Exams

Miranda’s into day two of Grade 12 exams today. She also has an appointment to speak to a school counsellor to talk about university class selection.

Big times for her!

In other news, Ian had his longest bike ride ever last night. We started at our house, rode to the shop, and then I let the C group on a ride around the Glenmore Reservoir. Tammy picked us up at the shop when we were done.

Andrew, Kevin, Ian, Jarek and Kate overlooking the reservoir

If that had been the end of the story, it would be better, but unfortunately Andrew crashed on the way back, going too fast down Edworthy hill and encountering some gravel on a corner. Ian saw the crash (Ian was right behind me, and I was the next rider behind Andrew) and said “it was painful to watch”. No broken bones, but a lot of road rash. Ian’s never been a daredevil, but hopefully he learns from the example.

Ian’s First Club Ride… and Trifle!

The title says it all, really. 😄

The weather was supposed to be pretty nice this morning, so we got Ian signed up for the Bow Cyclist Club ride (along with myself and 61 others… a big crowd!)

Ian and Dad, ready to go

We drove down to save time, and got ourselves into Alice’s C group. Ian had a bit of a mishap, falling over waiting to cross Bowness Road. I’m sure he’ll figure out his clipless pedals at some point.

Our group rode out to Woodlands, before heading back to the shop. The weather at the start of the ride was nicer: you can see the sunny picture. But the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. It was chilly by the time we returned to Bowness.

Stopping for a bit after ripping around Woodlands

When we got home, Tammy had made a strawberry-mango trifle with cream cheese in the whipped cream. Delicious!

Trifle with lady fingers sticking out

Another Bike on its Way

Ian’s small road bike is now on its way to its new home. With Ian growing so much, we got him a new 56 cm road bike to replace the extra small Giant SCR 3.0 that he has been riding since we got it from Tara. I thought that Adam might want to buy it for his oldest son, who is eleven, but Linda from the club heard of it and wanted to buy it. She’s 5’3″, which means this bike is the right size for her. She and her husband Kevin came by this afternoon and had a test ride and took it off my hands for $200. (I paid Tara $275, but I think $75 for three great years isn’t a big deal)

Giant on its way

Here are some “greatest hits”:

Climb that hill!

New Bike for Ian

Thanks to him sprouting about a foot in the last year and a half, Ian didn’t fit on the extra-small Giant road bike any more. So early in January, I got in touch with Kurt at Bow Cycle to try and figure out something. We settled on the Cube Attain SL and ordered it.

Cube Attain SL in grey and black

It came it earlier this week and it was ready to pick up yesterday, but I was still suffering from this cold. Ian and I went down to Bow this afternoon and picked it up, along with some bottle cages, pedals, shoes and a helmet.

We did a bit of wrenching after supper to put it all together and then went for a test ride. He was a bit leery about the clip-in pedals, but got used to it pretty quickly.

Ian coming in hot

It’s an aluminum frame, with Shimano 105 components. Disc brakes. It’s roughly equivalent to my Valence that I bought in 2013, but nine years newer. It’s a 56 cm frame, which is only one notch smaller than the 58 cm bikes that I ride. We’ve put my old Elemnt Bolt cycling computer on it, so he’s ready to go for long rides and not get lost. 😁

Then I had to do a whole lot more bike mechanic stuff. I needed to get the Giant ready to sell, and I needed to set up Miranda’s bike for her again: Ian had been riding it for a bit on the trainer and outside.

  • Took the carbon wheels off the Giant
  • Exchanged the carbon-specific brake pads off the Giant and replaced them with the original ones
  • Took the cassette off the carbon wheel and put it on the original Giant wheels
  • Put the original wheels back on the Giant
  • Took the clipless pedals off the Giant and put flat pedals back on
  • Took Ian’s seat off Miranda’s bike and put her seat back on
  • Dropped the seat back to her height

Sure glad I took those winter service school courses.

De Ronde van Cowtown 2022

It’s the start of the cycling season. The cycling monuments are under way and the Ronde is our tribute to the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), which is underway as I type this. 2022 is the second time I’ve taken part, the first time was last year. With COVID rules being relaxed, it was an official club event this year, and we had 42 people sign up. It made for quite the crowd, but being outdoors and distanced, I wasn’t too worried.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35610206

This ride is a test of early-season endurance: of the 42 starters, only 12 finished, there was a faster group of five, and my group of seven. The start of the ride was at 10 am, and we finished a little after 6 pm. My final distance was 136 km, including the ride to the start.

