Monday, March 08, 2010

I Made It Snow

Yes...that's right, it was me Victoria!!

I commuted downtown just before noon on Monday, and it snowed briefly!

Then, as i biked to the climbing gym, it snowed again! It must have been me. What other explanation can there be?? It snows twice, both times i'm commuting.

Sat - OBB Ride

Owwie.. I didn't really intend to ride this hard. And the problem with riding hard is that you log less time. So my 3.5hr ride turns into a 2.75hr ride...but all the same work compressed into it..

It was a nice day, sunny but chilly early on. Good little group out to Mattick's. I led the first group out from there, and it was a small pack of 8 of us...which i actually prefer.. We kept the pace up, good effort to Sidney. (Check the WKO file linked below, i broke down the three sections.)

Had a fairly long rest at Sidney since we had kept the pace up...but headed out as a fairly big group. Pace picked up before long, but nothing crazy.. Got a bit peppy around the airport...then we hit Panorama and all hell broke loose.

Going up the hill, Mike Elkink (aka Naked Mike ;) and Marsh Cooper (of Symmetrics fame) tore off the front. I kept tempo after them, but didn't feel like bridging. Scotty also broke away and bridged up. Perhaps there was one other rider...

OA Kevin tried to jump in, but he only made it a few meters ahead of me, and i soon caught him and we topped the hill. Looked back and a few people had stuck to my wheel, and a few more including Chad and the two Juniors were just catching up. Sweet, we'll have a decent chase group.

I led the descent, we kept up a firm pace along Daffodil Rd, and caught Marsh along there i believe. By the stop sign, we caught Scotty, and just after Brentwood we caught Mike. All back together!

The group kept the pace fairly high though all the way in...didn't have any problems by the Dump, the pace was pretty sustained...same with up by the Ob. We descended, and got onto Interurban..i helped pick up the pace..good effort along the road, but nothing exciting to report.

I was at the back of the pack as we rounded the final corner and gradient before the sprint. Kevin was at the front, driving the speed.

As we were coming down the gradient to the final stretch, i went to drop a few gears on the back, and realized i was all out! It flashed in my head that i was beginning to spin out my 50x12. Okay, we're moving!

I saw Scotty moving up, so got on his wheel...he sprang, i kept seated as there was actually a pretty decent to stay low and get out of the saddle only when necessary....

We FLEW by the rest of the pack.... There was no chance of me catching Scotty, and i looked back as i approached the line, and no one was close... 2nd, i'll take it!

Fastest sprint along there in quite some time, i hit 70.4kph. Looking at my data, i was spinning 131rpm.. Compact chainrings are BRILLIANT. That's a great cadence for me, and i can spin over 160rpm and be reasonably comfortable...which would be pretty freaking fast...i don't think i'd ever be sprinting at over 90kph.

Took the King of the Overpass, Kevin challenged, but i just nailed it. ;)

Just Kev, Marsh and myself completed the ride. Haven't ridden with Marsh for a long time, prolly some track race in Burnaby a few yrs ago.

Here's the Garmin file: (nearly complete loop, had to skip the James Bay portion due to road closures)

Here's the WKO data:

Some neat stuff:

* my max and 5sec peak power were just a bit below my max. No idea how i'm maintaining this, since the only time i come close to doing these efforts is 1/wk on this sprint.. I think my 30sec is suffering a bit tho.

* ave speed of 34.5kph from Matticks to Victora, ~2hr 7mins ride time.

* my Normalized Power for my peak hour was 273w...8w over my threshold...ouch. Actual power was 225w. (Normalized is calculated to basically factor out the coasting.) For that hour we averaged just under 38kph.

Sunday - Sprinkles

Plan was to head over to Mt Doug and do another standing effort up it.. Took out the Ridley, looked dry although overcast...started to sprinkle as i passed the university, so opted for my 'Power Hour' route. Blew through it, and rode a bit more to ensure i got the 100 TSS pts i needed for the day.



