Noticed Training

Last Wednesday I rode to work. Wow, not a lot of riding has happened since the Tour de Victoria and I sure noticed it. Hills were harder and I felt very slow.

View Sept 26 Commute To Work in a larger map

Name: Sept 26 Commute To Work
Activity type: cycling
Description: –
Total distance: 12.83 km (8.0 mi)
Total time: 36:41
Moving time: 32:55
Average speed: 20.98 km/h (13.0 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 23.38 km/h (14.5 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.17 km/h (34.3 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.86 min/km (4.6 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.57 min/km (4.1 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.09 min/km (1.8 min/mile)
Max elevation: 67 m (219 ft)
Min elevation: -7 m (-22 ft)
Elevation gain: 166 m (543 ft)

Name: Sept 26 Commute Commute Home
Activity type: cycling
Description: –
Total distance: 13.05 km (8.1 mi)
Total time: 34:07
Moving time: 31:07
Average speed: 22.95 km/h (14.3 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 25.17 km/h (15.6 mi/h)
Max speed: 57.42 km/h (35.7 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.61 min/km (4.2 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.38 min/km (3.8 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.04 min/km (1.7 min/mile)
Max elevation: 86 m (283 ft)
Min elevation: -7 m (-23 ft)
Elevation gain: 188 m (616 ft)

Looking at the stats, this is definitely slower than my previous rides when I was training.

As the weekend approached, I set up a ride with a friend who is training for Ironman. He was going for a slow ride, and I could join him for as long as I wanted.

We met at the Selkirk trestle then rode along the water to Mitchell Farm. It was a pretty slow pace, and flat, which was nice. I had planned on a 2 hour ride, but as we neared Mitchell, I was feeling pretty good, and I felt like completing a loop instead of an out and back. My friend turned around, and I kept going. I got over to Keating, then came back along Oldfield Rd, Interurban, and Tillicum. I was pretty proud of my ride which ended up being around three hours.

View 29/09/2012 8:31am in a larger map

Total distance: 69.19 km (43.0 mi)
Total time: 3:00:14
Moving time: 2:52:52
Average speed: 23.03 km/h (14.3 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 24.02 km/h (14.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 61.70 km/h (38.3 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.60 min/km (4.2 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.50 min/km (4.0 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 0.97 min/km (1.6 min/mile)
Max elevation: 125 m (411 ft)
Min elevation: -23 m (-76 ft)
Elevation gain: 1347 m (4419 ft)

After looking at the stats I was shocked to see I had gone 70km. Not bad!

Rims Idyllic

I had a great ride on Hornby today. I love the trails here because they are so different from home. Twisty, turny, smooth, fast. I entered the trail system from the fire hall and headed up. I took Walton over to Milo’s Meadow. There were a few steep, loose climbs here that proved quite a challenge. From here I went up Slick Rock, up Lox’s Bagel, then up Ozzmosis. Finally I took Hot Rims all the way to the highest point I could.

I took a quick break on the cliff overlooking Denman and Vancouver Islands. What a view. I wanted to hit up some different trails from yesterday, so instead of going down 4 Dead Aliens I instead took Purgatory down to Bitchin Camero. Someone mentioned there was a gap jump in Bitchin Camero, but I never saw it.

From there I went up again. Up Slick Rock, up Northwind, then back onto Hot Rims back up to the same rest area. This time I took 4 Dead Aliens to Test Tube. Test Tube was a great descent, I highly recommend to to anyone. As much as I love 4 Dead Aliens, Test Tube may be more fun. I had to hit No Horses one more time, then it was time to head home.

I ascended Washing Machine to Coltsfoot. I went up a different section of Slickrock to get back onto Milo’s Meadow. I exited near the firehall on Walton. Great ride, lots of challenging climbing, super fun descents.

Hornby really is an idyllic spot to ride. I can easily ride the trails several days in a row and enjoy them immensely. The trail system is pretty small though, so it you lived here, the draw might lose its luster after a while. Still, for the visitor, there is loads of fun to be had.

Oh, and buy the map from the bike shop. Indispensable help when picking where to go next.

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.

Warm Tables

After Wednesday night’s ulti game I stayed up pretty late from the adrenaline. Some time around midnight I tried sleeping. The next morning I was up early so I didn’t get all that much sleep.

After dropping the kids off at daycare I hooked up with James for a spin at the dump.

It was a gorgeous day for a ride, but a tad warm. We took an easy spin around the lower section of the dump with the intention of heading to the top to ride Who’s Yer Daddy.

Along the way we figured we’d take a spin down the new Torpedo Run. I’d seen the trail before, but hadn’t ridden it. It is styled after A-Line in Whistler and has a bunch of table tops and lots of berms. It was a fun trail, but rather short. Typical of the dump really. Once I get a few more runs down the trail and learn what comes next I’m sure I can clear more of the tables. For the first run there was only one or two that I actually felt like I jumped well. A couple of the berms were pretty loose too and I almost washed out on one as I leaned into it.

After Torpedo Run we rode back up the switchbacks, then up to Old Pay Off. The last trail was Who’s Yer Daddy. My legs were feeling pretty fried from the ulti game and the lack of sleep. Still, this trail is a lot of fun, but the uphill sections were painful.

The ride was a lot of fun and I had that wonderful post summer sticky, sweaty, grimy feeling. That just makes the post ride shower feel that much better.

Torpedo Road

Yesterday was the perfect day for riding. Warm, sunny, not windy. I met a friend out at the trails and off we rode. It was great to catch up with him and to get out and ride.

