Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Week #12: Another "We go faster when Ashby isn't here" week

So once again, we had a fast ride--averaging 32.7km/hr for 71kms. And once again, Ashby wasn't riding...does anyone else notice a trend here, or is it just me? ...strange ;)

I rode a 70km loop with Shawn on Sunday, and came out of that ride pretty fried. My legs were hurting more than they have all year...so I wasn't sure how well I'd feel on Monday night. However, despite not feeling great, I was apparently riding well, as I ended up with 3 blue signs. Yves narrowly held off Fraser for the 4th (although Fraser's pulled muscles likely didn't help--and he was closing the gap fast, so it was close!) Our ride started off fairly slow and relaxed, with a decent sized group. After 20 minutes or so, the paced picked up a bit, and we were down to 6 riders (myself, Steve, Yves, Fraser, Chris, Fernando.) Our loop took us on some roads we don't ride often (including Lake Eloida Rd), which is always kind of nice! Despite the massive thunderstorm at 4pm, the weather was beautiful by ride time, and the (almost) longest day of the year meant we had plenty of time to get in a fairly long ride.

At the pub, Carolin called Matt and managed to talk him into making the trip down for a beer and to share in our always entertaining conversation. He promised (again) that he would ride next Monday... so we'll see. Pub talk centered once again on velodrome info (Dave had some more paperwork, including some design plans) as well as a discussion of the 'sordid' details of life in Carolin and Yves' office. Hopefully that conversation helped to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the differences between "fun" and "too much fun."

I got in a (very) slow, short recovery ride tonight after work and will be ready to rock tomorrow, which is a special event--it's Dave's birthday. After the ride we're all heading to O'Reilly's for some frosty beverages. Be there if at all possible! Even if you can't make the ride, perhaps you can join us at the pub!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Week #11: One-ride Week :(

Once again the weather must have scared some riders off--however, our 4pm torrential rain stopped, and the night turned into a beauty! Roads were dry, and wind was favourable (a tailwind most of the way out, and very little wind on the way back in). Our group tonight consisted of myself, Yves (yes, Yves made an appearance for the first time this year!), Steve, Carolin, Drew, Wendy, Fraser and Chris. We rode down to Greenbush, across Jellby line, and up 15/41 to loop back into Jasper and up Jasper highway back to the shop. (Check the map) Yves took 3 strong Blue Signs, and I took two and the railway tracks, which again apparently don't count. We timed the run so that we were home just before the sun was too low to safely ride--perfect timing! I think I'll let Yves fill in the poetic ramblings if he wants, and spare you the pain!

Post-ride banter consisted of making fun of Greg for taking so long to lock up the shop, and making fun of Matt for not making it to the ride again. Fries and hot mustard were had by some to make up for Fernando's absence. Brian the Norco rep rode with us (with Greg actually) and joined us for some dinner afterwards--thanks for coming out Brian. Maybe next time you can drop Greg and ride with the fast group ;)

Since I was out camping at the end of last week, and away for work this week it appears that this was my only ride for seven days! Sad eh? However, I should be back next week rested and ready to go :) See you all then!

Note for Wednesday night Perth riders: I'll be gone this week for work, so won't be joining you...however, it sounds like Greg and Jenn may make their way up to Perth, so it should be a great ride!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rideau Lakes Renegade Ride

Steve, Matt and I rode the 'renegade' version of the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour on the weekend--starting at Jamie's cottage on Bob's Lake, and making our way to Kingston with a bit of a detour for good measure.

Matt and I left Perth on Friday night at about 8:15. Despite being sick, I was feeling pretty good, and in a good mood for a weekend of riding. Matt made a comment about how it was going to be a good weekend, and my response was "It's always a good weekend when you have a car full of bikes and beer!" We arrived at Jamie's cottage after an hour drive, and Steve and Jamie made us feel at home. The evening was spent chatting (mostly about bikes, but other topics came up as well...) and having a couple of beers. We crashed fairly early in order to be in prime shape for the ride.

