Muscle Biking

Since the New year I’ve been trying to get back on my bike a bit. I did that trip to Tzouhalem, and I’ve been on my road bike. This is all in early prep for the Tour de Victoria of course.

Yes it’s early, but I am using that excuse. Riding is fun, and I do enjoy it quite a bit.

Way back on Feb 5 I got out for a ride with a friend. As I was getting ready (ahem, I should say I was putting on my booties), I pulled a muscle in my back. I was sitting down and hurt my back. WTF?

Still it was such a nice day I rode anyway hoping that it would loosen me up a bit. The ride was a spectacular couple of hours. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the sunshine that we rode in. Unfortunately my back didn’t, and I was in some pretty serious back pain that took a couple weeks to resolve.

Last weekend I took my hardtail out to the dump. I still haven’t fixed the chain on my Bullit so the bike choice was easy. Mountain biking is so much different from road biking. The pace is slower, and the workout full body. And you don’t cover nearly the same distance in the same amount of time.

Here is a map of that ride.

Yesterday I got out for a solo road ride. I had aimed for a couple hours, and in the end I think it was 2.5 hours. Blustery day which made for a couple terrifying moments. One cross breeze hit me hard enough to put me into a two wheel drift. The route I ended up doing was really nice too. Prospect Lake Road is sure fun, and pretty quiet. After a few more training rides I will tackle Munn’s Road. There are some big hills on that one.

Can’t wait to get more rides in this year.

Changed Chain

Yesterday I rode at Mt Tzouhalem for the first time in a few years. A lot has changed up there. It was always a fun place to ride, but there are some stellar trails now. Smile inducing trails with awesome berms, good jumps, lots of speed, and some excellent DH time. I can’t wait to go back.

Below is a map of the route.



The downside was that I broke my chain. Twice. The first time I had fixed it in record time, but I had routed it through the derailleur a little wrong (the chain was on the wrong side of a retention tab). After I fixed that, it didn’t look right, but I thought/hoped it would be enough to get me home. No such luck.

After it snapped again I had to go chainless back to the truck. I took a couple DH trails with no chain, which was pretty fun, but the setbacks meant I was late leaving which impacted Sox a bit.

Now to get my bike fixed.

Snow Corners

I went out for a cold ride today. Victoria was supposed to get snow last night, and at our house we did get some (less than an inch). I had been hoping for a snow ride, but that didn’t pan out. The closer I got to the dump, the less snow there was on the ground.

Still, it was a great ride. Cold, but not too slippery. Crunchy. I love the sound of my tires creaking through snow, or crashing through icy puddles.

I had Heart with me, and she had a great time too. On Shock Treatment, the first trail from the parking lot, she was going full tilt. She was in front of me, and would sprint as fast as she could until I was out of sight. We call it a puppy run (where she runs with her bum a little closer to the ground than normal, and is running full tilt). As soon as I rounded a corner, I could see she was waiting for me in the middle of the trail, and when she saw me she would turn and sprint away as fast as possible. Very funny.

I had my Bullit out today to give myself more of a workout in an effort to keep warm. That worked very well. I even managed to work out the kinks in the recent work that was done on my drivetrain. They adjusted, but I found it was still skipping gears at very inopportune times.

My final trail of the day was Who’s Yer Daddy. This is a fairly technical DH trail, but it is a lot of fun. I was 3/4 of the way down when I landed a jump in a bad spot, I felt my rear wheel slam hard into a rock. A couple corners later I felt something was off in the rear end, and sure enough I had pinch flatted.

I got out the tool kit and began trying to take the muddy, wet, snowy tire off the rim. What a pain that was. DH rims had sidewalls that are a little taller than normal rims to try and keep the tire seated better. I also had wire beads on the rear tire. It took me a long time to get the tire off.

Back at the car I went to hose off my bike, but couldn’t as the hose was frozen solid! Nice. The dog dish was a block of ice too (not that Heart would have had a drink anyway).

Fall will always be my favorite time of year to ride, but rides like this are truly spectacular. If I had enough of them they may make me change my mind.

Crisp Wander

Heart and I got out for a fall ride at the dump yesterday. The conditions were spectacular. Very crisp, sunny, tacky dirt, not too much mud. Couldn’t have asked for more. Well, actually I would. I wished my legs had been up to the task. I just never felt warmed up, which was really odd.

