Monday, June 30, 2014

Fernie3 2014 day 3...

... fun, fun and lots of fun, then some looking for trail markers, then just find the funnest way all in all a good day :)

Today the start was at the Fernie Resort. We drove up as the checkout was early and there was no option for late checkout. Quick warm-up if I can even call it a that, then line up to start. Once again the women was in the back. Really not an issue as it starts with a few km of pretty steep double track climbing which sorts the field out. Tried to stay with Sandra and Mical up the climb and not have too many guys  in between us when entering Verboten. The plan didn't work great off the start as the pace was super hard and I had to settle in my own, Mical did the same, not a big gap though, and as we came close to the top I felt ok to close it up a little bit, but still had a few guys to deal with on the decent. Some of them (wont mention names, but GC with a goat jersey) took care of that them self by laying flat on their face for me...:) While others, well, one, seemed to not get it and refused to admit he was a little slower, by the time it open up to double track I saw no one in front, got passed the guy and started chasing, my chase pace wasn't fast enough, a few guys but never saw Sandra, she was on fire. The next section of trail was just a hard tail nightmare, and I regretted being lazy and not going with the FS, next time.
Then a short climb up to power line to enter some fun new trail (Lizzard?), did part of it before a sharp left (that was probably the first spot of confusion of the day for some) to climb up to powerline again, did lower part of Project9, and then a sharp left again (second area of confusion) to hook on to the new trail (Lizzard?). The trail is a fun gradually going down, great way to connect some of the fun trails on this side. If dry they would be super fast, today, a little slick to say the least. Rode by my self through all of these sections. Hit the road, had a snack while cruising down to enter the next climb up Stove. Didn't have a great climb, it was slick and got into my "nap" mode since I'd seen nobody for a while. On the top of the climb a group of guys came from behind, woke me up, so back to racing. Got to the power line, then down DemBones and through Fernie campground.
Cross the river to do some of the trails I don't know all the names of; stumpy maybe, happy Gilmore a little bit.... in the end we climbed some slick muddy fun trails up and got to ride Old Goad over to Gorbi. It is such a fun trail, but pretty slick today. Hit Gorbi and passed a couple of guys that should not be there, they asked if I had got lost, I didn't think I had been lost, so figured they must have missed the Lizzard turns and moved on. Up Gorbi , I belive I could see Mical and a few guys back down, so no time to chill. Kept going further up, part on double track cat tracks, some single track moving towards the resort trails. And this is when most people had some confusion today. The first part was simple, but as you came down some of the DH trails under the lift, you could see flags pretty much on every trail option, I noticed the same flags I'd seen on the trail on the cat road so I kept flying down the road, but then all of a sudden I saw none. I stopped an looked back and no one else came down. I saw a few racers in the distant riding down some switch back DH trails, so I figured I was off course and climbed back up the road. I even told another guy to not bother going down, so he just chose the first trail and went for it. I climb up to the same spot and went in on some fun trail with lots of puncher. Back on a cat road again, looked for markers, non to be seen, so picked a trail that looked fun and thought, what the heck - just have fun, and so I did... great little trail, some boards, bridges and fun features, short but sweet and totally off course.
Came to the finish from behind it pretty much, saw a bunch of Goats at the finish and they just smiled. Guess everyone had a way of making it down the mountain, might not all the same way, but we all made it down with a smile - sort of....

Hang out, cleaned up, packed up and headed down for some Happy Cow ice cream!

All in all a good weekend of riding, the race has a little growing to do but a good way to promote Fernie as a riding destination.

Happy Riding!

The regular admire bike and coffee rest before stages...

Master packing!

Mical and the pup (Laila) after a day of racing...

couldn't leave town without a stop at the Happy Cow!!

OH Yeah! Happy Cow ice cream (and beer for the euro traveler... )

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fernie3 2014 Day 2...

... also on the Ridgemont side. A little longer day, 35 plus km and it was around 2hrs 25. Official results not yet posted.

With some pretty crazy rain last night I wasn't sure what to expect today. The forecast looked good, and waking up it looked promising. Last night I did my routine, total bike clean, fixed seat :) 

Today the start was lined up different, the girls (young and old) where in the last start shoot - did we ride to slow yesterday? we couldn't figure that one out, but in the end it doesn't really matter, there is a bit of a road section and quiet a bit of double track climbing to start.

