Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rest days are the best days

Yesterday was a much needed rest day from 6 days in a row of riding over 350 km, not including the 4 hr blitz through Squamish single track on our mounatin bikes on Saturday.

Today on the ride in to work my legs felt pretty good so I'm really looking forward to tonight's ride: another ascent of Mt. Seymour!'s definitely going to be a sufferfest as Martin and Stu are in for sure and the line has been cast out to Markezzy. We'll see if he bites. He's preparing right now for a huge race across Slovenia, his motherland, where he'll race non-stop across the country for likely around 40 hours straight...gah?!

Anyways, we'll see how it goes since I'll be looking to beat my previous time of 49 min. and will have a couple greyhounds to drive the pace.

Enjoy the weather out there today...first day of the year where I rode in to work with no vest or jacket; Amazing! Summer's coming...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Just a quick update...

Last night Stu, Erik and I got out for a nice ride in the beautiful weather that we've been so lucky to have all spring so far. It would seem that the May flowers don't actually need the April showers after all...

The plan was to climb Cypress and then finish with Whytecliff. We hit Cypress and slowly ramped it up with Erik putting in a superb showing for the limited miles he's spent on his road bike thus far in the 2009 season. Nice work Erik!

After rounding the second switchback and Stu calling out some encouragement, we started punching it up the second to last straightaway. It was at this point that I had to accuse Stu of arson becaused my legs were torched. I was panting for breath as he was casually experimenting with seating position and asking me really great questions that went sort of like this:

Stu: "Hey Fras, where are you on your seat?"

Fras: "Uhhh...gasp, gasp...ummm, in the middle?...gasp!"

Stu: "Oh interesting...I find I can get more power when I'm further back."

Fras: ", cough, gasp..."

All of this was followed by Stu calmly raising the pace one notch higher...har har har.

That was the hardest climb I've done so far this year so that was awesome. On our way back we busted out to Whytecliff and back keeping the pace relatively high and both sprinting hard for Ambleside on the way home. Total mileage: 95 km...nice ride boys!

Rest day today and much needed...looking forward to hanging with my sweety.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cappuccino vs. Scotch

On my 9 year quest to become a thoroughbred Italian, I've never felt so close as I did this past weekend. Some background; I never drink coffee, and frankly don't enjoy the taste of it at all. To me a cup of coffee is like a glass of fine scotch: everyone seems to love it but you don't know why, because it tastes funny and definitely does not get smoother the more you drink! ;)

That being said, no guts no glory; so Friday evening I came out of the gates with all guns firing and downed a double espresso with Markezzy while we enjoyed the twilight views north from Horseshoe Bay. Not wanting my espresso debut to be a one hit wonder, I followed up with a well-timed cappuccino on the Steveston waterfront. So that's why I'm feeling pleased as punch with my "viva italia" display of spirit this weekend, and it also brings me to recount Sunday's excellent adventure.

The ponies were saddled up at 12:30 at the Bookbinder Ranch and off we went for a brisk afternoon trot. Representing the gentlemen were Ty, Stu and myself. The ladies came through with a lovely contingent comprising Justine, Amy, Tam and Car. Justine steered us through Richmond without incident and then we were onto the beautiful, quiet roads heading to Steveston.

We made the stop for the ladies' obligatory treat and then began the soft-pedal back to Kits when BAM! Bookie was off the front as Tam's domestique. Tam obviously felt she had the legs to win the intermediate sprint and told Stu to dig in. Stu, knowing better than to contest, buried the hatchet and it was go-time! Luckily I had Ty with me to share the work and we neutralized the attack with some effort.

Up the road we ran into some damsels in distress who were looking somewhat befuddled with one of their bike wheels in their hands and scratching their heads. I seized the opportuniy to demonstate my chivalry, and offered a hand. A moment later I had quickly and effortlessly overfilled and exploded the new tube, wasted their only CO2 cartridge and wished them well with their new, equally difficult but somewhat different situation! To my utter disbelief, these events somehow prompted one of the girls to smile, offer me her hand and inform me her name was Kat. Inside my head: "What the?! Excellent work Mr. Charles; although you've just confirmed you're an idiot, it would appear you've still got it ma' man!" Har har har...

