Ultra Rider: In Search of the Ultimate Long Ride RSS

Biking is one thing. Bicycling 100 miles is entirely another. But what about the bicycle ride that last all day and all night? At some point, you cross a line and at that point, cycling, becomes ultracycling.

This blog chronicles the story of a guy, his bike and a strange obsession with finding the outside edge of his personal limits.

In this chapter, having broken the UMCA record, recovered from a bone-crushing crash and achieving a top 15 finish at the inimitable Furnace Creek 508 and failing miserably at making the transformation to being an ultra-runner by entering into a 100km foot race we find our hero looking for his next ultra challenge.

For the complete story, follow this link, and read from the back to the front. The story won't make anymore sense when you've finished, but at least you'll know as much as the rest of us.

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Archive

Sep
23rd
Sun
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One week to go…

So far in September, I’ve ridden 1,296.6 km and climbed 7,799 meters.

That’s 65% of my mileage goal, and just 39% of my climbing goal. 

I think I can still accomplish both. Planning and commitment will be key.

Posted at 12:18 - Comments (View)

Sep
16th
Sun
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At the half…

At the halfway point of the month, I’ve ridden 853km and climbed 5450 meters. I’m getting there although I’m sorely behind with my climbing goals. 20k meters is a bit more than what I might be able to reasonably achieve. Even with the average 550 meters I’ve been hitting each day I ride, that only gives me another 5k meters this month.

Drastic measures might be in order.

Posted at 20:58 - Comments (View)

Sep
8th
Sat
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September so far…

It was a short week and I hit a wall on Thursday, my legs were fried. That said, I think I’m doing pretty well and only a few meters behind where I wanted to be by this point. 

Progress so far:

506 kilometers and 3,889 metres climbed.

1,494 KM / 16,111 M to go.

25.3% / 19.5% of goal achieved.

This coming week, I’m expecting that I’ll put in another 500km and 2,000m in climbing. That’s great mileage, and not nearly enough climbing. I’ll have to figure out how to up the ascent, I really should get in closer to 5,000 meters this week if I’m going to hit 20,000 M for the month.

Posted at 20:09 - Comments (View)

Sep
3rd
Mon
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The long September

Goals for September - ride 2,000 kilometres and climb 20,000 meters.

That will effectively double my YTD mileage and triple my YTD ascent.

You can follow my progress on Strava.

Progress so far - 96 kilometres and 1,563 meters climbed.

September Countdown:

1,904 KM/18,437 M to go

4.8% / 7.8% of goal achieved.

More updates to come throughout the month…

Posted at 9:50 - Comments (View)

Jun
19th
Tue
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Thank you Garmin!

I just upgraded to the Edge 500 from a number of different Polar devices and I noted a few things that I’m really impressed with and wanted to thank Garmin for…

…thanks for including using rubber bands for the stem mount and including a ton of extra rubber bands and mounts.

…thanks for including extra zip ties because you just knew that I would screw at least one of them up.

…thanks for making the initial set up and sync super easy.

…thanks for using regular ole USB to charge the device and move data around. 

and most of all…

…thanks for making Mac software.

Unbelievably, these were all things that Polar got wrong and I fought with for years. Using infrared to sync data was an incredible hassle and the lack of Mac software was unforgivable. Out of the box, the Garmin has already address all of my major sore points and I haven’t even gone for a ride yet.

If my on-bike experience is half as good as my off-the-bike experience, I will be exceptionally happy with this produce.

Good work Garmin!

Posted at 22:25 - Comments (View)

Mar
25th
Sun
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AtB 2012 Recap

Keith and I ran the Around the Bay Road Race earlier today and we had a great time. As with past years, the first 20k just slipped by, and again this year, I got into trouble in the hills. I don’t know if I was overheating or having tummy issues or both, but my stomach got into knots and I felt super, super hot. Keith and I parted ways at the 22.5k mark, I just needed some time to get my head together and find my own pace. I started dowsing my head with cold water at the 23k rest station, and everyone after that, but it didn’t help my tummy unwind much.

I spent a ton of the next 3k doing walk run while my stomach did its contortions. Oh well, it obviously wasn’t that severe, it didn’t kill me. I thought about bailing a couple of times, but I reminded myself that I’d been in spots that hurt a lot worse and I’d never bailed before (well, there was that one time at the Dirty Enduro when I rode 25k through the bush with no seat post to get to the half-way aid station on a 100k MTB race. I begrudgingly took a DNF after 50k of racing - there was no way I could have finished out the race with no seat ).

By about the 26k mark, I started to feel a lot better, especially with all the hills behind me. I ran a bit slower than I did last year, but no big surprises there. I’m a little bit heavier and didn’t train nearly as much as I had last year because of the injury I took last summer. I really enjoyed running with my brother, it was great to have someone to talk to and goof around with - it definitely made the miles go by a lot quicker.

That’s probably the last AtB I’ll be doing for a while. I’m going to focus on the bike for the next little while and get myself down to race weight before the year-end. Running will still have a role in that, but there’s no real need for me to do anything much longer than 5-10k as conditioning for what I want to accomplish on the bike.

Posted at 17:21 - Comments (View)

Mar
24th
Sat
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Around the Bay - 2012

Tomorrow, my brother Keith and I will be running the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario. This is a 30k road race and is the oldest in North America (older than Boston!).

No big goals this year - just a fun run with my little brother. It should be a fairly warm spring day (7-15 degrees celcius) so I’ve decided to simply wear shorts and a Sugoi cycling jersey. I like having pockets in the back and I’m surprised that more runners don’t wear cycling jerseys. They are great for stowing gloves, small bits of food, car keys - all sorts of stuff.

Stay tuned for a race report - if you are interested in that sort of a thing.

