Monday, December 8, 2014

Still alive!

Still alive!
Wow life has been busy this year. Too much work and not enough play. I have not been riding as much as I would like, but time is sure flying by lately. I spend much time reading other people's blogs but have not written a blog for a while.

 This year I have done the complete Brevet series with the Manitoba Randonneurs and that was quite FUN. It was a lot of great rides with a lot of great people. I have a few medals to show for it, but I have a lot more great memory's  that mean even more to me. Life is too short so let's all have FUN...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ride, Ride, and Ride some More!

Ride, Ride, and Ride some More!

August has been a busy month. I had a ride each weekend.  The month started off with a 1000 km Brevet (last Blog), followed by a 100 mile charity ride called Muddy Waters, a 200 km Brevet and another 170 km charity ride over 2 days.
              Muddy Waters 100 started about 25 years ago as a fun Century ride put on by a local club. You paid a small amount of money and you got a Tee shirt and some coffee, drinks and some snacks at the beginning, one check point and at the end. You rode 100 km or 100 miles. It was an unsanctioned road race to most people. It was cheap FUN!
            About 5 years ago a Charity took it over and it got very big. They offered a 20km, 40km 60km, 100km and 100 mile (160km)  distances. It went from less than 100 riders to over 500 riders. The cost went up along with no free tee shirts.  The 100 mile still remained a race to most of us. No trophy, just bragging rights. Last year I had leg cramps. This year I am in better shape.
           We started off at 7:00 am. There was no wind at all. The one large group soon broke up into 3 groups. I moved up into the front group for a while. Nobody could draft off me so I stayed off the side and the back for a while. I got tired of having to slow down and speed up so I passed everyone and pushed the pace a bit. For the first 120 km I stayed out front until I got passed on the uphill section of a tall bridge by a small group of really fast riders. After that, I fell behind a little bit as I stopped at all stop signs that they rode though. I finished about 10 minutes behind the fast guys and 30 minutes ahead of the next group.It was a fun ride anyway. Muddy Waters Garmin link I finished in 4 hours, 53 minutes and 04 seconds.. Not my best time, but better than last year.
Some of the Recumbent Group at Muddy Waters.

The following Saturday was our August 200 km Brevet. It was a slower ride with some new members. I had lots of fun riding with a couple of fit ladies. For one of them it was her first time to complete a 200 km Brevet., and the other was her second.They rode at a steady pace, where I would speed ahead and wait for them where ever we might have to turn. No one got lost that day.
A couple of the new riders at the first control.

Another of our first time riders!
Checking out the COW between controls.

The next weekend was the MS charity ride. It's called Biking to the Viking . The reference of the Viking is because the town we ride to was settled by people from Iceland. It's a fun ride from the town of Stonewall to the town of Gimli, and back the next day. Just me and 700 close friends? It was a wet ride with a strong head wind too. The start was divided into several groups and I was in the back of the second group. There was a lot of people in front of me to pass. I recorded some video at the start, but with the rain it's not the clearest.

After I passed the first two groups of people I shut off the video camera to save the battery. I even passed a few cyclists that left 20 minutes early. I realized I was at the front after I passed a slow moving motorcycle and I had the lead car with a flashing light on top of it. I had the route loaded into my Garmin, and 4 liters of fluids aboard so I didn't need to slow down or stop at the many rest stops they had along the course. Having an motorcycle escort was different and an front escort vehicle gave me lots of protection on the highway from high speed traffic. I tried to keep my speed over 45 kph, but I had to slow down for turns and sometimes my escort vehicle got in the way. It took 2 hours and 24 minutes to cover the 85 km. I guess I was too fast as I got to the finish they were still setting up stuff. I helped out carrying in stuff and setting up tables. The next guy to show up was about 25 minutes later and he was one of the group that left early. He was complaining about the head wind. I grinned and asked "What Wind?"