After getting the Glottman-Simpson squad sorted we wished them well and then hammered to reel back the girls who had managed to sneak away in the midst of the mayhem.

After the ride was finished, that evening Stu and Tam invited everyone over for an amazing BBQ which was super fun and an excellent way to cap a perfect weekend. A huge thanks to Tam and Stu for generously opening their doors and hosting as they always seem to do...cheers guys!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Squamish Gold

"Wow" is the one word to aptly describe today's escapades.

I woke up this morning at 6:20 am, rose to fill the thundermug and then tried in vain to get some more shut-eye. I got up at 6:30 and started getting sorted for the ride on Squamish's hallowed single track. Stu called me around 8:00 and informed me that he too had gotten so wound up about today's ride that he had to get up at 6:30 am, and we were set to leave his place at 8:50am.

I rode my bike over to meet up and as I got there, Churchy rolled up in style and we piled the bikes onto Stu's truck. It seems that the exercise bug bit almost everyone we knew since as we were leaving, Tammy, Amy and Kate were going for a run and then we passed Stu's sis Justine and Alex on their way up to Squamish for a girls rip trip on the trails. Sick!

After enjoying one panoramic view after another on the drive up, we pulled into Brennan Rec Centre ready to unload (in more ways than one hey Stu...har har har). We met up with T-bone Malone and Ricky Bobby as well as Megan, the Australian winged assassin. This girl can seriously rip and it was nice to break up the usual testosterone-drenched atmospshere with a douse of femininity. (In case you're wondering, T-bone provided that douse of femininity...har har har, oh man that was a terrific joke).

Stu and Churchy trading scathing insults about who would cramp first

Churchy showing off his award-winning racing garb

So anyways, the wheels began rolling and we were off following the Test of Metal course up to Alice Lake, across the coveted 4 Lakes Trail, around Deadman's Loop, up the Rock n' Roll bypass, and then screaming through the banked turns of Rob's and Cliff's corners with Churchy breathing fire down my neck!

Here we decided to pull a U-ey and head across to some upper trails...little did we know that Stuey had no idea where he was going (with me in full support of all wrong turns with conviction that yes, this was definitely the correct way - har har har) but still eventually got us to where we needed to go. And what would any mtb ride be without a special guest apperance by the Northshore's golden child, Matty "The Professor" Hunsberger. Matty is fondly known by all his close friends as the professor due to his uncanny ability to school everyone on really hard, fast DH trails. Actually I don't think anyone calls him that, but I think I may start now.

So after a group collaboration with Matt, it was decided that we would pedal up the road for another 25 min and try out a new trail that had recently been opened by a bunch of locals who were adamant that its location be kept secret from folks like us; as Stu aptly put it, the “city-ots”. This trail ended up being one of the most insane rides I’ve ever tried and was definitely the highlight of the ride for me...thanks Matty!

After that we began to wind back down the classic Pseudo Tsuga and after some deliberation about the enticing possibility of extending our ride for another 2 to 3 hrs, gradually made it back to Brennan Park psyched out of our faces about having had such a great ride on such a gorgeous day. We wrapped ‘er up with some burgers, beers and yam fries at the Squamish brew pub and chased that with some world-class gelato to celebrate striking gold in Squamish. I can’t believe we’re only a month into spring and already having this much fun...

Final note; ride of the day goes to Ty "the Up and Comer" Hunsberger hands down. Tyler's improving so much from ride to ride that I think we all might have something to worry about by the time the Test of Metal rolls around. Good job Berger!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Molto Bene

So this week ended up rounding out quite nicely with some great rides; one solo endeavour and one team effort.

