Tag Archives: BC Bike Race Blog Posts

BCBR Day 2 Update

Wheelie Stevie

Well, day 2 is completed, and there’s not much more to do then to tell you fine folks all about it. In a word, epic. A very long day in the saddle for Carl and I, with our fair share of mechanical issues, and not the finish we were totally hoping for. Day 1 was the shortest day (distance-wise) of the entire race, and day 2 was the longest day (distance-wise). The race course took us from the ferry terminal in Nanaimo to Parksville, where we stayed basically right on the beach. So obviously, we started the day with a nice ferry ride from the mainland to Vancouver Island. The plus side? Well, there are no bears over here of course :-), so no worries, we didn’t run into any crazy nature encounters. Eventually I’ll get to posting pictures up of the day, and also pop up my snazzy custom Google Map of the day. Enjoy those (once I post them), then sneak on back over for a brief little story about the overall days’ adventures.

As most of you will recall, day 1 wasn’t the greatest kind of course for Carl and I. While the North Shore is definitely a magnificent place to ride, it requires a certain amount of finesse that I think you can only get by going there and practicing. Needless to say, we didn’t get that practice :-). However, Day 2 looked like it would be more our style. A long course, with a mix of access roads and sweet singletrack to gnash our teeth on. We had high hopes that this would be our time to shine, and that we’d be able to make up a few spots. However, the competition is very fierce in our category, so no sense getting too excited about things.

Day broke early, and we had to quickly break camp in Lynn Valley to make our way to the ferry via bus. 8 school buses loaded with groggy, excited bikers pulled in to the terminal, and we subsequently piled in to the waiting lounge to await our ferry. Happily, we were on the pride of the fleet, the Coastal Renaissance. As an extra surprise, the entire Deck 5 was closed to the general public so that we could have the whole area to ourselves, allowing room for us to get ready, and also set up our MASH unit for first aid and medical. That was pretty cool. It was another gourgeous day, so I spent a lot of the time up top enjoying the great views.

Once in Nanaimo, they herded all of us to Deck 2 of the car levels, so that we could all walk off as a group. It was quite a sight I’d think. Our bikes and the start gate were already waiting for us there, so all we had to do was get organized with our gear and get herded into the starting gates. Before I knew it, it was time to start. We were being escorted by the police, and to get started did a sort of long ceremonial procession all through town. Since we’d been relegated to the back of the pack, we had an excellent view of the huge peloton that we caused. I was also excited because Jody’s parents had made the trip to Nanaimo to cheer Carl and I on. Admittedly they didn’t really get to see us very long, as we just rolled on by, but it was still nice to see a familiar pair of faces on the course.

After the formal city tour was over, we headed into the hills in earnest. The day held a couple long slog climbs in store, and some pretty great technical descents as well. I’d love to say everything worked out perfectly for us on course, but sadly, such was not the case. Carl was having a ton of shifting issues, in spite of the fact that he had a lot of brand new gear on the bike for the ride. At aid station 1, we finally decided to troubleshoot the issue, which is when we realized his chain was bent. Oops. He had to take out a whole section to fix it, but once done, we were back on our way. The bike techs warned us that a day in this race was like 3 regular days on any other terrain, and that we’d probably all need some shop work. It looks as though they were right. The amount of rocks, roots, bangs, scrapes, and drop-offs that we were suffering through with our bikes was remarkable.

I had been hoping for really flowy trails, but for the most part they were bumpy as hell. I could tell already that swapping saddles 2 days before the race might not have been the best idea, as my butt was taking a lot of abuse.

In spite of all the tough riding, we were feeling really good on the course, and pressed hard throughout the day. We traded spots with a bunch of different teams on the various sections, depending on each team’s strengths and weaknesses. So although we weren’t in the front, we were certainly by no means alone out there. As you’ll see in the results, we were not the last either! I can safely say that we were riding within our abilities at least, which was a good thing. It just happens our abilities aren’t as fast as the other guys 🙂

One of the final sections of the course was a long descent on a logging road down towards Parksville. However, before finally finishing off, we had to dive yet again into some more really interesting singletrack. It was a bit of a pain, because it was a zig-zag trail that kept going downhill, but then forcing us to hump it back uphill again. At the end of a long, hot, day, we just wanted to get to then end. That’s when my mechanical happened. We were on another short uphill, and I was in granny, and just hammered on my cranks. Kapow! My chain exploded. We had less than 2km to go, and just wanted to wrap things up. I’ve never blown a chain, but there is was. Well, it’s not like it can happen in a good time, can it? We had to stop so that I could fix it with a gold link, and as we did that (with me cursing), several teams passed us.

