Friday, December 31, 2010

Here's Too...

Here's to 2010. Here's to family. Extended family. New friends and old friends. Here's to adventures, thinking about adventures, and those not-so adventures too. Here's to making goals, sometimes achieving, sometimes falling short- but at least giving it a good shot. Here's to pleasure and to pain (wouldn't have one without the other). Here's to the good times and that bad, the wins and the losses. Here's to new beginnings and to re-beginnings. Here's to the One who gave us yet another year. Here's to 2011.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A few days ago I was reading one of my childhood stories to my daughter. The book is called Barbapapas Christmas. It's about a family of rather odd shape-shifting folk who get a group of tropical birds from Santa for Christmas. Living in the far north (Winnipeg), the birds get very sick and in an attempt to keep things warm for them, they employ a variety of electricity-generating feats, all of which are doomed to fail. The above picture is one of their grandiose schemes to make the birds happy. I wonder if this was one of my initial points of interest in the ideas of both green energy and riding a bike?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a B-day

Sunday was my birthday. Aside from the usual affair- great food, family, raclette, cheescake, etc., I was privy to two special gifts this year. First off, As far as I can remember, it's never been 15 degrees and sunny on November 7th. What a day! Second, I won gold in my age category at the Manitoba Cyclocross Provincial Championship! Definitely a fantastic day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

White Rabbit

I was on my way home from work in the dark tonight looking forward to a relaxing evening with my wife watching the (relatively) newer version of Alice in Wonderland. As I pedaled across the empty field by the Nairn Street overpass, i was joined by a large (actually massive) white hare who bounded across the field in front of me. I swear the ears on this thing must have been nearly a foot long. There are obviously tons of rabbits around the city, but I haven't happened on many of these... so I decided NOT to follow it as it darted temptingly off under the bridge. But now I'm beginning to wonder what might have happened if I had...

Monday, October 18, 2010

School of Cross

I've been sent back to school. But unlike High School I'm actually having a blast. A definite re-introduction to pain. I've been getting pretty used to longer events and these races are so intense that it's a real shot to the system. At least the dis/remount practice at the local garbage hill has slightly paid off as I have so far avoided sacking myself during a cross race. I try to save those great times for Tuesday night rides! Can't believe I didn't get into this sooner. What a great time this last weekend!! Great friends, good times!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Night Time Cyclovia

MMMMM.... 35km of brand spanking new asphalt- freshly painted lines, freshly washed- Pretty Darn smooth!! Ok so the renovation of the TC's westbound lane from St. Anne to Deacons corner may be frustrating for cars, but it made for a pretty epic (and safe) road ride last night. Open highway with a slight tailwind... NO CARS!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Cross 2010!

JP (A race) - 1st cross race ever! (It was a blast- and it hurt like they said it would!)

Vanessa (B race) - 1st cross race ever! (My Lungs were burning- isn't that bad?)

Katherine (K race) - 1st cross race ever! (I don't think I can do this...)

Good times! Rainer is next!

Menno Cross - 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Well It's officially cross season! Although I haven't personally raced a cross race as of yet, it looks like a lot of fun. You're all as loonie as I was expecting. It was nice being a spectator as opposed to racing for once... but I may just have caught the cross bug! Here's a few pictures from Wildwood today... and a link to about 400 more. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

XC8 2010 Race Report

It looked like a bad weekend for racing. It poured rain falcon style for several days beforehand. When Gord and I got out to Buffalo Pound it was still wet everywhere. Rob and Janice had just pulled in before we got there. It was after 6pm and looked like rain, but we chanced the pre-ride. The course was super greasy. We were spinning constantly on the climbs and our tires were totally coated with mud. The normally fast single track descents were extremely slippery. It took us over an hour to pre-ride, and by the time we got back to our tent trailer clouds had blocked out the dusk light and it was nearly black. Rob and Janice were still out on course... We were close to going back up with lights to search when they showed up back at the campsite, apparently having the clarity of mind to abandon the trail in the middle, cross a field to the highway, and navigate back instead of attempting the remaining trail in the dark.

At night the stars came out and by morning it was sunny with a stiff breeze. on the first lap of the race there was already a big difference in the manageability of the course over the evening prior. Starting to tack up nicely. Except for "roots", which is a groovy decent through a long gully that stayed a mud bath all day.

The course designers had added a long section of Dale Cramer style single track which replaced the last half of the infamous "1/4 mile of death", upping the overall course length more than a kilometer. It was definitely a hard course. 1300 feet of climbing. Hard to tell if it was faster or slower than last year, but it was noticeably longer. The traditional lemans start included a 1/2 climb up the "1/4 mile of death" followed by a steep descent down the old ski hill in front of spectators only to climb it again.