We took some very familiar trails and rode up to one of the highest points. Along the way we checked out a reworked torpedo run. That looks like a fun A line style trail that is nowhere near as big as A line. We ran across one guy who was on his fifth lap of it. The nice thing is that SIMBS has provided a walk up for the trail so that riders can easily lap it. Apparently the trail is fun, but still has a couple issues with flow.

D and I took Snakes and Ladders down. I still want to know what SIMBS was thinking with their rework of that trail. They absolutely wrecked it. The first three or four turns are lots of fun, but then the re-route starts. The new section feels nothing like what Snakes and Ladders used to feel like. No meandering down the hillside. Extra jumps. Less flow. I am decidedly not a fan of the new trail.

The ride was a lot of fun and a little under two hours. It did highlight I need to ride more though for me to really have lots of fun. With Ulti started for the summer I hope to ride more. Road biking during the week and maybe more mountain biking on the weekends.

Smiley Shock

Wet. Muddy. Smiley.

That’s how I described myself after today’s ride. I was lucky when I started my ride since I had beaten the rain. The first ten minutes or so my hands were pretty cold and I was doing what I could to warm them up. Once I started climbing some hills the blood got flowing and they warmed up.

I took fireroads up quite a way and descended down North Ridge and South Ridge trails. I certianly could stand to ride more though since I found myself walking a lot of the uphill portions. My legs just don’t have the strength they used to so getting the big bike to the top now seems to take a lot more effort than it used to.

One thing I love about riding in the wet is that the technique come back fairly quickly. Using body english and lunging the bike to get over roots. No front brakes to get down slippery rocks. Avoiding mud on corners. I love being able to see a tree root and be able to accurately envision what will happen to my wheel if I hit it in a certain way.

Just today I was slithering down a steep rocky section when I started to go off course. I purposely rolled over an off camber tree root knowing my tire would slip. This slip got me centred on the trail again.

Nearing what was supposed to be the end of my ride I took a wrong turn on a new trail. This took me down a fun trail with lots of berms. At first I wasn’t going fast enough to actually use the berms. A few pedal strokes and I could hit higher in the berm. The next one that I hit I was going a little too hard and felt the bike start doing a two wheel drift around the corner. All of a sudden the tires bit into solid ground, I shot out of the corner and straightened out. Very fun, and a good little adrenaline rush.

My brakes were feeling awesome today and that little bit of confidence was a nice bonus. I knew I could attack the trail and not worry about whether I could slow down or not. I’m glad I changed those front pads and after a slight adjustment, the rear brakes felt balanced with the front.

As I exited the trees and made my way to Shock Treatment the rain started. It wasn’t a hard rain, but it made me pick up the pace to get back to the truck quicker. I couldn’t have timed that ride any better.

A nice hot shower and home and good cup of coffee were the perfect caps to the ride. Those and a foot long sub from Subway. 🙂

Snakes Muddy

Today I got out for a wonderful wintery mountain bike ride. Boy am I out of riding shape! I need to ride more.

I took my time heading up hill, and ended up walking way more than I am used to. Once I figured out where I wanted to go, I chose the route there. I should always do this before I start riding, otherwise I stop and every intersection and wonder which way I should go. I ponder about which trail comes after the intersection, and I consider several trails beyond that decision point. This makes for a very stop and go ride.

Somewhere along the way I decided to head up the switchbacks then decide on which end trail. I settled on Snakes and Ladders.

The ride was pretty typical winter ride. A little chilly at the start, but I warmed up pretty quickly. The rocks and roots were pretty treacherous, and I likely should have let more air out of my tires. Getting back in the winter riding groove is hard. Slithering down rock faces is pretty easy, but climbing up wet off camber roots when you haven’t done it in a year is tough.

Overall I had a blast. It wasn’t a terribly long ride, and I walked a fair amount, but I still worked up a good sweat, got some fresh air, and more importantly got myself and my bike muddy.

Also, my new brake pads are now bed in nicely and have dramatically changed the control I have over my bike. The read pads are likely a little low too, and I might pick up some more the next time I am near a bike shop.

Mountain Bullit

I got out for a nice mountain bike ride today. Today was my first day of unemployment, as well as the first day of December. It was chilly out, but I dressed warmly and headed out.

At the first climb I could tell it had been a long time since I rode last. My legs definitely are not as strong as they used to be, so hefting my Bullit up the hills was a chore.

I also found that my bike felt jarring and harsh. The suspension seemed stiff, but it was actually fine. It turned out I had filled the tires too full, so after deflating the tires a bit, the ride quality improved dramatically.

My brakes were feeling a little off. I think the pads need replacing. Due to wonky brakes I chose to stay on the lower trails in case I needed to do some walking. This lead to a very fun ride.

The lower trails are the old-school trails to me. I know them well. They are still a blast, especially when the ground is soft and muddy from rain. You just never know when you are railing a corned if the ground will hold, or if the tires will break loose. If they break loose, can I recover?

After 1.5 hours I was done. My legs were toast, my bike was muddy. It was time to go. The shower when I got home felt wonderful and well deserved.

There was one unfortunate thing that happened on the ride though. I took my camera out of my pack to take a picture of a stunning stream. Picture a rushing babbling stream flowing over moss covered rocks. I planned to keep a small aperture so that I could get the water blurred. Woops, no card in the camera. Oh well. It made me focus on the ride, and the trails, not look for photo opportunities.