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.

– Read More –

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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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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January 22, 2013

Cyclocross Comes of Age

According to USA Cycling, cyclocross is America’s fastest growing cycle-sport. Participation has grown from 32,000 to 72,000 in the just the last five years.

125% growth over 5 years sure ain’t bad.

Here at home, similar trends are afoot. The feeling that the start line is getting a little crowded is definitely justified. Rumour has it that a Novice category will be added to  2013 races – A definite sign that cyclocross in Alberta is maturing. I’m unsure of whether this decision was a result of an active effort to grow cyclocross, or simply a response to the burgeoning Sport class (usually easily in excess of 40 racers). I’d imagine it’s likely a bit of both.

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September 14, 2011

The Furious 3 Returns!

As those who followed our race coverage from this summers Furious 3 know – It wasn’t exactly a textbook race for me… But a taco’d wheel and a brief jaunt off-course aren’t enough to deter me from wholeheartedly recommending that you add the Furious 3 to your race schedule next year.

All the things that drew me into the race the first time are still what make this race fantastic – things like:

  • The clover leaf formation that allows for one ‘main’ base-camp (family friendly)
  • Easy access to Fernie and everything it offers (whether you’re enjoying downtown, or going for a hike)
  • The slightly shorter days that allow you to use your afternoons to relax and/or recover

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April 28, 2011

The Wildcat Roubaix

Up here in the frosty north we’ve already been seeing the fallout of our long and inhospitible winter… With the first 4 races on the calendar having been cancelled, getting into a ‘race’ mindset has been difficult. But a glimmer of hope still remains! Now that the sun has finally shown itself, we can finally – Read More –

February 8, 2011

Sandbagging: Sport vs. Novice

After scrambling through the start of last years season with a temporary race license, I thought it would be prudent to get a jump on my paperwork for 2011. Interestingly enough, my pro-activeness came with an important decision… One I’m not sure how to handle.

Throughout the 2010 season I was often chastised of “sandbagging” by many ‘friends’ who realized I was still racing in the Novice category. Admittedly, I felt a little guilty, but the truth of the matter is that I had yet (and still have yet) to acquire the necessary points to haul my ass out of Novice. Near the end of the season I started to feel pretty good and started placing accordingly (2nd at the Canada Cup), but after a number of weeks off coupled with the addition of a bouncing baby boy, my results started to trail off – and though I definitely had fun during cross season, to say I shit the bed performance-wise is being kind ;-)

So with that said, I’m at a crossroads… Do I hit 2011 as a Sport or a Novice racer? – Read More –

January 18, 2011

The UCI – Neutralizing innovation

I understand why regulatory bodies exist in sport. In the simplest of terms they exist do ensure the safety of those racing and ensure that athletes are competing on a level playing field.

It seems however with the latest set of rules being set forth by the UCI that they’ve taken the “level playing field” a little too far. – Read More –

November 18, 2010

Start ’em young

Before you got the keys to your first car, how did you get around?

Ask this question to almost anybody, man or woman and the answer is likely “my bike.” For most kids, their bicycles are their first tastes of freedom, the first time the reigns are loosened and they’re able to explore their world more fully. But with the onset of high school, obtaining a drivers license becomes almost a singular focus for most teens. I know that like many other kids, the instant I got my license and got behind the wheel of my ’86 Parisienne my bike all but disappeared.

But what if there was a way to keep cycling in the picture? What if, in addition to football, basketball, volleyball and track, there was cycling? Long rides after school? Skills courses during phys. ed. class? High school just got a lot awesomer.

Yes, I just said awesomer. – Read More –

November 4, 2010

The Transrockies TR4!

Now offering the most versatility of any stage race that I’m aware of… The Transrockies is offering three flavours of racing for their 10th anniversary!

As always the full on, no-holds barred TR7 exists for team competitors, and building on the success of the past two years the TR3 still exists for for solo competitor. This year, however, the Transrockies is mixing it up even more by organizing a four day solo even that builds on the back half of the full 7 day experience.

I find this extremely interesting and awesome all at the same time. – Read More –

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