Saturday, November 17, 2012

Awesome November...

No virtual software can virtualize this!!!
... ride once again! You'll probably hear me say this a log, but I can't stop thinking how lucky I am to walk out my door with my bike and good friends all through the year and every time it turns out to be the best experience. I think the last few rides have had a very similar route, but I can't get bored of it, I'm not sure how that is. The views west grabs me every time, and nothing but the moment is present. I love the big sky and mountains in the far.

Today we started a bit earlier in the hope to have frozen conditions on the trails. Erik, Cesar and Craig M. showed up. We headed west through Bowness on the same old short sections of single track, they were in great shape so we decided that we could not skip Tuscan ravines on a day like today, nice frozen ground to start. The construction on Stony trail was really in motion this morning so we had to scramble a bit to hit the entrance. And right off the start we hit water, big water! Maybe this change is plan was not the best? We figured it would get better and hey what is a weekend ride with a bit of adventure. Erik thought it was very fitting since we love to explore, for a second I started thinking about the Vikings, explore and drink, need a little work on one part to live up to the real thing. Quick thought as my focus was required on the water crossings, Erik jumped over like a daisy, I not as swift.
Craig got a good dunk, but with the sun the wet didn't bother him.

Erik left us as we went back down to start our trek over to Cochrane along the river. A little new section, exploring the gravel pit a little closer, the ridge always fun, rail rode guys not done a great job the last few weeks on keeping our trails packed so good hard work until we hit the pathway. Nice for the legs. Craig wanted to practice climbing over the barbed wire fence while Cesar and I opened the gate and walked through. The porcupine from my last ride is still hanging out at the start of the path.
Did a little detour that I haven't done yet this year, gravel route up and over the hills in the park. Saw some tire marks and figured it had to be Craig S. since who would chose this route? well, besides us explorers... (not Craigs tires, so still a mystery). Poor Cesar was not feeling too good with an infection of sort, though both Craig and I agreed that it's good for him to feel the suffering once a while, since usually it's Cesar flying up the hills.
One more good climb after this and then our favorite coffee stop.

London, our new friend and newborn cycling enthusiast!
The return was on the south side and decided to stick to the road, since Cesar had home in mind! On airport road Cesar got his second wind and ready to go again! Now Craig had his moment but nothing a Portuguese gel couldn't fix. By the time we got to the turnoff to cross Hgw. 2 everyone seemed to be feeling good again so we decided on some more single track. Down between some houses a couple of dogs chased for a bit and by the time we hit the single track we had one new buddy, London, the dog. At one point we thought he had turned and gone home, but there he was again. Loving the ride and everyone we would meet. A call to Suzanne to meet us in Valley Ridge so we didn't have to ride on the road with our new friend. She and Craig drove him back, and I'm sure the next time around he'll be waiting for us again!
Cesar and I rode through the Stony bridge single track and back to Bowness.

What a great day, again!

Happy Riding!

Erik pondering about new bikes...

Craig M. still riding hard after a plunsh...

The Edge!

Glenbow Rd. Climb (according to

Cesar feeling it!

Craig post gel!!

Set up for camp....

