Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ride around the lake 115 km

Well we have rode 115km and now we have stopped for the night.
Here is a view from the motel room and the sign by the highway.
Any Dave and i are enjoying a creemore and watching some olympics before dinner.
Tomorrow is a 180km back to North Bay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ontario Cup 2012 - Race #5: Naughton Trails

The fifth race in the O-Cup series (held July 7th, 2012) was the Burnt Helmet's final O-Cup race for this season. As none of us purchased a race license this year we are limited to participate in a maximum of three races in the series. For this last race, the series made its way north and the closest its ever been to North Bay as O-Cup #5 was held at Naughton Trails - a cross-country ski/mountain bike destination near Sudbury.

With such a short drive to the race, Denis and Amy opted to bring Nolan to his first O-Cup race. He's not ready to compete but it seemed to be a race just trying to keep up with him. We departed from North Bay in a caravan of vehicles with each of us in our our own trucks, just simplier with the extra cargo needed for Nolan and Dave opting to bring his two bikes (hard tail and fullie). In addition to the apparent needed space for the proposed haul of purchases the girls were discussing.

Arriving at the course we were directed to park across the highway from the trails. This didn't prove too challenging as there was a Police Officer poised to aide racers and spectators across the highway by bring passing traffic to a standstill. As we approached the new venus on foot (our usual routine has us registering prior to pre-riding the course) all our preconceived notions were wiped away. We'd all had visions of racing a course in Sudbury and of course Sudbury is known for having little in the way of vegetation including trees. This would not entirely be the case... there were trees! I had also been reading rider's recants of their pre-rides and based on those accounts had visions of huge rocky descents... fortunately my imagination had got the better of me.

Once registered and suited up for a pre-ride, Jenn and Julie watched over Nolan as he rapidly explored the surrounding areas in quick succession. Exploring the course we found it quite dry and dusty with the single-track corners being much like talcum powder but nothing overly challenging in the first half. As we came thru the feed/tech zone at the "approximate" half-way point, the last half lap would prove to be challenging but not unridable. Lots and lots of Canadian Shield rock that would prove challenging for riders; translation - high potential for pinch flats and tire gashes. Returning to the parking lot, we found Julie, Jenn and Nolan trying to stay cool in the hot, hot sun. We packed up and headed for the hotel where Denis, Dave and myself would relax and hangout with Nolan while the Ladies took to the lead looking for bargins at the "Big Box Stores".

Nolan enjoyed some hide and seek with Dave. Along with some freedom roaming the halls with myself. When the Ladies returned, shopping bags in tow, we regrouped and headed out to the Keg for an enjoyable steak dinner.

Race Day!

We enjoyed some luxuries for this race, short distance drive and premium beds at the hotel but lacked some customary features such as a microwave for preparing a quick and easy breakfast. So a stop at the nearby Tim Horton's was in order prior to making our way to the race venue. It was shaping up to be a nice day, with a cool breeze to combat some of the heat as the sun moved higher in the sky. Amy and I both had our race starts for 10am. After getting ready I headed out for a warm-up, but not before the In-Laws showed up (along with the trusted sidekick - Rudy) to see me race (their very first time). This race, I was looking for some redemption, the previous two races I failed to finish - the first due to a mechanical and the second I missed the 3rd lap cut-off time. Marginally encouraged by the noticable smaller numbers lined up in the start pens, I was also hoping to avoid having Amy (who's been faster than I on the Mountain Bike this season) pass me before the finish line. Although it has been a tough transition into Master Sport from Beginner I do believe that I'll stay the course for next year and continue in the Master Sport category. As I have enjoyed the longer distances (even as I finish DFL) and challenge the longer courses offer. So, having said that - I am pleased to say that I successfully finished my first O-Cup race in the Master Sport category. Yes, I made the 3rd lap cut-off time plus Amy did not pass me... Looking back, I might have been a little faster but again its been difficult to gauge things upto that point not having finished a complete race of 3 laps (approximately 25+ kms). Amy also did well finishing in 6th place at just a bit more than 5 seconds behind 5th place.

