Monday, December 29, 2008

Tour de Hogtown

November 5, 2006. Toronto. I found this picture of me and Brenda (taken by Dwayne) riding along the Bloor Viaduct on a nice fall afternoon a couple of years ago. It reminds me of how good the bike lanes in the city are - don't get me wrong, they could and should be much better but they're not bad. On average, without leaving the city, you can ride 50kms or more and 90% of that riding is on bike paths and bike lanes. And during this time of the year there was hardly any other people out there. Bliss.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

ZM Turkey Cross

October 12, 2008. Toronto. This is a great event for us who live in the city because we can simply ride our bikes to the race. No waking up at 6am and driving across the province. Instead it's at Cedarvale Park and is fast becoming the most popular cross event on the circuit. This time I wasn't able to duplicate my top-10 from last year because I got a flat on my last lap. But I did finish. It's always a fine line picking tire pressure in CX races and I probably had a little less than I should have. Lesson learned. Denis and JohnL were also there jumping on and off their bikes in this crazy sport. Here's some more photos : Marty, JohnL, Denis, Marty, JohnL, Denis, Marty, Denis, and JohnL.

The Squeezer 2008

September 28, 2008. St. Catherines. We weren't planning on attending the Squeezer this year because we were expecting our baby around this time. Instead, Justin raced into the world 3 weeks early so we were able to drive down as a family and participate in the festivities. I must say it's very cool to have your child waiting for you at the finish line (even though he was sleeping!). Most of us were there and after a few flat tires and broken chains (Tony & Cam), we arrived at the finish line to have some well deserved snacks and drinks. Oh devil!


I see a Black Fly!

24 Hours Hot August Nights 2008

Clockwise from top left:
  1. Denis
  2. John L.
  3. Dean
  4. Muller
  5. Jon
  6. Tony
  7. Marty
  8. Pete
August 23-24, 2008. Albion Hills. First, sorry guys about the blurry images, we're working on that. So, we had another successful 24 hours spent racing the trails of Albion. This year we missed Mr. Stitt who was out with an injury, but he'll hopefully be back racing with us in 2009. As a sub for the squad we had JohnL. and not only did he smoke the course but kept all our bikes working great. As a whole, we had 9 riders doing laps until Sunday morning when our faithful ringer Denis came in and helped finish off the event. We improved for the second year in a row by coming in 11th out of the 75 teams. Dare I say top 10 next year? For more pictures, click here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lake to Lake 2008

June 15, 2008. Niagara. We're back! I don't think I've mentioned that they always run this event on Father's Day. How appropriate. It was pretty cool this year being the defending champs and all but we weren't quite able to repeat our awesome performance from 2007. Second place was still very good, though. It proves we're a force to be reckoned with in future L2L's, that's for sure. We also had an honourary Black Fly in our group in Laura who had a fantastic race and came within seconds of winning the overall women's title. Once again, nice work out there guys!

Ride for Heart

June 1, 2008. Toronto. Only once a year do cyclists in this city get a chance to ride on the most flowing, widest, and smoothest bike path in the city - the Don Valley Parkway. And of course it's for an amazing cause, being heart and stroke research. Last year Brenda and I took to the highway and this year me and Stitt rode on the DVP. I consider this ride to be one of the highlights of the season and I can't wait to introduce it to as many people as possible in the years to come.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spring 8hr at Mansfield 2008

May 24, 2008. Mansfield. This has become one of our favorites. Mansfield is a really fun place to ride, with some great trails and tough hills and it's not 24hrs long! Even though we weren't able to duplicate our podium from last year we were challenging for it all day and eventually finished in 4th - only 47 seconds out of 3rd and just 1:14 out of 2nd - and that was spread out over 8+ hours. Awesome effort!

Paris-Ancaster 2008

April 20, 2008. Another version of Ontario's Paris-Roubaix had our numbers reduced due to a (planned) explosion of babies. A lot of tired mommy's and daddy's couldn't make the trip this time but will definitely be back in the years to come. You guys missed out because they didn't include the hill this year... just kidding, it wouldn't be the same without that damn hill. For those of us who went we couldn't have asked for a nicer, spring day.

Clockwise from top left:
  1. Marty climbing the hill.
  2. Dean climbing the hill.
  3. Thomas climbing the hill.
  4. Enjoying a well earned meal.
  5. A visit from the neighborhood Muller's at the start.
  6. Denis & Marty.
  7. Back in Toronto with their dirty bikes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

ZM Turkey Cross

October 14, 2007. Toronto. I saw why this is the fastest growing discipline of cycling in North America. The races are only 45 minutes long, they're usually local, it's a nice mix of your road and off-road skills and there are some crazy fans out there. Very cool sport. The only thing I was worried about was tripping over a barrier and falling flat on my face - which luckily didn't happen. In our race, Denis got another podium (3rd) and I grabbed 10th. Btw, Denis became the Southern Ontario Master 3 champ that year. He introduced me to John L. (5th) and I just had to ask him if he wanted to join the coolest cycling team ever. How could he say no to that.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Squeezer 2007

September 30, 2007. Niagara. It's getting a bit tricky remembering these events and I seem to recall the weather calling for rain, but in the end the day ended up being ideal for a bike race. Cam had a extra long race when he put in 2 more kms by making a wrong turn. In Cam's defense, some of these long bike races can get a bit confusing if there's no one in front to follow. I've done it too. After the race you can see us enjoying our samples of wine and the local cuisine. Yummy.

Muller's Birthday

September 1, 2007. We made our way down to Ryan's to wish him a Happy Birthday and help Sandy surprise him with a shiny new road bike. That night, we also went looking for the feared Paris grizzly bear, armed only with our flashlights and liquid courage. At least I think that was the same party. The next day Ryan and I tested out his new wheels and he rode with me out of town before I continued back to Toronto. 130kms later.

24hrs Hot August Nights 2007

August 25-26, 2007. Albion Hills. It's safe to say by this time we're getting pretty good at these events - not only in terms of our results but also with the set-up and the organization. Most of us are experienced campers so that definitely helps. The past three 24hrs we've done it's rained at some point of the weekend. Remember the rain storm on the Friday night when Fox & Muller were trying to keep that tent up? Customer service, can I help you? I only caught the mayhem between the lightning strikes. During the race it didn't rain too much and once again we were as tough as nails out there. Tony dealt with a broken chain at the start of his lap (watch you're language in the transition area, young man!) and also crashed bad enough that Dean had to take him to the hospital. In the end, the Tonic was alright and we improved from last year by 4 spots, finishing 12th out of 89 teams. Awesome!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Toronto Island Triathlon

August 18, 2007. Toronto Islands. I've always wanted to try a tri. So has Julie. I love swimming and cycling (obviously) and Jules loves the running and swimming. Make sense, right?
To prepare I went for a few jogs with Brenda, and Julie went swimming and rode her bike. And we rented wetsuits. Have you ever tried to put one of those on? If you ever thought cycling shorts are tight...
So before the race we find out they have canceled the swim because Lake Ontario was too cold (isn't that what the wetsuits were for?) and turned the event into a duathlon (run,bike,run). Kind of a bummer for me because I was actually looking forward to the swim the most but we got through it and it was a pretty interesting experience. Our results were: Julie finished 11th of 25 and I came in 6th of 26. Not bad, eh?

Road riding in Niagara

July 16, 2007. Niagara. Did you know that most professional MTB'ers spend most of their training time on their road bikes? So Stitt, Tony and Marty drove down to St.Catherines and decided to take advantage of the area's extensive network of paved bike paths and cycling-friendly roads. We went over to Niagara-on-the-Lake and then down the Parkway to the Falls. I'll tell ya, it's pretty awesome cycling into Niagara Falls (not literally!) and seeing the sights so if you ever get the chance, you should give it a try. From there we rode across to the Welland Canal where we took the underground tunnel. That was cool. After that we rode beside the Canal along the path back to the car. 109kms later.

Summer 8hrs at Hardwood

July 21, 2007. Hardwood Hills. What a busy summer! That's because the babies haven't arrived yet. We headed up to Hardwood for this 8hr event and like usual it was a beautiful day for racing. Our team for this one was Dean, Jon, Denis, Tony, Fox and Marty and we started off in 3rd and after the teams 5th lap, Foxy and his rental bike put us into second place - where we stayed til the awards. Our 3rd team podium in a row!

Lake to Lake 2007

June 17, 2007. Niagara. It was a great day for MTB racing. The weather was hot, but not that humid, and the course was fast and dry. The corporate team was made up of Dean, Stitt, Tony, Fox and Marty and we ended up winning that category by placing 1st out of 19 teams! The prize was being able to keep a beautiful trophy for the following year. And the funny thing was we didn't even know we had won until some time after. A nice surprise, for sure. Our other riders also kicked butt by either having a very strong ride (Denis, Drew & Muller), finishing after a nasty crash (Sandy), or fixing a flat tire (Brenda). I know you've read this before, but an awesome job by all!
Brenda's bike on the top of the pile.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Spring 8hr at Mansfield 2007

May 26, 2007. Mansfield. Our first taste of success! The lads (Dean, Stitt, Fox, Tony, Muller & Marty) started in 3rd, stayed in 3rd, and finished in 3rd. And trust me, there was way more than 3 teams! Remember kicking that soccer ball around in the middle of the night? Too funny. Brenda and the Angry Angels also got a podium place, even after dealing with a bike mechanical, which turned into a bike swap and then the pedals didn't match the cleats, so they had to change shoes. Whew!

Paris-Ancaster 2007

April 22, 2007. We had a great turnout for this one. 5 of us did the 60km and 6 of us did the 30km. The weather was awesome and the course was fairly dry because at this time of year you never know what conditions you're gonna get. It wasn't too bad until we came to the course's 2 infamous "mudslides" near the end. Anyone who's done P-A knows what I'm talking about. In the end I had another sickly post-race feeling but I recovered and overall, it was a good day - make that a great day. It was also my birthday. Thanks for the cake guys!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Durham Durango

September 10, 2006. Uxbridge. Some cold drinks and an outdoor BBQ at Deaner's place was a nice treat after yet another afternoon of racing, this time up the road in Durham Forest. Sadly, this event hasn't been organized since but when they do I'm sure we'll be there. Dean and I both earned 3rd places in our categories and were able to ride together for most of the race. Stitt had our team's first in-race mechanical with a broken chain but was able to fix it and finish the course. Nice job guys!

24 hrs Hot August Nights 2006

August 19-20, 2006. Albion Hills. Our first 10 person 24hr team was a success. We had a 8 rider rotation until early Sunday morning when Muller and Brenda tagged in for a couple of laps before the rest of the guys finished off the weekend. In the end, I think we surprised ourselves by finishing 16th out of 85 teams in the race's largest category. Our campsite was pretty sweet, even though it looked like tent city and we vowed to bring some more comforts in the following years - coffee maker and a microwave were just 2 of the suggestions made. Can't wait.
Clockwise from the top left:
  1. Jon blasting through the course.
  2. Tony being Tony.
  3. Shirtless Dean hanging out while Keith gives Ryan M some mechanical advice.
  4. Chico's Gator Pit.
  5. Brenda & Sandy .
  6. Marty?
  7. Foxy's red bucket.
  8. Stitt after a lap. A messy lap by the looks of it.
  9. The team. (L-R) Fox,Bradley,Evan,Tony,Keith,Muller,Stitt,Denis,Marty,Dean,Brenda,Sandy

Buds, beer and the beach

Summer 2006. Albion Hills. We don't just race, ya know? A beautiful day for a casual bike ride. Albion has a man-made lake where you can cool off after a day of riding the trails. Sweet.

Lake to Lake 2006

June 18, 2006. Niagara. This was a painful one in a couple of ways. Mike had just passed away a few weeks before and he was definitely on our minds and in our hearts. A bunch of us taped his picture to our stems and top tubes for a little extra inspiration. The race was also very hot (30C + humidity) this year, and at the finish I ended up in the First Aid tent due to heat exhaustion and dehydration and, yes I admit pushing myself a little more than I should have. Along the way I found myself riding most of the 50kms with Dean, which was very helpful to both of us. In the end, a tough and emotional day but like always couldn't wait to do it again next year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Angry Experience

Spring 2006. We must have been feeling pretty strong in the legs at this time because Brenda, Keith and I added some O-Cups to our racing resume. We raced with the Angry Johnny's club at O-Cups #1,2 & 3 and also at the Spring 8 hrs in Mansfield. It was a great experience even though the competition is a bit tougher at these levels. Keith still rides for the team, and even though Brenda and I don't have the time for the O-Cup scene anymore, it's always nice to see some familiar faces. They have since become the top ranked cycling club in Ontario and btw, Johnny isn't angry at all, he's really a super-nice guy!

Clockwise from top left:
  1. Marty climbing at Mansfield.
  2. Keith & Marty hanging out after Mansfield.
  3. Brenda, Keith & Alan at Albion.
  4. Brenda & Marty after Spring 8hrs.
  5. 2nd place for Brenda at Albion.
  6. Keith starting the climb at Mansfield.
  7. Brenda in the singletrack at Mansfield.
  8. 3rd place for the girls at the Spring 8hrs.
  9. Brenda's too fast for the camera!