Made sure not to be too far back when the climbing started, we headed up some double track towards the original roots accent - on of my regular rides when I used to live down here, but now with no trees around it. Mical set the pace for the group we rode with, it was fast, but a little bit more sensible than yesterday (at least how I felt). Sandra was on her wheel, then me and the rest. Besides a stick that got stuck in the front derauler but quickly fell out with a little wiggle, the bike was perfect today, the mind was in it and I enjoyed every minute of the climb up. Had to loose the glasses as I can't seem to figure out how to not have the fog up, so as we crested to start descending Hyper vent I was debating to stop to put them on. With a whole crew behind me I chose not to - it was a wet muddy decent and Sandra didn't have her wrap around fenders on for me - so it was an interesting decent a few times while trying to clear mud out of the eyes. When we got down to the road they had us to left (last weekend the gps had me go right). I wasn't sure where we were going, but after riding behind a few guys I figured it will go to another single track so we better boot it up. And I could see Steve just up the road. Got to Steves wheel and hung on up the road - thanks Steve! Going in to the single track I figured I'd let Mical go - but she was not there! So instead Sandra went - which was ok, she is on a fully and knows how to ride down. She hung on to Steve just fine - fun little decent down to the feed barn. As we got to the flat Sandra put the hammer down. Did my best to hang on, but on the second flat section before climbing the gap was too big. Settled in my pace behind Steve, got a little to comfy on some new climbs (kiddy up and Queen v I think), so decided to pass. Steve woke up from his nap shortly after and on the road climb up to Eriks trail he was back to riding hard. Road up Eriks trail to Deadfall, up to Rtrail, crossed over to Kush, Kusher, Kussiest??... with Steve just in front of me, setting a good pace. On the road section I was tempted to try to get his wheel, but didn't really have it, chose to drink a little (and let loose the rest of my drink to nature...). Then in on the Coal Discovery Trail, a great xc trail, the wet made it extra fun, throwing you a bit of a surprise once in a while. Never got Steves wheel again, and never saw Sandra, but made it to the finish feeling I rode as hard as I could through the whole course, that is not usually something I do, I usually always have a "nap" along the way. Fun day, felt motivated and when you get to ride these kinds of trails you just have to be happy :)

Off to the other side of the river tomorrow, lots of fun trails on the agenda!
And though it just poured down and a little bit of thunder the forecast does say some sunshine :)

Happy Riding!

Alana and Lisa had a good day, no broken seat, only a warped wheel for Lisa - need to last one more day.


Post stage 2 - pre wash....
Post wash.... all set for another day...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fernie3 2014 day 1...

... on the Ridgemont side of town. The classics mixed with a few new trails. Very short day, under two hours.

There is somewhere less than 300 here racing this weekend, that's pretty good. As for racing, I'm now officially old! The organizer have opted for age categories and no open option... Even though I insisted I'm thirty eleven, I was stuck in the over 40 there you go, guess I finally have to come to terms with being 40.

With lots of rain, and pretty grey at the start I was not sure what to put on for cloths, I chose to keep the undershirt - it was not required. The women got to start in one of the first start chute (yes, old and young once all together), only the young guys in front of us. A neutral start took us to the start of the first climb, a little bit if gravel pathway then Sidewinder up. A great fun climb on a day of just riding, but in a race it is hard!. It's not really easy to pass, hence I made sure to be in a position with not too many in front. Mical and Sandra (not old) stuck in front as well, Mical entered the single track first, then me, and Sandra maybe a few guys behind. The pace was good, I didn't see much point in passing, but left a little space as it was slick and easy to make mistakes (not that Mical makes them), so this prompted some guys from behind to wanna pass, another, another, then Sandra. But we all pretty much crested at the same time, but with a few more people in between us. I now realize how important these little gaps are in a short xc race. One guy in a few spots in front of me makes a mistake at the very top, then the guy behind him can't get up, then I try to swerve around and hit my handle in a tree as there is no room, so now I'm off. By the time I get back up, run up the hill the girls have a nice gap. I'm thinking no big deal, but that was the last I saw of them, Sandra for the rest of the day, for Mical to the very end. After that I felt like I was in a panic mode, my shifting was off, breaks did something odd on the rear, but I didn't stop to check as then a few more guys would get by and I would be stuck behind them. This resulted in a few miss shifts, off the bike, run up, jump on, all in panic mode.... at one point I jumped on the bike so hard my seat flipped up, I got it back in almost right spot, but not a happy bum after.... When we got to the feed station, I finally calmed my self down. Took a second to get off the bike and look rear, as soon as I saw my skewer, it all came back to me from last night changing break pads.... went in the room to get allan key to fix the position, got side tracked and never tightened in properly. It took me about 15 seconds to stop, tighten, and get going..... a few lessons learned - don't work on the bike when the mind is not all there, calm down and focus on riding your own ride. From there in I was back to riding hard but calm, enjoyed the climb up to southern comfort decent where Mical crested just before me, but quickly got stuck behind a guy that had a "near death" experience on the famous bridge that became the talking point of the day, so he was not going fast. She was too nice to try to pass him. Eventually got by, and then had a hoot going down the rest of the decent to the main road back to town. Sandra was in a couple minutes ahead of us - So a close one, Mical probably could have had a minute off the decent if the guy in front would have let us ride like girls down!!

