Blinded Cook

There almost was a Coreman sighting today. In the vicinity of Cook and Vancouver I saw the Coremobile. The goldy/bronzy metallic paint nearly blinded me.

Sue and I went to Fort St cycle for her Triathlon for Healing bike and helmet check, then it was off to Frontrunners to pick up a couple things.

Soon we are off to the Sticky Wicket for roof top volleyball. Later we are heading to a BBQ. If you think today is busy, wait until you hear about tomorrow.

Gorgeous Mishap

peace outWhat a gorgeous weekend. Yesterday was a busy one. First it was Emily’s Christening, then I was off to my photography class field trip at Beacon Hill park. For dinner Sue and I had a couple friends over. In there I also cut the grass, and tidied the house. Phew, I was beat my 10pm.

Today, Mark, Sue, Yoshi and I went for a nice easy ride at the dump. Absolutely awesome. My wrist is still a little sore from last weekends mishap, but I did my best to take it easy. I walked way more things than I would have had I been completely healed.

I hope all had a good weekend, and got outside to enjoy the weather.

Instinctively Nervous (long and painful)

Hammerfest Ten is now over and what a weekend. Shane and I headed to Nanaimo on Friday so we could do practice runs on Saturday. No problem. We got up at a reasonable time Saturday morning, made our way to the course, grabbed a shuttle, and began our day.

The first run down was a slow roll. Shane needed to see the course, and I needed to see what had changed. There were a couple new sections that were a little tricky, and the last section to the pits was brand new. Actually the end bit was pretty nasty. A sandy uphill section, that then dropped into some really loose sandy berms before a step down jump to the finish line. We headed back up for a second slightly quicker run, and I felt a bit better about the berms.

Time for the third run. I thought I would pick up my speed a little and check out some of the sections at a little more speed. We got to the top, I got on the platform to start, and off I went. Shane was to follow me a few seconds later. I started off well, and felt pretty good. I got to the ladder drop, and decided to air off the top. I landed my rear wheel exactly where I wanted, and the front touched down a millisecond later. I went to slow and turn to avoid a tree when disaster struck. My right hand slipped off the bar. I couldn’t slow, and I couldn’t steer. I headed straight for the tree. All I was thinking was “Not again!“. I was going in, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I instinctively brought my hands up to protect my face. I hit the tree hard, then my bike hit, and I bounced off landing on the ground with a thud. I lay there in the middle of the trail a little stunned for a couple minutes. I wanted to get up, but I couldn’t. A couple other riders that were watching came to see if I was alright. One of them must have had some first aid experience since he was checking the bones out. I heard the other guy yell rider down, just as Shane rounded the corner. My wrist was starting to swell, and I knew I had to go get it checked out. Shane seemed pretty concerned (thanks Shane), but I told him to finish the run, and I would meet him at the bottom (I was headed to the shuttle point to take it back down).

At the bottom I got checked out by the ambulance attendant. She poked, prodded, bent, twisted, pushed and pulled on my wrist, and after each test she would say that is good (since I wasn’t screaming in pain). I got off very lucky with only a sprain. The attendant wrapped my wrist, then taped it, and told me to test it out a bit before doing another run. I had a dull ache, so I took a breather for a couple hours while I iced my wrist. I lent my goggles to Shane, and told him to do a few runs. I ended up doing two more runs later that day, and for both of them my grip was a little weaker than it should have been, but at least there was no pain.

Sunday morning arrives, and I am tired, and more than a little sore. Shane and I are slow to get going, and that turned out to be a very bad thing. We got to the site, just in time to miss the last shuttle to the pits. We needed to get our mandatory training run in by 10, and it was around 9:30. Crap! We had to hoof it up to the pits pretty quickly. We then barged through the shuttle line, and crammed ourselves into the cube van. The van dropped us off at 9:55. We still had to get to the top of the course by 10. We hustled, and got there just in time. I finished suiting up, then ripped down the course. I felt pretty good about that run, so we waited at the bottom for our start time.

Race time approacheth. We jumped into the cube van for the last time. We got to the top with plenty of time to spare. We sat, rested, ate, and drank. Setting the gear up one last time for one last run. My race face comes on when I get into the line up for the starting gate. I down my PowerGel, snug up the straps on my pads, don my gloves, and flex my fingers to get some warmth. I set my bike in the right gear. A nervous energy fills me. Shane gets up on the starting block, the beeps count down, and he is away. I climb up, and mount my bike. One last time I flexed my sore wrist. It felt pretty good. I knew it only had to last at most 5 minutes longer.