Adam and I rode to the start at 9:00. It was warmer than last year, but the weather forecast looked sketchy. Chris Roy was the organizer of the ride and the master of ceremonies.

Chris addressing the crowd
The starting group at Bow E-Bikes
Yours truly, ready to go

The group rolled together through the first three hills. The third hill is a nasty 24% climb in Bridgeland, and by that time most riders had sorted themselves out and tested their legs. Last year I had to push my bike up this, but I made it to the top this year. Part of the credit has to go to the fact that I was on Blue Steel, my Norco gravel bike, that has different gearing from my Roubaix road bike.

I was in a large “medium pace” group for most of the day. There was a faster group up the road and a slow group behind. I seemed to be the nominal leader of the group, mostly because I’d done the ride before and I was doing a good job of reading my GPS computer.

Leading out along Crescent Heights

My group included Crooksy, Mark Fed, Peter and Adam, but when it is about 20 people (and you’re leading the way) there’s not a lot of “cohesion”.

Most of my group, stopping for “lunch” at the Circle K in Hidden Valley

The weather turned after the lunch stop. We rode through a flurry of snow as we climbed back up into Edgemont, and by the time we were riding through Scenic Acres and up into Tuscany, it was an icy headwind. Given the conditions, it wasn’t surprising that my group welcomed a stop in my garage for some shelter and some food and drink. Tammy had put out a table with water, coffee, bars and bananas.

With the weather worsening, our group started to fall apart. I know I was sorely tempted to just stay home… Tammy took this video out the window as we departed again.

Eleven climbed up COP together, and then only seven finished: myself, Doug, Adam, Liz, Heather, Brenda and Andrew (including three new club members!). Ironic, considering that the weather actually improved a lot and was pleasant by the end.

View of downtown from the south

Our group split up when we reached Eau Claire. Adam and I started riding home. I tried dictating a text to Tammy to arrange a pickup, but Siri mangled it so much I cancelled it, intending to ride partway or all the way home. But little did I know, she was already heading downtown to pick me up. I had the extraordinary good luck to spot her going by on Memorial Drive as Adam and I were riding the other way. A short phone call and a U-turn by me later, I was putting my bike on the car and getting a ride home.

Ian’s First BCC Ride

Today there was a “C” gravel ride set up by Ken, one of our new club ambassadors this year. The weather was cooperating so I was signed up. Tammy suggested that Ian could go on the ride with his mountain bike. We ran the idea by him, and he and I were at the Springbank high school at 11:00 this morning to start the ride.

He did really well. We were with the slower of the two groups. It took us 2.5 hours to ride 37 km, so the pace was not fast, but it was very enjoyable. Ian was always near the front, and I thought it was funny that during the long leg of the ride into the wind on Airport Road, everyone was tucked in behind him. He was making a large hole in the wind, sitting upright on his mountain bike.

Tammy also did something amazing today: she rode 100 km on Zwift (virtual ride). Phil (the regular Saturday ride leader) had set up a “century ride” on a flat course. Tammy was going to join for the first hour to cheer Susan on, who was trying to ride 100 for the first time ever. And then Tammy ended up staying and finished the ride, too! She’s a wee bit sore and tired now. 😝

Here are some pics from today.

Congratulations, Ian and Tammy!

New Vinyl: A Winter Tradition

We all know the story by now: when I bought my bike in 2016, almost all of the bikes that year in that level of components were black. I mean, flat black on black was the style. I didn’t like it, but what was I to do?

It didn’t take long to find a solution, in the form of adhesive vinyl graphics, courtesy of an online seller on eBay. When the first set wore out (nicks and scratches and bits starting to peel), then another set was on the way in different colours. But each set was shipped from Eastern Europe and cost about $75, so the next logical thing was to cut my own, right?

And that begat orange, and then sparkly, and now… oil slick metallic.

Finally, a good match for the oil slick metallic bar tape that Tammy got me last year. This time:

  • I adjusted the shapes of the decals to make them easier to apply/more minimal
  • I cut a test set in neon pink/yellow to make sure it all worked
  • I applied heat to the decals to get them to stick and conform better

I think they look like a million bucks.

Crazy Registration Opening for the BCC

Yesterday was the opening of the 2022 registration for the Bow Cyclist Club. I got Ian registered right way. The first day was only advertised to the 2021 members, and we ended up with 168 people registered. There are 250 spots open. Now it’s open to the public and 190 spots are full (at 9:45 am). Makes me wonder if we’ll sell out on day one sometime in the future.

