Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010

It's the last day of the year and it's that time to look at the best of 2010. Well the stuff that stands out that I used this year or events I took part in.

Best Components:

Hope Stainless BB: What can one not say about this bottom bracket. It has stood up to the dust of summer and now is taking on winter. And proof that the masters of riding in mud, filth, and grime know what needs to be done.

Marzocchi Drop Off 4: Not new but was a major upgrade in the fork department. Solid with little flex. And it met the finance committee's cost cutting requirements.

Best Clothing:

Endura Singletrack Shorts: Simple black shorts that are great. Well stitched and comfortable. Pretty adaptable to riding in spring, summer, and fall. One big bonus is that they do dry quickly.

Wool Socks: Keeps you warm even when wet. Doesn't stink the car up like a bag of 6 month old hockey gear. Is cool in the warm of summer and warm in the cool of spring and fall.

Yaktrax Sport: Simply put, I would have spent half of last winter doing head dabs as I ran or walked. Just don't try to walk across a tile floor with them on your shoes.


Paul's Dirty Enduro: Good local event that supports a good cause. Chili post race with lots of fun singletrack. Laid back race crew.

Dundas Monstercross: Fun non race event. New place to ride as well as meeting new people. Good pumpkin soup and warming beverages for post ride festivities with good people.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hope Stainless Bottom Bracket

Last June I finally picked up a new external bottom bracket from Hope Components.

What can I say. This BB has impressed me to no end since it was installed. Other then a couple of tightening the crank bolt to remove a little play. This BB has been rock solid since it was installed.

The first thing while installing I noticed was that the plastic piece was simply a cover for the bearings. Unlike Shimano's or Race Face BB's where the cover also acts as a shim between the bearing inner race and the crank axle. Hope went a different route. They went with a bearing that when you install the crank actually is in direct contact with the inner race of the bearing. No plastic shim that can crack or start creaking after a while. It's a good tight fit.

The other change is that tube piece that one installs between the 2 BB cups that one installs in the BB Shell of the frame. Again no plastic here. This comes as a tube made of metal. A much better alternative to the plastic pieces that others use. It is also has O ring seals to help seal the unit even more from the crud and moisture of the world. And Hope offers this piece seperate from the BB. Even in different lengths depending upon you BB being either 68, 73, or 83 in size.

As I mentioned already about the seals. This BB is built to deal with crud, nud, and nasty winter. Should be no surprise as Hope comes from the land of filth riding. And have learned what it will take to increase the longevity of bearings. So far the seals on the Hope have exceeded those on Race Face and Shimano BB's by a huge margin.

As a former mechanic and a coach, I would be installing this BB on anyone's bike who was either doing and adventure race or a off road triathlon. Simply because I know it can take the abuse. Which even in Canada faced with our Canadian muck and grime plus add winter crud. Well, only something good and sealed can fit the bill.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Duffins Creek Pizza Ride

In the continuing mission to ride new places and explore. Hooked up with my buddy Nick to attend his Duffins Creek Pizza Ride on the last weekend of October. So again on a over cast day headed out to the meeting loction. Both bike and pizza fixngs in tow. At least this drive was short with Pickering nearby.

We gathered at Nick's place and like any group ride it took the usual extra time to get ready. Add the usual attempt to figure out what gear to wear. Nothing like a fall day to make gear selection fun. Part of the problem being it was forecasted to rain. Plus waiting for Ilan and Wayne to get there as they where a little late due to the GO Train being delayed. Then it was off.

Nick led us down a couple of streets then into his local trails. Which like the Dundas ride I still have no clue where we went. Lot's of rocky hill climbs and some fun descents. Though sadly I had to walk some of the descents as my front brake decided to take a vacation- no power at all. But after a bit of tinkering was able to ride some DH. Though did figure out that hydaulic brake seals in the cold tend to leak.

