Sunday, February 22, 2015

call ins

I am linking to my call ins from 2014 Tour Divide - wanted to make sure I kept them in my memory!!
Cheers to and Joe Polk :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Just the facts...

TD 2014:Route Mileage:

Day 1: Banff to Sparwood (goal #1 accomplished) - 142 miles
Day 2: Sparwood to Eureka (hypo #1) - 120 miles
Day 3: Eureka to Columbia Falls (weak...cold) - 104 miles
Day 4: Columbia Falls to Seeley Lake (over Richmond Peak in the nick of time) - 132 miles
Day 5: Seeley Lake to Ovando (hypo #2) -  30 miles :(
Day 6: Ovando to Helena (pouring...cold)- 98 miles
Day 7: Helena to B4 Fleecer Ridge (Ryan - beauty freezing camp) - 111 miles
Day 8: B4 Fleecer to Lima (Fleecer woohoo! Goal#2 accomplished - wine:) - 154 mile
Day 9: Lima to Targhee forest (couldn't stop - scary camp) - 137 miles
Day 10: Forest to Togwotee (really low...) - 83 miles
Day 11: Togwotee to Boulder ( mountain fun! great ride) - 129 miles
Day 12: Boulder to GD Basin ( Goal#3 24 hr. day thwarted - road block - desert storm) - 136 miles
Day 13: GD Basin to B4 Aspen Alley (tough, headwinds,beauty views,coyotes,antelope) - 119 miles
Day 14: B4 Aspens to Steamboat ( new saddle!!) - 95 miles
Day 15: Steamboat to Silverthorne ( tunes a-rockin...) - 123 miles
Day 16: Silverthorne to Salida ( I heart Salida!) - 112 miles
Day 17: Salida to Storm King ( 4 hr. Marshall pass OMG...)- 121 miles
Day 18: Storm King to Plutaro ( that damn Union pass on a long weekend - jeeps!!) - 81 miles
Day 19: Plutaro to Abiquiu ( pedal to the metal - Brazos crash) - 142 miles
Day 20: Abiquiu to Cuba (not a cheery day at all - reflection) - 75 miles
Day 21: Cuba to NM desert ( met Kent - good haul) - 165 miles
Day 22 Desert to Beaverhead ( met Paul feeling loowww) - 131 miles
Day 23 Beaverhead to Antelope Wells - Border (Kent and I said WTF and made a run for it)
- 203 miles

Finished in 22 days and 21 hrs.
Whew ... this recall has made me tired...;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

I guess I could start at the beginning...

I have been procrastinating, or wait...more like avoiding...or blocking; maybe just not remembering as I still...yes, still...feel a little PTSD after this summers major effort. However, I have been on an overwhelmingly epic, and unbelievable journey, and I need to write down whatever I can pull out of my memory for fear that it may be lost. I thought I would start from day one of the race, but my memories all roll together in no particular order, so I am afraid they may come out in a jumbled mess; but I will attempt to piece together this epic, 2,745 mile ride into a semblance of order, just for posterity's sake. Maybe the jumbled mess would be more fun though? ;)
I will start on day one eventually, and hopefully, through the course of the next month, manage to get down all 22 days of my ride. Here's hoping. As I try to recall the chain of events, I am continually rerouted by funny anecdotes, or particularly difficult moments, and somehow I lose track of what day it was, or where I was, but please bear with me - someday I will look back on these posts and smile to myself - probably shed a tear or two, as I am as I write this, due to the fact that such a big ride required  a huge gathering of emotions and strengths just to get through...

There is one memory that I have an increasingly hard time forgetting, so I thought I may start actually took place on the last night of my ride, about 22 days in, and 70 miles from the Mexican border - my finish line. I want to forget it, but by some strange phenomenon, situations like mine have become frequent social media fodder - just today I received the following...

Moth to enjoy and apologies for the profanity.

