Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bike News

Well the last little while has not been too great on the bike front. After an awesome weekend of riding three weekends ago, I have mostly felt really lousy up until a night ride I just got back from tonight. As an update for the interim I will just hit the highlights.

On the Sunday after my last entry, I had a brilliant 80 km road ride which included a 5 or 6 km section of flat gravel road. I think that from now on, any worth while road ride needs to have at least one solid "spring classics section" in it just to spice things up. Boonen doesn't shy away from the rough stuff so why should the rest of us. Also a lot of the roads around here inexplicably turn into gravel for km's at a time for no apparent reason. Maybe they just run out of asphalt and then forget to go back and finish it off.

After that great weekend I had another Wednesday night race up at Hardwood where I felt pretty good but the results showed that I didn't actually go any faster. I ended up 1st in my age group for the course I did but there were not quite as many people there that time as in the week previous.

The next ride I did was an easy one where I felt like crap and could never really get my legs going. I'm not sure if I was a bit sick or was fighting a virus or something but all was not well for the next while.

Last weekend I managed to get to the Canada Cup race at Hardwood where I wondered if I should quit biking altogether. My legs where dead and I ended up 24th out of 37 in Master Sport. I was hoping for top 10 so it was a bit of a stink fest. Below is a picture of me struggling up a modest climb near the back of the pack off the start.

I was taking a whizz up behind the chalet when I heard over the loud speaker that there were 5 minutes to the gun so the start box was pretty much full when I got there and once again I was starting from the back; not that it mattered at all that day. The whole race was a silty, dusty, powder fest with so much dirt hanging in the air you could barely see the course for the first 500 metres. There were lots of traffic jams since the field wasn't very sorted out before the single track. Before the end of the first lap I already felt like my legs were ready to go home so that was not a good sign. I don't know if I pre-rode the course too hard the day before (Saturday) after biking to school on Friday and my legs were just tired or something else was going on. Anyway I spent a lot of the race in my granny ring since it was a pretty strenuous course with a lot of climbing. By the end, my drive train was ghost shifting and / or not shifting due to the amount of powdery dust so that wasn't so great. By the end I finished it off and ended up glad that I was there. I did win a draw prize for the first time ever of some cool Mace downhill gloves. They are a bit too big so I will either try to shrink them in the washer/dryer or save them as light skate ski gloves.

This most recent Wednesday night I got out to another midweek race at Hardwood which had the weather conditions all the opposite way. It was nice and cool but raining like a freaking monsoon. It was pouring down buckets and sections of the trail were little rivers. The crowd was a lot smaller due to the conditions but it was still a fun race except that by the end of the race my rear brake lever was pulling all the way to the bar with no stopping power whatsoever. This was weird as they were brand new pads that I had just put on right before the Canada Cup on Sunday. I sort of thought that I lost all the fluid out of the system and that I would have to buy a new lever or caliper. On further inspection after the race I found that the pad was worn down all the way to the backing plate - IN TWO RIDES!! After some research on line I realized that they must be resin pads instead of sintered metallic ones. I guess the resin pads are cheaper and quieter but disappear in the wet. My own assessment would be that they are worthless crap. Seems to defeat the entire purpose of discs if you ask me. Anyway I went back to the shop where I got them and the guy said he would get me some better replacement ones so that was cool. Anyway I finished second in my age category in that race despite the braking issues and more drivetrain problems.

This brings me up to tonight where I had a ride in which I finally felt pretty good so I don't want to jinx it but I feel like I might be getting out of this slump. I will not ride tomorrow and try to do the O-Cup in Midland on Sunday and hope that I feel a bit better for that. I have replaced my derailleur cables and have new brake pads so hopefully my bike works well too. I will give another update after the race.

I have included one more funny picture of Mason below. This is how he was sleeping when I went into his room this morning. It doesn't look too comfortable to me but I guess it works if you are just a little guy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bad Aisss

Thanks to Cam and Fras for my new birthday pedals.

