Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday's Ride

Our weather's not been too great so this morning, even though it was cold it did warm up, some. It was still quite windy which added a wind chill. All that to say to find two guys to go out and ride some good hard hills was a bit difficult, I did get two. I could have joined some triathlon friends at 7:00 but is was 0°C, sunny though but too cold. We left at 9:00 with a few more degrees on the thermometer, and pounded some hills, and decided that the wind was NOT at 5 km/hr it was more a 25 km/hr so we cut our 100k short, but still ended up with a good 80k. This one will count in a couple of weeks and others will hurt. I rode my Major Jake set up for road one last time as I could not get the Tarmac finished this morning. BUT after I got home and warmed up, cleaned up and had my "breakfast" I was back out on the Tarmac, between loads of laundry and feeding the dogs and family. New bottom bracket bearings, new rear wheel bearings, both sets were a pain to get but there in now. Then I changed out the look of the bike with new cables, tape and an aluminum handle bar... at 180 lbs I just don't think carbon is made for big strong riders. It's blingged and ready to go! Next ride's a wrench ride, where you take your multi-tool to make sure everything's right.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Riding in Shortsleves and Sun!

Wow two posts in one day. The weatherman was WRONG! The sun came out and I went out. I needed to get back onto my training, it's pretty hard to get motivated in cold and wet... not to mention what it does to the bikes, now the cross bike is creaking. I really like this ride as its has some good rollers and the road is pretty quiet. Though I did see my friend Heather out on her bike "hi, Heather", sorry I did not stop but I had dad taxi responsibilities that required me to stick to the schedule. BTW Heather if you look at the map this the Cheese Factory-Maple Manor you asked about... First one up Maple Manor wins...

Interval Training 2x10' z4 by texastutt at Garmin Connect - Details

Down and Out

Well, my Tarmac is... The Bottom bracket bearing on the left side is trashed. It is an Enduro ceramic bearings but the races are steel and I'm assuming that road dirt over a couple of rainy days was pulled in. Enduro's moving their warehouse and trying to get someone on the phone is not easy. I've e-mailed back and forth but no definitive answers on the correct part, and I don't want to order something like this twice. I have to send money to PayPal and that takes time then ordering takes time.

I know that some will say they take credit cards. In 2009 the economy took a dive and so did my finances and business. Knowing something had to change I took a class offered by our church called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, many of you might have heard him on the radio. It was time for me to do something different and to date I now no longer own any credit cards, and deal mostly with cash. I hardly even use my debit card which has cut my business' monthly bank fee down by $30.

In October I did find out my rear wheel bearings were all trashed out, so later today I'm going to check my front wheel bearings. The headset was replaced a year-ago.

This is why I love bikes and HATE cars, I can tear down a bike all by myself and I know how to put it back together. Cars... half the stuff I can't even find...

Spring will show up soon, weather finally got warmer and if it will stop raining tonight I want to get out and do a good ride.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back home and Riding

I am back home and riding my regular haunts and with my regular "crew".
My university friend John B. has gotten a Specialized Roubaix and a Garmin 500 and has been posting on Facebook via Garmin Connect which is a "cloud" training log. I have now set up an account there and I've just loaded my spring riding on. Too bad I did not know before I cleaned the memory out of the bike computer. I could have loaded all my rides on there, and had a complete log. Other than the older rides I am saying good by to Training Peaks which is also a good cloud log, and if you are really serious has some pay-per-use stuff on it (I have no experience with)

I've loaded everything up and have posted two links here more for me to see how it transfer... I still will use Map my Ride because they have mapping abilities. I have had to use an on line "converter" to get the files to the right format for the bike computer. It's nice to share courses with others.

Training Ride with Greg by texastutt at Garmin Connect - Details

Dundas-Burlington hills with Rob and Anja. by texastutt at Garmin Connect - Details

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home again

We got up at the usual time this morning and Peter and I were dropped off at the train station by 7:45 a.m. I was off to the airport and he was off to Holland to see family. We had pastries and coffee waiting for our trains. Mine showed up and I headed off to board. The TGV is a great way to travel, and I was landed in Charles de Gaul, where I zipped to my ticket booth #2A, and the circus began. Waiting in this line then, no we want you to wait in this line where the ticket agents are having a chit-chat. Then to security for a posted 7 minute wait... It was more like 57 minutes! Needless to say when I arrived at the gate I was 5 minutes late, and this old ugly gate keeper started in on me, I had enough of CdG hospitality and told her so, in plane English. The other gate keeper was much nicer and I got on to the plane for the long marathon of "pond hopping"

Back in Brantford now. Heather managed to rearrange her schedule to pick me up. First thing was get all the stuff out of the truck, second was take the dogs for a good long walk, they were all very happy to see me. Saw two of my riding buddies out, Egon and Jimmy, headed to pick up another rider.

I then unpacked the bike and cleaned it, and cleaned it some more... then did a bit of mechanical on it... all in all three weeks on cobbles, dirt, and one rain storm ride it was really not all that too bad.