Thursday after work I decided that I would try and do the ride out to Whytecliff Park and back in a time trial format where I would would just try and give it everything for the whole ride and see wht kind of speed I could average by the end of 60 km. All last year I had not been able to make an average of 30 km/h except for once near the end of the season where I surprised myself and had a "superman" ride and busted out 31.5 km/h. Well last night I went for it for the first time this season and nailed 31.1 km/h so I was proper psyched with that. The UBC Tuesday night crits start in about 11 days so I'm pretty excited to see where my fitness is at in a good race scenario.

Anyways, tonight the goal was to do a 100 km ride and my great friend Markez showed up to escort me through it. It was 103 km and 3 hrs 58 min of super fun; we went easy enough to afford conversation an dgood laughs for almost 4 hours, hard enough that my legs were shot by the end, and took a break in Horseshoe Bay just long enough for me to experience my first double espresso...MOLTO BENE!!!

Hopefully my legs aren't too burned by tomorrow morning as we've got a super moutain bike ride planned for up in Squamish tomorrow. Stu's house at 8:50am there or the train leaves Kits withoutcha!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vitamin D

Vancouverites are getting slammed with an overdose of Vitamin D today. I rode to my good friend Ty's clinic this morning for a shoulder treatment and as soon as I got into the sun I had an ear to ear grin on my face for the whole ride...Amazing!

The update for my shoulder is that I saw my GP again yesterday and she will be referring me for an MRI that will hopefully tell more of the story, and will hopefully get scheduled in the not-too distant future. I still have a reasonable amount of pain however Car has begun performing ART on the affected areas so hopefully that will begin to speed recovery.

Apart from that, riding has been going well. I took last night off as I was feeling pretty tired still from Monday night's climb up Seymour and I think it helped as my legs felt super fresh this morning on my way to work. I also purchased my 2009 road racing license last night, and the first UBC Tuesday nighter starts on May 5th (I think) so I'm really looking forward to those.

I think that I'm going to start organizing my training to some extent where in one week I'll do one major climb (Seymour or Cypress), one long ride (>= 100km), one shorter (30 to 60 km)speed workout (Whytecliff speed run, Stanley Park or UBC hill intervals, or Tuesday night crit race etc.) and one hard mtb ride.

Tonight I'll make the blast out to Whytecliff unless a better option presents itself...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mountains out of mole hills

Last night after work I really wanted to do my first climb of Mt. Setmour on my road bike...circumstances dictated that only one other man was able to saddle up beside me, and it was none other than Sizzle!

Unbelievable! This guy is on the fritz with a chest cold, didn't sleep more than four hours the previous night and then calls me at 3:00pm telling me that he can't let this one get away and he'll meet me at 4:15 sharp because he can't afford to miss yoga at 7:00pm?! Who is this guy!

We peeled out of Kits exchanging the usual banter and after about an hour, found ourselves ramping up the rpm's heading out towards Deep Cove on the Dollarton Hwy.

Elapsed time:
1 hr 09 min; hit Mt. Seymour Rd. and swing right to begin the climb.

1 hr 11 min; get lighter and water the local flora at the same time. Start the climb.

1 hr 15 min; remember why Seymour is way harder then Cypress as we get slapped in the face by the steep first pitch.

1 hr 52 min; legs are about to fall off but I just pounded through the last switchback...gotta beat 50 minutes!

2 hr 0 min; cross the line at the summit at 49:08...catch my breath and watch Sizzle storm up the final straight to clock in at 53:06. That's really fast for his first time ever climbing this mole hill.

3 hr 30 min; Back in Kits, limp down to the water with my lovely wife and a delicious plate of greek food to watch the sunset.

What a night...I love Vancouver.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Test of Metal preview

This weekend was a little more low key with only one real main event planned. Saturday morning the phones started ringing and by 10am we had five of us (myself, Martin, KC, Tyrone and Ricky Bobby) heading northbound for the Land of Milk and Honey; Awesome!!!

