Thursday, April 28, 2011

I have quite the conundrum..........on this , my 50th blog.....

Many of you thought my blog would never get any attention.  Never see the light of day.  Many of you wags scoffed, and/or threatened to defriend me and read a different blog , well I fixed you.  I FIXED YOU GOOD!!!!!

I came upon a pretty serious problem tonight.  I won't say that I'm ashamed about it, but I am somewhat embarrassed, and rightly so.  What the hell do you do when you have some (always) delicious Belgium biers but are minus the matching brouwerij approved glass?  I don't want to sully the taste by drinking it out of the bottle....I'm not a farmer for christ's sake....but how do I know which glass would best serve a particular beer's wonderous qualities.  Here's drinking to trial and error!!!  (you can't spell terror rial without trial and error)

Tonights ride was maybe 50kms or so.  Pretty good pace.  I felt strong.  If I feel like tonight this Sunday in London we'll be pulling a 1, 2, 3 Mapei podium.

                                                                      Love you too

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Doctor, I have been drinking 5 glasses of gravy every night just like you ordered!!!

Last night was the first 'real' Mid Week criterium.  Like last weeks race which had 9 of the usual 70+ racers show up it was also raining but wasn't nearly as cold.  I would say that maybe 25 racers showed up. About 1/2 of our team showed up and still we had a bigger presence than any other team.  Unfortunately I got there at the last second with no time to warm up, so I had to use the first 5 laps to get the legs going and get my heart rate under control.  Then the rest was gravy.  I always have the most fun at those races.......I wish they weren't just training races.

                                                     I usually like my Jesus in a tuxedo t-shirt
                                           (cuz it says I can be serious, but I also like to party....)

The worst part of racing in the rain isn't that you get soaked.  It's not that the risk of crashing around a corner because either your tire loses traction or the spray impedes your vision.  It's the fact that you have to wash your bike down after that.  After I get home and change I have to go right back out and take my bike to the car wash and clean the whole drive train and get all the crap out of it.  Truth be told, I don't really hate doing it....I just don't want to have to budget that extra time into my evening when I want to be sitting in a tub.  With a bottle of something brewed in Ghent.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tornado watch, showers and unsettled stretches of weather

Can it be?  Has spring finally come?  This weather has been a real thorn in the side of cyclists in Ontario.  Last year people were riding in March break in shorts and light jackets.  I am still in full arm and leg warmers and a jacket, and although it's supposed to be pretty warm all week it's also supposed to rain non stop.  I hope , at least, if it rains tomorrow it rains during the Mid Week race tomorrow night.

Today I thought I'd beat the rain and ride a little earlier.  I went over to the Matheson/Explorer loop and did intervals.  There were a couple of dudes riding around there on black Cervelos, but mostly just a lot of people doing that fast walking thing, possibly training for Olympic speed walking.  The street sweepers were out in full force today so I enjoyed gravel free cornering, not to mention a nice smooth surface to roll along.  

I've been told I'm not training correctly for the races I'm doing......I need to do more hard 3 minute intervals.  So I figured a little over 1/2 the loop at an attack speed, and the rest at a recovery speed would be good.  

3 laps warm up (about 12kms)
6 laps (interval/recovery)
3 laps (strong but not interval speed)
2 laps (small ring spinning fast cool down)

Now I'm enjoying homemade broccoli soup, million grain bread and 1 Leffe for lunch.  Damn!!!!!!

Came across this the other metal album of all time.  And they are drinking Stella's.
It all makes sense now.

Black Friday

I was feeling good going into the race.  It was windy, but not terrible.  Dry, and cool.  Pretty good racing conditions.  I pulled up to the parking lot and see that Krystoph had acquired a limo bus for the team.  Like an Aerosmith or US Postal bus, only with a lot less drugs inside.  That alone should have set a winning tone for the race.  But not for myself or Joe.