Not much to report..good Power Hour results, HR a LOT lower than previous efforts:

#4 SB Power Hour: 825kj burned, TSS 82.2, NP 240w, AP 229w, HR 160, Spd/Dis 32.2km, ~8C
#3 SB Power Hour: 842kJ burned, TSS 87.2, NP 243w, AP 234w, HR 172, Spd/Dis 31.3km, ~4C, breezy
#2 WB Power Hour: 822kJ burned, TSS 84.4, NP 239w, AP 228w, HR 170, Spd/Dis 31.1km, ~2C
#1 WB Power Hour: 805kJ burned, TSS 80.7, NP 234w, AP 224w, Spd/Dis 31.3km, ~12C

Terrain was a bit different tho, since i went 'longer', the peak hour was shifted over a bit, so thus the greater distance, i think.. I didn't feel like i was going particularly hard tho..rather tired feeling-legs i'll admit. Started to kick in near the end tho.


Been climbing still, three days last week, and today (Monday). Still trying to clean the 11a overhang (by the lounge)...i'm SO CLOSE. I've gotten as high as the 2nd-last hold, but my forearms keep failing...

Today there was a new route. Unrated, but i'd say 11a/b. It's very long, switchbacks back and forth, and even goes DOWN a little bit..haha.. It's really fun, very tough but not at all impossible or anything.

Don't think i'll be climbing for too much least going several times a week. I'd like to keep it up 1/wk, it's great for my core...

Tomorrow (Tuesday) planning to continue my Over/Under intervals, it's calling for rain, so will likely head out to Sidney and do them along Lochside..wondering how it'll feel to do these on flat terrain instead of uphill...

Next Sunday is the first Island Cup MTB race of the year, at the Dump - kind of looking forward to it...! I just don't excel in MTB events..too much climbing. =P


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    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Happy Old Year!

    Yes, that's right - HAPPY OLD YEAR! Or, at least, i hope you had one! How was it? Did you do many of the things you wanted to? Were you happy with what you got up to? Sure, it's nice to say 'Happy New Year', but there's not much of a commitment to that..and literally ignores the fact a year just went by and perhaps deserves some reflection...

    Anywhat, enough of the Dave-style mental deconstructionism, what's been going on? Lots!

    Tuesday (Dec 29th) - 2.5hr Ride w/Emile

    Another dry day, made it out on the Noah again, Emile joined me for the spin, nice to have some company during a weekly ride.  Not much to report, here's the numbers:

    Entire workout (194 watts):
        Duration:      2:19:21 (2:28:19)
        Work:          1603 kJ
        TSS:           155.9 (intensity factor 0.823)
        Norm Power:    214
        VI:            1.11
        Distance:      65.986 km
                            Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    889    194     watts
        Heart Rate:      73    174    148     bpm
        Cadence:         33    126    90     rpm
        Speed:           3.7    56.7    28.7     kph

    Wed - Climb!

    Another 2.5hrs hang time with Kelly, i was pretty fatigued, nothing much to report.

    Thu - Rest Day!

    haha - it had been over 2 weeks since i had a full day off, and it was POURING out, so i took this one off.

    Fri - MTB w/Halldor

    New Years Day - time to ride! Went out for a short session with Halldor, planning to hit Hindgrinder (it's off Breathless.) When we got to the top at Sofa King, we were surprised to find Roland, Katie, Glenowyn and Emily (who i know from the Durian Cup MTB race OA Victoria organized, the 'B' winner!) It was a pretty wet day and Halldor suggested cruising back down with them, and so we did! Fun ride! No broken bones for Roland, maybe he'll MTB with me again some day..

    Entire workout (162 watts):
        Duration:      55:14 (1:34:37)
        Work:          538 kJ
        TSS:           61.9 (intensity factor 0.82)
        Norm Power:    213
        VI:            1.31
        Distance:      8.267 km
                            Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    1041    162     watts
        Heart Rate:      70    187    152     bpm
        Cadence:         33    196    72     rpm
        Speed:           3.9    36.5    9.2     kph

    Sat - OBB Ride

    Decent sized group, lots of the regular offenders. ;)

    Pretty mellow overall... We took a slightly skewed route outside of Sidney, hitting some roads i'd never been on. Pancake flat too, i liked them!!  Alex had a flat at the Sidney stop, but unfortunately we never saw him again.  On Daffodil Road, Emile's bottle and cage fell off, so i fell back with him to collect it, and we did a little bit of work to catch back up to the group.

    I was actually feeling pretty darn good, and did a fair bit of work up W. Saanich and on Interurban. Dave MacLeod once again gave a strong lead-out, and come the hill i was 3rd wheel, with Matt Dilay in front of me, who i was keeping an eye on... We started up the hill and i began the work of inching my way up beside him....i was actually making progress, jamming the pedals hard as i could....the line was fast approaching tho!

    I'm sure i grunted a few times, didn't see anyone else around, so it was just us fighting for the line....a few more hard pedal strokes, and we hit the line......i'm not sure who got it first, so we agreed to call it a draw. I can live with that. =)

    Held nearly 900w for 20 seconds there (897w), peaked at 1043w...just a good, hard, it up above 800w, and held it as i worked my way up beside Matt. Peter Lawless was apparently behind us for 3rd, i jumped on Matt's wheel before he had a chance..haha.. ;)

    Bit of an easier ride overall... Took the Overpass uncontested once again...haha..

    Entire workout (169 watts):
        Duration:      2:59:57 (3:12:01)
        Work:          1802 kJ
        TSS:           219.6 (intensity factor 0.861)
        Norm Power:    224
        VI:            1.33
        Distance:      88.574 km
                           Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    1043    169     watts
        Heart Rate:      88    195    141     bpm
        Cadence:         25    236    89     rpm
        Speed:           0    63.8    29.7     kph

    Sunday - Ride & Climb

    Headed out around 11am, went the 'reverse' route of the Burnside group, B-lining it up to Gorden Head & Arbutus, and then riding 'towards' them. Oddly, never found them...made it out to Mt. Newton, and then came back.

     Entire workout (197 watts):
        Duration:      1:48:29 (1:52:04)
        Work:          1269 kJ
        TSS:           120.3 (intensity factor 0.819)
        Norm Power:    213
        VI:            1.08
        Distance:      50.873 km
            Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    911    197     watts
        Heart Rate:      83    177    153     bpm
        Cadence:         20    118    90     rpm
        Speed:           4    61.4    28.4     kph

    Also met up with Tom Skinner and friend (Eva?) in the late afternoon for a shortish 2hr climbing session. My plan was mainly to keep it easy, as i was going out again the following night. Played around on easier climbs getting warmed up, and then finally cleaned the 'Orange 10b' that had been confounding my footwork right and made it up and over - yip!! I think that was my first 10b cleaned since i've been back. Nice.

    Also started working on a 10c overhang i'd been ignoring... It's a long route, which finishes overhanging, and there's a 5.8 on it as well. I figured i'd get a few holds in on the 10c, and then switch over. Turns out i made it nearly to the top!!! The final two holds are KILLER, but it was a very nice climb leading up to that. Will be looking forward to cleaning that one soon too...

    Tom's a solid climber considering he's pretty green to the sport. Showed me a cool way to avoid a spot i disliked on a 5.9, one of the nice things about climbing with other people...they can give you ideas. Eva(?) also climbed very well, also pretty new to the sport. Hopefully our schedules will mesh for future sessions!

    Monday - Climb Part Deux

    This time with Kelly. Another shorter sesh, around 2hrs. I was afraid i'd be wiped, but the fingers were holding up surprisingly well! For lunch i'd had barley, corn and shitake mushrooms, gotta remember that for the future! (Note that Roman Gladiators apparently ate vegan, and barley was a mainstaple..maybe there's something to that..)

    Warmed up and played around for a while, and decided to give the 'yellow' 10c a go. I've nearly cleaned this a few times...theres's a spot 3/4 of the way up, where i end up getting my feet too high, and it makes reaching the hold a very awkward i was mindful of this, kept low, and made the hold! I kept pushing, and WHAM! 10c cleaned!

    YEAH! Very happy with my progress, esp. after a slow week last week. Confidence is up, and it turned out my muscle endurance is looking up as well, i kept climbing 10a's, expecting my hands to fail, but they just kept on going.

    Still a few other tough 10c's to work on...and there's a shortage of 10d's, only one i can think of.. And then the scary 11's....eeep!

    Tue - Ride to the Velodrome

    Lucked out with another dry day....overcast and wet roads, so not a day for the Ridley, but got out for nearly 2hrs...was a bit of work talking myself into it.

    Opted to make it a destination day: checked out the new paved section of the Goose out in Colwood - it's very nice! Leads nicely to the velodrome, which was my destination.

