I am a mountain biker

 

I am a mountain biker
I eat pain for breakfast
my grip is onto death and gravity is my bitch.
throughout the daily grind as the clock grunts and sputters
in its creeping lethargy my mind races ahead to the trail
that’s where the roots and rocks wait
to rattle and shake my bones back to life
to stir my blood and lungs

I am a mountain biker
cables and sinew merge
with blood and aluminium
my pounding heart is the relentless groove
that spills across this blur of greenery

My wheels – on the trail
A foot on each pedal
and mind – in the middle
surfing through centrifugal force
turning the wheel that turns the tide

I am a mountain biker
and I eat pain for breakfast

He is a mountain biker?
Behold his bulging physique
the rippling muscles of a panther
propel his silhouette across the horizon
through the mossy trees
over the stumps and jagged rocks
careening past streams,
cliffs and beasts and shadows

Spandex! Sweat! Flesh and metal collide
in a joyful symphony of speed!
The gravel flies beneath his wheels
Bones chatter, muscles burn
mud splatters, wheels turn
He is a mountain biker

She is a mountain biker
Her eyes shine with an earthly fire
eyes bright with electrolytes
the horizon crashes beneath her shocks
perched like a falcon
she swoops and dives through splendor

We are mountain bikers
We dream to ride
We ride to dream
We know that a triumphant smiling face
is best anointed with blood, sweat, mud
and washed down with a nice cold beer

We know that every revolution
begins with a firmly planted foot
We know that without the pain
the ride would be meaningless
the sky less blue and the air less sweet
You are a mountain biker, you know who you are
You’ve come this far, give yourselves a mighty roar
Let them see you howl and soar!

Today I did my last training ride under some stunning blue skies. I opted for a road ride and thoroughly enjoyed it. In a few short days the race is going to start, and I am going to be nervous, but filled with anticipation of the hard work for the week. I am a mountain biker, and I am totally looking forward to this race!

 

 

Tapering Details

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty now. My coaching has everything laid out until BC Bike Race. 


Tapering has started so this week is pretty light as is next weekend. Then the big show starts. It’s been a long road to get here and I am really anxious, but looking forward to starting the race. 

There is still some work to be done though. I need to buy a better sleeping bag, and I think I found one today. After that I start the process of packing for a week of camping and riding. Lots of little things are needed there to ensure that the race goes well. It’s all about the small details now. 

Cracked Time

Well, I think I did it now.

In a 4 hour ride I cracked out over 58 km and 1,550 m vertical, then rode again the following day, and still felt awesome.

Day 1 Cumberland – 45 km 1,153 m

Day 2 Powell River – 52 km 1,080 m

Day 3 Earls Cove to Sechelt – 57 km 1,710 m

Day 4 Sechelt to Langdale – 48 km 1,403 m

Day 5 North Vancouver – 18 km 872 m

Day 6 Squamish – 52 km 1,680 m

Day 7 Whistler – 33 km 1,569 m

During my training I’ve always wondered if I am going to be able to handle the distance and the vert in any reasonable amount of time. I definitely can, at least for one day. Really stoked on starting this race now!

18 days until the race officially begins

Hammer Knee

Last Saturday was a bit of a troublesome day. My training plan had me doing an hour run which I did with the kids at Elk Lake. The run was fine until the last few minutes. My knee started to ache a bit, and I pushed through, which at the time seemed like it might be a bad idea. Me being a noobie runner I didn’t listen and kept going.

In ththe afternoon I decided to replace the wood on the sandbox. I dug out the old wood, cut the new pieces, and started hammering some nails in to keep them in place. Then disaster. I know from riding to always look where you want to go. While I was using the hammer I was getting a little close to my left pointer finger. As the hammer was coming down I glanced at my finger thinking I wanted to not hit it. Sure enough I whacked it really hard. Instant pain, blood, and bruising.


That night I was a bit of a mess. My knee was aching and my finger was throbbing and numb. I started feeling a bit angry . All this work put into training for the BC Bike Race and the last thing I wanted was to be taken out by a training injury or a finger issue.

By tu stay my knee was still sore, so I tried getting in to see my physiotherapist. The online booking showed nothing until June 1 and I got a little worried. An hour later I tried calling, and it turned out there was a fresh opening the next day!

The knee issue turned out to be an IT band issue. Stretching, foam roller work, and taking it a little easier to let it heal are my priorities right now.

The finger was very sore for the first few days. The Sunday following the hammer incident I had a short ride and I could barely have my left hand on the bars because all the vibrations were hurting to badly. By now the feeling has mostly returned to the finger, though it is till a bit tender.


Overall I consider myself lucky. This could have been much worse, and it certainly reminded me to take it easy. Less than two months to go until the race!

