Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rapha NE Gentlemen's Race Training....Epic?


Today's photos. 
also here: photos

Long day today, about 10 hours from door to door. Rodd mapped a 200k loop that would take us up and down lots of gravel and dirt roads, and a fair bit of tarmac. My Hutchinson Intensive 25mm tubeless tires finally met their match, both puncturing on the same rock and failing to seal. After about 6000km on these tires, they are now officially dead. Unless I patch them.

Today's ride was intended as training for the Rapha North East Gentlemen's Race, June 23rd. Rodd, Jamie (both on the adventure today), Alex, Todd, Dave, I will head down to New Hampshire to ride about 200k of mixed terrain in through NH and Vermont. We were fortunate enough to be selected from a pool of applicants to enter the race, alongside 19 other teams of 6. Its all about tire choice for this event, so today's test was great, in that it confirmed that I will never use the Hutchinsons for truly rough stuff again. Simply not enough volume. Vittoria Randonneur Hypers in 32 are going on soon, my next tubeless experiment.

Here's the trace. The roads up around Lac St. Marie were great, especially the gravel downhill that had our eyes rattling. Quote of the day: "Gravel eh...that doesn't sound like much fun." Exactly, we're all about doing rides that suck, it kinda our thing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Ride of the Damned: Results

Update: Photos, video, and results are up on SportRecon:

Please feel free to add your pics and video! 

$1790.00 was raised this year!!! Thank you for your generosity, everybody! $1780.00 has gone to AFRICYCLE and $10 to Canada Helps via Bicycles For Humanity.

As promised, we're awarding prizes to the Laterne Rouge and Middle of the Pack finishers of the Strava Dirt Monster Challenge. 17 riders rode and uploaded each of the four climbs. Thus, the Nick Vipond takes the Laterne Rouge, and Norm Cowan takes the Middle of the Pack! Both can claim their prizes at Tall Tree Cycles. 

Sunday's Ride of the Damned had to be the best yet. Gorgeous weather, lots of riders, Strava sections, perfect dirt roads....heck of a day. 

dave sugden
Dave Sugden, funny man. Photo: Rodd Heino

Thanks to all the riders for coming out to share our favourite roads with us, and to all our volunteers for their efforts, both big and small. Thanks to all our sponsors for providing a tonne of great prizes (and cookies) for our riders! I'm not sure who the Kona Sutra frame and fork went to, but congrats!!!

As it turned out, the first Strava climb was paved when we arrived, still fresh! Shocking! The Dirt Monster Challenge consisted of four climbs, which I've totaled for cumulative KOM and QOM results:

Alyssa Mellon, of The Cyclery, captures the QOM crown, eking out Tricia Spooner by 10 seconds!

Iain Radford of Tall Tree Cycles/Steelwool Bicycles takes the KOM crown!

Here are the Strava results (minus times for those few riders who have not uploaded to Strava).

Ian and Alyssa each win a one-year Premium Strava subscription and a Strava jersey bin. Congratulations, darn fine riding! I will email you to arrange for pick-up of your prizes. 

We've got two additional prizes on hold for the Laterne Rouge and Middle of the Pack finishers too! I'll wait to get the stragglers' times input before announcing these winners.

On the team front, the recorded show good teamwork for the most part. A couple teams clearly did not ride together, which is problematic for a couple reasons, the primary one being riders potentially getting lost. We rely on teams to ensure all their riders are accounted for, so it is vital that riders stay together. This applies to both teams that come pre-assembled, and those we compose morning-of. We will continue to treat this issue seriously, so please either make sure you have a team of at least 4, or be prepared to ride all day with strangers next year. Thanks.

Here are the team times. Chapeau to the Stevens Soaring Eagles p/b The Cyclery team for a very strong ride that included a stop at Pipolinka. Great riding from a classy bunch of guys. 

Photo dump coming asap. For now go here and here for photos from Mark Carver and Rodd Heino. Cycle Dude NS has put up a slew of great shots of the scenery here that really showcases the route. 

Update: I have a red Bridgehead travel mug that was left on the sign-in table. Email me if it's yours.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Ride of the Damned

Design: Greg Cosgrove
This year's Ride of the Damned will fall on Sunday, May 13th, and is shaping up to be the best yet. Apologies for conflicting with Mother's Day, it couldn't be helped. I hope everyone finds a way to make it work. Once again, this is a not-for-profit event, and all proceeds will go to the Ottawa chapter of Bicycles for Humanity


There will be no on-site registration.

Registration covers your food at the Low checkpoint, BBQ meal after the ride, and qualifies you for draw prizes. Additional tickets can be purchased on the site for guests, but we can only ensure there will be enough food for guests if you pre-purchase meal tickets in advance. Prizes will be drawn at the BBQ. BBQ tickets cover a grilled item, a drink and misc. salads and things. It looks like 15 teams will roll, our biggest field yet!

We've got over 20 riders registered for the Strava Dirt Monster Challenge! Strava is a free app that lets you track your rides and compare them to others. We're challenging riders to compete for Strava prizes based on the segments of the RotD route we create. The segment selections are complete, all unpaved, for a cumulative time competition. Riders who have registered for the Challenge will use their iPhone, Android phone, Garmin, or any other GPS device to record their ride, then upload it to Strava Sunday night. Results will be posted on Monday. Each male and female winner will be awarded a one-year
Premium Strava membership and a Strava cell phone/stuff 'jersey bin'. The Strava sectors are as follows:

1) Chamonix @ 20.0k 
2) Newcommon @ 47.5k
3) Paughan @ 59.3k
4) Cross Loop @ right after the covered bridge

All these climbs are short, the longest being 0.5km. 