Finished in an hour 46ish... so short day, half of that I had the mind in the wrong place and didn't enjoy it too much, but happy I pulled my head back and the second half was great. The trails, though wet, held up well, Fernie is a great spot to ride and look forward to Day 2 tomorrow.

Get the bike cleaned up, the seat in position, go over every nut and bolt.

Alana (who is also old like me) came in not far back, so she is in second. Lisa came in with her seat in her jersey pocket after loosing to the bridge, so guess I have no complaints about my seat. Pat also had a near death experience on the bridge, and ended up in the bushes just after, Jeff C. after many issues with the bike, lost the battle with the bridge and is now out of the race with a cast on his wrist, deadgoat Kyle lost his battle with the bridge, and so this is wheel, totaled and now also out of the race. And it seemed every one crossing the line after me had a story about a lost battle to the bridge!

Tomorrow we hope the bridges will be gentler :)

Happy Riding!

Guess the weather is what it is  -  and the dark clouds with some breaks does look neat.
Before stage 1

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fernie hill side...

... is sort of neat - a lot of new trails have made it even better. I love the big trees and the mystical feel in the forest - and maybe a few too many bear droppings today, had my hand close to the trigger and watching Toby's every move. I started pretty early to make it home in a decent time so it felt really quiet - a little too quiet - so a little talking to Toby and singing and the later should scare away not only wild life....

Day three will be a fun day - hard but fun. I off course with the start at Fernie campground rather than the Alpine resort which was closed, mixed up the direction of the loop (which is not a loop, rather a figure 8), but half way up Dem Bones it didn't seem right for a race to climb this way, and a second look at the gps map I see the figure 8 part. So back down it went.

Besides some of the classics that were all in great shape despite some rain during the week - there was a couple of new trails I've never ridden - something Lizzard was a fun connector trail that I think folks will enjoy next weekend. Supper fast flowy. All the trails were in great shape, barley any mud - but yes it's still rooty and rough over there and the short creek crossing is on the boarder to a river crossing - and cold. And of course I missed the ski hill trails, so can't report on those.

I continued to enjoy the GPS - even with the rookie mistake at the start - it works great even in the thick forest and kept me on track if I paid attention. Definitely cuts out all the stopping and guessing where to go and looking at maps.

So all in all, should be a fun weekend coming up.

Happy Riding!

Full of smiles - set a good pace and lines for the first hour.
The start of  or end of (today it was end of) Old Goat - A new money collecting goat - remember money next time!
The Classics remain as good as always! Gorby climb but didn't get to ride Snake bite today.
Toby ready to hammer down Verboten - gave me some good lines for next week.
This could be your wheel after that decent if you don't watch it... this was just a add on the app by mistake - neat
Only part of Project 9 was in it ...
Good timing of departure back to Calgary...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fernie weekend...

...with my bike and Toby seemed like a great idea, mostly decided by the almost one day earlier delivery of sunshine according to the weather network (and I must be dumber than dumb to keep checking).