Now, admittedly, losing a minute or two (or five) wouldn’t really make a big difference in our race, but it still sucked to be so close to the end and see teams go past that we would have beaten to the punch. Oh well. We pushed on as best we could, and tried to shrug it off. Just for kicks, we put the pedal to the metal, and saw if we could catch a team or two. We caught up to one, but they were pretty determined not to let us pass them with 200m to go 🙂

All in all, a great day for us physically and mentally, and we were ready to rest up and get set for the next day. Parksville Base Camp was located right on the beach in the park, and was another beautiful location to rest after the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get in to camp till around 5:30 I think. From there, we had to clean our bikes, clean ourselves, eat our food, get our gear sorted, etc. etc. By the time that was done, I had zero energy to work on this blog, so with that, I’ll have to sign off for now, as I have another stage to write about for you all. Till then, ride hard.

BCBR Day 1 Update

At the Start-1

Wow! That’s all I can muster up to say at this moment. Day 1 of BC Bike Race did not disappoint. Although distance-wise it was a fairly short day, there was no shortage of challenges and obstacles to overcome. When you’re riding the North Shore, you quickly learn what mountain biking is all about. All I can say is that it’s a good thing that Carl and I put in some extra training at Camp Fortune on the downhill routes! Technical? You bet. Sure, the top teams were able to nail it at break-neck speeds, but us mere mortals in the middle of the pack had to eat a bit of humble pie and get off our bikes and do a little walking. I took pictures (obviously), but will likely be unable to post them till after the race, as connectivity will be spotty. The good news? The race organizers are letting me mooch some connectivity off them to get my maps and posts up, so you’ll at least have those. Final days’ results will have to follow after the fact as well, since they’ll probably have to be sorted through later. They may be posted on the BCBR site itself though, so you might as well check that out. Anyway, read on for the days’ tale, and check out the map as well.

Early morning I awoke on a couch, looking at ominous grey skies. However, over the course of the next hour and a half while I let the fog lift from my brain, the clouds moved away, and it was clear it would be a spectacular first day. We got ourselves organized and got a lift to the start line (thanks Jen!). We got there with plenty of time to get oriented and organized. Before we knew it, we were making our way to the starting corral. We packed ourselves in the front third or quarter of the pack, unsure how it would play out. When the starting horn sounded, it was slow to start rolling, but the steep hill in town started stringing people out. However, that was short lived, as the actual trail entrance for the day was a complete choke point, with riders forced to wait quite a while before hopping on the trail. Even after that, the going was slow, as we were suddenly forced to ride single file.

So, although the trail forced us to all slow and bunch up, it was also a good thing, as it meant we were starting out singletrack experience in earnest. It was exciting to finally be in the woods, turning the cranks and working our way up, over, around, down and through the sweet wilderness trails around North Vancouver. This whole day was all around the Lynn Valley, on some of the awesome trails built by the equally awesome North Short Mountain Bike Association. Thanks guys and gals! We even had the chance to cycle past some of the trail builders hard at work. I can’t even begin to imagine the effort it must take to get things in the shape they need to be to support so many riders, and good and bad weather. Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it I guess.

Not too long after the singletrack started, we tackled our first mini climb for the day. Totally rideable but with a few technical bits like slippery roots and rocks to avoid. It was a very small introduction to what was in store for us. Of course, after the first climb came the first descent, which was exhillirating. Time for the gut and gear check. Lucky for me, all cylinders were firing, and my equipment performed flawlessly. It was quite encouraging. Unfortunately for Carl, it turned out there would be a few niggling issues the entire day. He had some problems with his shifting, and ultimately completely lost the use of his smallest chainring, which meant no ‘granny gear’. For those unfamiliar, it basically means climbing hills becomes MUCH tougher. Too bad we had two killer climbs in the day! Of course, once again, training paid off, and Carl was able to tough through the climbs like a champ. By the end of the day, Carl turned his bike into the repair guys, and is basically getting a ‘new’ bike tomorrow from all the new parts he’s getting put on 🙂

