Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BCBR 09 - Day 3

It was a windy night on the beach in Parksville, which meant everyone's tents were a shaking while we desperately attempted to get every possible wink of shut eye. It didn't help that my body was in freak out mode, 'resting' heart rate well over 100 bpm, on account of my pummeling myself yesterday.

My knee was far more mobile this morning than I had anticipated. Not sure how long it will stay that way, as the dressing fell off almost as soon as we started riding, leaving the whole in my knee to catch the dust of everyone passing me, as well as little bits of whatever I might fall on.

Today's trails were easily my favorite so far. Most of the first half was flowy, soft, fresh single track. The smell of a few hundred wheels rolling over a layer of pine needles is magnificent. It was a nice temperature in the trees too. Beautiful day.

After 20kms we hit a long, exposed gravel ascent. I know this toasted a lot of people, but I was in heaven. Just found a rhythm and kept pounding away. Saw Tom and Gerry at the top of the hill. I'd love to say it was because I was rockin it, but I think they were having some trouble. Caught them again near the end and Gerry was running with his bike, having obliterated

I finished up the day much less shattered than yesterday. More specifically, I was sociable and didn't feel like curling into the fetal position. It felt like a good recovery day, though I rode hard for sure.

Erik and Devin had some challenges today, but didn't lose too much by way of position, judging by the unofficial results. Craig and Shawn had a flawless day and seem to have climbed a bit in positioning. Geoff and Pat maintained 2nd, despite a really bad mechanical. Mical and Jeff solidified their second place standing. Nic and Deanne gracefully blasted by me on the downhill and looked to be having a good day. Haven't seen Steve and Roy to see how their day went. I hung on to third, miraculously.

We have to get up at 4am tomorrow to catch the double ferry crossing. Hard to get to sleep because its still light out. And also because there are children playing on a rusty swing set in an adjacent playground. It's like trying to fall asleep to the sound of finger nails on a chalkboard. At least I am relly, really tired.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

BCBR 09 - Day 2

Well, no pictures afterall, as it turns out that they have cut out the formal podium recognition for anyone other than 1st place. Bummer for those riders that have sponsors that they need to recognize. Bummer for those that don't, too.

Stage two started with a ferry ride over to the island. Starting at sea level meant that we immediately had a climb. Initially we had pavement, but it switched into singletrack before we knew it. Endless singletrack. Was tricky for me, but much more rideable than yesterday.

The cool part about placing well yesterday was that I got to start near the front (right beside Erik!). The not so cool part was that I let my ego get the better of me and rode a lot harder than I should have. I knew I was doing it, and I continued to do it anyway.

In the final stretches, I took a sloppy fall that took a chunk out of my knee and left me with what will be a few yucky bruises. The knee is starting to stiffen up a bit, which makes me nervous for tomorrow.

Sounds like everyone else had a pretty good day. Erik and Devin climbed a bit in the standings. So did Craig and Shawn. Mical and Jeff solidified their second place standing, as did Pat and Geoff. Tom and Gerry took fourth again, despite a significant mechanical. Steve and Roy took the same spot again too, 24th, I think. Nic and Deanna showed strong again with a 7th place finished. And I got 3rd again.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

BCBR 09 - Day 1

Stage one took us through some trails on Vancouver's north shore. For those that are not in the know, that means a lot of technical singletrack. Steeps, drops, roots, cobbles, structures.

World famous downhiller Wade Simmons was at the top of the first descent, 'Severed Dick', to greet people. Cool. I'm not going to lie to you, I ran down with my bike. A lot. In part because of the sporadic traffic jams that would develop around the harder obstacles. In part because I was in WAY over my head.

Nevertheless, I found myself riding a few structures that I might have previously deemed beyond reach. The rocks and roots were more slippery than I'm accustomed to, which favoured those more skilled than me.

Rolled across the finish line with only a bit of blood, no mechanicals and a big smile. It was a short day, but the weather was stunning and it was great to hang out in the sun. Especially great with a bunch of friends out.

Sounds like everyone had a pretty good day out there. Erik and Devin took 12th on the open men, just behind Craig and Shawn. Pat and Geoff took 2nd in the 80+ mens. Mical and Jeff are 2nd in mixed open. Tom and Gerry are 4th in 100+ men. Oh, and I'm 3rd in open women!

Pics to follow.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Independence Day

It's 3 o'clock and I'm packing the last of my things into a box. My last day at work. Its funny what you can collect at your desk in 8 years. 3 ceramic angels, some jesus pencil toppers, an empty plant pot, cowboy hat, Risk boardgame, space aged ant farm, pink nail polish.

