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.