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.