I’d love to be able to rhyme off all the trails that we were on today, but they went through them pretty quick. I know we were on severed d*ck, the bridal path, old buck, pipeline, and some others. If you’re from the area, you’ll know those ones anyway. The two big downhills were Severed and Pipeline, and this is where we truly saw the North Shore colors. Incredible. Pileups were a bit the norm on most of the descents, as when one rider has to get off and walk, there’s a domino effect. So, although I know we could have ridden a lot more than we actually did, we had to end up walking down a lot of the steep bits. However, I’m happy to report that I did get to play on several of the famous structures on the North Shore. A-Frames, bridges, planks, etc. I tried stuff I’ve never had a chance to try before. And you know what? I pulled them off, much to my happy amazement. It’s amazing what you can do when you just let the bike do the work and not over-think things. Of course, the opposite is just as true, and in several spots, I know I should have ridden, but I lost my nerves. All in all though, I was very happy with our riding, and the trails.

Wrapping up the ride, we pulled in to Lynn Valley Park just around 1pm. There were plenty of teams still on the course, but there were also tons that had already finished. We learned that the first team completed in just over half of our time! Crazy, and good for them. There are some amazing riders out here this week. I’m sure I can only get better riding out here for 7 days. Base camp was a hoppin place. From the tent city, to the various tents for massages, snacks and drinks, sponsors, racer relations, showers and washroom facilities, the Bear Den, etc. etc. It was great. I wandered around for quite a bit, but eventually, wound back up in the tent to work on this post, while super Carl had his afternoon nap 🙂

When I went for my shower, I learned another lesson. Everything in a large race like this is a waiting game. I think I was in line almost an hour before I finally had my 10 minutes in the shower trailer. Luckily, it was nice and warm, so it was worth the wait. They’ve promised us hot showers every night. In fact, they’ve guaranteed it! Kudos for that. After shower time, it was some more chilling ,then off to supper. Today was a little different than most days, since the course was short, we had a lot of down time in the afternoon, so don’t expect these long posts every day.

Supper was a nice spread of chicken, salads, salmon, bread, etc. catered by a local restaurant. It was plentiful, and we could eat as much as we wanted. I think I ate too much, as I now find myself confined to the tent while my gastric distension settles down 🙂 I’m also frantically drinking as much as I can, as late in the ride, I ended up getting a few of my world famous scream-inducing cramps. Not fun. I thought I had been drinking, but upon checking my reserves at camp, I noticed I probably only drank half of my fluids on the day. Not smart. I vow to fix that for the rest of the week. Hopefully no permanent damage has been done that will hold me back later this week.

Checking my watch, I see the nightly awards ceremony is only 15 minutes away now, so I guess I should probably sign off for now. In fact, that’ll probably be it for me today. I need my beauty sleep and need to do some mingling with my fellow gear-heads. Hope everyone is doing well, and check back for more race reports (hopefully) later this week. Ride on, ride hard.

Getting Race Ready; Day 0 Update

Howdy all, welcome back to the latest news on ActiveSteve. As you can no doubt tell, I arrived safe and sound in Vancouver. My bags made it, my bike made it, and we were pretty much right on time. Good news all around. Temperatures were significantly lower than in Ottawa, but it was a beautiful evening, which bodes well for race conditions. Looks like temps will be mid twenties, but with very low humidity. Thank goodness. I was also met at the airport by Boris and Rachel, to whisk me off to their apartment. Thanks guys! We didn’t stay too long at the apartment before Boris and I decided to head out for a couple night caps at a local bar, the Three Lions Cafe. It was awesome that they were able to put me up, in spite of the fact that they are in the middle of actually moving into the apartment, making quarters a little tight. Read on for the rest of my short tale about the first night in Vancouver, as well as a wrap up of Day Zero, registration day! I’ve also managed to put up some pictures, so have a look at the pictures from my flight to Vancouver as well as shots from throughout Day Zero.

The three hour time difference between Ottawa and Vancouver made things a little tougher for me as far as fighting off the tiredness. I landed just after 9pm, which to me was after midnight. Good thing I’m a night owl. At the pub, Boris and I enjoyed a couple pints of beer, as well as an order of curry fries. We caught up, and just generally had a good time hanging out. Hopped on a bus, and back to the apartment to get some sleep. We decided to get up the next morning around 8am. I was supposed to meet Carl at the registration hotel around 10am, which is when the race registration was starting. Before that though a good breakfast was in order.

