Friday, April 29, 2011

Mansfield Ontario Cup #1 2011

The Weekend is here and that means it's time to switch gears to race mode! Mansfield is always one of my favourite stops on the Ontario Cup circuit -- I think mainly because it's the first one, and it's exciting to see how all the long hours of training over the winter translate onto the first dirt track of the season.

Preride tomorrow, racing Sunday, and for now, I'm off for a nice spin to make sure the bike is tickety-boo -- which I'm sure it is thanks to the amazing support from Sweet Pete's!

Have a good weekend all!

(PS - Wasn't the Royal Wedding just amazing?? Unapologetic monarchist, right here.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paris to Ancaster 2011 ...

So as I vowed after last year's P2A, I did NOT sign up, I did NOT make the long drive, I did NOT let them scratch my bike in the rental vans, I did NOT spend $60 on a race that bores me to tears and takes all day doing it ...

I did NOT race the P2A.

And wow, was I ever glad I didn't when I looked out the window at the SNOW and RAIN coming down. From the comfort of my couch and a Grey's Anatomy marathon, a race course was far down the list of places I'd rather be ... just below the dentist and the office-on-a-weekend.

I did however go out for a run with the Skinny Bitches. We did 9km to prep them for their first-ever 10km at the Sporting Life thing coming up. Go girls go!

First race of the season coming up in about 12 days -- Mansfield. Stoked on it, but I hope the spring kicks in soon. I remember years where Mansfield was shorts/jersey weather ... and years when it rained and snowed. Fingers crossed.

But before Mansfield we have the Easter long weekend. I plan on turning it into a bit of a long miles training camp before tapering into Ocup 1. Not sure where I'll be yet, but I know I won't be in BC as originally planned, which is a sad thing indeed. Sigh.

Other than that it's work work work!

In other news, huge congrats to Emily Batty for her Sea Otter win -- looks very good on her.

And even though it's not the funnest race, Congratulations to all who toughed it out, especially this year, at the Paris to Ancaster.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spinning 2.0

Gone are my days as a spinning client, and begun are my days as a spinning INSTRUCTOR

I'm super excited Mike at RPM Spinning + Gravity Studio has invited me to join the ranks of his talented staff and so far things are off to a great start (by that I mean no one's walked out yet :)).

If you're looking for a good work-out, come see me on Mondays at 6:15pm chez RPM.

Call/email via the info below to reserve a bike and we'll see you there! Tonight: Hills, inspired by the Mugu State Park ride we did in California.

This week, I'm also leading the 6am class on Tuesday and Thursday, in case you're more of an early bird.

Happy riding, indoor or out!

RPM Spinning + Gravity Studio
2109 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commuting Begins!

First commute of 2011 complete! So much nicer than riding the TTC. I admit I rode my race rig though, which is something I would like to avoid this year.

But how could I resist my shiny new bike (AND new shoes!!)

Tonight, I'll take the Long Way Home to make it legit training thus not in violation of my do-not-ride-the-race-bike-as-a-commuter-bike resolution.

PS -- Come tax return time, I'm totally going to pick up a new bike. One with a basket. And a bike lock. Gears optional. It's going to be awesome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April: Bikes!

Loving this month's Ontario Outdoor desktop calendar photo selection. Fitting too, since April is the first month of 2011 I did NOT purchase a metropass ... c'mon good weather!

Fire in your new shoes!

Haven't posted a Race Track in a while, but today this one is fitting. Finally test drove my new shoes: Giro's Sica (and yes, they were on fire -- their maiden voyage was a 29 minute time trial this morning, ugh).

Overall I'm super pleased with them. I'm always a bit daunted by cleat positioning (which is why it's taken me so long to try them out) but I think I actually got it right on the first try. Perfect amount of space in the toe box, complemented with the perfect amount of support on the sides and under my arches. That's extra good news at the moment because for some reason, my arches have been giving me trouble lately in both cycling and running shoes. They're noticeably light, and carbon soles were the cherry on top -- I didn't really know if it would make that much difference, but yep, that's firmness you can feel.

Sweet Pete's is now carrying Giro shoes (which I believe are a fairly new addition to the cycling-shoe market) so check out a pair for yourself if you're looking. They are priced remarkably fair (unlike Sidi's *ahem*) so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Looking forward to getting these puppies dirty!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ride Shake Down 2011

Took a little vacation with Gerhard while he was reporting on the 2011 Ride Shake Down in Mont Saint Sauveur, QC. We didn't go far, and we weren't gone for long, but it was definitely a departure. Although I live adjacent to snowboarding almost all the time, thanks to G's line of work, I don't often visit that strange and colourful land. But when I do, it's always an excellent time.

The weekend began with the Friday night Rail Jam where Jeremy Cloutier won $5000 for his efforts (see photo to the left, taken by SBC Sr. photo Oli Croteau). I don't speak Snowboarder unfortunately, so if you want to know what tricks he pulled out of his hat, I strongly recommend visiting They speak snowboarder fluently. Anyway, Jeremy is apparently a big deal, but to me he's that guy I lent my sleeping bag to and drove all over town when he and his crew came to Toronto. He was nice, polite and hilarious, so watching him win the competition was good times.

After G finished his interviews, we headed to our hotel, stopping at St. Hubert (when in Quebec ...) along the way for some nourishment. It's like Swiss Chalet only better. Our hotel reminded me of the resort in Dirty Dancing. I could totally picture people meeting up at the gazebo for salsa lessons in the in summertime. Plus, they had a breakfast buffet which is up there on my list of 'favourite dining experiences'.

Saturday was supposed to be a crappy day, but the gods smiled on the Shake Down and it turned into the nicest circumstances for spring skiing I've ever encountered. It was hoody and sunglasses weather. G and I ripped around on the soft snow, then baked on the chair-lift before calling it quits in time to get a poutine lunch, washed down with a pitcher of sangria, just for us. We watched some of the semi-finals of the "Main Event" set for that evening, then the circus act of skateboarders trying to ride the snowboarder rails, and before we knew it, it was time to be reporters again. (Well G was the reporter, I was just the annoying sidekick trying to figure out the difference between 50/50s and 5-0s.)

The snowboarders hucked themselves off this huge jump before checking their speed just enough to shred the rails on the bottom half of the course all night and for spectators, it never really got old. The organizers set the course up for maximum benefit to the cheering crowds so everything was happening across the hill, giving us the best view.

At the end, a big fireworks display kept us entertained while we waited to find out which flipsytwistyjumpyspin was the best of the night. It was the Shake Down's 10th anniversary afterall, and let me tell you, it was quite the birthday party (Croteau photo, a gauche).

In the end Seb Toots took the win, a local kid now $15,000 richer. He's also kind of a big deal, but I've never lent him a sleeping bag.

Saturday was party night! The official party was looking like it was going to be Montreal's answer to a night on the Jersey Shore, so we skipped that. Instead, we hit up an awesome little hole-in-the-wall bar called the Bulldozer with the Ride guys. I was still in Snowboarder Land, but we'd now travelled to its capital city: Boys Being Boys. I'll leave out the details, because I definitely heard some stories I would not repeat to my mother.

Really though, snowboarders I feel are an often misunderstood bunch of dudes (and sometimes gals, but not at the Shake Down). Once you get through the cool-guy veneer, you'll almost always find thoughtful, considerate, globally-, open-minded characters with a flair for Good Living.

Long drive home including a stop at Schwartz's (of course) and that makes a rad weekend. I'd like to thank my sponsors, @gerhardgross and @snowboardcanada for another amazing time. Peace.