Thursday, December 4, 2014

TBT Summer Solstice


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Monstercross Winter Update

After months of use and with winter pretty much here it is time to take a little look at the Monstercross and see what changes have been made. As well as what has been going on.


There have not been a lot of significant upgrades as I am under orders for Forced Fiscal Restraint from my financial department with some jobs changes this year. One change was the saddle with a find of a old school Ritchey Logic at my local Value Village for a whopping $3.99. Which funnily enough has been a incredibly comfortable saddle. And I am not picky when it comes to saddles.

Value Village Saddle


Gearing wise only change was to go to a 38/48 chain ring combo as I found the 32/42 that came with the cranks was anemic at best. And left me wanting in the gearing options. I mean it gets frustrating when riding 700x52 knobby tires to max out a 42 on gravel roads.


Bigger Rings Better


 
One interesting and very positive development in this Monstercross learning curve was discovering something about 29er rims. This discovery was that 700x35c tires will fit the rims no problem. This is great as I am a Dirtbag and this is positive as I can mount smaller tires on 29er rims and don't need to buy other rims. Which means I can use the same wheels on the 29er as the Monstercrosser. Winning.

Tiny tire.
 

And this tire discovery was beneficial as my club Lapdogs had their annual Tour De Caffeine. About a 160km ride with stops at certain coffee shops on the route.

Not much in the way of upgrades this year as money has been an issue this year. But hopefully over the winter will be able to make some other upgrades. One being the brake levers as they are a bit worn out over the years. SO hopefully a set of Gevenalle in the future.

Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 Paul's Dirty Enduro

After last years first ever endurance DNF at the 2013 Paul's Mud Bog  and when I say that in 20 years of endurance sport have never done that. As you read in the link it left a bad taste and as shown this year doubts for that distance. The 2015 Plan for Paul's created in the lead up to the 2014 edition.

 Add in that this year has not been great for coming up with a plan...getting side tracked by Joely's contract not being renewed. Hard to have a plan when you have no idea where your family will live or what will happen. Thank fully RMC reached out and it seemed that some planning might take place. But alas not to be that easy as Joely was diagnosed with a DVT and again was not able to do much but ride.

So by race morning the goal was to simply get the distance and get a result. And with that in mind was aware that in my first Paul's in 2009 my knees started to seize about 10k out from the finish. So made sure to drop the gearing to easier as I tend to muscle it to much on the climbs. And in the week prior to the Saturday had been trying to get as much of my electrolyte drink in as possible. Trying to get my muscle cells to absorb as much water as they could. As through previous trials doing that has decreased cramps.

On race morning went to the line for the 60k with the goal as I said of getting the result. As I wanted to have a positive result at Paul's. The weather was good and not as hot as the 2009 60k. 

 The first 30k was good and enjoyed the log overs. I would say no issues but I would be lying as did have one minor issue on a wide double track  after some tight twisty fun stuff. A gentleman with a great engine but was having a hard time on the tech seemed to take offense of being passed. As he actually tried to pass by riding right into me on the double track. Full bar contact and only made a direction change after getting a good left elbow. Wonder if he got a time deduction on his Strava KOM for that section?

 Other then that it was a good first 30k. Was smooth and trying to flow as much as possible. Some where between there and the 35k point aid station bounced of a tree on my left side while doing a pass of a stopped rider on a tech section. Thought nothing of it till about 20 minutes later when I noticed some cramping in my tricep. No big deal at the time but looking back now it was the beginning of the fight.

After the 35k aid station had noticed my legs where tight and guessing about 3-4k past the aid station legs started cramping. No big deal I thought as have dealt with this before. Well, that didn't last for long. As this became pretty much a 25k fight with cramping inner quads which brought any sort of pace to a steadily getting slower ride.  Couldn't pedal up hills as the inner quads would cramp. Sometimes simply had to walk pushing the bike till they past. And the closer I got to the finish the worst it got. At least I knew the old school lifters trick....punch the area in question. Which works to a point but after a while it loses it's effectiveness. And once or twice while fighting to get the cramps to stop I did think of pulling the plug prior to the aid station at the 10k point. However I keep a small photo of Joely and I from our wedding in my Feedbag to remind why I am there.

 So by the last 5-7k was in  Lantern Rouge position with my body fighting back harder. And to be honest the last time I had gone this deep was July 2003 during the last weeks of my infantry course at Wainwright Alberta.  And believe me that really hurt a wee bit more than this day. But only a little. After a bit more time finally was on the last bit to the finish. Poor KT Misner trying to congratulate me on finishing while I was trying not to grind my teeth. Sorry KT...wanted to say more but wasn't capable at the time. At least that was G Rated.

 So got the result and had the positive of it being a non DNF. It wasn't pretty but as a BBC announcer once said back in 2001...."It doesn't have to look pretty it just has to get it done.." Well...this definitely qualified as that. The other positive being that no knee or back issues like 2009. So the gearing was good though maybe drop to a 32T in the future.