My situation was much like this - except I screamed a whole lot more and an awful lot louder.
I had been riding already for about 17 hours, and 140 miles, and had decided to make a run for the border alongside a fellow racer, Kent MacDonald. It was pitch black out and a monsoon was raging, but we just wanted to get done...we were on a very sandy, deep and washboarded New Mexican roadway, as the rain came at me horizontally with winds ready to pick me up and carry me back to Banff. Through my headlight, off to the right, I saw a moth flying at me, hitting me at the temple, clinging to my harness. I swatted him away, but to no avail; he kept flapping on my cheek. I tried a couple more times, but he had moved to my ear, and wouldn't leave. I stopped the bike, and dropped it; whipped off my helmet, and kept swatting at him, and then I realised he was no longer on my cheek, but had crawled into my ear - he was not small...
Kent had been riding a bit behind me, and he saw my headlight go flying, and sped up to reach me thinking I had gone down in the sand. By the time he got to me, I was screaming bloody murder and silence of the lambs type moaning ensued. The moth was flapping away inside my head, and with every flutter, I screamed louder as I could feel it working its way down towards what I was sure, was my brain. I went fetal and whimpered as Kent tried to figure some way to help. I shone my light in my ear and he could see absolutely nothing - it was too far in. In a leap of faith, and thank you to Leatherman, good fortune, Kent reached into his frame bag, and pulled out a multitool with little pliers - as I screamed "getitoutgetitoutgetitout!!!" he deftly stuck the pliers in my ear, held his breath, said a few hail Mary's, and pulled out a moth the size of Manhattan, I swear it was...and it flew away with nary a thank you...
Kent is a military psychologist...he knew to ride away at this point to let me collect my thoughts, and good thing he did, because I started an all out, top of my lungs, rant at the sky and whomsoever may reside therein whether I believed or not...I had endured so many unbelievable hurdles during this race, and I will get into those later, but why the hell a moth in my ear at the end of my very last day????What kind of a test was this? What kind of a message was I to take from this, and could I not have just received a note, or a vision in a dream instead????? WTF???? (apparently I am still questioning..) I am working on the answer, but until I get it, I am wearing earmuffs...seriously.

and without further adieu....

The Tour Divide 2014: and my take on what went down, day by day, mile by mile...
The Beginning -

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tour interview!

I had the chance recently to do a little interview for the Caledon Cycling Club, about my experience this year on the Tour Divide - have a read, starting on Page 6 ...thanks Leigh!

See page six :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tour Divide 2014

I swear I am slowly trying to compile my story of this epic race!! I have almost finished day #1 :) but, until then, I thank Tanner Morgan for this awesome account, in pictures, of his journey!! Brought back sooooooooo many memories ...;)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Just over a month to go..!

I guess you could say I am once again all consumed with preparations...fear, trepidation, excitement,and constant what-ifs that go along with a second attempt at something you only thought you might do once in your life if the stars aligned correctly...the above video is a nice snap shot of some of the things the Tour Divide will offer, but it also misses a lot of the real dirt - literally and metaphorically...It was not too long ago for me to remember what I am signing up for, and I am excited for sure, but I do also have a healthy dose of nervousness. What if I don't get there a second time around? I can tell you that in the last almost two years, not a day has gone by where I haven't thought about this race and what went wrong, and the need to finish it finally. It's a pretty big, hairy monkey on my back, and it's time he hopped off...
So, on we go, once again into the great beyond on a bike.
I hope you'll follow me on this journey...right down to the god-damned border damnit...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You gotta try this...

Last night, after my posting of mediocre thoughts, I got a craving...
No sugar in the house on purpose does not mean that I have died inside...just that I am continually trying to clean it up - so thank god I had been at a friends earlier that afternoon, and she let me have the recipe for her favourite whole food chocolates - these things take 3 mins. to make 15 to cool, and are out of this, I made some...and ate some...and today I at a couple more...oh my god, you gotta try this -

1/2 cup melted raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw cocoa
2 Tb. raw honey
2 Tb. maca powder (opt.)
1/4 cup raw coconut (opt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
( the original recipe also called for 1/2 cup nut butter - I avoided this in favour of the coconut ...I think toasted nuts, or ginger, or mint would be great here too...)