Morning came fast, and although I had only gone to bed after midnight, the time difference made me wake up around 6am. I dozed in and out for the next couple hours before finally getting up for good at 8. Showered and got ready, and we headed off to a Omeleterie (Paul’s I think) for a big breakfast. I opted for the lumberman’s breakfast; pancakes, omelet, bacon, potatoes and a fruit cup. It was a stupid big breakfast, but just what I needed before heading to registration. Good thing too, since I didn’t end up eating again till after 4pm. By the time I caught a cab to registration, it was almost 10:30, and there were a lot of people already lined up. Things were quite chaotic for the next two hours, which is how long it took us to just get through all the different registration sections. On the plus side, we did get quite a bit of swag. I’ll be coming back with a sweet new travel bag, handlebars, a stem, a seat, socks, shirts, food, sunglasses, etc, all of it BCBR branded. Not too shabby.

After getting registered, it was off to the parking garage to tend to the bike and re-pack all the stuff into our race bag for the week. This was my first chance to check on my bike, and happily, all was well. I got it put together pretty quick, and took it for a quick test spin. The only thing that went wrong was snapping a valve stem, prompting me to have to put a new tube in the tire. No biggie. Thank you Air Canada for not killing my bike 🙂 I had just about 40 minutes now to decide what gear I’d need on the race course, and what could go straight to Whistler to meet me there. As it turns out, our race bags were pretty cavernous, so the decision was pretty straightforward. I got to take almost everything 🙂

After getting totally packed, it was off to the race briefing itself, which turned out to be just over an hour as well. In it, we were introduced to some of the race crew. In particular, those in charge of the overall race, the M/C, the tent city organizer, and the safety crew. They gave us the lay of the land for the next week, as well as putting the fear into us of bears and cougars. We were told how to identify the difference between black and grizzly bears, and what to do in different situations. We were also told what to do if a cougar tries to attack (basically, fight back with everything you’ve got!). Finally, the team responsible for the first stage of the race gave us the course overview for tomorrow, the first day of the race. Looks like we’ll be up for some pretty wild biking. Usually, they try to ease you into a race like this, but this time, it was going to be baptism by fire. We were told this would definitely be a challenging day on the bike. Short, but hard, and with some nice killer climbs. Good way to start right?

Once all this was out of the way, all that remained was to load our gear onto the awaiting trucks, and make our separate ways. It was after 4pm now, and we had the rest of the night to ourselves. My plan? Well, first order of business was a slice of pizza, then head back to Carl’s friends apartment for the night. We decided it would be best to just start tomorrow at the same place rather than try to meet later. We plan to have a nice pasta feast tonight, and head straight to the start line tomorrow morning together. This also gives me the chance to fire off this blog post, and to try and do a couple other housekeeping matters with respect to the website. I want to try and make it easy for people to at least see what’s going on this week. Although I’m not sure I’ll be able to post pictures or blogs, I should at least be able to send out twitter updates, so I’m going to try and get a feed put up on my BCBR mini-site for everyone to read.

As you might guess, I’m getting pretty excited now. I’m also a bit nervous, but I know that I’ve put in the right training, and that I’m ready for this. I just really want to get things underway now! Keep your fingers crossed everyone, and pray for good weather for us. Truth be told, no weather will stop us from riding at all, but I’d certainly rather a dry week of riding than a wet, slick week, where accidents are more likely. Remember, this is a vacation for me as well, so I deserve to have a good time, right? Hee hee. That’s it from me for my Day Zero update. Stay tuned, and hopefully I’ll be able to get up some GPS maps and pictures throughout the week, but no promises.

Day Zero has Snuck up On Me

Hello dear followers of ActiveSteve! If you are reading this post the day it goes up, I must be in Vancouver, at Boris’ place with an Internet connection. At this exact moment for me, I’m at 39,000 feet over the skies of Canada, flying to Vancouver. As I sit here, I’m feeling quite a bit of nervous energy. Sitting in my cramped airline seat, I have the knowledge that in less than 40 hours from now, I’ll be at the start line of the longest, hardest, possibly most challenging race of my life! Yup, I’m on the road to the BC Bike Race, where Carl Buchmann and I are Team Diabetes / Activesteve.com, tackling 7 days of the greatest singletrack mountainbike trails in Canada. How awesome is that going to be? Well, I don’t quite know yet, which is why I have this energy. The plane seems to be shrinking around me, and I just can’t wait to get out there in the wide open spaces of our vast wilderness. Read on for a little more of my thoughts and hopes for this race.