Master 2
Master  1
Stan Blazek:1st
Marc Booth:12th
Krystoph Kurzawinski:38th
Vito Barbera:DQ

Overall, a good day for the team, but a bad day for me.  Also technical difficulties plagued the team photographer, so I have only these 3 pics of the entire event.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

God hates us all

Unable to meet the team at Hockley Valley I was left with my usual default training ride.  The Mid Week criterium course.   It was pleasantly drier than last night.  Much windier.  The wind whistled more like a tardy Autumn rather than early/mid spring.   Regardless, it was a great ride.  The wind added the sensation of a new hill to the that was previously much flatter.   Whipping around that fast right turn I was at nearly my top speed.  I hope all these months of practicing that corner and its  various lines prove fruitful when I am trying to make up spots or trying to hold a breakaway.

Tonight I was rockin' a sweet Eddy Merckx replica merino wool sweater on top of my technical cycling fabrics.  I have been wearing wool for about 7 yrs.  Not like dudes from back in the day, but I still enjoy its warmth, non-itchiness, and ability to not smell after being perspired in.  Well, mostly its that the old school jerseys and sweaters look dope!!!!( Now that I'm 40 can I even say dope? I think if it was a term when you were in high school , you can say it in your later years.  That's why I really shudder if an 'adult' says "my bad").  If waterproof cycling shorts were more available (or even made.....) I really think a lot more riders would be out in the rain.  Even the cold rain like last night.......But racing into the wind at 40+kph soaking wet is something best left to the true flahutes, and hardmen.

If I can do one thing just as well as the hardmen of Museeuw, Van Petegem, and Boonen it's expunge at least 1 Leffe while typing this. Sentence.

Rainbows apologize for angry skies-Sylvia Voirol

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Out like a Lion.

Again I had the day off.  Another cancelling customer.  While I played on the internet machine, drank smoothies, and did the menial tasks of a man who suddendly has 8 free hours.......I repeatedly thought 'I should be out riding!' .  No .  No riding. I race tonight.  The first Mid Week Criterium race of the season.  As the time progressed towards the scheduled 7-something start time the winds grew more angry.  The light rain turned to sleet and the sky got dark.  (the sky was angry today my an old man sending back soup at a deli).

I drove rather than ride to the course in anticipation of its cancellation.  There is Fagan and crew standing beneath the tent.  They tell me I don't want to race.  I agree.  That said, I sort of do want to race.  I want to see how long I can hold up in this chill.  It was 3 degrees.  Raining.  Sleeting.  Windy.  Maybe 12 men showed up in total.  Some left.  Some stayed in their cars.  I think 7 raced.  I was one of those fools.  I lasted 3 or 4 laps.  The cold was ripping through my cotton-like shoe covers to the point my toe nails were lifting off.  My legs felt like they were 70lbs heavier than before I started.  I noticed that Andy and Krys were still watching from Andy's mini-van.  The temptation was too great.  I received a warm reception and warm towel.  Nary a word about how I pulled out.  What a team!!!   Regardless, they stopped the race maybe 20 minutes later.  No one complained.  This weather is insane.

Good Friday we race again.  It'll be tougher than last Sunday.  But so will we.

Belgian Style Abbey Ale: Inspired by the authentic Trappist breweries, these strong (usually 6-9%abv) , fruity, malty beers are a welcome addition to any party , drinking session or as reward for several long pulls after a 80km training ride.  Try and Affligem Blond or Leffe Brune.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rock Soldiers

What a weekend.  Or what a week to be more precise.
Wednesday :Milton ride
Thursday: Worked all day, all night.
Friday  :Worked all day , all night
Saturday: Worked all morning.  Rain and sleet all day-no riding.
Sunday: get up at 5:00 to drive up to Calabogie Speedway to race at 11:15.
Summation: Little sleep, and no riding before a big race leaves me feeling not ready.

.                                  Got all my stuff laid out.  Nothing missing except my legs.

It only took me 6 tries to get a decent pic of these guys.......

The drive up to Calabogie was a little unzipped.  It would go from sunny to rain and sleet with no notice.  I prayed to the gods of Meteorology that Calabogie would be spared the onslaught that my windshield was currently enduring.  I have to admit, I wasn't there in time to see the Master B womens race or the Master 3 race.  But Ann got a 3'd and Phil and Dave got 6th and  32nd respectively .  Awesome results especially considering it was their first races.