I just tried them out for the first time. I got out for a ride this Saturday afternoon to the 8th Line trails near Hardwood. It was an amazing ride. I spent about 2 1/2 hours on my bike and the trails were in amazing shape.

I hadn't been up there in about at least a year and remember thinking that they were in need of some care which they have evidently now received. It looks like a fair bit of hard wood logging was done in some areas but they must not have been using a big skidder like when they do the pines because the terrain wasn't destroyed like it usually is after the loggers go through.

The ride was only briefly sullied by some fat people on horses dropping big piles of crap all over the trail. The only problem with multi-use trails is that when you have a 1500 lb animal hauling a fat ass rider along the damp soft ground, it works a little bit like a roto tiller on the trail bed. I would like to stop in front of them and take a dump on the trail myself to see their reaction.

About 1/3 of the way through there were also some sportsmen on four wheelers who were firing a paintball gun randomly into the woods. Semi retarded sportsmen with a fully automatic paintball gun - what a combo.

Anyway,after putting those little blips behind me, I settled in for what would be an almost magical ride where the trails flew by surrounded by a sea of fresh greenery and blooming trilliums carpeting the ground as far as you could see. The conditions were tacky with great traction and the sunny sky was full of fluffy clouds. Cool temps and no humidity made it about as good as XC conditions get in a rolling Ontario forest. Blasting through bar width pairs of trees at speed using the force to ensure safety made for the best mountain bike ride yet of this season. I will definitely get back there for more riding as soon as possible. I will also try to remember a camera so that I can get a few shots on the trail.

May your riding be fast and loamy.

Uncle Fras in the House

I am just posting a few pictures from when Uncle Fras was here in Barrie with Grandpa and Nanna on Thursday. Thanks a lot for coming up guys, and thanks for the baby's Birthday presents Car and Fras.

Uncle Fras helping Mae-Mae learn how to drive the car-car.

Now he is ready to set off on his own once he has the sunglasses on of course.

Opening up one of the big Bucky Balls (scale around 100 000 000 000 : 1)

Babies opening their first Play-Doh (moments before Mason tried to eat it and then had a break down when Uncle Fras suggested a different course of action.)

Brenna and Fras opening the Dr. Seuss book.

Brenna looking at the Dr. Seuss Birthday book with Mom in the background.

Thanks again Car and Fras and Grandpa and Nanna for the gifts and a fun day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Midweek Racing

So I made it out to the Wednesday night Trek Mountain Bike series at Hardwood Hills tonight. It was a nice way to get a good hard sprint type ride in midweek.

Since last post I had a really good, hard, road ride on Monday evening that was an excellent test of my knee with no pain whatsoever so that was positive. It was probably close to 70 km (I don't have my computer mounted on my road bike yet) and the ride which initially got my knee into difficulty about a month and a half ago.

Below is a picture of the steed at Hardwood. It was actually taken post ride but it looks like it could sub in for the before shot so that is what I will pretend.

There were a ton of people there with close to 300 participants from very young to older. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere and the weather was perfect with cool temps and no humidity.

The format was different than what I was used to. Rather than divide people up by age and ability over the same course, you race all age categories at once over a course of your choosing from a beginner 6 km to a tougher 15 km loop. I didn't really know this so when they told me to select my course, I just ticked the box which said 'Serious ... 10 km'. I figured there would be a couple laps with other people in my age group. As it turns out there was a field over 70 strong of all categories just doing one lap. This made for a pretty short race but it was fun.

I ended up 2nd out of 7 in my age group and 11th out of 74 overall. My time was just over 30 minutes which gave me an average speed of just over 20 km/h which doesn't seem too bad for a mountain bike race. The terrain was non technical and started with a long double track climbing section probably close to a kilometre long. This helped spread out the field before the single track. Once in the single track I only passed a handful of people and rode most of the loop on my own. Near the end I passed a hardman on a single speed when he went over his bars trying to fend off my vicious onslaught. I actually felt kind of bad because he was totally ripping it considering he only had one gear on his machine. Such is racing.

It was pretty fun but I think that next time I might try a longer distance to get a better workout. Now that I know the system I won't be subject to the same confusion and find myself doing only a medium distance when there is more pain to be had for the same price.

Above is a picture of the finish line on the left and some of the people recently finished on the right. Nice long shadows as the sun is going down. On the left you can see the dark, damp, wheel sucking mulch that hardwood has a penchant for spreading on this section of the course. It feels like riding through peanut butter (not fast). I guess it would be soft if you fell in a sprint for the line. Anyway, overall it was a good experience and now that I own the plate, I may as well try to do some more. I will also try to get down to Mississauga for some Monday night crits if possible.

Over and out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back From Hiatus

Well it has been a long time since I have posted anything due to a number of varying factors but I will try to get some more news flowing for the next while.

Two weekends ago I entered the first O-Cup mountain bike race at Mansfield in the Master Sport category. It was nice to get back to a mountain bike race although I didn't feel too great on the day. Due to a lack of sleep and a sore knee, I came away feeling as though I could have performed better but I finished 12th out of 40 entries so I guess that is not too bad all things considered. At least there is lots of room for improvement. The picture below is from the race on the final steep downhill into the finish area. The course was fun but a little dry and dusty and the weather was ideal with cool temps and no rain.

I am looking forward to doing some more races and I will try to remember a camera so I can capture a bit of the race day atmosphere while I am there. One thing I found interesting was that I found myself on one of the cheaper, lower range bikes in the field which was crazy since it is a relatively low level of racing and my bike is not a piece of junk. Obviously there are a lot of people out there with more money for bikes than I seem to have.

The news on my knee is that I have had a couple appointments at the Barrie Sports Medicine place (Thanks Car) and am getting some Graston (sp?) treatment done on the muscles and tendons in the area around the sore spot. The funny thing is that a week and a half ago my knee hurt from riding so I laid off for the 4 or 5 days leading up to the appointment last Friday so the swelling would go down and not obscure anything. The diagnostic tests didn't really show up much of anything so it was suggested that I go out for a hard ride to aggravate it before the next appointment which was yesterday. So Saturday I did an hour and fifteen minutes of hill intervals with very little warm up and then on Sunday I did a really hard 2 hour solo ride with no warm up at all thinking that I would barely be walking at the end of it. Nary a twinge was felt after either effort in the sore spot on my knee although my muscles definitely got their best workout so far this year on a bike. It is kind of crazy that I couldn't get it to hurt when I wanted to and previously it hurt when I tried to just nurse it through a ride. Maybe it sorted itself out a bit.

Anyway the doc was able to find a few spots to treat with the graston stuff right in the area that used to hurt, so hopefully I will be able to see it improved for future seasons as well as right now. I am supposed to test it again before my next appointment on Friday and I can't ride tomorrow due to some of Jodi's obligations so hopefully on Thursday I will be able to go out for a good one.

I will post some more news about the knee status as it becomes available.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Big Ringing the Season Opener

Oh...sweet object of my desire.

How I dream of the day when we might travel together as one. Wait, that's today. Seven degrees and sunny and the babies are napping. I figure that the first outdoor bike ride of the season would be a good way to recover from a 40 km nordic ski race the day before. Yes sir, that sounds down right lovely.

The weather was fine and while The Beautiful Machine (here after referred to as TBM) was not really finished being sorted for the season, (cables need to be clipped with ends put on and I still don't have rear brake pads) the time was right. The ride itself was awesome. After 55 km of generally easy flat roads I can draw some conclusions as follows.

1. I feel really light and strong for the first ride of the season not even counting yesterday's activities. I only left the big ring on one short climb with a strong headwind.

2. This is likely due to deviation from my typical Jan Ullrich style off season (pastries, beer, and wild boar hunting with Vino'). I might be 20 to 25 pounds lighter than most previous early marches.