Then picked up Céline from dance and now home just planing the rest of the week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Last day in France

Today we worked on lights and finished early. Came home and went for a ride to connect with the local group ride. It was quite cool and I bowed out, maybe should not have but I did go back to our house and take some photos of our town before I left. And surprise I found more cobbles right next to our house and as rode down the road it had been pulled up and I saw cobbles off to the side... if weight was not an issue it'd be a cool souvenir. I came home and then packed up the bike and stuff.

Tonight was a bit eventful, first Peter got hit by a car and bruised himself in the nether regions and Robert hit a pot-hole (there here too) on the group ride and ended up with a double flat. He hitch hiked and was picked up and with little to no effort got two people to bring him straight back to the house.

Peter went off to the Emergency room, socialized medicine and he was seen, X-Rayed and back home within 45 minutes... Wow the system can work. The guy who hit him is aware and did stop...

Three total car issues in three weeks. One some guy in a BMW who was just typical "North American" type, one guy on Saturday with Robert and I where he pulled out and we had to slam on our breaks and we yelled at him, then as he was looking in his rear view mirror he hit the road furniture in the middle and flatted his front tire, that was sweet justice. Then Peter which sounds like an honest mistake and other than Pete being in some pain it'll turn out O.K.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shopping in France

OK. for those who enjoy shopping it would be fantastic...
BUT I went on a Monday evening and spent 1:45 minutes in a traffic jam (I can do that any night on the QEW) that should have taken at most 2o minutes! I've been driving on these roads for two weeks and so the pain in the @__ was not highway system which is actually very good but just sitting in a 110 km/hr zone at 10 km/hr!

I then managed to walk around and then into the shopping section 10 minutes after everything closed. NOW that's not to say that if you love to shop... You could spend the day here shopping and probably a whole lot of money. I just hate shopping at the best of times.

The square's under construction but this is just not the stuff you see in North America. I really wish I had not arrived under duress. I would have taken more time, one and two I would have stopped and at least had a beer at one of the café's, but I knew I needed to move on and get over to the mall. Ah well there's always Montreal...

I went back out and there was still some traffic but not as much and got to the mall and got my gifts in less than a "romantic" setting but I'm not a shopper... so everyone has what I was looking for and should be more than happy. (hint, hint ;)).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Paris Roubaix 2011

The Hell of the North. We have seen and ridden a lot of the sections, we've been to the velodrome three times, and today Peter went down to the Arenburg Forest and rode it just before the pro's then rode hard all the way back via main roads to where we were watching. Robert, Craig and I chased the back cow paths and cobbles to see the race in three places then Robert and I headed to a bar and saw the replay of them coming into the velodrome. After section 4 there just is not that much further to go. Pete managed to find a bar and Belgium's to watch the finish, imagine that?

After watching this race and seeing the clouds of dust it's easy to understand why some riders prefer rain. To see this all this of a world class sports event, we paid only for our beer and rode a total of 45 minutes. Pretty darn amazing.

We came home and made left-overs and spent the evening outside enjoying a beautiful evening. I walked around the town, sidewalks were rolled up but still a nice little town.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paris Roubaix and a good training ride.

On the Pavé on the Carrefour de l'Arbre (Section 4). In the showers at Roubaix. and a victory salute.

This is amazing how little space it takes for this race, it just weaves back and forth. After the ride Robert and I went out for a really good road ride that is the "triangle" to Tournai and back.

Now as far a Robert goes, for someone not interested in cobbles he certainly rides them like a pro. This time I followed his lead of riding on the side and going only on the cobbles to pass.

Weather wise and Road wise, Brantford and Lille are having about the same temps... and the difference of roads are either granite cobbles or Brant County pot holes.

Friday night in Belgium

Last night we went out for dinner in Belgium with Kris whom we met at the tent last week at the Tour of Flanders. He has a nice Pub and invited us to have dinner at his place, we told him make us traditional food fair which was absolutely fantastic. The main ingredient in every course was beer, we had something like 7 different kinds. Our first course was North Sea shrimp, second was fresh in season white asparagus with egg and butter and a side fresh bread, third was Belgium Endive's wrapped in ham with a cheese sauce I managed to down three of them the other two were only able to get two down their gullets. Desert was good, very good, fantastic and delicious but after some seven or eight beers I don't seem to remember what it was.

I was up before everyone this morning and down to the boulangerie at 8:30 where they seemed to be out bageuttes and after waiting 2 minutes they brought me out a hot just out of the oven one, came home made my omelet and sat out on the back porch enjoying a beautiful sunny morning.

This afternoon off to more pavé and to the velodrome with our tour guide Peter Schouten.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Hell of the North

Today we rode some more sections of the Paris Roubaix. One in particular was dirt mud and some chunks of granite... Insane thinking pros do this stuff at 40+ kms/hr. We hit them a fair clip. one section I dropped my chain and went to the ditch which is the best option... Not going down's the best. My Roubaix sox now have P2R mud stained on them "what a shame". Unfortunately one or two things will happen with the bruises one they will heal before I get home or worst home will be so damn cold I'll be wearing tights and no one will ever see.

Our ride was an out and back we back tracked the course and then followed the way the race really goes.