... will be key to maintaining and maybe even build some fitness to stay competitive next year  while also remaining in my current position at work which require me to spend the majority of my week up north living out of camp.
I enjoy challenges both in my career and athletic life, hence when the new work challenge was presented I had a hard time turning it down even though I knew it would require a big adjustment in my life as I knew it then.
My rotation started in July and since we were already well into the season I experimented with not doing anything while up north and putting in my required hours when back for the weekend. This seem to be working not too bad as most of the riding and training during the season is shorter and with some intensity. The week up north was 4 days of rest, more than I would ever put in normally, but I also started doing more on the weekend. With that the short intensity workouts that I usually would do during the week became really non existent, the quality of the first ride when back was poor and the last ride Sunday was poor as I was tired by then. By now I have accepted that the hours of training I used to put in, only work when I spread them out through the 7 days. 
So with that I started working on a plan to get a few hours in while up north. With very limited time as I leave camp 550 am and back to my room at 730 pm, using every minute of the spare time is key. So being dependent on the bike or gear in the gym didn’t seem like a great option, beside the fact I’m not very motivated in the first place to do gym work. If I have my bike by my bed, it is as efficient as it can be and it'll be there to remind of how tired and terrible I feel when I don't do anything! So worked with the logistics folks to get the ok to bring my gear (if I’m too noisy they will move me closer to the laundry, I can live with that). Looked into various trainers with the sound in mind, but also thought I should add some fun to it, so I ended up with the Tacx I-Genius.
My home town.... some great apple juice made to the left.
Note that not just any computer could make the fun happen with this trainer (the virtual side of the software). I had to update my many years of absent in the techy world. Quickly learned that there is no such thing as mobile gamer set up, and for the software to run all bells and whistles it need a gamer laptop (graphics card requirement). But when all said and done, I'm impressed with my first test of the trainer, computer and software. Still have lots to learn before I will get the full use of the TTS4 software, and need more movies as the software only comes with a demo. The coolest part though, is the GPS ride feature. Not only can you upload any of your own or your friends rides and re-experience the ride, but you can create your own GPS rides by clicking the route in Google Earth. The "break" unit will know the grade and gradually adjust to it, both up hill and down hill. Pretty smooth. And the coolest part, if your ride is on the road, you can view it in street view and I was impressed with the quick update of photos. It's like riding through a movie. My firs trial was through my home town and how fun to ride passed my old grade school, gas station I used to get a treat from, my news paper route etc. I've still left to see how this will work with the internet connection in camp which can be spotty at times. So from having spent very limited time on a trainer (maybe 2-3 rides the last year) I'll now be a on one for a few hours each week. Hopefully I've set it up for success!
Happy Riding!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Even colder...

...Sunday! -18 to start the day.
Chilly, but based on my experience with Erik yesterday I dressed slightly lighter. Cross bike was ready from yesterday and happy to see air still in the new setup. Rode over to Cadence and felt pretty good in terms of clothing. Jon and I was the group, I think my first true pure Ridley's ride, I guess it takes real passion to dress up for a bike ride in -18. After a great Mocha we decided to head west and play on some single track to get warmed up. The sun was already feeling warm and the ride up Tuscany ravines definitely did the trick of warming you up. The new wheels are working the snow like a charm. Back down I had to ride hard to keep Jon's wheel, the trail in awesome condition. From there we ventured over through Bowmont, same tracks as with Erik yesterday, so lucky to have this in the back yard! Then some path ways and through Edworthy over to downtown path. A little bit of path along Elbow down to my old hangout, Coffee Rosso. Some other crazy riders beat us there, Suzanne and Michelle was having a snack and warming up. Great to see them out enjoying the great day. It definitely warmed up. Getting going after coffee with wet cloths was hard, but it only took a few minutes to warm up again. We continued on path and little bit of roads over to Glenmore, played on some single track and return the same way through town as we came. Pathways had some patches of ice/snow but other than that pretty good. Felt like Jon was holding a hard pace as we rode back west with a little bit of head wind (well he was in the head... I was hiding behind...), that was until Jon slowed down to chit chat with a guy he knew and mentioned he was out for a nice easy spin...... hmmm guess I have a bit of work to do. 5 hours later and I was pretty nice and tired. Not sure how warm it got this beautiful day, but definitely didn't stay -18 for too long. Two real winter rides in this weekend, looking forward to more. Figured out clothing, wheels are set up great and now it's just about getting as fast as I can by end of February.

Happy Riding!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Very cold...

 ... morning!
The question today was who will be crazy enough to show up for a group ride! Erik sent a quick note out early in the morning and it seemed most were out. Though sine Erik was committed I felt obligated, as a bike rider and Norwegian, to suck it up and head out!
I had a hard time deciding on clothing. Riding over to Cadence I felt I had made some good choices, but the helmet with glasses did not work as well, the little skin showing got cold, and the rest of the body probably to hot. Erik got there on his new, old hard tail for the winter rides. He had chosen a ski helmet and goggles and that was the way to go. We decided to head to my place to do a quick swap, I also dropped a layer and grabbed ski helmet and goggles as well as a bike swap, got my dually with big tires. Great value detour.
We rode over to Stony trail and played the single tracks there, then up to Tuscany and it's always fun, both ways. By that time I had dropped big gloves, and jacket was open. We left in -15 but it is amazing how warm you get when you move around, and dressed with the right stuff.
I had a craft undershirt, craft warm layer (their extreme), Ridley's vest and jacket. On the legs; cycle shorts with knee warmers, Gore Windstopper cycling pants and thick socks covered with Sidi's winter shoes (oh and yes, I do use booties on top of the them). Hands, started with ski gloves, but quickly dropped them too, and rode with the thinner Gore Windstopper glove. Ski helmet and goggles. And it was plenty.
After west side we rode east through Bowmont, Little more work on those trails but great fun!
Erik kept the pace up and who would have thought -15 could turn out to be such a great ride....