    Wanted to check it out, see how it's holding up.. Looks like someone snapped the cable that was strung across it...scofflaws and ruffians...haha..although no one's going to be able to ride it until mid-Feb at the earliest, it'll be wet until then.

    I also rode up and around to the Wildplay Park, behind the track in the trees. I was very surprised to see that it's completely 'open' - as in i can get off my bike and walk/climb up into the bridges and lines....

    Isn't that a bit of a hazard?

    Like, the gashole Mayor Dave Saunders and West Shore Parks and Recreation Society have declared the track facility a national state of emergency, fencing in the whole track, for fear of people dying by tripping on a seam on the Astroturf....but this zipline contraption can sit there open and exposed?? This makes no sense to me. The reason Saunders and the WSPRS say the track is closed is because it's dangerous. What about this new facility?! Or the BMX track? There are crashes EXPECTED on the BMX track every time kids get on it...yet the velodrome is Public Enemy #1 at the Juan de Fuca centre?

    This makes NO sense to me. (What makes this all the more frustrating is that it's never been more bike-friendly to actually GET to the track. There's full bike lane on the highway up to the JdF, and this new paved section of the Goose is also an excellent way to get there avoiding 99% of the roads.) GAAAH....

    Anyway, here's what does make sense, my numbers from the ride. I rode back in the way i came out, and rode the water up to Haultain to get a few more kms in.

    Entire workout (202 watts):
        Duration:      1:48:08 (1:55:36)
        Work:          1295 kJ
        TSS:           133.1 (intensity factor 0.865)
        Norm Power:    225
        VI:            1.11
        Distance:      51.287 km
                            Min    Max    Avg
        Power:           0    991    202     watts
        Heart Rate:      81    179    154     bpm
        Cadence:         23    131    93     rpm
        Speed:           3.8    52.5    28.8     kph

    The rest of my week is pretty straight-forward, climb tomorrow (Wed), another ride Thu (looking like it might be a Ridley day!) - time to start figuring out some training-specific intervals.. Perhaps climb on Fri. Skipping the OBB ride on Saturday, as there's a free seminar on training w/power at the PCC. Prolly will ride out, and continue my ride after that.

    Sunday, hopefully back on the MTB!

    Keep them wheels spinning! =)


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      Wednesday, December 23, 2009

      A Week And The First Ride

      *phew* Busy week! Took the Noah out yesterday, here's some catch-up reporting:

      Tuesday (15th) - Climb

      Climbed 3hrs w/Kelly, started work on some 10b's. Feeling pretty good!

      Wednesday (16th) - Rest

      I was actually planning to get out for an MTB ride, but Alyssa was keen on riding out, and i didn't want to on the cold, rainy day that it i lingered around the house....good thing, as early in the afternoon an email from Scotty at OBB popped up in my inbox, with a photo attachment....i'll give you one guess which frame i've been waiting 9 months for that had arrived. ;)

      I was actually half-naked, about to get in the shower (bet you appreciate that detail), but threw on some clothes and hoofed it over to the shop. WOOT! I was very excited. Drooled over it for a while, compared the sizing to the Blue, matched-up nicely.

      That was pretty much the day there. =)

      Thursday (17th) - Ride w/Emile

      Decent day, made it out 2+hrs with Emile. I was worried he'd crush me, but near the Wallace Rd turn-off (heading away from town) i'm motoring along and look back, and i'd dropped him! When he catches up he says "you're going too fast!" HAHA! One of the only times i'll ever hear that from Emile. He wasn't feeling great and had a head cold the next day, but we eased off a bit, and he also just drafted a while. 2nd half of the ride was a bit slower, good start tho.

      PowerTap details:
      Entire workout (195 watts):
      Duration: 2:14:38 (2:29:55)
      Work: 1556 kJ
      TSS: 150.2 (intensity factor 0.822)
      Norm Power: 214
      VI: 1.1
      Distance: 64.681 km
                Min Max Avg
      Power: 0 853 195 watts
      Heart Rate: 77 183 153 bpm
      Cadence: 26 120 91 rpm
      Speed: 3.7 60.4 29.1 kph

      Friday - Climb

      Headed to the gym with Mical Dyck, who had an awesome session, matching me route for route for several climbs. Impressive as she has only been climbing a couple times in Oct, and not since the spring before that..i'd been back on the wall five times over the last three weeks, building up. She's an excellent climber, very strong and smart, picking up the routes very quickly. Nice to have another great climbing partner, she'd get back up to working on 11a's in no time if she weren't to be taking off for work!

      My session was good, the main goal was to complete the final two 10a's that had stumped me, and i did it! What that means: NEW SHOES! Next visit i get to break out my FiveTen Jet7 kick-ass climbing shoes. =)

      Saturday - OBB Ride

      Decent number of people out, maybe 30. It was the first ride that was a fair bit slower! Even through Land's End we hardly picked it up (although just enough to drop Alex - sorry buddy!)

      Much bigger group for the sprint.. Emile took off the front just before Camosun. No one responded...i was a few bikes back, and i believe blocked in a bit, and had taken a recent pull... A few people pulled off the front and Dave MacLeod decided to give chase, and he did a spectacular pull, bringing us within striking distance of Emile at the hill at the bottom of the sprint.

      I was actually feeling pretty good, and Dave was starting to blow up, so i jammed out to the left and started up the hill, seated. Craig Richey had been in front of me (and behind Dave) and he stood up as i was passing him, he started to crank it and WHAM! I looked back and he was sitting on his top tube!! The rest of the sprint wasn't much, i basically coasted up to the line, Emile had slowed quite a bit, so i 'won', although we were all looking back to make sure Craig was okay, which he was..chain had fallen off the big ring. He also broke a cleat in the process, but fine otherwise.

      I also took the King of the Overpass, not even a double-crown ride for me. ;)

      The numbers, as you can see, an easier ride, measly TSS of only 222. ;)
      Entire workout (166 watts):
      Duration: 3:12:51 (3:31:22)
      Work: 1909 kJ
      TSS: 222.6 (intensity factor 0.835)
      Norm Power: 217
      VI: 1.31
      Distance: 98.293 km
               Min Max Avg
      Power: 0 1027 166 watts
      Heart Rate: 81 188 144 bpm
      Cadence: 20 131 88 rpm
      Speed: 0 65.2 30.7 kph

      Sunday - MTB

      Got picked up by Alex (thanks again!!), and met with Jamie and Alyssa at the parking lot (they rode out, i didn't want to with the rain!)

      Fun day of riding, did my regular loop, rode pretty well overall but we were taking it pretty easy. Noticed that i was still pretty sore from the climb on Friday - it really takes it out of my arms and back!! At the end of the day, it looked something like this - surprised by the difference from AP and NP:
      Entire workout (163 watts):
      Duration: 1:32:16 (2:43:39)
      Work: 901 kJ
      TSS: 113.7 (intensity factor 0.86)
      Norm Power: 224
      VI: 1.37
      Distance: 15.386 km
                 Min Max Avg
      Power: 0 1023 163 watts
      Heart Rate: 70 178 145 bpm
      Cadence: 30 201 77 rpm
      Speed: 3.8 34.4 10.3 kph

      Monday - Climb

      2.5hrs with Kelly, first day back in the Jet7 shoes - they feel SO AWESOME. I didn't want to start wearing them right away because the soles have very sharp edges, and i didn't want to wear them down floundering around as i got my form i set the rule of having to clean all the 10a's before wearing them.

      Good session, worked more on the 10b's, and started working on a couple of the c's.

      Tuesday - Ride - RIDLEY RIDE!

      Oh wow. First thing i can say: it was worth the wait. This bike is freaking AMAZING.

      First thing i noticed as i'm headed to the Switch Bridge to meet Chad is that when the bike gets around 40kph, it just wants to go faster. It really flows through the air...

      Getting out of the saddle uphill feels SOLID. I'm noticing how sloppy other parts are, like my front wheel.

      The Lizard Skins bar tape is AMAZING. Very comfortable, and the tactile sensation is PRIMO. LOVE IT! I'm buying boxes of this stuff. And the orange looks hot, esp. now that i've swapped in a black Conti GP4000. And nice matching bar plugs too. Stylin'!

      Over the jittery stuff the bike surprised me - it actually soaked it up, and i was pretty comfortable! I was expecting the stiffness to be too much, but the high-frequencies are nullified nicely.

      Final 'a-ha' moment was riding up Ash Hill, i kept seated, and amazingly i could feel each pedal stroke going straight to the wheel. Normally it feels like energy is going into the cranks and BB and perhaps the chainstays or seatstays are flexing, but this just felt SOLID. All my work was going into making the wheel spin. Very nice.

      The fit is great, i'm going to try raising the seat a hair, and slide it forward a wee bit, but otherwise i'm pretty freaking happy with it!!! I can't wait for the summer to race this thing!!

      Otherwise a good ride with Chad, hope i didn't bore him with all my surprised expressions and fawning over the bike..hehe..

      Entire workout (201 watts):
      Duration: 1:57:07 (2:03:06)
      Work: 1403 kJ
      TSS: 152 (intensity factor 0.886)
      Norm Power: 230
      VI: 1.14
      Distance: 57.035 km
                Min Max Avg
      Power: 0 875 201 watts
      Cadence: 29 136 90 rpm
      Speed: 3.7 64.6 29.4 kph
      Didn't put on the HR strap, was in a hurry, running late!

      Wed (today) - Climb

      Felt pretty good, got out for 3hrs w/Kelly and Mical. Made more progress on the 10b's and c's i've been working on...should be able to clean some of them in the next session or two...figuring out the tougher bits, and letting my fingers catch up.

      Pretty fried again, my back and fingers still ache as i type!

      That's the last few days, it's been an exciting week!! Looks like tomorrow will be another dry day, so hoping to spend some more time on the Ridley, might do my 'Hour of Power' route to compare numbers.

      Friday, got an easy/fun/social MTB ride planned, aiming to hit all the trails we normally pass on (Green Ribbon, Sofa King, etc). 'Big Bike' day as some say.

      Saturday is the annual Boxing Day TT - again, if it's dry, i'm hoping to ride the Noah out! First race! Eeep!

      And Sunday ought to be another MTB ride.

      Happy Winter Salsa everyone!


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        Thursday, December 03, 2009

        One CX Ends, A New CX Begins

        Yes, cyclocross season is over, and back to winter training, and several days a week at Crag X Climbing Gym.

        Last weekend was the BC Provincial Cyclocross Championships over in North Van. I headed over with Fluffy, Steve & Chelsea. Fun road-trippin' crew!

        Got picked up at (ugh) 6am, and made the ferry with plenty of time. Uneventful ferry ride, and arrived at the course with plenty of time to spare. We wandered around a bit, checking out some of the features. It was pretty flat, winding around Mahon Park. Very different from any Cross on the Rock course. I believe the entire course was at least a couple meters wide, so nearly always opportunities to pass. It had been pretty wet, and although a grey day, no rain was seen....but it had done it's thing to the course, and the sharp 2m ride-ups were savaged and there were a few spots with muds of varying liquidity.

        My racing option was Senior/Elite, so i was definitely outgunned. Not to mention i was still under the influence of that surprisingly tenacious cold...i managed to get on the bike the week before, but it wasn't particularly productive, nor did i feel fantastic. (Still, got that 5min/350 watt PB which i'm pretty happy with.)

        Roland had gone over the day before, and raced the final BC Cup, and finished just off the podium in 4th in the B's. I would have been there had i felt more was my original plan, but didn't feel up for it..

        Roland raced in the Masters 30-39 field, which was bigger than he expected....he pulled off a 10th tho, good show! Fluffy in the next level of Masters pulled off a 4th (he thought he was further back!) and the Island's CX superhero Norm took the title, Provincial Champ! (He edged out Johnny Fokkema, who in turn sniped him at Nats.) There were lots of Islanders on the podium including my ride back, Peter Wellsman, who got 2nd in his field, and young Amanda Wakeling, who also claimed 2nd in the U17 Women. Joelle and Chelsea had great rides. Mike Brinton and Jordon Duncan, juniors who gave me grief in the local races also earned medals. Apologies to others i missed, full results and very accurate course-description here. Here we all are afterwards, great idea by Wendy Simms to snap a pic:

        So, for my own race it was weird to line up with people i know who are so fast, and many more people i don't know who are fast. Steve was the only rider i'd see nearby for a little while.. (Apologies to Michael Rothengatter, who was with me at the start line, but i didn't recognize in the H&R kit, and out of context from the velodrome!! Glad we trackies are consistent in finishing off the back of the field in CX - really, could any cycling discipline be any less compatible?! Wait, what was Scott Mulder doing finishing 2nd?? hahaha.. Molly Cameron totally blows my theory out of the water, doing well on both...anyways..)

        It was a tough course, with virtually no opportunities for recovery. Lots of shifts in speed, and a staggering assortment of mud.

        The course started off with a straight-away and wide corner on a hard running surface, and then a sharp left into an uphill mudpit. It looked a bit like this (thanks to Amanda for the pics! Don't blame her for the blurriness, blame Vancouver's sky!):

        There was a line you could ride up at the top, if you could get there... I gather more people ran it:

        That led the first of many hairpin turns, and a set of 3 stairs. (The more advanced or brave riders would just ride up them. I stuck to running 'em.)

        That spit us out into mudpit #2. Mudpit #2 lead to Mudpit #3 - The Descent. A short drop that was pretty carved out. Another stretch on running track, a few tight twists through some trees, over a pit of fist-sized sharp rocks, and back onto the playing surface, around another hairpin and into the barriers.

        That lead back over the rocks part two. Luckily there was a narrow line on the right, i called the flat-free alley. A 90 degree turn led to some grass, and a short drop...which ended in Mudpit #4 - The Ascent. Luckily you hit this with some speed, and would get up quick. It was ridable on my pre-ride, but impossible afterwards... That wound around a tree and down another descent, which had another turn and then another sharp climb back up. This one was ridable all race. It literally hairpinned into another descent. These were all about 2m rises/descents, btw. Very power-oriented, which was fine for me..

        All this lead to a paved straight of about 250m, and back onto grass with another hairpin. You're prolly starting to sense a theme here. ;)

        This was the only recovery on the course, as you descended another 200m on a slight slope. It was over in about 8 seconds. Hope your heartrate has dropped sufficiently!

        Another hairpin with some mud, another stretch on and off some concrete, and another hairpin. This lead to another hairpin and Mudpit #5 - The Drop Into The Slop. First off, it was a hairpin on a drop. The drop section itself was mud, and had many deep ruts. I managed to figure out a line that cut across it all and dropped me into the deepest section of 'The Slop', which was the best section to ride. It was about 10cm deep mud, about as thick as applesauce, where we can see Norm here:

        Just a 90 degree corner there, but just out of view is a brief muddy berm into Mudpit #6. Similar to The Slop, but not as deep. These sections really tested your drivetrain... Across a small basketball court, into another steep powerclimb, this one maybe 3m long. If you were smart, you conserved a bit across the b-ball court to make it up this. If not, it was a run. And yes, muddy, tho seemed better as the race progressed.

        Another 50m straight, and the 'real' stairs, about six of them. A quick ascent and return to the saddle, but for some reason this next section just killed me to get through. It was just 30m, into a hairpin and around a tree, but for some reason i moved SO SLOW there. The course wiggled between several more trees, and then wound back to the playing field, for a 100m straight, then another drop, tight corner and muddy ascent. I wasn't riding this, i think i saw a few other riders making it tho. 50m down was the finish/lap point.

        This was the most exciting moment of the day for me - it was the final lap and Sven Sturm had been chasing me from the stairs.. He caught me by the run-up, and had a sprint for the line, and i managed to avoid getting lapped by him..haha.. Well, lapped twice. I think. For some reason the results say i was lapped once by the leaders, but i was definitely 2 laps down on Evan, Craig, Dan, Drew and Nick. I guess i held Sven to only 1 lap. ;)

        I went into it with two goals: Top 20 finish, and not-last. Mission Accomplished! There were 22 riders, so there was some risk with this, but four DNF'd. As for the 2nd goal...that was fairly close, but luckily i remained ahead of one rider.

        So two more Islanders finished around the podium, with Craig taking Silver, and Drew in 4th, both putting in strong rides.

        Glad i went, although my body wasn't really up for any degree of competitiveness. I think were i feeling better, might have been able to finish 2-3 positions higher, but that'd be about it.. I guess that'll be my goal for next year: Top 15. =)

        A few more pics, here's Norm negotiating the top section of the descent into the Drop Into The Slop:

        Rollie about to hit the slop:

        Fluffy catches and passes Rollie:

        On one of many hairpin corners:

        Hello haybale, had to ditch the shades as they were fogging up:

        On the ferry on the way home, i didn't get a chance to hose down my bike before leaving (technically they took down the hose before i could!!)

        My full set of shots can be found here. Not a lot, but hey.. Fun ride home with Peter and Craig, and a satisfying end to the 'cross season. =)

        I've got some PowerTap data from rides on Thursday (w/Alyssa) and Saturday (again, out to Mt Doug with the OBB group), but it's not particularly interesting. Took Tuesday off, and hoping to get on the MTB tomorrow (Thursday.) Oh, fun link: my report for my first 'cross race, Nov '06.

        Climbing Gym

        I've been excited for months to get back to climbing, and so Monday made it out with my vegan climbing friend Kelly. This is our 3rd year of climbing together. Started Dec '07 or Jan '08, and go until March or so. It's an excellent form of cross training, and does wonders for the core (not to mention developing overall upper-body strength.) I usually end up going 2-3 days a week (the days i'm not on the bike!) By the end of Season 1 (Mar08), we were doing 10a's with relative ease, and completing some b's, and working on c's.

        Fall '08, return in mid-November, work my way up, and back to 10a's in a few weeks. By end of Feb '09, i'd cleaned most 10d's, and was working on several 11a's, very nearly able to clear a couple... Pretty good progress! Most happy with my form, which i'd really worked hard on. Racing started early March, and i was feeling pretty done by then, so ended the season and focused back 100% on cycling.

        So it's Fall '09, and i hit the walls on Monday. Very happy to be back! Funnily, there was only one rope that had routes from when we left. ;)

        I felt pretty clunky starting off..jumped onto a 5.6, no prob tho i didn't feel very smooth. Did a 5.7, no prob. Moved up to a 5.8, again, no prob, although starting to feel it in the fingers a bit more, more fatiguing.

        Thought i'd limit myself to the 5.8's, and cleaned them all. That was 2hrs, called it a night, pretty happy. After a couple 5.8's, my form really started to come back, and i was feeling mostly 'normal'. Even gave a 5.9 a go, felt great. Toes were sore tho!

        Last night (Wed), went back for my second session. Recovered well, fingers and forearms felt solid. Started on a 5.7 - felt great. 5.8 - no prob. Did my first 5.9 - it had smaller, tighter near-pinches, no prob. Felt it a bit more, but it was good. Continued on with the 5.9's, and cleaned all in the gym but the long, overhang one with a nasty hold near the top. I think we've figured out how to manoeuvrer it, so shouldn't be a prob next session. There was also a 5.9+ that i attempted near the end, but i was pretty fried by then, but i *really* enjoyed that route. More challenging, and required a fair bit of 'yoga' as i put it - where you have to twist your body to make a hold with the greatest efficiency and smoothness. (You can just muscle it, but that's not my climbing 'style'...not to mention that it becomes an increasingly futile method as the climbs get more difficult. To all new climbers that might be reading this: WORK ON YOUR FORM!! Be SMOOTH and flow from hold to hold.)

        Next session (Fri or Sat) will begin to tackle that 9+, and some of the 10a's. At this rate, i ought to be nearly back to where i was in a few weeks...assuming my fingers can keep up! Goal this season is to conquer the 11a's, and maybe a few b's. With climbing, there's diminishing returns once you get up to those levels... Going from a 10a to a 10b is fairly do-able. Going from 11a to 11b takes a LOT of practice. One note about my 'training': i'm just doing this for fun. I'm not doing pushups, pullups, or any finger exercises, and rarely do laps. I know i could progress faster doing these things, but i'm getting enough of a challenge, and happy with my rate of progression. Besides, once able to do 12a's, there's not many climbs left to do at the gym. ;)

        Links of Interest

        Okay, it's getting late, and i've got a bunch saved up, but got a couple fun ones -- GoogleMaps Streetview have invaded Victoria, so i can show the world a few spots, so here are a few.

        First, my bike shop Oak Bay Bikes. Here's the section of Beacon Hill Park where we'd do most of our 'cross practice. And unfortunately they don't going up the street where Crag X is, but it's the tall building on the right.



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