At one point while moving at speed watched Wayne do the front wheel mud slide to ricochet into the brush. Proving again, that easier sections lead to lack of trail focus which leads to crashes. I say that as it occured while riding 4x4 track towards more singletrack.

During the ride back to Nick's place he showed us his little downhill run he built. Nothing big just a simple little line. Some of the best times can be had on the simplest of lines. The we continued back to Nick's place. Which after 20 minutes of riding we returned to his place. After 3 hours of in the woods riding it started raining.

Then it was time to crank up the oven, crack open a beer, and make pizza. And for the record Nick makes a good pizza dough.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In The Snow

Working on something... pic's of the snow today to fill the gap.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Anti Shopsmas Ride

Headed out to ride CB for a bit today. Ground was nicely frozen and it was a balmy minus 6

This section of new trail is a marsh in the fall and spring. Yet ridable in winter.

Clan approved anti freeze.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Handlebar Booties

Last February I got my hands on these Handlebar Booties courtesy of my buddy Andrew at Cycle Solutions. He let me know of these winter lovelies that are a wicked solution to the problem of winter riding.

Since I have been out here I have had to make do with various combinations of bulky gloves. And since I tend to run warm things get sweaty in some of the other systems I have tried. Plus the problem other issue with bulky winter gloves is that one start to lose feel, meaning you not only have a harder time gripping the bar but also as the glove thickness increases you start to lose that feel of what the bike is doing.

Similar to what you see riders use in Iditabike, but without all the extras like pockets. Enough room though if you want to stick a small camera for short periods.

The day these pictures where taken was -24 on the way to work and I wore just a standard pair of full fingers and no issue. Which for me is a good thing as Goretex gloves turn into a sweat sauna when I use them.

These are only usable on bikes with flat or riser bars. So that means road and cross bikes are out of luck. But this is about keeping the mountain biking in the fun of minus 20 Ontario winter.

Dundas Monstercross

On October 2nd was the social event of the fall Cyclocross season, the Dundas Monstercross in Hamilton.

So after some thought the decision was made. Departed Toronto at the wonderful time of 7am and headed out on the 401. Smooth sailing till near Hamilton when had the fun of getting around all the highway repaving. But no worries as all in attendance where still getting gear sorted and dressed when I arrived. Sadly I have never been good remembering names but it was great to meet Linda, Tom, and Marc the organizer of this ride as well as his wife Nerdgirl.. Which turned out to be to celebrate his birthday.

So after the usual talking, changing, checking of tires , and posturing with bikes. We were off. Mark led us on an interesting route that combined a bit of road connectors, rail trail, double track, and a wee bit of singletrack. Really I have no real clue where Marc led us but does it really matter? It's all about getting out with people and having fun. Had a mix of bikes which in order of majority- 29ers, Cross bikes, and one lone token 26 inch wheel mountain bike.

Having never ridden at all in 8 years of moving to Ontario in the Dundas/Hamilton area. It was nice to sample some new trails. Though I have no clue really what the route was as I mentioned earlier. Though I think the Deer head on the trail discovery was the weird find of the ride. And Tom riding his SS Steelwool worked on his rut magnet skills was entertaining. especially when you consider Marc was on a skinny tired cross bike. But it is nice not at times not having to make these difficult route choices and just ride. Plus the evil rain held off till near the end so we avoided getting the wet gear march to Garage Monster's Lair.

After 3 plus hours we returned to the Lair and thus began the pumpkin soup phase of this Monstercross Duathlon. Nothing like warming up after a chilly misty fall ride with warm soup. And the Garage Monster makes good pumpkin soup. Of course chased with a bit of alcohol. And a gathering of cyclists can't be completed without talking about cycling, impersonating race officials, and such other cycling topics.