It was a bit of a hectic morning as the club chat was full of people asking questions. But the actual hiccups were few.

I think it’s a good sign: lots of returning members and interest in the club. Must be doing something right.

2021 Cycling Roundup

It’s the middle of winter, so what better time to sit back and remember the warmer days of the cycling season? Except that for me cycling season never really ends: there’s the outdoor season and the indoor season. And in Calgary, the indoor season is the longer of the two…

The indoor season started with a bang this year. There was an very busy Zwift calendar with the club, and I attended almost all the rides. There were also longer (100+ km) virtual rides that pushed my January numbers over 1000 km for the first time. I didn’t get outdoors until March, when I rode to the office to unpack my cubicle after the renovations. That was followed quickly by a real ride with Phil and Paul and then the Ronde van Cowtown in April. The Ronde was one of the highlights of the season, but even the winter virtual riding didn’t spare me the pain I felt after doing it. The spring weather in Calgary is unpredictable, so you have to roll with it.

Also in the early parts of the year, I took the plunge and signed up for the Tour de Victoria with Ian. At the time we were still unvaccinated but the promise was there. Where the Ronde was the first highlight of the year, the TdV was the last, and was brilliant.

The weather wasn’t the only unpredictable thing, though: right on the eve of the 2021 BCC season, COVID slammed on the brakes. We had another delayed start, but that gave me the freedom to try something new, like cycling to Canmore. But eventually the pandemic abated (for a while) and the weather got hot. We had only 1 or 2 rides cancelled due to rain this year. More were cancelled due to poor air quality. One of the days of the worst air quality in Calgary was the best day of the season, because the air in the mountains was clear for the BCC ride from Banff to Moraine Lake.

2021 marked a first for me: a new kind of riding. After a very long delay, I got my new gravel bike in late July. I managed to join in a handful of gravel rides before the end of the season, and I’m looking forward to more next year. We bid farewell to Ian’s Cube mountain bike: another out the door to Michelle and her family.

August saw us in Victoria, but not for the Tour this year. That wasn’t until October. But I did ride a fondo in August: the Gran Fondo Badlands was also pushed back later than usual. After a complete lack of organized fondos in 2020, it was great to participate in them again.

Tammy and Miranda didn’t re-join the BCC for 2021, but when Miranda got her job at Abbey’s, she got to be a participant of sorts in the last, biggest ice cream ride of the season. Ian also rode his new MTB a lot this year with Josh and Joey, and even did a few rides with me in prep for the TdV.

But even before the TdV, things started to wind down for the year. September saw regular weekend rides, but weekdays came to an end (except for MTB and gravel: make a note to participate more in the shoulder season next year!). One could argue that I pushed the season too far when I had a crash on ice in early December, but I mostly escaped unscathed.

The last milestone of the year was today: I reached 11,000 km total distance and 100,000 meters of total elevation gain. I pushed for the last one from early December, when Brenda (a new member of the club) posted that she’d reached her goal of 200,000 m climbing for the year. I checked my own numbers, saw that I was close-ish to 100,000 (88,000) and decided to climb a lot in Zwift in December. This morning, I crossed the line. Tomorrow’s a day off, and then the year starts all over again.

If You Ride on a Frosty Morning…

You might hit the deck. I did. I’m okay, not hurt beyond a sore elbow and a skinned knuckle. Even the bike is fine. Unfortunately, my Apple Watch did not escape.

But not to dwell too much on that: it was a nice day for a ride. We had about 26 people (!!) out for the ride. It was a mix of gravel bikes and road bikes. I elected to go with the group that wanted a path ride rather than trails. We went up and over Nose Hill and back down along Nose Creek to the zoo.

Even more people showed up after I took this.
Before climbing Nose Hill. I’m just at a the edge of the photo.

It was the underpasses along the Nose Creek path that were my undoing. It was up to about eight degrees, but on the north side of each underpass where the path was shadowed, there was frost. It wasn’t particularly slippery but we took it carefully. Unfortunately the last underpass wasn’t just frost: it was black ice. Colette was ahead of me and I saw her go down. I hit my brakes but I was already on the ice and did a slow-motion fall and slide.

Would rather not have fallen, but I got away pretty okay. Nothing that Advil can’t fix. I was thinking about upgrading my Apple Watch… ⌚️

Updated

Rob, who was on the ride with me, took this picture not long after the crash.

I’m in the blue, being helped. Colette is hidden further along.