All too soon the countdown beeps start. I think “wow that was quick”. I set my mind, I focus my stare, and I launch down the start ramp. The first little jump I get too sideways, and almost go off course. I curse myself to stay focused, and I slip in a couple pedal strokes. The ladder ramp/launch that I messed up the day previous is nearing, and I instinctively tap the brakes to slow. I curse myself, and move my fingers off the brakes, I pull up off the ramp, land, slow a bit, and slither past the tree that claimed me the day before. Yay! With that roadblock out of the way I pick up speed. I conserve energy where I can, but still keep my speed up. I near the first road crossing, and prepare for the drop. I messed up, and ended up way over to the left on the road crossing, so I hit the binders hard, and lean to the right. I dropped off the far side of the road, nicely lined up for the mud pit. I got sucked into one hole pretty bad, and I lost a lot of momentum. A few pedal strokes later I was again hurtling down the course. Over a couple jumps, around a few turns, and I was back into the trees. Over the rutty roots, and ahead is my least favorite corner of the run. I messed up badly. The turn before I needed to put my right foot out to save my balance. This meant I was ill prepared for the sharp left. As quick as I could I rolled the bike to the left, got my right foot on the pedal, and stuck out the left foot to push myself around the corner.

With that out of the way I pedal some more, do a couple drops, prejump the nasty rock garden, the drop to the right of a gap jump. Railing the berm I pedal hard to get through a bumpy section. Cutting the corners I try to make the straightest line possible, but by this time my thighs are burning. The first of the uphill climbs is right ahead. I sit and pedal hard as I ascend the ladder bridge. As I near the crest I am about to downshift, but I realized I was too far to the right, and I wouldn’t be able to make the corner which was fast approaching. Right at this instant my front tire washes out off the course, and I go down. I jump up, grab my bike, and run to the top of the hill. I jump back on and get set for the off camber rooty turn that is next. As I approach it I find my brake lever is twisted up from the crash. I bang on it to get it back in place while rolling down the course. I come to the third road crossing, and I almost had enough speed for the stepdown. In the back of my mind I hear Sue and Cathy cheering and yelling. I hear them say my name, but I was too focused to look around. Across the road, down the other side, and back into the trees.

Down, the up. There is the log crossing that claimed me a couple years ago. I am still feeling pretty good. One last road crossing, and one last uphill. This one is killer. The rain has helped pack it down, but it is still pretty loose. I keep up my speed, and wait until I can do some good pedaling. I crest the hill, shift up one gear, head past the nasty log (last one yay!), then into the berms. I managed to upshift again, but I should have gone up two or three times. I exit the berms, lift off the lip, get a little squirrely, launch the best I can over the last step down, then pedal as fast as I can across the line ( here is where I needed the extra high gear).

My time was 4:33.57, and I placed 22 out of 28. When all is said and done, my race run was definitely my quickest run on the weekend. I am happy with it, but reading back on this, there is definitely room for improvement. I had a good time this weekend, but I am a little stiff and sore today (especially my wrist). I may head home early today and ice my wrist.

Coaster Casing

Last night was supposed to be an easy ride to loosen the legs. It turned out to be much, much more. I met up with Shane and company whose destination was Sofa King. I had been to the trail many times before, but I am not a big fan of gap jumps. I decided to give a couple of the smaller ones a try. Hmm, I think I can now see why people like them so much! When you nail one, there is no other feeling like it. It is almost like a roller coaster cresting a hill. You feel the upwards motion, you feel a little weightlessness, then you feel a downward motion. There is no hard impact like doing a regular drop.

For me the hard part is getting over the hole in the middle. I am worried about coming up short on the gap, casing, and hurting myself. I rarely give myself enough credit for the skills I have. Maybe some day I will do all of Sofa King from top to bottom. I am almost ready!

Why was the ride so good? I am not entirely sure. It felt great to be on my bike again. My bike itself felt great. My cardio was hurting a little. It had to be the shoes. I bought new shoes for riding while I was in Kelowna, and they were amazing. I am not sure if they are a little too big or not. Haven’t decided. They certainly stick to the pedals though. Wow. I need to decide if I want to race in them though. I will probably do my practice day in them and see how it goes.