This would be my first trip back to Squamish since hurting my shoulder about six weeks ago now. The plan was to ride the Test of Metal course, or at least as much as possible with the present snow conditions at higher elevations.

This was both KC's and Ty's first expedition through the Test of Metal race course and they both rode really well with KC bearing his teeth on his old and undersized hardtail, and Ty clearly demonstrating exactly why he's known around the GVRD as the "up and comer".

The ride of the day incontestably went to Martin as time and again he was off the front flying through the turns and in particular must have literally been floating down the Powerhouse plunge as the only time we saw him was when he graciously stopped to let us all catch up! Nice work MC!

Anyways, we all finished intact (some more than others) and celebrated our completion of the ride with some barley sandwiches back at the parking lot, thoughtfully supplied by Ty.

Sunday was a rest day with the intent being to freshen up the legs for a mad assault on Mt. Seymour today after work under sunny skies and 17C! Hope everyone had a great weekend and I'll let you know how tonight's ride goes. I'll be setting my benchmark time for this season and am hoping that it is under 50 min...hopefully I can wrangle Markezzy and Martin into it since my main man KC is feeling a bit under the weather today. Feel better Sizzle!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Brothers: Can't Live Without 'em

I was just looking through some old photos of past trips to Squamish with my brothers and it made me really miss them. I think that the relationship you have with brothers is something extremely special and to be vastly appreciated. Some people never even get the chance to have a brother so if you do have one consider yourself lucky.

I have two of them, both older and I know that I'm blessed beyond words for a few reasons: they're amazing fellas, we're all each others best friends and we all share passion for outdoor sport which has seen us through some awesome adventures together.

The Brothers Charles
Sure we had our spats when we were kids but I honestly can't remember the last time we disagreed on something. I love Cam and Trev so much and one thing I think everyone should do is never hesitate to tell the people you love in life that you really do. It might be awkward or you might be worried they'll think it's an odd expression of your emotion but it's always worth it.

Last year Cam lost a very close friend who I had become good friends with also and it was my first experience of having to deal with the loss of someone close enough that it really affected me. It also made me realize that nothing's ever for sure in life. You never know what's going to happen.

Anyhow, take (or make) your next opportunity to tell your bros or sis's that you love''s fun, they'll be right chuffed and it feels awesome that you know they understand how much you really appreciate them.

T-Bone: 2008 Craftsman of the Year, Dad and the next Laird Hamilton

CamShaft: Climbing machine, University Professor and the next Lance Armstrong

Free and Clear

Okey doke, sorry I missed a few days there but I've got some good updates! My ultrasound report was sent to my doctor's office on wednesday but apparently she wasn't going to have it reviewed until Friday, and on top of that they wanted me to book an appointment so she could read one paragraph to me; ummm, no. Carla to the rescue...using the pull that my wife has as a doctor, Car's receptionist filed a request for the report to be faxed to her office and voila, Fraso has his report!

Prognosis: All tendons and muscles are free of tears, no swelling of the bursa, no signs of impingement and no indications of damage to posterior labrum! BaBOOM!!! Couldn't be better news however; it still leaves me wondering what the heck happened in there to evoke such discomfort for almost 6 weeks now? I think we're sticking to the story that it was simply quite a serious strain. There has been definite improvement and I'm hoping against hope that I can back climbing again with the gang by early May. I'm going to have a lot of catching up to do also because it sounds like the fellas (Tim and Matt) are crushing the granite up in Squamish lately!

Ok, so the other update was about the riding I've been doing. On Wednesday after work Stu, Kyle and I piled into Stu's truck and headed for the Northshore for some xc mountain biking over on Seymour. Enter the forces of we got to Denman St. and were approaching the Lion's Gate bridge a cyclist pedalled by and mentioned that the bridge was in fact closed. Upon further investigation (read: listening to the radio - har har har) we discovered that a tree had fallen across the causeway through Stanley Park and all lanes in both directions were closed. After waiting for about 40 minutes we pulled the plug and headed back to Kits where we went for a rip through the University Endowment Lands and Pacific Spirit Park. Stu knows his way around the trails up there quite well from having trained for his Ironman Triathlon in those trails so it was fun having a good trail guide!