Unfortunately, I missed the start of Dave and Denis' category as I had not yet crossed the finish line before they left. From the reports I'd received it was a fast start but not the blistering pace of O-Cups past. Both Dave and Denis found themselves amongst the pack. Dave said he was feeling good and as the pack sped down the doubletrack start when a gap would open ahead of the rider in front of him - Dave thought to himself "Oh no you don't" and leapfrogged that rider to close the gap. Doing this two or three times Dave found himself in the leading pack heading into the single track with Denis not far behind. Coming into the first pass of the feed/tech zone it was Denis leading Dave. Oh no, what happened?!? Well, unfortunately one of Dave's tires burped in a corner causing it to lose air and the few seconds Dave took to stop and send a couple bursts of CO2 into the tire to re-inflate cost him those places. Denis continued to press onward but Dave was holding that original gap and at the last lap Dave was about 2 minutes behind Denis as they came thru the last pass of the feed/tech zone. Not long after, Denis crossed the finish line and we expected Dave to do the same at anytime. Sadly, our suspense grew to dismay as Dave gallantly sprinted out of the wooded doubletrack towards the finish line with his bike in tow. He had gashed a tire on a rock in the last quarter of the 3rd lap. He was unable to repair it and thus forced to run the last 2 or so kms of the lap. Dave finished in 14th and less than 2 minutes behind 13th! (Dave, you should consider switching with Denis to do the run for next year's Triathlon!) Denis finished in 2nd, recapturing some of his racing form of 2010 - when he finsihed 1st overall in the O-Cup point standings, Denis was also less than 3 minutes behind 1st place held by an old rival from previous seasons.

You can view the full race results for O-Cup #5 by clicking here.

We topped off the day with an impromptu stop at the Riv.

Thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ontario Cup 2012 - Race #3: Hardwood Hills

DISCLAIMER: Yes, this race report is late. O-Cup #3 was June 3.

The third race in the O-Cup series, Hardwood Hills was the Burnt Helmets second race this season. A bit of a slower start for BHR this season, but that was the plan.

We departed on Saturday morning (June 2nd) as per our usual routine - with some carpooling involved. The resulting drive south was uneventful as usual and upon our arrival at Hardwood Hills we headed to the Chalet to register and browse the wares at the onsite Bike shop. After some window shopping we headed back to the vehicles and prepared for the pre-ride. It would be an interesting course, as some of you might know I took a header during the pre-ride which left me shaken but unscathed. Being not just an Ontario Cup race, but a Canada Cup race - the course would be challenging... Hardwood has always been my nemesis dating back to my first ever race in September 2007 (which was also in the Master Sport category).

After the pre-ride we packed up just in time to avoid a lite drizzle of rain and headed to Midland where we would be staying at Grandpa Campbell's House (Dave's Grandfather has always been a gracious host whenever we've been racing in the area). A few of Dave's relatives joined in for what was to be another impressive BBQ feast. Seriously, we just don't take photos of the food - cause you'd simply wanna eat the photos!!

It was an early night, but thats only because some beverages were consumed earlier in the day. I must confess that racing at 10am has been a refreshing change - that extra hour of sleep has been joyful.

Arriving at the course, the weather was overcast. All four of us (Dave, Denis, Amy and Myself) would be starting at 9:30am. This is due to Hardwood being a Canada Cup series stop. This results in the Senior Elites required to ride an UCI approve course length of approx. 6km per lap (instead of the usual 8-9km) but of course they do more laps with totals between 30-36km depending on gender. Anyway, as we all started at 9:30am it was important to have support in the feedzone. Jenn and Julie were instrumental in fulfilling this requirement - with out which we racers wouldn't have succeeded as best that we did. Unfortunately, the rain only held off for so long as a light drizzle began around the start of lap #2.

Everyone persisted, and Denis achieved a top 10 finished (10th place) in the MasterSport 35-39 category with Dave, in the same category, just 4 minutes behind to finish in 13th place. It was a deep field of racers with 32 competitors of which 6 did not finish (DNF). Amy, racing in the Women's MasterSport 30-39 category, finished in 7th place. The women aren't as well represented with a field of racers totaling 9 racers of which just one did not finish. Great job Denis, Dave and Amy!