            The next morning we woke up to a 70 kph wind and a downpour of rain. My tent poles were bending in the wind. They decided to cancel the rest of the ride. It was the first time in 25 years that they had to cancel. Buses and a couple of trucks were brought in to transport people and bikes to the start in Stonewall. My sponsor Woodcock Cycle had a van with a mechanic helping out, so the Quest had a private ride.   Of course the van was yellow.

August was busy. I rode a total of 2304 km.  I got to ride with a lot of great people and see lots of our country side as well. And that was a lot of FUN ....

Monday, August 11, 2014

My First 1000 km Brevet!

My First 1000 km Brevet!
If somebody had asked me 5 years ago if I could do a 1000 km Brevet I would have answered No!   But I did it! We started our club schedule in the month of May with two 200 km Brevets, followed by two 300 km Brevets. Then came our 400 km that took us into the USA. That was followed by our tough 600. And finally our 1000 km Brevet. As the distance goes up our numbers got less. For our 600 there was just 2 of us.
Speeding to the start.
But for our 1000 km we had 4 of us going. Two of us had done it before and two of us had not.
Left to Right: Mark, Sam,Pete and myself at the start.

Leaving Winnipeg at 6:00 am
The route had been used before so we had a plan to borrow on. And we had a volunteer to drop off and pick up our drop bags at our planned stops. There was still lots that could go wrong but everything worked out great. The plan was do 400 km on the Friday with a 6:00 am start, do 300 km the second day and 300 km the third day to get us back to the start.The route was set up to use the town of Neepawa twice as a control and allowed us to keep the hotel room.

First Control

Our first control was a coffee shop in the town of Mordon after 106 km. Great choice as I run on coffee. They also have food too. After this we start to climb in elevation heading in a westerly direction.

Waiting for the others to catch up in Cartright, Manitoba
Our second control was in a town called Killarney at the 246 km. This was where we had an early supper.
From here we headed north to a town called Glenboro for our third control at 315 km. On the way to Glenboro I came across a valley where they had made lots of round hay bales. Now a lot of times I might have to stop and use the ditch for a bathroom and I find people will often stop to talk and delay your call to nature. I quickly jumped out and ran behind the hay bale for some privacy. When I was finished I walked back to the Quest only to find 2 cars stopped taking pictures of it. A lot of time was used up in this trip talking to a lot of nice curious people.

Part of my fan club leaving.

Waiting for the others to catch up at control 3

Heading north to Neepawa as the sun goes down.
  This last 50 km turned out to our only night riding. I am not great riding fast in the dark as on coming cars sometime blind me. I slow down and follow the other closely.

Our hotel by night as we arrive.
We checked in to our hotel after 401 km of riding. The pool was closed so they let us store our bikes indoors by the pool. Talk about a luxury ride, showers, sleep and indoor parking.

Indoor parking.

We were on the road before 6:00 am chasing the clock but with the shower and 5 hours of sleep I felt great. It was also great having the drop bag with a change of clothes.

On the road to Dauphin.
After the control in Dauphin we were heading though Riding Mountain park where there is a lot of climbing. I left the others behind on this stretch as I wanted to get a head start on the climbing.
The town of McCreary on the way to Dauphin

 I arrived at control 5  about an hour ahead of the others.I was at 541 km. I grabbed  a quick lunch and headed for the climbs. At the park gate to lady warned me about them. I was prepared. I took "Da Hood" off and taped it to the hump on the Quest. Now Adri is used to climbing and he would laugh at what I was climbing but he lives in Norway. I geared down and pushed on. I could stop and take pictures and keep going as I felt. The others could not stop on a 11% slope like I could. It was + 30 C as I started to climb. There were some long slopes and some short slopes that were less steep but more climbing than this flat lander was used to. I took it slow and easy in my lowest gear.

Part way up one of the climbs at about 8%

Looking back as I was climbing.
A black bear watching us go by.

Lots of these signs but only one camera shy moose seen.

