Monday, June 29, 2009

Beautiful Biciclettas

A few posts back I mentioned that I had potentially figured out what I want to try regarding a possible career...well here it is: custom bike frame building.

My brother Cam directed my attention to the website of Sacha White who is the framebuilder at Vanilla Bicycles and his work blew my mind, not to mention totally inspired me. I think this would be a cool thing to do for a few're not only creating art and would get to be really creative and build literally every idea that pops into your mind, but you're also getting more people on bikes which is encouraging a healthier, fitter population and (hopefully) getting more cars off the road more often.

Check out Sacha's work here and make sure you have a drool bib handy, you'll need it:

Enjoy and get psyched on bikes!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Crushing Snails

I raced the Cypress Hill Climb today and it was super fun! We got up there pretty early and hung out in the team tent and waited for the Cat ½ boys (Sebastian, Nieves and Steven) to get ready and take off at 10 am.

Martin and Stu dropped by to help me get psyched up and it was much appreciated to see their smilin’ faces before getting warmed up on my trainer. I spun for about 20 min before heading down to the start line.

I had checked the results from last year’s race and one of the stronger guys who I race with on Tuesday nights, Jay Brooks, had actually placed 2nd; this was cool because he was here today so I was excited to have someone strong to race with.

The lady gave her speech about this was definitely not a road race and it was an individual time trail where it wouldn’t be the first one across the line that won, but rather the best effort. The part I struggled with was that everybody was starting together so I was pretty sure that the first person across the line was definitely going win the race, even if someone else made a bigger effort!

They sent us off and we quickly spun up to about 37 km/h with some jockeying for position going on prior to getting onto the actual climb. We rounded the long corner and then we were into it. I made sure I was in about 5th wheel in order to cover any surges but also keep my nose out of the wind. As we made our way up to the first switchback we gradually changed order so that by the time we were rounding the corner it was Jay leading with me on his wheel and everyone else lined out behind us.

About a hundred meters up the road I slowly came around Jay riding a quick but still comfortable pace and being the classy guy he is, he told me I was doing a good job. We rode this way until the 2nd switchback and as we crested the rise I glanced back over my shoulder and noticed that we had ridden everyone else off our wheels! Awesome!!! I love when that happens...when you unintentionally torch your competition.

As we hit the flat on the switchback I dropped it down a few gears and put in a small acceleration just to keep the pace high and as I took one more glance back to assess the damage we’d done, I noticed I had gapped Jay. Taking advantage of the situation I punched it and by the time I swung around onto the next pitch I had a solid 50m gap. From here I rode my own race frequently checking my gap but as it happened I managed to continually increase it all the way to the line!

Final result: 1st in Men’s Cat.4 in a time of 32 min 50 sec with a gap of 1 min 10 sec on 2nd place. I was pretty psyched because my time would have won the Cat.3 race too by about 35 sec...Sweet!

Next up, Yaletown Grand Prix on Wednesday...let’s have a race fellas!

Pouring it on at the finish line for the solo victory...perfecto!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I got a fevah! and the only prescription is more...

So I'm just coming off a few lower mileage weeks that led up to the Test of Metal and I can kind of feel it in my legs that I haven't been putting in a lot of miles.

Tomorrow is the Cypress Hill Climb race and I haven't really done any road racing this year other than teh local weekly criteriums but for some reason after finishing the Test last weekend I got road racing fevah?! I checked the calender and it just happened that the only two races that really look appealing due to style and location happen to be this week: the Cypress Hill Climb and the Yaletown Grand Prix criterium on Wednesday.

I just got back from an easy spin this morning with the team so I'll post up tomorrow evening with the results...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fraso: 1, Test of Metal: 0

So the Test of Metal is complete for this year and in all regards it was a huge success! None of our group of friends that entered got hurt, almost all finished with times exceeding their expectations and only a few had to deal with the frustration of mechanicals and/or flats.

The anthem finished, the tape dropped and we were off. The pace was pretty fast but I had a much better start this year than last and I was keeping the leaders in sight until we hit the trails. From there I followed wheels up and down the loose doubletrack until we hit Jack's Trail and made sure to put small surge in right before entering the singletrack. It turned out to be a good decision because not too far up Jack's Trail the group of four that I was with dropped the riders behind us.

