Curtains
November 20, 2013

Facing the Off Season Void

The Alberta CX season swan song has been sung… And with that of course comes tears, followed by the sudden and vacuous void where you’re left with one thing, the unanswered question, ‘so… what now?’

Sure, like most people at the end of the race season, I’m tired and ready for a break of somekind, but I can’t say I’m excited about heading into the off season. While a few of my racing palz are headed for B.C. to continue racing, others are facing the upcoming Alberta winter bravely, by already waxing their skis, lacing up their skates for beer league, or pumping up their tires on their Fatbikes. But I’m feeling directionless… I don’t know what I’m going to do over the next 5 long months of dark, cold  winter.

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Spy vs. Spy
October 30, 2013

Dark Knight Throwdown!

Bikeridr is self-described as ‘the adventures, rants and ramblings of Ken & Sheldon, two guys who like to ride bikes.’ Truth be told though, we also really like to race bikes. Sadly we just don’t get to do this that often, especially not against each other. Being that as it may, we did manage to line up in Calgary at the 2013 Dark Knight for one all out, no holds barred, battle of the bleedin’ ages!

The Pre-Race: A lot was at stake this year. Not only was this the only chance we had to race against each other, but back at the 2012 Dark Knight we’d had a close one, resulting in Ken taking the win coming in 9th, while I rolled across the line just 2 positions back, in 11th. In reality, although we were close in standings, there wasn’t any true ‘battling’ going on. The whistle went. Ken surged off the line, and although I kept it close, he held his lead right to the end that year. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow, but he’d won handily, and all I could do was put it behind me and look to 2013, which was what I did… This year, waiting for the whistle, staged right on the front row, I was absolutely determined to beat Ken – or blow up tryin’! Some key factors were stacked in my favour. Firstly, I had been riding a bit more this year so my base fitness was better, plus I already had 5-6 2013 season CX races under my belt and felt like I was on form. Ken on the other hand, although he’d been getting his miles, only had 2 races in at that point, so I didn’t expect him to have much ‘punch’ and I assumed he’d be rusty in the turns. Secondly, I was on the much lighter bike. My bike comes in at a svelte 16lbs, while Ken’s is more like a boat anchor weighing about 21lbs. Hard to say exactly how much this impacts things, but it certainly does make a difference and I wasn’t about to ask him to trade whips for funzies.

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September 10, 2013

Cycling Stay-cation

Though the drama of the cobbles gets us through our wet and chilly springs and the pain and excitement of cyclocross carries us into winter, as cyclists we almost all yearn for the drama of June and July. But as the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta come to a close we’re often left with a certain feeling of emptiness.

How to fill this void? That’s the easy part – You ride.

Unfortunately, after the grandeur of the Alpes and the majesty of the Pyrenees oftentimes your regular routes may lose some of their lustre – The challenge then becomes where to ride…

But the search for endless climbs, smooth, gently sweeping tarmac and awe-inspiring vistas need not take you overseas, but rather into our backyard… The Alberta Rockies. - Read More -

Fat Tire Tuesday
May 30, 2013

Fat Tire Tuesdays

Bike racing can be a daunting world to get into. I should know. It wasn’t that many years ago that I finally warmed up to the idea, after breaking into the local MTB scene through Pedalhead group rides. As I met more and more people who rode, and found out that some of them actually raced, I realized that I might be able to do it as well. For me though, my first race was a full-on ABA event. I can’t say I was scared, but I’ll admit that I was definitely very nervous going in, so nervous in fact that I remember I almost pulled the chute! So, if you’re like I was, a rider, interested in racing but still standing on the edge of the pool scared to dive in, what do you do?

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Looking Back
May 22, 2013

Advanced Survival Tactics – The Safety Swerve

As part of a yearly tradition celebrating our births, Sheldon and I often exchange gifts. The past number of years, said gifts have been almost exclusively coffee, alcohol or cycling related – This isn’t something I really see changing – After all, what else does you really need?

Most recently, I received a book called “Just Ride” by Grant Petersen. The book is a collection of 89 ‘micro-essays’ on cycling – Easy to pick up, easy to read and each piece, a nice bite-sized thought on a particular aspect of riding. There are ideas that I can fully get behind, some that make me think, and some that I disagree with, but generally the book has been a fun read.