Now onto Thursday evening...the cursory email went out to round up all available troops at midday but due to circumstance it ended up that only KC and I made it to the frontlines. Objective: Cypress! Long story short, it was a 94 km ride punctuated with a 12 km climb and was amazing even though neither of us ate or drank enough and felt pretty gassed by the end.

I've been keeping track of the distances I ride and so far this season I've put 1560 km on my road bike...not too bad for a rock climber!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Results! It's all about results (and having fun)

I didn't get a chance to update yesterday but I ended up getting in a short road ride and for the first time tried out some interval training. It was pretty fun and it sure sends your heartrate through the roof in a very short time!

Anyways, I can see interval training getting results pretty quickly for punchier riding.

The other results I'm psyched on getting are those for my ultrasound. I should find out tomorrow exactly what's wrong with my shoulder and why the heck it's taking so long to feel better. I'll post up the findings when I hear from the doc...

Back to cycling: as 3:30 rolled around this afternoon, plans solidified for a fast ride out to Whytecliff. The cast for today's episode included Sizzle (Kyle), MC (Martin) and Stuey. Kyle's been riding really well lately as I've mentioned recently and it also doesn't hurt that he's probably the most talented, natural athlete that I know personally...Martin's perennially fit no matter whether he's running, riding, ski touring or climbing so it's no surprise when he turns it up notch...Stu is just ferociously powerful and pushes a huge gear; probably in part due to his weight lifting and in part due to his dedication to interval training on his indoor trainer when he doesn't have the time to get outside for a longer ride.

So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise today when we hit Marine Dr. out past Ambleside and started drilling it right away. This in itself wasn't a problem as my legs felt good despite the short, hard ride I did yesterday. The problem presented itself after we got back to Ambleside and it was all I could to try and pull Bookbinder back as he casually turned out the megawatts. It presented itself again as Sizzle drove the train up and over the Lion's Gate bridge, with my legs starting to get quite annoyed with me at this point. As we wound through the south end of Stanley Park and Stu dropped the hammer one more time, I dug deep into my suitcase of courage and pulled Stu back to within about 20 feet before my legs completely exploded and I sat up totally spent.

It feels so good to know that you've accepted every ounce of effort that your body had to give that day, and that with more tenacity, you'll be able to eek out a few more ounces the next time on your bike which may be just enough to send you screaming across the line in front of every other person in the race.

Mountain biking tomorrow with the gang...let you know how it goes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend part 3

It's Saturday morning, raining in The Couv and perfect weather for an awesome mtn. bike ride!

I woke up this morning and felt like I'd been run over by a truck from our road ride yesterday. Lying in bed I realized I hadn't felt that way since going on climbing trips and putting in long, back-to-back days of sport climbing. Realization: I'm getting soft and need to step it up. Luckily for me the UBC Tuesday night criterium series commences in less than a month so that should be good for a solid drubbing once a week.

I'm feeling pretty good now though after having some breaky, letting my body wake up slowly and doing some bike maintenance. So the plan has materialized to head over to Lower Seymour trails shortly with KC to do some exploring for a few hours of fun.

Fact: I love watching the man that's called Sam Hill race his bike. So what better way to get psyched to go ride my mtn. bike than to watch an absolute genius of Australian lineage rip apart a World Cup course on his? I'm having touble embedding videos off but in the mean time check out Sam Hill's run at the UCI World Cup race at Schladming.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Weekend part 2

So KC and I did the ride and it was awesome!! Kyle rode amazing considering he hasn't been riding a huge amount...this was his also his first 100+ km ride. We ended up doing my brother Trev's North Van Hills route and then into the Whytecliff ride for a total of 106 km and 4 hrs in the saddle. The weather was perfect although it doesn't really look so for tomorrow...