Part way though the park Pete caught up to me on his recumbent. Pete is a very strong rider with lots of Brevet experience. We rode for a while until some of the down hill sections and I pulled away. We met up and waited for the rest to catch up at the next control at Erickson at 628 km. From here it was mostly down hill to Neepawa and our hotel room. It was on Little Mountain Road that I hit my fastest downhill speed of 90.3 KPH. Lots of FUN! It made up for all the climbing. Here is the link to this days Garmin file Garmin file link  I sprinted back to the hotel before 10 pm and got the first shower in before the next person showed up. That was control  7 at 690 km.

Pete and the Quest ready to leave for the final stretch home.
The final ride home was started with an early departure again. The next section would have lots of rolling sections but less long steep climbs. A late Breakfast was in the town of Austin where I was last to get there as I was taking a picture of this old steam tractor mounted high up as a sign.
Steam Tractor sign at Austin

Picture of me being last for breakfast in Austin
After a great brunch we headed for our next control in Holland Manitoba. Control 8 was at the 799 mark. There were a few river valleys to cross along the way. More climbing!!!
Stopping for pictures again.

Looking back at another climb.

Just before Holland I had a pinch flat on my right front tire. I told the others to go on as I would catch up later. I emptied out the Quest to get at my spare tubes. I put the Quest on a blanket on it's side and I had no less than 6 cars and trucks stop and offer help. Those country people are real friendly and curious. It turned a 10 minute job into 1/2 hour job.
Empty Quest ready for tire repair.
In Holland I was delayed at the control. The local bar owner had to take some pictures and I got interviewed for the local paper. The price of fame!
I got to travel though La Riviere but I couldn't speed  as I had a truck in front of me in town.

Going up my favorite hill in La Riviere Manitoba.

I caught up to the group just before Morden  which was control 9 at 902 km.We had coffee and sandwiches for Supper. It must have been good coffee as I sprinted the rest of the way home. On the final stretch sports writer Gregory C. McNeill met us along the way to take photos in several places.
Speeding to the finish. Photo by Gregory C. McNiell
The rest of the group drafting Pete. Photo by Gregory C. McNiell

Photo by Gregory C. McNiell

Sam's son greeting his dad. Photo by Gregory C. McNiell
 I got back to the final control at 10:15. I change my jersey and waited for the rest to show up. We toasted the great ride with some apple juice. It was Sam's and my first 1000 and it was sure great to have a great finish. Great people, a great plan and great weather. It sure was FUN...

A toast to great ride.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A New Look!

A New Look!
                    I am doing a charity ride later this month and have taken on a sponsorship. Woodcock Cycle Works has given the MS Charity a large donation and I am advertizing for them in exchange. Therefore I have decals now. Woodcock cycle has been active in sponsoring races and our clubs as well.
         I just finished my 1000 km Brevet. I will write up my report as soon as I catch up on my sleep.  Lots of pictures to sort out too.
A New Look.
The Brevet was real FUN.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

News Update!

This is a update a blog I wrote a while back. I have the link to the newest news from the CBC news. The CBC news titles it as a race, which it was not. It was a Brevet. Link to News story. The good news is he is expected to make a full recovery. The bad news is they have not caught the shooter. The RCMP have a good record of solving these type of crimes. Lets hope they find the nut.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Forgotten Video!

I forgot to add this video link to my last blog. It just a small crossing of a valley with a small village in it. I usually speed when I go though it  It also gives my legs a great workout climbing out of the valley.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yawn, Just another 600 km Bervet.

Yawn, Just another 600 km Bervet.
Not!  This was not anything but a routine ride. The ride started to fall apart earlier in the week when our club coordinator Sam crashed his bike.  Luckily he was not hurt.   Sam is usually the youngest rider and only in his third year riding Brevets. He is raising 2 young boys and is the only income in his family. His frame was bent and a new bike or frame was not in his budget. Sam is really tall and needed a 64 cm frame. The call went out on Face Book and a used frame was found by one of our members on Thursday. A late night was spent with Jasen Carter and his son, and Sam’s bike was whole again. He would ride Saturday.
             It was a good thing Sam got his bike fixed. One member was sick, another was still not back from a tour, and the weather forecast scared the rest of them off. It was just Sam and me doing the 600 km. It was a beautiful start. The sun was just rising in the east, no wind, no clouds and it was about 18C already. We started southwest to our first control in Carman. I let Sam set the pace. His bike speedo got damaged in his crash so he did not know his speed. I told him to travel at what ever felt comfortable. He was doing about 27 KPH. Sam and I are opposites. He is normally in the back group and I’m out front.
Sunrise behind us.
           If we were going to complete this ride we must stick together. The ride to the first control in Carman was about 80 km on flat highways with no wind.  So far, so good. We left the control at 8:08 am.
First Control - Sam on left
            We went about 20 k west and the climbing started. A few valleys and hills but mostly climbing. We continued another 20 km and then turned south heading to our next control in Manitou. More climbing and we passed a wind farm along the way. Every time I see these 75 wind turbines I am impressed. Our high point is passed and it is only 500 meters above where we started in Winnipeg. Sam is a better climber than me. I am carrying more weight than him, but if I get a run or have rolling hills I can keep up.
The Quest at the high point.
Wind Farm
We arrived at our second control in Manitou at noon.  Just in time for the lunch rush at the Burger Shack. After we refueled we headed west though a town called La Riviere. It is located in a valley so I shot some video on the fun down slope Of course I shut off the camera for the boring grind out of the valley. I am getting faster every time I do this slope, but lower gearing might help.

See the road across the valley that I had to climb. 8%
From here we were treated to brand new asphalt that they were working on last week when I did a pre-ride. The bad news is we now had a bad headwind. When we reached a town called Pilot Mound we headed North to wards Glenboro. Part way there we ran into a Thunder storm and got separated. Sam found an open barn on a farm to take shelter in, and I continued on to the next town. With “DA HOOD” on I stayed dry. I stopped at the local store and had coffee with the local farmers while I waited for Sam to catch up. I learned about making Hay that day.
The storm approaches.

   Supper was at the control in Glenboro at 6:59 at the 247 km mark. Sam was riding slow as the heavy winds had him riding in first gear a lot of the way. The wind seemed to change as we changed direction. Always a head wind.
Passing by a lake.
           After we ate a great meal we headed east to wards Rathwell passing though Holland Manitoba. By now the wind had died down but Sam was tired. We got to the next control in Rathwell at 10:52 pm. We were at the 302 k mark there.
          From Rathwell we headed south towards Manitou again. We would be climbing some of the same hills again and passing by the wind farm once more. This time we were in the dark. Climbing one of the longer slopes in first gear I had the RCMP pull me over. Flashing lights and everything! I pulled over right away of course. He asked for my license and registration. I said I didn’t have any as I was riding a bike. He was wondering why I was going so slow. He thought I might be an electric vehicle. We talked for a bit and he took a couple of pictures. I had to start again from a dead stop up the hill.
           We stopped along the way for an hour nap along the road. I brought my cover out and covered the Quest. I stretched out with my feet in the nose and my blanket over me. It was a very comfortable nap with no bugs thanks to the cover.
            Upon waking up we continued on to the town of  Morden. We arrived at the coffee shop control at 3:45 am. At this point Sam was falling asleep on his bike so  we got a motel room to get 3 hours sleep and a shower. Witha fresh change of shorts and jersey, I felt great. We left into a strong side wind again and headed north and east to our next control. We arrived at the town of Rosenort with only a hour to spare. At this point we had only traveled 464 km. Sam was dead tired now and called it quits. There was no way he would finish on time. That and it was starting to rain again. He called his wife to pick him up.
           I headed east at a good pace and picked up quite a bit of time despite the pouring rain. I had four more controls and about 140 km to go. I made it back to the Winnipeg control at 15:21.
Last Control!
It was one of the worst weather conditions I have encountered on a Brevet. I stayed dry and still felt great when I got home. It just proves that the Velomobile with “DA HOOD” is the best suited bike for these adventures. And despite the weather I still had FUN…