Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Top 5 Bike Race Draw/Placing Prizes

One of the best reasons to stick around to the end of the elite races is for the draw prizes. Sometimes they give away a tube or a sleeve of electrolyte powder, sometimes they give away a bike.


who has size 9 feet? I do.

Hydration packs:

I don't ride with a hydration pack enough to justify spending a bunch of money on one, fortunately, I have won a couple to serve that purpose.

Duffel Bags:

One year I won the Martha Creek Meltdown in Revelstoke and I won a sweet North Face base camp duffel bag. The next year I finished 2nd, and got a slightly smaller North Face base camp duffel bag. These things often accompany me on my road trips.


Prizes normally consist of product that the sponsoring bike shop has trouble selling. I've won a couple pairs of cheap $20 sunglasses, but also a couple of gems. One pair with some slick photochromatic lenses, another with some interchangeable polarized lenses. One pair I got for chugging a freezie.


Only one draw prize comes with me on every bike ride (okay, I lost a Lezyne multitool that I once won). It's a Crank Brothers mini pump. Defying Crank Brothers' notorious quality issues, this thing has been kicking since 2007.

Honorable Mention: Shirts that fit.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Top 5 Edmonton River Valley Workouts

The Edmonton river valley is maybe 30-40m vertical from the river to the top of the bank with a long urban, but undeveloped park snaking across the entire sprawling city.

Wooden Staircase hill repeats:

Many wooden staircases drape down the banks of the river valley. I like to look for the tallest, and steepest sets (Wolf Willow or Hotel MacDonald) and run them as fast as I can taking them 2 at a time. Or if I want to work on cadence and speed, I’ll go to a less steep set like Fox Drive or Laurier Heights.

Edmonton Flavour: Keep running past the top of the stairs or else your first couple of recovery breaths will be full of cigarette smoke from someone taking in the view.

End-to-end and back bike ride:

With a combination of paved and gravel trails from Kennedale ravine to the southern reaches of Terwillegar park, almost 100km of cyclocross riding is possible. Or if mountain biking is more your flavour, a ride from the Anthony Henday Bridge to Sunridge and back can be more than 114km with 1700m of climbing! The great thing about this is that many variations are possible by adding various ravines and paralleling singletrack.

Edmonton Flavour: Count the number of homeless camps you come across during the ride.

Toboggan Hill Ski-mo Training:

 In the winter, grass slopes leading down the banks turn into toboggan hills. With the current liability environment, I’ve even heard talk of banning tobogganing and most toboggan hills have a fence to limit the size of the hill. The bigger hills are a perfect place to do interval training and work on full speed transitions. During bigger snowfalls, more terrain is possible! Gallagher and Victoria parks are my favourite spots, except when there is more snow and the larger slumping riverbanks are GAME ON!

Edmonton Flavour: Count the idling drug deal cars on Gallagher hill!

Off Trail classic skiing:

While there are parks with groomed and trackset ski trails, I prefer to ski from my door to maximize training time (and minimize driving time). Off track, I can explore more of the river valley and work on balance, but at the expense of gliding and higher cadence technique refined by skiing in the tracks.

Edmonton Flavour: When you finally come across a trackset trail, battle with the numerous skiers training for the Birkie!

Midweek Racing: 

The one thing that I missed when I spent a year in Canmore was a midweek racing scene. I’ve participated in running, mountain bike, road, cx, and xc ski midweek races and they are a great way to test of the waters of racing or a fun way to do a high intensity workout to prepare for bigger upcoming races. 

See: Fat Tire Tuesday mountain biking, CXAlberta Wednesday Night Cyclocross, Get Powdered XC ski race series, Frank McNamara Running Series.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Season Recap.

As I am currently going through injury related mountain bike withdrawal, I am a little bitter. Looking back on the Alberta Cup mountain bike season, it was a bit of a yawner. Anyone remember when mountain/foothill XC races had more variety than monotonous machine build? Oh yeah, nobody showed up.

I've finally figured it out

It took me a while. You aren't paying for a race (or vacation), you're staking claim to a chunk of time for yourself in the future.

Sorry, I would love to strip and repaint the house but I've signed up for this thing back in March!