I think tomorrow maybe if I have the legs I'll ride my hardtail mtn. bike over to Seymour to explore some of the lower trails that I haven't ridden yet...should be awesome. Also as a point of interest MEC recycles bicycle tires when you're finished with them as well as tubes that can't be patched

Ok, so on my way back from MEC dropping off my worn out bike tires and busted tube, I stopped pedalling for a moment to take some snaps to showcase how awesome the trees look right now. I guess this is more for people who don't live here...enjoy!

Easter Weekend part 1

Vancouver's exploding with colour and aromas right now as the various tree blossoms are peeking out after a seemingly long winter. I'm heading out for a long ride right now with Kyle and was going to take my camera along but it seems the battery is pooched. I'll get some snaps of the trees this weekend though for sure to post up...they're so beautiful!

I'll let you know how the ride goes in a few hours...we also did about an 8 km run this morning with a few hundred others to celebrate Wendy Ladner-Beaudry, a lady who's life ended far too early last Friday in the trails of Pacific Spirit Park. Our most sincere condolences go out to her friends, family and loved ones. It sounds as though she touched many in her efforts to bring sport to underpriviledged children and as a result, inspiring many of their mothers as well...very sad.

Hope everyone's enjoying the sunshine and their health wherever they are today, and Happy Easter!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ultrasound down, rehab to go

I went to VGH yesterday afternoon with Car and got my ultrasound taken care of by a friendly kiwi lady. I found it really amazing at how clear the image was on the screen, and how I could see the fibrous tendons sliding back and forth as she pressed and manouvered the probe around my shoulder. Pretty crazy to think you can see inside your body without actually being inside your body.

Unfortunately due to the Sonographers Code of Ethics, she wasn't able to give me a diagnosis so I'm forced to wait for one more week until the radiologist forwards the report to my referring physician, who will then hit me with some deets...'bout time!!

Last night I took a rest day as my legs have been feeling pretty tired and heavy since the weekend. I think I've been riding a lot and maybe not getting enough sleep each night to fully recover so this coming long weekend will be filled with easy riding and early nights.

The night before though I did get out for an easy spin with KC and Markez out to Horseshoe Bay. It became the first "Molto Bene" ride for which we developed the following criteria: the ride has to end at sunset so you can enjoy the beautiful view, conversation must take place for at least 90% of the time and should at some point cover Italian cuisine, you can never feel like your actually trying to ride hard and you should preferrably stop for espresso somewhere along the way and finsh with an excellent pizza pie. Ahhhhh, molto bene!

The last thing I wanted to mention is that there is the possibility of a new steed on the horizon...I'll leave it at that for now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


KC and I got out for a quick 45 km rip through Stanley Park yesterday and it was definitely the warmest weather of the year in which I've gotten out for a road ride. So nice!! I actually had to peel off my arm warmers and gloves on our second lap...nice to feel the wind rather than being all bundled up in the 15 layers of lycra that I've gotten used to so far this spring.

So tomorrow is the day...I finally get to see inside my shoulder and figure out why it's being so darn difficult. I'm scheduled to go the VGH at 2:30 for a diagnostic ultrasound. From my limited knowledge, I understand that ultrasonic imaging is not quite as clear as magnetic resonance imaging, but hopefully it will tell the story with enough detail that I don't have to get back in line for an MRI.

All I know is that T-bone Malone is riding Lower Seymour trails this afternoon and I'm super jealous. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, 11C and world class mountain bike trails 30 minutes away from our doorsteps; but one of many reasons why Vancouver's the place to be.

