Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Riding the Mechanical Bull

Well, the theme of my last two races would have to be mechanicals. In the Bromont World Cup, (of which I was really stoked to do) the shims that I made to compensate for a leg length discrepancy folded over top of my cleat, and rendered clipping in impossible. After a lap of really bad frustration, I went to to tech zone, and got the shim cut off. Meanwhile, I guess the muddy conditions, and jamming on the pedals with mostly one leg, bent my chain. But at the time I thought it was just really bad chainsuck that occurred every third pedal revolution. By the time I got up the big climb for the 2nd time my pedal finally clipped in. At this point I was in dead last place, and the chainsuck issue was still present. I rode as hard as I could, until I got lapped at the end of lap 4. Wow, that was frustrating! I figured that I'd just have to smoke in the next O-Cup race...

So fast foreward 1 week, to Mountainview. I only raced there once, last year at provincials, and didn't have a stellar race. But I came into it with some confidence. The start was fast, but then after we went up the hill, and popped out on a long stretch of double track, it became evident that almost everyone ahead of me had gone too hard up the first climb. I passed a bunch of people, and was soon in second place. Yeeeehaw! I was feeling relaxed and strong, just about to finish lap #2, when disaster struck. My derailleur was ripped off my bike by a wayward branch. SHIT. I quickly flipped the bike over, and thought that I should make it into a singlespeed. Then I realized that I have a dually, and the chain would likely snap. Also, I had no way to secure the derailleur out of the way. damn. I reluctantly pulled the plug, just as 3rd place was coming up on me. I guess I was comfortably in 2nd when this happened.

On the bright side, the fitness is good! On the downside, I could have really used those points for Quest for Gold, and the overall O-Cup espoir title. Shit. Well, i'll have to kill it at Kelso. But I usually race well there, so that should be a good time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, Mont St. Anne was a strange race for me. I felt really relaxed at the start line, a little too relaxed, and never really got fired up all race. Also, about 5 minutes into the race, I wiped out on a corner and took a big chunk out of my top tube. Not ideal.
My legs are pretty scratched up... It looks like a small woodland creature attacked me. Its pretty gnar.

On another note, yesterday was my birthday! I'm now 22 years old. Damn, thats old! at least it feels old when your hanging around juniors. It was a great birthday, had a lovely meal with all the athletes on the project out here, and even got some cheesecake for dessert. mmm.

I'm looking foreward to Bromont. Should be a good race for me, I've just got to kill myself on every climb.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Well, its been quite a long time since my last update. I keep putting it off. I'm not sure why, I guess I just haven't been in a blogging mood.
Anyways, since my last post a lot has happened.
I traveled out west, on a last minute whim to do the Edmonton and Canmore Canada Cup races. These races were a lot of fun, although I didn't go quite as fast as I wanted to. Regardless, I stayed in a cool little hostel in Canmore, and met a lot of cool people, rode some wicked trails, hiked up a mountain in clipless shoes, had a showdown with an alberta rider named cody (came out on top) and had an overall great time.

After the "out west adventures" I had a well deserved weekend off of racing. This consisted of going to my cottage, and hammering my body into submission on some epic cottage roads. Man, I was smoked after this one particular 5 hour ride. ouch.

After this, Off to bromont for another Canada Cup. Although I flatted, and had to run a bunch because my tire wouldn't seal, I felt strong, and continued to run the uphills, when other people were walking. This was good premonitions of things to come. From Bromont, Karl and I headed up to Sainte-Felicien for the Nationals project, and eventually, Nationals.

This race went quite well for me. Cody and I ended up duelling it out again, although he took it this time, on the last climb of the course. I pushed myself super hard, and was very happy with the race. Fourth was the result, although I don't like focusing on results.

The next weekend the legs proved strong again, as Eric Batty and I rode away from most of the field. I got outsprinted (again!) in the end, but had one of my best rides in a while.

I'm not sitting in a loverly condo in Mont St Anne, with Max Plaxton, and Cam Jette, on the eve of the World Cup race. I did some pre-riding behing Absalon and Adam Craig today, showed them a thing or two (just kidding) and i'm feeling pretty good. Hopefully I can ride this fitness wave that i've been on, but I guess we'll see. The course doesn't suit me, but I think that if I ride smart, and ride my heart out, I can really show some people what i'm capable of.