It ended up being a perfect race day for me as the temperature was much more hospitable than last year (17C as opposed to 32C) and there was a nice cooling wind. Since the opening single track of the new "Twister" section was very tight, my game plan was to try to start in the top 20% to avoid bike jams on the steep single track climbs. It was a good call and I think I was actually in the top 9 or so when we got to the single track for the first time.

It was in and out with about 4-5 guys for the first few laps. I ended up riding for a good while with a Cat 1 roadie from Vancouver. He told me that he was heading down to Trinidad next week with the national team for a 7 day stage race. For a roadie he definitely had fantastic bike handling skills on the descents- it was hard for me to hold his wheel at times. Still I was eventually able to drop him, as well as the others I had been exchanging places with. People were super friendly on the course- it was awesome. No animosity at all, even in the tight sections. When i would yell "rider up" people would literally jump off the trail to accommodate. Lots of Cowbells and cheers from spectators and other riders alike.

As it turned out, despite several no-shows, we had a decent effort for Manitoba. Kat Horbatiuk crushed her field with 7 laps completed taking home first place in the solo female category. Janice Brigdon finished in second place. I sat in second place from my fifth lap on. Although I felt very strong and was gaining time each lap, I was unable to prevent Sasketchewan (Jeremy Eerdman) from winning their first XC8 title (sorry guys... Dave or Greg... i thought that was your responsibility!). I crossed the finish line around 7 minutes after the final cutoff, having completed 9 laps in approximately 7 hours and 37 minutes, approximately 12 minutes off the lead. Still, I am very happy with my ride. My lap times were consistent and I was having a freaking blast.

Thanks XC8 crew for a fantastically run event. On time, great prizes, smooth organization. Great atmosphere. We ended up having a bonfire with the 'tobans after the race. Kat, Rob, Janice, Karl Chandler, Gord, Myself, Dave Johnson and his wife and two of our new friends from Kola (sorry... can't remember your names right now). Let's do it again next year!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

MTB Provincials Report

First off, just want to congratulate all the organizers and volunteers on a FANTASTICALLY run event!

Everything was top-notch. Given that there was an absolute downpour in the morning, the extra time needed to prepare the course was understandable.

Here were my highlights:
-good friends, good times!
-a sweet new course layout with new trails (one of the best marked courses I've raced)
-if this had been any other course, the rain would have made it a mucky nightmare. Thanks Sand!!
-well attended- good competition in most categories (Mine was great!)
-yummy food
-nice MB Bison medals!

I had a decent race. I wanted to leave it all out on the course- although that was hindered by calf cramping which I experienced for the last 1.5 laps. Definitely dehydrated. I also often wonder if I have more to spend... just have to find ways to tap that. I guess I still have time to learn. I threw my back out after the 24hours of Falcon and never really got back into the rhythm of training... but i did get some great enjoyable rides in in Canmore in early August. Still, great competition from SteveH, KevinB, and NathanW. Kevin broke his chain part way through the second lap which was unfortunate as we had a real tight race going. It's always unfortunate to have a Mechanical when you're rocking. (you looked FAST on that 29er Kevin!) Good times. Looked like GregS and DylanH had a real sprint going on over in Elite- way to go you guys! Rob looked stellar as well!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

24 Hours of Falcon Ridge

Well, it was great to race, and it was almost as good to finally be done. The holes punched in the license plate represent 7km laps completed. Not an overly fast pace, the course was quite technical in places and fairly rooty and wet in the woods. Dallas told me early on that there would be sections of the trail that, after encountering over and over again, i would absolutely despise. He was right. There was that little mud hole just after the first climb. Had a way of draining my speed EVERY single time as i eventually gave up looking for that perfect line. There was that squishy swamp where i got stung in the butt cheek at least twice by wasps (pain then, Itch now). And there was that technical rocky section about half way through where several sharp rocks tried their hardest to puncture my sidewalls (luckily they were thwarted).

This was my first experience with a 24 hour race and in many ways it lived up to my expectations. There would be periods of intense desire to quit riding. There would be butt pains, hand pains, leg pains, gut pains, and all sorts of pain I'd probably never experienced. I did learn that i can stay on a bike longer than I thought I could. I learned that cantaloupe is the greatest thing in the world after 12 hours of racing. I learned that a little mud added repeatedly over the course of a number of hours has the ability to stop things from working. I learned that having someone to cheer you up and encourage you means that much more so many hours into the race. Vanessa is awesome. Thanks to everyone who was such a great cheering section for the racers (fgbc crew at the top of the list!) Renee T. even took a slow lap with me to help keep me human. Thanks dude!

Things that did not live up to my expectations:
-my butt is not sore from riding 23 hours. it is only sore from wasp stings.
-I had no idea i could last as long as i did.

