Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cross Rebuild

I put gears back on my cyclocross bike. I am weak of will. In Ottawa, not many ride single speed cross and there is no category for it unlike other race series I've been in. I felt there was no use handicapping my self anymore.

My Cannondale is getting on in years. The frame has a dent but is still good. The dura ace/open pro rims are doing terrific. I outfitted it with a big 12-27 cassette, which will come in handy on the steep climbs at the Almonte course. I bought a new old-stock ultegra 9spd shifter which works like a dream. I also got new Avid brakes and a new chain. All the new parts pretty much constitutes a full rebuild. After an afternoon of tinkering the bike rides like a dream.

Tomorrow is the first race. Unlike previous years I have not done any specific training. All my rides this summer have been long long long. As usual, I'm planning on hitting my stride when the weather gets really really crappy.

Paul's Dirty Enduro 100k

Last Saturday I awoke to frost on my sleeping bag after a night under the stars in the Ganaraska forest, just north east of Toronto. After getting my stuff in order, I lined up at the start, half shivering in the 10C dewy morning.

Through the eight and a half hours of riding it warmed up to comfortable weather. Riding, riding, riding. 100k (62 miles) of continuous single track snaking through the woods. I've never seen so much single track. Over 7000 feet of climbing, mostly up little hills, 10-20 feet at a time, like a thousand paper cuts.

Near the end they marked on the map something called the Never Ending Hill. In a dark shady valley, on a totally flat and quiet section of trail, there marked the sign for the "Never Ending Hill: back by popular demand." The trail remained flat as I rode further a minute or so. I was thinking that my tired brain was getting paranoid. Clearly the event organizers were messing with me---lulling me into complacency. These woods were definitely haunted. Probably a massacre or something a long time ago... Then the trail gradually kicked back. Not really a climb, but a few minutes on it got a little steeper still. Finally the angle required getting out of the saddle. I rounded a corner and a few hard grunts and I crested the top. The organizers did mess with me, but in a good way. The hill did end, and was a pice of cake. Out of five single speed riders doing the 100k, I came in 4th. The fastest single speed was only 20 mins behind the leader, clocking in at 6 1/2 hours (winner was 6:10)!

15 minutes later I passed the finish line. Great course. No, amazing course. And an wonderful cause, since proceeds go to suicide prevention for the Canadian Mental Health association, in honour of the eponymous Ganaraska rider Paul who befell that sad fate many years ago...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ridge Trail: Great western trail, American Fork, Utah section

I just got back home from my three weeks in the west. My goals while over there were many, the most important was to see my brother in the bay area get married. But personally, after a year in the flat cold of eastern Canada, I wanted to reconnect with my friends and the western mountains that I love. Over the years of living in Utah, one persisting quest that emerged was a goal to ride as much as I can of the Great Western Trail (GWT), specifically the Utah section.

The ride here I planned to take from alpine loop pass, separating Sundance canyon with AF, and traverse the Ridge Trail north toward the Tri-canyons associated with the Salt Lake City section that I and everybody has ridden too many times to mention. The ridge trail section, on the other hand, is seldom ridden, or hiked that I can tell. Most people in Utah valley are motorized. With my sea-level lungs, my father-in-law dropped me off at 8,600 feet.

Everything was slow except my heartbeat. Through the aspen glades and single track. I hike-a-biked over motorcycle rutted loose climbs soaking in the mountain environment, riding where I could. I was home. My plan was to try to ride into the Tri-canyons and find a friend to drive me back to Utah valley where I was staying. But plans are just that. After hiking up terrain to rugged to ride in Mineral basin, looking up at the Snowbird tramdoc at 11,000, a mile or two, and many hours away, I decided to turn back at the 5hr mark and ride home.