Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off on a flyer...

Two days ago in the afternoon I found myself falling asleep at my desk about 2 hours before leaving work. I'm not sure why I felt so tired but that was the case, and I was wondering if I should even bother riding up to UBC for the weekly criterium.

Once I got on my bike to ride home and got soem food in me I began to feel a little more lively and decided that I would in fact be able to stay awake on my bike during the race. After Martin called informing me that his rear hub was falling apart and he would be by shortlt to fix it, Sizzle stopped by ready to rock.

We headed up a little on the late side but nonetheless got Sizzle to the line with a few minutes to spare. I hadn't heard from Mart yet and was wondering where he was when I saw him running to the registration table just as the Men's Cat.5 race pulled onto the road. He got sorted and when the pack came around he jumped into the fray and chased back on.

The laps ticked by with the boys in good position and as the last lap bell went, Mart and Sizzle were jumping off the front on the last part of the climb. I'm not sure how it shook out on the rest of that lap but the outcome was that Sizzle thought there was another lap left when everyone else was sprinting for the line! What the?! No big deal...I did the opposite last year and jumped thinking there was one lap to go when there were two, totally fried myself and then realized I had another lap to ride still.

Anyways, the Cat.4 race was next and off we went after listening to the Cat.3's get chastised for letting us catch them the two previous weeks...har har har. It didn't happen again so I guess they were a touch ashamed of themselves.

The first half of the race was pretty uneventful with Markezzy and I each taking some pulls and then the preme bell went. The sprinters went for it and the result was two small groups of guys off teh front that the pack didn't seem interested in doing anything about. After another lap and realizing that we weren't chasing them down, ever the opportunist I jumped off the front and bridged up to the first group. We slugged our way up to teh second group and then we were together. I think there were about 6 or 7 of us and we formed a loose paceline and started working together to increase our advantage on the main field.

We rode that way for a few more laps, and it turned out that my pull came through at the base of the climb. Not wanting to get caught, I tried to keep the revs up the whole way up the climb and by the time I went to swing off at the top I realized that the group had fractured behind me with one fellow dangling about 20 ft off my wheel.

After hearing him yelp something about waiting for the others to work together, I countered with a much better idea; he and I should definitiely try to win the race on our own! Great idea! I turned back to business, stoked the fire and fired down the downhill looking back occasionally to check on my hesitant friend's progress onto my wheel. After coming around the bottom of the course and starting the climb again he was with me and I turned and asked how he felt...he assured me he was good so I sat back down and again tried to turn up the heat up the climb thinking we could now make our move and put some serious time into the chase group.

Unfortunately as I swung off the front at the top after hitting 3 laps to go, I again discovered that my buddy had fallen off my wheel. I realized at that point that my comrade wasn't feeling quite as good as he thought, so I made the decision to go on the hunt for solo victory!

Resting slightly on the downhill and then digging deep on the climb saw me slowly build a gap on the chasers from roughly 30 m with 2 laps to go, to about 50 m with 1 lap to go. Hitting the downhill section on the last lap I realized that this might actually work, so I gave it everything as I hit the flat bottom. With my calves pinging with cramp, I rolled across the line grinning and blew a kiss to my lovely wife, satisfied with a perfect race from my own limited experience.

Molto Bene!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ski to Sea

This past Sunday was th ehighly anticipated Ski to Sea race in Bellingham, WA. I had been invited (for some reason they must not have heard that I was the "calf-less wonder") to do the road riding portion of the race which was to be a 60 km time trial.

After trying out the aero-bars that Markezzy lent me on Friday evening and practicing my Levi face, I felt like I was ready for my debut in the race of truth!

Saturday evening Cam, Rosie and I drove down to Brian and Jess's place, where the team was gathering for a pre-race pasta dinner. Huge thanks to Brian and Jess for the amazing food and accomodations they provided us with so generously with! After meeting the team members and sorting out our equipment we all piled into bed and tried to fall asleep as 5:00am was going to come early the following morning.

After resting for about 30 min., we awoke to an odd and erractic thumping noise coming from beneath the bed. Cam got out of bed having a strong suspiscion of what was wrong here. Old Shaft was bang on when we peeked under the bed, and it turned out that Brian and Jess's golden lab Buddy has submarined under the bed and was having a little fun while were trying to sleep! Har har har...then came the funny part. Cam began his efforts to coerce Buddy out from under the bed but to his dismay, Buddy began to get increasingly excited by his new playmate and turned his tail thumpometer up to turbo! Wham-wham-wham-wham! Ha ha was pretty entertaining, but it all came to an end when Buddy was dragged out by his front legs by Jess to provide some respite for the racers.

