Weather Avoiding

I knew today was going to be a wet ride. After I got up I could hear the rain pounding on the roof. I grabbed most of my wet weather gear and headed out any way. I was meeting some people over at Partridge and I decided to do some trails at the dump first.

As I started out, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going to ride before getting to Partridge, so I headed out Shock Treatment. Puddles everywhere. I meandered a bit, thinking I had lots of time. With 20 minutes until I was supposed to meet up, I realized I was waaay behind. I just don’t have the same fitness I had in the summer. Imagine that.

I took a couple shortcuts before hitting Trillium, then down to Partridge. I arrived thoroughly wet and muddy.

We roamed around Partridge hitting a fun loop, but avoiding some of the larger lakes that dot the area. My hands were cold and wet, but not too bad off. My feet were aching though. Normally they warm up and are fine but I couldn’t keep moving enough to get the blood flowing to keep them warm. The descents were fun and messy. There were more than a few two wheel drifts through the sloppy mud.

Exiting Partridge, one of my riding buddies gave me a ride back to Hartland where we all got changed.

Mud everywhere. Caked onto my knee pads, shorts and shoes. Anything that wasn’t muddy, was soaked. Getting into dry clothes was nice, but without a towel, I also transferred a bunch of mud. We stopped for coffee and a bite to eat. Felt great to get something warm on the inside. Back home I filled up on some soup and tea.

Then it was off for a shower to clean myself up.

Rides like that remind me of when I first got into mountain biking. We’d ride in any weather, get messy, and have a blast.

2017 Shape

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2017 is done and it was quite a year. Some big events for me and my family.

The first big one to happen was getting my first tattoo. I’d been wanting a tattoo for a very long time, and it was a good friend of mine that started a conversation about tattoos that lead me down the path of finally getting it done. We researched shops together, did the consult together, and when the big day came, she sat in on part of the process. I love this change to my body as it represents a big part of who I am. Mountain biking, and cycling in general, is a core part of me and has truly changed my life. Signifying this on my body is a constant reminder of this.

Another big event was the BC Bike Race. I still think about the race regularly. The first half of the year involved a lot of training. I’d like to say I enjoyed it all, but there were a lot of wet miserable rides that really weren’t a lot of fun. I did enjoy the changes to my riding, and to how strong I felt though. I was in the best shape of my life and felt great. I’d like to hold onto some of that fitness through 2018 and beyond.

After the race was done I shifted gears quite a bit. Life slowed down, and I was able to spend more time with family and friends. Camping trips, supper clubs, whisky tastings, some riding, and more. Life feels full with all of this.

The Instagram pics from above:

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Training Forward

Quite a year for riding. Lots of training, lots of wet rides, lots of fun. My 2017 stats:

Distance 4,005.9 km
Time 256h 37m
Elev Gain 58,803 m
Rides 135

As the year winds down I know that 2018 may not have as many rides, but I’m looking forward to it just the same.

Schedule Years

Christmas time Canadian Blood Services is always in need of extra blood donations. This year my schedule worked out such that I donated yesterday. Lots of festive decorations up this time of year.

Donation 82 all done. Still aiming for my 100th donation. Approximately another three years for that though.

Photography Posting

Recently I was challenged on Instagram to do the Black and White photography challenge. The rules were simple

Seven days.

Seven black and white photos.

No people.

No pets.

No explanations.

Invite someone new each day.

 

I didn’t end up inviting anyone, but I was inspired to take pictures again. Years ago (wow, just looked it up and it was 10 years ago) I did a 365 project where I took a picture every day. It was a lot of work, and I got burned out pretty quick. Part of the problem was that cell phones weren’t in common use, so I had to take the picture, offload it from my camera to my computer, do any editing, then upload to my site.

This challenge was a little different. I was able to do all the editing in phone, and posting was super simple. In fact, I think I could even automate the posting a little more to make that step even easier.

This has got me considering doing another 365 Project, but keeping it super simple, and not getting down on myself if I miss a day here or there. Something to consider for the new year.

Tripleshot Transition

I’m all set for tomorrow’s Tripleshot Cross Fondo. This is their second year, and my second time doing it. Hopefully by this time next year I’ll have a cross bike to use for the race. For now I’m sticking with my trusty Transition Covert. Not ideal, but she’ll get the job done. 

Annual Limits

Last week was the annual guys biking road trip. This years destination was the Sunshine Coast. Leaving Victoria we headed to Nanaimo to catch the ferry, but didn’t get far before we hit our first issue.  There was a car on fire on the highway leading up of town. We managed to sneak one vehicle around it, but the other was stuck in some pretty bad traffic. Then I required a pit stop before getting to the ferry terminal. Both of these caused our car to miss the ferry by 5 vehicles because we hadn’t made a reservation.  Boo. 2 hours in the terminal also meant we missed the connector in Vancouver to Langdale. Eventually we made it and located the air bnb we were staying in. The place was huuuge! We needed up scrapping the ride that day due to the late hour. Instead we did some grocery shopping, then went out for dinner.

Friday we met up with a couple locals to show us around.

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What an intro to the local trails. Lots of climbing, then a big steep descent. I was having a great time until I went down had ona right hand  corner. My front wheel came out from under me, I narrowly missed hitting my head on a bridge, my right elbow landed in a mud pit, and I smashed my right thing onto something which immediately bruised it and caused a charely-horse. The worst bit was it threw off my confidence. I hesitated on some further tricky descents and it really messed with my mind.