We took our spots at the line.  The track was dry.  It was windy as hell, but dry.  I'll take wind over wet.  But only just.  We all took off and the 4 of us (Andy, Marco, Emilio, and me) all went to the front.  Stayed there for the whole race.  We knew we had a job, and goddamit!!!!!! we were going to do it.  control the race he says????  Hells yeah we did.  Marco chased down several attacks and was the real bruiser of the pack.  Emilio too.  I never knew Emilio was that strong.  Andy , being the strongest of us went off and a few attacks but got reeled back in.  On the 2'nd or 3'd last lap he got away with a strong Ottawa guy ( I think he won it last year) and we slowed things down and let them open a large gap.  After a while several guys were yelling that a chase had to begin, and that we were not going to help...................but they couldn't get their shit together  which left andy and Ottawa boy to sprint it out.  It the best race I have had.  At least on the enjoyment scale, rather than the results scale.


Andy beats the guy in the sprint to the line by 2 or more bike lengths, but is told (mistakenly) that they have 1 more lap.  Collectively they pull off another lap whereby Andy loses this sprint.  How the hell can the race officials screw up on the last lap and let the leaders do another lap and not the rest of the pack.  We all did 15 laps, the leaders have to do 1 additional lap?   Come on...................

Andy : 2nd place.

Master 1 race with Stan, Marc and Krys went a very similar way to the Master 2 race.  Marc and Stan  controlled, or partially controlled the front of the pack for a big portion of the race, with Krys in a break with Bruce Bird (Wheels of Bloor) and 3 other dudes whom I don't know.  Their break was strong and they were never going to get caught. The highlights of their race was that the blizzard started up again a few times during their race, and the wind was worse than in our race.  Last lap Bruce gets a flat.  Then something happens with Krys's cassette and he can't shift.  He loses the sprint.  Vic Pwu gets 25th in this, his first M1 race.  A good day for everyone from Toronto.

Krys: 4th
Marc: 10th

                                               Moments after the M2 race a blizzard moved in

                                                          Dr. Booth putting the hurt on the pack

  Stanislav  before he took his gloves off.  Literally

Krys on the break. Last lap

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Run to the Hills

I had the day off today.  Rode from Mississauga to Milton.  Basically took Eglinton west until (I think) Sixth Line, headed north and turned left at Derry.  Made my way over to Steeles and rode up an down the escarpment a few times.   That hill, as well as the climb up Appleby to Rattlesnake are serious climbs.  I mean, not Mt Washington, Tenerife, or Passo Dello Stelvio style but still tough if you consider most of my training is around Mississauga with not a lot of up.  The entire ride home was into a headwind with a fair amount of traffic.  I am guessing it was just over 100kms today.  No computer on that bike, so I'm guessing.

Here is the view that I did NOT see today while doing my hill intervals

Here is Vic after finishing the climb seen in the first photo
Vic races for Wheels of Bloor, and usually goes somewhere exotic for spring training
This was one of the views from atop MT. Washington.  Serious climb.
I think I did it in 1:20:43
Here is the base of Steeles Ave in Milton, doesn't look that impressive in pics but it's a steep hill

                                                              the view looking down

                                                                       The view afterwards.....

Monday, April 11, 2011

This isn't science fiction, it's real fiction!!!!

What a day today.  I can't believe I had to work indoors all day.  I definitely should have have cancelled my work today, and traded it for a hearty 120km spin.  Anyways.........tomorrows day off will remedy that error.

I ate lunch in one of Toronto's many secret underground malls.  I imagine no one actually knows how many malls are underneath the city, along The Path, and under every other huge building.  This one was at Yonge and Sheppard.  I enjoyed a delicious and fairly wholesome Extreme Pita.  That word (extreme) still really appeals to my generation.  Extreme.  Makes me feel like a real rebel.  Or at least a serious risk taker. No one ever used to use the words 'extreme', or 'random'  until like 15 yrs ago. No one ever uses 'raging' which is one of my favorites.     I also  like 'intense'.  Always seems like a cool 'go to' word for me.

                                                         Is that how you spell Heineken?

After lunch I went back to work at the Frog and Firken across the street where I was startled to see not one Belgisch Bier on their beer menu.  I understand it was an Irish Pub....but they sold crappy American beer.  Also some average Canadian beer.  So why repudiate all the delicious beverages brewed with such loving care from our friends way over in the land of bergs.  Anyways........I am heading out for a 90 minute ride down around the Lakeshore/Mississauga Rd South area.  Anyone want to join me....I do several laps around Indian Rd and that long fast road along the QEW.  It'll be extreme.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gouden Carolous Tripel

I had a great ride today.  I didn't race the Tour of Bronte with the boys as I worked , but also the race didn't really appeal to me.  But Andy got second place!!!  NICE WORK!!!!