3. Nordic skiing all winter is like wearing the Golden Fleece in July - it gives you an extra gear. I seem to have cardio to burn - I just need to get some biking muscles.

TBM is working super well. In fact, I actually have an extra gear as I changed from a 12-25 to a 12-26 cassette but until I ride some hills the difference will likely be imperceptible. The new Race Face crank is working great and front shifting is exceptional but probably also due in part to all new cables. I'm definitely glad that I didn't get a compact crank for these flatlands since I am feeling so good. My fresh arctic white bar tape should strike fear in the legs of all competitors.

This picture is post ride and I am feeling really good with a dull tingling in my legs from the effort. This is the best feeling and best delivered by a minimum two hour ride on a freshly tuned road machine.

My form has me amped with a few April possibilities in my sights. As previously mentioned there is Paris Ancaster on April 18th which I definitely hope to compete in. But, the weekend before there is a race called the Tour of Bronte which sounds awesome. It is on closed roads in the provincial park so there are no traffic issues. The 8 laps are 8 km long with about half and half tarmac and gravel which is an approximation of a European Spring Classic. There are other mixed surface races in April as well.

I think this is totally brilliant as it seems like the popularity of these 'Spring Classic' races is growing the number of races available to be ridden around here. Great hard man challenges scaled down from their inspiring namesakes in Europe.

This is good news for me as my calls to Quick Step have so far gone unanswered, despite the fact that I promised to clear my schedule to help pull Boonen to number four in Roubaix. With my early season form I imagined showering my chasers with a rooster tail of torn up cobbles as I was 'beasting it' at the sharp end of the peloton in 'The Hell of the North'. I guess I will have to stick to sucking wind 'off the back' in southern Ontario for now.

The day was capped off with some flame broiled burgers made by yours truly. Pretty good to open the barbeque season the same day as the bike season in early March.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hitting the wall...Bonk!

I was going to postpone this update until tomorrow since I have barely been able to keep my eyes open all day long and as luck would have it now I can't seem to fall asleep.

Last night provided a rather dubious run up to the race as Mason was up for about 15 minutes at 1:40 and then Brenna got up for the day at about 4:55 am. She was later joined by Mason at about 5:40 am. So the sleep and recovery box on the checklist could not really be ticked. Below is a picture of me trying to get ready with Mason's help as I eat some of breakfast which included an apple, a banana, and a bowl of harvest crunch with chocolate milk. (Yum-Yum, the thick chocolate milk very slowly seeps down into the granola's interstitial spaces until it is the consistency of a delicious bog or swamp).

I got out the door into a crisp clear morning at about 7:30 to make my way to the race for about 8:00 am. Upon arrival at Hardwood the trails looked the part with a fresh corduroy finish on the fine granular snow. The view below shows the mid lap turn around point with the finish hut on the left. Beautiful skies and beautiful snow.

I picked up my race bib and got changed in the building where Jeff Buchan (Jodi's cousin's husband who was also at the fall cyclocross races) picked me out and we wished each other the best. Jeff went on to finish 3rd in his category in the 20 km so I guess my wishes to him worked better than his would ultimately prove to do for me. I do however believe he was sincere and that my performance could be chalked up to other factors.

I made my way up to the 9:00 am start and managed to snap one last cool pic that shows the beautiful day and trails pretty well I think.

On the line it looked like there were a little less than 50 starters for the 40 km distance and they all looked pretty serious. I started right at the back so as to be out of the way and I hadn't really warmed up much so I wanted an easy start. In the first 10 km I passed a number of people and felt pretty good as the wax was working well and the conditions were fast but safe and fun. I skipped the first feed station which was stupid but that is a common theme that I seem to employ anytime I race on skis. The next 20 km went by pretty well and I passed a couple more people while mostly keeping pace with a younger female skier who was obviously a much better skier than I am but I was stronger on the climbs.

As I made my way into the final 10 km loop, I made a good push to start off strong but as I hit the first steeper hills it all started to go pear shaped. The tank was empty and both my legs were knotting up as some 15 year old girl who I passed earlier went sailing by. Demoralizing to say the least. That set the tone for the remainder of the race which became a trial to finish. I would have loved like nothing else to have just sat down and dropped out but it would have been a bummer to relay that sort of and ending to the endeavour. I ended up losing one more spot over the course of the lap and finished with legs, shoulders and arms that would barely move.

My finishing time was just under 2 hours and 25 minutes for 40 km which I'm not that unhappy with overall. I definitely skied harder than in Gatineau but I wish that I could have finished in better form. My second 20 km was 6 minutes slower than the first and all of that would have been in the last 10 km. That is a fair bit to slow down over that short of a distance I think.

Now for my rant. Nordic skiers are freaks. Those bastards are not human. The fastest time was fully half an hour faster than mine. While this was only my second race and I did beat one guy in a skin suit, I can not even conceive of the level of fitness that most of these people are working at. I finished outside of the top half of starters overall and if I had been racing in the 50-59 age group I would have been second last. That is utterly mental. Further factor in that this is not a big race and wouldn't draw really top skiers and it becomes even harder to imagine how fast people can get. Generally, on a day of cross country skiing at Hardwood I feel much better than average. My technique is very rough but my fitness seems good relative to the recreational skeirs. But compared to people at a ski race they must be wondering why I would bother getting out of bed so early in the morning to show up and race. This is not a recreational, participation sort of sport. These guys are serious.

On the way home I myself was wondering why I would actively seek out the opportunity to pay $45 to do a two and a half hour workout that would start with some fun and an elevated heart rate and end in almost excruciating pain as all my leg muscles tried to simultaneously seize up. Having said that I'm already looking forward to the Paris Ancaster bike race which will almost certainly end the same way.

I may still ski a few more times but I need to start to prepare seriously for biking. It is a 60 km race that is supposed to be hard. It is only 6 weeks away and I need to get hard miles in my legs so I can try to finish in something other than a dazed stupor. I will try to give further updates as they seem necessary.

Friday, March 5, 2010

10 Hours and Counting

It is now 11 pm and Grandpa is passed out on the couch. The gun goes off in about 10 hours so I need to get to bed.

This is a picture from earlier when Mason decided he was getting ready to go out. He put on the hat and shoes himself, picked up the bag strap, said "bye, bye" and walked off down the hallway. Pretty funny. I still need to get the red-eyes sorted out.

The waxing went on as I suggested earlier with a mix of moly and blue low fluoro as a base prep and low fluoro violet as a top coat. It is all brushed and polished out but there are a few weird looking grayish areas on each ski. I hope I didn't over cook the base. Anyway all my stuff is laid out ready to go (see below), and since my alarm clock is no more I am completely counting on the babies to wake me up. Watch them sleep in until 9 am and I miss the race. I guess if they actually slept until 9 I might be happy to miss the race.

I will try to get some pictures and capture the atmosphere at Hardwood tomorrow. Off to bed.

Koo-Koo Ka-Choo

It is Friday night after dinner and Grandpa and Nanna are headed to Barrie for the night and part of Saturday so I can do the loppet. As soon as the babies are in bed I will start the pre-race preparations. Waxing (skis), laundry (race attire), and maybe even a shower.

My evoloving facial hair has made this week at school a strange dichotomy of fame and infamy depending on the audience. Most teenage boys think that it is the pinnacle of achievement (I've been called a legend), while most female students are appalled and incapable of rationalizing the decision to present oneself looking like I have. This was the look for Thursday. I am the Walrus...I am the Eggman.

I don't know if the photo is a little distorted or I just never noticed how assymetrical my head is. I thought my skull was more uniformly shaped than this picture seems to indicate.