After a good feed thus began the drive home along the brake light freeway oops, I mean the QEW towards Toronto. Sadly the plan to ride a bit more as the rain came down and thwarted my plan for checking out the Waterdown trails and simply had to start the long drive home.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dirtbag Road Bike Build Part 1

Have been wanting to rebuild a road bike for riding to get more mileage. Though to keep costs low had to do it as cheaply as possible as I want to get a Cyclocross bike this winter. Plus it came about simply due to a discussion with someone with the misguided belief that one has to spend lots of money to have a road bike or a tri bike.

First step was the frame which was easy. Had an old Centurion Le Mans in my parents basement so had it shipped out. Once I received it I stripped it of all the parts. And after a trip to Rona for black spray paint. The reason for this is there was rust in some spots from the frame being chipped and such from use. Painstakingly cleaned the rust off section by section and painted each section black. After everything was cleaned and painted. Began adding layer after layer of paint- basically sprayed it once then let it dry. Once that was done added a few layers of clear coat. Sure would love to have the old Centurion 1980's paint job but I am not that skilled. And am no where near the Hamster level of skill that is the Dicky.

While this was going on sourced various times. Set of road brakes $25, wheels $60, brake levers $30, cranks acquired from a parts swap, chain parts bin, bars freebie, tires $25, Derrailleurs freebies, and cassette parts bin. Pretty much less than $300 bucks with the only part remaining to get being a Octalink V1 BB. Plus need some tires, hoping to find some 700x25's if I can.

Now keep in mind this is only for fun. The bike will be spending the winter mounted to the old Turbo Trainer as riding road bikes in snow and ice is not fun. That is what the cross bike will be for as well as the Concubine V2. Though the next project will definitely be the funding of a cross bike for 2011.

The reality is that this is a build project to see how cheaply one can build up a road bike. It's to challenge the present convention that one needs to shell out large sums of cash to ride or race well. Shortly the build will be complete and Part 2 will be the full cost and other such as uninteresting weight weenie gibberish as can be applied to a non UCI approved project bike.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paul's After Fun

Some pic's of post Paul's fun.

The new offering from Herbert Titslinger.

Surf and Turf.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Paul's Dirty Enduro 2010

Headed out to Ganaraska Forest for the 15th on September 18th. This year after my knees deciding to go on strike during the 60k only did the 30k.

Going into this my goals where really to simply ride it, I lost 2 weeks of training as my lower back did it's annual go on strike. So wasn't able to do as much as I wanted to before hand. So with no expectation headed out, the nice thing with the Dirty Enduro is those racing the 30k get a civilized 1pm start time.

After getting the call up to the start and the usual reaction to nerves it was line up time. Only carried one bottle with some Eload mixed in.

For about the first 3k we rolled along at an easy pace as everyone sorted out there place. Plus trying to avoid the usual first corner pile up as everyone over brakes.

At about the 3 k mark I upped my pace a bit. My plan at that point was to pass a bunch of riders before we hit the singletrack. Trying to avoid getting blocked. Once was in the singletrack the flow began. Felt good going through the singletrack. Even cleaned the section that I hade to dismount and run through the brush to get around a 5 rider pile up in 2009.

I should mention the weather was better then 2009, not a hot. and we missed out on any rain storms despite the dark clouds that seemed to be nearby. It seems that everyone at the Crank The Shield got the rain effect.

The first 15km went well, maintained a nice pace. Focus was completely on having fun and riding the flow. I think I scared a couple of people bombing down some of the DH's clearing logs and bouncing off a couple of trees. The same fun as in 2009 but on the Mistress this time. Can sat that I had more fun riding the Mistress this time.

After a brief stop at the aid station that marked the half way point and refilled my water bottle. Headed back out to resume the last 15km. Back on the singletrack resumed then fun flow ride I was having. I did up the pace for the last half. About the 20k point had the fun of getting stung by a angry wasp. Someone had missed the line and stirred the nest when they went wide.

At about the 7k out point one of the volunteers called out 7k left. Pushed it a bit for the next few km's. After some fun descents and technical sections suddenly was the left turn onto the grass. Followed by the sprint and sweeping right hander into the finish area.