At one point the group got ahead of me, and in my haste to catch up I went to ride an A-frame, which turned out to be a gap jump. I ejected and landed on my feet, but my bike tumbled a bit before stopping. I had to shake it off and just get on with ridingIMG_1029

At the end I was charging hard again and it truly was a good day on the bike. I’m starting to get a bit of confidence with berms, which has lead to a few instances of the rear, front, or both wheels breaking traction. That is an odd feeling and requires a lot of trust in relfexes and knowing when/how tires will grab again.

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Saturday I was on my own. The rest of the group wanted to ride Coast Gravity Park. Knowing myself, and how much I like to ride fast, I opted out. In my DH days I often crashed hard while pushing my limits, and I know I would have been pushing my limits at the park. Instead I set out from the house to explore some different trails and to ride Mach Chicken, which looked like a fun trail based on some videos I saw online.

The ride started off straight up. Legs and lungs were complaining until I realized I was still in my big ring. Oops. Dropping to the small ring made a huge difference. The trail I used to get into the trail system was the closest, but really not a good trail to ride up. Definitely an exit path. Logging roads got me a lot of elevation until I got to a trail called Highway 103. What a blast! So much fun, that I wanted to do it again. At the end I popped out into a gravel pit/hippy commune. There were a 1/2 dozen guys sitting around a camp fire in the middle of their farm/tent community. Spooky.

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After 103 I dropped into iTrail. This went downhill quite quickly and I checked my map a few times to make sure I wasn’t going to have to climb back up to Mach Chicken. iTrail was great, but Mach Chicken was amazing. Fast, flowy, bermy, jumps. Everything I wanted. At the bottom I lost a lot of  elevation quickly, but I eventualy came out on the highway and made my way back to the cabin. The hot tub was waiting!

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Sunday we wanted to do one more ride before heading home. I convinced the guys to do Highway 103, iTrail, and Mach Chicken.

For this ride we parked part of the way up the road, then went straight up the logging road to Highway 103. The whole ride up the road I am sure they were cursing my name, but a few minutes into the trail there were a lot of smiles.

Mike even hit up a gap jump that I was too chicken to do.

Bikes, beer, food, good times. We even came across the Donald curling!

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Motivation Hills


Since the BCBR I’ve been struggling with motivation to get out and ride. I may have turned a corner though. The annual guys trip is coming up and I better make sure I can hang with everyone for the few days of riding. 

To that end I decided to get out for a ride today and try my legs on some hills. I was going to do Munns but remembered I have blood a few days ago and that might not sit well. Instead I hit up a few other hills. 

Didn’t feel great, and my heart rate was sure jacked up, but it was a gorgeous day to be out on the bike. It hurt, but I loved it. More please 😄

BCBR Wrapup

I wouldn’t have changed anything about how my race went. I felt good throughout the race. I felt like I managed myself well. I hydrated well through the race, managed my nutrition well, recovered well and consumed enough calories to get through each day. My bike held up well, only needing to get a minor service once, and that was just to get the shifting tweaked.

I really wanted to do the whole BCBR experience and I truly feel like I did. I did massage, I saw the penguins, took part in the bacon station, experienced tent city, hanging with Johnny Rock, got a waterfront tent in Powell River, and I even visited medical to get some hotspots on my toes taken care of. I really don’t have any regrets about the race. I even managed a few things I hadn’t expected (selfie with Tippie, being fed watermelon by Tippie at an aid station, no mechanicals or crashes).

Even today, two weeks after finishing I am still in awe that I did it. After many years of following the race, reading race reports, hearing people’s stories, and dreaming about it, I finally have my belt buckle. In fact, about a week before the race started I dreamt about crossing the finish line and receiving my belt buckle.

All the gear I took with me worked well. I had a battery pack with an integrated solar panel. This charge my phone and watch throughout the week which meant I didn’t need to use the on site charging stating, which was a bit of a gong show. As I said above, my nutrition on cause worked well. I did a consult with Infinit a while ago (August 2016) and Darcy helped me tweak my formula based on that. What I drank while racing provided me with ample calories, nutrients, and electrolytes that were easily absorbed, but even better I had plenty of sustained energy. I love using Infinit for my long rides. As soon as each day was complete I would drink a bottle of Infinit Recovery which helped me recover from the day and got me through to the next meal.

My bike, although bigger and heavier than most on the course, was comfortable to me, and was a lot of fun on the descents. I really appreciated the extra travel in North Vancouver, Squamish, and Whistler. It did make for more difficult climbing, but I wasn’t doing the race to win, but to experience it.

The weather worked out perfectly. It was a little hot some days, but I’ll take that over cold and rainy. There were many conversations about the weather, and everyone agreed that it would be a much different race in the rain. Not only race, but tent city would be fairly awful in the rain. I really cannot imagine being soaking wet for a whole week, riding in the rain for 4+ hours a day.

I really did luck out with my support. Sue was amazing throughout, and it allowed me a few luxuries like real showers in Powell River and Sechelt. Sue did laundry for me which allowed me to pack a little less gear, or at least avoid having to wash gear myself. Having Sue and the kids at the finish line was great too. The whole family was impacted by my training, and for the kids to see/experience the finish and show them what hard work can allow anyone to accomplish was priceless.

I’ve been asked if I would do the race again. I certainly would. It will be a different experience next time, but I would likely train a little harder, and push myself a little more in the race to try and place better. Either that, or I would do it as a team. There were a lot of parent/child teams that I met. If one of the kids were interested in 10 years time, I would definitely do it again. The other option is if a friend wanted to do the race, I would do it again with pretty much anyone!

What a race though

  • 7 days
  • 625 racers
  • 300 km
  • 9100 m vertical
  • 15,000 racing calories burned (who knows how many consumed)
  • Most of a bag of Infinit Custom Blend
  • 1/2 a bag of Infinit Recovery
  • 1 unforgettable experience