So, mix it all up, and spoon into Tbsp. sized drops - I used an ice cube tray...not so pretty - she uses a silicone mini muffin cup - perfect.

Cool 15-20 mins. in da freezer, then mange...wicked, and so good for you!! Antioxidants, adrenal adaptogens, minerals and enzymes, great know it...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo dump and loose ends...

Not a lot on the books tonight, but thought I might do a little dump of some recent photo-goings-ons, and a blerb or two...bear with me , this will be a little dry -

 Winter continues to hold it's grip on us - despite the last couple of gorgeous days where I have been allowed the chance to get out on the bike in beautiful sunshine!! The photo above is from my cousin, up at the cottage on the ice last Friday night - amazing fire, and good friends - awesome...

 The trails around here are slowly clearing up, but for the most part, things are still pretty deep. Not bad for running, but riding is pretty sketchy...unless you can get in there at the crack of dawn before the melt...skiing is done...(good news is I finally get to say 'melt' without anger...)

Somehow, in the magical way that the Interwebs work, my Uncle stumbled upon this blog not so long ago. He had some comments, but mostly just the observation that I don't write at all about wine these days. True, it is something I have neglected for lack of a solid enough bank account to taste all of the things I need to taste and keep up to date on, and it has been so long since I was in the biz, but I suppose in honour of family, I could rekindle my passion for purple prose. I wish I had a good bottle to write about, but that will have to wait. I have been toying around in the 10-19 buck range, and while there are some good bargains available, not a lot knocks my socks off, so I will hunt around for a new fun something to write about this week. The bottle pictured below was one I had high hopes for a couple weeks back, but it disappointed. Maybe it was a lack of proper accompaniment, but since my dinners these days more often than not consist of a bowl of popcorn, or just not dinner, the bottle failed to stand on it's own.

Some shots of cheese, as I am happily plodding away at GBC in the Cheese program, and still loving it - now if I had had some Curado Manchego with the above bottle, maybe I would have thought more of it...hmmm...better rethink...
My favorite school times are when we all get together to 'study' and end up eating too much amazing cheese, and drinking just a bit of wine to cut the fat :) I hope this part doesn't stop ... We have just completed the second course of New World Cheese, and I look forward to the Affinage and Cave Aged courses coming up soon...word to the wise - if you EVER, read EVER come across a Jasper Hill Harbison wheel, do not hesitate, just put down your money , grab it, and run like a kid with a new scooter at Xmas - your welcome...and please invite me :)

Riding, running and spinning as much as I can, and feel pretty good, but I can tell the very early season quivers of a breaking point still in my legs on the longer tougher climbs. I have a lot of work to do still - hopefully I can keep the momentum going...
Below is a photo of the Hilton Falls Currie Tract entrance map - I borrowed a fat bike one Friday and had an awesome ride in there, so good in fact that I told all my friends, fat and skinnies alike, to join for the next morning - of course we all got there, it got warm, and skinny tires were impossible to use - the fatties still had a great time for the rest of us, it was a three hour hike a bike...still exercise I suppose :)

 And finally, I said goodbye to my car...errr, rather it said goodbye to me, and died on the way to the dealership to get a new one - just didn't want to go without a will be missed old friend...many memories; many roadtrips...bon voyage:)

 That's all really...totally dry like I said. So there...

And just a couple weeks until H2I - who's in??

Saturday, February 22, 2014

follow up or some such nonsense...