I'll post whatever I find out about my shoulder tomorrow evening, but tonight I ride. The long awaited reunion with John "the Savage" Markez who has been systematically ripping apart the Vancouver cycling scene over the past month takes place this afternoon. The plan is to ride out to Deep Cove and then back across to Whytecliff Park...I'm feeling pretty gassed so far today and Markezzy informed me earlier point blank that I'm pulling the whole ride. How would you like to look behind you for 3.5 hours and see the monster in the center of the photo below bearing his teeth....har har har, we'll see how it goes...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lower Seymour, sunshine and the fastest man alive

Sunday morning dawned a carbon copy of Saturday: blue sky perfection with a forecast high of 16C. Tentative plans had been made the previous day to get in a trail ride today with Lower Seymour and Bunsen Lake being shortlisted as potential destinations.

There were a few events going on Saturday night that threatened to derail even the best-laid plans, but fortunately there is one other person in Vancouver that apparently likes to go to bed early as much as me. Rumour has it that Stu Bookbinder had left the soiree and was in his truck with his trusty pooch trying to catch some shut-eye no later than 10:00 pm. Well done! Even I didn't manage that and hope that one day Stu can impart some of his legendary knowledge onto me on how to pull a runner.

Anyways, plans got sorted, the wheat was separated from the chaff and mid day found Stu and I blazing over to Lower Seymour for the flavour du jour.

The trails were in impeccable condition with very few wet spots and we rode the Bridle Path trail from the Riverside Dr. trail head out to Old Buck. At Old Buck I thought I would strike a convo up with a fella on a big Foes DH bike but from his obvious lack of interest in our greeting I realized he wasn't overly extroverted and probably allergic to Stu's and my spandex get-ups. We took off back along the Bridle Path and then chose to finish off with an excellent trail called Bottletop which brought us back down to Seymour Creek and the Fisherman's Trail.

All in all, an amazing time spent riding in what is surely one of the most stunning settings in all of Canada! There was one downside however; Monday morning I realized the wicked pace Stu was burning through the forest at was a touch heavy on my shoulder so I'll probably revert back to just road riding for a few more weeks.

One last thing; when we rode Bottletop, it brought us to the last section of the Northshore classic called Ned's Atomic Dustbin which got me really psyched on riding those trails again this year! Since I can't ride DH yet because of my shoulder, I thought I would celebrate by watching this insane video of Sam Hill. If you appreciate DH racing then this will blow your mind...also pay specific attention to the chaos that is the announcers, they're hilarious...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Valentino Rossi vs. Whytecliff

I just got back from my first 100 km road ride of the season and it was amazing! The sun was shining on Vancouver, there were an indeterminable number of other cyclists out and to top it off we had an amazing group that was all keen for the same thing this morning: getting awesome!

The only missing ingrediant was my bro-in-law Kyle (heretoafter referred to as Sizzle). He had to get down to brass tacks and put in a half day of work so he wasn't able to join, but that brings me to the relevance of the title of this post.

Sizzle has an unbridled passion for anything on two wheels. That passion explodes tenfold when it comes to supersport bikes, and then eeks one notch even higher when racing is involved. About a week ago Kyle introduced me to Valentino Rossi, a young Italian motorcycle racing phenom who has won no less than 6 world titles at the tender age of 25; sick. So this morning to get psyched up for our ride and right before ringing up Bookie to determine our ETD, I called up Rossi's head-to-head duel with Sete Gibernau Jerez at the Spanish MotoGP on YouTube.

In my (very unknowledgable) opinion, this has got to be the most impressive display of mettle, determination and plain old grit I've ever seen in any kind of racing.

So anyways, back to our ride today...fueled by thoughts of Rossi's panache on the race track, our group of Ty "the up and comer" Berger, Mike "pitbull" Church, Simon "I don't ride often but still crush everyone", Steph "I can stomp all over the boys", Stu "the powerhouse" Bookbinder, Martin "try and stay on this wheel" VanEssen and the lovely and distinguished Carla "you can drop me but I'll come back stronger" Cupido hammered like hellions out to Whytecliff Park and back.

Honourable mention must go out to Stu's lovely wife Tammy, who was champing at the bit to come along for the hammerfest but had to stay home to take care of Fisher the Superdog.

