Tuesday, 18 February 2014
I wish Speed Theory Mike Healy good luck, he looks solid and prepared as always. And like a good Irish lad we both enjoyed a cold beer the night prior, catching up a bit.
This scenario was a total bi-polar opposite of the two years previous event I was in where a huge peloton stuck together for nearly the entire Century race, allowing conservation of energy etc... not this time.
Boom!!! I get blown off about 5 km from the finish of the Century race and Claudio has to attack and bridge under enormous effort to regain Kurt and Markos wheel.
"Well ok, here I am now", I tell myself, nearly bonked, alone, in 2nd position, 20+ hours racing to go. Claudio is with two guys who will either destroy him, or tow him along for their 12 hour race? Either way I need to collect my shit and get my head screwed back on and remain steady.. riding into the West wind... I make it to the Sebring Track/ Century Finish. I enjoy a feed from my guys and then roll out onto the 17km 'Short Loop'. Within two laps I catch Claudio. .. and we are once again competing for 1st, I didn't really get the sense that anyone was catching up to us anytime soon either. I ask him again to confirm he's in the 24 event, in broken English he says "Yeah, I am in 1st".
Ok then, he thinks I'm in the 12 hour maybe? huh...
Back to Claudio, the man is a fully fledged Solo RAAM Finisher, times 4, and probably the most prominent Endurance cyclist in South America, definitely Brazil, fully sponsored by Specialized. Built like a brick shithouse as well, he more resembles a Mayan Incredible Hulk, rather than the svelt Euro Pro physique of the likes of Marko Baloh... but oh man was this guy powerful.
Into the next lap I place a well timed attack on Claudio on the one and only 'hill' of the entire event, and it works!! Bam, I make a break and stick it hard, I know I have two more laps alone on the short loop and then will be onto the Sebring Raceway, where my cornering ability will shine through. Knowing I probably can't drop Claudio anywhere else, this is my only chance...
At the 12 hour mark, Marko Baloh has dropped knuckle dragger Kurt for the 12 HOUR Win, and the rest of us 24 hour saps are directed onto the raceway. I'm clearly ahead of Claudio by 5 minutes or more now, and knowing I have solid cornering ability on the race track I slowly increase my lead, meter by meter, second by second.. as the sun starts to set, and I've now been awake for 34 hours.
It gets very cold, near freezing.. my support team has been the foundation of success and although I contemplate a DNF for my own safety, after falling asleep on my bike; I turn it into anger and adrenaline and continue driving, driving, driving, driving...
Overall I think I managed 465 miles (755 kilometres)? Or somewhere about 4.5 Ironman loops in a row, on a flat flat course, with no coasting.
Thursday, 5 January 2012
.... Dr. Johnson
Having once formally performed the role 'Director of Randonneuring' for two complete bike seasons I was given a great introduction to a part of cycling that precedes even the Tour de France. Two local Rando 'Gods', Bill Donner, and Larry Lemmesurier respectively, each had brief inconsolable laughs when I told them I was interested in joining up for their unique style Endurance challenges. At the time Bill had recently been awarded 'Most logged Miles' in North America for officially completing Rando events at over 26,000 miles in total. And Larry, no chump himself, would do such crazy things like seeing how far he could drive in one weekend to train himself for Endurance cycling. On one weekend, truthful story, Larry drove from Ft. McMurray to New Mexico and back, non-stop, and was back at work Monday morning.
How could I compare ?... simply I just never did... back then.
And so those experiences and the friendships made with those strange fellows, ignited something in me. My nubile passion for long distance bike touring was only the beginning. At a young age growing up in Northern BC how would I have known Ultra racing was actually a sport ? ... of course I was barely five years old when the first running of the Race Across America was christened, and I was simply into more fun childhood things like Atari and Lego, rather than outrunning fatigue in the middle of the night on a dark and isolated Canadian highway.
Since those early days of my first 200km Brevet on a mountain bike with slick tires in 1996, I've developed my knowledge, fitness and attitude towards competing in these most 'rotund' of cycling races. Texas Time Trials, Race Across the West, 24 HOURS Solo... Devils Gap ride with Stappy.. etc etc.
The RM 1200 features an exciting route of which I have yet to travel 100%, so there will be the allure of the unknown destination. Yet I've logged nearly 75% of the current course in times of rain, snow and darkness. But also under the relentless gleaming sunshine, exposing the roadside waterfalls as something heavenly and sacred... the water crashing nearby as a cool mist creates droplets on your sun baked arms while you roll past quietly. All the while hundreds of motorists whizz on by in their sedentary mode of travel.
To introduce the route actually gives me goosebumps. Starting In Kamloops, and riding North East on the HWY 5 towards Clearwater, then Blue River and on to Valemount, then Jasper. From Jasper then heading south into the Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield then Lake Louise. Then West along the Trans Canada to Golden, over Rogers Pass, to Revelstoke and Sicamous. Then South to Armstrong, back North again to Salmon Arm, and then to the Finish in Kamloops... totaling some twelve hundred kilometers of beauty BC cycling.
The current course record stands at a little over 50 hours, albeit in somewhat controversy as there are voices who say this record was obtained 'unofficially' with Non-permitted race support. The former Records are near 55 to 60 hours respectively, averaging 24 kilometers per hour, not including breaks.
You see, that's what makes Randonneuring so cool, its not like a typical Ultra Race where riders are required to have night time vehicle 'follow support', a hand off of fresh bottles and food, spare clothes and soothing words of encouragement and inspiration, Rando is Un-Supported.
Yes, there are Time Stations and 'Time Checks' that double as 'aid stations', and random race officials out and about on the course to ensure some rules are followed. But really, since there's no prizes other than a cold beer at the end, why would you cheat ?
It's about finishing.
And judging by the fact that Pre Registration sold out at 125 riders throughout December alone, from nearly 20 different countries, with a growing waiting list... Yes believe it or not, Rando is popular ! and people want to do this event badly.
... Now since I'm not a 'technically' qualified Ultra Randonnuer, who has completed a Series of Brevets such as the 200, 300, 400, and 600km events.. ( before I can officially race a 1200 ) I will be committing my weekends this coming Spring and Summer to pursuing my formal Brevet Cards, instead of racing ABA exclusively.
This means joining a Randonnuering bike club, and for this I've chosen the Alberta Randonneurs
( hopefully they let me join )
Since the RM 1200 only happens once every four years, I'd better get training !
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Took the afternoon off today and burned out to Elk Pass, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. This was my second of two XC ski missions in the past week. And with some recent fresh snowfall, followed by some grooming, the Fox Trail is super fast. Gotta love the FOX !
That was a good ski, not bad for a Tuesday afternoon :)
Monday, 31 October 2011
I think I finally accepted it, I'm being delusional when winter starts approaching and I say, "time to put the bikes away ". And get out the ski's, snowshoes, climbing gear, avalanche equipment, the wood work project, play guitar, or that project in the basement to fix the shelf...
whatever. Lets ride ! I'm doing a 24 hour in February.
Sundown from Lyon.
Lots of Gothic era blended in Renaissance.
The skyline is littered with religious symbols, multi century architecture, symbols of peace and power, dedication and imagination.
Lots of shopping in Lyon.
The VELO Bike share system in Lyon was the worlds first advanced community bike share program. There are thousands of members... and even more bikes I swear. The little red n white bike Depo's are everywhere, and every type of person uses them. Except me, as the sidewalk registration system only accepted France issued credit cards ?
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Seen as how this is supposed to be a cycling based Blog, I thought I'd post some evidence of todays visually complimented single track overload ride, the Lake Minnewanka Trail, Banff National Park. I hooked up early morning with long time friend from back in the Mackenzie days, the now infamous DJ Scotty, and an outstanding day was had by both, must say.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the 'Occupy Calgary' sit in/ protest today with all the rest of the 99% ers who are opposing Wall Street or something like that.
I remember when being a 1% er was supposed to be the hip thing ? but now everybody (well not everybody) wants to be a 99% er ? Well what is it guys, make up your frickin minds already.
Myself, I strictly prefer to be a 1%er. For those of you who aren't aware of the term 1%er and its actual origins, its kind of a not too desired label, yet there are many of us.
Digging Scotty's quote today, I shall recall;
Scott, " you know I've been DJ'ing for years now and there's lots of cool cats who dig the club scene and most of them are great people and stuff, but you know, doing things like this (mountain biking)... they just don't get it. "
Dallas, " ya well they're the unfortunate majority if you can believe it, we're the actual minority buddy, the 1% ers. "
Dallas, " fuck ya, cheers to that bro ".
the Devils Gap off in the distance
Riding towards our planned destination of the Devils Gap today, I have to admit, I felt a breath of spine freezing cold inside a warm beam of sun, and was somehow drawn back to that day nearly 2 years ago. I experienced this brief feeling of angst and uncertainty, an uncomfortable feeling of something in the shadows, something in my gut, or lurking behind us, or awaiting ahead, something that could or could not have been. I think it was the feeling of concern, for my friends safety at the time, and somehow I relived that exceptional moment where I was afraid that he could be hurt, or worse, and I would be responsible.
Since then though, that cold ride in November 2009, or possibly before that I'm sure, I think he's somehow transcended into his own light, and most likely looks back on that day as a stepping stone into a realm of what I like to call, "real living", living with outdoor challenge, a life outside of the 99% ers boundaries, a life that very few approach.
And today we brushed alongside it.
World class singletrack attack action.