Monday, February 28, 2011

Mavic bling

My Mavic Carbone Ultimate tubular wheelset just arrived...serious bling in a package that weighs less than my fully-loaded saddlebag :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tucson Shootout

Kris taking advantage of our sweet digs after yesterday's long ride

Breaking usual habits, I was up at dawn today, to meet fellow teammate Nick for the famous Tucson Shootout group ride. It's somewhat of an unofficial race, with visiting pro's and wannabe's duking it out, like Victoria's Wheelers/Burnside ride on 'roids. First the old dudes left, and half an hour later our group of 50 rolled out out. Apparently they often get up to 200, but there was a crit this afternoon in town.

We cruised out of town for about 30 minutes, before the standard street crossing signalled a start to the action. A serious headwind made life hard at the front and for all the attacks. In one breakaway when it was my turn to pull, I was hurting pretty bad - I looked down to see I was doing around 400-500 watts, youch!

The fast pace lasted about 45 minutes, and ends with a sprint atop a small (but actually deceptively longer than it appeared) climb. I wasn't hitting it 100% on this first time out, but nearing the top the road was littered with blown up riders and I reeled in a few spots as I nearly exploded myself.

After that, there's more cruising while the pack got back together, up to the turn-around for the short version (still totalling 80-100km) and the turn-off for the nut-jobs looking to do Madera Canyon (for a totally of 150km). Today I was one of the nuts.

This part of the ride has a false flat for about 25km, before kicking up for a "4 mile slut of climb", as another rider described it. Nick, Troy Wells who I hear is a pro MTBer and brother of a CX superstar, and another guy eventually dropped the rest of us, but we all made it to the top before heading back, including a Victoria tri chick, who I suspect did not pay for her championship stripes or Shiv.

Now that we'd turned downwind, we easily hit 85kmh down the hill, and averaged around 55kmh all the way back into town. I made it back just in time to have a bonk-induced brain shutdown, miss my turn, and give Nick and I a few unneeded km's. Still, great day on the bike - I earned the beer festival trip this arvo. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Moving out and south

Holy, this had been a crazy week! Enjoyed my last Speed Theory rides with the lads and lasses and got back Tuesday morning. Had until Thursday evening to pack up and clean my house, put everything in temporary storage, and catch my flight to Tucson.

I spent the first two days not knowing where to start. Thursday morning my neighbor, Nina, came over and saved the day. Thank you, Nina!! Long story short, we packed and cleaned like a whirlwind, and I caught my flight. Nina and her housemate are coming on the weekend to finish the cleaning, and they even took Sherman, so he has a home for the month!

So when I got my two bikes on the plane, all for the price of the second and third bag charge, I was on the moon: 1) I had officially made the flight in time, and 2) I saved the $100 bike charges. Love Westjet!

Now I'm down at Stephen's house in Tucson again. Fellow H&R teammates Dustin and Kris are here for spring break, so I joined them today for my first H&R team ride. Dustin took us along a route that included a short diversion on what we think is some guy's drive way. Starts out with a little steep gravel, then it becomes paved and kicks up to, get this, 45%! according to Kris's SRM powermeter. We rode about 50 meters to the first switchback, then bailed and continued on with our base ride.

Here's Kris and Dustin heading back:

Last Speed Theory rides

Got out to Victoria, BC, last weekend for some stellar weather, 7 degrees - almost as warm as Ottawa! but better than -20 in Calgary. More importantly, dry and sunny. Did a solid day on Victoria hills on Friday, which was apparently Marcy's first group road ride! Wow. Ran a flawless leadout on Saturday to avenge last year's loss on the Wheelers/Burnside ride and did a huge day Sunday to Jordan River, much of which was on the sweet Galloping Goose path system, pictured below.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Free stuff!

I have a bunch of stuff that I'd like to give away in the next 24 hours. I'll be posting it on Freecycle shortly.

  • *taken* Computer desk

  • *taken* Well-used trainer (Tacx Sirius)

  • *taken* Short clip-on aero bars

  • Rock climbing shoes, would suit mens size 6-8, never used

  • Lycra arm warmers, size XL, RBC Whistler Gran Fondo, never used

  • Backcountry Avalanche Awareness book

  • *taken* Table & four chairs (similar to this Ikea product)

  • Microsoft .NET certification books

  • *taken* Chest of four drawers (this Ikea product)

I'll add to the list through the day, and might put up some photos, time permitting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Between jobs

I had my last day at Online last Tuesday. So no desk job until at least September, when my contract with H&R BLOCK ends. Wednesday I slept in, just barely started my morning workout in the morning, and made crepes in the afternoon. So far the new lifestyle is agreeing with me.