Winter 2013/
It has been said, by more than myself, that this winter is knocking the stuffing out of us...
And it is,
But it also has it's beauty, and as it drags on and on, I am choosing to find this beauty anywhere I can get it. This winter of all winters, I have decided that I really hate the indoor trainer. Full stop. In years past, I have been able to happily churn out the miles while watching something or another on the tube, or by joining friends for group sweatfests...but this year is different. Do I still spin? Yes. Do I do it as much? No. Do I enjoy it? Barely. Soooo...I have decided, that running, outdoor riding, snowshoeing, and skiing are where it's at this year.
Back to the "beauty" really is amazing out in the woods these days with the incredible amount of snow and ice - true winter some say. The beauty is that I am really loving running again. So, I'll go with it...setting my sights on a few spring races just to see how much...I blame, or is that thank, a friend at work for this new motivation...
The other "beauty" about this winter has been the Olympics. People have mixed feelings about the Games, and I can see both sides,but I also cannot deny the incredible talent we have here in our country, and the need for us to get behind our athletes, and support them in their pursuits, regardless of how we feel politically about the places the events are stationed.

I rarely, if ever, talk about my time in Barcelona, but every couple years, when the Olympics, summer or winter,roll in to town (or TV set), I become a melty pot of weeping Patriotic goo as I recall the pride and emotion that goes along with being a part of representing your country on the Olympic stage. For me to deny supporting athletes that have dreamed about that moment for all of their athletic lives would be a shame. It is an incredible moment in time.

Most Games come rife with Sociopolitical upheaval. At least that we, in other parts of the World, finally become aware of. I recall riding through the woods in the mountains around our venue, and finding soldiers with machine guns drawn hiding in make-shift, leaf covered dug outs, simply "keeping guard" of the perimeter of the area. My friends who were in Seoul recall handing their Canadian uniforms to another nation's team, just so that team could go into town for some sight seeing without being shot at...
When the Olympics come to town, all of a sudden, the World's eyes are on the host nation, and we see, where we may have turned a blind eye before, all the dirty under garments that hang on the lines of said nation. Some folks , those that keep a finger on all of the ills in the world, may have been aware of the many issues and violations surrounding this year's host nation, but I would be willing to wager that 90% of our population was unaware to the depth of the problems. To the severity of the actions of the Governments involved, and to the violations carried out, not only on behalf of hosting the games, but more importantly, as simply day to day business. This is what the Olympics bring to the table - suddenly issues that we may never have felt a hair of a care for, are issues that we are hearing about, feeling something about, and, oh my god, doing something about.
Yes, I agree that the Olympics have become a money machine. Many violations occur simply as a byproduct of their execution. And so the World now gets a glimpse and a clue....
It's what we choose to do with our new eyes that counts. Time will tell...I can only hope for the best, but at least now, I see a little deeper, and have the ability to respond.

I will now say with pride, Go Canada Go!!! To all the athletes that have trained so hard, and put all that they are, into these past years of preparation, past couple of weeks of competition,, and continuing on in to this weekend - you are Amazing and hold my highest admiration and support - keep on killing it out there!!!!

And now I'm going for a run...

Oh...and here's a cute picture of my dog...
Cuz why not...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jumping back in the fray...

No excuses for my absence, just a recipe...
After tiring of spending too much coin on trail snacks lately, I came up with this - now they come to work with me, on the trail with me, and into ma belly anytime I need a little  pick me up...
I call them Trail Balls...

6-9 dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw almonds
!/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cu shaved raw coconut meat
1/4 cup cocoa powder (the good kind...)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (or your choice; or omit...)
2 big spoons of natural peanut or almond or cashew or pumpkin seed butter
2 generous tablespoons of raw honey
a little almond milk just to help bring it all together

Place all but the milk in a processor and whirl around until finely choped and doughy...adding milk as needed to bring it together...
Roll into tablespoon sized balls and keep airtight for snacking as needed....mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Class Three: The Cheesery Continues...

Reblochon de Savoie AOC, La Sauvagine, Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar, Zacharie Cloutier, Bouq' Emissaire...

