Opinion

Dark Road
August 13, 2014

Riding Out of the Dark

 

Taking time off the bike is a normal, and healthy thing to do. Your body and your mind both need a break from time to time, to rest, recover and recharge. But, after last year’s cyclocross season, I stepped off the bike for more than a break – it was nearly 5 month black hole… that was largely unplanned and definitely unwelcome.

2013’s CX season was my most successful to date. I had focused my entire riding season around it, keeping my miles up through the winter and well into the spring and summer, before ramping up the intensity just prior to September. The result was I had reasonable fitness going in, certainly the best I’d had to date, and I was able to peak in October and early November – perfect timing for our season here in Alberta. The shocker for me though, was that by mid Nov, I was done! It was lights out. I’d cracked. Physically, I felt drained, between building work stress, home-life with family and kids, not sleeping or eating well and then riding/racing… my energy levels plummeted. And mentally, I was zapped too. I knew it was time for a break, but the idea at the time was for a few weeks, not 5 months.

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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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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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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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Death of MTB
March 6, 2013

Death of XC MTB Racing

With racer registration numbers struggling, and races seemingly dropping off the ABA XC MTB calander, are we seeing the slow death of the traditional 90 min XC MTB race here in Alberta?

When I first started racing, there was only one kind I wanted to do – cross country mountain bike. The problem was, I wasn’t really in good enough shape to do it. I was your typical ‘weekend warrior’, spending a couple hours per week bombing around on the single-track trails with my pals. After a while, we got bold and signed up for a few bike shop-led group rides. In that context I thought I was pretty good, and with some encouragement decided to go out for an actual race, only to have my ego shattered! The 90 mins of max effort riding required in a typical ABA MTB XC race was so far beyond me, I was shocked. I finished the race, but it damn near killed me. Afterwards, I thought long and hard about if I wanted to do another one…

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Fatbike
February 27, 2013

Fatbike: Fad or Revolution?

Is the Fatbike revolution here? I’ve been hearing the term for a few seasons now and I remember seeing one for the first time back in 2010. In a word, although I thought they were interesting with their giant clown-like tires, I also thought they were ‘ridiculous’. I wondered why anyone would want to ride a bike so cumbersome and heavy? Through my ‘racing’ lens, the bikes made about as much sense to me as a unicycle or a Penny Farthing – sure they might be unique and fun to mess around on, but really, what’s the point beyond that? I was perfectly happy to leave what I considered the Fatbike fad, to others. - Read More -

car2go
February 20, 2013

car2go

Like many cyclists, I own a car. Truth be told, I own two.

Despite the fact that it’s rarely driven and sits mostly idle in my driveway there are times when the convenience of a car is tough to ignore – especially if your car is paid off, cheap on gas, and the insurance costs aren’t crippling (as mine is).

With that said, I still have trouble justifying the cost of gas, parking and the time spent sitting in traffic just to have a car available whenever I’d like, especially when I generally have more attractive means of transportation at my disposal. But there sure are times a car would be nice to have around…

Enter car2go. - Read More -

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