The 130k route covers paved and dirt roads north of Gatineau, passing through Cantley, Montes Cascades, Low, Wakefield, and Old Chelsea.

The 130k route begins and ends at
Lac Leamy. Check-in runs from 07:30-08:00. Departure will be at 08:15.

We have about 20 riders taking on a shorter route, running from Wakefield. The start point will be Ski Vorlage. While only 66k, this route captures all the most challenging sections of the longer route, so don't get the impression the ride will be easy. Riders will all have to be self-sufficient and prepared to deal with flats, etc, like all the regular route riders. Check-in will run from 08:30 - 08:50, departure at 09:00. This ought to set up riders to arrive at the Low checkpoint right around the same time as the first long-route team. Riders will work from the regular route cue sheets, so a bit of math on the fly will be required. 

All riders must check in at the Low checkpoint. 

I'm pleased to welcome Pipolinka Bakery, in Wakefield, as an official sponsor of this year's Ride. All registered riders have to do is mention the event on Sunday, and they will each receive a complimentary cookie (including vegan options)! That'll go nicely with a coffee! The folks at the bakery will have a tonne of other great food options covering most dietary requirements, so take your time and enjoy!

Due to the generous support of a slew of sponsors, we'll once again be able to hand out a bunch of great prizes on Sunday. Brooks England, Norco, Cycles Lambert, Outdoor Gear Canada/Giro, and Shimano are all kicking in product for us to give away. Upon returning to Lac Leamy, each rider will draw for a prize; instant gratification! 

Please feel free to refer back to posts from pervious years and our flickr site (on the right link bar) to get a sense of the background etc. 

Here's Kris Westwood's video of the 2011 edition of the RotD; 135k in 3:25

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Almonte Paris Roubaix Redux

Just a quick post rounding up this past Sunday's Roubaix out of Almonte.

First, if your searching for photos, check out Perry McKenna's gallery. Outstanding shots. Results are at

So, from a Tall Tree Cycles team perspective, the Roubaix was a success. Did we win? Nope, but we came close. "Close....what's that worth?" Plenty, if you've got perspective.

Neil Schiemann (Tall Tree Cycles/Steelwool) followed Osmond Bakker (Octto-Cervelo) through the new Concession 5A sector of forest that had everyone excited. It was no secret that it would be wet, so we prepared for that, and aimed to be in and out up front.  Perry's photos tell the story. We got to the front and went hard. the photographic record shows I almost went down as I followed Iain Radford (TTC/SW), but my dab into the water kept me upright...fortunately. My Shimano winter shoes/boots worked so well I didn't realize I'd even put my foot into the water.

Neil went hard out of the nearly 2km-long sector, with Osmond eager to go with him. My sensations were horrible after a week of sickness and no riding, so chasing wasn't even physically possible for me. Iain held back too, allowing Neil and Osmond to establish a gap while the pack came together and assembled a chase. Already suffering - and this is about 13km into the race - I didn't last long with the chase group, so I was left to guess as to what was transpiring up the road as I slipped back into mellower pace territory, Jim McGuire (TTC/SW) at my side. We ultimately were caught up by the second chase group, containing Dave Stachon, Mike Abraham and Andy Brown (TTC/SW). Rodd Heino (TTC/SW) was already up the road in the first chase group. So Neil off the front, and two guys in the chase group. Good.

After about an hour and a half I felt human, and ultimately was able to pull away from the pack through the final forest sector to nab 15th spot. But that's not the main plot line. Up the road, Neil and Osmond were caught around the 50k mark. At this point, they'd ridden the first two of four forest sectors, and fought off a strong chase group of more than 15. Aaron Fillion (Ride with Rendall) and Osmond shattered the group up and over the switchback climb that launches the third sector, with Doug van den Ham (Nine2FivePro) in pursuit. Iain and Neil fought to stay on, and were able to hang with these guys until the final sector at about 78km into the course. Neil's earlier efforts had taken too much from him to hang on, while Osmond flatted and Aaron rode away from both Doug and Iain, with John Fee (Cyclery) trailing. Aaron captured the win, followed by Doug, Iain, Neil, and John.

Any amateur rider who contends with the likes of Osmond Bakker and Aaron Fillion must be doing a lot right. With the exception of Neil, every rider in the top 6 (Osmond was 6th) is a father. Osmond and Aaron are phenoms, somehow managing to race at the elite level competitively in both Canada and the United States. Whenever we hold our own with these guys we're proud of our efforts. Doug, a new father, amazed everyone (who knew he was a new father) with his ride. Chapeau. Iain had never even ridden the route before. Chapeau. John Fee always seems to be in the right place, and he clearly had a great day. Chapeau. Our plan worked as planned, and we do not feel bad about being beaten by stronger riders. Neil gets two chapeaus for his utter tenacity. He was prepared to suffer, and he sure did. We're already looking forward to the 2013 edition, hopefully even gnarlier than this one!

Many thanks to the fine OBC folks for putting on another great event, along with sponsor Euro-Sports, and all the volunteers who kept us from becoming hood ornaments out there.

Once again, some great video from Brian Schlachta: