Chilly Descent

Saturday I had a great, but chilly ride. My original plan was to try and get 100km in. The roads were wet so I really felt the need to install a new set of fenders. That ended up taking longer than anticipated, and with Heart home alone and crated, I decided to shorten the ride, but take on more vert. The rough goal was about 3 hours of riding and 1000m of climbing.

Starting off I felt like I had dressed well enough for the 5 degree weather. I warmed up enough to keep going and headed out to Metchosin. Once out there I decided a trip over Bear Mountain was in order. My legs felt great on the climb, but on the descent I got a chill that I was never able to get rid of the rest of the ride.

After Bear Mountain I went out Millstream to Ross Durance, then meandered a bit before heading for home. I was so close to my 1000m goal that I contemplated finding a few more short hills to get the vert, but didn’t knowing that I easily could have.

Successful February training ride I would say.

Happy Upsetting

2018 was a quite a year, and I am somewhat happy that it is over. I left my job at the end of January, but located another fairly quickly. It was good, but there were a few indicators that it was unstable. Sure enough, in August, the company went under, and I was again on the hunt for work. Unfortunately, the company was behind on paying us, so cash was a bit of an issue. This eventually resolved itself though.

Other things of note that happened, were several large vehicle repair bills (the car was regular maintenance, but the truck ended up in the shop on a tow truck as well as some other fixes that were sudden), a great RV trip, and the passing of our cat Aphro. Losing Aphro was really a low point for the whole family and very upsetting (I still miss her). Sue and I did the Chafe 150 (80 mile length) in Sand Point Idaho, and I raced several of the Island Cup Enduro races.

Things turned around near the end of the year though. I got a new contract to fill my time, the family is happy and healthy, and we are looking forward to 2019. I’m looking forward to more riding and racing, and getting some more runs into my legs (without hurting my knees).

Tzouhalem Stages

On Sunday I was up in Duncan and rode in the first ever Tzouhalem enduro. One thing I learned is that I am terrible with trail names. I’ve ridden at Tzouhalem a number of times before but really only knew a couple trail names. The Island Cup Series team posted the Trail Forks listing of the stages but I couldn’t tell if I had been on the trails before or not.

The event itself was a lot of fun. It turned out I had ridden pretty much all of the trails before, but I still felt like I was racing some of the stages ‘blind’. Some of the trails I had only been on once before so didn’t really know what was around each corner. Other trails I was familiar enough with but didn’t know where the end of the stage was.

Overall I was pretty happy with how the race went. No crashes, one close call with the front starting to wash out. I knew I was pushing on some corners. I think I could have pushed harder through some of the earlier stages, but I was having some wrist issues during the week and wanted to last all five stages.

According to Strava I set quite a few PRs on the trails. I really felt like I was flying down Double D, which is always a fun trail to blast down. Add in a closed course and it is easy to say that Double D was my favourite stage. I think I also did great with the chip sensors this race. I actually got a comment from the volunteers at the end of stage 2 on how well I was able to tap and get the beep.

After the last stage it was back to the parking lot for some recovery food and drink.

Results were posted later and I placed 29/61 in Intermediate Male. Tzouhalem Race Placement

This has left me in 18/72 for the series. Series Placement (4 races)

One of the things I really liked about this race was that the intermediates raced the exact same course as the experts. I’ve always been curious about how well I stack up against the experts but have never been able to really compare times. Well, my total time was 14:58.0. The last placed expert had a time of 14:41 😂 I would have been DFL in expert. Maybe I am in the corret category after all.

Gnarnaimo Blind

A couple weekends ago I rode in the Gnarnaimo Enduro. It was part of an all mountain championship where racers did the enduro on a Saturday, then an XC race the following day using the exact same equipment. Logistics only really allowed me to do the enduro race, so I signed up for that. All the other enduro races I’ve done this year I’ve had the opportunity to preride the course. This was not the case with this race though; I rode it completely blind, never having ridden in the area.

The race went pretty well. The trails were very dry and loose. During the pre-race briefing we were warned about how loose they were. The first stage was a blast. Long downhill, very flowy, good jumps. I wish I could get a second run down those trails they were so fun. I skipped a couple jumps not knowing what was behind them.

