Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why do I do this to myself??

So... haven't really ridden all that much lately (except for commuting to school once a week) and have been wanting to get back into Cyclocross this year ... but always afraid of how much it's going to hurt!!!
So with only a couple weeks left until Provincials, I figured it was time to clip in and make it happen... so I found a nice, new, "friendly" CX race in Vaughn that looked like fun.  It wasn't an Official OCA CX Event, so I figured it would be a bit less attended - and a bit less embarrassing when I sucked!!!
But, the nice weather brought out a big crowd, and the usual crew of riders who inflict great pain, but there was no-where to hide!!!
So off I go with the M1's and the Elites for 9 laps of the course.... 9 times through the sand, 9 times up the Belgian Run Up, 9 times up the Headwind Climb, 9 times over the log barriers, and 9 times the suffering!!!
This is when I was feeling good...
I wasn't quite able to hold onto Rob Holmgren's wheel, as much as I wanted to, but figured he had a bunch of races in his legs and deserved to be ahead of me.  So after passing several people who crashed on the uphill rutted slope (it wasn't that hard, was it?) I tried to hold off Anton Varabei near the end, but had NO GAS left in the tank, or strength left in my back... and was quite pleased to come across the line in 3rd for M1... maybe I'm not that bad after all!?!?!?!
Great to see lots of riders out at a new event, and all the details they put into the race to make it a fun one... except I missed the BBQ and had to settle for a cold Double Weiner Hot Dog as recovery food...

This is when I wanted to stop and throw up...
So now that I remember how it works, I might just make the drive to St. Catherine's for Provincials.... as long as it's warm, and smooth, and no-one starts fast, and poorly attended.... Then maybe I'll have a chance!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Epic day for RFK!!!

So under threatening skies on a wet weekend.... the annual Ride for Karen still pressed on.  It's always a great day on a bike and worth the effort required to raise some money and roll for 160km.... and this year was one of the most epic days yet!!!


After collecting refundable bottles for 3 days with the Boys, and raising over $350, it was time to do the Work and get on the bike.  With a small-ish group this year, we headed out from Markham Fair Grounds in cold rain and wind.  Right away there was a group at the front that wanted to generate some body heat and pinned it!!!!
Steve "Rango" Heck and I found ourselves chasing hard from the start.... and 20min of Race Pace later finally caught onto the group at a stop light... not how I wanted to start my ride!!!


It was interesting seeing a few riders bail out after a few Km's and head back home... and not that I blame them, but I would have a hard time telling my sponsors that I didn't do the ride because the weather wasn't nice... sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do....
We made our way north and west and north and east and finally stopped for a quick lunch in Zephr.... and a dramatic loss of body heat!!!


After heading east and south and east and south some more, we finally made it back to Markham, and Jonny B was pretty much cracked by that point!!!  Not enough food and too many calories used from shivering put my in the Tired Locker.....
Always great to put some food back in the body and rest the legs with some the great people who support Ride for Karen.  Funny how the most tired part of my body after the ride was my neck.... from keeping shoulders shrugged to keep the rain out and shivering!!


As an added Bonus, because attendance was smaller due to the weather, I was given 4 tinfoil trays of fruit to take to my Cross Country kids at school....
Special thanks to Kirk and Kris for all their work... and how committed they are to making a difference in the lives of kids with cancer....

Monday, October 5, 2015

Provincials - Laying it all down...

So Ontario Provincials happened the weekend before Labour Day (sorry for the late post - need to catch up on a few!!) back up in beautiful Collingwood at Highlands Nordic.... always a tough course with lots of climbing and some very rewarding singletrack descents.  This year was no disappointment, with many course additions and some classic favorites!!  The weather dried up througout the day after a previous day rain storm and made for great conditions and improving traction as the day went on.....


As always, Rob went hard right from the gun... up the short grunt climb to the long grunt climb... and after bridging up before the singletrack, I decided to see what I could make of the day... the legs felt good, the tires were great, and it's always worth the risk to Go 'Til You Blow at a bigger race like Provs....
So it was Barnes at the front, pushing the pace and quickly creating a gap between Rob and I and the rest of the field.... and I did my best to attack all the uphills while laying off the brakes in the singletrack...


There were a few times where I was able to get a gap in the trees, only to have it stolen away by early lapped riders that forced me to ride slower than my preferred pace... After a few laps I knew that it was only a matter of time until I was able to get a gap that stuck since it seemed like I was having a strong day, and that gap came at the start of the 3rd lap... after the long flowing and fast singletrack to the kicker uphill I had just enough space to not be held up and stuff a few riders between us...


More and more lapped riders came and went as I kept pushing hard and ignoring the sore back and punched legs that wanted to cramp..... but a couple Hammer Gels and a Stubborn Attitude is all it takes to ignore those!!!
By half way through the last lap, I had caught Danny Sutter who was leading the 30-39 Master Category, and thought that I could use him as my Rider to Run Away From until my ambition was restricted by my ever nearing Self-Implosion.... a bit of tunnel vision and shivers told me to just hang on Danny's wheel and get to the finish in 1 piece!!!
After getting my Poop in a Group, I was able to hang with Danny and finish with a comfortable lead and another Provincial Champion Jersey to my name!!!


Thanks to Supefly Racing for another great season of races.... and always nice to see an upgrade in the Master prizes - I won a DOG!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Might as well....