Though I haven’t finished, there was one nugget of brilliance that resonated so strongly with me I decided to field-test it and report back to you. The advice that caught my attention was what he called the “The Safety Swerve.”

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Suffer Face
May 8, 2013

Power Drain

I’ve only got two races in the bag so far this year. The first was the Blizzard winter race and the second was a spring series road race. All in, I’d say I felt pretty happy with my performance in both, taking the bottom step of the podium in the Blizzard race, and managing to run with some of the big dogs for ‘most’ of the road race last weekend, before getting shot out the back of the lead group on the 4th lap. What was really interesting about this race to me though, was my power data and being able to see the sequential drops in power, lap by lap…

When I popped, my power literally dropped off a cliff on lap 4/5 – it was pretty astounding… I went from an average power of 229watts on lap 3, to an average of 196w on lap 4. Then it dropped off another cliff on lap 5, practically flat-lining like a patient suffering cardiac arrest at 172w… I was cooked! And it didn’t matter how hard I pushed, or how big of a suffer-face I made because I was done and done.

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Earbuds Running
April 30, 2013

Dear Runner – Pay Attention!

Sunlight. Clouds. Wind. Flora. Fauna.

All lost on you.

You don’t notice any of it… You don’t appreciate it a lick.

Instead, your head is down, oblivious to everything, gearing up for your power song – Survivor, by Destiny’s Child.

Now, I get it. I really do. Despite my preference for two wheels, I still run. I understand and appreciate that zone of focus, concentration and oblivion. I too find that slipping in some earbuds and having the beat drop helps turn my feet over and keep me moving. The problem is that this isn’t a race and you’re not alone. So open your goddamned eyes and ears and pay attention.

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Levis Commuter Profile
April 9, 2013

Levi’s Commuter Jean Review

It’s hard to believe that after originally launching in 2011, the Levi’s Commuter Jean has been around for almost three years.

Having lovingly clad hipsters in cycle-worthy denim for years now, it’s safe to say the Levi’s Commuter Jean has come into it’s own. There aren’t many brands that can drive mainstream adoption of a niche market like this, but Levi’s has proven to be one of them. Perhaps the ‘hipster-esque’ culture was seeking skinny jeans with function, or perhaps existing riders were looking for viable alternatives to cladding themselves in lycra. Regardless, it appears that the Levi’s Commuter Jean is here to stay.

Being recently in the market for some form fitting denim to properly hug my curves, I sought out a freshly cut pair for myself. After a few weeks of field testing, I’ve concluded that generally, I’m impressed — though room for improvement exists.

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Redbull Hill Chasers
April 3, 2013

King of the Hill

A couple of years ago, I took part in a sort of ‘cycling scavenger hunt’ across Calgary. It was fun day, with lots of hard, fast riding through the city from location to location. One of the stages was a King of the hill Challenge – a race up the road to the top of C.O.P. Somehow I won this. Likely due to some timing error, but, hey… it was a fun – pain and suffering filled fun.

After that event, I filed the concept in the back of my mind for future reference. There is an entire discipline of cycling dedicated to downhill and yes, there is more than a fair share of climbing in road and XC MTB racing, but why not have a hill climbing event? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some else already thought of this…

Enter the Redbull Hill Chasers!

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Tour of Qatar (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
March 26, 2013

Team vs. Indy Racing

In the sad wake of my home bike shop and team closing down, last year I raced as an ‘independent’ for the entire season. Overall it was fine for the time being, as I didn’t want to rush my decision to join with this team or that team right away… I just wanted to take the season and race on my own and ponder what was most important to me about riding, and racing.

For me, racing as an independent was pretty painless, due to the relationships I had built over the years here locally. I could usually find a group ride to join in on, or a deal on parts & service somewhere. I also had no obligations to take all my business to one bike shop (I could spread the love a bit), or feel the need to get involved with organizing club events and activities. It was essentially a situation where I could just ride and race for me. This provided valuable flexibility and freedom that I enjoyed, especially given my busier home and work life last year. But the obvious downside was not ‘really’ belonging to any one group – always feeling a little bit disconnected. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to this, but as the season went on I started to take stock and realize I was missing out on one of the most important aspects of riding and racing – feeling like you’re part of the community and helping to sustain and grow it, essentially the very reason Bikeridr exists in the first place.

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