I headed up for stage 2 and got set. Dropping in was pretty steep and I started in on the switchbacks pretty quickly. They were pretty loose. Coming up to one right hander I could see the trail dropped away pretty steeply. That was when disaster struck. My front tire washed out, the bike dropped away and I was launched down the trail. It felt like I flew quite a distance and all I could see were all the rocks in the dust. Amazingly I managed to land on my hands and slide, absorbing the worst of the impact. I had to run back up the hill to retrieve my bike. A quick lookover to ensure there was no damage, a quick check up the hill for the next rider, then I was off again. A couple turns down the trail I went to slow down and the lever for my rear brake went to the bar. I almost panicked thinking I was in big trouble. A couple pumps though and the brake came back. At the end of the stage I tapped the receiver and took a seat to recover a bit.

I headed up for stage three. I could feel some scrapes and some possible bruises forming. I was covered in dust too.

Stage three felt like it was a long way up the hill. I was starting to feel tire so I walked more and rode slowly. At the top I took my time recovering and drinking some water. I got myself settled, went to the start tent and got set. I headed off for my final stage. I sure got beat up on this one. It was really long and very bumpy. Lots of roots, dips, and a few drops. I had no idea where the finish was so I had to keep pushing. My arms were getting fatigued though and I couldn’t hold on to the bars very well. I had to either slow down, or death grip the bars (death grip being all fingers on the bar and none on brakes). I tried a little of each until I couldn’t take it any longer. I grabbed the brakes and slowed down. Crossing the line I was grateful I had completed the race.

Gnarnaimo Enduro

I’m happy to say that I placed 27th out of 46 racers. Pretty decent. This also leaves me in 16th overall having done 3 of the 4 races so far.

I am still not sure how many races I am going to be able to do this year, but these three have been a blast.

Signed Exploring

Sue and I signed up for the Chafe 150 a while ago, so we’ve been doing quite a bit of training for it. The plan was for us to do some rides together, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened very often.

With all the training I did last year, I got a little bored of riding all the same awesome roads over and over again. With this training I’ve concentrated on some hills and on exploring new roads. Victoria has a lot to offer for cycling, and I have taken it for granted in the past.

Tacky Compare

Back to back riding days is pretty awesome. I am in between jobs right now so I can get out mid week for some rides. For these two rides I lucked out in the weather department, but also on the trail conditions. Super tacky right now, and with the rocks drying out, there seems to be traction everywhere. Well, almost everywhere.

 

I still notice how much fitness I have lost since the BCBR though. I was looking back through Strava though and realized I was doing some long rides by this point in 2017, but they weren’t as big as I recall.

In Feb, I see the above rides, and that is it. I really shouldn’t compare myself to last year’s self since I was in a very different place a year ago. I need to look back at last years riding with fondness, and not try to outdo last year.

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.

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 😄

Endurance Blown

Saturday I got out on my MTB for an endurance ride. The goal was 4 hours, and I got pretty close. I rode out to the dump and took Executive into the trail system. That took less time that I expected, so I had quite a bit of time to explore the trails at the dump.

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Too much choice is sometimes a bad thing, so I was stopping too often to figure out my next trail. I eventually decided on Bubble Wrap as my destination, and only got turned around once while getting there 🙂

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It was an absolutely stunning day, and I had a great time on Bubble Wrap, a fairly technical trail. Once I was done that though, I then had to figure out how to spend another 1.5 hours before I could start heading home.

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I meandered through the park, getting back to the Switchback and ascending it a second time for the day. That trail is always tricky, so on tired legs I wasn’t expecting much, which may be why I was so surprised that I cleaned it for only the second or third time in my life.

After exhausting myself on the trails I zipped over to the parking lot to refill my Camelbak, then started heading home. I took the longer way home, stopping by the bike shop to book my machine in for servicing before the race.

I was chatting with one fo the employees about how I wasn’t too happy with how the rear shock was performing. He fiddled with it a bit and declared that it had likely blown. There was no rebound damping and the compression damping adjuster didn’t seem to be doing much either.

*sigh*

I was hoping to spend more time on my MTB before the race, but for the foreseeable future I will be on my road bike until my Transition is up and running again. Glad it was caught now before it was too late to do anything about it.