We did a nice loop that incorporated some of the lower trails. Then we went up for a bit, ending up at C-Section. I had heard another rider mention night shift, and I thought that was a great idea. I started up the correct road for Night Shift, but as I got to the trail head, I decided to climb some more to get to Who’s Yer Daddy. Trail wise I was feeling on. I was hitting jumps here and there with ease, but my legs never felt like they had any power, and they ran out of what power they had quickly.

Heart is a great trail companion though. She sticks pretty close to me, and doesn’t wander much. Very different than Yoshi. I love riding with Heart, I just need to keep an eye on her still because when she does get separated, she gets a little frantic and goes the wrong way. When she gets tired, she starts to lag behind me. At the end of my ride, I am generally going pretty fast down the last couple sections.

In any event, she was tuckered out from the ride and wanted in to the truck as soon as possible.


View Nov 6, 2011 Dump Ride With Heart in a larger map

Total Distance: 6.70 km (4.2 mi)
Total Time: 59:23
Moving Time: 47:14
Average Speed: 6.77 km/h (4.2 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.52 km/h (5.3 mi/h)
Max Speed: 27.00 km/h (16.8 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 102 m (335 ft)
Max Elevation: 246 m (807 ft)
Elevation Gain: 235 m (772 ft)
Max Grade: 12 %
Min Grade: -9 %

River Return

Yesterday I went for an excellent ride. It wasn’t terribly long, nor was it technical, but it was fun. It was an adventure, something that has been lacking in my mountain biking as of late.

I was in Powell River, had a basic map of the trails, some vague directions, and got dropped off at a trail head. From there I did a 15 KM loop. I got a little turned around, I missed one trail I wanted to take, but it was a blast. I didn’t see another soul out there.

The trail themselves weren’t technical. Very buff and smooth for the most part, punctuated with some technical sections. Had I been with other people I would have tried some of the technical bits again, but I didn’t want to push my luck while riding solo.

It was quiet, peaceful, and serene out there. Like I said, I didn’t see anyone, but I also didn’t hear anyone. During one rest break I did hear an ambulance way off in the distance, but that was it.

I did a ride around Duck Lake, then got onto Suicide Creek trail. At the end I was supposed to return on a different branch of Suicide Creek, but somehow I missed a junction, did a small loop, and ended up returning on the trail I went out on. After that I hit a small trail on the backside of Mud Lake, then went up Oilcan (this trail would have been much more fun the other way). I ended up back on the gravel road that I set out on. From here it was a 15 KM jaunt along the road back to where I was staying.

I’d love to ride there again some time. The trail remind me of Hornby Island, but way longer, and a few more challenges here and there. The same buffness and fun levels through. Hornby may have the bluff lookouts, but Powell River had lots of water and rivers to fill your senses.

After exiting the trails I hit the road on my way back to the house. I rode about 15 KM on trail, then had another 15 KM on the road. The road portion went by much quicker. Minutes after I rolled into the driveway and laid my bike down, my wonderful wife brought me a cold beverage. What a way to end the ride.


Yoshi Bench

Yesterday I took my buddy out for what I though was going to be his last ride ever. Yoshi passed away over a year ago, but I never got around to taking some of his ashes with me on a ride. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to do it. I thought about it lots over the past year. Yesterday was the day though.

The day was spectacular. The sun was out, and it was warm, bordering on hot at 10:30. I took my hardtail for the ride since I didn’t really want to be wearing my armour on a hot ride. Heart came with me too.

There were three places I wanted to take Yoshi to and leave some of his ashes at. I changed my mind on one of them though. I took a route that Yoshi enjoyed and stopped many times along the way. Heart came with me on the ride for moral support. She didn’t really know what I was up to, and I was ok with that. She is turning into a good trail dog, but her differences really remind me of Yoshi.

Yosh used to be constantly running through the bush whenever we stopped. He would like to lead the pack on the trail too, though he never liked to get too far in front of me. I will never forget that there is one section of trail that he did not like. There was something there that scared him, and any time we got close he would act very strange, and sometimes go the opposite direction on the trail. I often wondered if he smelled a cougar or something.

Heart on the other hand sticks close to me, usually in front. When I stop for a break, she sticks with me and hangs out.

The first stop was at the bench at the bottom of the Switchbacks. Any time we rested there Yoshi would look at us with his big tongue hanging out. Inevitably he would head down the bank to the stream and get a drink. I sprinkled some of him at the top of the path and marked it with a rock.

After a nice break Heart and I continued on to Twister. There is a clearing just after the first hill where we would often take a break. Yoshi would run around eating grass, or come visit for some scratches.

After Twister, Heart and I made our way up to Snakes and Ladders. At the top of the trail there is a nice rest area with a clearing over looking the dump, and the valley.

Here I found a rock to leave part of Yoshi under. The last little bit of ashes I had I tossed into the wind. In my mind I could see Yoshi running free. I thought back to his uncanny ability to always get up in the car when we got close to a destination for a walk. I remembered how when he ran wildly his ears, jowls and tongue would flap about. I missed him terribly at that moment. I still do.

After a moment of silence and thought of Yoshi I got back on my bike and headed back to my truck. I made one resolution though, that won’t be his last ride with me. I’m going to get a small container and seal some of his ashes in it. Then he can come with me on every ride.

Heart had a good run that day. She was pooped by the time we got to Skull trail and lagged far behind me on the double track back. After a big drink and a cool down, she had a deep snooze for the rest of the day.


View Remembering Yoshi in a larger map

Created by My Tracks on Android.

Total Distance: 6.86 km (4.3 mi)
Total Time: 1:34:39
Moving Time: 50:43
Average Speed: 4.35 km/h (2.7 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.12 km/h (5.0 mi/h)
Max Speed: 29.02 km/h (18.0 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 112 m (367 ft)
Max Elevation: 287 m (942 ft)
Elevation Gain: 312 m (1025 ft)
Max Grade: 5 %
Min Grade: -11 %

Downside Spokes

Saturday I got out for a mountain bike ride. Originally it was going to be a road ride, but the other people I was going to ride with had to change their plans. Instead I took Heart out to the dump for a spin.

I was expecting the trails to be in pretty nasty condition due to the rain earlier in the morning, but I found them to be pretty good actually. The downside I saw was that any time I brushed by some grass or bumped a tree, I got drenched.

He ride itself was pretty good. I felt great on the bike, but I need to spend more time on my Bullit to get my timing back, and to feel confident when jumping. My legs felt strong, and I climbed some hills that I wouldn’t have been able to a few months ago. From the parking lot I went up Pooh corner, up past Inventive, then over to C-Section. Then I went to Walk Up, and came down South Ridge. It is vry depressing being at that end of the trail system and seeing all the new property markers encroaching on the trails. I made my way onto Fun Trail until I could cut onto Green Ribbon. I did a few more trails at the far end of the park before making my way back to the truck.

Heart had a good time and didn’t lose me at all this ride. Back at the truck, she jumped in as soon as I opened the door, and curled up in the back seat.

The only bad thing that happened was that when downshifting my chain jumped off the largest cog and into the spokes where it got jammed up pretty good. This happened twice, and both times it took me a while to sort things out.

Update:

Here is the map from the ride. For some reason, there is a section missing.


View June 18 in a larger map
Total Distance: 5.57 km (3.5 mi)
Total Time: 1:49:06
Moving Time: 1:11:57
Average Speed: 3.07 km/h (1.9 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 4.65 km/h (2.9 mi/h)
Max Speed: 24.37 km/h (15.1 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 112 m (368 ft)
Max Elevation: 254 m (834 ft)
Elevation Gain: 272 m (891 ft)
Max Grade: 0 %
Min Grade: -8 %

Bullit Break

Yesterday I was supposed to do a training ride. I was originally planning on logging around 3.5 hours. When I got up though, my legs were feeling pretty burnt out. I was up too late the night before, was feeling too tired, and was completely unmotivated.

I decided to grab a mountain bike and hit the trails. Heart needed a run too, so this would get a two things accomplished. I packed up all my gear, threw the bullit in the back of the truck and headed to the dump.

The sun was out and it was warming up nicely. It was glorious to be out there. I started off and let me tell you, I love riding the bullit, but it is nothing like the road bike. The bullit definitely prefers being pointed downhill. One of the first trails at the dump is a technical uphill trail. My lungs and legs were screaming after that one. Not a great start.

I kept going and hit a few fun sections of trail. I climbed some more and really pushed myself on the climbs. A few months ago I would have been walking most of those climbs. I went all the way up to Snakes and Ladders. While taking a break there I got to thinking about all the errands and tasks I wanted to get done that day. I took off, then did a few more trails. I finally decided to head back to the truck, and as I was making my way back I realized that my legs had finally warmed up and I was feeling pretty good, and pretty strong.