The next morning after rifling some food down our throats, we piled into Brian's VW Vanagon, cranked some good tunes and drove up into the Mt. Baker national forest. My jaw dropped when I saw the roads I was to be riding on in a few hours. Unreal...twisting, turning, rising, dropping and all the while through some of the most lush, vibrant green flora I've ever seen!

I got dropped off and before I knew it I was lined up in the time chip exchange chute with Rosie bearing down on me like a screaming banshee. I took the chip, pocketed it and took off down the road with one goal: catch as many of these jerks that got out before me as possible, and if they tried to grab my wheel as I went by, make it impossible by attacking so violently that they would temporarily forget where they were...BAM!

I tucked into the bars, revved up the pedals and felt like a surface to air missile! Aero bars are super fun, especially when you're not exhausted yet and are on a slightly downhill fact they should be renamed Hero bars because that's what you feel like. I was having so much fun after catching my first three or four racers that I was hooting and hollering and announcing my own progress on the course, to noone but myself in Phil Liggett's voice! Har har know you're having fun when...

Anyways, I ended up finishing somehwere around 1 hr 30 min which I was pleased with as that meant my avg. speed was around 40 km/h which I've never come even close to before on other solo rides.

The day progressed and the timer chip gradually made it's way from the slopes of Baker to the waters of Bellingham Bay with our team, the Highcountry Hoodlums clocking around 34th out of over 400 teams this year! Not bad for a bunch of yahoos out to have some fun.

Thanks for the race guys and we'll (hopefully) see you again next year!

See more Saturday

Saturday morning saw Shaft and I set off on our own nice and early at 7:00am. Our plan was an ascent of Mt. Seymour followed by something else depending on how our legs felt.

After stopping briefly for some cream-filled chocolate cupcakes that to our delight were called Ho-Ho's, we made it over to Deep Cove and began our climb shortly after 8:00 am fully gassed up. It was super fun doing the big climb with Shaft since that's one thing we've never done together to date. Shaft was quick out of the gates and left me running out of gears trailing behind...he kept muttering something about an extra Ho-Ho that I wasn't able to get but I buried my head and pulled back onto his wheel.

Over the next 11 km we kept the pace high trading leads and in 45:30 we were standing on top of Seymour, basking in the glorious early morning sunshine and marvelling at the always-impressive Mt. Baker to the south. After briefly discussing how amazing Vancouver is, Shaft graciously lent me his vest to that I could be warm while he froze on the way down...thanks Max! On the way down I had a stroke of genius and decided that we would stop at the base of the climb to enjoy a cappuccino and a small snack to top up the tanks.

So there we were, doing our very best imitation of famous Italian cyclists adored by the tifosi, sipping cappuccino and nibbling a muffin. After finishing our beverages and watching our friend Henry the crow clean up some crumbs left by some sloppy North Americans (us being more refined Europeans) we remounted our steeds and continued forth to complete teh North Van Hills Route that was originally conceived by our other brother, Big T.

After adding on a last stinger by climbing up Capilano Rd. to the base of the Grouse Grind, we finally turned home and joined up with the ladies.

What a ride...beautiful sunshine, and riding 100 km with your best friend; doesn't get much better! Thanks Max!


So last Friday Cam and Roanne came up to visit with us before heading back down to Bellingham on Sunday for the 2009 Ski to Sea race.

They arrived a little later than anticipated due to the ugly traffic of the George Massey Tunnel, but with eager anticipation we were pretty much ready to head out the door immediately, pedaling our ponies into the sunset.

The plan was to ride part way to Horseshoe Bay with the ladies and then start drilling it once we hit Marine Dr. The group up for contention for the points jersey on the day's stage was me, Shaft and Sizzle with super domestiques Rosie and Car adding valuable substance to the initial breakaway through Stanley Park.

We got over to West Van and the pace slowly ramped up on the way out to Whytecliff Park. We got to our destination, turned around and all of a sudden it was on like donkey kong! Trading pulls, Shaft, Sizzle and I blazed the road setting a blistering pace that no mortal could have withstood (please be aware that this is me getting carried away and in reality we were probably pushing roughly 30 km/h - har har har).