Its strange, I have this deep set knowledge that I will be one of the strongest mountain bike riders in the world, and I just have to keep knowing, and pushing, doing the training, resting properly, and it will all come together. Just takes time.

thats all for now, I will put up some more photos after I get onto a good internet connection. For now, i'll leave you with a good one... (shredding gnar in Canmore)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

come together... right now

Well, it finally all came together for me. Fitness, no mechanicals, good feelings, good start. I was able to put all the elements together, and finally finish with a ride that I have been expecting for the last several races.

I love to observe things around me as they occur. One thing that I took note of today was peoples' reactions. This is a good way to determine who are real people, and who is fake. Who your friends are, and who the posers are. This is how it works: If people are, in fact, your friends/nice people, they will congratulate you on your ride, no matter how you do. This was observed in my last few races, where I didn't quite perform up to my potential. Today, I was able to "manifest my potential" and oh, wow, a bunch more people came and talked to me after the race. Very interesting. Try this experiment next time you have a crummy race, followed by a good one, or vice-versa.

I won't bore you with race details, except to say that I fell victim to a very long, drawn out "Glassford" attack, which lasted just over 3 laps. It was fun riding with him today.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tremblant Fun

well, I think there is a direct relationship with how well my race goes, and how long it takes me to make a blog about it. Well, the race didn't go so well, and I'm sure you are all smart enough people to figure out the relationship. I believe its a linear relationship, like y=mx + b. Where b represents the constant amount of time where i have to cool down, eat something, drive home, and then eventually make it to a computer. Thats always going to be there.
the m term is made smaller by a poor race, be it from mechanical issues, poor fueling issues, or otherwise. The worse the race, the smaller the number. Once the RHS = LHS, the post is created. y will always be a constant, and then its just a matter of time (x variable) before they're equal.

Anyways, enough blathering. Positive notes for this race, the team did very well (EMD, and Ontario). Notable mention goes out to the juniors who flew in this race. Also, a certain cadet from EMD had an awesome ride, and he's only going to get going faster.

This brings me to my next point. The trailbuilding at Tremblant is despicable. To solve the issue of a wet trail, someone decided that hay would be an ideal building material to put down. Also, lots of gravel patch-ups. Terrible. If this weren't such an important and close race, I would boy-cott it, 100%.

After the wednesday night fortune race (a much better race for me!) I realized how wicked that course is. The work that myself and my friend did there last summer is wonderful, and even in the race the course was super rideable, draining well, flowy, and just awesome all-round.

Having now ridden in even more locales, I have to say, that DAMN, the trails at fortune are sick, and we really know how to design, and maintain trails. (this collective we includes myself, my best friend, his dad, my ex-boss/friend/mentor, and her husband)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Struggles in B-S-P

Baie Sainte Paul was a very interesting race. Due to some registration confusion, I did not receive a call-up. Due to the fact that there were 60 competitors, I spent the first two laps doing a lot of passing. After this, I settled into a good pace, and tried to ride my own race. This went fairly well for me, and I rode the last 3 laps a lot stronger than my first 3.

Again, this shows that my fitness is good, but i'm having some trouble digging deep in these races. I can't seem to throw down the same leg-busting efforts that I would do last year. I think this will come on with more racing.

The good news is that I came third espoir. 19th overall. Not a bad result. Not wonderful but not bad.

I'm in Sainte-Felicien right now. We pre-rode the course a bunch of times, and got it dialed in, for nationals. I really like the course, and nationals should be good. I'm glad I got to see the race, and figure it out. Tomorrow morning, we head to Tremblant to get set-up for this weekend.

Signing out, from a little trendy internet cafe in Sainte Felicien. I really like this town, and this region. Its very wild, and removed from the rest of the world, which is nice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

EMD, 1,2,3!

Well, just got back from my first Tuesday night loop of the park. WOW, it was fast. 1:01. I instigated a break on pinks, that stayed away for the entire loop, and opened up over 5 minutes on the field by the end.
It started with about 6 people, but by the end, it was me, Doug (EMD), Warren (EMD) and Aaron. In the sprint we took 1,2,3, and I proved myself wrong in my ability to sprint, peaking at nearly 1500W. I didn't think I had it in me!
Anyways, The park was beautiful tonight. Anyone in ottawa, GET OUT THERE, and ride a loop or two. So nice.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

what a way to spend mothers day - Albion 09

well, O-Cup #2 went far better for me that O-Cup #1. Maybe it was the lack of mechanicals, maybe it was the fact that I rested a bit before this race, or maybe it was the longer warm up. Dunno for sure. Anyways, here's a bit of a re-cap.

Lap 1: Fast start. But not as brutal as Mansfield. Was able to hang in with some of the other fast guys, and just settle in pretty fast. Rode with Jon Kinsie, Zach Hughes, and Stu Alp for a while. in the end, Jon got away from me, but i got away for the other two.

Lap 2: Kept feeling strong, at the end of the lap, Steven Noble (a junior!) caught me, and to make matters worse, Mitch Bailey was already ahead of me. MAN these boys are fast. At 17-18, I was Unicycling definitely not mountain biking.Theres a pictures of what I was doing at that age. hmmm. Anyways, definately a huge shout out to Mitch and Steven, I had fun riding with them at Mansfield and Albion.

Lap 3: Still with Steven. Going strong, we actually did some rotating echelon on mtb. which was cool

Lap 4: At this point I realized that the Juniors (they're also in contention for CSG) had only 4 laps, and I decided to give'r. Anyways, I broke contact with Steven, and hammered. I caught Mitch with <1km to go. Passed him, and rode in. DAM, still one lap left.

Lap 5: I really payed for the energy dump in lap 4. I kinda nursed this lap around, and didn't catch anyone, but also didn't get passed. Finished 7th overall, 2nd Espoir, and 2nd out of all the CSG potentials. I think my form is coming around, because I was able to put much better power down to the pedals today :)

Overall this was a good race for me. Happy mothers day to all those babie's mama's out there.
Question for the day: "How come band-aids come only in tan? What about people with brown, or black skin?" (got that from my sister. she raises a good point)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Uxbridge Thursday Night Follies

Well, the intention was to ride up to Durham forest, do the Thursday regional race... win it... and then ride home. Well, upon arriving and seeing Adam Morka, Kyle Douglas, and Sean Ruppel (Chico), the plan changed to, "SWEET, this is going to be a wicked race!"

Anyways, it sure was. And despite several passing mishaps, and a stick in the derailleur I managed to squeeze in behind Adam to take 2nd. It was a good night, a good race, and great fun riding with those guys. I can't wait for Albion.

On a totally un-related topic, did you know the sea-horse, is the only animal where the Male gives birth to the babies?? I'm not too sure how that works, or how they define male in this case, but certainly interesting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring bank Road (death) Race

The first selection race for the Canada Summer Games (CSG) occurred this Sunday. It was a day of too many. Too many Juniors. Too many Racers. Too many cement Blocks. Too many corners. Too many sketchy straights. Way to sketchy.

My sister drove me to London, from Oshawa, which was about 2.5 hours. Shout out to her for the drive.

On the second lap, there was a bad crash, and a two juniors went down. Hard. This was quite scary for me. The race was neutralized for several laps. Then we started racing again. The field was very strong, and nothing was getting away, despite many efforts. Anyways, the race finished in a sprint, and being that I can't sprint, it didn't bode well for me. However I was just happy to have survived the race.

On the ride home we (my sister and I) stopped at Wendy's, where I caught up with some South Carolina peeps. We discussed the merits of Oreo vs. Smartie "Frosties", and got some grub.

Next weekend is Albion. Should be amazing.

To sign out, all I have to say is: Once bread becomes toast, it never goes back.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, the first mountain bike race of the season was definitely not my best. The race started out with me feeling very 'flat' and the first climb was a little too fast for me. My first two laps seemed terrible, and I was unable to settle into my rhythm. Then the third lap seemed to start to flow a bit better.
By the start of the fifth lap I had caught several guys, and was moving up steadily. Pouring on more and more gas, with about 2km left, an expert category rider fell right in front of me. This caused my rear derailleur cage to break off. I spent about 3-4 minutes getting my bike so that it was rideable again. I finally took off, after several people had passed me. Anyways, I finished the last lap, with half a derailleur, and a front flat. Oh well. I think I need to revise my warm up protocol, and really come out strong. Other than the last lap, the bike felt awesome. All I can say is that its "game on" for Albion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Wow, what a fun race. It started off with an early morning, because I had to pack all my stuff. My mom was coming up from Oshawa to help me move out of my apartment for the summer. So, after moving all my stuff from the 3rd floor to the trailer in the parking lot, we heading off to Calabogie. My roommate/best friend was to be joining us for the day, but unfortunately he wasn't racing... just cheering, feeding and playing with my dog, Caesar.

The race started, and I must say, we were all looking pretty shard in the new kit. Anyways, there were lots of attacks, and it was kinda hectic from the start, then i decided to start throwing down a bit. I chased down a few attacks, then I made a bridge (which soon thereafter got caught). Tried to get something going with some team mates, Warren, and Doug, but it didn't stick. Then I did a a big long solo bridge attempt, which was probably a dumb move. Anyways, everything came together, and I was breathing really hard. Then, a break of about 10 guys went up the road. They hovered there for a little while, and since Osmond and Doug were in it, I wasn't going to chase.

About 2 minutes later, and they were maybe 100m up the road. I tried to bridge up to them, and was successful! No one followed, and now the group was pretty decent. I guess we all decided that it was "go time" because for the next hour, it was fast, and furious, rotating echelon, and put some good time into the pack. Pretty soon they were out of sight, and we just kept trucking.

I must say, i'm 100 times more comfortable on the road bike this year than last. I was finally the one offering advice "stay tight guys!" instead of the one being yelled at. This felt good. The break stayed together, allthough Doug got dropped, which was a bummer. Towards the last few laps, attacks started, and a guy in yellow named "Patrice" took off with a few km left, and no one answered. Then with about 600m to go, and after I had taken a decent pull (again, probably a dumb move) Osmond took off, and stayed away to nab 2nd.

Finally Colin took the lead, with me on his wheel, and the fact that I have no sprint became obvious, as I took 7th, out of the 8 guys who were in the break. I guess i technically finished 5th in the sprint, but it was still pathetic. I need to work on that...

All together it was an awesome race, and I felt super strong all day. I set several new power records, averaged 298W for the 111 km, and never really felt that I was on the rivet. Can't wait untill Mansfield!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter weekend

Well, this had to have been my best Easter weekend yet...
Thursday: Classes end. Woohoo!

Friday: Good Friday OBC TT. My time online seems to say 22:03, but my power tap had me down for 21:20. I trust the powetap. It was a good effort. Good power. Second ride on the clip-ons. I just can't seem to leave them on my bike, due to the geek-factor. After the TT we waited around for about 2 hours, then went on a group ride. I was feeling super good, and hammered a little hard at the start. I hadn't eaten since 10am. By about 90km into the ride, it was about 3:00 and I had nothing left in the tank. I limped back home. 135km.

Saturday: Cyclelogik group ride. lots of fun, but a little cold at the start. Afterwards, I rode out to stittsville for some easter dinner at James'. Good times. 129km.

Sunday: OBC group ride. Very cold at the start. Let me re-state this. Don't go for a group ride when its -4, and sunny. The sun lulls you into a state of false warmth, and makes you wear a lot less clothes than necessary. The ride was very cold. Anyways, we rode from stittsville out to billings bridge for the 9am ride. Did a tour down south of ottawa, and then rode back to stittsville. After the ride there was another eater dinner. SOOO delicious. thanks to James' family for feeding me! 127km.

Monday: Took it easy today. Rode starting from stittsville, out to Carp, then back to stittsville, and finally back to ottawa, to do some studying. damn. studying sucks. Riding is much more enjoyable. 77km.

well, this easter will be hard to top, but we'll try next year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Uxbridge Ice Breaker

Well, the first race of the season has been and gone. It was sweet. This is a definate race to mark on your calendar. Greg Z. and I pre-rode the course on Saturday, because we could, and didn't want to road bike in gale-force winds. The pre-ride was actually a lot harder than the race. Driving wind, snow/sleet/rain, and temperature hovering around 1 degree celcius made the pre-ride very cold, but I still loved every moment of it. I seem to thoroughly enjoy rippin' on the mtb, a lot more than I remember. Too much road bike lately!

Well, fast foreward to the race on Sunday. The Icebreaker is the "oldest MTB race in Canada". All the snow from the day before was gone. Super, nice warm, about 12 degrees, sunny, beautiful. So, the race started, and I went to the front right off the bat. No one seemed to want to blast past me, as is usual in these types of races. I just rode tempo for the first km or so. Then there was a Matt Surch, that blew by me. I jumped on his wheel. Then Mike G. went by. Jumped on his wheel. Then I re-took the lead after a snowy section knocked the 'Cross riders off their rigs. I pretty much rode at the front for the rest of the first lap, with Mike sitting on my wheel. We were briefly joined by Greg Z. and Mitch Bailey, but I stayed up front the whole time. Second lap started, my casette was icing up, and Mike pulled away on a downhill. This is basically how the race finished. I ended up around 4 minutes off of Mike, and Mitch was in third at about 3 mins off me. A great first race. It was so wonderful to get out on the MTB, and on some trails. The new Specialized Epic is sweet. Swallowed up the bumps, and let me pedal through anything. I think this race would have been better on a 29er, but the Epic is going to be amazing for MTB racing this season.

Well, 2009 is going to be the best season yet. I know I say this every year, and every year, it proves true. Next race is Calabogie, where I intend on actually conserving some energy, and showing the Roadies where its at (MTB obviously!)

Saturday, February 28, 2009


After my recent foray into the magical world of butternut squash soup, I've recently discovered the deliciousness of squash. You can make soup with them, grill them, fry them, or even turn them into Fries! That's not all, I'm going to start experimenting with stuffing them with various things. too good. If you haven't eaten squash in a while, go buy one, look up a recipe, and make it. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. I think they're quite healthy too. lots of vitamin A, decent vitamin C, and way better than a cup of pasta. I much prefer getting my carbs from natural sources like squash and sweet potato instead of pasta/rice/bread like most other cyclists. I've mostly stuck with Butternut, or Acorn squash, but there are many varieties to try out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

OCA camp thoughts

Well, I recently returned from the OCA training camp based out of Seneca SC. Although this wasn't my first time that I've gone south to get a week of good training in, it was the first time I did it in a structured group based format. This definitely opened my eyes to the emphasis that roadies put on doing large volume, and low intensity. I have been used to training such that every minute tries to get the most training benefit possible. This is mainly since I don't have that much time to train, and I want to get the most out of every minute spent on the trainer.

It took a few days for the shift to occur mentally. I usually just want to hammer all the time, riding tempo, upper endurance, or threshold ranges most of the time. At the camp, we did some massive mileage, and most of it was done at sub endurance, or just hovering around endurance pace. I'm still not convinced that this type of training is as effective as some people lead me to believe, mainly because the group typically has such massive variations in rider strength, that while one person is getting good fatigue, others are going too easy.

Looking on the bright side, although the volume was huge, due to the low intensity, I should be able to get a good boost in efficiency, and not have to take a recovery week after the camp.
Always climbing up, getting fitter, and hurting the same amount... life is good :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Getting the most from the least

I always end up reading other people's blogs, and then imagining what I would say about myself, if I were to blog, and if anyone would read it, or even care. So, I guess this is a bit of an intro into my first blog.

Anyways, the winter can be very long, and cold, and depressing, especially in Ottawa, where it seems to be unseasonably/unreasonably cold this year. I mean, -30 is just plain rude. Anyhow, as such most of the cyclists in Ottawa who are serious about their training and their fitness resort to riding trainers, going to the gym, and doing XC skiing. This provides a pretty good base for fitness, and is fairly effective in maintaining or even improving on your fitness from last season.

The trainer seems to be a very effective tool, and when you are in a position such as I'm in, and you only have a few hours in the day that aren't taken up by classes, homework, or other pre-established commitments, you are able to get a good workout, including warm up, changing clothes, and cool down in 2-3 hours. If you have the time, and equipment (car, skis, trails) then Skate skiing is wicked, but it takes a lot longer to get that same workout. Also, lets not pretend that anyone who cycles as their main sport is going to be competitive in a world cup Loppet any time soon. I like to push it when i'm skiing, but the fitness that you can devellop when skiing is far different, and less specific than cycling.

One of the key concepts of effective training is the priciple of specificity. I like to view this in a more holistic method... Every workout should have a specific goal. Examples of these goals can be to increase or maintain strength, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, or simply to refresh your mind and recover for your next hard workout. If you find yourself getting onto your trainer just to fill up your weekly training hours, ask yourself if this is really the best thing to be doing? Whats the purpose of your workout? Are you committed to getting the most out of this workout, or are you just going to get on your bike, watch a movie, and not really care about it?