Recovery Weeks

Training for BC Bike Race is going well. There is also a lot of planning happening in the house to figure out where I am going to be and when, plus what ferries Sue and the kids will need to take to follow the travelling circus.

This week is a rest and recovery week. It struck me when I read what the week entails, that I’ve come a long way. My recovery week

  • 15 minute core workout on Tues
  • 1.5 hour easy ride on Weds
  • 45 min run on Thurs
  • 1.5 hour ride on Sat
  • MEC 100KM ride on Sunday

This is a light week for me, but is still way more excercise than I would have done in a couple weeks time last year!

Race Vacation

This past summer we were on a road trip when I did something I had been dreaming about for a very long time. I signed up for the BC Bike Race! I first became interested in the concept of this race when I heard about them putting on their first race.

Every year when the race began I would read the writeups on Pinkbike and get even more stoked. Their coverage is pretty amazing with lots of photos to really drive home how awesome the event is.

Signing up was a nerve wracking experience. There were some credit card issues, but more importantly this has been a dream of mine for over 10 years and taking that step to realize the dream was very intimidating. My heart was racing, and it almost felt like I was already at the start line.

After the signup, the vacation continued, but in my mind I started developing a training plan. From that point on I convinced myself that I loved hills and would hit as many as I could. I’d push myself harder and ride longer than I normally would. Spin classes started and I would put all my effort into those.

Yesterday I met with a coach and started talking about setting up a training plan.

Today I am feeling pretty good about where I am, but still nervous about where I need to get to. There is still lots of time to prepare though, and I am grateful for that.

Return Gross

I’ve had a couple really great rides lately. Last weekend I rode with someone I had never ridden with before. Sue works with this persons girlfriend, and although we chatted over email a few times, we really didn’t know each others riding ability. He mentioned that perhaps his girlfriend had built him up a bit.

I was concerned about not slowing him down too much, so I did my best to keep up, and set a good pace when I was in the lead. We headed out the goose, out past Fort Rodd Hill, up Ocean Blvd, then out toward Metchosen. It was nice to ride with someone, and the pace was pretty good. We turned onto Happy Valley Rd, and when we got to Glenn Lake, headed out the highway toward Sooke. At some point we called it and turned around. It was pretty non-chalant when we decided to turn around and I thought that maybe he wanted to go further.

We ended up back on the Goose for the return trip to town. We parted ways where the Lochside trail meets the Goose. The last stretch home I pushed as hard as I could to get home so I could start helping out with some yard work. It was a good ride, in the 2.5 hour range, and over 70KM.

Once I got home though, I started feeling pretty awful. My legs were toast, I ended up with a horrible headache, and pretty much felt miserable. I think that I came down with a bit of heat exhaustion. I drank a bunch of water, but that didn’t help. It was horrible.

This past Saturday I had another great ride, but this one was a solo ride. It ended up clocking in at just a hair under 3.5 hours. I hit Ocean Boulevard, then headed out to Lombard and Londholm. I knew my legs didn’t have enough in them to hit up Munns, so I zipped across Prospect Lake Rd, turned onto West Saanich Rd, then headed for Mount Doug Park to ride along the water for a bit. I had intended to follow the water route all the way to Cook St, but I was running out of time, and my legs were thrashed.

Oh, did I mention that I did my ride in 26 degree weather? Yeah, it was hot, stinkin hot. As long as I was moving, I was fine, but any hills I could feel the heat radiating from the pavement. During my ride I went through 4 bottles of fluid. I would guess that one whole bottle was used on my head an back in a effort to keep cool.

The upside to this was I got some exposure to riding in heat, I got some miles in, I hit some hills, and I didn’t feel gross afterward.


View July 1, 2013 TdV in a larger map

Misty Speed

Saturday was my last training ride before the event. I had wanted to keep it short, just to keep my legs loose, but a buddy wanted to go for about 100KM as a test to see if he would join the Tour de Victoria. He ended up having to bail on the ride, but I still went along the same route.

What a ride it was too. Slight misty rain falling in a couple places, but otherwise perfect conditions. No rain, not too warm, no wind. My route followed the TdV route for a long way, and I have to admit I felt great. The big hills didn’t feel so bad anymore, and the flats I was flying along. In total I did a little over 110KM solo, and my average speed was slightly higher than normal too.

By the end of my ride I was feeling awesome. I didn’t feel drained at the end either, which was good. I can say with some certainty now that I feel ready for the big day.