We ended up rolling back into Kits a little later than we were ordered to, with Shaft sweating bullets knowing he had an angry wizard to confront upon entry to our castle! Luckily the wizard's anger had been tempered by excellent pizza from Nat's Pizzeria so we were not transformed into toads, and lived to ride another day! Specifically the next morning at 6:30 am...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hump Day

Last night after missing Markezzy for an MTB ride, Sizzle and I made a game time decision to get back on the training boat and snap our legs back into action with an ascent of Cypress followed by the obligatory trip out to Horseshoe Bay.

My legs were definitely feeling sluggish from the previous night’s race and as we slowly began the ascent from Marine Dr. up onto Westmount I realized it was going to be a long, slow climb.

We got up to the base of Cypress Rd. and began the climb, quickly working past two Glottman Simpson fellas, one of whom tagged onto us as we rode by. He had a quirky riding style where he would ride neck and neck with us, and then punch the accelerator until he was about 50 ft. up the road. He would then slowly get dragged back, suck in uncomfortably close on my right for some time before repeating steps 1 to 3.

By the end of the 1st switchback my legs had come alive and I was actually feeling pretty good. Sizzle was putting in a great showing also, losing some ground periodically but always digging deeper and raising his pace to come back strong!

Another few hundred meters saw us lose our GS teammate (who Sizzle had determined by then was a nice fellow and just enjoyed a little friendly competition during his training rides…don’t we all?) and continue up to the snow line.

After we summitted with Sizzle breathing fire down my neck, we turned around, descended like il falco and wound our way down through the subdivision back onto Marine Dr. I think this was maybe the most fun ride out to Whytecliff I’ve done so far…we probably weren’t going very fast but it felt like we were pummeling the pedals with the strength of Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain combined! The hills felt like speed bumps and the descents felt faster than fast…SO AWESOME!

After about three and a half hours in the saddle we made our way back to Sizzle’s place where we toasted a great ride with a pint of chocolate milk…cheers!

Tonight’s a rest night and then it’s another climbing stage tomorrow with a special guest appearance by Utah’s climbing sensation, The Shaft! WooHOO!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Criterium Internationale

Last night we descended upon UBC to race bikes and see who was fastest...what better way to spend a nice Tuesday evening.

We had a bigger contingent this week with Sizzle and Martin getting into the mix, and then to our delight, who do we see up there but none other than the illustrious Johnny Markez, fresh from Slovenia and doing the RAS 2009! Awesome! I got even more psyched when Markezzy delivered the news that we'd be racing together in Cat. 4...this was bound to be a quick race now.

The horn went off for KC's and Mart's race and they filed onto the course. After a few laps of feeling things out (this was their first crit) they steadily moved up through the field unti they were consistently coming around in the top 8 guys. With a few laps to go they jumped off the front as an attack went and next thing you know they were sprinting across the line with Sizzle snatching 5th and Martin grabbing the 6th spot! Great finishes for their first race...nice work boys!

At this point Markez and I were shivering on the start line but soon enough they sent us off in hot pursuit of the Cat. 3 fellas about a minute up the road. The first few laps were pretty mellow and then part way up the incline I got onto the front and started upping the tempo a little...through the corner and onto the top flat now when I feel a big paw patting my back and sure enough there's Markez the Machine slotting in on the front with his pistons saying "If you want to win this race, get on THIS wheel" (in Phil Ligget's voice of course). It was so awesome! I tucked down in John's draft and looked down at his wheel and in slow motion saw the chain start it's journey downshifting on his rear cassette, 'clunk....clunk....clunk'. I thought to myself, "oh's ON!" Then Markezzy started drilling it! We swapped pulls for about two and a half to three laps with him taking the much longer, stronger ones but unfortunately the group was on our wheel so we didn't get away but hopefully dished out some pain in the process.

The preme sprint came and went and then with about two and quarter laps to go, two Glottman-Simpson boys jumped off the front together and I worked to get up to them through the bottom corner. As I approached the second guys wheel, the first guy sat up and swung off, and then the second guy kind of sat up also. With a quick glance back I noticed that I had about 20 feet or so on the group and these two yahoos didn't look in the mood to chase anything down so I pinned it between them. When I looked back half way up the incline I had a decent gap on the field with two laps to go. With Markezzy blocking back in the group, I put my head down and buried the hatchet. One lap to go, still got a gap, see if I can make it...half a lap, still got the gap, wow this may actually work. Come through the second last corner and their definitely closing now...through the last corner, out of the saddle and BOOM, Glottman-Simpson smokes by me like I'm standing still but Markezzy graciously gives me 2nd and takes 3rd for himself.

What an awesome race! Thanks for the pulls Markez and we'll do it again next week boys!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ore Crusher 2009

This past weekend played host to the 2009 Ore Crusher mountain bike race in Squamish and myself, Sizzle, Martin, Stu and Churchy all lined up at the start to test our fitness and bike handling prowess.

The gun went off and we ran through the Le Mans style start to our bikes and then we were off. Martin had a superb start, I believe leading our age group into the trails and riding strong. The first few laps went well and for the first time this year I really felt like I was riding well on both the double track and the more techincal single track sections which was a really nice feeling! Usually, and I guess it's from the increased amount of road cycling I've done over the last few years, I start strong and then when it gets technical, people reel me back in and make up the time on me there. However, this race I was still catching people through the technical sections so I was really thrilled with that.

Unfortunately I got a flat on the third lap which sucked but to be honest it didn't matter that much since I felt like I was racing so well...I was still really happy in the end. I was also extremely impressed with another thing, and that was the level of class of so many of the racers. Obviously as each of my friends went flying by they all queried whether I was ok and had everything I needed, but the number of strangers that asked the same thing was stunning! I think it was even more evident to me because of the experiences I had at the road race in Seattle with Cam the previous weekend, where many riders (Cat. 4) apparently thought that they were going to get picked up by a pro team and were being obnoxious in the peloton swearing, shouting orders and elbowing others...what a joke.

One person in particular exhibited what I thought was top-notch class and that was the race winner, Rocky Mountain's Martin Lazarski. He lapped me right before we dove into some downhill single track and instead of barking at me to move aside, he politely requested if he could pass before we got into the single track. Of course I moved over and slowed and as he passed, I recognized him and shouted encouragement...he moved so fluidly over the natural obstacles on the trail, it was no different than watching a rock climber on a well rehearsed route or a dancer performing a choreographed routine to perfection. Well done Marty and congrats on a well deserved win!

Also huge congrats to Sizzle, Stuey, Mart, Megan and Churchy for excellent races...Sizzle came in 5th in his age category and Megan destroyed her competition by 18 minutes I think! Also a special thanks to Stu who was basically getting off his bike to get in there and start helping me fix my flat until I told him repeatedly to hurry up and keep racing! Har har har, very cool...

Next up is the Test of Metal and I think this race fuelled the fire for uping the ante; I think we're going to see some good results on June 20th...

The Real Italian Heroes

Mom and Dad Cupido have been here for the past 5 days and it's been a real bonanza of fun! We've gotten out on some amazing bike rides together both for fitness and for cruising, done a mountain bike race in Squamish, looked at some nice real estate, eaten some seriously good food, and enjoyed some seriously good laughs together.

I've been blessed with the best parents in law that were ever pushed out of the press...they're so amazing! Imagine the kindest, most generous, thoughtful, fun, and non-intrusive people you can and you'll start coming close to understanding who they are. Oh, and did I mention they're Italian through and through? Bene...molto bene.

Normally I would want to spend a long weekend doing something awesome like climbing or mountain biking but not when the Real Italian Heroes are in's always so easy to have them and a true joy to spend time around they're contagiously upbeat personalities. Thanks for an awesome few days Mom and Dad and we look forward to the next rendevous!

Tuesday Night Lights

So it was the first Tuesday night crit up at UBC this past week and it was awesome! Road racing is so stinkin' fun it gets my heart pumping like crazy just thinking about soloing off the front in a late-in-the-race bid for victory...BAM!!

The race went really well and although I didn't place well at all (maybe even close to last) I found out what I wanted to that is my fitness is pretty good for the group we raced with and I got more comfortable riding fast in a tight group through some of the corners. I spent a fair bit of time (too much according to my team director - har har har) on the front, but it felt good because we ended up catching the Cat. 3 group that started the race 1 minute ahead of our Cat. 4 group...Noice! As we came firing through the last corner and the sprint began, both of my legs seized up with cramp so it wa pretty evident that I had gotten my desired workout in only a half hour of racing...ha ha.

Anyways, hopefully with more experience and smarter riding I can look for a top ten placing over the next few weeks' races. I think we may have a few more takers for this week's race also which should be super fun; Stuey, Sizzle and Churchy are all looking to make their debut on teh Tuesday Night World Championships racing circuit! Give'em hell boys!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Supersonic Seattle

This weekend Carla and I made the short road trip down to Seattle to visit my brother Max and his lovely wife Rosie. Shortlisted for the weekend plans were a Saturday morning road race (to be my first ever), a Sunday road ride around Mercer Island and in between pedalling around like maniacs, we wanted to fit in some good quality Italian cuisine.

