• 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

Last year, I did a lot of racing. April was a busy month. I did the Heck of the North ride, Paris/Ancaster, the last Track Race night, Calabogie, and something else I am sure I am forgetting. I was gone every weekend. I also raced most, if not all, the OCUP races all summer. I did the weekly time thursday time trial. I did the weekly Midweek Crit. I rode in France. I did a lot. Probably too much. By the time the Tour of Terra Cotta rolled around in August, I was raced out. I was done. But did that race anyways. I remember praying for race so I didn't have to show up. The result was getting caught up in a crash, breaking my collar bone, and being forced to rest for at least 3-4 weeks. The best day of the summer I recall, was actually the day after the crash when I slept the afternoon away in the back yard under the afternoon sun. I hadn't taken time to relax in so long. So, this year, I decided to be a lot more conservative when it came to racing, and remember why I got starting riding in the first place: to get/stay fit, and to have some fun. In fact, the first goal this year is to have fun. I think I succeeded at that goal today.

I have a friend, Ed Henley that lives in Creemore, 1/2 hour (by car) south of Collingwood. Those that have done my Grand Fondo Recon rides up there know him as the support guy. Creemore has lots of hills in the area. We had planned, two weeks ago, to spend today riding around the area - or more correctly, hill repeats on Grey Rd. 19. This is a 5km climb featured in the Centurion bike race in the fall. I arrived the night before so I would not have to rush getting up there in the morning. We planned to ride around 10am to let the temperature climb a bit.

The next morning, I slept into about 8am which was nice, because I have not done that in a while. I discovered Paris/Roubais on Cyclefan, and pulled that up to watch the last 50km. We ate breakfast as the race progressed and moved to the livingroom to watch the last 10km of the race. It was fun watching the two leaders in a matched sprint in the Roubais velodrome.

I requested two things from Ed: that we start and end our day/ride at the coffee shop in Creemore. So, we got dressed, and walked down to the coffee shop to get a coffee and to check the temperature outside. 8C, partly sunny, and a warm wind. Nice riding weather. When we got back, we suited up, and pulled out our bikes. The plan was to ride into Collingwood and do a few hill repeats up Grey Rd. 19 - of course, we soon discovered, that wasn't going to happen. By the time we got to the top of the warmup climb out of Creemore heading up Fairground Rd. it became apparent that the wind had other ideas. The last time I stood on the side of the rode where I had to hang onto my bike save it get blown away was at the top of Mt. Ventoux in France when 100km/h winds almost took my bike away from me. We soldered on heading to Grey Rd 91 to see how far we could get.

There is something to be said about riding in cross winds that felt like 80km/h: not fun. There were several occations where we nearly got blow off our bikes. So, we turned into the wind on Grey Rd. 91. Yes, into the strong headwind. Here is where I learned that cycling into a 80km/h headwind feels like cycling up a 10% grade. I think my Garmin was reading 10km/h and I was in first gear grinding away. We had to stop a few times to brave the sandstorm that wind kicked up. We made it down to Concession 6 and headed back towards Creemore. The idea now was to ride some hills around Glen Heron. The wind was strong but not as bad because the area in close to the Escarpment and sheltered from the wind. We did some hills in Glen Heron and two hill repeats on County Rd. 9 (3km climb). At the top of the climb, I hit the head wind again. 80k/h headwind, and I was cycling up hill. Nothing like a challenge. 8km/h, out of the saddle, giving it everything to get the top of the climb.

The ride back Creemore down County Rd. 9 was fun. With the wind at my back, I clocked over the speed limit in full time trial mode. If I was pushing 200W, I would be amazed so I gunned it with 3km to go which felt really good. Back in Creemore, we stopped at the coffee shop again, and then did a 20 min spin around Creemore to cool down.

So today, the was no structure. No pressure. We did what we wanted when we wanted. There was no where to be at X time in the morning. Things just happened as they did. It was a fun day. I need more day likes this where we go where the wind blows us (literally). Today was a lot a like when I started cycling. It was fun. It was not work. There was little structure. I went where I felt like and did what seemed right. This is why I ride: to keep it fun. Today, I got reminded of that. Maybe it wasn't the best workout ever, but that didn't matter.

This year my first goal is to remember to have fun. When cycling, training, racing, etc. becomes work, I think we have to stop and question why we do it. For me, I will never make it to the Olympics. I will never get paid to ride my bike. We a weekend warrior, I think it is important to remember: keep it fun. Good friends. Good times.


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