Worst thing is Peter found that his bike's head tube's cracked... mind you it could be from last nights venture to the Roubaix Velodrome at break neck speeds. So when I leave my Major Jake's getting an extended stay in France as I'll leave it for Pete to ride. We just found out that the "crack" is tape and the headset seems to be loose so Pete's in love with everyone...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Early day to work for a long ride tonight.

Today came very early. We all got up early in the a.m. to get in early. The highways were even sparse of cars compared to normal. Robert, Craig and I went out for a long ride which is posted above it was enjoyable we hit a section of the famous Pavé and my water bottle cage broke... a well it's a cross bike. Craig and Robert road on the side like sensible pros should. What's interesting is getting into Belgium via a main roads easy, finding a way back to France on a minor road... took a while and the boarder we think was just a little speed bump.

Peter on the other hand went out and rode the course of the Paris - Roubaix seven sections came home very very late we were quite concerned... Not Pete he was singing coming in, talked to neo-pros, coaches, took photos at the velodrome... got a map of the race from someone else. Silly us for being concerned. If your of the Paris Road cycling group you will hear more about this ride and I will leave it to the true author of the story.

Any how today was one of those fantastic days when we went through the square of Tournai everyone was out dinning and drinking. So after our ride we went out into the garden of our house and had wine and beer and Robert, Sigrid and I chatted... well Robert and Sigrid chatted and I butchered the French language as only I can. Then Robert and I went off to make dinner and be worried sick about Peter who was having the time of his life... Phtt! on Peter. He's home and you'll have to ask him for the details.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday, Rain and Group Rides.

Peter had wanted to get out to ride the Pavé of the Paris-Roubaix which circles around us and Roubaix velodrome is only a few kms from us. On our way out, we found a group ride of about 40 riders. All was well, but traffic cars and hills... I was with the lead group and then dropped back to help Robert but old guys trying to deal with the jumps of 25 year-0lds just was just difficult to keep up. It was cool and pouring down rain and it just did not happen.

Now we were accused of being hung over and not able to post yesterday after Sunday. I mean really guys a beer tent like this with Peter... Do you really think beer was consumed in Belgium when a Belgium won... Please, what are you all thinking? Really, we had to do the mundane chore of buying groceries, well, for Craig and Peter, Robert and I enjoy shopping for food. Afterwards Robert and I made our dinner. Tight I'm working on a pork roast with fresh herbs from the garden and some fresh green beans.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flanders and some Bike Racing... That I remember.

We rode part of the Flanders course today. Mr. Peter can make friends any where! We watched two climbs and then headed to a beer tent where I can say "no" and Robert's says NoOK. and Pete talks everyone and they all want to buy him a beer... So guess who the driver home was? It was supposed to rain, and it was a bit cloudy but as you can see the sun came out and it was a gorgeous day, Peter rode up the climb before the pros and was supprised at the noise of everyone cheering him on, and loved it. Robert and I waited till it was over and rode up the climb to say we did it. Climbing up hills on cobbled roads is just not something you get to do in Southern Ontario.

We ended up with about nine flags of the lion of Flanders... I'm not sure what we'll ever do with so many souvenirs... Things that make you go Hmm...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Ride to the hills of Flanders

Robert and I rode up to two of the hills of Flanders, Knokteberg & Oude Kwaremont. Knokteberg was a good little climb, but Kwaremont was 2.5 kms of rough cobbles. I'm pretty sure I'll have ridden my fill of cobbles by the time this trip is over. We put in a a very hard 108 kms. and I'm pooped. Tomorrow we watch the pro's ride the hills.

going and coming through Belgium there's a town call Tournai and a beautiful town square. On the way back the parades were starting for a festival and everyone was in costume.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday's in France

Today was what seemed a long day a work. We were quite productive but the areas were quite dirty. It seemed like a long day and there was one section that Craig and I pushed through to get done and did to say that it was done! Came home and showered it was dirty work today.

We then set off for a ride to the sports store so Robert could get his bike fixed, but along the way he got a flat... I was wondering whether we would get a ride in. Then off to Roubaix again, but this time through town in rush hour traffic. This is a BIG differance between France and North America, it's rush hour and people stop and allow bikes to turn left or have a right of way... we'd been dead in any city in N.A. on those traffic circles! Not here...

Robert wanted a local club kit sooo... bad. He was zooming straight to the club house. But I wanted to ride the Paris to Roubaix route into the velodrome on the cobbles down the main street so I took the "proper" way into the velodrome, but did not go in because the track team were motor pacing and when track bikes are on the track road bikes are a BIG no no in any country.

I followed him upstairs and I purchased a pair of socks and was given a water bottle, another pair of sox and a cap. Pretty darn good deal. The sox have a pattern of the Pavé on them, as does the water bottle. Robert's club kit is ORANGE! he won't be missed... and yes he's seen the velodrome in Roubaix and Yes he's ridden around it and Yes he's been to the local club across the street.

Coming home we came back pretty much the way we did last time but this time we took a short cut which ended up going across a cobbled section of road and I powered off the front just like Fabian and left Craig and Robert riding way behind me! Take every advantage you can! Ha-Ha