In the morning, Steve cooked up some bacon and scrambled eggs, and we ate well. We decided to ride out from the cottage on the gravel road instead of driving out, thus adding about 15kms to each end of our ride. After eating and cleaning up a bit, we went out to get bikes ready to roll. We were on the road for 7:40 or so if I remember correctly. The first pedal stroke Matt took sounded like his chain was going to break--off to a good start! Luckily, it didn't break, and no damage was done. Jamie set a fast pace off the mark and we struggled to keep up on the gravel roads while trying to wake up a bit. The gravel section went by quickly, with Jamie powering up the hills in front of us to keep us motivated. At Crow Lake Road, Jamie continued straight through--he had a TT in the evening, and a road race the next day in Milford, so he wasn't joining us on the remainder of the ride. We said goodbye, and headed down Crow Lake Road for Bolingbroke. We had a great tailwind, and made excellent time. We rode three abreast and had no cars come up behind us for almost the entire road--fantastic! From Bolingbroke, we headed to Maberly, then Elphin, McDonald's Corners, Playfairville, Fallbrook and Glen Tay before heading into Perth for the first rest stop. At Glen Tay we began to see riders heading out Christie Lake Road towards Westport--the first riders we'd seen all day.

As we got into Perth, there were riders all over, eventually all converging on Last Duel Park, where the rest stop was set up. We filled up on water and sandwiches, and had a bit of a rest in the shade. It was hotter than hot by this point, and we were all coated in salt that had crystallized on our skin after the sweat evaporated. We left Perth via Christie Lake Road, this time riding in the same direction as the rest of the riders, and tagged onto a group going fairly fast about 10kms out. We rode with them until the end of Christie Lake Road. By this point, Steve was getting some bad muscle cramps that locked up his legs, so we dropped off the group to take the first big climb. It was a tough one, and Steve was pretty sore at the end of it--we figured it was an electrolyte problem due to the heat, since he's never had cramping like that before. He ate a banana and drank more water to try to help it. We made our way into Westport, and flew down the hill into town.

At the Westport rest station, we again filled up on water, Powerade, chips (to replenish salt) and I also had a Coffee Crisp. We chatted with some riders from Ottawa who'd heard good things about Sport X, and we invited them down to ride with us on Monday nights. When we felt fairly rested, we hit the road again. With the wind in our face, we worked our way towards Kingston, occasionally joining in with a group if they were going a decent speed. We stopped again at the final rest stop along the way for some more water, but not for too long. The trip from there to Kingston was fairly uneventful, and we rolled into Queen's campus where Caroline was waiting for us (having ridden from Merrickville). The SportXiest Group in the Rideau Lakes Tour all converged in a shady spot in the sun for a beer and a rest (see photo below).

After hauling ourselves upright, we set off to pick up our bags and to get cleaned up before meeting again for dinner. Matt and I made our way to the Alexander Henry, which was to be our home for the night. We checked in, stored the bikes away in the galley, and had a cool shower to wash off the sweat and salt. We did a quick tour around the boat before heading off to the Radisson to meet the others. I almost fell asleep in the comfy leather chair in the lobby, but soon Steve, Caroline, Fernando, Brian, Chris, Marg, Rick, Jenny and Dave showed up and we set off to Frankie Pestos for some excellent pasta (penne with hot italian sausage) and some Stella. It was exactly what I needed!

After dinner, we did a short tour around town, but didn't really get much further than the White Mountain IceCream shop, where we stopped for a bit of dessert. I had a blueberry frozen yogurt in a waffle cone--tasty :) After that, we all headed back to the ship for a quick tour of the sites, and then went to bed!

Morning brought sun and more hot weather, although the humidity was not quite as brutal as the day before. After having breakfast on the ship (cereal, muffins, cinnamon buns, yogurt) Matt and I took a walk down town to see if we could find some fruit at the market, but had no luck. We also stopped at a convenience store to top up on Gatorade and chocolate milk. As we arrived back at the ship, the fire alarm was going off and all the guests were evacuating--turns out someone had burned their toast. After the fire department came (2 trucks!) and the alarm was reset, we boarded the ship, changed into bike gear, and checked out. We rode back to the Radisson to drop off our bags and meet up with Steve for our ride back to the cottage. We were late in leaving, and heading out of town tagged on with a rider who turned out to be an organizer of the tour--he was riding 'sweep' and thought he was the last rider on the route. We rode with him until Westport, and had a decent pace going the whole time. It took me about 20 mins to wake up, but after that I was fine and feeling strong again. At Westport we stopped for more water and a Clif Bar before heading off once again to Bolingbroke. Of course, leaving Westport requires the climb of the day, which was painful but fun. We picked off groups of riders from the top of the hill to Christie Lake Road, where the official route turned ours parted ways. We continued to Crow Lake Road, which we turned on to into a headwind. It was a bit of a grind for the 15kms to the highway--the hills keep coming one after the other, and each one seems to get bigger and bigger. Add in the headwind, and the mounting fatigue from the many miles from the day before and it was a tough ride! Matt and I commented that it would be a nasty 15km TT course! I'd like to see what kind of times could be posted on that course! Yikes!