Free banana for anyone who can guess the five toppings :) (shipping not included)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter volume in Alberta

I've been trying to get plenty of volume in, cycling-wise, and thanks to a passing chinook, it was a gorgeous day this past Saturday in Calgary. I was bummed about missing the hardmen ride leaving at 10am (by a mere two hours), but eventually concoted a comparable plan for a ride, thanks to Google Maps:

So, I threw my weapons in the car and drove out to the start. Those of you familiar with chinooks will know that although they bring respite from the freezing temps, they also come packing a serious breeze. So once I parked, broadside to the wind, and feeling the wind having a good shot at trying to flip my car, I momentarily considered bailing. Just for a second though. I decided to ride north first, and if I was lucky the wind would abate in time for the westward leg. One of these days I'll learn to leave early on chinnok days for my winter expeditions!

So I set off. I had about 500 meters to warm up, before I was out of the seat, slogging uphill, in my smallest (cross-bike) gear. Then it got even steeper, and I had to sit down, to get enough traction. Uh oh... Fortunately this was steepest hill on the whole ride.

Part of my preparations included listing the township roads/range roads I needed to use to navigate the tricky section to get to Water Valley. Unfortuntely it turned out there were no street signs, so I had to "go by feel". Suddenly my two-lane wide, packed-snow road turned into a track with a foot of unpacked powder, used only once by a snowmobile in the past days/weeks. And that wasn't enough to pack it down - yes, I tried. I figured that there could be sections I'd have to shoulder my bike and run...but before attempting that, I thought I'd check out the turn-offs I saw back on the road first. The first road I tried eventually curved around to the south - scrath that. The next was more promising, and I continued to make good progress (turns out, better than good...).

A short while later, I arrived at a gate. No signs on it, but some pretty serious barbed wire atop and on the sides. I climbed around it, and on other side there was a sign saying "Private Property - No Entry"! Huh. First gate I'd come across, mind you!

I'd left my third water bottle in the car, reasoning that two would be plenty to get to Water Valley, where I could stock up again. Unfortunately a short way into the ride, I saw I was missing one of the bottles...damn, must have been shaken out by the corrugated road. Then when I got to highway 579, I turned left, thinking Water Valley would be just a kilometre or so down the road. A couple of kilometres later, I realized it must have been right, not left...but that would mean wasted time and distance... I kept going. Later, I discovered that not being able to salivate from 5 hours on the bike and serious dehydration makes it hard to eat peanut butter sandwiches. But they still taste quite good!

Still, despite getting lost, I made good time getting to my half-way point at hwy 579/Water Valley. Things were looking up. Turning west though, I realised I'd been assisted by the aforementioned gale-force wind. But I like to think I have two styles of riding, 1) into the wind, or 2) well. :) Later I would also discover that Water Valley is only a third of the way...

I slogged into the wind for what seemed like an eternity, but still, the sun was out, it wasn't too cold, and it was all good training. However, in the back of my mind, I was hoping to make hwy 40 in half an hour, although expected an hour. By an hour and a half, I was getting worried I'd missed (another) turn. About that time, it was getting closer to dusk and I was passing a farm house. Considering I'd seen 3 cars in the past 3 hours, and fewer houses, I decided I should take advantage and double-check my direction...I knocked on their door. Long story short, the awesome women who answered the door told me I was going the right way, but was still 20km from hwy 40, offered to take me there, and I accepted. She bundled her adorable little daughter in the truck and we got there in no time. I missed doing some fun, winding descents, but given that the surgeon said I'm not even supposed to be riding my bike for another month and a half (let alone on icy roads in the middle of freakin nowhere) it was probably for the best.

Awesome. Now just a little jaunt down highway 40 and I'm done. I still had 40km to go, but the wind had died, and there was no route-finding to do. By the Richards Rd junction, the road was even paved. Too easy. I got back to the car, texted Trev and Arunas to let them know that I'd safely finished, in spite of my usual unrealistic planning, and thus the high probability to the contrary. :)

An hour later, I was at Arunas's birthday celebration...the perfect way to end the day! (yes, those are chocolate-covered strawberries. Mmmm!)