Saturday, 31 March 2007

Time Trial

My apologies for the late update, there's limited internet experience at our ghetto hotel, so we hunted down a Starbucks this morning. Let me give you a little mental image of our hotel set, is actually pretty cozy and we're making good use of our space. Motel 6, four stinky cyclists, two beds maybe twin in size, edge of beds pushed right up against each wall and about two feet in between the two. We've got bikes in the shower, bix boxes hanging from the ceiling, maximizing space. But hey, for under $55 bucks a night, spilt four ways, can't complain.

So, the TT course, soo fun. Lots of rolling hills, bermed corner after bermed corner, one nasty climb in which you choke up you lungs, but so fun. Ended up in 8th place and had smokers cough for the rest of the evening, but it was totally work it. Great way to start off the intensity for the year. There is a great write up and some great pic's from Rob Jones on Canadian Cyclist website, check it out.

Just going to relax for the morning, our ST race isn't till 7:30 this evening in downtown Fountain Hills. Should be fun, there's a huge entrance list....wish me luck.


Thursday, 29 March 2007

Ready to go

Bags are packed, bike boxed up, and I'm ready to go. Just waiting for my chariot to arrive, and I'm heading to the airport. Tomorrow is the time trial, 6 miles on the xc course, Sat evening is the dirt crit in down town Fountain Hills (just outside of Phoenix) and Sunday afternoon is the xc. I'll keep you all posted, hopefully with some good photos. And I'll eat some good burritos for everyone.


Sunday, 25 March 2007

Frozen Nose

Amy Woodward and I had big plans to go out today for a long easy ride, about 4 to 4 and a half hours was the goal. In need of riding some different roads than I have for the past three years I agreed to head down to the far south to check out a new loop, guaranteed to have lots of hills. Start at the corner of 37th and 22X and head out to Millarville, then maybe to Bragg Creek or to Black Diamond. Neither of us in a huge hurry (especially since I just quit my second job which was going to have me work both days this weekend..yuck), so timing would depend on how fast we decided to ride.

I woke up early this morning, super excited to get out for the ride. Dallas made a huge pot of oatmeal and I ate lots, to safeguard against the bonk pain I experienced last weekend, topped with berries and yogurt. As I looked outside to see the wet pavement, but relatively sunny ski, Amy called with news that snow was falling down South. Hmmmmm, should we try?? Of course, so I head home, grab some winterish riding gear, but pass on the lobster claws, it can't be that bad, mistake. I was running a little late so I gave Amy a shout and sounded like the weather was clearing a bit. Half hour later, we meet up and head out. Skies are overcast, roads are damp, the occassional snowflake falling, but it's actually pretty nice out.

As we turn and head towards Millarville, we're talking away, so I never really notice when the small snowflakes start turning into looney sized flakes, so we keep going. The roads are starting to form puddles, and soon the snow is starting to stick to the road. About 4 km out of Millarville, we pull over and discuss our options. But because as Amy says, "We left our purses at home" and neither of us really want to wimp out, we decide to push on to Millarville and see from there. Not even two km down the road, the snow is coming down so thick and hard, "I wonder how safe this is?" we both ask, but keep on riding. It's not until a minivan passes us and slams us with, I swear, a 5 foot wave of slushy snow and we can't see the read the sign only 30m ahead of us, that we decide it's probably be a good idea to turn around now.

Taking a back road back to my car, we end up riding in 3 inches of snow at time, my poor road bike and powertap (I don't think you're supposed to get those things wet, let alone caked in dirty slush), and we're both frozen. Amy's toes, sans botties have lost all feeling, I can't shift or break cause I can't feel my fingers (they still hurt typing now), helmet vents clogged with snow, and everytime I turn my head to talk to Amy I see large slabs of snow breaking off various body and bike parts. Definitely should have had my camera, I think this qualifies as epic. Then, off in the distance, are three lonely black dots moving towards us. As they near, it's Per Strom, Chirs McNeal and another blurry rider, my Rudy Projects didn't come with built in wipers, heading into the storm we were just leaving........good luck guys.

So our 4 hour ride turned quickly to a 2 hour suffer fest, and 2 hours of bike cleaning, builds character right. Seems like it would have been a really good loop and I'm definitely willing to go that route again, but there has to be a guarantee for nooooo snow. That's definitely going to get me ready for the heat of Arizona.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Ice Cream

15 degrees in Calgary today, very, very nice, but nothing compared to the 36 degrees in Pheonix. Ouch. Went out for a ride today and wore as many clothes as I could tolerate, trying to get ready for the dry heat of Arizona. Only four days till I leave......yippeeeeeeee..

