Monday, February 20, 2017

Action Not Words

Today's late afternoon ride was a little different as spotted something that didn't seem right and raised a  red flag.

 Looking after your mates

 On this day and that being a clear, sunny, and very warm February day was a good day to ride. Expecting nothing but a spin on the bike and a stop by the creek to clear my head. It was off for a wander to check the conditions of the ice thickness on the trails.

About 5 minutes in riding along Bath parallel to the CN Rail main line to Toronto spotted a older gentleman sitting near the tracks. But when I looked a second time noticed he was sitting on the actual rail.  Took me about 60m before I remembered that is the section where a couple of years ago someone was killed there by a VIA rail train, they still won't say if it was accidental or not.

Quickly stopped and dropped my bike in the snow. Not wanting to run back and startle the old guy. Hopped the ditch and jogged up the berm to the line. I wanted to see if there was more going on before I just ran up to him thinking the worst case. All it looked like was he sat on the rail during a walk to have a moment. And turns out it was correct as he stood up and dusted himself off. And walked back to the street. And kept walking towards home some where down the street.

So in the end it was nothing but an old guy sitting on the rail looking out over Collins Bay. Maybe not the smartest place to sit. But it was better to have checked to see if someone was having a bad day. So back on the bike to check out the trails and the creek.

As I rode was thinking of the last few years and what I have been through in terms of mental health. And thinking of the suicides last year that rocked my wife's workplace. I could speculate all sorts of scenarios. Yet it was one thing that stands out....

Instead of talking about mental health, I interrupted my ride to check on some one else which is more important than just talk.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Where Ever I May Roam

A rare year with minimal snow and a day with temps that allowed for shorts. Yes shorts in January in Ontario.

A ride that had no real route planned. Leaving the timing stuff behind. Just a general direction to roam.

Route map.
Where Ever May I Roam

2017 marks 14 years of wandering the Rouge and numerous trips up to the highest point in Scarborough....The summit of Ben Trash.

After descending Ben Trash wandered my way east to take the connector to Seaton.

Turned out to be a mixed bag, some bog conditions, some ice, and some giant puddle skirting.

Ended up at the Seaton view point and took it in for a bit. Had some Rum from the new flask to warm things up a wee bit. And a salute to those that are missed.

No feeling like dealing with the puddles and ice that would make up half the ride back took the road back part of the way.

In the end a good unexpected 3 hours of riding in January.

In shorts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tough Call and Head Injuries

 In the last 12 months there has been an increased discussion online among cyclists about concussios. Specifically around some articles that leaned towards the fear side of the discussion. Here I will not be sharing articles but a incident on January 7th. 

On January 7th at the Kingston Snophy Fat Bike race we had some crashes that involved some injuries.  One was a broken collar bone and one concussion.

CCA Concussion Management

Part way through the day we had just extracted a rider with a broken collar bone who was warming up and getting checked out by the race medic. During this a rider walked up stating that he rang his bell good. Which initially wasn't alarming. What raised the red flag was when he said..."I don't remember what lap I am on" and he was on lap one. Recalling past incidents to others in regards to concussions without hesitation I got him headed to the medical tent 10 feet away. And got the medics attention to take over. His race was over.

CCA Head Injury/Concussion Protocol

As a course worker it is not fun pulling a racer of the course. I raced endurance sport for years specifically triathlon where finish no matter what is the mind set. But I know it was the right call to have made for his long term mental health. Of course later when one is relaxing with a beer you analyze the event and think what could have been done. Even better when you have others who have knowledge on this to sto act as a sounding board. Fortunately I have a sounding board to talk it out with and figure out if something was missed.

My wife Joely is that person with who we have discussed numerous times head injuries related to her job. Joely's job is the RMCC Women's VolleyBall Head Coach and Head coach of the CISM team. So later that night with beer in hand shared with her the incident and what was done. And it was the same as what she would have done for any of her athlete's she coaches.

