This blog/site is a collection of my thoughts, articles and other general excitement tied into cycling, training and competing as a vegan bike racer and athlete.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

When Rain Becomes Snow -- Log

So it's Sunday...i decide i'll hook up with the Burnside group for the first time in a long time (spring at least!)

It's raining 'snow' outside, but it's above zero and none of it is sticking...so i gear up for warm and dry, and head out... Yucky.. I get to the plaza where we meet, and the only guy there is a fellow by the name of Chris! We wait around 10mins, and no one shows, so head out..

It's still snowing rain...and i'm noticing as we get further from town, it's sticking on lawns more and more....and by the time we get out to the Camosun Interurban college, the grass is thoroughly white and we're now riding in slush. GAAAH!

We head up the side road by Camosun to work our way back into town.....and it's still dumping snow...visibility is less than 20 meters..i notice that it's actually building up on me, like on my legs!! We get back on a main road, and there's even more slush! And as cars go by, they're acting like snowplows, and we're hit with literally WAVES of slush. Disgusting...and the formerly warm and dry vegan is now cold and wet. Bleh.

I work my way in along Glanford and Tillicum, and get back on the Goose and head back home. At this point my gears stop working....my rear cassette i discover is now a clump of ice. That's never happened to me before!!

Downtown is remarkable...there's fully several inches of snow, and riding (at least on 23mm tires) is becoming treacherous... As i get closer to home, riding up Johnson, there's even more snow. I'm totally floored!!!! I make it home safe and sound. I take off my helmet:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

Insane!! Of course, you don't see how much there is until you take it off and see the pile-up..

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

The new 'aero snow' design..haha..

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

My icey cassette..

Here's what it looked like after i got home, after being out for about 1hr 45mins..remember, this was all green before i left:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...
And 24hrs later:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

This is very odd for Victoria... First, our 'snow' usually doesn't come until Jan, and even then, it's not this much. It looks like it'll stick around for a few days as well. I'll be riding the MTB tomorrow, will go out for a fun adventure around town. =)

In more homely news, i've been plugging away around the house coming up with novel ways to keep my bike gear out of the way..one is by hanging my track bike from the ceiling...it's very easy to do, and all you need is these parts from the hardware store and some string:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

Punch both through the ceiling, tie the string between the two bits, and you get something like this:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

Which looks like this:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

Pretty cool huh? Doubles as a clothes hanger to dry your gear on!

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

For those who've been by, i've also tidied up my bike area a bit:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

It's a fair bit neater, eh?

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

Also, a few weeks ago i picked up some oyster mushrooms for gravy (i *luuuurv gravy!!) and i found these huge, beautiful ones:

From 06-11-27 - Bu...

How awesome, eh??? They made for some tasty gravy.

That's my life in the last few days in pictures, what've you been up to? =)

Monday, November 20, 2006

BVC 2007 #1 -- Log

Howdy sports fans! =)

Sorry for the delay in updating about the first race in the Burnaby Velodrome Challenge - i was holding off in hopes of having some pics to post as well, but alas, no visualizations today..

Before i get into that, i want to say a big THANKS! to Wayne and Pam's Performance Bicycles for their support for my 2006 racing season, helping me out with great deals on bike parts and accessories: thanks you guys, you're awesome!!! =)

At the races, troubles started nearly immediately... Canadian National Team sprinter Matt Barlee (thanks again for the ride!) picked me up Friday afternoon, and we zipped out to the ferry..arriving around 3:50pm we were *hoping* to catch the 5pm ferry, there'd been some stormy weather and there had been cancellations in the morning...but by some freak chance we actually made the 4pm ferry!

Matt had brought along a treat, and i asked 'what, you bring meat?' He laughed. I looked at him hesitantly..heh.. Turns out he had a copy of Overcoming which was cool to watch on his laptop on the ferry ride.

We made it to the track at a decent time, and i geared up to do a few warm-up laps, and after a lap with a weird chunking noise from my chain, it snapped and i was free-wheelin' it - wooooot! After a couple laps like that, Keith Bruneau caught me (my hero!) and slowed me down..haha..

So that was it for the night.. I asked around if anyone had another Masterlink (i'd installed mine incorrectly..first time! Be sure to read the instructions boys and girls..) which no one did, nor a spare chain..gaaah..

Saturday morning, i get to the track, and several people come up to me with Masterlinks - yay! Now i have three..haha.. I stuck it on my chain, then i found i had a similar problem..more clunking noises from the chain...crap! It must have been munched when it snapped and wrapped around the hub..

SOO...i get a lift to the bike shop 5mins away, and get a new chain. Bring it back, and (luckily, before installing it!) discover it's the wrong size..it was a 3/32" when i needed a 1/8th". Crap crap crap.

I get another lift to the bike shop, and it turns out they don't even have the size i need..waah!!

Get back, and sulk around for a while.. Then Murray Solem arrived, and he said he was going to pick up a new chain the night before, tho i asked only for a Masterlink (which he had for me - ha!) I asked about his old chain, and he told me i could try it, but it had a sticky joint..

Which it did. By this time i was thoroughly under the influence of Murphy's Law. I got the chain, and borrowed Matt's chaintool...and the chain was too wide. I borrowed Keith's, and it fit...but as i pushed the pin out, the chain ends bent outwards, as there was no 'support' from the tool...wtf??

So i wander back to Murray and ask what his chain tool is like, luckily it's the right kind. Of course, no matter what i try, the link is still completely solid. GAH!

Then Murray hands me a box..it's a brand new chain! Yay!! I install it on my bike, and i'm golden - woohoo!!

Quite the process, eh? Faaaawkk..

Anyway, so racing. The reason i came out..haha First up was a Miss'n'Out, and it featured two of the Symmetrics guys, Christian Meier and Svein Tuft, two of Canada's fastest guys.

The neutral lap (first lap we do as a group, sticking together) was nearly 50kph. Crap. I wandered around the back for the first couple eliminations, then i saw an opening down low right on Matt's wheel, and i thought 'oh, that'll be a good spot!' and then as i got down there, the WHOLE PACK shifted and suddenly i was the very last guy....and got eliminated. I think that left me about 15th..haha..

Next was the Scratch race, 75 laps / 15km. What a brutal affair.. Again, the neutral lap was over 45kph (in Victoria, a 15kph neutral lap is kinda fast!), and the S-Men put the hurt on, lapping us all several times...and i was lapped by the pack something like three times.. I got dropped a number of times, but still managed to sustain ~45kph on my own..yet when Svein or Christian went by, i felt like i was barely riding....impressive. I think i finished around 9th..an improvement!

My theory that the month of Muscle Tension hill repeats right before not being particularly beneficial right before an event proved true..haha.. Still tho, i was riding relatively strong, which was cool. I was expecting much worse!

That was it for Saturday, i got a lift back to my friends Brandy and Richard's (thanks Steve!) and we went out to a nice vegan cafe for dinner (can't remember the name, it's also a yoga studio...the quinoa burger and yam fries were tasty!) and then loaded up on Soy Delicious (they have four more flavors than we have in Victoria!) and watched 'Road to Guantanamo' which was thoroughly disturbing..i hate the US Gov't even more-so now.

Sunday morning got back on the track..i was feeling pretty good, and the S-Men were nowhere to be seen..mercy on us!

First up was the Snowball, i didn't contest for any points, and finished with the pack, prolly around 10th. Matt Chater put on a remarkable performance, lapping the field and collecting twice as many points as the rest of the field - kick ass man!

Keirin's were up next, and for the first time my Keirin Karma failed me, and i didn't make it to the finals (up until this point, i'd somehow made it into the keirin finals for every race i'd been in..heh..) It's often called a race of luck anyway, so i guess it can't *always* work out! Still, i managed to get myself up to 62kph in the sprint in my 47x14, which is pretty fast for me. I think the fastest i've seen is perhaps 63kph.

My legs were feeling pretty heavy, and i was the first guy out of the Elimination to Scratch, picking a bad wheel, leaving me at 12th. Yuck. Matt, much to my surprise, hung in for the race, and absolutely rocketed away on the final lap, leaving everyone in the dust - nice job! I think he needs to do more long races. =)

Final event was the Points Race (80 laps, 16km), and i dropped down to a 46x14 (88"). I knew my legs didn't feel great, and i wasn't spinning the 90", so i had to change something.. Good choice!

