Mtb ride on snow...odd.
It might come as a surprise that I've been busier of late than usual, more so than summer, in fact. 2010 Tall Tree team things to do, work, riding the trainer religiously, hanging out with family, and social events and the odd ski and snow mtb ride.
A few things have come and passed I'd hope to write about, but have not managed to work on until now. Here's a quick and dirty rundown.
Back on Sunday, January 17th, a few of us headed out on the road for a mild weather ride (click here for the post I had in draft form, which is now up, but backdated). In preparation for the ride I built a Steelwool Limited with the parts I'd been running on my SPecialized Roubaix conversion. With some key assistance from Thom in the form of White Industries axle machining (or rather, humaning, as he did it with a saw), I had the bike up and running on Saturday at the shop, and ready to roll.
File tread 32c Vittoria 'cross tire on the rear, 35c Ritchey semi-slick on the front, the bike is well shod for variable surfaces short of sheer ice. I'll go over some of the finer points of this bike soon. Overgeared in a 44x16, I nevertheless enjoyed a great ride with Neil, Jamie, Ariel and Steve, up to and beyond Wakefield. All in we pulled off about 100k, which is great for January. My Mad Alchemy medium cold embrocation kept my legs and feet nice and warm. It was a joy to be out on the bike. A couple weeks later we pulled off a night mtb ride that had to be my best winter ride ever. Two proper rides (commuting every day does not count in my mind) in January is about as good as we can hope for.
The following weekend featured a bust Saturday. Nine Tall Tree riders took part in My Heart Spins, a charity spin event for Bicycles for Humanity. It was the first spin ever for some, the first in a long time for others, and one among many this year for a few. The class was great, and the DJ played one of my favourites, "I like to move it" as performed by Sacha Baron Cohen. The bulk of the fundraising was achieved by Neil and Anna. It turns out emails don't generate much in the way of donations. This does not come as a surprise, we're all solicited for donations on a daily if not weekly basis. We'll use our events to raise money for the charity; this should work much better.
Afternoon fades into night and we find ourselves in Aylmer for the Wheelers' first roller race night of 2009/2010. Some of the others had been before, but for about half of us it was the first time. I busted out my kit to give the fixed roller race, but was bested by both Pascal and Rodd. Of five of us who took a crack, only Pascal qualified for the top 16, eking out Rodd by one hundredth of a second. Tight. Rodd and I were both relieved to continue watching rather than getting back on; it was the strangest sensation I've ever encountered on a bike. It took about 45 minutes for my heart-rate to normalize. Whoa. Pascal gave it everything, but was knocked out and joined us to watch the rest of the spectacle. It was a great time, and I think we'll all be back out for the next local event.
Fast forward and there's 35 of us sat in the Imperial Eatery beside Barrymores for a Tall Tree movie night. The restauraunt is normally closed on Monday's but I managed to entice the owner, Chris, to open up for us to throw down a movie, drinks and food. We screened a short music video from the Tour created by Chris Mullington, followed up with our feature, 'A Sundat in Hell.' The night was a success, so when talk turned to the cyclocross World Championships last week, namely how and where we'd watch it, the Imperial came up again. Worlds and breakfast...why not? Presto change-o, Chris and I locked down the details, I put out word, and come Sunday morning 15 or so of us were there by 8:30 to take in the live feed on the projector screen. It was a pretty good race, though the icy conditions precluded heroics; conservative riding seemed the name of the game. Stybar rode incredibly well, erasing any of the sting that lingered from his previous World Cup loss to Albert when he slid out on a turn in the final lap (he won the overall anyhow). We'll see about interest in doing the same at the Imperial next winter for the World Cup races. They start at 9 rather than 8, which will help. Good times.
And here we are. Its now February, and the serious training for the races in April must now commence if it has not already. With a full masters 30 squad racing the Tour of the Battenkill in April, we're motivated and excited to ride. This will be the year the Tall Tree becomes a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
One last item, for the calendar: The Ride of the Damned will fall on Sunday May 16th. After the success of our 5-person format in last year's Quintuple, we decided to run that format for the RotD too. Its so much fun for everyone, why not? We'll post up the route in advance this year, but teams will have to make sure they stay on course, randonnee style. The RotD will fall two weeks after the Wheeler's Muffaraw Joe ride, which will feature a 7 rider format. We didn't make it last year, but we'll be there this time. I'll post the complete info here. Our Quintuple Pave Classic is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, August 29th, and the plan is cap it with a family friendly BBQ at Lac Leamy apres ride. Bigger and better in 2010, all round. Dates for the Fixed Frolic and Double Cross will be locked down in the spring.