Saturday, March 7, 2009

...riiiiiiiiiiiight! I have a blog!

OK, so I didn't actually forget that I have a blog.. I just haven't written anything in... forever ;)

Some highlights since my last post from way back in the fall...

- Spring is here (maybe?) - days are getting longer, and the time change is this weekend! Soon we'll have time for 2 hour rides after work :D

- Short after-work road rides have begun. Roads are snow/ice clear, but still very sandy/salty. We need a nice solid hard rain to clear things up!

- I'm officially a UCI Licensed rider for the first time ever (yikes!)

- I'm officially in the shaved legs (actually waxed) club... at least for now. I hear that stuff grows back...

- Shawn did a complete overhaul on the Colnago, and she's ready to roll for another year with new chain, cables, housing, bar tape, and a fully rust-proofed frame!

- Spin classes have been running at the shop all winter, and I'm still teaching 1.5 hour slots on Monday nights at 6 - come on out until regular outdoor riding start!

- Matt, Shawn, Mel and I are all heading to Woodstock on my birthday weekend to do the Paris-Ancaster race. High hopes again this year for another solid early season race! Randy is racing as well, and I'm hoping to convince a few more people to get in on the action (Jesse??)

- My Heart Rate Monitor is dead...I'm debating what to buy as a replacement... A simple HRM? Fancy HRM? GPS/HRM? Powertap? (ha! like I can afford that!) Thoughts appreciated

That's all for now, but I'll try to keep posting more regularly as things happen! If you haven't started riding yet this year.. what are you waiting for?!? Get out there!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The season is over?!?

Full write-up and details coming.. eventually. For now, a couple of pics from our final race:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

'cross in Almonte

Yeah yeah I haven't posted for a couple of weeks... I know...

Despite not posting, I HAVE been racing:

October 26 at Mooney's Bay: Fun course with some good mud holes after Saturdays all day rain! Shawn and Keli were out to race for the first time in the Ottawa Series (I think?). Shawn had a stellar race, and came first for Master Men (6th overall), and I was....about the same as always...48th of 68 in the second race. Loooong laps this time at Mooney's (longer than last year even!) meant at least I didn't get lapped!

November 2 at Kanata Recreation Centre: Matty came out to watch as I raced on a very fun course--good use of the toboggan hill, and some fun little mud/snow patches to negotiate. However, overall it was very much a 'grass crit' type of course, which is not ideal for me...Thus, once again, not a super strong race for me...22nd of 25 in Elite Men's...

Today's race was in Almonte, and somehow I convinced Shawn Warner to give the whole 'riding on a golf course' thing a try...He and Sasha came and picked me up, and we picked up McLean on the way as well, so I had a good cheering squad. Shawn raced the first race (as a first-timer, he was in the novice category). Not having a 'cross bike, he rode his dual suspension MTB with the 2" tires...which is obviously less than ideal ;) He was apprehensive from the start, but I think we're now safely at the "I hate you for making me do this and I am never doing it again" stage :) Shawn, I hope you had fun despite the 'boredom' of riding on grass as you put it. As I said though--if you're bored, you're not going fast enough ;) If you're doing it properly, the pain drowns out the boredom!

I raced at 11, and by then it had warmed up a fair bit. Aside from the wind, it was a very nice day. However, the course was quite muddy, with two deep mud pits on the back section of the course, a couple of slick mud trails, and a couple of very greasy off-camber grass sections corners! Since the big names were in Toronto this weekend, the field was a bit smaller and less competitive than usual. I felt very good today, but still didn't finish very high up (not sure just where yet..results to be posted soon...) However, I can feel improvement, and am getting more comfortable on the technical stuff every time. I went down once on an off-camber downhill on the last lap as I tried to bridge up to Trisha. I like to think I would have caught her if I stayed upright, but who knows! However, today was the first race I've lapped someone, and I actually got by another guy on the line with a bike throw (haha!) It sure feels better to be the lap-er than the lap-ey!

Here's one of the best shots from today (actually from a video, so I could grab the best 'action shot' frame)

Oh, and I should mention that Shawn and Keli weren't there this week--Keli raced Half Ironman Worlds in Florida yesterday, and put in a PHENOMENAL showing-5:07! Congrats on a great race Kel! Next week they're doing USGP 'cross in New Jersey on their way home!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

East Meets (South) West

So Sunday was the "East (Ottawa) meets South (Toronto area) 'cross race" in Kingston. I was looking forward to the course, since it was a fun one last year! Also because Steve and Carolin were going to be there, and Jamie was racing! I got there in plenty of time to watch the first race go off, and watched some of the carnage on the 'terraced' section, which has some nasty tight corners and steep downhills, just like last year. As I was wandering around the course, I heard someone yell my name--it was WATSON! He was up from Barrie to contest the race--one of the favorites. I chatted with him a bit, and showed him a few of the gotchas on the course (especially the uphill barrier on a 180 off-camber after a downhill which was hidden behind a stump and (ideally) required a right-side dismount).

Jamie, Steve and Carolin all rolled in shortly before our race, and by that time I'd already ridden a warmup lap. The course was much the same as last year, although the 'pop-up/jump' from last year was removed, one of the terraced sections was eliminated, and an extra stair run-up was added. The finish was a bit different, with a tricky off-camber corner with a big rutt running perpendicular if you got on a bad line. Tricky!