Eight years here, helping to grow a business (a business whose business it is to help grow other businesses, in fact). I've decided to take some time now to grow myself.

What that entails, time will tell. What I do know is that I'll be pursuing an MBA at INSEAD. My program starts in August and I've elected to spend the first two periods in Singapore. After that, I plan to head over to France to finish the program. There will be plenty more on that topic to come. Now that I have time to blog more frequently and turn my attention to it.

But first, I'll be taking some time off. And, when I say 'taking the month off', that means a few weeks of catching up on lost time with my spouse and family, intensive french classes, preparing our house for a substantial renovation, a triathlon, and maybe a bit of yoga.

First things first, though. A 7 day mountain bike race. BC bike race. Starts on Sunday. What better way to celebrate my new freedom than with a week of biking and sleeping outdoors with my good friends.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fastest (and last!) man standing

Nice work, Dallas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Race Across the West

Race Across America starts today. This race is nuts; there's just no other way to put it. It's not a stage race. It's just go...'till you're done. That means figuring out how to balance speed and sleep against deadlines and competitors. The route covers more than 3,000 miles, from coast to coast, with more than 100,000 feet of climbing. The fastest solo riders take about 9 days to finish it, which is practically inconceivable to me. That's over 300 miles each day. On a bicycle!

Last year, the race organizers introduced a shorter version of the race, Race Across the West. It's comprised of the first, and hardest, 1,000 miles of RAAM. And, I am REALLY excited to say that I have a friend that will be racing in it! Dallas Morris. Dallas is an animal on the bike. He is physically and mentally tough. He's got 92 hours to pull this off. I think that I'm supposed to say something like 'he's going to crush that course'. But, the fact is, 1,000 miles in 92 hours in unknown conditions is nothing to be taken lightly. This isn't a race for common people. Dallas should feel right at home.

This year is going to be special to watch. Go Dallas!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Elbow Loop Trail Report


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Highways Used the Way God Intended

I woke up this morning to the sound of a steady flow of water falling from my ceiling and into a bucket. I guess my do-it-yourself solution was only temporary. Outside, it was snowing enough for the white stuff to accumulate on my lawn. Yuck. I was born and raised in Calgary, but that doesn't mean I'll ever get used to snow in June.

Seemed like a good day to hang out around the house and relax. But then I thought about all of the suffering that Erik had gone through this week in Portugal and decided to suck it up and race. Despite the weather. Maybe even because of the weather.

It was a closed circuit time trial on a road that has not yet been opened to cars. 'Highways used the way God intended' was the slogan that Speed Theory (the race host) used to describe the event. I like it.
The weather improved by the time the race started, but we still faced rain, snow, hail and cool temperatures. Not bad for racing. Not great for spectating. It sure beat sitting at home and cursing the weather all day. Hooper made it out for the race too. His first time trial AND first bike race. Nice work, Hoop. That was a solid performance.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Marathon Recovery Week

I've had a much better recovery week than I had anticipated. I had visions of walking around like frankenstein for a week, but I was surprised to find myself tired, but quite mobile, on Monday (the day following the race). I'd even scheduled a physio appointment on Tuesday in anticipation of some kind of major pain, but it turned out to be unnecessary. By Wednesday, I was back on the bike and did 100km that day between a commute and an evening ride with my friend Claire. I played 18 holes of golf on Thursday in Kananaskis. I can tell that my body is tired because I've picked up a cold, which is unusual for me. But, I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good. There's a bike race tomorrow that I had initially assumed that I wouldn't do. The forecast is calling for snow, but I think I'll give it a go, as I'm feelin the urge to really get moving again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Edinburgh Day 4

I'm staying at a guest house that is just a few kilometres from the city centre. I wouldn't say that I chose this place, so much as it was what was available on short notice. The marathon takes 13,000 registrants in addition to the relay competitors. The result is that all of the hotels are fully booked well in advance of the race. I was just happy to get something.

What I didn't bargain for was a place with a story. My guesthouse isn't exactly in a fancy part of town, but that's what makes it special. I'm just a stones throw away from the building in which Irvine Welsh lived and was inspired to write Trainspotting. Not so good for late night exploration, but good to see the non-tourist side of the city. Across the street is Leith Links, which, it turns out, is the 'home of golf'. It doesn't look much like a golf course anymore. Just a grassy park with a swing set and a lot of litter.

I'm not fanatical about golf or of trainspotting, but I do find it novel to be situated in this place that could have easily passed as just another guesthouse in a nameless neighborhood. It's a good reminder that there are interesting things to be found everywhere, if you are willing to see them.