We exited at Alice Lake and quickly formed paceline along the paved roads. As we hit the short hill passing the kiosk I put the gas on and opened a gap on the other four riders. Up ahead I saw Duncan one of my team mates from the Specialized/ Dizzy Cycles road team but unfortunately his being a Cat.1 racer didn't allow me to bridge up to him and after about 5 minutes the group of four had caught up to me and we began riding together again.

We were all together through Dead End Loop, Rob's Corners, Cliff's Corners and back down to Roller Coaster with the order switching up here and there.

Blasting out of Roller Coaster onto the road we quickly formed another paceline and most of us took the time to drink and eat at that point which surprisingly I was able to accept eagerly.

We all remained together until the base of 9-mile where we came through the feed zone and Car passed me a fresh bottle. As we came through a lady wsa counting riders and I found out that I was in 25th place at that point so I got pretty psyched. Unfortunately, in our group there was a petite female named Catherine Pendrel who happened to have won a World Cup XC race and also came 4th at the Bejing Olympics in XC mtb. The cool thing ws that she slowly and methodically began to ride each and every one of us off her wheel and dropped the entire group before strting to reel in the riders up the was an impressive display of power and mental tenacity!

Anyways, at that point I decided that it would be best to ride my own race and not kill myself to try and keep up with these jackrabbits on the climb.

I ended up getting passed by a few fellas on the rest of the climb but overall was happy with my pace and then wsa extremely pleased with how the Ring Creek Rip went. I always find that part of the course a bit intimidating since I get bounced around a fair bit through some of the rockier sections with being on a hard tail. The Plunge followed nd although I totally botched much of the top section, I slowly found my groove and got smoother as I descended.

Exiting onto teh dirt road, I hammered down towards Crumpit Woods and gritted my teeth as the cramp set in. It wsan't as bad as last year so I was happy about that and I wsn't forced to get off my bike and stop racing to stretch out. Although I rode Crumpit Woods horribly being so tired at that point, I got through it and eventually popped out of endo into Raven's Plateau atop the Smoke Bluffs.

I passed one guy and bridged up to the next guy on teh road and together we hammered our wy down to the Smoke Bluff sparking lot. He eneded up getting a bit of a gap on me that I couldn't close down but at least no one else caught me and I crossed the line in 2hrs 54 min 50 sec, well inside my goal of 2:59:59! I was super happy, as that time also put me 34th overall which I thought was pretty respectable.

Anyways, I didn't feel as crappy as I did last year after the race so that was a treat also.

So, another Test down and hopefully next year Cam will join the brigade and we can drive each other to a faster time again!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Test of Metal...incoming

The Test of Metal is finally here...I haven't blogged much lately partly due to lack of content since over the past week and a bit I've been trying to rid myself of a nagging chest cold and come into the big event tomorrow with full energy; this has necessitated taking lots of rest and doing nothing...not a routine I'm fond of.

Anyways, it's mostly worked I think as I'm feeling better than earlier in the week and during a short spin this evening to wake my legs up again, I felt pretty spry.

I'll post up the results tomorrow after we get back or's to breaking the 3 hr barrier and placing top 40 over all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Ok, sorry I haven't updated in a few days but I sure have a lot to tell about. The weekend was fun and featured a superb jaunt along the Test of Metal course with Markez, Martin, Simon and Steph on Saturday.

I won't go into details but I was extremely happy with how I rode, especially compared to the previous weekend so it was nice to have a confidence boost with only two weeks to go until the race.

Sunday Car and I helped out with our Specialized/Dizzy Cycles Team up at the Westside Classic road race where the boys put in stellar performances with Brandon winning the KOM category (actually more like utterly demolishing any would be competitors by winning every single point up for grabs) and coming in 7th, and Sebastian with a strong 6th place finish. Good job boys...this grass roots effort my not be so grass roots by the end of the season!

Monday was a rest day and then Tuesday rolled around and by now you should be waiting for the crit updates on the edge of your seat, while salivating copiously for the results...har har har. Well, I wouldn't say I'm much for foreshadowing, but if you harken back to my last post about the Tuesday Nighter, I dare say I called it by letting you all know of my intentions to forget about the primes and race for top spot again. Chi-chick.....BABOOM!!! (That was a shotgun cocking followed by shooting in case you were wondering. It was also ment to signify tht I won the crit again this week.)

So, flying the new colours in the newly arrived Specialized/Dizzy Cycles kits, I was able to show them a clean set of wheels at the line this week.