The journey to get to this race started quite a while ago. In fact, well more than a year and a half ago. At the time, I was just coming back from my 4 months of cycle touring in New Zealand. I felt like I was in the best cycling shape of my life, and was looking forward to doing some racing when I got home, maybe even some bike racing. I dug into what races were possible, and soon found out that I could register for Tran Rockies in BC using a registration someone couldn’t use. I tried to convince people to race with me, but it was too short notice for most, so I had to abandon that idea. However, Carl sowed the seed in my mind to do BC Bike Race in 2009. We registered over 10 months ago, and haven’t looked back.

Since that time, we focused on getting ourselves in the right shape that we would need for a long distance bike race. A winter of cycle touring again was out of the question, so through the winter, I had to turn to indoor cycling on my trainer. Admittedly, this wasn’t as exciting as I might have liked, but it was clearly necessary. For the first time, I also turned to using cycling DVDs, which meant that I was doing a lot more disciplined riding, such as speed workouts and hill training. It was a good thing though, because coming out of the long cold winter, I felt pretty strong. We were still months away from the race, but luckily, the spring weather was actually pretty favorable, so I was able to get outside pretty early. I also signed up for a couple cycling events, like the 70km CN cycle for CHEO, and the 354km Rideau Lakes Tour.

Flash forward a little further and here I am, pumped, psyched, in shape, and ready to roll. I’ve been lucky to stay in good health, and apart from the obvious spills that go into preparing for an outdoor race on technical mountain bike trails. I’ve also sunk a fair bit of money into this adventure. First, there was the airfare to get to Vancouver. Second, there was the race fees themselves, which amounted to well over $2,300 each! After that, there was the fact that I’ve pretty much re-built my entire bike in preparation for this. I’ve got new shifters, new cables, new rear derailleur, new wheels, and new tires since coming back from NZ. All in the pursuit of making the bike run as smoothly as possible. Of course, I’m sure that by day 2 or 3 of the race, nothing will be working well anymore 🙂 But that’s to be expected when you put something through the abuse that I’m pretty sure I’m about to.

Another thing Carl and I decided to do was to sign up with Team Diabetes and raise some funds as part of this adventure. To those ends, I’d like to of course thank everybody who has taken the time to make a donation to my campaign! You’ve helped me get to the start line and be prepared for this thing I call a vacation. BTW, if you’re interested, I’m still accepting funds, and can do so until the end of August. If you’d like to do so, just head over to my BCBR mini-site and follow the links 🙂

I think I’ll just stop there for now. After all, there’s not much more to report from the airplane at the moment. However, I was told that I should at least get up a quick post to point out to everyone that this is now really happening for me. I’ve got my little computer with me during the week, and will be doing my best to get up some posts, along with perhaps some maps and pictures as well. Won’t that be exciting? At a minimum, if I have cell phone access, I’ll be able to do some twittering at the end of each day, which will get re-posted on this website. Till later, stay tuned, and get out there and ride your bikes! I know you’ve probably all got them, so use ’em 🙂

354km in the Saddle in 2 Days!

Hello friends. Sorry about the lateness of this post. It’s been over a week since the big event, and I only found the time to write it up now. That isn’t to say I haven’t been thinking about all of you. In fact, I posted the pictures and videos a week ago, and even put together a custom map of the ride to show you where some of the pictures were taken. Isn’t that nice of me? I thought so. So before you clicky clicky , why not check out the map, and also look at the folder of pictures and videos on flickr. You see, I’ve been pre -occupied with both work stuff, as well as preparing myself for the upcoming BC Bike race. It’s sneaking up really quickly on me, and I have a few things to sort out before then. Namely, getting my bike re-built in time for the race. At any rate, read on for the rest of the story about the weekend of biking madness.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the event that I’m going to write about is the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. The other thing I’d like to get off my chest right now is that it was Jody’s idea. So don’t get thinking that I pushed her into this 🙂 However, I was ecstatic that she suggested it, and was totally on board. One of the early challenges in the preparation was that I had to focus on my race training, whereas Jody had to start at a different level. So, try as we might, we didn’t get that many chances to train together. I encouraged Jody as much as I could without being a nag, but unfortunately, I don’t think Jody got in as much cycling as she wanted to in light of work. However, I wasn’t all that worried, since I know that Jody is stubborn, and would get it done as much as it might hurt.

