Thursday, September 29, 2011


There's some pretty solid mountain biking to be found where I live right now, Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts in the Laurentians. It makes sense, considering there are half a dozen ski resorts within 10km of here, but after you move away from the Rockies, it's easy to assume otherwise.

Given my tendency to crash when I ride the trails, I typically try to stay off my mountain bike for the summer road season. But now that road is finished, it's game on! And what better way to throw caution to the wind than go after dark? I hooked up with a few folks from my local bike shop, Espresso Sports, on the weekly evening ride, got to borrow a light, and off we went.

It turns out this was not a novel concept - we ran into three other groups over the course of the evening. And two dogs, both which could quite effortlessly overtake me on the uphills. Didn't anyone tell them about my fragile ego??

We started off at dusk, and so hadn't yet switched our lights on. But once we regrouped after the first section, it was time. I had almost declined the offered light, since I had my headlamp in my car, but luckily for me, I hadn't. I guess it has been a while since I last checked out the latest lighting options on the market...holy cow! This thing was akin to having car headlights attached to my handlebars. In fact, I wouldn't mind attaching to to my car hood, it's probably better! haha Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but I was blown away by how well it lit the trail, and blinded anyone who strayed across my path. The only time I had any issue was when the trail opened up and we bombed down some berms...since the light was pointing the wrong direction by being attached to my handlebars, trying to look through the turn was simply staring into inky darkness.

For fear of sounding like a shill, I considered not mentioning the actual maker. But I figured you're more interested in what I was using than wary of being peddled gadgetry. So I headed to the manufacturer's website, Light & Motion, and it turns out I was the lucky user of their highest-end offering, the Seca 1400. Oh, and look, the website includes the retail price....Wowzers! Until I got into racing, all my BIKES were cheaper than that bad boy. Or, to put it another way, I could pay someone minimum wage for two years to come on a weekly MTB ride and run alongside carrying a flashlight. But hopefully it'll be less than two years before I can MTB faster than someone on foot carrying a Dolphin! Or a golden retriever, for that matter.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ride of the Damned

End of summer often seems to correspond with injuries for me. I was wondering whether it is because my base and weight training is at it's most distant point for the year, or that I'm doing the equivalent of "one last run at the ski resort" as summer takes leave for another year.

Nothing serious this time, just a weird twinge in my ankle, but it hurts to ride. However when Craiger called to suggest a ride, I knew it wasn't one to pass up. 140km riding north from Ottawa, 60km of gravel, fall colours at their peak... I decided to tape up my ankle and give 'er!

It didn't disappoint. For starters, a spectacular day...I have to find out what temp it was and request that for all future rides. For the first half we were treated to amazing vistas of fall foliage, a neat hydro damn (clued us in to the reason for the name, Ride of the Damned) and great terrain. The second half added in some solid suffering, the historic mills and other buildings in Wakefield and Chelsea, Dave stomping on it with some monster pulls, and Craig keeping us on course for all but 10km. ;)

Generally, there's just something very satisfying about crushing it on back roads with some solid chaps.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Circus is in town

This past weekend was an awesome, bike-themed extravaganza. I was at the Norco booth at the BTAC ExpoCycle trade show to represent Team H&R BLOCK, and happy to do so after their great support this season. I joined by two amazing Norco-sponsored riders, Andrew Watson, fresh back from the MTB world championships, and bad-ass BMXer Ben Kaufmann. It's normally a dealer-oriented show (shop owners come to look at what they can sell in the following year) but this year, for the first time, Saturday was for consumers. It seems someone forgot to TELL the consumers, but being quiet gave me a chance to wander around and geek out on 2012 bike bling.

OH, and I also did my first autograph signing session! Right after Ryder Hejedal. Does it count if I didn't actually sign anything? haha
Caught up with my buddy Jeff, who was the mechanic for H&R earlier this season and is now living the dream, travelling with the pros as a Spidertech wrench. Partied it up a bit...

Sunday was the World Tour race in Montreal. Tonnes of dudes from this year's Tour on a killer course - 17 laps of a course with a brutal 2km hill, totaling over 200km.
Almost more impressive was the way these dudes get down after a tough day in the saddle: Jeff was in the know, and we headed over to Club Musique to rock out amongst various national champs and such. Take Di Luca, he was in the break for 140km, and then 6 hours later, tearing it up! Sweet.

This week it's back to regular life...a couple of job interviews, training for cyclocross, watching in wonder and horror as the leaves change and start falling...