Enough with the cryptic cheesery I say...I apologize for the last two posts if anyone was reading...and wondering -
I am back at college once again! To explain, I have started the course to becoming a Professional Fromager. I am at George Brown College, once again, back at the old alma mater, the place where I learned to cook so many, many, years ago. The place has changed so much, yet much has remained the same, and I love being back there again, feeling the excitement and potential that I used to feel when I first decided I wanted to be a Chef...wait, and then again...a Sommelier...and then now, a Fromager...I seem to just love the school really...

The previous posts, and the start of this one are the cheeses we have been tasting and analyzing - I need to jot them down here just so I don't forget when the dog eats my homework. Purely for my own log...not blog...but still permanent.
They have all, for the most part, been amazing, and it's pretty cool to approach cheese tasting as I would wine tasting - analyzing textures, colours, aroma, and taste - a true sensory exploration of something so simple, but complex in it's variety, depth, preparation, development, and evolution of character.

*Ahem*...yes, right, enough with the cheesery again; got lost in the moment...
So, what has been going on besides le fromage??
Well, the skiis have come out. Ya...just now...and the snowshoes...yup. I have woken to a winter's barf of snow upon the forest. Ick...but, I will embrace it! Sadly, the trainer has also come out, and yes, I have begrudgingly used it - helloooo Coach are looking pretty fly in those large, high waisted shorts - where have you been all summer?? So very good to see you again...

Tomorrow marks the beginning of training for this late winter's races, and I fear much time will be spent with Coaches Troy, Carmichael, Wallenfells, and the ilk...with a good dose of outdoor fun just to keep sane. I have mounted the studded tires and am ready to go...bring it.

I have had a really good little break from structured training lately - not that I ever really structure anything really, but it has been good to just cruise around, run around, and play with no particular thought in mind other than just playing - I have increased my run time, and love it - I have ridden a lot, and a little, and all over the place - and sometimes not at all. Things at work have been soooo busy that my body has been kinda trashed, so it has been good to be able to ignore movement sometimes and not feel like someone who ignores their bike. Thank god for the dog, or I might just become a part of my couch....I do look forward to getting back into a routine though, but I am going to be sure to listen to the little voice in my head that tells me sometimes to just relax - this is not rocket science, it's just life and fitness, and balance - so love it!!

I got the chance to really play recently, as my friend Sian held her annual Fall 50 - a yearly tradition to mark her birthday, and the birthday's of several friends in the month, and it entails covering 50Km, for 50 yrs. on the planet, using several modes of transportation, with tomfoolery thrown in as necessary.

This year,we started in Caledon East on MTBs, and took road, trail, and some rail-trail, into Inglewood, through trail to Belfountain for the singing of our National Anthem at the cable trail, and a stop at the Higher Ground in Belfountain for a warm up. (It was very cold out - beverages most welcome - thank you Goose!!)

Birthday Girl Coach LD and Goose at the Higher Ground

Putting the 16 tooth cog on for the Grange climb was a baaaaad choice ... ouch.

Heading down the Cable Trail...we lost our bikes somewhere??

Then, back on the bikes, we bombed Forks of the Credit road (my eyeballs froze open...) before turning south and back to Inglewood to ditch the bikes, and pick up the canoes. A quick portage to the bridge, we put in and paddled down the Credit River to Cheltenham General Store. By now it was perfect, calm sunshine, and the paddling was beauty - a real treat for me in late fall :) We pulled up at the store, stashed the canoes behind, had a quick visit, and then we set off on foot to run trail back to Inglewood. I think we stopped at least four, maybe five times, at different apple trees on the way, each one offering unique and delicious fruit - I have no idea the names of the apples, but a couple of them blew me away - so sweet, and real, and free!!! But, on the flip side, running and eating a plethora of apples make for a very sore tummy...note to self...burp.
Arriving in Inglewood (again), we got back on the bikes, and hit the trails back to Caledon East, and a great birthday celebration, complete with a hot tub, tonnes of good food and wine, songs, poems, and cheers! A really, really great day - I am lucky to have such fun friends, and I hope we keep doing this until we are 90! or so....;)

Gearing up for the paddle- thanks to Knobless for the use of his place as a TA...

Oh Captain, my Captain...