Back in the truck I saved my map.


View Tour de Victoria, April 30, 2011 in a larger map

Total Distance: 9.60 km (6.0 mi)
Total Time: 1:44:09
Moving Time: 1:09:44
Average Speed: 5.53 km/h (3.4 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.26 km/h (5.1 mi/h)
Max Speed: 29.30 km/h (18.2 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 112 m (366 ft)
Max Elevation: 290 m (952 ft)
Elevation Gain: 419 m (1374 ft)
Max Grade: -3 %
Min Grade: -6 %

When I got home I looked at the stats. That made me disappointed. Argh. Less than 10 km? What the hell? Now I am all mad at myself for not riding longer. I enjoyed myself while I was riding, but my I put my to-do list ahead of my training.

Plan Drained

Fantastic ride today. Sue and I were able to knock off three birds with two stones today. We had a lot to do, but I figured out a plan to get the all done in the shortest amount of time.

I wanted a long ride, Heart needed a walk badly, and we needed groceries. My plan? Ride my mountain bike to the dump, and Sue will drop the dog off. While Heart and I hit the trails, Sue and the kids go grocery shopping. When they are done, they come pick up Heart, and I ride home. Nice!

The plan actually worked too. I got in my three hour ride, Heart got her walk, and we got the groceries we needed.

My route:

View Tour de Victoria, March 19, 2011 in a larger map

The stats:
Total Distance: 41.22 km (25.6 mi)
Total Time: 3:38:05
Moving Time: 2:51:42
Average Speed: 11.34 km/h (7.0 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 14.41 km/h (9.0 mi/h)
Max Speed: 50.40 km/h (31.3 mi/h)
Min Elevation: -12 m (-40 ft)
Max Elevation: 261 m (855 ft)
Elevation Gain: 479 m (1573 ft)
Max Grade: 10 %
Min Grade: -7 %
Recorded: Sat Mar 19 14:26:00 PDT 2011
Activity type: mountain biking, cycling

So I rode a little over 40 km, and as you can see by the map, my phone lost the GPS signal a few times; perhaps my distance is a little higher. My average speed is pretty low since I took a few breaks while waiting for Sue to drop off Heart, and after we met up again.

I was surpised that it only took me a little over 45 minute to get from my place to the start of the trails at the dump. Heart and I then spent about an hour and 15 minutes on the trails. The ride home took about 54 minutes, but I took a much different route back. For the ride home I pushed hard and kept my bike in the big ring almost the entire way.

By the time I got home I was sweaty, muddy, drained, and very, very happy. I really enjoyed this ride.

Timing Element

I went for a great ride today. Mountain biking with some friends who are just getting back into the sport. The temp this morning was pretty chilly, but if you dress for it, there is no problem. I was dressed properly which made the start of the ride much more enjoyable.

Heart came as well and had a great time. She is actually a pretty good trail dog without any training. The only thing she needs to learn is how to handle other bikes coming towards us on the trail.

We did the normal loop up to Snakes and Ladders, then went for a rip down there. My timing for jumps and riding was perfect. My legs felt strong and my cardio was not hindering me at all. I was having a great time.

My compatriots were not as well off. One of them had just come off a month long bout of bronchitis, and the other hadn’t ridden in over 4 years. They zipped back to the cars after snakes and ladders while I continued on.

My extra loop took me to the far end of the park and back again. I rode hard for this loop which isn’t easy on my big bike. It was fun though and Heart really enjoyed it. She really seems like she is in her element when she is out riding with me.

Here is our route:

View Tour de Victoria, Feb 20 2011 in a larger map

Stats:

Created by My Tracks on Android.
Total Distance: 9.93 km (6.2 mi)
Total Time: 2:13:59
Moving Time: 1:06:44
Average Speed: 4.45 km/h (2.8 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.93 km/h (5.5 mi/h)
Max Speed: 25.20 km/h (15.7 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 109 m (358 ft)
Max Elevation: 272 m (892 ft)
Elevation Gain: 446 m (1464 ft)
Max Grade: 14 %
Min Grade: -15 %

Weird thing is that this 10Km ride made me way more tired than my 45+Km rides on the road.