Saturday, May 29, 2010

Three weeks to go

Training Report 4 & 5

Where the hell is Spring? I had a good long ride today, but man, it was miserable - cold and wet all the way. Two high points of the ride - a hot creamy latte in Steveston, and a long hot shower when I got home. I still have to clean my bike - wash all the road grit off the important parts, and I’m hoping that the rain will stop long enough for me to do that.

Anyway, here’s the latest Training Report, which includes last week and this week, because I just didn’t get around to posting anything last week. I’m pretty pleased with the way things are going. The rides are getting longer, and I’m getting better at them.

Riding 130 km in one day, and then riding another 130 km the next day, seemed like a pretty daunting task, but it now seems actually doable, which is a good thing, because in three short weeks I have to actually do it.

Why The Ride

Our good friend Maureen contributed this personal story to the blog:

My best friend died of leukaemia just after her 16th birthday. We were in Grade 10. Her death was one of the profound events in my life and every April 14 for the past 52 years I think of her and our friendship. Both her father and grandfather were physicians yet they were unable to help her. If she had that type of cancer today, she would have been cured.

I'll be attending my 50th high school grad reunion on June 25 and some of us will be remembering our friend Anne who was so bright, witty, funny, smart, athletic and probably would have been voted most likely to succeed. Instead, she got cancer in the summer of her 15th year.

This is why we're riding.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wipe Out

Since I started riding again last year, I’ve put about 1,800 km on my bike. I think I’m a pretty careful rider - I ride with the traffic, I don’t blow through stop signs, I don’t take (too many) stupid chances. It seems like the smart thing to do, especially at my, ahem, age. I just don’t bounce back the way I used to.

But I did something stupid yesterday, and I’m paying for it today (and probably tomorrow as well). I was invited by a friend through work (thanks, Colin) to go with a group of experienced riders on a long loop around Pitt Meadows and Fort Langley. It was a long hard ride - these guys were fast - and as we came up to the South end of the Golden Ears Bridge, my attention wandered and my front wheel crossed the rear wheel of the rider in front just as he was turning right with the rest of the pack.

Down I went.

I landed on my left side, from hip to shoulder, with a little thunk of my helmet on the pavement as punctuation. We weren’t going all that fast at that point, so there was no serious damage (except, of course, to my self-esteem), and everybody was very impressed with how well I rolled. Apparently I rolled really well. I guess that’s a good thing.

Anyway, once we figured out that nothing on me or my bike was broken, we headed off over the bridge and back to where we started. A hell of a workout, and a lesson learned - pay attention! All the time!

I'm a little stiff and sore today, but I went for a ride this morning and everything seems to be working properly, so I think I'm a pretty lucky guy.

Many thanks to Jim, Stephen, Hugh, Peter and Colin for letting this novice in on your ride.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Team Napier

It’s official - Team Napier is on the books.

Captain Ben Coli (the one responsible for this madness), Erin Millar (his charming partner and wife), Michael Tucker (Mystery Man, trying to train in the frozen wilds of Calgary), and myself (the Old Guy).

Here’s a snap of us taking a little break during a particularly grueling training ride:

Like our team outfits?

We’re perilously close to meeting our team fundraising goal of $12,000.00, and as an incentive to all you latent donors out there, the person whose donation puts us over the top will receive some fantastic reward - like, a glossy 8x10 autographed team photo,

your own tub of Assos Chamois Creme, or a good feed of BBQ ribs and potato salad out on the back deck with schooners of Ben’s Best Beer to wash it all down.

Something like that.

So don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - click here now and collect your reward later!

Training Report #3

Last week was good. Lots of time in the saddle, lots of miles under the wheels. Here’s how it looked:

I’ve joined up with a riding group that meets twice a week: Monday evenings for a riding clinic and Saturday mornings for a group ride. This past Saturday was a good ride - I met up with the group in Stanley Park, then out to UBC, Marine Drive to the Arthur Laing Bridge to the Iona Jetty, on to Steveston for a coffee & then back home, for a total of about 85 km. It would have been better if I hadn’t had two flats, but what are you going to do? At least I had two spare tubes, and I didn’t have to carry them like this guy:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Training Report #2

Well, my carefully laid out training schedule has gone all to hell in the past couple of weeks. A combination of bad weather, a trip down to Portland last weekend, and two flat tires in one ride have taken a toll.

The flats were particularly frustrating. Heading out to UBC Wednesday evening, my front tire went flat, so I stopped, pulled the wheel, and put in a new tube (after checking the tire for sharp things). I pumped it up & put the wheel back on the bike, and BLAM! - the tube blew out before I could even get back on the bike. So, off with the tire, in with a new tube (good thing I had two), pump it up, no BLAM! this time, wheel on bike, back on road… and discover that now my rim has a little wonk in it, right at the site of the blowout.

So here I am, at 41st and Blenheim, with no spare tubes, a wonky front wheel and the sun starting to set - it’s time to pull the plug on this particular ride. I ride carefully home, using only my back brake and keeping my fingers crossed that my tires stay intact. They do, and I make it home, but it hasn’t been much of a ride, and I’ll have to get my wheel straightened out before I can get on the road again.

My thanks go out to the guys at The Bike Doctor who took one look at the rim & said that if I wanted to wait 15 minutes they could probably take care of it. I did, they did, and I’m a happy guy.

Adding to the general frustration of this week is my attempt to make the transition from my old-school Detto Pietro cycling shoes and Campy pedals & toe clips to new-fangled Sidi shoes with velcro straps, a ratcheting “Instep Closure System” and Shimano high tech adjustable 47 ways cleats and pedals. Jeez.

I admit that the shoes are pretty comfy - light, with a nice stiff sole, and when I’m clipped in everything feels pretty solid. Getting unclipped is easy enough - just twist my heel out and the cleat releases. It’s getting clipped in that’s causing the grief.

With the old-school system, the pedal always hung upside down. A flick of the foot to spin the pedal upright, slide your foot into the toe clip until the cleat fits over the edge of the pedal, and you’re on your way. And, if you happen to miss the connection the first time, you can still push on the bottom of the pedal to launch yourself through that intersection. With this new setup, if you don’t manage to click in the first time, don’t try to push down on the bottom of the pedal, because your foot will slip off and you will hurt yourself. Take my word for it.

I’m going to have another go at the UBC loop tomorrow. New shoes, new pedals, two spare tubes plus a patch kit. I have my fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Much better. I’m getting the hang of it. Only bounced on my balls a couple of times.

Here’s my latest Training Report, and I have to say, it’s not looking too good:

There was some lousy weather (lame excuse) and a long weekend in Portland (unavoidable) which really cut into road time, but now it’s time to knuckle down and grind out the miles.