In the first sprint, i was near the front of the pack, and so tagged along to collect a point, in 4th. Woot! From there, things picked up, and i was usually in the chase group. The gear felt a lot better, and tho i didn't respond to sprints well, i managed to hold a steady pace, and catch back on. And it was nice not to get lapped!! In the end, Murray and myself worked together to avoid being caught by the break group, and managed catch and pass the main group in the end. Tho i didn't collect any more points, i finished in 6th place with what i had. Yay me! That was a nice way to end the event.

So, from this i can add to my Big Lessons list:

#1 - believe in yourself, and believe you can accomplish your goals (thanks Scott Lala!)
#2 - dig deeper, and then dig some more - it's all about learning to dig even more.
#3 - play your strengths and trust yourself!
I stayed in the 47x14 because heck, it was fast racing! Still, i know my strength is in my cardio, not my legs...as i was racing, my legs were bogging down, but i wasn't maxing out my lungs..and when i did finally switch, bwammo - back to the proper ratio (for me), and getting my spin up allowed me to race faster and better. Yay me! (I'm most comfortable spinning 110-115rpm.)

Final event was the Team Sprint, and i started in between junior rider Rachel Canning and veteran and BVC Pres Andrew George, and got just under 50 seconds! Yay! 5th for three non-sprinters..haha..

It was a very fun weekend, and thanks to the Burnaby folks for organizing this, it was a blast! There's a Six Day at the beginning of Jan, but i doubt i'll go to race there...i'll likely wait until the BVC#2 at the end of Jan. =)

Alright, got more neat little updates, but will post them another time, as this is already a novel. =)

Keep on riding, and stay dry!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lotsa New Stuff! -- Log

mmmm..i just baked some tasty chocolate chip cookies...letting them cool to enjoy after posting this. =)

Been pretty busy, lotsa fun stuff going on!

Got 3 weeks of solid MT (Muscle Tension) hill repeats in, felt *really* productive.. Operation Build Stronger Legs seems to be succeeding! Cardio has been dropping (as expected) but i can tell that there's a little more ummph in the legs. Me likey. Will continue this thru December, and then up the cadence a bit (70-75rpm) following the CTS Tempo riding for another few months to increase my mitochondrias...i'm all about them mitochondrias now! Then back to building intensity around Feb - yippee!

This last week my buddy Fredrik from Sweden, and cycling buddy on VeganFitness.net was visiting (he had a work conference in Portland, so i said 'why not visit Victoria while you're moderately close!) so we had a fun cycling adventure week!

Isn't he Swede!

We got him set up with a Specialized Roubaix from Oak Bay Bikes, to tool around the roads. Friday we went for an easy 1hr spin to make sure the bike was a good fit. Saturday was the Oak Bay Bikes group ride (join us! Saturday mornings at 9am, meet behind the store!). He went with the B group, while i lead out the A group. Lotsa fun, three of us had a little break near the end, and of course i crushed them in the final sprint. ;)

Sunday went out to the Cowboy 'Cross race, which was my first cyclocross race, and it was AWESOME. If there are 'cross races happening in your area, go race, or at the very least, go and watch. They're a total hoot!!

Pumped to race 'cross!

'Cross racing is sort of like circuit training meets mountain biking, lots of starting and stop intervals...it's on a shortish course, and a number of obstacles are in the way, like logs, stairs and deliberate barriers, which some riders might ride over, but most dismount, hurtle themselves and their bikes over, and then remount and continue riding...

I don't have any references, so i can't say how this course differed from others.. It was at the Luxton Fairgrounds, which is unfortunately where a yearly rodeo occurs. Cross bikes are pretty much a road bike with narrow knobby tires, but i only had my ancient mountain bike.

Here's the breakdown for the course - it was a mass start, and fairly long (say, 200m) straight-away, leading into a 'Whirlygig':

Round and round....very fun!

Basically, it winds inwards, then reverses and spits you out, very tricky! That lands you at the first obstacle, a large log.. I would get off and jump over it, up a little grassy section and then get dropped into the 'mud' section, which again had a short up, then a steep descent, which placed you in front of a steep ascent, which also had to be climbed...at the top of this it didn't make sense to get back on the bike, it was behind the stands, so you ran around the corner, than THEN got back on the bike..this killed me the last couple laps!

