Cape Epic count down – 2 months

Incredibly, 1.5 months has flown by since my last post. Christmas and New Years provided a good opportunity to build some longer, quality outdoor efforts with ‘warmer’ temperatures above -10C. Had a great block of 10 hours in 3 days. Since then, we’ve had a deep freeze of -15C and colder…pretty hard to ride outdoors for more than a few hours. Had to get dressed like this to survive. You can see the battery powered gloves and shoe inserts glowing!

winter clothing

Essentially, my race partner Matt Wheatley and I, have 2 more, 3 week training blocks to push through starting this week. Temperatures have eased somewhat so we will be able to ride long on these January weekends with temperatures hovering around 0C. We’ll cap off the last 3 week block with a trip to Maui at the end of February to polish off our climbing skills on Mt Haleakalā.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haleakal%C4%81

Our travel dates will be March 9-11, getting into Cape Town on the morning of March 11 to start acclimatizing ourselves to the heat and time zone! It’s getting close!!

Thank you to Scott South Africa for their generous support while we will be on the ground in SA, Louis Garneau for their amazing gloves and helmets, Crank Brothers for the EggBeater pedals and super light bars, Shimano for the best out-of-box fitting shoe, Oakley for those inspired photochromic Radar lens, Cadence Nutrition for the ride fuel and Jakroo Canada for the custom jerseys!

We are generously supported by the following companies:

Scott Louis Garneau Shimano OakleyCadence NutritionCrank BrothersJakroo

We are riding Cape Epic in support of:

WBR Qhubeka BE logo chosen

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Cape Epic count down – 3.5 months

I’ve signed up for Cape Epic once again, this time going in knowing what I’m getting into! 750km over 8 days with 16,000m of climbing (March 15-22). I entered Cape Epic for the first time in March of 2013 after getting a call up from my friend, Tom Ritchey. It was completely unscripted and Tom simply stated that it was going to be a hard event and that I should prepare like I was racing as a pro again. Trouble is that I live in the northern Canadian city of Edmonton where there is snow on the ground all Winter. I developed some training tricks around what to wear and how to kit out my bike.

I learned that Winter that training on the bike that you are going to race on is the best and most sure way of maximizing your efforts. So, for this next journey, my Scott Spark full suspension XC 29’r was going to be the weapon of choice, both for training and the race itself. I’ve loaded it with 29×2.25 fully studded Schwalbe tires that are completely amazing on packed snow, ice and everything in between. The 45Nrth Cobrafist bar covers are an amazing addition, keeping the wind chill at bay without causing sweat. Add battery heated glove liners for -15C days. For my feet, I’m using a battery heated insole and heavy insulated booties. MTB fenders added to keep the slush from splashing on melting days and all is set. Magic.

So, onto the training. I began in earnest on Oct 1 by not letting my Summer road fitness slide away. I ‘teach’ an indoor cycling class Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for 1 hour on Mon and Wed and 1.5 hours on Fri from the start of Oct to Dec 19. Then start again Jan 5 to the end of April when it’s finally nice enough to ride consistently outside here. So, this fits perfectly into my training program. I add 1/2 hour on for Mon and Wed so I get a total of 4 1/2 hours of indoor riding each week. On each weekend, I’ve been riding my Scott MTB for successively longer outdoor rides. As an example, last weekend, I posted 2, 3 hours rides for a total of 90km, most of which on packed snow trails.

The first week of Dec is a rest period, luckily it’s also one of the coldest weeks on record with temps down to -30C. Things should be back to ‘normal’ -5C to -10C by Dec 4/5 so I can get my next 3 week training period under way. Next update on Dec 14 with 3 months to go!

We are generously supported by the following companies:

Scott Louis Garneau Shimano Oakley

We are riding Cape Epic in support of:

WBR Qhubeka BE logo chosen

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Getting ready for your next “Big Ride”

With a few Gran Fondo’s (Big Ride’s) coming up this Summer/Fall, it’s a good idea to be properly prepared for the event. Gran Fondo Banff, Gran Fondo Whistler and DV100 to name a few!

Here’s a few tips to help you be the best you can be on the big day:

1) Clean your bike, including the drive train. Use a good chain cleaning tool and a good degreaser (I use diesel fuel – as do the pro mechanics) to thoroughly get all of the gunk and grime out of the chain, cogs and chainrings. Rinse with full pressure from your garden hose. Let is completely dry and then apply your favorite lube. I like the ‘dry’ style lubes as they don’t pick up as much dirt.

2) Ensure that your bike is in top working order. If you’re unsure, go to step 1 FIRST, then take your bike to the bike shop that you have a relationship with. Do not leave this to the last minute. Check the tires for cuts, make sure that your electronic shifting battery is charged, check for wear on the brake pads and go through the full range of gears.

3) Review what’s in your spares bag. I like to have 2 spare tubes, 2 CO2 cartridges, tire levers and a small multi-tool in the spares bag. Make sure that the tubes are in good working order and not left over from your last flat!

4) Finally, do NOT over train. You won’t get any fitter by doing long, hard rides in the week before the event. If you’ve been riding all Summer, I’d recommend going for a long ride a week before the event and then a couple short, easy rides in the week leading up to the weekend. Use the same food and drink mix that you use in training. Bring lots of clothes to the event start and choose what you need on the morning..you never know what the weather will do.

See you on the road!

Alex

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