The race started with a big group, and I was well in the rear right off the gun. The pace was INSANE right from the start, so I ended up well back before we even got going...and would pretty much remain there the entire race. I slipped up on the terraced section on the first lap and went down (actually not even sure what happened--I was clear of the corner already, and went down on the straight!) and lost a few more places. The laps were long (2.5kms) so by the 4th lap, the leaders came by me (wow.. brutal!) and I noticed that Watson was in 4th place (later turns out he was probably 3rd, and there was a lapped rider in between). I yelled at him to catch up, since he was not far behind the lead pair of Osmond Bakker and Derrick St. John. I rode a very consistent race, with lap times of 5:32 (modified first lap), 10:14, 10:08, 10:11, 10:12, 10:08, and 10:08 (yes, apparently I did 3 laps all exactly the same to the second, and all the others within a 6 second range.. go figure). Too bad I wasn't just consistently FASTER! :-Þ

Overall, not my best race, but a super-fun course, and a really competitive group (Watson ended up third, behind Bakker and St. John, and ahead of Fillion and Morse--what a field!) Read Andrew's full account of the race here, spend hours looking through over 1000 photos, and check out the full results on this page (if you scroll waaaaay down, you'll see me!)

You may wonder why I made no mention of Shawn or Keli this week, and that's because Shawn was off kicking ass and taking names, winning Quebec Cyclocross Provincials!!! CONGRATS to Shawn! You can read all about his weekend here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'cross madness (aka Rock & Roll in Rochester)

OK, once again I'm negligent in posting; somehow I bet my one reader is not surprised! However, that doesn't mean nothing has been going on--in fact, quite the opposite. A few items of note since my last posting

- 'cross season is in full swing! (duh!)
- two weekends ago was the first OBC 'cross race
- one weekend ago was my canoe trip to Algonquin Parks Barron Canyon (SPECTACULAR!)
- Spin Classes at the shop started last Tuesday, and I went for my first one of the year on Thursday...heading back tomorrow as well. Once the existing classes fill up, I will likely be teaching a class again--but we'll see how it goes for now!
- this past weekend was 'cross madness in Rochester NY for the Cobb's Hilly 'cross! (a few more details about this item below)
- Monday following the race consisted of a fantastic ride from Gatineau with Shawn and Keli out to Carp, with Turkey and all the fixings afterwards. What a great day--a huge thanks to Chef Keli for the food, and of course for putting up with me for another weekend ;)
- The Sport X end of year party is a go for Oct. 24, with ROLLER RACES officially a go! Can't wait!

OK, so a few details about the race in Rochester:

After last year, we just had to go back to Rochester for the Cobb's Hill Cyclocross! Shawn had his title to defend after a great win last year, and I had some revenge to take on the course that broke my chain after one lap thus ending my first ever 'cross race far too early! So, with great enthusiasm, Shawn, Keli and I made another road trip to NY. We left Saturday evening after Shawn finished work, and arrived to a great hotel room for some rest. In the morning we prepared for the race, and headed to the park.

Once again Scott and the team at Full Moon Vista put on an amazing race, with a great course running through Cobb's Hill Park in Rochester. With a good mix of terrain, including a short singletrack section (my downfall!), a killer uphill (the only place I could pass anyone), an equally killer downhill (although different than last year, with more twisty off-camber stuff this time around) and some twisty turny grass sections (where I got out-handled by everyone but the 12 year old girls), the course had a bit of something for everyone! Of course, this type of course just happens to suit Shawn very well, since he's a good technical rider (thanks to his MTB background), can descend like a bat out of hell, and doesn't fear climbing (as his membership in the Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux proves).

Keli's race went off first, and unfortunately we weren't able to watch much as we had to get changed and ready for our race which followed. Keli had a very good ride once again, and finished 5th place in a much stronger field than last year. Congrats Keli!

Our race started not so well for either Shawn or I. We got to the line a bit late, and Shawn had to fight his way up to the front, but only made it up to about 3 rows back. Thus, he had to chase for most of the first lap to catch the lead group. I started further back (by design of course) but ended up too far back even for my liking. I ended up running the entire single-track section the first lap due to a huge bottleneck of riders in front of me. Boo! On about the third lap, I managed yet another wipeout (third this year for those that are counting!) as I tried to remount after the barriers. I think the bike hit a bump right as I was jumping on, and kicked me off and over onto my side. I ended up sprawled out with the bike on top of me! I had no idea how Shawn was doing, since I didn't get a sight of him for most of the race. However, with about three laps to go I heard them announce that the leaders were coming through the line, lead by "Last Year's Winner from Canada, Shawn Marshall!. At this point I knew they were close to passing me!

I was getting tired, and having my fair share of difficulty on the twisty stuff, so wasn't really making up any ground (not loosing too much either though). I manged to ride the single-track cleanly a couple of times which felt good! At one point, I got a glimpse of Shawn, and noticed he had a rider right on his wheel! The next few times I saw him again, he still had the guy literally glued to his wheel! At one point on the grass section, I knew they would be catching me, so of course I starting thinking about it too much, and ended up riding a very poor line into a corner right when they were behind me. They got by, but I lost some momentum for sure! Once they went by, I noticed that no other riders were even close to them for third place! It was a two man race all the way!

I didn't know the final result until I finished. It turns out that Shawn had lead the whole race after he caught the leaders, but Eric Grimm had been right behind him the whole time, and came around right at the end! So, a great race, with a hard fought second place for Shawn (tough to take after riding such a great race, but Grimm rode smart!). I ended up 28th of 47, 3 minutes and one lap back. Not spectacular, but about normal for me! I need more practice on the twisty stuff (and courses with less singletrack would help ;))

Full results are here, while you can read Shawn's take on events here.

All for now!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

OBC 'cross #1 - Photos

OK, I know.. I have been negligent in not keeping the site up-to-date. Sorry! To tide you over, here are some pics of me from the first cyclocross race of the year. Full report to follow...eventually...

Click through for bigger versions, or check out all the pics at

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week #22: Longest Post Ever!

OK, so if a picture is worth a thousand words, this is my longest post ever! Some pics from Monday and Wed: