After my experience, yesterday, I have wonder why $10,000 bikes left unlocked outside of coffee shops never seem to go missing, yet locked up commuter bikes do.

Yesterday, I took a different route home. I rode my bike from the office to downtown Toronto, as I have done in the past, to MEC to pickup some bike related items. Whether it was a wise thing to be riding my spare track bike with the carbon wheelset as a commuter is another matter, but I brought my spare lock with me. This is a heavy duty cable with a combination lock. You can buy them almost anywhere. I locked the bike outside of MEC. This is usually odd for me, because I usual stop at Urbane Cycle where I can bring the bike inside. I intend to be inside for some 10-15mins, so I thought it would be safe. Normally, locking a bike up anywhere is something I don't do: I usually bring the bike inside (i.e. Tim Hortins) where it is less likely to get pinched.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

I had a conversation with Steve Bauer, Head Coach at the Milton Velodrome Monday to clarify some of the programming available at Milton. I have updated this document to reflect the changes; however, the views described here are my own based on my experience riding and racing at the Forest City Velodrome, the International Velodrome at Bloomer Park, and the Clevelend Velodrome and do not neccessarily reflect the views of any of these organizations. For full programming details at Milton, please refer to the mattamynationalcyclingcentre.ca website. They have also posted their own Pathway to Track Cycling chart HERE. For programming at the Forest City Velodrome, see HERE.

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With the advent of the Town of Milton posting the programs available at the soon to be open Milton Velodrome, I've received a few queries wherever I go asking about buying a track bike and how to get into racing the track. The cycling commuting is all abuzz with the new track set to open in November, and the Ontario Cycling Association set to run it's first OCUP series at the new velodrome.

I've held caution optimism over the entire process. While Milton will be one of two 250m UCI registered tracks in North American, I think the local cycling commutee needs to keep the process of moving to track racing into perspective. Picking up track racing is something that, for most people, takes time to become competitive regardless of road racing experience. That said, for those looking for a new recreational activity - riding a real bike instead of the trainer for fitness, getting into riding the track is a simple process.

A group of 40 or so hardy soles showed up for the Canada Donut Ride even though it was threating thunderstorms. While it did rain part way into the ride, we missed it for the most part and only had wet roads for part of the ride. The smaller group today led to a faster pace ride - faster than normal. At one point Lori and Fudge Koffman got annoyed and attacked to get the pace up.

Here is a shot from my Fly6Cam showing the water on the roads at the Keele St. sprint:

vlcsnap-00112

I got home to find this rhymne in my inbox which seemed appropriate. Thanks to Steve Svensson from the D'Ornellas Club for sending this off.

It would seem lately, mostly over the last two weeks, the words "I think I can, I think I can" seem to be translating more into "Dammit, I can't". The letters DNF seems to be following me around as I blown up in a rash of races lately.

I have to keep reminding myself that the the point of racing up, doing racing harder than perhaps I should, was to work on putting myself in positions that would force to me to push myself beyond what I would have done in the past. It's be a hard go lately as the races get tougher because the guys have gotten fitter, and where I was holding it in the middle of the pack, I'm not struggling to hold onto the back of the pack. 

The Buffalo Crit was case in point. For the first time in the two years going there, I blew up. I struggle as to why. The best I can say, is a rest week is required. But, the same problem happened in Ottawa last weekend: I'm not used to racing where there is sprint after sprint after sprint - basically, the way a crit is supposed to be raced. The guys last night were on the attack more so that normal. Pace was either 30km/h or 50km/h. I lasted 30mins. Two weeks ago, I raced there and finished a 75min race midpack without much issue. The guys last time were really more animated than usual looking to chase down any break that got away. Normally, they sit up and ride around. I take some solice in the fact that Dan, the guy I went with from Midweek, was struggling to hang on, and two weeks ago he finished 11th with out much issue. So, the race was much harder, faster last night.

 

Last season, for whatever reason, I decided not to race in Ottawa at the Dandelion Grand Prix. A open crit race around a fast 5 corner circuit. However, I put myself in the team car for the Real Deal Racing team with the thought of taking photos and video of the race for the team. For them, it was a 90 min crit which they had a plan to win.

After the race, I was invited to sit in on the team meeting. The race didn't go down as planned, and team lead, Ed Veal, was looking for reasons why things happened the way they did. Everyone wants to win and there are usually only three places on the podium. It didn't happen for them that day, and Ed and the team went through the post-mortum of the race.

For me, while they didn't get the result they wanted it, became a great learning opportunity. I followed the Real Deal guys around a fair amount last year learned alot from them. It seems some guys have the natural horse power to get on the podium, and others have to learn how to use what they have to get there. I'm the second category. 

What I learned from these guys on that day was the following:

 

I pass this information along as a licensed Provincial C commissaire. 

If you are doing a time trial with an OCUP, Provincial, or National status, there will be a commisaire assigned to the bike check. Your TT bike must meet the OCA guidelines (which are based on the UCI guidelines) for a bike. Commisaires will be enforcing these new rules this year including an update as of May 1, 2014.  If you are not in Ontario, the expect the same to happen in your area following the guidelines of your regional organization (USAC in the US).

In summary, in addition to the usual bike check rules, the Handlebar Extensions and Seat position for TT bikes must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  1. Handlebar Extensions <= 75cm ahead of Bottom Bracket Center (BBC) and Seat >= 0cm behind BBC
  2. Or, 75cm < Handlebar Extensions <= 80cm ahead of BBC, and Seat >= 5cm behind BBC.
  3. Or, Rider Height >= 190cm, 80cm < Handlebar Extensions <= 85cm ahead of BBC, and Seat >= 5cm behind BBC.

Case (3) is a new morphological exception based on rider's height and allows longer extensions for tall riders. 

 

I am always amazed that when I get feedback on a blog post. Not so much anymore that people actually read some of the stuff I write. I endevour to post things I learn along the way. There is some 4+ years of archives on this site, and I sometimes go back and read some the old stuff to see how far I have come, and to remind myself how far I have yet to go (and how much I can't seem to be able to proofread).

This week I got feedback on my last post. Scott, at the track, sent me an email with a Youtube video from a TEDx of Natalie Dell O'Brien, an Olympic rowing Bronze medal winner on losing and how it adds perspective to training. I know all about losing. I do it enough. When I watched the video two thinks came to mind: something Ed Veal repeated during indoor training this winter and what happened at the Good Friday Road Race.

Ed, a two time Provincial Road champion, told us over and over again about how many races he lost. Sometimes you don't have it on the day or you make some mistakes in the race that cost the win. Secondly, I made some critical mistakes and completely underestimated the race in Ancaster, ON. Those mistake got me angry at myself in a way that drove me to consider what I did and how it was never going to happen again. The point being, the bad result fuelled my desire to push on and to learn from the experience rather than be upset about it.

So on that note, I offer the video on Losing to add perspective to your training.

 

 

There is an adage in racing that suggests in order to get faster, you have to ride with people faster than you. So many are chasing down the win on a lower rank races, never actually getting there, to work on speed. One has to be able to just hang on "to the big boys" perhaps in a category or two above, in order to win one's own category.

 

This spring in Toronto has been, well, a lot like winter. It's April, and it's still in the single digits in the morning. And, as Sat happened to show, it sometimes doesn't get warm in the afternoon. I had planned to do the Donut Ride on Sat. April, 5 as training for the Calibogie race the following weekend, but I awoke to see snow on the ground. Not something I expected. This VLOG post goes through some of the thought processes I experienced that morning.

 

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