Happy winter riding (even when it's really cold)!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Getting set up...

... for winter in camp and new wheels for the cross ride.
Friday was not the coldest of the three this weekend, but the only day I didn't make it out on the bike. Got a few things done though such as getting ready for a winter in camp. And winter is here, full on. Woke up to lots of new snow. So a little physical activity in shoveling. Toby didn't want any part of it, guess he needs a bit more time to get ready for winter, at the park he was happy to make it short. Then off to Ridley's to track down a trainer for camp. I will try out the Tacx with the software that should hopefully entertain me with some good movies around the world. They had a setup in the store so I got to test it out for a few minutes. I'm not a fan of inside training of any sort, though this trainer is suppose to make it feel real, and with some of the movies it should add some "fun" to the ride. Now I just hope my issue with motion sickness is not going to be a problem. Earlier in the week I learned that to run this software you will need something more than an ipad. My hope was to find something mobile and that would run the game, but apparently that does not exists. So I decided to keep searching and see if there is options. Not much left of the day after running around. Though good news is I sort of figured it all out, even though I had nothing to show for it. Trainer ordered, a few options to look at for a computer.... now I also need to get all this and a bike up north and I should be able to get in a few hours of riding during my work week. Review of the setup to come...
I also received my new tubeless setup for the cross bike. Very cool - and messy. Two blowouts before success. The last one fully charged with Stans liquid. Lesson learned, non tubeless ready or UST tires, don't push your luck! That said, with the new setup, according to those at get a 2mm extra width and with my 35cc Rocket Rons that should be a great low pressure setup for the winter! Review to come...

In term so of any physical activity; got in a 30 min rowing session while playing with my xbox machine which I have to admit I know very little about, even though it's been down there for about the length of my stay in Calgary. It needed some updates, and while pushing buttons I ended up with a annual subscription to music. Music I can listen to on the tv, my phone or my computer. Pretty neat. Or maybe I'm way behind... and oh yes, the row was very choppy...had to cover the computer to not get to discourage by the stats.
Happy winter riding!


Saturday, November 03, 2012

First November...

... group ride!

It is almost mtb weather, and from the notes on FB it looks like Canmore might have been a mtb ride option today.

Ended up with a group of 4. Erik, Cesar and Ryan. Regular meeting spot and after a quick coffee we decided on a Cochrane loop, and if we didn't lazy too long at Cadence we would be able to ride some trails while they are still frozen. Foggy and moist in the air, started off with around -2 degrees. Still figuring out the dress code for winter riding. Way to much cloths on, and didn't even make it to the reservoir before I had to remove a layer and open up a couple others.
We rode the north side of the river, first time this year. Skipped most of the rail road by staying high on some fun single track through the gravel pits. The snow had a crust on it that made it feel very heavy to pedal through. Eventually we hit the rail road service road and it was "highway" condition before a little heavy snow plowing to the start of the bike path. A little sketchy through the valley on the bike path, but fun. Got to see a couple of foxes or coyotes and a three deer crossing the river, looked a little cold. Great hard climb coming up to Cochrane golf course and then in to town for a quick lunch and coffee.
On the way home we did a short single track out of town and some back roads back to Calgary. We had a little bit of last fun down Tuscany single track, struggled a few minutes to find our way through the construction zone, so a spot to remember for our next ride through Tuscany.

Great first ride of the weekend.

More adventures tomorrow.

Last week it was sticky snow, this week crust on top made for heavy pedaling

If you look closely you see the deer...

Erik and Cesar at the top of the climb, not much of a view in the fog

Erik and Cesar at the top of the climb, not much of a view in the fog
Happy Riding!