I'm happy to report that we handily accomplished all we set out to, and it was an awesome weekend. Cam ended up doing really well in the race, ducking into the top ten with a 9th place finish, even after getting held up in a crash with about 5 km to go. Not being as familiar with crash protocol, I ended up losing a bit more time so my race was pretty much over after that. Nonetheless it was a great experience in learning that positioning and timing is everything in a race like that.

After the race we enjoyed a relaxing walk down to Pike's Place market in the beautiful weather.

Sunday morning we got up and decided to do the Mwercer Island circuit on our bikes which was amazing...the ladies joined up for the first loop and hten Sahft and I slotted into a paceline and started driving the Island Locomotive. It was so fun to just bury your head and fly through the twists and turns knowing that your teammate will pull through at just the right time to prevent your legs from exploding...AWESOME!!!

Following the ride we enjoyed a quesadilla lunch before heading home to Vancouver Sunday evening. All in all a superb weekend road trip made even sweeter by hanging out with Shaft and Rosie again! Thanks for having us guys...

Friday, May 8, 2009

RAS Update #2

After over 16 hours of gruelling racing, including riding straight through the night, our man Johnny Markez has been forced to withdraw from the race, being too tired to continue.

I don't even want to know what his body feels like if Markezzy is saying he's too tired to ride.

This man is the epitomy of physical and mental toughness. A month or two ago on a ride we were talking about this race and in John's classic understated style he mentioned with a mischievious grin on his face that he simply wanted to go over there and give the big dogs something to think about...AWESOME! Johnny we salute you and your great ride in the RAS 2009!

This photo says it all:

John Markez crushing snails and chasing down Jure Robic in RAS 2009

RAS Update

A direct quote from website for DOS-RAS Extreme after just over 8 hours of racing:

"John Markez is holding on surprisingly well and is behind Robic. Baloh is behind Slovenian/Canadian Markez."

Nice work Johnny!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

John "The Machine" Markez

John Markez is a certified machine...he entered the 2009 RAS (Race Around Slovenia) as a last minute decision after encountering numerous logistical setbacks; and yet after almost 8 hours of racing is currently in 2nd place on the road. The only person in front of him is fellow Slovenian (and family friend) Jure Robic who just happens to have won the RAAM (Race Across America) no less than four times (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008).

Markezzy is the most humble, generous person I know and can also suffer on a bike better than anyone I know.

John Markez is a certified machine.

Good luck over the next forty-some-odd hours Markezzy...ride safe, ride strong, sleep is overrated and we're rooting for you like crazy dude!

Trail Building, XC MTB Racing and NEW BIKE DAY!!!

Ok, sorry I ahven't posted anything since last Saturday but I've been a bit busy lately...Sunday we did a short ride on Mt. Fromme as my first ride on the Shore of 2009; super fun...a little shaky at first but super fun!

Monday, Sizzle dragged me out to Whytecliff on our road bikes and to our sur surprise we beat the rain and snuck home dry.

Tuesday morning I drove up to Squamish to fulfill my 2 days of trail building obligations in order to gain entrance into the 2009 Test of Metal mountin bike race. Although the trail we were constructing wasn't built exactly as I would have done if I were directing it, it was still an interesting experience and nice to be out in the fresh air all day for both Tuesday and Wednesday. As another plus, I got to hammer out two awesome XC rides up there after work both days. Tuesday after work I rode a trail called Meet yer Maker and then a whole bunch of the Test course, followed by Wednesday when I went and rode this new trail called Word of Mouth, and although my lack of front brakes slightly took away from the experience, it was still mind-numbing! The quality of trails in Squamish is insane...

And this brings us to today...NEW BIKE DAY!!! I am now the (extremely) proud new owner of a 2009 Specialized Tarmac road bike after a shining 8 year career on the Highlighter (Neon yellow, 2000 Giant TCR2) which is now being put into semi-retirement and shall be listed next week on Craigslist Vancouver if you're in the market for a used road bike.

This weekend holds a visit to Seattle to see the big Shaft and his lovely wife Rosie. Also exciting is that my inaugural ride on my new bike is also going to be my debut road racing right alongside my main Max! BaBOOM! Let's get in some breaks Max and string it out...WooooHOO!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Reason...

Today we confirmed yet another reason why the real estate costs what it does in's proximity to the Sunshine Coast and the amazing single track there!