And that was it. Another Paul's Dirty Enduro done and in the books. Goal was met that being to simply have a good ride and have fun. The Mistress held up and so did my knees. Now it was time for some Chili and hang out into the evening with the Don Rats.

Already starting plans for 2011. Looking at being able to ride it sans pack next year. But more on that plan later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Froriders Inducted.

Way to go guys.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jolly Rogers

Today headed out to Rige's Trails past CFB Kingston. Over 2 and a half hours of riding.

The road out.

Passing the base.

Canadian Shield

There's a trail here some where.

Near the end stopped at my local Italian Food supplier for fresh Foccaccia to eat at home.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Macauley Blood Ride

Since i wasn't able to go to the Don for a BDDR went to Macauley for a 5 hour ride.

Tight fit.

Double track. Thankfully no quad types around.

Wind chime.

About half way through the ride chain slipped while under load. One nice knee smash to fork crown. But still finished the ride.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New And destroyed

Destroyed on of the cogs in my cassette. Good thing I butcher apart my cassettes and build my own to fit my needs. Makes it easy to replace cogs.

Chromag Trailmaster saddle. Got it second hand off Pinkbike. It's covered in leather. And is outstandingly comfortable. No pokey sharp edged roadi type saddle

Freshly installed Hope BB.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Pickering from the top of Ben Trash.

Finally get a shot of the train coming round tha bend.

Bit overgrown.

Have an idea for a Hell Ride thanks to my buddy Maki. It would involve Rouge, Highland Creek , and the Bluffs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bike Lock Fail

Saw this failed attempt to secure a front wheel.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tips For Dating An Endurance Athlete

A dating guide to understanding your triathlete (or runner or cyclist...)

"I am an outdoors type of person." Really means: I train in any type of weather. If its raining, snowing, 90 degrees w/100% humidity, or winds gusting at 30 mph. I don't want to hear any complaints because I will still train in it and you're just a big wuss for complaining about it.

"I enjoy riding my bike." Really means: With or w/o aero bars, alone or in a peloton, I don't care. If you can't do a spur of the moment 30 miler then you're not my type. I will let you draft, but if you can't hang and I drop you - I will see you later. I am a capable mechanic, but don't expect me to change your flats or tune your bike. You need to learn that on your own.

"I enjoy jogging." Really means: Lets run hills until we puke. I have just as many shoes as you only mine are better because they are functional and all look the same.

"I enjoy dining out." Really means: I enjoy eating out, in or anywhere else I can find food. Don't be shy because with the amount of food I eat, you can have that main entree instead of a salad and you will still look as though you eat like a rabbit in comparison. Don't get your limbs too close though as I may take a bite out of you. Most importantly don't expect any taste off my plate unless you can bring something to the party like more food. Eventually though if your not burning 4,000+ calories a day your going to plump up and have a terrible complex due to watching me eat deserts and not gain any weight. Friends and family will eventually decide not to dine with us anymore due to my horrid table manners. Oh, and don't ask me any questions during breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon lunch, dinner or recovery dinner as it does not lend to efficient food intake.

"I enjoy quiet walks on the beach." Really means: Walks on the beach warming up into an 8 mile run and then plunging myself in the ocean for a 2 miler. If you get in my way you're going to find out what mass start is and let me assure you that you don't want to find out.

"I find fulfilment in charitable work." Really means: If I am not racing, I am volunteering or cheering on my buddies and I expect you to be there along side me as I stand out in 90 degree weather for 8 hours handing out sports drink to cyclists going 20 mph. Just stick the ol' arm out there and hope it doesn't get taken off.

"I enjoy sharing quiet moments together." Really means: It's taper time. Just back off because I am strategizing, trying to get into the zone and in a pissy mood because I am worried about my "A" race and can't workout.

"I am an active person." Really means: Aside from my 40 hour job, and the 8 mandatory hours of sleep a night. 10 hours a week are devoted to me during the off-season and 20 during race season leaving us 4 hours. 2 of which are spent inhaling food and you not talking to me, so lets make the best of the 2 hours we will spend together on average each day.

