• Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills, MI

  • Racing the Provincial's Crit 2014

  • Forest City Velodrome - London, ON

  • Larkenville Challenge, Buffalo, NY

  • Winning the Sprint at the ForestCity Velodrome

  • Track Nationals 2014: Keirin

  • Track Nationals 2014: Points Race

  • OCUP #1: Feb 2015

The one thing missing from my training this winter was endurance training. For one reason or another, I never managed to get in any 2-3 hour rides. I have been riding and racing the track all winter. Some people drive two hours to go skiing, I drive just under two hours twice/week to ride my bike indoors at the track in London, ON.

This passed weekend I put in some endurance work more by accident than anything else. On Saturday, I opened the track as planned. I rode the rec ride at the track putting in some speedy efforts on the blue line. Speedy in the sense, I was riding a 49x17 gear for 78 gear inches, so at times I was spinning at 110-115RPM riding around 38k/h. I spent the rest of the day at the track. I led out the riders at the track 1 (newbie) session which is a  good workout unto it's own. I hung around for the Youth training session and in some hard efforts. I ended up leaving at the close of the track and put in some 858 laps on the day for some 120KM of riding. It has been a while since I put that many laps in.

 

The next day I planned to do the Donut Ride in Toronto. Yes, outdoors. I've been meaning to do the donut ride all winter, but riding the track, fatigue or just plain laziness kept me from riding outdoors. I done this ride before in winter. One year, I did it in Dec, Jan, and Feb, and rode on days it was -8C out. Properly dressed, it can be a lot of fun. This past weekend, the weatherman predicted 4C in the morning and a high of 9C. So, like a lot of others, I planned to use the nice weather to ride outside. It has been a while since riding outside in that warm of weather.

 

The Donut Ride has been running since the 1970's and is one of the longest running rides in Ontario. It is well know for being a hammerfest. Most of the local racers do the ride as much for fun as for training. I started doing this ride some three years ago when I wanted to get my yaya's out. It is almost a badge of honor to say you made it through to Grandma's Oven (the donut shop mid-ride) with the pack because many riders get dropped when the ride pace picks up. NOT getting dropped is a challenge for newer riders working on building fitness.

I don't know why, I was nervous about the ride. I knew what to expect. I knew it would be tough considering I did a 120km at the track the day before and I haven't done any endurance work in some time. I think I was more worried about being dressed too cold. While I commute to work and back all winter, I have never done a ride longer than a hour outside this winter. I dress differently for a short ride over a longer one. Silly as it sounds, I was a bit nervous.

As usual, I rode down to the start at the ride at Eglington and Laird in mid-town Toronto. There, a Second Cup coffee shop awaits riders that show up a bit early. I orders a double long espresso for a boost of energy and chatted with a few of the early birds. Riding down to the start in colder weather for me is as much a opportunity to take one last bathroom break, as much as testing the clothing choice. It is 20 min ride from home. There was a slight chill in the air which is how I knew I was dressed correctly. One should feel a bit cold at the ride start.

The Donut Ride wanders through Toronto and heads north out of the city. There, on Keele St. the pace picks up. I learned some time ago it is better to stay near in the middle of the pack out of the wind, and when I feel good I may ride closer to the front. At the junction of Testor Rd and Keele St. some riders peel off to head out Jane St. This is a tougher course with a faster pace and tougher hills. Me, today, I stuck with the main group. With the wind from the north, the ride was hard. I actually had something happen that hasn't happened in a while: I got dropped off the main pack and landed in a chance group - hanging on to the back of that pack as everyone tried (and failed) to bridge up to the main pack. You could say, I had my ass handed to me. I have a lot of work to do. Good thing I'm not doing any road races that matter until June.

I decided to peel off and avoid doing the rollers (rolling hills that add 5-10km to the ride). Three others did the same...and we were joined by a few others that got dropped as we rode to Grandma's Oven donut shop. The rest of the ride was uneventful. 

So, in hindsight, I had nothing to worry about clothing-wise. I was dressed appropriately. 9C when I got in at home. It was a comfy ride. Fitness-wise, I need work to get back to the level I was used to last outdoor season. I did  Jane St last season and made it to Grandma's Oven with the pack. So, I know it will come. I am looking forward to many more Donut Rides. It is something I did not do enough of last season. I spent too much time being somewhere, at a race or otherwise, every weekend. This year, I want to have more fun, and less racing.

 

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