This morning came fast and I was up at 5:00am in order the catch the Bookbinder Bullet Train that was headed to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and then onto the Sunshine Coast for a day of gorging on some legendary "swoopy" trails. Churchy is now an expert on the definition of swoop so if you're not familiar with it, check with him next time you run into him on the trails.

The train left on time, we made the ferry and by 8:30 we were directed by our sleepy celebrity guide into the parking pullout at the trailhead. Our group was eight strong and chocked full of talent including Stu, Churchy, Sean "the snowman", Mart, Erik, Chuck and Megan.

After Stuey outsmarted Erik's attempt to sideline several members of the team (including himself) by locking the bikes (including his) to his rack and throwing away the key, we were sorted and ready to sink our teeth into the platter.

We began by climbing up an amazing trail that we would later descend like heat seaking missiles...amazing! On our way up the logging roads we had a chance to inspect some of the woodwork that was featured in Ben Boyko's section from the film Kranked 6...unbelievable.

After The Snowman took us on a great adventure through the Athabasca Icefields and we made it back to more a temperate environment, we decided that it would be best to launch into some of the local DH trails (much to Churchy's delight, who was by now showing the intial signs of depression from not having taken his prescribed dose of gap jumps for the day yet).

The train took off and over the rattling of chains and wheels, you could hear about 8 different voices hooting and hollering with delight as we pinned it through the bermed corners and floated over the soft, loamy dips and rises.

After hitting a few more amazing trails, and Stu conceding that he was too badass for his own bike after he snapped the rear suspension pivot by hitting a _____ ft. gap jump (Stuey, you get to fill in that blank :0 ) we finally ended up at a section of stunts that kept you off the ground and up on woodwork for well over a couple hundred feet! There were skinnies, log rides, teeter totters, triple teeter totters and ramps, all for your entertainment. A few crashes and lots of laughs later, we were through with special note going out to great performances on the stunts by Mart, Erik, Churchy and Megan...nice work dudes!

Another few fast sections of trail led us back down to the car where Stu had graciously waited for us and kept the Bullet Train boiler topped up with coal, ready to jump back into town for some post-ride grub before catching the ferry back to Vancouver.

A huge thanks goes out to Sean again for guiding us through the labyrinth of trails in the
Roberts Creek area...he was up 'til the wee hours of the morning sampling and resampling tequila and still managed to pull through as a superb tour guide. Big up!

Also deserving special mention is Sizzle, who was unable to join us today but not wanting to be outdone, tackled and completed the incredible double crown of Vancouver: the twin peaks of Seymour and Cypress! Nice work ma' main man...I think the rest of us have our work cut out for us this week.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Don't ask me what a hot tub time machine is 'cause I don't know. Apparently John Cusack does though, because he's filming one on the top of Mt. Seymour right now.

Thursday after work Stu and I pedalled out of Kits, across the Lion's Gate into North Van and also into the worst traffic I've ever ridden through. I almost got doored, I got cut off by some idiot that thought it was a good idea to start driving in the bicycle lane, Stu got cut off at least once, and then I took a face full of windshield washer fluid.

Finally we made it to MEC where we were to meet Martin and Simon who unfortunately sustained a flat tire, so after a brief telecon we decided we'd rendevous at the base of Seymour.

After checking out Deep Cove, Stu and I headed back over to Seymour and began turning the gears up the initial steep slopes. We soon saw Mart and Simon the Bruce up ahead and pedalled up to them. After the formalities were dispensed with, the pace started whipping up...the goal: make it to the top in less than 49 min. The switchbacks fell away and as I drained my tank across the line I checked the clock and was PSYCHED! 44:30 was the final time, with Stu firing up moments later in 46:25...! Stu's time was pretty crazy considering a few things: 1) It was only 25 sec. slower than my fastest climb at the end of last year which I thought I may never even repeat, and 2) He had to fully stop and fasten his helmet to his bars before continuing to drill it and reel me back in. Nice work Bookie!

Martin and Simon arrived shortly thereafter, both putting in handsome early season efforts on the big climb.

We all froze on the way down, but if it hadn't been for Martin and Stu's ingenuity in finding garbage bags to shove downt the fronts of our jerseys, it would have been a lot worse...thanks fellas!

Anyways, we parted ways with Mart and Simon at the Second Narrows Bridge and 88 km later with two pairs of spent legs, we hobbled back into Kits to watch the Friday night lights at the beach as the sun set on another beautiful week in Vancouver.