sheldon smart

June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice Suffer Springs XC race report

Last weekend was the Deadgoat, Summer Solstice Suffer Springs XC race in beautiful Kananaskis country. This race should simply be titled, ‘the hardest race of the ABA XC season’. I know there isn’t much of a ring to it, but it’s much more accurate. Over 1,400 meters of vertical climbing in just over 12 km. Now I shouldn’t make it sound all bad, because I mean after all, what goes must come down, and despite massive amounts of rain the week before and all the mud, the down part was more than worth it. Good times, good times.

For me this race was about three things: Ken, Sam and Gord. Simply put, I wanted to beat all three of them, haha… ‘Lofty, this goal was’ (as Yoda might say). I’ve never, ever beated Ken and Gord has been crushing me all season. Then there was Sam, who had laid a sound thrashing on me at the Bacon race. Beating all three was a long shot at best, and I knew that, but what’s life without goals. – Read More –

June 15, 2010

Iron Lung + Organ Grinder Race Report

I won’t be the only person saying this, but I have to start out with Saturday’s Iron Lung XC course was THE BEST AND MOST FUN COURSE I’VE EVER RIDDEN!

The Canmore Nordic Centre always offers up incredible single-track riding, but the way this course was put together was nothing short of inspired. The 6km+ loop mixed in seriously hard climbs with twisty, fast single-track decents, including the Laundy Chutes, the ever famous and Devonian Drop, and new this year was the sketchy Eye Dropper (a short, super steep section of single track that finshed with about a 3 foot vert drop at the end) PLUS an amazing, perfectly bermed downhill pump-truck. It was a blast! And, this was just the first day of an epic two day double header XC mountian bike race weekend in beautiful Canmore, Alberta… – Read More –

April 20, 2010

Shot the gap, and failed

This weekend was my very first road race. I had been looking forward to it for weeks. The Prairie Roubaix, hosted my Speed Theory in Calgary. Racing in Calgary is always nice. I mean you’re in the foothills, with great views of the mountains just west, and of course I get to see my buddy Ken.

I drove up Saturday morning so I’d be there in time for a ‘funzies’ ride put on by Dead Goat. Tim set up a course, starting from his place it led us all over. Me, not being from Calgary, I was lost a lot of the time, but I didn’t care at all. It was 23 degrees, sunny and I was riding a brand new carbon Lapierre Xelius 200, courtesy of Edmonton’s friendly neighbourhood River Valley Cycle. What a machine! Super stiff and responsive. The bike literally surges with each pedal stroke. It was nuts how much I loved this bike. And, I have to give it credit where credit is due on the hill climb challenge we did from the bottom of Canadian Olympic Park (COP) up to the Tea House. I flew up that steep, switchback road, cranking over that 42 tooth inside ring to just eek out a win in the A group. My closest rival, Ken Hurd of course, just 2 seconds behind me.  This might be the only thing I beat Ken at all season, so good times, indeed. Hill climb victory aside, Sunday was going to be the real race. – Read More –

April 6, 2010

Not TR3 ready – yet

This weekend, was an extra long weekend – 4 days, with both the Friday and the Monday off. Very nice, indeed. I was scheduled for three 3-hour EM rides. On Thursday, I wondered if this was going to be a little aggressive, but figured it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

For the holiday weekend my wife and I headed up to Bonnyville, where her parents have a beautiful acreage near Muriel Lake. It’s picturesque, quiet, and always nice a relaxing. Knowing that I had to get some rides in, I tossed my bike on the roof of the car and we headed out early Friday morning. After lunch I rolled out for 3-hour slog number one. It was warm and sunny and so down the gravel range roads I went, enjoying the pastural scenery. I felt good. I felt strong, and so as my legs turned over, 1 hour turned into 2 hours pretty quickly. Hour three however, things started to get a little strenuous. The Bonnyville area isn’t quite as flat as the ‘most’ of Alberta. It’s what I’d consider ‘rolling’ country, but it still gets just as windy. And it was this combination of rolling hills and consistent 30km/h winds that started to take its toll on me. That, and just the general discomfort of being on the bike for that long. My lower back was squaking a bit and the back of my neck chimed in right near the end. As I rolled up the gravel driveway to the house at 3 hours and 6 mins, I was more than ready to get off the bike. I thought about last year’s TR, and this year’s TR3 and shuddered. – Read More –

March 23, 2010

Advantage: Cyborgs

I always think it’s cool when some aspect of science-fiction finds its way into our reality. Most of the time, if you look for it, you’ll find all kinds of examples and one of the most common ones has got to be the proliferation of the cyborg. Wikipedia defines it as ‘a cybernetic organism (i.e. an organism that has both artificial and natural systems). Fictionally speaking, as in science-fiction, this is usually thought of more like the Borg from Star Trek. This month, WIRED magazine published an article called ‘Advantage: Cyborgs’, by Clive Thompson, which looked at how in the world of chess, the best of the best aren’t the Chessmasters, or the Super Computers, but instead the computer-aided humans – this combination is unbeatable… – Read More –

March 16, 2010

Sometimes this big world seems small

I want to say just how crazy I think it is that people from all over the world read our little bike blog. I mean you start a blog and post articles so people will read it. That is the point, but I just think it’s super cool that people actually do! So, on my last post, Pascal, a rider from Belgium commented, mentioning that the weather was a bit gloomy there that day, and that he’s been reading up on our Transrockies adventures because he’s going to be racing it this summer. (I hope you don’t mind me singling you out here, Pascal) When I read that comment, I just thought ‘Huh… You know… How cool is that, that riders, like Pascal, from thousands and thousands of kilometers away are able to so easily read our stuff.’ Sometimes this big world seems small, indeed… So yeah, this comment of Pascal’s got me thinking about the Transrockies again. I know quite a few people racing it this year, and so I wanted to share another quick story from last year that I think is pretty cool. – Read More –

February 22, 2010

Sugoi Winter Riding Bootie

Winter riding is still very new to me. I’m loving it though, and slowly amassing all me gear; base and mid-layers, shells, gloves, neck warmers and, yes, booties! I started the winter riding season with just varying combinations of multi-layer socks. That was okay, but not great. My feet would stay warm for a while, but once my shoes got damp, it was bad news… And you know what they say, ‘cold head, cold feet, cold core.’

I then tried cheaping out and getting the neoprene toe covers…

– Read More –