Afterwards a few of us tacked on a few extra km's to cap a perfect day in beautiful Vancouver.

On another note, I think the crew from the Edge is up sending like madmen in Squamish right now so hopefully the rock is bone dry with top friction for them. I know I'll be joining them again when this shoulder heals up!

Tomorrow: Mountain biking with the usual suspects...potentially Bunsen Lake or Lower Syemour. I'll let y'all know how it was...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wish I was climbing, but happy I'm cycling...

I've been road riding a lot lately (for me); actually it's unusual for me to be riding this much early in the season. I rode a lot last year around this time but the impetus for that was the aquisition of a new downhill mountain bike and the riding was all done on the trails of Mt. Seymour and Mt. Fromme.

The reason I've been riding more than usual is because 3 weeks ago I injured my shoulder doing my preferred early season activity: bouldering in Squamish on perfect granite in perfect temperatures with good people. I had been having a good day, even sending my project du jour, Mosquito Incubator which I was quite chuffed about as I felt it didn't suit me at all. I had also made considerable progress on my next project and another Squamish classic, No Troublems. To end the day, I chose a near-vertical problem called Class Dismissed just behind the Octagon Boulder. I quickly sorted the sequence, hit the lip but backed off feeling a little insecure pressing out the mantle with no spotter (see, I am getting smarter with age! Har har har). I rested briefly and then tried once more to see if I hadn't missed any holds above the lip to aid in finishing the climb. As I made the move to the incut in teh center of the face, I felt my shoulder clunk a bit as I caught the hold. There was no pain, but I did notice that much of my weight appeared to have been taken by the joint rather than my muscles. Anyways, I bcked off again at the lip and drove the 1.5 hrs back to Vancouver thrilled with my progress on No Troublems and having sent my project .

I woke up Monday morning and could barely lift my right arm...what the heck?!! Now it's 3 weeks later, significant improvement seems elusive and I have a diagnostic ultrasound scheduled for next Wednesday.

So that's why I've been road riding a lot lately. But like my friend Nolan said today, "You can't appreciate the day without night", and I believe there is silver lining to every cloud. Hopefully all this extra riding allows me to achieve my goal of going under 3 hours in the 2009 Test of Metal mountin bike race in June. We'll see...

Enjoy the sunshine this weekend doing whatever you do!

North Van Hills Ride

Last night I did an awesome 70 km bike ride with Martin and Kyle. Kyle and I left Kits, rode through Stanley Park and over the Lion's Gate Bridge, and then met up with Martin at teh North Van MEC store.

From there we rode to Deep Cove and then circled back along Seymour Pkwy and then the real climbing began. First up is a short grind up Mountain highway before peeling off left onto Arborlynn Rd. After that you end up climbing this vicious beast towards Lynn Canyon and it's all you can do to stomp on the pedals to turn them over in your granny ring and big cassette. Luckily I had Martin breathing down my neck to keep me pushing, otherwise I think I would have fallen over and had a heart attack. I don't think any pump (let alone your heart) was ever built to work that hard!

Some more short climbs end up leading to the piece de resistance: Dempsey Rd. The climb that keeps on climbing; Dempsey starts out steep, is steep through the middle, and ends steep. Kyle's calves starting spazzing out at this point but he fought valiantly on to finish the last two climbs: Lonsdale and Prospect.

It was awesome to get out with two great friends and the finish of that ride marked my 240th km of biking this week so far. I'm hoping to do a longer ride this weekend also so it will end up being my biggest week to date of 2009...

I'm also looking forward to start climbing Mt. Seymour for the Test of Metal training that worked well last year. Hopefully Vancouver wather warms up soon and the fun can begin!!

Enjoy the sunshine today, and TGIF!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Post

So this is first blog post. Unfortunately I have to go bake some bread before hitting the sack tonight but tomorrow I'll update on our pending bike ride after work.

See you tomorrow!