I could go on and on about the lead-up, but I’m sure that might just bore you all to tears, so let’s just skip to the juicy part about the riding. Rideau Lakes tour is a 2-day trip, 177km each direction. First day, you head from Ottawa to Kingston, then spend the night at the dorms in Queens. The second day, you bike back. Simple, right? Not so much. As it turns out, it would also be the longest cycling I’ve ever done in a 2-day span as well 🙂 We wouldn’t be alone though. There were over 1500 registered riders I think. Hard to tell though, although it didn’t see to matter what pace we went, there were always more riders around.

Jody and I also didn’t tackle the ride alone. Joining us was Kevin, as well as Bonnie and Grant, riding on their tandem. The original plan was to do the whole ride as a group, and that’s exactly how we started out. A couple days before the ride, I made the decision to ride my mountain bike the whole way. Yup, a crazy idea to most, but by my way of thinking, it would not only help equalize my pace and Jody’s , but it would also give me a chance to put some serious saddle time on the ole Epic before heading out to the West Coast for 7 back to back days of singletrack mountain bike racing. I even decked the bike out with a big orange road flag and home-made poster trying to solicit donations for my bit as part of Team Diabetes. What’s that? You haven’t sponsored me yet? Well, don’t delay, you can still do so by following this link. I’m still a ways off my goal / requirement :-).

The first 40km or so went pretty smoothly. We all joked around and enjoyed the fresh air. The weather was definitely going to co-operate with us, with the shining sun, and nice temperatures. The only possible concern we were going to face the day looked like it would be the winds, which, as luck would have it, were going to be head-winds. Oh well, such is life when you’re on the road on the bike. In order to assist Jody a bit if needed, I had also put a tow system on my bike that I use when adventure racing. Basically, it’s some PVC pipe and surgical tubing (don’t EVER use a bungee cord, that’s very dangerous). We used it a few times, with pretty good results. It allowed us to get a faster average speed together, and have a hope of keeping up with the tandem 🙂

Unfortunately, this is the part in my story where I go once again into the things that befall me in my pursuits. I’m talking about an accident. Unfortunately (in my mind) it was not me that suffered, but rather Jody. D’oh! It happened when she once again was trying to get on tow. I slowed, she reached for the loop, and I thought she had it. I immediately stomped on the gas, and heard “wait, wait”. I realized she wasn’t quite set up, and was fumbling with the loop (apparently she got it caught on her bars). I slowed down, and to the best of my recollection, she was trying to futz with the loop, and did notice her wheel was about to hit mine. Contact was made, and down she went! It was by no means the worst accident ever, but Jody was still very lucky to not get seriously injured. When I looked back, she was crumpled on the road with the bike on top of her.

By the look of her face, hands and knee, she went down pretty hard, but it appeared as thought nothing was broken, with most injuries being run of the mill (but still not fun) road rash. The worst of it was her knee, which had taken the brunt of the abrasion, taking off several layers of skin. That sucks, as I know how annoying a healing knee can be, since you’re always moving it. We stopped and waited for a support vehicle to get some first aid. Ironically, before the race, I had convinced us that we wouldn’t need to carry a first aid kit, as nothing ever goes wrong on a road ride. It’s always a good idea when in the woods, but on a road? Bah! Oops, not the best call, so we had to wait for a few well-intentioned, but not-so-well-trained first aiders to help out. It was rather comical watching them try to patch up the knee with all the wrong things, but eventually, Jody was patched, and ready to roll. Bruised, scraped, torn, and unhappy, but ready.

From there, the ride in to Perth was touch and go, with Jody in pretty bad spirits, and who can blame her? This was to be our lunch stop, so we regrouped and discussed options. I pushed for her to consider abandoning, as I was not sure mentally she was up for it anymore. Jody quietly told me that I should just let her have her storm cloud for a bit, but she’d be okay. So that was that. We told the rest of the gang to go ahead, and that we’d just go at our own pace the rest of the way, rather than hold them up.

True to her word, Jody ‘bounced’ back. And although our pace was nothing spectacular, we were not the last on the road, nor the slowest. We had a nice leisurely tour pace, and Jody toughed it out. I’m pretty sure she was the most determined rider of the day 🙂 At one point in the ride, we arrived at a crossroads where there was a chip wagon puffing out it’s incredible smells, and we couldn’t help but stop. I had a hot dog and fresh-cut fries, while Jody had onion rings and a cream soda. Not exactly ‘performance food’, but man was it gooood ! My iron gut was fine with carrying on with that stuff in my belly, but poor Jody started feeling a touch nauseous, and later on we took a little break at the side of the road in a really picturesque spot to ‘recover’. The weather was getting rather warm, but it was still a great day of riding.

The feeling when we finally rolled in to Kingston was pretty nice. The one thing we both sort of missed was the fact that there was no real finish line. Would it have killed them to set one up? It was very anti-climactic to be done. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up, getting settled in at the dorm, and enjoying some food and for some of us, BEvERageS . It was kinda fun to be on a campus again. We really felt like we were back in university, what with the dorm, and the cafeteria style food, then off to the campus pub 🙂 The one main difference was that we all turned in pretty early, since the next morning we’d have to turn around and do it all over again. 177 more kilometers. Good times.

Luckily for Jody, she found a better first aider who patched her up once again at the finish. Not only that, but she found Jody a ride back to Ottawa, and a way to get the bike back too, so Jody didn’t have to stress about trying to either ride back or find a way home. I think it was the right call, as I’m sure she was hurting the next morning.

Early rise, and we hit the breakfast. Yum. I loaded up on all sorts of junk. A much bigger breakfast than I normally would eat, but I had a feeling there would be no stopping for fries on the way home. This time, I’d be in the pack with the tandem and Kev, so I’d have to push my mountain bike to roll fast. It’s amazing the pace four legs on one bike can maintain on flats. However, on the hills, they really slow down 🙂 A couple times, Kev and I darted out ahead on hills just to get some sprints in. However, the Lawson train would always eventually catch up to us.

All in all, the ride back was fairly uneventful. We maintained a solid pace, and only stopped at the 4 official rest stops along the route, and even then, we didn’t stop long. It helped that the weather was not co-operating this time. Soon after the start we were pummeled by rains which got us pretty soaked in a short order. Luckily, temperatures weren’t too bad. We were back in Ottawa at a decent hour. I think it was around 3pm. However, before finishing off, I can say that ActiveSteve and his stupid accidents once again reared it’s ugly head.

Picture this: Merivale and Meadowlands intersection. I’m trying to drink from a bottle as the tandem slows down to stop in front of me. Smart Steve can only use one brake, as he has a bottle in one hand. Which brake? The front one. How hard? Too hard. Result? An extremely slow-motion endo . I almost guarantee that none of you have EVER seen anything like it. Thank you hydraulic brakes 🙂 Kevin saw the whole thing, and last I heard, was still laughing about it 2 days later. I was virtually unscathed from the incident, but boy did I feel stupid. These things always happen to me at the most odd times. Kinda like how I always sprain my ankle on smooth roads 🙂

Anyway, we got back to Carleton, and were once again disappointed that there was not real ‘finish’. Oh well. At least the smell of a BBQ was gently wafting through the air. Sweet, the post ride meal you always get at events. What? We have to pay? So much for that. They couldn’t even give us a burger or dog as part of our fee? No matter, at least there were showers in the gym. What? $4.50 a shower??! $7.00 if you wanted a towel with your shower??!? Nice touch. I won’t rant too much, but for an event that was running its’ 38th iteration there were a few things that surprised me, that was one of them. I’m sure this is a major fundraiser for the Ottawa Bicycle Club, but if you’re going to nickel and dime us to death, at least be clear why!

We all just opted to head home and do our own thing, after briefly posing for a couple group photos with our completion certificates (which were a nice touch BTW). Jody had even made it back via bus from home to meet us at the end, which was nice. She was in good spirits, and in spite of the rather remarkable wounds on face and knees, seemed pretty healthy. We loaded up all our gear and headed home, just in time to watch the heavier rain starting. Our pace saved us from getting super soaked, which was nice.

So there it was. Rideau Lakes 2009. My first time, and probably not last time doing that tour. I did have a good time, although the throngs of riders somewhat detract from the ‘tour’ style of the ride. It’s hard to hold back when a peleton of 20 riders blows past you. My first reaction is to sprint after them, but you have to keep saying ‘tour, tour, tour’. Congrats to everyone who made the trek, and to those who had accidents or mechanical issues but still carried on. Riding 354km in 2 days is a remarkable feat for most, and something to truly be proud of. It was also very good training prep for BC for me. I’ll stop now, as once again I’ve written FAR too much. I just don’t know when to stop or leave things out. And believe me, I left a LOT out!

3 Cakes and Another Year Wiser

Hello friends! I’ll keep the post short, but I did want to say first off, thanks to everyone who sent me a warm birthday wish, be it card, phone call, wall post or email. It’s always great to get a little love on your birthday. This past weekend marked yet another year going by for ActiveSteve. And what better way to spend that occasion then being active? The weather has been particularly uncooperative towards the end of last week, but that didn’t stop me and a group of friends from setting up a nice long bike ride for Saturday. All told, we were out there over 7 hours, 6 of those hours pushing hard on the mountain bikes all over Gatineau park. I’ve set up a nice folder of all the pictures, as well as put together a custom map of the ride for all of you to check out. It was certainly a large and great part of my weekend fun, but there were some other treats in store the rest of the weekend as well. Read on for a little bit more about the festivities.

As you might imagine, I opted to take it pretty easy on Friday. I didn’t leave the office till almost 7pm, so I wasn’t really in the mood to do a whole lot after a long week at work. The idea was to get as much done then so that I wouldn’t have to log in to the office on my birthday. Happily, I was [mostly] successful. Had a nice big pasta meal at home with Jody, then just relaxed. Next day, the weather was plenty awesome for the ride. Although it had rained non-stop all night and into the morning, the 6 of us who headed out from Aylmer were lucky enough to have the rain stop before we took off. There was obviously still some mud, but all in all, conditions were superb. Not too hot, not too windy, and not too many bugs. The ride was outstanding, and I felt pretty strong the whole ride. Certainly stronger than some parts of last year’s 100k ride, where I fell off the pace a few times and struggled up a few of the bigger hills. No such problems this year. Things are looking up for Rideau Lakes cycle tour as well as the mighty BC Bike Race!

What’s that, you haven’t sponsored me yet for BC Bike Race? What are you waiting for? Get on that and sponsor me right now 🙂 If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my BCBR mini-site.

The ride was once again capped off with some awesome home-cooked chili with chips, bread and beer, as well as an amazing chocolate cake that was brought out for my birthday. I’m truly spoiled.

Jody came out to pick me up, and told me that Al and Matt had suggested checking out some live music at the Elmdale Tavern. Sounded good to me, after all, I earned my beers. Long story short, I went a little overboard. We were at the bar till the wee hours, then retreated back to Al and Matt’s to keep on partying. Before I knew it, it was after 4:30am! Oops. When Jody woke me up at 6:30am to head home, I realized that there would likely be no riding that day. Too bad, I had hoped to do another quick 70k loop in the park on my road bike in the morning, but we had a prior engagement for later in the day.

What was the engagement, well a nice little bbq (which just turned into a lunch on account of the rain) at Lydia and Mike’s. There, I finally met their cute baby Mateo, and spent a low-key afternoon with friends. My reward? Another awesome cake, this time a cheese cake. All told, I racked up 3 birthday cakes if you count the ice cream cake my co-workers lavished me with. Thank goodness I have a sweet tooth 🙂 Speaking of which, off to the dentist tomorrow!

Before the visit, I was also lucky enough to connect with my sister in Saudi Arabia, and catch up on all their latest news, as well as get a special birthday song from my favourite niece Helena. She did a bang-up job singing to me, but I was sad that my skype wasn’t working, so I had no video. It’ll be awesome to have them back in town, especially knowing that my 2nd niece or nephew is on the way.

To cap off the weekend fun, Jody took me out for an awesome meal. We tried for Keg Manor, but were too late to make reservations, so we headed off toe Moxie’s in Kanata instead. Good choice though, as I was lovin’ my chicken and ribs combo. Jody laughed at my messy meal, but it was just what I wanted 🙂

That’s enough of a post for now, as I have to go off to bed soon, and start prepping for the big Rideau Lakes tour this weekend. 354km of riding in 2 days. I ordered a video camera for the event, so hopefully I’ll have some cool clips to share. Stay tuned for that stuff 🙂 Till then, stay relaxed everyone, and stay thirsty my friends.