View Tour de Victoria June 16, 2012 in a larger map


View Tour de Victoria June 16, 2012 in a larger map

Total distance: 112.97 km (70.2 mi)
Total time: 4:13:22
Moving time: 4:09:46
Average speed: 26.75 km/h (16.6 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 27.14 km/h (16.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 71.16 km/h (44.2 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.24 min/km (3.6 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.21 min/km (3.6 min/mi)
Min pace: 0.84 min/km (1.4 min/mi)
Max elevation: 237 m (778 ft)
Min elevation: -26 m (-85 ft)
Elevation gain: 2748 m (9014 ft)
Max grade: 101 %
Min grade: -44 %

Time Vulture

Today was a good day for commuting. Not too windy, sort of sunny, warm. The only thing I could have used more of was time. I would have loved to have ridden for another hour or more. Alas, I had dinner to get home to, and my route home took a lot less time than I thought it would.

My ride to work was straight there, with no detours. Right out the Goose to Wale Rd, then over to work. Coming home I thought I would do Munns Rd backward from the way I normally do it. The climb to the highest point was pretty hard, and I ended up taking a quick breather at one point. I should have kept pushing, but I wimped out. I didn’t exactly have a good nutrition day at work, and I was huffing pretty hard coming up the hill.

The descent was a lot of fun though. Wow. Makes the hard work worth it for sure.

At one point I was approaching a guy who was standing beside a truck. At first I thought he was breaking into it, then I realized he was watching something. When I looked over to the other side of the road, there was a turkey vulture standing there watching me zip by. Boy, those are big birds!

After Munns I got onto the Goose and zipped home at a pretty good clip.


View Commuting June 13, 2012 in a larger map

Commute to work:
Total distance: 13.20 km (8.2 mi)
Total time: 38:12
Moving time: 33:17
Average speed: 20.73 km/h (12.9 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 23.80 km/h (14.8 mi/h)
Max speed: 51.79 km/h (32.2 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.89 min/km (4.7 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.52 min/km (4.1 min/mi)
Min pace: 1.16 min/km (1.9 min/mi)
Max elevation: 83 m (272 ft)
Min elevation: -8 m (-26 ft)
Elevation gain: 206 m (677 ft)
Max grade: 13 %
Min grade: -14 %
Recorded: 13/06/2012 8:07 AM

Commute home from work:
Total distance: 32.70 km (20.3 mi)
Total time: 1:23:41
Moving time: 1:16:01
Average speed: 23.44 km/h (14.6 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 25.81 km/h (16.0 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.39 km/h (34.4 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.56 min/km (4.1 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.32 min/km (3.7 min/mi)
Min pace: 1.08 min/km (1.7 min/mi)
Max elevation: 253 m (829 ft)
Min elevation: -17 m (-56 ft)
Elevation gain: 724 m (2375 ft)
Max grade: 46 %
Min grade: -34 %

Peninsula Surprises

Today’s ride was all kinds of awesome. The weather was pretty warm, but not sunny, and there was no wind. I think I ate well before my ride, and drank enough water to hydrate well.

For the ride itself I followed the Tour de Victoria course starting from pretty close to the start, out to Metchosin, back over to Munn’s, then out the peninsula. I turned onto Mount Newton Cross Rd, then made my way over to the other side for the return trip. I did all this solo too.

I paid attention to my nutrition while riding, and was careful with that. I also paid attention to how my legs were feeling, and back off part way through the ride to try and save something for the end. The other thing I did was try to drink more water. This resulted in me having to stop for a pee break, which is a rare occurrence for me.

I think it paid off though. My goal was 4.5 hours, and I was out there for 5 hours and ten minutes in total. I rode a distance of 125 km, and took in around 1000 calories.

Wow, that felt good to get that distance in. I am now confident that I can do 140km on ride day (which is 2 weeks away). During the ride there will be times I can draft off others to rest and recoup. I have ridden all sections of the course now, and there aren’t any surprises hill-wise for me. I was pretty tired at the end of the ride, but not sore, not cramping, and still walking 😉

The only surprises I had were a scrawny fawn that almost bolted in front of me (if it had I would have collided with it), and a dog in the bed of a truck that barked rather loudly when it was right beside my head.


View Tour de Victoria June 10, 2012 in a larger map


View Tour de Victoria June 10, 2012 in a larger map
Total distance: 125.56 km (78.0 mi)
Total time: 5:10:47
Moving time: 5:00:31
Average speed: 24.24 km/h (15.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 25.07 km/h (15.6 mi/h)
Max speed: 82.42 km/h (51.2 mi/h)
Average pace: 2.48 min/km (4.0 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 2.39 min/km (3.9 min/mi)
Min pace: 0.73 min/km (1.2 min/mi)
Max elevation: 376 m (1233 ft)
Min elevation: -24 m (-79 ft)
Elevation gain: 3250 m (10664 ft)
Max grade: 118 %
Min grade: -64 %