hastings route half way up one of the longer sustained climbs on the course, and immediately started warming up. Climbing up to where the checkpoint was last year, and then plummeted down Centreview Rd. to the highway. A short stint on the highway, a left onto Boulter and we were riding some very nice road. Rolling, some short steep pitches, always plummeting off the backside. No traffic, and those that did pass gave us plenty of room. Always a wave too.
Jacques left us as he had an appointment with a Rototiller, and pointed us on our way.
Unfortunately, it was the wrong way, but thankfully we noticed after only 3 or 4 km, when we came to a T that wasn't supposed to be there.
Puzzled and looking at our map a kind soul in a pickup helped us get back on track.
Some dark clouds had spun in, and suddenly it was blowing quite a bit more, and some rain and hey what's that? Snow! And it was.
Unfortunately, I don't have photographic evidence of the snowstorm that hit us, but Steve does, and just as soon as he gets back from San Fran, I'll show ya. (edit ha see there they are!). So snow hail, rain and wind for about 45 minutes to an hour on and off. If it wasn't so miserable it would have been spectacular. I do remember one instance when we all looked to our right, with the wind off our right shoulder, curtains of snow were dancing across an open pasture, in waving sheets. Truly a sight. Unfortunately, we were under dressed, thin gloves (i had brought my short fingered gloves in my jacket in anticipation of warmer temps.) Such a fool. But I was wearing wool to the skin, on top, knickers and ski socks down below, so really only my hands truly suffered.
At any rate, we all got thoroughly soaked. And covered in snow. Then the wind picked up (!) and the sun came out. The temperatures never rose much though. Made for a chilly ride. Uphills were a dream, downhills were to be dreaded.
We made it home, 130 km covered, 1900 m or so climbed, and only needed to stop once due to uncontrollable shivering. Not bad I'd say. The rest of the ride was beautiful.
Hard, but beautiful. Remember those steep descents we had at the start of the ride.
Hope Steve will still be our friend.
More pics here