Goose out front scouting...

I need selfie lessons apparently...Bent leading me down river...

A much deserved soak at the end...Big finale!

I am sad to see fall disappear so quickly...but, I am looking forward to some winter, and to some winter escapes to south-lands, and to the planning of the new year ahead...what will I tackle first?? hmmmm...much much planning to do :)
And, just in case you were thinking that I have stopped cooking all together in favour of just eating cheese, well, let me assure you it is not so! The cool thing about not cooking for a living, is that I now can experiment and cook for myself with a renewed passion. Finally, I am getting to a point where I actually make dinner. Not just popcorn, but actual dinner. Crazy, I know....

Henceforth and therewith, a recipe...slainte!...
This one is great for today's winter deluge, and I think I'll put it on before I set out for a ski...ya, I said it, in November...a ski...

Spicy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Wild Mushrooms with Brown Rice:

In a skillet - add some olive oil, and sautee diced onion, carrot and celery. Add some crushed garlic and dried thyme leaves. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Throw in some torn up shiitakes, and sliced cremini mushrooms; and 2 cups of long grain brown rice.
Cook a little, then add 28 oz. tomatoes, diced with juice, and 2 cups of veggie stock.
Throw it all in a slow cooker on low, and add 4 cups of peeled, cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash).
Cook on low for 7 hrs., or on high for 4.
Then, stir in a couple chipotle if you are shy...and a pinch of generic chile powder. and a pinch of oregano and cumin. Cook 20 mins. more on high.

Serve in a big bowl with chopped cilantro, avocado, and shredded or crumbled cheese like monterey jack, or queso fresco...yum :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Class Two

Langres AOC, Meunster Gerome AOC, Beaufort AOC, Jarlesberg, Gouda Brokkelkaas (5yr.), Overjarigekaas...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Class One : Intro

La Clochette, Robiola, Raw aged Gruyere, Pecorino Stagionata...
(P.S... Nouveau release this Thurs! Ya know what that means...)

Monday, October 28, 2013


I will admit whole-heartedly that I have been completely blocked since August - not knowing what to write, or having too much to write about that a blog post seemed inadequate so I saved it for my own insight on paper..(ya, remember paper? It happens me old fashioned...)
But the urge to write here has been pressing, so I think I should blurt a little late summer/fall post about the goings on in my neck o the woods.
Where to begin...hmmm...well, with so much time past I will briefly try to piece together what has happened since August -

Let's begin with the Eager Beaver 100...excellent...I wasn't sure how I felt about a 100 mi. race at this time in the summer - work had been exhausting, and my hands and arms were at the all time height of immobility - but I could not deny my desire to test myself regardless, and have a go at my first singlespeed 100 mi. It was a good choice, unlike the sweet potato vodka I drank last Saturday, and I am glad I did it. (unlike the sweet potato vodka I had on Saturday) (did I already say that???) (never again...)
I don't know why I thought it might be a big deal to go ss, but the course was excellent, and swoopy, and blissful, and I never wanted for more or less, really, than I had - except maybe on occasion, when I wanted more or less, but all in all, I had a good gear, my legs felt strong, and I had a great race. Kudos to Substance Projects for a really awesome day in the woods, once again!! This is race everyone should get in on - great trail, great support, and a really, really good challenge - sign up!!!!

After the Eager Beaver, I kinda just focused on recovering a body that had been pushed too far too many times this year - I needed to try to get back to some place of normalcy, and I am still trying. I have put off surgery for the time being; determined to avoid it at all possible costs, but the costs may be too steep. I figure if I can just stay healthy, train smart, and recover as needed, I can find the balance that will keep that option at bay. The verdict is still out, but I am hopeful. I am training lots - and have even rekindled my love of running. I hit the trails with Skye almost daily, and am riding lots as well - but good, long rides, that bring me peace and satisfaction, and feel almost effortless even when I know I am pushing hard. This is the kind of off season I like, now, if I could just remind myself that the serious stuff has to start again soon!