If you are a licensed message therapist or doctor this would make the most optimal use of our time together. Nutritionist is also acceptable, but I probably already know just as much as you.

"I enjoy road trips and vacations." Really means: You have your choice of British Columbia, Wisconsin, Idaho, Florida, California, Arizona, and New York, but don't expect to do much site seeing. But if I get enough support from you we might be able to include Hawaii in there.

"I enjoy site seeing." Really means: Lets grab a mountain bike and get our HR's up to 90%. There's plenty of time to look around on the descent as trees and bushes whiz by you at 40 mph.

"I like stimulating conversation." Really means: while we are running, we can talk about food. Then we can talk about how we decided what to wear on this run based on the temperature at start time versus the temperature at the time we expect to finish, how horribly out of shape we are, how many miles we did last week, and how many we will do this week and next week. Then we can talk about food.

"I enjoy relaxing soaks in the tub." Really Means: I'm going to stop on the way home and buy two bags of ice, throw them in the tub with some water, and sit in this torture chamber for 30 minutes.

"I'm interested in photography" Really Means: My camera is permanently perched a tripod in front of my trainer. I obsess over taking photos of my bike position and analyzing them to get the perfect set-up.

"I'm into in technology" Really Means: My HRM and bike computer are my best friends. Until you can give me some hard data that can improve my training, don't bother trying to buddy up to me. You could one day break into the top three if you recognize and feed my dependancy by buying me more gear.

Article courtesy of an anonymous Triathlete who is likely still single, from Toronto, and who completed rather well the Lake Placid Ironman in 2006. For a small fee we'll connect you to this handsome and successful individual...(works "downtown" Toronto in the "money business"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Little Trials

A interview with a trials rider from Vancouver BC.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I was a little bored a few days ago and thought to try this idea. I mounted my drop bars on the Concubine. More based on the fact it's taking along time to accumulate the parts for the yet to be named road bike.

I guess some people call it monstercross but whatever. In reality I wanted to try out a different set up. Partially because I have always wanted to try it out. And because cyclocross racing begins in about 6 weeks. Well, when ever the OCA actually gets some info out. But more on that in another post.

So far it seems okay. the biggest problem so far is the stem needs to be 70mm not 90mm. And needs a 15 to 20 degree rise. It's still effecting my hands a bit plus feel a bit stretched out. Though the bigger issue is the little brake pad retaining bolt has siezed. Will have to use the vice at the shop to help deal with it this week.

A little fun item that came of the the Chromag Bikes Blog,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rain Ride

Went out to Picton to ride the trails at McCauley Mountain. Well what passes for a mountain in Ontario.

In the darkness of the forest.

I'm surprised they allow this in Ontario. You'd think i would have been ripped out an d filled with rock.

Mud was the flavour of the day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black and Decker

Finally had the chance to head up to Brockville to hit the Black and Decker trails. After fighting the lousy drivers on the 401 got to hit the trails.

The area is kind of interesting. Lot's of loops that kind of end up in circles yet are all fun. Lots of rock and fun little climbs. Unfortunately didn't get to the other section that is on the other side of the 401.

Creek crossing with to options.


A scratch??

Lots of rock faces like this.

Nice rock to skinny.

I really want to go back to ride it again. The plan is to go back mid August probably on a Wednesday. This time I'll be on flat pedals.

It should be noted that after sweating out about 5 lbs of water, the ice cold frappucionno tasted good.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Horseshoe DH

Went up to Horseshoe Resort new Barrie. They have opened up a new MTB park, well they only have 2 trals. But still it's another new option for riding.

Heading up the lift.

Officially killed my arm armour.

Some trail

View across the valley.

Definitely worth going to ride.They have a 3rd trail that has recently opened. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get pic's of it. Low key atmosphere and no stress from other riders trying to run you down.