As for me, well Hardwood continues to be my evil nemesis. Prehaps I was spooked from crashing during the pre-ride or just an overall head game that Hardwood has over me. I did not make the cut-off and finished just two laps, which placed me DFL. So that's two O-Cup races down, leaving just one last O-Cup race this year in which to achieve redemption...

As always, thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!

Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 24 Hours of Summer Finish

2012 24 Hours of Summer Solstice done!!

Here is the final race board and a link to the results.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First night lap done

First night lap done.
Its just past midnight and time for a nap. The team is in 31 out of 97

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fw: 5 laps in

-------- Original message --------
Subject: 5 laps in
From: DB <>

We are 5 laps in and The Burnt Helmets are riding strong.
Here is Scott grabbing some video for the documentary. Derek is getting ready for his lap.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Evening Tents are up

Well its friday after 8pm and our cycle camp is set up.
We have a large site and plenty of flag land. We will be cooking dinner and starting the camp fire soon. Then its off for bed cause its race day tomorrow and it won't stop for 24 hours.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Solstice 2012 - 15 years in the making!

Introducing this years roster for the 2012 Summer Solstice...

Our team this year is comprised of Denis 'Big Daddy' Buchwald, Derek 'Who rides a Mountain Bike' Thompson, Dan 'Outta the Gate Late' Doucette, Amy 'lil Mama' Van Meirlo-Buchwald, Isabelle 'The Iron(WHOA)man' Thompson along with Dave 'The Helmet' Harding and lastly the unforgettable Scott 'I am Okay' MacDonald.

... none of which would be at all possible without our support team comprised of Julie 'Get out there and pedal' MacDonald, Jenn 'Hurry up and eat that' Mendyk and Nicole 'You are Done' Doucet.

The event begins Saturday at noon. Stay tuned for race updates!

Time to Burn some Helmets

Amy waving during the time laps shot taken during the night in 2010
It has been 2 years since the BH's fired it up in a Chico 24 hour race. This years summer solstice looks to have some good weather in store for us. The team is almost unchanged from 2010 so you could 
probably call this a Burnt Helmets Alumni 24 hour race. 
You could also call this a vacation for some of us who haven't been camping in a chain links age.

Its going to be good times again. I like putting the camp together and setting everything up for our conveniences.  I like the camping aspect of it second to the biking.  And then there is the biking.  This year everyone should be in excellent shape and we should be pulling some fast lap times.  The course is reportedly longer this year so it would be hard to compare with other years with shorter distances.  We will find out for our selves on Friday when we pre-ride. Until then its packing, travel, un-packing, base station setup and registration.  There will be twitter up dates and maybe a few posts to follow. Stay tuned.
PS.  BH's don't forget to bring old 24 hour T-shirts. They might come in handy for prizes during the awards ceremony.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ontario Cup 2012 - Race #1: Mansfield

The drive down south to Mansfield was quite enjoyable being such a beautiful day. Upon arriving at the course we did the usual routine of heading to the registration tent to acquire race plates and pre-ride passes. We headed back to the vehicle and quickly readied for the ensuing pre-ride. The starting climb would prove to be a challenge with its gradual slope and slightly steeper kick near the top. However, once mounted the remaining course would prove to be fun with only a couple more challenging climbs presenting themselves.

After the pre-ride, now back at the vehicle we cleaned up and chatted with a couple racers who had parked alongside our vehicle. Once we were packed up, we left the course and headed for the Schneider's house. Family friends of the Van Meirlo's, the Schneider's were kind enough to open there home to four wayward racers. Of course, we Burnt Helmet racers were prepared and presented our lovely hosts with a impressive feast of BBQ Chicken in a creamy gravy that would make you go Buckwild, Peppers loaded with a Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bacon, and Cream Cheese stuffing, in addition to several vegetables dishes that included Carrots, Zucchini and Rose-Marie Potatoes. All of which began with a tasty Greek Salad starter.