Posted at 20:25 - Comments (View)

Mar
21st
Wed
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A Retirement Speech

Long time no post.

To bring everyone up to speed, after working up to 60k long runs prepping for the Great Canadian Run, I wrecked my foot bad late last July and spent about 3 months hobbling around in recovery, riding my bike and feeling sorry for myself.

Fast forward to December, my brother dared me to run the Peterborough Half-marathon with him, and I accepted on the basis that he ran the Around The Bay 30k Classic with me. He accepted.

Which brings me to today.

I can’t stand running.

I hate it. I really do. I tried so hard to love it, to find some joy in it - a wisp of happiness that I could use to carry myself forward, even if for just one more step.

Nothing.

I’ve regretted every single step I’ve ever taken while training to be a runner.

I mean, I’ve had a couple of proud moments along the way - a lift of euphoria when I realized that I’d left the house on a Sunday night to run a marathon, by myself. I crossed the imaginary finish line in my head and then kept going for a few more kilometres back to my house. I think the dogs knew something was up, but there were no crowds cheering and I never bothered to share the milestone with anyone else.

But the running itself, its painful. I always come back feeling like absolute shit. I’ve taken to the habit of dosing with NSAIDs prior to and after a run just so that I can walk around the house after a run. I thought it would go away, I thought I would grow much stronger, but it never really happens. Sure, when I was running 40-50-60k long runs last summer, it was easier than the 10k runs I re-started with in October. But I’m not really getting any better - not in any competitive sense anyways.

Here’s what I mean. I ran my best 5k at about 5 minutes per km. I think I might be able to do 4m 40s. But that’s about it, and I certainly couldn’t sustain that pace for much more than 6-7k - maybe for 10k at the outside. My best marathon time last summer was a 6m 30s per kilometre pace.

To run a 3 hour marathon, I need to run at an average pace of 4m 16s per kilometre for more than 42 kilometres. In an infinite number of universes, I doubt there is one where I can run a 3 hour marathon.

Yeah, yeah. I hear you. All I need to do is commit to the training and the results will come. Problem is, I’m just not good at it and I’m not enjoying it. I’d rather be on the bike.

So, after AtB this weekend, I’m hanging up my shoes. I will continue to run my 5k-10k fitness runs and I will do it because I know it makes me a better cyclist, not because I’m deluded into thinking I should be a better runner.

I think its for the best. And who knows, with my expectations properly in check, maybe I might find some joy in running :-)

Posted at 22:23 - Comments (View)

Mar
11th
Fri
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Making a difference

Its said that athletes like to “suffer”. That victory isn’t attainable without pain.

Its a choice we make to achieve what we want. But what about those of us that suffer without getting that choice? What about those of us that have heard the words “You have cancer”, or worse “Your child has cancer”. 

Every year, thousands of Canadian families hear those words, and none of them have a choice to endure what comes next. Hospital visits, sickness, chemical therapy and sometimes worse.

No child, no family should have to go through that.

I’m a long time supporter of the fight against childhood cancer, and once again I’ve decided to contribute myself to the cause and try to help. I’ve decided to make the trip from Brampton, Ontario to Collingwood, Ontario to raise donations for a childhood cancer charity. 

But this time there’s a twist.

I’ll be doing it without my bike. It’ll just be me and my running shoes and 100 kilometres of soul-crushingly hilly roads.

I’ve signed up for “The Great Canadian Run to End Kids Cancer" and I need your help.

My goal is to raise $25,000 for this great cause. Would you consider making a small donation to my fundraising? Every dollar helps, $5, $20, $50, $100 - more? Whatever you can afford is extremely appreciated. In the past five years, I’ve helped raise more than $50,000 for the fight against childhood cancer and I want this year to be the biggest. If you can help, please follow this link to make a donation.

I’ll be posting more about the run and my training as I progress, and until then, thanks so much for your assistance, support and donations.

Posted at 13:15 - Comments (View)

Feb
1st
Tue
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Thanks Sugoi!

It was awesome to hear from Sugoi this morning that they’ve re-accepted me for their brand ambassador program. Their support really makes it a lot easier to do a lot of the crazy things I do and I really appreciate their help, support and amazing gear these past few years.

For example, look back a couple of posts and check out that sweet jacket I’m wearing on my -20c run a couple of weeks back - a Sugoi RS weatherized sports jacket, one of the sweetest running and cycling jackets you can get your hands on. I would have frozen without Sugoi! :)

Posted at 13:14 - Comments (View)

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Congratulations! Your SUGOI Brand Champions membership renewal has been accepted.

Posted at 13:12 - Comments (View)

Jan
24th
Mon
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10k down 10k to go. The wind was coming from the north, so only the right side of my body frosted up. 20k in -20c. brrr.

10k down 10k to go. The wind was coming from the north, so only the right side of my body frosted up. 20k in -20c. brrr.

Posted at 10:33 - Comments (View)

Jan
20th
Thu
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Long time no post!

Hello again internets!

Its been a while since I’ve posted. Plans are still coming together for 2012. In the meantime, I’ve started making my physical preparations. Getting used to the drills on the trainer, but still mainly laying down base with some pretty solid running. Up to 40+km/ week and my pace and fitness is improving by leaps and bounds. Also doing a lot of strength training in our new gym. Going upstairs to workout on the roof certainly beats hauling myself down to a fitness club just to lift weights, etc. - I’m really glad we invested in the equipment. I’ll be posting more often now that I’m getting back into the swing of things. Hopefully it stays interesting for you!

Posted at 22:35 - Comments (View)

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Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act.
— Claude A. Helvetius

Posted at 22:32 - Comments (View)

Oct
5th
Tue
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…and so the next chapter begins.

…and so the next chapter begins.

Posted at 18:43 - Comments (View)