Tried Quinoa for supper, really good and nice for something different. I've recently had my diet examined by a Naturopathic Nutrionist, some of his recommendations include, more fruit and veggies, no wheat (gluten), no refined sugar and no dairy. The no ice cream might be a deal breaker though, that one is gonna be a tough one. I'm still trying to decide if giving up ice cream is worth being faster...........maybe......let me get back to you on that one.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Valuable Advice

After a much needed sleep in and a huge breakfast of french toast, I headed out to meet up with a large group for an easy ride. Figuring that the highways would be in rough shape from our latest foot of snowfall last week, I grabbed my cross bike but quickly realized I was the only one with knobby tires. Scheduled on my training program for today was only a three hour ride with some higher intensity efforts, not bad. With my slow, fat tires I was able to run though these intervals and never get more than a couple hundred meters a head of the pack, which is kind of depressing when you figure I was almost maxed out at times and the pack with just "taking it easy", or so I was told. With the treat of more snow looming in the forcast for tomorrow (Sunday), I opted midway through the ride for an extended ride so I could spend as little time on the trainer as possible the next day if bad weather did hit. Well, five hours later, after a desperate but successful search for water at the Madden curling rink, completely out of food, completely out of water, again, and a seeming head wind the whole way, we dragged out asses, mine very wobbly, back into the Walmart parking lot.

Lessons learnt:
-when asked after five pieces of french toast with syrup and berries if you are full, say no, eat more
-always take your road bike
-bring larger water bottles
-always be nice to the curling rink guy
-stuff your jersey pockets with as much food as you can fit
-in March money won't help you in Madden
-Walmart parking lots can be a beautiful place

Sunday, 11 March 2007

A weekend of bikes, chili, coffee and some pain.

Saturday morning I awoke with a grin….dry enough to take the Fuel outside. The first 30 minutes of my ride were very annoying, stopping to adjust and readjust stuff, like seat height, cable stretch……oh the joys of a new bike. Sorry, I really shouldn’t complain. Had an awesome Calgary tour, trying to avoid as much salty water as possible I ended up sticking mainly to the streets, nothing like a little urban assault. I know, it really doesn’t do that poor thing justice, but I just didn’t have the heart to take it out and get it completely nuked on its first ride. It felt really good to be out on the knobby tires, and not just cross tires. Even a run in with an angry agro driver couldn’t ruin this day, speeding, talking on the cell phone and yelling out the window at me, now that’s talent. I only wish I could be quick witted enough to come up with a better reply to “I’d watch it if I were you”, then just an “Well, I’d watch it if I were you!” I bet that really scared him, hehe.

After I cleaned myself and my bike off, I headed down to the Terrascape third annual fundraiser event. Everything went off really well, lots of really cool prizes for the silent auction, lots of great chili, lots of people, and of course the infamous 7 watts per kg challenge. To go from sitting on your rear to maximal effort in less, and trying to hold for as long as you can, is really not a good idea. Kind of felt like a drunk smoker for the rest of the night.
After a really late night of cleaning up the hall, and loosing an hour in the process, I awoke this morning with another big grin, big group ride planned. Meeting down at Angel’s café we started the easy ride with almost 15 people, great turn out. With a few having different agendas, we ended up with 9 of us (picking up one along the way) at Bragg Creek café on our way home for a refueling with coffee….umm, and finally dragged ourselves home after a solid four hours of riding. I think I need a nap now.
It really was nice outside, even though everyone looks bundled up for ten below.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Summertime Sunshine...Almost

I hope you all made it outside today to enjoy the amazing weather. First ride of the year where I actually took my arm warmers off for a while and bared my stark white skin to the sun, absolutely awesome. Roads are pretty much dry enough and clean enough to break out the road bike, and give my new (new to me) powertap hub a go on the road. Makes being unable to travel somewhere "warmer" for some early season riding a lot more barable.

With less than a month to go till the first NORBA race, or I guess NMBS race now, down south in Phoenix, I'm going to have to start getting some quality time on the mtb. With temperatures hovering just below 30 down in Arizona this week, I can already feel the heat stroke coming on. I'm meeting up with fellow Canadians Catherine Pendrel and Matt Hadley on the Thursday evening before hand. Friday afternoon is the TT (6 miles), the ST on Saturday and the XC on Sunday. The XC is a 10 mile course loop and the elite women are doing 3 laps, men are doing 4. Next week Jack has some wicked cruel and painful intervals planned to help get me ready, first of the year....ouch.

Just booked my hotel for Sea Otter Classic. For anyone planning to head that way, look on under Salinas, CA (only about 20 mins tops from Monterey) and the Good Nite Inn is only $60 CDN a night. Only hope it's as nice as the pictures seem to be. No kitchenette though, so if anyone has any good all around and creative meal ideas that you can make with a rice cooker, I'd love to hear from ya.