This weekend everyone in the Ontario Racing community was perparing to trek up highway 401 to Calabogie, ON (just outside of Ottawa) for the annual Calabogie Road Race was being held on the Calabogie Motorsport Speedway. I've done this year the last few years, and I can't say this year I could get excited about it. Last year, I did the race more or less to prove to myself I could keep up with the pack in the 15 laps around the 5km circuit. The course is generally flat with a few tight turns and a few "bumps in the road" for hills. Nothing hard. Last year, it was like riding around group ride at 40km/h with a single sprint. I would not say I was challenged to be able to keep up with the pack in my category. Racing Calabogie is a two day affair by the time one books the hotel. travel to the town, do the race prep ride, do the race, drive home, etc. all for 80kms of riding and a chance at the podium (and because this is Ontario, a podium spot generally doesn't even guarrenty your registration fee back). It's a big expense.

This morning I looked outside at 6:10am as I picked up my backpack, jumped into the car, and heading to the GO Train station here in Milton, ON and noticed something I've not seen at this time of the morning in some time: The Sun. We have finallly come around the sun far enough that that sunrise has become early enough to see the sunrise as I head out to the office. Today, it has special meaning. Having reviewed the weather forecast for the two weeks the general trend in temperature in this area of Ontario is on the upswing. Finally, spring was about to spring to life. In preparation, I packed my backpack full of clothes to leave at the office and enough lunches that I would be set for at least 3-4 rides in.

I've been a user of Perf Pro Studio for some time now. This is software I run on a Windows computer that I use to run interval sessions for indoor training.  I like it for training because I can put videos behind my interval sets. I change up the video depending on the type of interval. For sprint intervals, I'm racing against the pros during the final sprint to the line using bike cam fortage from the Tour de France and other races. For time trail intervals, I use footage from pro TT races. It works for me.

However, I've always done the intervals on a regular trainer. Perf Pro is useful because it will simulate power based on the "normal trainer" power curve if a power meter is not being used by the rider. So while friends may not have a power meter, they can train with power using the software and an ANT+ cadence/speed sensor. It works. It works well when using Perf Pro in FTP mode where workouts. FTP mode sets up a workout based on the percent FTP you should be riding. So, for a 20/40 set, the sprint interval is 200% FTP. For a short TT interval, it's 100%.

I got up this morning, after deciding last night, I'm going into the office , thinking I need a book to read. I work at home three days per week, and circumstance what they were, I've been working at home for the last week. I wanted out of my cage. The trek into the office is one that takes me from Milton on the commuter GO Train into downtown Toronto, and up the subway line to just north of the downtown core. The trek takes about 2hrs total one way and gives me a change to read. I had spent the last four moths studying Abnormal Psychology, a 3rd year course towards my degree, at York University - something I started back in 2002. Today, was the first time in months I could read on the way in something that wasn't course related. I needed a book. I looked at the bookshelf and found something I bought a few months ago: How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald. I tossed in my bag, and headed out the door.

Over the long September weekend, I spend my time racing at the International Velodrome at Bloomer Park at the Thunder Games track race. I've done that race two years in a row, although, last year I was less successful. I have also raced in Cleveland at the Cleveland Velodrome. I race in the US in the summer on the track because there isn't any track racing in Ontario. The Thunder Games was a two evening event that featured Madison racing at it's core. Teams raced against each other in scratch, points, and elimination races as well as a Madison for points. The top team wins the tournament. They eventually race a A and B group and I won the B group with Enrico "CritBoy" Traini as my partner. It was a blast. Looking at the videos on Youtube of the big track races in the UK such as the Revolution UK series, I get excited. Then, you come back to Ontario, and the excitement all goes away.

There used to be this style of racing at the Forest City Velodrome, but in recent years, the turn out for race nights as dwindled. While the FCV is about to undergo a transformation and a 6 day style show could happen this season but one has to wonder where Milton fits in. One has to wonder the possibilities of what could be and what isn't happening. Oddly, on the way back home from Bloomer Park, I had to wonder what if we do that format for a big race in Milton. What about the OCUP series, you say?


Sigh of Relief

Last night, I got my bike stuff ready. Helmet, shoes, clean bike's drive train, etc, and went to bed. Ready to get up and drive into the Toronto  to do the Donut Ride. Something I do when I have nothing better to do. At 6am, the alarm went off and then, I heard it outside: rain. Damn. Looking at the weather forecast, there was a 40% chance that the ride would get rained out. I guessed it would dry up by the start of the ride and probably would not rain at all, but didn't desire to even ride on wet roads. I turned over and went back to sleep. At 10am, I rolled out of bed again. I can't remember the last time that happened. Rather that feel guilt for missing the ride, it felt strangely good. Cycling is all about riding in the morning. Some even ride before the sun comes up. I've passed the Morning Glory Cycling club here in Milton riding north on 6th line at 6:20am as I rode into work. The local Milton Bicycling Club starts rides at 7:30am. I always liked the Donut Ride because it probably the only ride left that starts every time at 9am year around.

Looking Back

On a positive note, racing at Track Nationals left me with numerous personal bests, and finishing mass start races against some top contenders - races that normally I would have not completed. I managed to build over that season I don't give up attitude. The race isn't over until it's over. I think racing too much last summer helped with that. I got to do stupid things like attacking off the front of the pack at the start of the race, etc.. I managed, with 10 laps to go, at the Provincial Criterium last year, be in a two man break away and hold the pack off until two laps to go. I managed, in December at the Forest City Velodrome, to twice over win points races, one against the almighty Steve Bauer, and one by lapping the field - something I thought I would never be able to do.

This year I went to Florida for two weeks for a training camp to get back on the road bike and "learn" to get comfortable riding on the road again. The next step: learning how to race the road bike again. It might seem a bit silly to say, but after 6 months of indoor training and racing on the track, it's almost a "new" experience to race on the road again, having to deal with gears and brakes, corners and hills, etc.. For me, the transition back to road is always a hard one. For the track, I ride and train at the Forest City Velodrome all year around, so I've gotten to the point I can pick that back up without hesitation. Top it off that I make it a point to go to Bloomer Park and race the 200m track there in Rochester Hills, MI and the Cleveland Velodrome during the summer, and track almost comes natural to me. My confidence is built back in 20 mins of training. For road racing, it takes a few races to my confidence back. In my mind, Speedweek - 5 races in 7 days - is an excellent way to get that confidence back racing in sunny and warm Georgia and South Carolina.

I would like to first thank my generous supporters on the GoFundMe campaign. The campaign was as much a way to raise funds as a way to test out GoFundMe for a possible campaign for track worlds in a few years. I would also like to thank Ed Veal and Jessica Puddifant for putting me up on the couch of the condo they rented. Without them, I probably would not have gone. Also, thanks to Jon Maloney and Deirdra MacCallum for being there at the start line. Having someone to go to the start makes things much easier. That said, we were only able to do a Speedweekend. Next time, I hope to bring a group of racers down. Committed individuals who see Speedweek the say way I do: Crit Goon Training Camp.

I am sure my opinion will not be shared by all. First, let us start with saying bike racing is dangerous. I can remember almost six years ago doing the Midweek Cycling Club learn to race program and have Jeff Archbold standing up front before the start of the first night and saying: "You will crash. Get over it". There is no way to make it safe no more so that driving a car is safe. On the highways, one has to practice defensive driving. One has to anticipate the stupid moves of other drivers and know how to react.

The problem with racing, at least in the master ranks, is everyone has the notion of "safe racing". This does happen when it does happens because the same guys race together over and over again and get to know each others skill and fitness levels. However, add some unknown riders, new riders , gravel on the road, rain, etc. into the equation, and safe racing does not happen. Gaps happen. Wheels get crossed. Bars connect. Sh*t happens. Because most masters only race a few races a year and are more concerned about their FTP then skillfully handling a bike, no one gets "good" a bike handling. So, when things get a bit "sketchy" (ever heard that muttered at a race before?) they have no idea what to do. I can remember the first time being coached by Ed Veal, elite racer now on the national team, and complaining about these races: his words: "get over it". I've never complained about a race being sketchy since.

I had my reservations about doing the track OCUP over this weekend but I signed up for it anyways. There was the usual crowd of racers that I've raced with before at the Forest City Velodrome and others that I raced with at Nationals. But, like I said, I signed up anyways.

Friday night wasn't spectacular. I don't really know why, but my mind wasn't on it. I couldn't seem to hold the pace in the points race qualifier and ended up finishing 14th. I need to be 12th place or better to race the final. It is really a testament to mind over body because I have suffered before, and managed to hang in or more like driving the pace. This time, I guess I just gave up. I didn't really want to be there, and the results showed. However, I managed to loan out my wheelset (with a disc) to a friend, Conrad M. who when on to lap the field in the points race final and placed third overall joining the growing ranks of masters racers that have beaten the mighty Steve Bauer to the finish line.


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