Sunday, April 26, 2009

856 km to go..

Yesterday was a fantastic day for a ride around the Toronto area. As promised the skies were blue in the morning, temperature in the mid-20's (Celsius) and very little wind to speak of. I couldn't miss the opportunity to go for a big ride and test my limits after last weeks 65k ride. After about a 10k warm-up, I was feeling pretty good and headed north for farm country and wide open roads.

Unknown riders cycling north on Warden Rd.
Unknown riders I caught, clicked and passed
while heading north on Warden Road.
The most eventful moment of my ride happened at about 25k in when I had to stop at a railway crossing for a passing freight train. It was a pretty short train, but it never-the-less gave me a moment to take a little rest and a much needed drink. By this time, the temperature had climbed to 26-27*C and I was just starting to get a pretty good sweat going. When the train passed, I continued north until I reached Bloomington Rd. and the 40k mark, meeting several other cyclists along the way. You can always count on running into cyclists on the roads north of the city.

When I made my turn for home however, I realized that I was now heading into the teeth of a stiffening breeze. Being from Newfoundland, I am used to riding in the wind, but it's never been my favourite thing to do. The last 35k or so of my ride were pretty tough, made no less tougher by the fact that in the last 2k there is what amounts to a 1km vertical wall of a hill. With my legs on empty, it was all I could do to reach the top. My legs were screaming for mercy at that point.

All in all, I managed 76.5k in 3h13, but that is pretty much the limit of my personal endurance, at least for a 27* solo ride. I dropped 7 lbs as well and to be honest, I'm still trying to recover. On the bright side, I took a big chunk out of my goal of 1200k and it's still only April.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OLN and Cycling...or lack thereof

One of the things that I love to do the most, other than cycling, is watching professional cycling on television. Every year, I can't wait for July to roll around, when the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) brings Canada daily coverage of the Tour de France. For my American readers, what you now know as Versus is still called OLN in Canada.

OLNs coverage of the Tour is fantastic, mostly because they broadcast the Versus feed of the Tour de France, with live race coverage in the mornings and then a shortend taped version of the day's race that same evening. I never miss a stage, much to my family's chagrin. Unfortunately though, that's pretty much where the similarity between Canada's OLN and the US's Versus ends.

While Versus provides its American audience with coverage of many of the high profile stops on the professional cycling tour, the Tour de France is all we get. No Liege-Bastogne. No Fleche Wallone. No Veulta a Espana. Nada. Just the Tour de France. To be honest, I'm not even sure if OLN is carrying the tour in Canada in 2009. A quick visit to the OLN website, and all I can find is a brief report on the 2008 tour. There's nothing in their schedule to indicate any planned coverage of this year's race.

OLN does however now show 'Dog The Bounty Hunter'. Now there's a show that just screams outdoor life. I guess because Dog and his posse of nitwits spend most of their time chasing criminals through backyards and down the street, that counts as outdoor activity. Anyway, I digress.

I just can't help be curious as to why OLN doesn't carry more of Versus' cycling feeds. I think I'll email OLN and ask that very question. In fact, if we all emailed them, maybe they'd at least think about carrying more cycling events (and hopefully less 'Dog'). If you'd like to help out, you can email them at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Team Will going the distance

Team Will for childhood cancer research
If you're looking for a great cause to follow and help out, I highly recommend visiting the web site of Team Will. Team Will is...

".. a community of cyclists of all levels and ages committed to raising public awareness and funds for childhood cancer research through a mixture of cycling activities and events. Team Will's mission focuses on providing a coherent, credible voice to educate society about childhood cancer."
Team Will, founded in Sacramento, CA in 2005 hosts and organizes a variety of local and national cycling and related events with the goal of promoting health and safety through education and training and to raise fund for children's cancer research.

Please visit their site and follow their updates on Twitter at

My blog has been Blogged

I've officially achieved Internet star status. Well...sort of. My blog has been reviewed and listed on, a directory of blogs on just about every subject from every corner of the world.

My editor rating is 7.6 (out of 10) which makes my blog "Very Good" and puts me listed at #105 in the Sports > Cycling category that currently includes 551 blogs. Not bad for starters.

With the help of some positive reader ratings (wink, nudge), maybe I can move up the list a bit and crack the top 100, the Holy Grail for cycling bloggers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

So much for playing nice

It's raining cats and dogs in Toronto today, and for the next 2 days apparently, so there's very little in the way of cycling news to report. Instead, I'll post a link to this video of the sprint finish from the 8th stage of the 2009 Tour of Turkey.

Theo Bos throws yellow jersey rider Daryl Impey of team Barloworld into the race barriers
I'm guessing the Rabobank rider involved, Theo Bos, won't be including "Plays well with others" on his résumé anytime soon. Apparently though he won't face any disciplinary action from the UCI. The Daily Peloton has a report on the incident in which it appears Bos deliberately throws yellow jersey rider Daryl Impey of team Barloworld into the race barriers. According to the report Impey suffered..
"...a fracture of the third disk of his lumbar vertebra, a micro-fracture of his neck, a facial trauma, a few broken teeth and a deep cut in his lips. Impey will to stay in the Alanya hospital for observation for 24 hours.
Amazingly, Impey managed to remount a bike and finish the race with the help of teammate Patrick Calcagni. I won't post it here, but there's a pretty nasty looking picture included with the report of Impey receiving medical attention afterwards.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

934K to go...

Well, I had been looking forward to this ride all week. I've been doing some indoor training on the stationary bike, punching in 70K while watching various shows on television, but riding indoors just isn't the same. The weather forecast all week long for today was for lots of sun and 22*C, so I couldn't wait to get out there.

Cycling along a wide open 19th Ave, north of Toronto.
Hard to get a decent picture on a solo ride.
Unfortunately things weren't so promising when I woke up this morning. Myself and a colleague decided to go for a beer after work yesterday and that beer turned into 2 pints. When I got home, I discovered that my wife had invited our neighbours over for a drink on the deck, it being such a nice evening and all. Before I knew it, there was a full fledged neighbourhood party going. Not being a party pooper, I settled in and spent the next 5 hours enjoying more than a couple glasses of wine.

That led directly to this morning, when I awoke feeling a little less rarin' to go than I normally would. Then I looked outside and noticed that the weather forecast was a touch inaccurate. Rather than the bright sun I was promised, it was dull, gray and very overcast. It even looked as though it might start pouring rain any minute. So I delayed my start and took an hour or 2 to recover from my self-inflicted wounds.

Finally, feeling a bit better but still with no weather improvement in sight, I hit the road. The rain, with the exception of a scattered drop, held off and surprisingly enough, once I got going I felt pretty good. About 35km in, the sun broke out a bit and it became quite pleasant and I ended up doing 65.6km in 2h38m, which I thought was a pretty decent pace for a solo ride. Better still, I felt great at the end, although I will admit that my legs feel like lead at the moment. I was planning to join a group ride with TBN tomorrow morning, but I don't think I'll have the legs for that. We'll see.

Oh..and no, I didn't get to try out my new jacket. As expected, even though I'm sure it didn't hit 22* today, it certainly wasn't anywhere near cold enough to warrant wearing it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

Tyler Hamilton riding for Rock Racing (Reuters Photo)
You've probably all heard the story by now about American cyclist Tyler Hamilton annoucing his retirement after testing positive for the steroid DHEA, apparently the result of taking an over-the-counter anti-depressant. I was just reading the story about it on ESPN Cycling and couldn't help notice a quote from Michael Ball, owner of the Rock Racing team for which Hamilton rides. He said, and I quote...
"For him to have to retire on this note is a very tough pill to swallow"
Strikes me as a bit of a poor choice of words, but more than likely entirely unintended. Either way, I can't help but feel a bit for Hamilton. I know taking performance enhancers and doping is a very serious issue in cycling, as it should be, but it really pales in comparison to the effects of suffering from depression. Here's hoping that Hamilton can win this battle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I've reached my first goal

I'm very pleased to report that I've reached and surpassed my personal fundraising goal for the Becel Ride for Heart for the Heart and Stroke Foundation Ontario, thanks to my many friends, colleagues and family members.

I originally set out to personally raise $350 for the foundation and now have $355 in donations secured. The donations need not stop there though and your continued support would be more than appreciated. Every dollar counts and you can still donate and support my ride by going to my donor page here or clicking on my ad on the right.

Once again, thanks to all of my donors, current and future!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Got Blog?

If you have a blog about cycling, mountain biking, triathlons, or anything related to the world of cycling, I'd be happy to add it to my blog roll. Just drop me a note here or send me a tweet on twitter with your blog details and I'll drop it in my list.

If you can add my blog to your list in exchange, I'd greatly appreciate that too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cycling Odds and Ends for Monday

Well, I had every good intention of getting out for another ride yesterday after putting in 60k on Friday, but even though it was a very nice day around Toronto, the wind had quite a little chill to it. I just didn't feel like digging into that again without a jacket, which until today was a long overdue purchase for me. I finally broke down and took a lunchtime run down to Mountain Equipment Co-op on King West and picked one up. As you can see, I went for the yellow one, figuring if nothing else, I'll be visible on the road. Now all I have to do is hope it stays cold enough to warrant me actually wearing it. I'm sure though that now that I've bought one, we'll be in the 20's before the end of the week.

Anyway, since I didn't get on the road yesterday, I did 25k on my stationary bike instead while watching the 250cc Grand Prix of Qatar. For some reason, I've always been fascinated by motorcycle racing. Maybe it's a 2-wheel thing or maybe it's because these guys have to be completely nuts going over 250 kmh on a motorcycle. Not sure who won, but I did get a decent workout.

The other thing I noticed this weekend is that The Sporting Life on Yonge doesn't seem to sell Cervelos anymore, which struck me as odd. Not that I had planned to buy one or anything, but I enjoyed going in there to check them out. I remember they used to have the TT bike that Dave Zabriskie rode in the tour once, which I thought was kind of cool.

Oh... and this has nothing to do with cycling, but my beloved Chicago Blackhawks are back in the playoffs and hosting the Calgary Flames starting on Thursday night. TSN is carrying the full series if you're interested.

Last but not least, I've now raised over $300 ($310 to be exact) for my Becel Ride for Heart ride coming up in June. If you'd like to help push me over the top of my $350 goal, please go to my personal Ride for Heart Sponsorship Page and donate any amount you can spare for a great cause.

Friday, April 10, 2009

999K to go...

Hopefully, that will be my most eventful ride of the season. The weather and forecast for the Toronto area was very promising this morning, so I set-off with the target of riding 60k. Right from the get-go, it seemed to be a little cooler than I had expected, but it was clear and sunny and supposed to go to a comfortable 10*C, so I hung in there and headed north up Bayview Ave.

It being Good Friday, traffic was pretty light, which is always good, but what little wind there was was right in my face. Other than making it colder than I like for riding, things were going generally good. I found my legs about 11-12k in, but then at the 19k mark, disaster struck. I pounded over a very small pothole I didn't see coming and punctured both tires. That's a 100% increase in punctures over my entire season and 1154k last year, and I'm only 200k in for '09.

To make matters worse, I didn't realize the front was gone until I had fixed the back with my only spare tube. That left me in a bit of a predicament. I tried to call my wife to come to my rescue, but no got answer. My only option was to try to patch glue what was left of the front tube, which I thought was torn beyond repair. Fortunately the patch held and I got back on the road.

I thought about heading home since I now had no repair options left if I got another puncture, but I figured I'd come this far so I might as well carry on. Back into the cold wind and a few stops to add pressure to the front (I guess the patch wasn't perfect) and I totalled out at 60.15k.

Now I'm off to Spokes and Sports for as many new tubes as I carry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

1059K to go..

As promised the weather was much improved today over yesterday, so I got my ride in. Only managed 41K though as I can't say I'm feeling 100% this weekend. Went for a little jog yesterday, just to remind myself how much I hate running, and sure enough my legs felt (feel) like lead today. I also bought a new bathroom scale yesterday and weighed in at a whopping 182 lbs. That reminded me just how much I hate winter...and love eating. I'd like to drop at least 10-15 of that, but that's easier said than done.

My physical disposition may have also been affected by the bottle and a half of wine I drank last night with some friends. I'd highly recommend the wine though, a Tenuta Di Castiglione 2006 bottled by Marchesi de Frescobaldi vineyards in Italy's Tuscany region.

Oh, and by the way, my new gloves were awesome. Very comfortable. If you're in the market for a new pair of gloves, I'm happy to recommend those as well.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Cycling Gloves

Couldn't get out on a ride today unfortunately due to weather conditions. A very dismal day in the GTA with heavy overcast early and a little sprinkle of rain here and there. More more importantly though, very high winds that would have made for a very unpleasant, if not treacherous ride. So instead, I took a run over to Spokes and Sports on Avenue Road and bought myself a new pair of cycling gloves.

I went for a pair the blue, black and silver Giro Bravos, very nice looking gloves that coincidently match the colour of my bike. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a chance to try them out. Weather forecast looks a little more promising.