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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Race Report: Uxbridge 1/2 Marathon


Beautiful Race!


We were out biking yesterday, and we saw the kilometer markers set up.  I remembered this race, looked it up when I got home, and somehow ended up at the start line the next morning.

Oops.

This race is probably the hardest course I've done.  It's hard to really sum up how brutal in a chart, this comes kind of close...


First 7km

The first 7km are mostly road (with two trail sections tossed in) and gradually uphill.  I settled in pretty easy and felt good, tried to really dial it back on the uphills rather than attacking them.  Everything felt really good, pace was better than I was thinking (under 5:00/km to the highest point in the course).

8km-14km - Trails!

Around 8km the real trails start, true off-road stuff.  As a bonus, there was still snow (!) covering the trail in a bunch of sections, a bit slippy and tricky at times!  There were a few sharp climbs, a few fast descents.

I'm a particularly good descender.  Not just because I weigh more than most runners...  I've really honed my technique thanks to some words of wisdom from an old ultra runner I knew.  I let it go, let the hill fling my legs back, no braking, go for it!  It's more controlled falling than running... and if you get it right, it takes little energy, just courage.  I always pass people downhill, today was no exception.

Last 7km - Wooden Sticks Golf Course

Truly a beautiful golf course.



We ventured out onto the golf course cart paths.  I thought "whew, should get easier from here!".  Wrong.  It got worse!  The surface may have been nice asphalt, but the cart paths curved and undulated.  There was pretty much no point from there to the end where we weren't going either up or down.  And some of the ups were so steep they slowed me down to almost a walk... it was brutal stuff!

Much more suited to golfing and driving a cart around than running on.

Somehow I managed to really hang on to my pace.  I picked off a few guys late in the race, which felt amazing (typically on the downhill!).

The closing kilometer is diabolical.  All I wanted was a nice flat zip to the finish, instead there were two steep climbs left to tackle.  The last one is almost literally a wall... you can see the building at the finish, but a long windy trail to get up there!

There was a guy behind me that I had passed a few corners earlier, I could feel him hunting me down, so I knew I couldn't let up... somehow I dug deep and dragged my sorry carcass up that thing, but it hurt.  Hung on and charged to the finish.

Result

1:42:47 (4:53/km - 26/179 overall, 4/21 Men 30-39)

I'm totally stoked.   I mean it's way off my best, but this course was way off the kind of course you'd go for a best on!  I was just hoping to come in around 5:05-5:10/km, but my heart rate stayed low and it felt really good so managed to find more than that today.

Feeling really great!  This is shaping up to be a solid season.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fake Bike Trip Report #11


1674km in the books of my fake bike trip from Toronto to Edmonton.

That puts me in Dryden, Ontario, home of this giant moose thing (apparently named "Max"- who knew?).

By my math it also puts me just 10km shy of the halfway point!  And I'm still in Ontario... this province is enormous.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fake Bike Trip Report #10


My fake bike trip is back on track... especially now that I'm able to bike outdoors!

March 17 week = 127km
March 24 week = 192km

And this week I managed an 87km ride already, with the weekend still ahead...

Total: 1432km.

14 and a half weeks in, so I'm pretty close to the 100km/week I wanted during the off-season (pre-season?).  Now those numbers should ramp up, although I will be doing a lot of off-road that doesn't exactly rack up the mileage as quickly...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fake Bike Trip Report #9 - 1000km!


1026km to be exact.

My fake bike trip has hit a few bumps, so this milestone took a bit longer than I'd hoped (12 weeks rather than 10). 

Now I'm just hoping the weather clears up and the real long rides can begin!  100km/week on the indoor trainer is no picnic, I want to get out there in the fresh air and sunshine.  Unfortunately spring may officially start in a few days, but the freezing temperatures don't seem to want to relent...



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fake Bike Trip Report #8 - Off the Rails


Ohhhh my.  Everything had been going so well on my fake bike trip.

I had my big weekend that put me over 800km, then it was time to focus on a 1/2 marathon... the plan being to get right back at it on the bike as soon as that was done.

Except then I got whacked by sick.  I haven't been on the bike in 12 days.

Twelve.  Days.

It's literally been years since I have been off the bike that long.  Years and years and years.

Today I finally got back on, but just for a 1/2 hour to spin things out a little and remind my legs I'll be back to torture them soon.  I'm still about 70% tops.

944km in the books.  I'm in week 11, and was hoping to keep at least 100km/week average until the outdoor season started, but now I'm a bit behind.  Hopefully next week I can get back to some normalcy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

RAAM: Race Across America


Watched a couple of documentaries about this race, it is epic.  Grueling.  You start at the Pacific coast and end on the Atlantic... 3000 miles.  Craziest of all, the clock never stops... it's not a stage race like the Tour de France, it is a one shot deal.  Fastest person to cover 3000 miles wins.


The solo version is beyond crazy, but I can get my head around the team event.  Four people would hit the spot.

9 days is the limit for teams.  A team of 4 would each have 6 hours of riding duty a day.  I've poked around, seems like most teams split it up into 1/2 hour chunks and alternate.  A pair of riders alternates for 4 hours while the other pair rests, then they switch.  

There can be illness, injury, all sorts of things that get in the way of that plan... but it sounds do-able.

But then you get into the logistics...

Cost 
Each team needs two vehicles - one that follows the active rider, the other than supports everyone (this would be an RV most likely).  Each needs 2 licensed crew, at minimum.  The cost of the entry is almost $2000 per person... but when all is said and done a team of 4 would run about $20,000.

Logistics
There is a lot of planning.  You need to recruit willing crewmembers, who will fight through the lack of sleep.  There's the route to be followed, the equipment to be carted around.  Spare everything (tires, chains, etc), tools.  Food, accommodations...   heck the rulebook is 49 pages long... there is a lot to sort out!   

Still, I can't get it out of my head.  Maybe someday.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Buying a bike for a Tween


My daugher is growing up (*sniff*) and needed a new bike.

She's tough to buy for - 11 years old, 4 foot 10 inches, she's as small as the smallest adult women, but just.  I didn't want to get another 24-inch bike that she'd outgrow, so set out thinking about a 26'er.

I introduced her to the trails last year and she loved it... so I needed something that could go off-road.  Also her last bike was a pretty sweet Gary Fisher, I set the bar a bit too high!

Instead I ended up with the XS sized Giant Rove:


It's a hybrid, but leans heavily toward the mountain bike end.  It can definitely do trail duty, as long it's not too knarly/sandy.  Tires are 700s (29'ers) and a bit narrow - I can always throw something grippier on there if she ends up getting into that (plenty of clearance).

Pretty good value at $399 (bike show price).  I also looked at a boys 26'er for her, but it wasn't to her taste, so... here we are!

To the trails!