Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Over coming small obstacles for the big picture...

This year I changed things. I raced a marathon in October that qualified me for another one in April; 2 marathons in 6 months after 9 years of only Ironman marathoning. I loved these races and it got me thinking...

I kept the system going; pretending to enjoy the pool; hitting the treadmill; stressing about mixed workouts...all for my annual run at Ironman. I hooked into an amazing charity with Race 4 Kids and did my annual charity drive, this probably being the most rewarding component to a long season. But something was missing back in May and I was burning the motivation match.

Then my foot injury came back, my weight went up and I was in serious WHY MODE.

I made the right decision and stepped aside from Ironman, parked my passion and rode my bike 5 times a week. The new bike team kept me driven and honest to get in shape and on top of my skills and onward I rode. I finally got a result last weekend and feel pretty good about the progress made.

Next week Meredith and I will head to Vermont and I will race an epic 4 day stage race on the Cervelo. I am at race weight, the foot is good (though I have other injury to complain about!!!) and I love riding my bike. The bike team is a great group of hacks doing it for the love of the pedal. But something is missing; something needs more of me.

Good luck to all my friends racing in Penticton this week. I miss it dearly and wish I was there with you.

Ironman: I miss your energy, I miss your pain, I miss the moments of self evaluation of CAN, I miss the fleeting moments of CAN'T, I miss the anxiety before the start gun and the fighting of the first 500M of the swim, I miss the scramble to the change tent and the horizontal go vertical feeling when starting the bike; Ironman I miss your honesty after 6 hours into the day and your candid feedback you provide my legs and lungs, I miss the misery my quads feel when I start running and the elation I get when those legs come around; Ironman I even miss the dark recesses of mile 13 to 15 on the run when the dark caves of misery shadow my eyes and brain and do their best to crack me; I miss everything about you Ironman but duly note my friend, I now have better ride legs to come back and kick your ass.

Ironman 2010? It just might be. Next stop though, VERMONT!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding my Legs in the oddest of places!


Below is a race report written by my team mate Cary Moretti from the stage race this past weekend in Elliott Lake. They put us old farts (Master 1, or M! they call us) with the Senior 1 field. That means racing against the legend Darko Ficko (good friend of mine and an inspiration to me), Ryan Roth (provincial champ) etc…the guys that race bikes very, very seriously.

The only thing I can add to it really is that being in a break for 105km of a 126km bike race at threshold HR and power is so f-in painful I am really not sure I EVER want to repeat the experience.

I also want to thank the team, we did a superb job up in Elliott Lake representing our sponsors and having a lot of fun. Great job team. Last, a big thanks to Darko Ficko for letting us play and go up the road, he emodies what is right about Ontario cycling.

From the fingertips of Cary Moretti:

As with all stage races, this weekend was packed with excitement and more than a fair share of pain. Since this was a stage race, the report is ... er ... longish so I've included a summary. :-)

Executive Summary:
Team Project Freeride recorded excellent results in Elliot Lake this past weekend. In a small but very strong field of Senior 1, Under 23, and Master 1 men, Rhys Spencer led the way with an early 4 man break - 105 km at the front and the last 15 km solo for a 3rd place finish. Cary Moretti missed out on a fourth Provincial Hill Climb Championship finishing 2 seconds behind the leader for third. In addition to the two stage podiums, the team recorded 2nd (Rhys) and 3rd (Cary) for the M1 GC (which is applied to the OCup season standings).

Full Race Report
When we arrived at Elliot Lake this year, they let us know that the fields were too small to run on their own. As a result, the S1, U23, and M1 fields would be merged. Similarly, M2 was merged with the S3. There was a bit of grumbling but, truth is, with less than 20 riders in those fields, running them separately would have been less than enjoyable. A pack of 30, while still small, made the most sense.

The Hill Climb on Saturday morning was my personal goal for this year. I wanted to break 7:30 for the first time and another M1 Championship would have been nice too. I wasn't sure if I had the fitness but I was going to give it everything I had. I managed a very respectable 7:42 finishing in 3rd (1st was Jon Gee at 7:40 and 2nd was Peter Mogg at 7:41). Rhys was our pick for GC and didn't disappoint with a 6th place only 16 seconds off the leader.

We were all concerned about the crit. The course was wet in the morning and although the rain has stopped and heavy fog and mist kept the roads from drying. The inclusion of the S1 and U23 riders also meant that the M1 field was now going to be on the course for a full hour. At race start, the course was mostly dry and, as expected, the riders lept off the line at full speed. Within minutes a significant portion of the field was dropped. I spent all my time in the top 10 knowing that falling back might end my race. The pace was high and the final corner proved the most difficult moment almost every lap. Our team didn't fare well overall - Rhys, Scott, and Andrew were lapped - but I managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth. Only 4 M1 riders completed the crit so this moved me well up on GC (at least for M1).

Sunday morning was tough, the Road Race was the same loop we've had in previous years with one extra lap (for M1) - 126 km. Since I was the GC rider, the plan was to keep me protected knowing that we had little chance against the Elite field. The hope was that I might slip into the lead group if any riders managed to roll off the front.

The first lap was aggressive (a Louis Garneau rider plus Darko Ficko and one other jumped right at the gun) but that break attempt was eventually reeled in. On the second lap, we sped through the feed zone at 51 kph (feed started on lap 2 - I was terrified of trying to grab a bottle at that speed). In the first K out of the feed zone, Rhys put on a surge to bridge to a lone rider up ahead. I sat on his wheel and we suddenly had a gap. Darko tried to bridge - when he got to me, he looked back and saw the entire peloton was chasing his wheel. He called across and told Rhys and I that the peloton wasn't going to let him go so he'd pull back (to give the break a chance). I shouted at Rhys to go - as long as Rhys was in the break, I was protected and if the break stuck, we'd have another podium.

Rhys turned himself inside out (and upside down) and with only 2 other riders pulling in the break (there was a Louis Garneau rider represented but he only sat in - no pulls) they opened a 4 minute gap. While there was no concerted effort to close down the break, there was constant surging in the peloton as rider after rider attempted to break free and bridge up. Ryan Roth, Darko Ficko and Derek Ivey were heavily marked and any move by the three was instantly covered. The M1 riders in the peloton played it safe and sat in for most of the race any moves were covered by Scott, Andrew or myself.

In the final lap, A group of four (including Roth, Ficko, and Ivey) pulled off the front and none of the remaining riders had the legs left to give chase. At this point, Rhys was solo with just under a 3 minute gap and the four strongest riders in the Elite field chasing. Rhys put it all into his last 15K and held on for 3rd finishing almost a minute ahead of the four chasers.

Rhys took a podium in the Road Race and the his high finish also lifted him up to 2nd on the M1 GC. A successful weekend for the team with two stage podiums and 2nd and 3rd on the M1 GC for OCup points.- Cary

Tuesday, August 11, 2009





over and out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back on...

The provincial championships a few weeks back has given my little engine some confidence. So to are my Project Freeride team mates. With personal confidence growing, and the team giving me the confidence that indeed "I can" - we leave Friday for the Elliott Lake Ontario Cup stage race.

Stage 1: 3.5km hill climb time trail
Stage 2: criterium
Stage 3: road race

I am looking forward to competing again on 2 wheels. I feel my high end is coming back.

This past week has been a great week of training. 15hrs on the bike with 2 very solid long, hard rides and 2 hours of hard running. I am pretty dead tired here though on Sunday evening!

I will be sure to write up a race report from the stage race. Till then, train safe and thanks for reading.