I practiced the new pedaling technique Krys has been trying to drill into my head.  I like it.  I wasn't previously aware that I was even doing anything wrong but after toeing in my cleats a little bit and keeping my knees inwards a bit closer to the top tube I think I can feel a bit more power transfer to pedals.  So I am going with it.

                                                                   that shirt rules

The sun was still up, but as usual I was alone.  Pulled off a pile of heavy duty intervals.  4 fast laps 2 recovery laps. Repeat.

I can't wait to get my new new Rotor stem and put  my new Deda Phazer bars on the Guerciotti.  Of course I will post a pile of pics.  Best bars ever.

                                                                                                                                             Pic by Atkinson

Tripel: a style of ale developed by Belgian Trappist monks, a tripel should be golden in colour , not overly fruity in flavour and 8-9% abv. Most often with a blonde label, this style perfected in the Chimay White Cap and St. Bernardus Tripel, but originated by the Westmalle Tripel.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A show of hands if you miss Chi-Chi's.

April 8th.  Friday.  End of the week.  Fridays generally equal an evening ride, a couple of Biers, and something good for dinner.  I accomplished all 3.  Rode the Mid Week course for about 70 minutes.  Mostly spinning.  Took a few of the fast corners really quickly just to make sure I was still alive.  Then Krystoph pulled around the bend heading towards me with his head down.  If Craig Fagan would have seen him with his head down like that he would have sent him home, or relegated him to back of the pack.    So I rode home with him.  As we rode down the dark streets he elaborated on some areas of my riding that are of concern to him.   We practiced the correct technique for a while and then I turned off.  As in high school I find a 1 on 1 teaching style to be a lot more effective.

                                                              Dissatisfied Blackberry user

When I ride at night, which seems to be happening more and more with amazing frequency I wonder about how many riders and racers never ride at night.  I get to enjoy almost no traffic, maybe even see the tail end of a setting sun.  Or at least the pinkish stain on the sky that I think pollution and the atmosphere combined with diminishing light can create.   Mostly I like the cool wind and the quiet.  It's the closest thing to riding  way out on a country sideroad with only your own thoughts as company for suckers like me who live in the city.
Man I miss Kitchener.  Even London.  The racing wasn't as good, but the riding was untouchable.

As for the other 2 accomplishments.................I am again enjoying a couple of Hoegardens, and I had an Organic Peanut butter and honey triple decker sandwich.   Feeling a little sassy, I decided to microwave it.  BINGO!  Another winning idea by the T-Wrecks.

Audi 5000

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Epidemic, permanent disease

January and February of this year I drank maybe a 6 pack in total.  I was trying to get into shape and drop a few pounds.  I never really identified any discernible weight loss that I could attribute to the absence of beer , since I was also riding 60-90 minutes a night 5-6 nights a week.  Then I went out and rode for 8 days in Florida and had a couple beers everyday.  Still , with proper eating and riding the weight slowly declined.

I'm left feeling that unless you are pounding 5 or 6 or more  beers a night that drinking doesn't mean shit.  I have at least 1 Devil beer every night with dinner.......maybe 2.  For the advantage not drinking may give my racing, it would reduce me to  a broken man.  Beer is in my soul.  Like Metal.  Huskies.  Fighting (in the gym), and riding.

So if the time comes that I am so close to winning M1 races that a more strict diet and the total absence of alcohol would make the difference I may change the blog title to No beer, strong legs.

I have friends that don't even know what a sweet Belgian Blonde tastes like.  I can't imagine not coming home from a hard ride, or a crazy day at work and cracking a bottle and filling its respective glass, admiring it for a moment and then giving it a good home.

Tonight , I think I will reach for a long neglected Hoegarden.

I did , afterall, ride the criterium course and the Explorer loop for almost 2 hours today .  By myself.  I like how the roads seem to be salt and sand-free right now.  I am imposing my will on the fast corner after the descent.  

                                                   Looky, looky, is that Marco behind me?