So while we were spending a beautiful week at the cottage, one of our neighbours came by the dock to ask if I wanted to join them for the MEC Michael Barry ride... and never one to turn down a good ride - I said SURE!!!
Turns out it was a bit of a "Private" event with only 250 riders allowed in, and a waiting list. But then again, who wouldn't want to ride for 160km around Muskoka with Michael Barry???
The weather forcast was beautiful, but the morning was locked down by fog coming across the lake in the boat... pretty nice life eh??  But the weather cleared and the sun dominated the skies, keeping us sweaty and thirsty for day.


The route started at the Warf in Gravenhurst and headed north to Bala, through Port Carling, past Winderemere ("Hey... I can almost see the cottage from here....") before making it's way through Bracebridge and back into Gravenhurst.  All familiar roads to me, and a great day on the bike.
To avoid a large cluster of riders affecting traffic and causing a safety risk, the organizers decided to send the riders out in groups of 12 with 1min between.  Good idea, but I knew no-one in the group and was sent out with a bunch of people who were more there to rub shoulders with Michael Barry than push the pace.  So I lead for a while heading up towards Bala when a pair of ambitious riders from a group behind caught up and blew past.... "OK Boys... It's ON!!!"
So I up go, pulling past these ambitious riders with a long train on my wheel...
"OK Barnes... this is a good strong tempo pace. Hmmm, there's about 30 riders on your wheel."
"Well, no-one wants to pull through, so lets keep the pace. Oh wait, there's only 20 riders now."
"You're in your groove now Barnes.  Good thing you don't need help because there's only 10 riders on your wheel now..."
"Well Barnes, we made it to Bala... oh wait... there's only 5 of us!!!"
So it was down to small group for the next 40km until the rest stop, where I waited for a few minutes to get my bike tuned.  Apparently my Tempo Pace was not appreciated since none of the riders in my small group waited for me!!!


40 Feelings Hurt Km's later, I caught back onto the only 2 guys who pulled through and helped me earlier, so I finally found some people to help out as we rolled through Bracebridge and onto the scenic Muskoka Beach Road to the finish.....
End of the day, it was a 156km (we got ripped off!!!) ride in just under 5hrs.... followed by some Muskoka Cream Ale (passed mine along to another rider....) some french fries and a veggie wrap.
As I was heading back to the car with my food (getting in the lake was ALL I could think about...) I passed by Michael.... then went back and grabbed this Selfie with him....


Funny guy Michael is.... "Should we take another?  I think the sun was behind us and it might now show our faces well.....".... "OK Michael..... but then I have to leave..."
Look for the ride next year, the plans are to have it grow for a few years and then make it into a Grand Fondo.... it was fun!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Back to Bucky!!

After a couple year break.... the OCup Series returned to the infamous Buckwallow Cycling Center in Gravenhurst to shake up the riders with it's rocks and roots and technical trails!!!
Bucky has always been a great place to ride.... and a tough place to race.... and this year was no different.  With a few additions for the 1:30 race that saw us tackling West D'Nile and Spur Line every lap, it made for a race that required total focus from start to finish.


On the long double track start, it was clear that ex-moto racer Brett Maxwell wanted to have a clear track, and took off from Rob and I very early in the race.  Once we lost sight of Brett before the 1/2 lap mark, I looked at Rob and asked "Where did he go????"


So it was down to Rob and I to fight it out for 2nd place, and I did my best to lead the race since I felt like I was riding the technical parts quite well.  It also helped that Barry let me use his Superfly 100 Dually!!!!  Always nice to feel less abused during the race....


Around and around we went, to the taunting comments of spectators like "Are you guys trying to catch Maxwell?" and "I thought you guys were fast?"... and those comments were from our families!!
But Trying we were and Not As Fast that day we also were... and it became apparent that Rob and I would be sprinting from the exit of Spur Line to the start of Moose Mayhem since there really was nowhere to pass after that.


I came out with a head of steam and an ambitious mind, trying to keep Rob behind me, but around a bend where my legs decided that we needed to sit... Rob snuck around under some pine branches to take the lead....
"C'Mon Barnes... Pay attention!!"
"Sorry Ambitious Barnes who forgets that his legs are cooked and back is cramping and triceps are fried and shoulders are giving out and....."


So I put up a Sprint Effort to hold Robs wheel to the finish line, but had to be content with a 3rd place on the day..... a bit disappointed.

The Kids also had a bit of a disappointing day also.... with Luke taking a Slip and Slide head first fall down a technical double track descent, and Jake flatting early in the race and walking for an hour to find the finish line with only a toad as his friend....
Barnes family : 0 for 3 at Bucky this year...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Ride for Karen is coming!!!



I know that I have more than a few posts to catch up on..... but here's the first and most important for now.....
It's almost that time of year again.... time for the Ride for Karen!!!
It's a great ride that raises money to send kids with cancer to camps in the Muskoka region... letting them experience what we all love and dream about - playing in the lake, walking in the forest, trying waterskiing, riding in a boat....
I will be once again supporting Kirk and Kris on Sept 13th in their efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of children, and add to the over $2Million dollars they have already raised!!!
Details for the ride can be found at www.rideforkaren.com

I am reaching out for your help in achieving my personal fund-raising goal of $1000 this year, and any help is appreciated!!

A secure link to my personal fund-raising page can be found below.


Thanks in advance.... and be sure to check back for my Post Ride Post!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Good way to spend a day...

Went for a nice Family Ride last week... Rode from Edwards Gardens to the Distillary District for some great burritos.
Then continued over to Ashbridges Bay for a chilly swim in the Big Lake.... 
Everyone had lots of fun.... And a bike is always the best way to get around T.!!