Monday, April 15, 2013

Paris to Ancaster - First Report

I arrived at the staging ground for the race in good time, but I still didn't expect to be the second vehicle in the parking lot.  Nevertheless, it turned out to be the right place and because I was there even before the organizers I ended up parked in the area they eventually roped off for VIP's.

I went to take an "unloading" photo and my camera batteries decided they had done enough.  I was pretty bummed that I couldn't take any photos at all. It speaks to my philosophy that a good BLOG entry has pictures.

I will pull some generic pictures from the local newspaper so that you can get a sense of things.  Additionally, I took some pictures of my bicycle once I got home.  As I did last year, I will be purchasing an action shot from a course photographer in about a week.  I so seldom get this kind of picture of myself so its worth the $30.

I certainly have many comments to make about the race.  Lets see what comes out as I write ...

This is a common sight.  I carried my bicycle way more than last year and my overall time benefitted by this strategy.   That's NOT me in the picture BTW.

Defeated. Another common site.  All I can say is that I'm grateful I never had one of these moments.

There is a steep climb to the finish that's sort of legendary.  This lady is helping out a rider.  I didn't need any help because I was walking up this hill!
I hosed my bike off right after I took this next series of pictures.  It serendipitously resulted in my also washing the car so I had a happy wife!

I bought SPD pedals specifically for this race.  They were crap.  I was whining about it to a guy as we climbed a hill side-by-side and he told me that they are intended for on-road, not off.  

Can you guess the component?

I am not sure how long the course was.  It was supposed to be 70 kilometres but because of the heavy rains we'd had over the last two weeks they had to close and re-route some sections.  While it certainly ended up less than 70k there is still some debate about the precise distance.  They are publishing 57km but all the racers with cycle-computers I spoke with had it at roughly 63k. The point is I did ok.  Last year it was 60k and that took me 3 hours and 40 minutes.  This year I completed the race in 3 hours 5 minutes. Some encouraging improvement for me to be proud of.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No. I will never learn.

Let's just say that fenders would have been a good idea today and leave it there.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


In a few short days I will be suffering through the annual Paris-to-Ancaster race for the second time.  Competition is a funny thing that way - it's both exhilarating and painful.  At kilometer 50 I will be asking myself (aloud, I'm sure) why I do this, but 20 minutes after its over I will be jonesin' for the next time!

As a bicycle commuter I usually feel quite out-of-place among the spandex set, but once the horn sounds we are all equals in our suffering. Besides, I'll be wearing spandex too! (stupid, sexy Flanders!)

I am significantly more anxious this year than last. There are many reasons I feel like this.

First, I just finished building my bike for this.  Its the same one I used last year (my aluminum Diamondback), and it performed well.  However it's set up differently this year, I only rode it for the first time this morning, I installed a speed pedal system which I've never used before, and I'm not convinced my posture/geometry is going to be comfortable enough for 70km.  There's a brake issue too, but I'll tackle that in another post.

Another drawback is that I am not in good "cycling" fitness.  I have been runnning a lot (for a few 5km races I'm entering) but its absolutely not the same kind of fitness.  It's been a cold, cold spring here in Oh! Canada and that has chased me off my regular commute.  Admittedly, I have been a fair-weather commuter these past two months.

All this adds up to actual nervousness!  I am trying to get into the mindset that I'll just pace myself (vernacular for "I'll be going slow" without having to actually say that) and enjoy, but I know that once that start pistol goes my competative nature will fully engage.

Wish me luck!
Resurrecting the Diamondback.

I'm trying a SPD pedal for the first time.

I re-built this just in time for the race. I don't like front derailleurs so I'm fixed in the smallest ring for maximum off-road-ness!

I don't have enough gears to choose from for this race.  Oh well.