Casual banter followed the Pre-Race feast with a re-run of Blood Diamond to cap-off our evening. I should also note that our journey south earlier in the day included a stop a the Muskoka Brewery where we picked up a few bottles of MB's latest seasonal offering - Spring Odditiy in addition to a few bottles of our individual favorites. So our evening did involve the consumption of a few alcoholic beverages!

The morning arrived as usual, or so I thought... I awoke to the sunlight peeping in thru the window blind and thought to myself 'Gawd, it begins!' as I waited for the inevitable alarm to sound. After waiting about 5 minutes and no alarm, I reached over and picked up my blackberry to check the alarm only to find it was 6:30am! Yes, 6:30am... typically this would be the waking hour, however, following some friendly ribbing and genuine pleading I finally decided to take the big step and move from the Beginner category to the age-specific Master Sport category.. yes, particularly the 40-44 age group. So I'm no longer racing along side young adults, but rather guys in my own age group. Now, 'Big Step' you ask.. Well, yes - the Beginner category races 2 laps of approximately 6km/lap for approximately 12km in total. While the Master Sport category does 3 laps of approximately 8km for a total of approximately 24km in total... So yes, a big jump that basically doubles the race distance.

Anyway, as I was saying 'I got an extra hour of sleep'... which was awesome! After a pre-race breakfast, we packed up the gear and said some good-byes to our fab hosts, the Schneider's, and we were on our way back to the race course. On route I felt the usual pre-race jitters which continued while I prepped my bike and during my warm-up. I wasn't so confident in my warm-up, with having raced very little last year I still need to get back into that racing mindset. I rolled into the start pen and being the new guy I didn't really know or recognize anybody. There was a bit of mindless banter amongst the racers during which I tried to pick out a rider to mark. I didn't do such a great job of that either, as I lost my marked rider's wheel as the slope began to gently increase. At the top of the first climb I caught my breath and set into the single track. I could hear the fast riders from the next group closing in on me and it was about then that I noticed my chain had derailed. I jumped off the bike and quickly when to guide the chain back onto the crank only to find the chain had actually broke. Panic set in, as I scrambled to get the bike off the trail and flip it over to assess the situation. I continued to panic as the racers zipped by with some inquiring if I was okay.. as my surroundings became eerily quiet I finally got the chain fixed and was able to jump back in the race. As I continued thru the course I debated with myself whether I should abandon the race having lost so much time attempting to fix the chain, however, as I approached the start/finish line my bike instinctively guided me thru and onto lap #2. I was glad to see Dave waiting for me in the Feed Zone as I grabbed another bottle. Continuing on I mounted the start hill again and on into the single track upon reaching the top. Sadly, not far from where my chain had snapped on the first lap it again let go and without another quick link to repair the chain I was forced to finally abandon the race. Without a chain it was a bit of a hike to the Marshall station where I reported by abandonment and continued onward to find my way back to the Chalet area.

Returning to the vehicle, I found Dave and Denis preparing for their race. I felt bad that my mechanical failure had prehaps left Dave to scramble abit having waited so long in the Feed Zone for me.
I was quickly updated on Amy's status as I began to clean-up and get ready to support Dave and Denis' in their race. Strangely, while I struggled to fix my chain I never saw Amy pass by nor did She see me. I do recall some of the Sport Women category zooming by as I worked to repair the broke link in my chain but none among them as I recall were Amy. Anyway, Amy finished her race just slightly over 1hr 9min to finish in 10th place. Good show Amy, as this is a noteable acheivement in my book having taken upon herself a new role as a Mom!

As the next race's start time approached, I headed towards the starting pens and quickly located Dave and Denis. I gave them the nod and continued walking up alongside the start of the course. Seeing Amy with Camera in hand I congratulated her on her race. We heard the starter yell 'Go' and the ensuing thunder of riders charging forward. Dave and Denis were riding together near the latter half of the pack and they were out of sight just as quickly. Amy took the first feed and handed me the camera.. I headed up the hill towards the fast double track I knew they would be riding down as they neared the end of their 1st lap. Denis was first to emerge from the cluster of trees which hid much of the course from my view. I snapped a few photos (Yes, Amy it was more like ten shots) as he zoomed by. I then turned my attention back to the top of the downhill and waited for Dave. He was about one minute behind and I snapped a few more photos of him as he burned up the course around the corner and out of my sight.

In anticipation of their 2nd lap, I headed over to the start climb and waited at the crest of the first plateau - knowing that I would get plenty of photos as they grinded up the climb on their 2nd lap. Sure enough Denis appeared in the distance and I shouted phrases of encouragement. As he passed by, I could see he was holding a comfortable pace which I would again be able to confirm whilest I took over duties in the feed zone. Dave again, was just back about one minute or so and although sweating heavily looked comfortable and riding at a good pace. Again I had several photo opportunities as Dave ascended the hill. What followed was a quick switch with Amy to allow her an opportunity to snap photos of the guys elsewhere on the course. In the Feed Zone, Denis was first thru on his 3rd and final lap and opted to pass on a bottle exchange. Dave appeared not long after and still looking strong as we fumbled on the bottle exchange - leaving me to think we're all a bit rusty.

I caught up with Amy at the Finish line to witness Denis cross the line in what would be 17th place with a time just over 1hr 23min. Dave was again only a few minutes behind and crossed the line in 24th place with a time just over 1hr 27min. Overall, a fantastic weekend for racing and yes, I will be seeking redemption at our next race - Ontario Cup #3 which will also be third race in the Canada Cup series. This was a longer post then usual so thank you for staying tuned.

As always, thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!

Friday, April 27, 2012

First Season opener OCup in 2 years

Well its time to load up the truck with a massive 4 bike carrier and pick up my burnt helmet peeps.
We are traveling 3.5 hours to Ocup #1 in Mansfield.  There is NO rain in the forecast. There are no excuses. Its time to race for a middle of the pack finish. (Cross the line finish that is)

Lets knock on wood for no DNFs.

See you at the race.

PS. It will be nice to see all the BH'es sporting their jerseys again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April and 25 days until OCup #1

Its April and the time now seems to be passing quickly. "Up har inda Nord" we've had no snow for 2-3 weeks now. Dave has been out on the trails at the ski-hill and reports they are ready for riding with only the typical areas exhibiting their usual wetness. Weather forecast is looking promising so some 'outdoor riding' might very well be instore over the weekend.

Yes, only 25 days until the first Ontario Cup (OCup) race at Mansfield. This is the favored venue for the the first race of the year as the area has a sandy base soil which ensure quick drainage making it very enjoyable to ride early in the season. As you'll note the BH team took much of 2011 season off from racing and the expectation for 2012 is an easy return to racing with three OCups on our schedule. So the training continues and let's get out there and ride!

As always, thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beer, Training and maybe a little Racing!

Its March 2012 and after a collective hiatus from racing in 2011 -[ I would mention that the BH Team did compete in a couple races in the 2011 season, specifically the NB Triathlon and the Ontario Cup Provincial MTB Championships in which everyone finished ]- the BH Team is preparing for the upcoming racing season. I've updated the list of races we'll be attending this year, not as busy of a season as past years but definately one packed with good times and simply 'having fun'.

I hear a lot of people asking, "So if you weren't racing in 2011 - what were you doing?" The answer is -> enjoying the summer and making some beer!

So the focus for 2012 is really on 'Crank the Sheild' with the 'Ride Around the Lake' being the lead-up. Everything else is just "training"! Denis has been keeping fit with his typical off-season activity of playing hockey along with a new activity both he and Amy have gotten into called 'chasing after little Nolan' - something I'm sure will become a fixture in their repetoire of skills. Dave hasn't said much (nor does he usually) about training but I know he is - as the bike found its way onto the trainer positioned in front of the TV in the basement and I've noted fresh sweat stains around the bike on the concrete floor! As for myself, I've been continuing with indoor cycling (Spinning) as well as having added a weekly circut training class. Overall, feeling good and with the recent 'spring-like' change in the weather - itchin' to get riding outside!

As always, thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!