 At this point there was no one there I knew and so after a lot more water and such left as it began to rain. If it hadn't rained and had known Gnarley Spoke was there would have stayed longer. And of course this led to the eventful drive home.  Driving any vehicle with leg cramps especially when both legs decide to do that sucks.

 With solving the knee issues there is a new one to replace it. Which not knowing the cause or causes of the cramping...rough course, needed longer pre event as they call it muscular hydration being the first 2 to come to mind. So will focus the 60k efforts on a couple of Substance Projects events to see if on a different course will have the same issues. And will do the 30k at Paul's instead. Since I have endurance it will be the speed part of the equation next.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dirtbag Energy Drink


Companies make money by the dump truck load selling us athletes drinks that are supposed to help us ride better . Especially during the hotter times of year or for those long 4 plus hour sessions.

 Sounds good in theory till you think of a couple of things. First that really most of what these are made from is not natural or we have no clue where it actually came from. The second thing is stuff like HEED and PowerAde costs lots of money and it racks up quickly.  And I lost my taste for things like Gatorade when I found what the actual formula for it was compared to what they sell us now.




 Few years ago I found out that  Coconut Water has a lot of good things for you in it. I won't bore you with endless facts, numbers, and stuff like I was trying to sell you a 650B mountain bike tire. Just sharing what I have found works for me via the scientific method of trial and error to discover what works for me.


And let us face reality. These days we all talk about aiming to take in stuff that is much more natural. And as you see in the photo above you can pretty much ID where all my ingredients come from.





The recipe is pretty simple. 1 Can of frozen Lemonade and instead of water I use Coconut Water. And add as much as the juice instructions say. Then add in a large dose of salt which if you are interested is Kosher Salt which is a more natural version. Stir well. Then fill water bottles I will use and then stick in the fridge to use during rides and races.



Keep in mind though this recipe is a rough guideline as you will have to adjust to your personnel tastes. And what my stomach will tolerate may not work for others. However it has been working as I have been trying rides with and without over the last year and a half. It seems to work well and even helps drinking it say 4 days out in the lead up to a race or epic ride.


It worked well at a 135K training road ride this year and during other long rides on a hot day this year.




Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Racing For My Wife

 In 5 weeks I will be riding 60k for my wife  at Paul's Dirty Enduro . The insidious thing called depression tried to take her away.

 A year later and things are better. I see more the woman I love. But one can't forget that it will always be a work in progress. That while I am fortunate to have the wonderful in laws that I have many don't have that family support. Many have nothing at all and no where to go.




Unfortunately this is not like Cancer where it goes into remission. It is always there, there is no remission from Depression. It is always going to be there under the surface. Some days are good and some days are not. And even the smallest thing can cause a relapse when it comes to Depression. It is a constant battle. And I admit it can be hard some days as you don't know if things are going well or not. So some times a relapse goes well and the next not so. Unfortunately the world only discovers how bad the relapse is when as in the case of Robin Williams it can't be recovered from.



While Clara Hughes has done a great service to bring Mental Health out of the shadows with Clara's Big Ride. There is still a long ways to go as 

I don't want the relapse will occur. To have to worry if today will be a good day or will it be a bad day. To end the walking on egg shell when talking about depression and to be able to talk with others as freely as we would if it was Breast Cancer. Not just for those who suffer from this illness but for the loved one's who try our best to support them. Because those who are in that role need help as well.

That is why I will be racing the 60k at 2014 Paul's Dirty Enduro to raise funds for CMHA. You can make a donation to support the CMHA and Mental health here... 2014 Ride For My Wife

Thank you for your support.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fishing Lake Road Part 2

Today headed out to the ride Fishing Lake Road again. Last ride in the area was a bit not doable as Fishing Lake Road was still buried in snow. So today was another attempt to get to the gate on the Monstercross.

Fishing Lake Road Part 2

 
 
 
 
Getting Ready
                                                         

                                                                              

And It Begins
                                                                            


The Left Turn
 
The Beginning of The Gravel
BC Like Hydro Tower

Aggressive Foliage

The Gate
Turn Around

Rum In Celebration

Big Ring on The Way Back

Cooked

Done

Next trip out will be a exploration of the same hydroline from Battersea road. And with that another check off of a ride for 2014 off the list.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monstercross to Highway 38




 Last year explored a section of Hydroline to Highway 38 from Unity Road. And I thought it would make a good out and back route. Unfortunately this year things where delayed as the ground has been incredibly wet. And doesn't seem to be wanting to dry. But finally was able to get the ride in.

  Monstercross ride to Highway 38 was fun and interesting.








  The section north of Unity was a wee bit overgrown. It was a positive as it turned out to making it a bit more of a workout.  Which is always a good thing when training the legs.



 It has been a little damp this year around Kingston. So if you are into the whole Cyclocross mud thing you will be a happy individual. Maybe as happy as Dicky with a Poptart.



  Made it to within sight of Highway 38 but knowing how wet it has been. Didn't feel like dealing with any excess swamp like muck.




 In the end while it was about 36K was still a good ride and got to check off a 2014 ride item on the ride s for the year. Next will be the Gun Lake Road ride in the next few days.