I'm looking forward to getting feeling back into my left hand and being able to bend over to tie my shoes.

Great times.

some random photos here

24 hours of Falcon Ridge Official Site

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mmmm... Veggies coming!

My mother-in-law's organic veggie garden. We help out. We reap the rewards. Nice flowers too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to (or not to) ride a plank bridge

Upon arriving at Colert beach for Tinker Creek Cycle's inaugural Back 40 endurance race this past Sunday, my 5-year old daughter began cruising her tiny bike down the gravel road by the feed zone which ended in a 10-ft steep-ish drop. Before I could stop her, she had crashed at the bottom, blood pouring from her bottom lip. Luckily she was pretty much OK and was soon back on her bike even after saying that she would "never ride her bike again." As I couldn't let her be the only casualty, I made up my mind to one-up her crash during the first lap of the 80-kilometer race. As the following pictures will show, Johnny G. (winner of the butter belt) demonstrates a far superior entry from switchback-to-hardleftturn-to-plank-bridge than I had. I definitely learned once again that "checking one's speed" can be occasionally beneficial when faced with unfamiliar terrain. Unless of course you enjoy falling close to 10 feet and plunging head first into a muddy ditch. As I pulled my head out from the muck at the bottom of the creek I was actually quite surprised to be alive! (Thank-you Lord!) The bike was OK and i figured that the resulting chest pains were merely cosmetic... so.. back to the race baby!

All-In-All, a fantastic time with some great folks. Good times riding with Brad, Cory, Dave, Rob, and Paul.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pre-Race Rain.

Rain. Seems to be a virtual staple of this years MTB season... Sunday's BAF at Birch was no exception. It poured just prior to start making the course, which was in good condition, a sticky, greasy mess... I guess that's what semi-slicks are good for. Some smart folks quickly changed to more reasonable rubber. Good times! After the race... well, i guess there's no more need for rain, so it was pretty darn nice. go figure.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Falcon Lake Race damage inventory?

So I've been to the various LBS(s) recently trying to round up all the parts I need to bring my bike back to life after the beating it took in last week's race at Falcon Lake. I hear that a lot of folks have had serious breakdown issues... lots of trips to the LBS, anyone care to share their damage inventory?

Here's Mine.
-seized bottom bracket. Looked for new bearings, ended up replacing.
-disk brake pads (front). Worn down to the calipers. Replaced.
-seized rear hub. Disassembled. Looked for new bearings. They are on order.
-seized chain tensioner bearings. Replaced.
-sad and unhappy Eggbeater SL's. Disassembled, removed corrosion, reassembled.

A good amount of work, but I'm a better bike mechanic because of it!

Doesn't Get Much Sweeter!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Falcon Swamp'O'Rama 2010

What a world cup course looks like? Perhaps not, but it does appear to be relatively common for the Canadian Shield, especially after nearly a month of rain. You have Precambrian Granite... and water... and a little mud and grass in between. I think it's something pretty special. Not fast-moving by any stretch of the imagination. When I rode the Mantario trail years ago it took me 19 hours to cover the 61km (with huge backpack). The latest installment of the Falcon lake race saw it all- 50-meter long swamps, waterholes with sharp rocks, former grassy trails reduced to a bowl of thai soup, and virtually unrelenting rock hopping with a few meters of fire road to stave off the suicidal thoughts. Double the trials of last-year's mud-O-rama. For sure. Remember the Swamps of Sadness from the "Never Ending Story"? Now imagine that your bike got very, very sad and sank all the way in... with you on it. There you go.

To sum up... It was AWESOME. Seriously fun. No world cup course... but FUN. A real Manitoba SPECIAL. Oh yeah, i should also say that it was also HELL. But sometimes HELL is...well...FUN. Maybe that's why I choose to do this in the first place.:)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wet and Slippery

I had a great time with the FGBC Spring Ride this weekend at Falcon Lake. Good times all around, despite a wack load of rain to make the trails into a soppy, slippery mess. Friday we rode all afternoon at the Falcon Trails, then Saturday at Ingolf. I forgot how awesome the riding is here (especially when you're not lost!). One of the best examples of Shield riding out there! Luckily nearly all of the 21 riders escaped without serious injury, a few swollen hands, sore backs, and bloody knees pretty much summed up the damages (minus Graham's harrowing experience). Other than that there was a tone of water (up to a foot deep or more at times) and lots of slick rocks and slippery roots great for improving both one's patience and technical skills. Lots of do-overs, endos, rock slides, and hilarious mud hole attempts. The evening included great conversation, food, beer, zombies, and a 911 call for Graham. Read here for the official account (expected soon).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is this Legal??

The stuff you see en route to Woodridge... (Sandilands). *note the quads (doing 80+) with no helmets.