On the training front, Tuesday night I completed the race distance on the course as a bit of a test and it went pretty well. The conditions were very difficult due to the warm days melting the snow and then the cold nights freezing it back solid. Very granular and icy conditions are super fast but a little out of control for someone with my lack of technique. I crashed three times just getting a little wrong footed in an icy rut. No injuries so alls well that ends well.

Then on Thursday night I went out for a short easy ski on similar conditions which were just as fast but not quite as rutted and chewed up. I think that with the groomed course tomorrow it will be good as over the course of the day it will be softening as the day warms up rather than freezing later in the evening. Hopefully it is fast and fun.

Now I need to figure out my waxing plan. The options are shown below. I am thinking a base coat of the molybdenum wax with a bit of blue mixed in to harden it up for icy granular snow. Then I will go with a top coat of violet low fluoro so the speed is good as the snow softens and gets wetter. In the sunny spots I will be waxed a little on the hard side but at least it hopefully won't be wearing through on the cold snow. Better a little too hard than too soft which will wear through and end up with no wax at all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Loppet Loometh

I'm not completely sure if loometh is a word but if not it should be. In preparation for this saturday's suffering I have started to trim down. Rather than extra exercise or a healthier diet this will largely consist of gradual shaving to drop about a pound of hair. The first stage can be seen below.

Pretty cool - kind of wolverine.

The weekend was less than ideal in a number of realms but the babies and I did get out to Sojourn in Barrie to buy Dad some Wind Stopper underwear for the big race. It is hard to impress the ladies as you cross the finish line with frozen junk. Not that I imagine there will be alot ski bunnies present. In contrast to an alpine resort I think that most females at a cross country ski race would be at least twice as hard as I am. Oh well.

On Saturday night Brenna was playing her usual run around naked game before bath time and decided that upon increasing demands to get in the tub she would just hide as an avoidance strategy. Can you find her in the picture below?

If your having trouble just touch the feet and excessive squealing will give away the spot. She still thinks that if she can't see you then she must not be able to be seen. Pretty funny.

Mason was playing one of his favoutite games on Sunday where he wears around his Mom or Dad's shoes. This goes on until he finds a bigger pair to substitute or he falls over and has a fit.

Obviously Dad hasn't figured out a red-eye filter yet.

The second last interesting thing I will pass on is this photographic evidence that there is some weird s&!t going on with the strawberries from Florida. Look at the size of these suckers - the first image is a side view with a AA battery for comparison. The second is a bottom view showing some of the strange topography present in the left berry. GMO foods are obviously alive and well. I am considering taking a core sample from that bad boy and sending it out to testing. My best gues is that there is some coast grizzly bear DNA present. That berry could almost defend itself against any head on attack other than something involving fire and napalm.

The last important shot I have here is titled;


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Slow Night

Thursday night and the weather has lined up again to make it another slow ski day. It seems like winter has finally arrived in Barrie as we are getting more fresh snow. Pulling into the parking lot at Hardwood and it is snowing with at least three inches on the ground already.

Since I got here while it was still light it was nice to get out on some of the trails not usually open to night skiing (all the ones with bigger, steeper hills).

At least the previous snow was packed in now as compared to last time. The fresh pow sitting on top sure is slow though. I still haven't rewaxed since the loppet so maybe that is a factor explaining why I couldn't even glide down a hill let alone up. To quote my former VP with the best ski advice ever; "Why the hell would I wax, I'm just out for a workout anyway".

Anyway I set out to test myself on the Fischer Loppet course which is already laid out to see whether I should aim for the 20 or the 40 km distance. The first lap of 20ish km went pretty slow and I still sort of felt like I could feel the last weekend's ski in my shoulders and legs. But then as I started into a second lap it almost felt like the wax started working better. This could either be due to the dropping temperature or the onset of a hallucinatory state in my tired brain.

Either way, while I don't think I was going any faster,I definitely felt better so I think it can only be the 40km. I didn't finish the second lap through to the end but I think that in a week and a half I will be feeling good to take a run at the longer distance race without completely embarassing myself.

Below is a picture of my beardsicles after I finished. This is definitely the most extensive mass of stalagmites and frost I have ever accumulated so that is a little exciting. My mouth was sort of frozen in the position it would take due to heavy breathing. I couldn't deviate much from this as everything was frozen in place and to try to smile or close my mouth hurt alot as it pulled on all the hair. It is weird to write about this so there must be something wrong with me.

It occurs to me that I have alot of pictures of myself on this thing which is sort of bothering me and probably appalling anyone actually reading it so I will try to get some pictures of something else for the next while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mashed Potatoes and Peanut Butter

Well, here I am again. Now that I seem to be a regular commuter on this here world wide information superhighway, I guess my mom will feel like she is getting enough news of the daily goings on of her eldest son.

I got out for a ski tonight in some less than ideal skating conditions. I'm not sure how much of the problem was a lack of compaction during grooming and how much was snow that fell after grooming. In any case the snow had a consistency of dry mashed potatoes where by any push off led to my ski sinking into the snow anywhere up to 3 inches. This transitioned into a nonexistent glide due to the fresh inch of snow which had fallen in the last 2 hours.

I don't think that the situation could have been helped with anything less than a double turbo roto-corker with a fresh block of jetstream blue accelerator dust.

Even the track set felt as though it had been levelled off with a nice layer of natural peanut butter leading to ever decreasing glide speeds regardless of the steepness of the trail. In fact the soft snow on the trail would have been lovely to snowboard on if it could have been mounted on some apparatus which would tilt the whole thing up by about 35 to 40 degrees.

Despite this I managed to slog through about 14 km with muscles still protesting from the last ski at the Gatineau Loppet. Below is a picture of me at Hardwood Hills in my typical ski attire. Daylight skiing is a luxury I rarely indulge in. The flip side is that I was the only car in the lot which is nice for a recluse like me. All things considered I am super fortunate that Hardwood now has night skiing or else I doubt I would be doing it at all.

The decreasing after glow of the big race last weekend is being displaced by a building desire to get at least one more ski race in this season. I have the bug. It looks most likely to be satisfied by the Fischer Loppet at Hardwood on Mar. 6 as long as Grandpa and Nanna Charles can look after the small fries on that morning. The only question is whether to do the 20 km and really try to race it or do the 40 km length for an extra dose of good old suffering. Probably the 40 km since those skinny boards aren't called misery sticks for nothin'.

I'll leave you with a quote from John Muir, someone I really identify with in regards to his attitude towards the outdoors and wild places.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."

Go outside and do something fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello Fans!

If you find yourself reading this blog then you are probably a member of my immediate family or else I must say that I am terribly sorry you have nothing better to do with your time.

This is something of an effort to remedy the fact that I am terrible at responding to emails and picking up the phone. Inexplicably some people still seem to be interested in what I do with myself.

I will keep this short in case I don't get it sorted out and feel like I blew half an hour which I will never recover. In the event it works I will make efforts at semi-regular updates most likely pertaining largely to my extracurricular pursuits.

Below I have an up to date photo of yours truly with my loppet beard freshly shaved to a racing beard.

It is a bit of a Ewan Macgregor sort of set up from 'Long Way Round' and has come into being since Christmas break. It took its final shape on Saturday night in an effort to increase the aerodynamics for Sunday's activities which consisted of the Gatineau Loppet. This was an awesome weekend mission with my brother Cam who had flown in from Seattle on Thursday.

The final course layout came in at 49.9 km apparently which I managed to complete in a few seconds over 3 hrs 30 mins in the skating technique. I was quite pleased with this as it was my first ski race and my preparations had been relatively poor. This was due to a number of conspiring factors including being sick the weekend before and not eating much of anything for 3 to 4 days in the early part of the week. For a full report, I imagine that brother Cam will have a comprehensive write up on his blog 'The Adventures of Cameron Charles' at

Anyway, if you read this far, I'm rather surprised but I will try to post something else soon.