I am ready for Hammerfest. My bike is prepped, my gear is cleaned, and mentally I think I will do fine. My main goal is to go an have fun! I am definitely ready for fun.

Exposure Assignment

The Photography Class last night was great. I learned lots of useful things. Let’s see, topics covered were: focusing techniques, shutter settings, aperture settings, and exposure meters.

Different cameras have different focusing techniques. The instructor explained some of the benefits and drawbacks to split image focusing, micro prism focusing, grid-matte focusing, and the straight up very familiar autofocus.

We learned how changing the shutter speed can affect the picture taken. Changing the aperture size affects the depth of field. The right combination of shutter speed, and aperture size determines how your vision of what the photo should look will actually turn out. Lots of experimentation is needed to get it right on a consistent basis. Exposure meters help you figure out the correct aperture and shutter settings. Like I said, lots of useful topics were covered. This is the kind of stuff I wanted to learn.

The assignment: Lines. That is the only description he gave us. Cool. I am excited by this, but I don’t know if I will really have a lot of time, or any time for that matter, to do this assignment.

Christening Quails

Where did the week go? I can’t believe that it is Thursday already. Time has just flown by this week.

It all started on Friday. I left work early so that Sue and I could travel with Krista, Clint, and Elizabeth to Kelowna for Elizabeth’s Christening. We missed the 5 pm ferry, but luckily for us there was a 6. More and more I am missing ferries, and it is a royal pain in the ass. I certainly hope that the new Ferry Services company can improve their throughput. To me that is the single biggest problem with the ferries. I digress.

We arrived in Westbank quite late, and quickly went to sleep. Saturday Sue and I went exploring. We headed to Kelowna, and I did some shopping. 2 new pairs of shoes, a pair of pants, and a Christening gift later we left Orchard Park Mall.

We needed lunch, and we had heard that the Quails Gate Winery had an excellent dining room. We also planned for a tour of the facilities. Those plans were dashed when we got there. The dining room didn’t open until May 1st, and the tours didn’t start until the May long weekend. Darn.

We then headed to the Vintage Hills Golf Course for lunch. It was pretty good. The broccoli and cheese soup was excellent. From there it was up to Mission Hill Winery. We were hoping to get a tour, but they were all booked up. We did walk around the grounds though. Beautiful winery. Very modern looking. I took a bunch of pictures which I will put up soon. It was back to Westbank for dinner.

Sunday was the Christening. Nice ceremony, but it was an odd feeling for me to be sitting in a church during service. Honestly I felt like a fraud, and that I shouldn’t be there at all (for the days service, not the Christening). After the service it was back to Krista’s parents place for brunch.

Sunday afternoon Sue and I went for a drive to Penticton. Very nice drive right along the lake.

Monday we came back, and Tuesday I went back to work.

Next up: This weekend I have my first (and perhaps only) Downhill race of the season. Hammerfest 10! I am looking forward to it. I have a lot to get prepared before I leave. I am leaving tomorrow night after work (the current plan), so that means I will most likely miss the Canucks Game.

Innovative Expansion

I have been thinking about a new PDA recently. There are lots of new and innovative designs being released all the time. I know I want to stick with Palm OS, but what features do I want? I love the idea of Bluetooth. WiFi sounds pretty cool, but would I really use it? I know of only one person with a WiFi network (there isn’t a WIFi network at work either). Now GPS would be cool, but do I really need that?

Features I definitely want:

  • Palm OS5 or greater
  • adequate memory
  • expansion capabilities
  • wireless something

Here is a small list of the handhelds that have made the short list:

  1. Palm’s Tungsten C (incidentally, here is the best review I have read on the TC)
  2. Sony CLIE PEGTG50 – I love their Jog Dial, but I am not sure if I am sold on the tumbboard. It does have soft grafitti though. Not sold on the memory stick.
  3. Garmin iQue 3600 – GPS is way cool, but I am not convinced I would use it as much I would use Bluetooth or WiFi

Not sure what to do here. I am not looking to make any decisions any time soon though. It is just a dream for now. There are more important things to spend money on. My Prism still works, it is just feeling a little dated.