Had a quick refuel of coffee at my celebrity coffee friends in the Pass before getting in to town just in time for lunch. Got the larger gps (oergon600) loaded with day 1 of Fernie3, but I don't have any maps loaded so probably could have the same result with the 500. I'm impressed how well it works, even in the trees. So yes, I did ride the course backwards and didn't think much of it until the climb just seemed silly to go up, but so much fun to come down. Did a quick read on their write up of the course (would have been smart to do that before riding) and yes, I had to turn and start again. Oh well, when riding there is no such thing as taking a wrong turn, or being lost....  
So back on course and my little purple line paints over the green nicely and timely, a couple if times I had too much fun and not paying attention, so a little lost, but in general I think this would be a great way for organizers to take some of the stress around marking the course and having people get lost. Provide all racers with accurate gps files, don't need to make it mandatory it use, but if lost on course it's really up to the racers them selfs to keep track. I don't really know tha stats, but I'll make the claim anyway, I bet 80% of getting lost is due to racers following blindly! riding head down and really just missing the signs, as someone always seem to not get lost.....just a thought.

So back to the ride...great trails, with this much rain I was pleasantly surprised that the only real mud I hit was bottom Hessian (or is it splitting bears?) which seems to always have some mud. The rest was dusty! 

Today I loaded Day 2 and read the course description before heading out. Worked much better, day two, as yesterday, is on the town side but today it went much further north. Enjoyed another sunny dry day. Some new cut trails again and some classics. Have no worries about Bears, one being my new bear spray on the bike, and second my breaks being so loud I'm sure the town could here me all day. 
Day two is slightly longer than the first, but still quiet short. I think these three days next weekend will be a three day of real cross country race pace more than an endurance event. So guess I need to get my pace up!! One day tomorrow, hopefully that will do it! :)

Happy Riding!

Practicing my "scare away the bear face" before starting the climb of the day.
 Ski hill in the back ground, still with some snow.
Fancy new signage in many places... this classic though, need no telling.
Tomorrow's ride - and next weekend it sounds like opening weekend for the lift.
Kush and next Kusher... fun cross country trail
Start of Kush
Just a nice stream - which if I didn't get off track once in a while, I'd not seen - a quick photo up and back up the hill....
 and back on course :)
My old employer must have had me in mind... after an attempt of going fast this comes in handy...
Been a while since a lunch shot - this was great, gluten free lunch shop, great menu - todays soup and a awesome club wrap (beats the chicken wrap at mcd last night)!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


... Toby and I continue to love you, even after the wet spring!

But it's time to bring out the sunshine!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

2014 Organ Grinder...

... in Canmore - grinder it was!

Awesome morning, so refreshing compared to the last few years I've done this race.

No partner so 5 hours of grind! The course was similar to yesterday, but with extra lower section added in. I contemplated my fully this morning, for a long time, but in the end I decided on the HT. Mostly based on laziness - swap wheels, yikes... and then I'd have to carry the bear spray in my pocket.... two completely not the right things to debate when deciding on bike... I regretted the choice, but still had a good day riding.

The plan; rest a lap, hard a lap, rest a lap etc.... work on the high end. The actual; my rest lap had same time as my hard laps... the one I "really put the hammer down" on ended up being my slowest!
The course was not a good resting course, the lower section I could try to pedal easy, but the roots just beat me up more when going slow, so off the seat pedaling seemed like the only way for me to get through those sections, and they seemed like forever. By the end of a few laps, the plan became more of a rest on the uppers section, get beat up on the lower section.
Rode with many different people today, which was fun - had a good discussion around Redbikes blue kit!? Steve looked good on his green machine until the "twitch" appeared, and miss Martin styling down the coal shuts...  The rare sight of Tim riding a bike with gear and suspension!
Looks like everyone enjoyed a great day out there, though many I didn't see on the course - Erik with a bit of a equipment malfunction - this course is not gentle on gear - but looked to have a great day! Shawn nailed down 7 laps (and the win), very impressive. Andrea (on her birthday - 19?) felt great even through her last lap. Ryan leaving me in the dust on the last lap and Jeff and Alana taking the win in their category.

By the time it was all over I had 6 laps in and more than happy with that, legs are completely done from today and yesterday so that must be a sign of a good weekend.
A perfect weekend for racing - Nice work to the organizers both days (Spin Sisters and CycleMeisters)!

Happy Riding!

Does not get much better than this!
Alana and Jeff on the top!
Andrea showing how to shove down food after a day of racing - Happy Birthday!!
Open Women podium - sharing it with some great riders - Andrea had a great birthday riding in to second :)
Shawn Bunnin - showing us all how its done - 7 laps and styling the podium as always

Saturday, June 07, 2014

2014 Iron Maiden...

... ABA cup xc race and my short race this year.