In between all the goings on, I managed to get a little time up at the cottage - so great - and I was sad, as I am every year, to finally put the cabin to bed on Thanksgiving weekend. We had an excellent time up there with family and friends, once again eating and drinking too much, and telling waaaay too many lies; maybe even singing too many bad songs, and generally summing up the summer in true Jennings/Caylor fashion. Cheers to absent friends; you missed a good one!

I also managed to squeeze in a little road trip down to Ellicottvville a few weeks ago, and totally loved every minute of that epic trail system - think I'll head back down before the snow flies...any takers?? :)

Life at the Woolwich Dairy continues to be busy, growing everyday, and keeping me on my toes - I have never had such a physical job! Kinda like 8 hrs. of weight training steady...everyday...ouch, no wonder my arms are pooched!! This coming Saturday I will be heading back to school at GBC - I have entered the Professional Fromager program, and look forward to learning all I can about cheese - as cheezy as that sounds... that I have had a good chunk of time off from focused training, it's time to set sights on the winter, time to start planning for the year ahead, and time to get down to business! Next year is shaping up to be a good one... :) If the writers block decides to dissipate soon, I may even fill you in! ;)

Ride on!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Race Report 9: Roots, Rocks, Reggae! Epic 8 Hr. Hardwood Hills...

I am soooo glad I have today off, cuz I am moving a lil slowly after yesterday's fun on the trails of Hardwood Hills. The second stop of the Epic 8 series absolutely did not disappoint! 

After having a great week off from work, and my first 'adult' vacation know, the kind where you don't lose money as a self employed person, but someone actually keeps your paycheck rolling while you play all week :) Nice change finally, at 43 years of age - sometimes I guess working for a big company has it's perks :) It's gonna be hard to go back after this luxury, but it was well worth it - I rode my bike all over the place, and tackled a few projects I had been putting aside. Then capped it all off with the 8Hr. race -good times all around!

I have been perched at the island since Thursday, so yesterday morning I got up at the crack of dawn, loaded my gear into the boat,then into the car, left the dog free to roam on the island, and drove to Hardwood. It's just over an hour, so lots of time to drink coffee and think about the day ahead. There were huge dark clouds as I came to Horseshoe Valley, but luckily they quickly blew by, and the day held on to near perfect weather - maybe a little cool, but once we got rolling, it was perfection.

I decided to race this one Singlespeed and see what I could do for 8 hrs. with only one gear. The only other time so far that I have gone this long with one gear was at Paul's Dirty 100 last year, and I knew I could get through, but I didn't really know how fluidly...I was happy with my decision - the cool, and not cool thing about singlespeed that I am learning, is that you can be just as quick as geared, but you can never let up - there is very little wiggleroom for ease. As a result, my lap times were pretty similar all around - huzzah for consistancy! I was stripped no doubt, but the course itself was very friendly for SS - just a couple grunty climbs, some good flowy trails, and not a tonne of flat, energy sucking double track. I found, as I am slow on the double track generally, and sadly, that this was a good place to grab some fuel, and recover a bit before any climbing began. I had one great crash on the early race wet roots that pulled out my right shoulder - silly rider error of course, but I am paying for it today! Well, that's why they call me Crash...seems to be a common theme this year...harrumph...

I was happy to settle into a good push - as long as I kept the pressure on the pedals, I knew I was OK - well fueled, happy in general, and so great to have so many Bikezone teammates out on the trails to chat with, and ride with throughout the day. Everyone had really good laps, and at the end, we managed several podium spots!! I ended up in second place quite happily, and glad to have kept pushing for the full day!! I also managed my second 100+ pin from the Epic 8's, putting in close to 130KM for the day. Woot!

 Congrats to everyone on a great day, and a big thanks to Pulse Racing for a really fun race :)
(and thanks to Hardy Wind for the pictures!)
Is that focus or stunned disbelief that I am still climbing??

With Rhonda Stickle and Tracey Shinkle