After riding along behind the stands, you hit a sharp gravelly corner, and then stairs to run up, and then back along the middle of the stands..again, sharp gravelly corner, then back along the very front of the stands, and the final zig-zag from a sharp, gravelly corner (these killed me too) and another straight-away, which was the only place i ever made up any ground or time...once i got up to speed, i was fine, but the start-stops chewed my legs out. I'm a 'fast or faster' kinda rider, not stop and go!

The straight-away turned into a big, wide corner, which led back to a narrow corral which had a dug-out center, which was rather tricky to navigate. That spit you out in the ~80 meter sand pit:

Fredrik takes a pic here the *one* time i had to dismount!

In the final laps, there was a pretty flattened route through this, in the beginning it was a total slogfest through about four inches of sand!! Several long switchbacks followed this, then three barriers which required more dismounting and hopping:

Thanks for these pics, Fredrik!!

I had this one down pretty good! After this was another big, wide corner behind the buildings, and you ended up back at the start line. We did 9 or 10 laps, making about 40mins of crazy racing! I was in the 'Intermediate' category (figured i was a bit strong for 'Beginner', and still have a way to go before joining the 'Expert' racers!) and finished 8th out of 11, three minutes behind the winner, but only a minute separated 3rd thru my 8th..

Watching the rest of the racers was pretty awesome, since i knew what the course was like...they were pretty skilled and very smooth on and off the bike, or just riding over the elements.. Unfortunately, the next (and final) two cross races are next weekend, and i'll be in Burnaby racing on the track there! Ahh well, i'll be ready for 2007!!

Fredrik and i rode the Galloping Goose out, and rode it back into town, with a brief stop to show him the track Clubhouse and velodrome. It was actually dry enough to ride, but we were both pretty beat, it was a cold day, and neither of us had brought enough food or clothes to stay warm standing around (we were there 10am-3pm!) D'oh!

Monday had us head offroad..well, for half an hour.. We left just after 3pm, but thanks to Daylight Savings, it got dark an hour earlier than i'd planned, so we only had 1/2 an hour to bounce off the rocks and roots, but it was still pretty fun.

Tuesday we took it easy, and then he was gone!! Thanks for the fun visit, Fredrik!! More pics of our adventures and the cross race here in my gallery. Results and more pics from the race here on the race site.

Took Wed off as well, to catch up on some work, and an hour out on Thu. Friday was Bike Build Day! I ordered an aluminium Norco CX frame from Oak Bay Bikes, and swapped the parts from my road bike over:

Here it is! Thanks to OBB for allowing me work in the shop!

All built at home, yay!

This will be my 'winter/rain' bike, as well as allowing me to race 'cross. =)

It rides quite differently from my road bike, as to be expected with a higher bottom bracket, and it's much more stretched out with a far wider wheelbase.. The all-aluminium also makes for a much more jittery ride.. The pain job matches my OrganicAthlete colors tho!

Took it out for the first time on a *very* rainy Saturday for the OB group ride, and found it pretty nice overall. It'll be good for the winters. Got another flat (had one Thu as well!) so Sat night i picked up a new rear tire, trying out a Conti Gatorskin, 23mm.. Will put a Specialized Armadillo on the front when they arrive at OBBikes..my goal is no flats this winter!!! (The Conti Ultrasports i'd ridden since last Jan were remarkable..! I rotated them in the summer, and if it wasn't for all the crap on the roads, i could prolly have continued riding them! Only $13 at MEC..i'd guess that's well over 10,000km!)

Went out for another hour today, much nicer weather!

In the afternoon Kevin, Michelle and their new little girl Keelin went out to the track to pick up my bike, and Kevin and i went for a short run along the trails there (maybe 20-30min?) It's my conclusion that running with someone else doesn't really mean i'm going to enjoy running much more...hehehe..

This week will be pretty light, as i'll be racing at the track in Burnaby on the weekend, wooohooo!! Will likely post updates next Monday. =)

Have a fun week, sports fans!!

About Me

Dave Shishkoff
aka Dave Noisy
Victoria, BC

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