The Road Travelled Thus Far….

Photo Tim Sherstobitoff

Photo Tim Sherstobitoff

April 18th, 2013

Or in my case, the best laid plans go to waste.

As I type this I had hoped to be packing for the Tour of Walla Walla in the far south east of Washington state.  But instead I am on the mend from a stomach issue that I am told happens to all racers at some point in their lives.  So basically I chalk that up to me being some what pro!  If stomach issues can sideline seasoned pro’s like Tom Boonen, then obviously that puts me up in their ranks.

All joking aside, I had to take the month of April off racing so that I could properly recover after each race.  To some this would be an easy feat, but ask my girlfriend and she will definitely tell you otherwise.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I was supposed to be racing and hopefully winning.  I weighted 30 pounds less than I did last year!!!! I mean COME ON!

It’s not about the Bike!

Sure Lance, like anyone would believe you now!  While I do agree that the engine is the most important part of any racer, having it wrapped in a Mclaren GT body sure beats it clothed in a minivan!  That is how I feel about my bike this year.  Somewhere far far away all the stars alined and I ended up with a 2013 Specialized S-Works Venge.  Basically 15.5 lbs of carbon and fun!  Complete with (now outdated) 2013 Sram Red and some super trick 60 mm carbon wheels, the thing looks fast standing still.  I feel sometimes like one of the monkeys that they sent to space before humans.   More detail on the bike in another post.

DSC07974

I did manage to squeak in some races prior to the stomach implosion.  The list includes: Spring Series Races including Aldergrove Short RR, River Road RR and Bradner RR.  I raced Cat B and finished in the top ten of the later two, and the just outside the lead pack in the first one.  The Gorge Roubaix in Oregon and the Spring Series 3 Day Stage Race had to be cancelled due to the stomach issues.  But there was no way that I was going to give up on Barry’s Roubaix and the new Barry’s Roubaix TT.

Did I mention that I actually like climbing.... less and less?  Photo Credit Doug Brons

Did I mention that I actually like climbing…. less and less? Photo Credit Doug Brons

The Barry’s Roubaix TT finish was not where I had wanted to be, mainly because I forgot the HR strap and tried to run the course by feel.  At the half way point I knew that a blind rat could have been going faster than I was and my finish was 28th overall I think.  The real prize was on Sunday.  Just like the Professional equivalent, the race was my own personal Hell.   I raced really well, taking the lead on many of the laps, but in the end the cold and the rain got the better of me.  At the corner into the gravel section along the dyke on the second to last lap my left arm froze and I couldn’t move it fast enough to get it off the handlebars.   Then when I stopped I felt as if someone pulled the plug on the heat in my body and it literally “drained” from me and I started to shake and shiver uncontrollably.  My race was over.

Taking the lead on the road.  Photo Credit Tim Stobitoff.

Taking the lead on the road. Photo Credit Tim Sherstobitoff.

Outside of riding continuously all winter in the darkest of the dark hours of the night, which in the BC means 4:00 pm, there are a few other steps that I took that have helped immensely over the last few months.   Racing is not easy, and when you have a goal as lofty as mine, serious work has to go into it.  The goal you ask?  Race Gastown GrandPrix in 2014.  Will I get there?  I think so, and it is with the help of the following people and services that have gotten me where I am today.  These may come across as blatant promotion but these things have shaped my life for the better in the last 6 to 8 months

In the middle of the CX season (CX = cyclocross, for those not in the knobby skinny tire know) I got a coach.  I discovered Ben Chaddock years back after completing the Whistler Grand Fondo.  As a resident of Whistler and a professional rider he had been interviewed by Pique Magazine to discuss the explosion of road cycling.  His analogy of coffee to describe the difference between mountain biking and road biking caught my attention and once meeting the guy I knew he was a good fit.  Racing now as part of the Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis and the 2012 Canadian Criterium Champion, with a history as a ski racer and Cyclocross rider, the guy is a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Many of my successes can be attributed to him talking me through rough experiences.  cyclinginatoque.blogspot.ca  Check him out, he also has a program called B.I.K.E.S which schools children in elementary school on the benefits of cycling.

As part of the of season training every Wednesday night my girl and I headed down to TAG Cycling to have our legs torn off by whomever was the coach Wednesday Night.  I know, I know… spin classes, isn’t that something that women from the 80’s did? Push ups on the bike and bad music?  You see TAG Cycling is different, real cyclists lead the classes and many of the times their workouts are tailored to certain stages of certain races.  Rest assured you will have fun and get a killer workout.  Visit www.tagcycling.com.

Cycling shoe on the left with a custom fit Kintec Orthodic and Moonshoe on the right with an equally custom fit Orthodic.  Solid feet mean good cycling and running.

Cycling shoe on the left with a custom fit Kintec Orthodic and Moonshoe on the right with an equally custom fit Orthodic. Solid feet mean good cycling and running.

Running.  Is one word that can instill fear into the hearts and minds of anyone.  Again as part of my off season training the coach had me running.  I hated him and running at the beginning but as it progressed I have actually come to enjoy it.  A fresh pair of new shoes (or moon boots as the guys at the shop call em) and some swank new insoles provided by Kintec and I was out there actually enjoying the forest.  Heck, I even started to wear my Ipod.  Yeah the aesthetics of the shoes leave less to be desired but they don’t hurt my feet.
Check em out www.kintec.net

So there you have it.  My season thus far.  I have signed up for Provincials in Victoria at the beginning of June and have put my name down for ever event the organizers will let a Cat 3 racer participate in for BC Super Week.

There are obviously some more people that I need to thank:

The Girl.  Kelly has seen it all and heard it all.  For being there through this mess, for dealing with my ability to explode and spread my gear every where I go, I am super glad that you have been there.

The man, the myth, the once green haired legend Kim Steed.  For supporting me the Team and me this far, I can’t thank you enough!

Tim Abercrombie, Andrew Pinfold, Dave Vukets, Sherwood Plant, Matt Horland, Brett Wakefield and Kevin Calhoun.  You guys get the brunt of my questions when I don’t like the answer that Kelly gives me regarding gear/training or when she doesn’t know (which is NEVER).  Will be great to head out on the tracks whether it be dirt or pavement with you this year.

In closing, there is one thing that I have learned that when it is all said and done you still have to have fun.  It can’t all be training and worrying about what you are eating or if someone stole your KOM.

Cake

And in my case that means eating a gluten free vegan chocolate cake after a ride. Photo Credit Kelly Jones.