When we hit highway 38, I hit a bit of a 'zen' state on the smooth pavement. My breathing was almost effortless, and we upped the pace considerably despite the constant uphill grade of the road. The gravel road to the cottage came soon, and we turned off the pavement onto the gravel for our 15kms of 'cross riding. Unfortunately (someone had to do it!) I flatted with about 2 kms to go! It took way too long to change the tube--I was tired, sweaty and apparently not thinking very clearly. Thanks for Steve and Matt for helping out :) I got about 50lbs of air in the tire with the mini pump, and rode the rest of the way back to the cottage very carefully. On the last downhill before the cottage, Matt dropped his sunglasses. He slowed down to turn back, but Steve picked them up. However, Matt's slowing meant he lost all momentum he had, and on the next steep hill he spun out on the loose gravel and fell down--it was pretty funny because it was within 20meteres of the cottage! :) We had a good laugh as we rolled to the end of the ride!

After stashing bikes in the cars, we had some chips and salsa while sitting on the dock with our feet in the water. We decided it'd be nice to go for a swim, so Steve and I jumped in. When Matt jumped, he forgot to take his sunglasses off, so they ended up on the bottom of the lake. The weedy bottom made it impossible to find them. After our swim, we BBQ'd some sausages and had a good meal. After packing up, we said goodbye to Steve, and headed back to Perth.

Phew! That was long... the quick recap: 297kms, 2 days, 1 flat tire, 1 slow-motion fall down, 1 fire alarm, several beers, untold liters of water, two wheels and one hell of a good time! Same time, same place next year lads!

The SportXiest Group in the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour

Monday, June 9, 2008

Week #10: "You're all a bunch of wimps"


A slight hint of 'severe' thunderstorms, and our group of 'hardcore' riders runs for the shelter of the nearest roof. However, the few and the proud (myself, Jenn, Ron and Chris) made it out for a great ride under overcast but dry skies (the few seconds of rain we did have only helped to cool us off a bit.) We rode a nice short loop over my favourite wooden bridge, and Jenn proved how strong she is this year by upping the pace on us as we dodged turtles on the Jasper highway. Thanks guys (and gal) for coming out--I'd hate to drive all the way to the shop and have to ride solo, 'cause I can ride solo from home!

Ron took 2 BSWs, and Jenn took the train tracks on the way into town. Sprinting was not exactly in the cards today!

(Note: The full Rideau Lakes Tour report is coming soon...but I thought I'd actually post a Monday ride report on Monday for a change, just to keep Carolin happy!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Week #9: Busy Bike Season!


Week #9 was a FANTASTIC ride from the shop to Murphy's Point. Ashby didn't show, yet our average speed was possibly the fastest yet, at 33.6 km/hr. Steve, Steve, Chris and I hammered it out, and I really didn't even think we were going that fast until we got back and I checked the stats... it didn't seem like we were working too hard!

Last Sunday was the Perth Triathlon, and I rode the bike leg as part of Team CGIS, with Trent doing the swim and Matt running. We had a decent race, although my ride was rudely interrupted by a mechanical... somehow my rear wheel was loose, and shifted in the dropouts when I set out, so that it was rubbing on the frame. I had to stop, hop off the bike, loosen the QR, straighten the wheel, and tighten it up again... all within 500m of the bike start :( I also got slowed by a car at the turnaround point, and by a dump truck/trailer backing into a driveway that was blocking the road on the way back in. However, I still put in a decent ride, with a time of 25:42. Full results are here [pdf]. There's definitely room for improvement next year!

Wednesday we had an excellent ride from the Perth pool, with 5 riders (Chris, Geoff, Matt, Luke and I) riding to Lanark and back on a warm, humid summery night. Thanks for coming out guys!

This weekend is the 'bootleg' version of the Rideau Lakes Tour. Steve, Matt and I are starting on Bob's Lake, and doing a ~180km ride down to Kingston, where Matt and I are staying on the Alexander Henry. On Sunday, we're riding back to the cottage on Bob's Lake, although we may take a shorter route. The forecast looks HOT and possibly wet... we shall see!!