As always it does not disappoint - as expected my pain threshold gets a good test! After lots of miles in Portugal I do feel the fitness coming around, but being fit doesn't mean fast! Today was great, but painful, efforts can be done, but feel slow in recovering from each effort. And right now, hours later, my legs are still wondering what the heck I just put them through! Think they would much rather go slow for hours, which is tomorrows Organ Grinder (5 hr) - but still going back and forth on 5 hrs or find a partner and push high end for a couple hrs.....
Today though, great trails, dusty dry and loose and pretty good turn out overall - watch out for all the younger riders coming up!

When you ride at the Nordic center it is now mandatory to carry Bear spray - should have used it on a couple of  stubborn trails "bears"  but kept it only to a thought :)

My favorite of the day though, the awesome medal!! It probably wont last in the collection, but I can assure enjoyment even if short lasted!

Happy Riding!

Bear Cozy - didn't have to cozy up with any of the today.
Can't wait to crack some marks in this one!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

"Selfie" ride...

...after work to check recovery.... and with no boys to pose for shots - I attempted plenty of selfies...

I guess there is many ways of monitoring recovery; at one time in my life I used to ride with heart rate monitor as well as checking resting heart rate in the morning, looking at the trend I thought it gave me a good indication on recovery. I stopped wearing one of those a couple years back, now I do it by "feel", as a scientist (sort of), I will not argue with anyone who tells me this can be a bad idea. But since I've not been in a position to really overdo anything with only riding on weekends I have not been concerned about over training what so ever.
My new method, first try today, is to ride as hard as I can on sections you have done before, and with the features of Strava,  PR = I'm recovering well....simple. The "feel" method had me thinking my legs wasn't feeling great, but my "ride hard" method tells me I'm doing ok :)

Looking forward to the weekend in Canmore.

Happy Riding!

Bike pose

Riding pose - start of Bob Cat Up
Time to ride down pose - top of Ranger Summit

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Staying clear...

... of the storms again today, but evidence of rain was very clear in all the mud!

Another awesome morning in Calgary and not a bad day for a group ride.

Started off in West Brag. Nice to see few faces that I have not ridden mtb with yet this year, Andrea, Cindy and Jon. The rest, Erik, Craig and Trish.

Today the route started up Rangers Summit and it was surprisingly wet considering it was dry yesterday. Guess the storm we missed yesterday still left it's signs. It was also quiet busy already even though we had a pretty early start. Rode a steady pace up with Trish, crested at Strange Brew and rode back to connect with group to go down Bob Cat and venture over to Pnuma via Ridgeback.
On Ridgeback the group put in a few minutes of trail work, nothing compared to the many hours that goes in every year to maintain these trails (thank you to those steady guys who we often see out there), but everything counts. I did the duty of taking pictures :)
Took the classic sulphur up to Pnuma. With Trish having to work I decided to stay with her. She set a Trish pace up Pnuma! At Race of Spades we decided to go further to Special K to maybe shave some time. Great to test the legs on the last little bit of Pnuma, fun pushing the bike over the rocks. Hit a little bit of snow at the top. Special K - been on my lower part of list of great descents. It's technical challenging which some days are fun, but so steep you're just on your breaks and sliding down most times, I like to ride my bike, not slide.... today I hiked most of the beginning, it was pretty rutted and had some snowy/icy spots. The mid sections that was the "beat me up" section, well that hadn't change either... but the return on investment... last third is flowy and fun I have to admit. But all in all, I can check this one off my list for this year and it remains on the lower part of the list. ROF is still my preferred way back down or all the way up and Moosepacker/Ridgeback.
The way back up Bob Cat and Rangers Summit was great, good effort to test the legs a little bit, work the grit from Portugal out :) Then a final descent on Rangers Summit that by now was very busy with riders and it must have taken a hit during a freak storm that we totally missed again today :)
Another bike cleaning effort required but Trish made it back to work in time!

Happy Riding!

Fuzzy Erik on Ridgeback...
Cindy climbing Ridgeback - riding strong and smiling all the way...
Showing muscle.... Erik, Trish and Craig..
Jon and Andrea equally strong....
A project of this magnitude requires strong leadership and encouragement - here provided by Cindy...
pick one....
Erik in his classic form - on the seat spinning over most things...
Andrea riding strong!