A brief synopsis: Gruppo Compato until the prime...the sprint goes and I wsa glued onto the wheel of one of the stronger guys but he sat up and didn't contest. With the winners up the road, I swung around and charged up to grab another wheel and we were off! With three other compadres, we stormed away from the group with every intention of winning the race. I was surprised that almost immediately we organized very effectively into an echelon on the downhill and a paceline for the rest of the course with each member taking fairly equal pulls. However, with about two laps to go, a few quick glances over my shoulder told me tht we were quickly getting reeled in by the pack of chasing wolves who were clearly hungry for victory! As we got belled for the last lap, a new joiner bridged up and his fresh legs and enthusiasm lit a fire under our butts; we pinned it again knowing it was either now or get caught and have wasted the entire effort. Coming down the downhill we had opened the gap again and into teh last corner it ws clear that one of our group would snatch the win. I led into the last corner but purposely slowed a touch on the exit to encourage someone else to pull through. It worked and as we flew through the last chicane and onto the finishing straight it was balls to the wall as I opened fire first but held the hard chargers off to the line! OH that's NOICE!

Okay, so the other news is that through much delibertion (not really actually) I think I my have realized what I want to dedicate my innumerable skills and talents to for my life's work...Eureka! Just to be a dork (a real dork since no one even reads this...har har har) you'll have to wait for my next post. Duh, duh, duhhhhhhhh....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Witness the Fitness

Yesterday as I pedalled home from work along Burrard St. through traffic, I knew that our ride that evening was going to be a hot one. The wether in Vancouver has been off the hook for what feels like many weeks now. It almost seems as though it's been sunny and 25C straight since last summer and it never even rained all winter. Interesting how quickly you forget the damp, dreary days of winter when you have sunshine and bluebird skies to enjoy for over two weeks straight...

I picked Stuey up at 4:15 at his place and we were off like a fart in a windstorm. We chatted out to West Van and when we hit Marine Dr at 31st, the chit chat pretty well ceased as the heart rate kicked up a notch. We rode really hard out to Whytecliff and stopped briefly to enjoy the view from "Stu's patio"and have a quick bite to eat.

From there it was up to the highway and heading for Cypress. As we neared Cypress I realized that this was going to be a tough one a) because of the temperatures, b) how gassed my legs felt and we hadn't even started the climb yet, and c) because Stu was steadily crushing the life out of my legs with the pace he kept setting.

We ditched our helmets, set the timer at the chain-up shed and went to work. We slowly wound our way up the 12 km, thankful for any shade we found and especially the cold air pockets hovering around the small waterfalls we climbed past. We came around the last switchback surprised at the time on the clock, and gave one final push to the big yellow cedar on the summit. We hit the line at 39 min 45 sec! We were stoked...

On the way down we saw a small black bear munching some dandelions and so we stopped to visit with him briefly. When the car with the pumping techno beats reversed down the road to join the party, Mr. Bear scuttled off into the woods leaving Mr. Techno bewildered that he had missed the sighting...perhaps Mr. Bear preferred pubs to clubs?

Anyways, we descended the rest of the mountain like Paolo "Il Falco" Salvodelli and were soon back on the highway heading to Taylor Way. Stu was just mashing the pedals at this point pulling a steady 45 km/h and coming really close to dropping me even though I was fully in his draft. Mr. Fitness ended up pulling me the entire way back from Cypress to Kits and would start gapping me if I thought about easing off a touch. That was a performance that would have provoked Eddy Merckx to point at his biceps and with a stern face, say "strong!". Nice work Stu!

The ride ended on an interesting note with a passing SUV loaded with girls yelling some expletives at us right after I snuck in front of them on Burrard. Unfortunately for our friendly femmes, they didn't look ahead to see the red traffic light 100 m up the road. What was very puzzling was that when we approached, all of the sudden the window was fully rolled up?! I wonder if all of a sudden they had found 29C a bit chilly and didn't want the windows down anymore? Then when Bookie bellowed out "PARDON?!!!" the girl in the passenger seat looked about to pee her pants and the driver had all of a sudden become extremely interested in something on the opposite side of the car and seemingly didn't notice Stu and I at all now that we were inquiring what the problem was...har har har.

Anyways, a good ride with a good friend on a great evening...tonight I rest in preparation for an awesome XC MTB ride in Squamish on Saturday!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Last night Sizzle, Mart and I convened on the Northshore to try and get rad on some amazing DH trails on Mt. Fromme. It felt soooo good to be riding up through the forest at that time in the evening...for some reason with the sun coming into the woods from the west with the long shadows it feels so peaceful up there.

We rode hard to get up to the 7th switchback as quickly sa possible since we were on bit of time constraint for the evening. We decided to order Upper Oil Can for an appetizer and it was awesome! That trail is so stinkin' sick...the narrow planks to steep ladder bridge roll-downs get your heart in your mouth plenty of times and keep you begging for more even as you fire down the last section and air onto the road.

After short delibertion, we all settled on Espresso for the main course. This was Sizzle's and Mart's first time down this trail and it was all smiles all the way. Sizzle was riding insanely well, pushing himself as usual and sticking some of the harder stunts on the way.

At the bottom of Espresso we decided that for dessert we'd sample Lower Crippler. The wooden rollercoaster didn't disappoint and after tearing through the myriad of banked corners and small drops, we were at the road feeling immensely satisfied with our full course, after-work meal.

Driving home with the sun warming the west flanks of the Northshore mountains, we decided that there's nothing wrong with being on a permanent vacation...nope, nothing at all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Next Service Station 24 km...

Last night was the weekly Tuesday night crit up at UBC and we had the full support crew out with Car, Tam, Fisher the Superdog, Abbs and Lauren all showing up to cheer the racers on.

At 6:30 the Cat.5 men launched and we had Stuey, Mart and Sizzle in it to win it for our team. The laps ticked by until the preme got announced with the bell and I guess Stuey decided that the bell was announcing two laps to go for him so one lap after the preme, Bookbinder came roaring through the chicane and charged the line well in front of everyone else!

I thought he was launching a blistering attack to solo off the front for the next 5 or so laps; Stu was thinking "Wow, I just won my very first crit! Great work Bookbinder!"; and I bet the guys he was dropping were thinking "Good luck dude...5 laps eh?" Har har you can see, the same move can be read very differently depending on your perspective...nevertheless it was hands down a good dig!

After Stuey came to grips with the real situation, he dragged his own carcass back on to the pack and ended up finishing very respectably, inside the top ten I think. Martin launched a scathing attack with two laps to go but unfortunately noone went with him and he was stymied.

A great showing though for the ever expanding Cat.5 contingent! Well done lads!

The Cat.4's rolled out of the gates shortly after 7:00 pm and tonight Markezzy wasn't there so I was riding solo. The field seemed a little smaller than it did the previous week so I fancied my chances of trying to pull a repeat performance.

The race was pretty uneventful for the first half and I tried to jump into a few breakaways, none of which were successful in the end and then we got belled for the preme lap. The pace quickened as usual and for the heck of it I stayed near the front. As we came through the bottom corner, I found myself in good position for the sprint so I made a last minute decision to contest it to see if I could stick with the sprinters in the group. I was a bit surprised at how slow the pace was approaching the chicane before the final straight and as I looked around, everyone was waiting for someone to bolt so I thought it may as well be me. I punched it as hard as I could on the exact opposite side of the road of the guy who I knew would likely win it. Hlaf way there no one had come around me yet, and then I saw on my left a Zimichcoaching guy inching up on me. Digging deeper I put my head down and threw my bike at the line for the win! Awesome! That was super fun and the first sprint in a race that I've ever tried for...

The unfortunate part is that the effort totally fried my legs, forcing me to sit in for the rest of the race trying desperately to recover. With one lap to go, the field was still together having just reeled in the last breakway attempt. I was pulling up the climb and realized that there was no way I could contest another sprint. With Phil Ligget's words "You have to be SO strong to attack from the front!" ringing in my head and thinking that maybe I could use surprise to my advantage, I quickly stood up and hammered my pedals with the last gas I had in the tank. I got a small gap on the field and gave it everything to hold them off but unfortunately it wasn't to be. When I came into the headwind on the bottom of the course, riders poured past me like the spring melt over Shannon Falls...I sat up and took consolation in the fact that I was bike racing on a beautiful evening in the best city in the world with my number one fan cheering for me.

Next week I go for the top spot on the podium again...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekender Bender Part 2

So I’ve planned to do the Northshore Triple Peaks for a while now and I decided on Friday that today would be the day. It wasn’t exactly ideal having ridden for 5 hours on my mountain bike in Squamish the previous day but other than that, the getting was good so I decided it was on.

I left our place at 7:15 after sending a few heads-up emails to Markezzy in hopes that he would meet up with the train (it was a very short train, just me in fact – har har har) as I passed Hwy. 1 on the way over to Seymour.

Unfortunately I found out later that he had set his alarm for Friday instead of today so we ended up missing each other and it looked like I would be doing battle with the peaks on my own. This is what I thought until I heard the whining scream of a crotch rocket coming flying down Mt. Seymour Rd. bearing none other than Sizzle! He gave me a wink that said “I’m going to gas this baby up, be back in a bit FC” and with that I continued my slog to the top. At the summit, Sizzle was waiting for me and gave me the great news that he would head home, swap his rocket for his pony and come back out to guide me through the second half of my ride, up Cypress and out to Whytecliff.

I turned around, blasted down Seymour and made my way across North Van doing the Hills Route and then climbing the remainder of the flanks of Grouse Mountain up to the base of the Grind. From here it was back down to sea level to continue on to the next hors categorie objective.

At this point I decided I should fuel up again and refill the water bottles so I selected the Savoury Island Pie Company as my feed station, and a good selection it turned out to be! Whoa…if you haven’t tried their cinnamon buns, let me assure you, you’re missing out on life. I thought I had found the best buns in the city at Sully’s Bagelry on Broadway but these new buns will definitely give Sully’s a run for their money.

Shortly after getting back on my bike, I saw Sizzle roaring down the road towards me heating up the tarmac with his big engine. Together we began the 12+km climb up Cypress keeping the pace impressively high for me. Hitting the summit and still feeling reasonably spry, we turned around and headed for Whytecliff, the final objective of the day. It was a good thing Sizzle came out for the second half of the ride and bombarded me with encouragement because I was starting to get pretty bored and my butt was killing me from the day before on my hard tail up in Squamish.

All told the ride ended up taking 6 hrs 40 min, covered 170 km and climbed a total of 8615 ft of elevation. You can check out the elevation profile on the mapmyride website by following this link:

All told it was a great ride and after taking yesterday off, I think I’m ready to try and drill it again in tonight’s criterium up at UBC…Gentlemen, start your engines!!!

Weekender Bender Part 1

This past weekend was awesome! Coming into it I had that feeling that you get right before you go on vacation; how lucky is that?! The plans were to ride the Test of Metal course on Saturday morning, after which I was going to attempt to put a timely end to my 12 week hiatus from climbing in the Grand Wall boulders. Then for Sunday I was trying to rope in anyone willing to suffer on the three peaks of the Northshore with me.

Saturday morning dawned bright and warm as it seems to have for the past 3 weeks and I got my stuff together and headed north. The Squamish-bound crew comprised Churchy, Erik, Martin, Megan, T-bone and myself with a possible showing by Markez and a surprise showing by Matty-Berger. Booky had to stay home from this one to sell his house, and Sizzle had to bail because he couldn’t not go for a ride on his brand new Suzuki GSX-R 600!!!

So we got under way and shortly after setting out, we got a bit separated and I promptly got lost (after assuring the others that I definitely knew the course – har har har). Not to worry though, after it just meant more bike riding and soon enough I ran into Martin and Erik where the Mashiter Bridge was down for construction.

We decided to do a detour down a black diamond trail called Entrails that turned out to be super technical and tons of fun! Along the way we passed other enticing trails such as the Icy Hole of Death…for some reason we passed that one up?

Back on track we proceeded to follow the regular trails for the rest of the course. Martin was riding like a bat out of hell today and it was insane to try to even keep him in sight, especially on the downhills; nice riding Mart! In the end, after a somewhat shakey start during which I didn’t feel I was riding all that well, I was really happy with how I was able to ride the Plunge and Crumpit Woods.

Upon returning to the parking lot, to our great fortune who showed up but Markezzy! At that point everybody was disbanding and I was going to go bouldering but I grabbed a bite to eat Markezzy first and we enjoyed some delicious Italian calzones from Nester’s Market.

After lunch I eagerly made my way over to the Grand Wall boulders and stepped into forest with a mile-wide grin on my face. Suffice it to say that it was a short, easy session but one of the most pleasant I’ve ever had. That forest is one of my favourite places to be hands down so it was a real treat to be back, bounding through the rocks with a pad and shoes in tow.

Unfortunately the next morning I woke with a sore shoulder so I guess it’s not quite ready for climbing again just yet but soon…soon I’ll be back in there mixing it up.