As a coach I feel that while we are seeing lots of discussion about concussions and long term effects. We also need to talk about incidents and what was done so that others may learn more about it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dilemma Of Frame

So a year ago I had my be loved Mistress V1 aka Chromag Stylus stolen. And delayed getting a replacement till now.

Costs this time being a concern, meaning had to keep it in the dirt bag budget area. Which delayed looking at new through On One Bikes. I stalked the Pinkbike and Ebay looking for something that would meet requirements. But never found much, not even a old Stylus ever gets sold.

With winter I decided I needed a winter build project and a winter bike. Nicely timed to this was On One having a wicked sale. But this leads us to the Dilemma. That being go with the 45650B or the Deedar? Was already looking at a 650b frame anyways as would still allow me to use wheels I already have.



Pros: can fit hubs I already have so don't need to acquire a new hub, has disc tab, takes a 1.5 steer tube, can build it up faster for earlier riding gratification, and can get it in the raw look for no extra cost.

Cons: Older design, No thru axle


Pros: Newer design, 44 head tube allows me to run a 1.5 steer tube, drop outs can bne replaced. Shiny and newest edition

Cons: Need a 12x142 hub, so need to build a new rear wheel as can't run current QR wheels, Raw is $50 extra, no other drop outs available, and no earlier riding gratification.

And on one is having a sale where the Deedar and the 45650b are the same price $163.66.  Thus creates the I go for the new Deedar even though I have to get a 12x142 rear hub and build a rear wheel or go with the older 45650b and get riding sooner?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Switzerville Wandering

Over the last few years have been slowly exploring trail options in the area between Kingston and Napanee.

My foray down the Unmaintained section of Newburg Rd to the 401 was a bust as it went right into a quarry. Which had warning signs that mentioned High Explosives. So that was a bust. But further down Switzerville Rd was this unmaintained road.

Switzerville to Maple Rd

It is definitely not gravel rail trail as the suspension fork on the Mistress V2 had to do some work.

Turns out there is a small escarpment as one nears the 401 and the track wheels left to pass an abandoned quarry.

The track ends at Maple Road which is not far from the Camden Road 401 overpass. Which is not far from the exit of another track on the south side of the 401.

This would be a good spot to park and follow this track further at a future time in the Spring next year.

After getting back to the van took a spin down Switzerville Rd for 5 minutes and found another Unmaintained Road. 

But looks like this goes after a quick Google Earth look , straight north. Not exactly the direction I wanted. But still work riding it next year.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cat Trail- Perth Village to Highway 15

On Sept 5th made a trip up to Perth Road village to check out that section of the Cataraqui Trail. It was really a recce ride as time was short as it was later in the day then planned. But while short it gave me info on what to expect for the longer ride.

After check Google Earth and planning was back up there on September 10th for a longer ride of that section. The goal was to get to Highway 15 and return.

Perth village to Highway 15

 Initially it was a rainy drive up to the trail head and looked like a wet soggy ride. Fortunately the rain was only south of the Cat Trail thankfully.

Initial start was damp but after that it was dry.

On the bridge at Chaffeys Lock some local left a couple of pumps for anyone who needed it.

Apparently a nice boat know if your into that sort of SS Minnow kind of thing.

After reaching Highway 15 for the turn around. Began  the long slog back towards Perth Road Village. While had brought lots of water and my favourite patatoe wedges. My lack of fore thought to bring a bottle of Pepsi on a 5 hour ride on gravel would soon rear it's head.

At one point had to stop and take advantage of a nice bench someone had placed by the trail. As energy was a bit low. And of course my Ipod decided that was the correct time to leave me with no tunes to finish the return trip. But hey there was a nice view of a swamp from the bench.

After a bit of a rest was back to getting to the Adventure Van. Which was a bit of a concern time wise as it was after 4 and sunset was coming sooner than later. Despite a slight slacking of speed still made it back in time.

Usually after a ride like this would drive back to civilization to find some food source. This time planned ahead and brought some instant Pho to brew up by the Van. During which of course causes the rain to start again. After shovelling in the food it was time to head for home.

 And while it was good to get in the mileage and ride some where new. It is a ride I would do rarely as it is pretty mind numbing. One definitely needs some tunes.

2016 Kingston Trophy Half Marathon

Labour Day weekend came fast and with it came the Substance Projects Kingston Trophy. And in past years this was the last event prior to Paul's Dirty Enduro. However with that no longer in existence and no races at all this year as life happened.

So there was no expectations for this edition. But you know...just to make it interesting let's do some pre race course work the day before. You know because resting is for the weak.

Race morning awoke and ended up running a wee bit later than planned as didn't exactly feel a rush. Hey, I readily admit I slacked off and simply did this novel thing called riding because Tom Warren was right.

The half marathon started in the same spot and on the same farm track as last year. And with the usual hammer like it is a 2k courier sprint at the go siren. This year had a better start and was further up the back half of the field when we made it through the gate and on to the singletrack of the Collins Lake system. Careful not to get sucked into go hard now like everyone else.  Passed 4 racers at a log when the took the easy route while I went over the straighter line....score for skill.

After the Collins Bay singletrack it was the long ride of grass beaten by horses...aka the filling test section. Which brought us back to Unity which in my mind is the important point of this race. I say this because after crossing Unity the race truly begins. When I say begin I mean it starts to become technical.

After crossing Unity the course made a right to round the field into a section of old farm road. The night before some would say foolishly rode this section with a bike light but this was to prove to be smart. As at a certain point I knew there would be a long gradual descent I could use to my advantage. On the gradual uphill to that point bided my time and when it was at that point upped the pace to pass 4 more riders.  And then it was a traverse from there to go up the sand track...where local knowledge would be important.

 Then through part of the sand box into the Soybean field where the next important decision to be made....take the straighter rock line through the copse of trees or increase pace slightly and beat everyone taking the non rock line. And the end result was the non rock line was faster as the 4 riders ahead took the line and had to dismount. Yep, sometimes racing is about being smart. A head of 4 more riders back to the barn for the first feed zone. Quick shot of coke and into the DH flow track.

Got a head of one rider as they agreed that I was faster on the track and didn't want to be making them nervous. Thanks for that. After the flow track it was into the first half of home loop where it began the exercise in  smooth and flow. Past a few riders in here while trying to keep riding smooth. And had a reminder in this section of why it is important for a racer to not only call out their pass but more importantly which side..

Off to the lower ridge and then part of Route 66 in reverse. Route 66 was in part an exercise in knowing when to hoof it instead of riding. I had been carrying water, bottle on bike and a hydration bladder. Turns out this year had more water than I needed. It seems my week of cellular hydration had worked as no cramps on race day. It was the next day that got that fun when the back cramp came by to go for a ride. So maybe will have to consider revisiting the moto/enduro style tool pack method I used  20 years ago. You know before it was cool.

After ride, hike, ride, hike, brake, repetitively. It was back on Burbrook and up the hill to Pete's Loop. Another test of flow and smoothness.  Going well till racing hard as came out into a field when a racer re entered the course without waiting to check it was clear. Yes, thank you discs for preventing clydesdale from crushing tiny woman. After about 8 minutes of racing in the turns and rocks biding my time...waiting for the rider a head to screw up to make a pass. Log hop they got nervous on and with a "On your right"   I was off.  Then through the soy fields of Pete's land to the aid station. Coming up to the aid station could see 4 riders stopped. Drawing on my old school tri skills called out" Coke" and got it from Dan. Slammed it back and off to the DH run passing 4 more riders.

After the DH it was the gravel grind down Burbrook to the entrance for the final singletrack of Home Loop. Sadly got passed by 3 riders part way through this last bit of singletrack, oh well. Through the pine and down a DH with some pumps and as usual rail it a little close to the tree at the bottom. Soon it was to the climb up onto the grass to the finish. Didn't feel like sprinting so let a rider catch me.

2016 Kingston Trophy Results

 Rode better than expected and improved over last years time by 20 minutes. Not bad considering I didn't actually train this year.