Friday, February 28, 2014

Sad News and a Loss for Calgary and it's athletic community.

On Friday morning I woke up to an email from my friend Kathy Taerum informing me that one of the pillars of Calgary's athletic volunteer community had passed away.  Jim Clampett was embedded in the Calgary athletic community devoting endless volunteer hours at the finish line manning the timer and handling the results at numerous running events including the Calgary Roadrunners Cross Country Events, The Saint Patricks Day 10km and the Ice Breaker.

I talked to Jim last Saturday about Calgary Road Runner political stuff, racing, and so on. One of those conversations that never ends, it just picks up and drops off at every event or function we crossed paths, which seemed like all the time. A conversation I didn't know would have such a sudden end.

Jim timed my event, the Nose Hill Cross Country 4/8km race. I volunteer host this for the Calgary Road Runners each year. The most recent was on Feb. 8th two weeks ago. It was bitterly cold and extremely windy. While I was flagging the course, through the back of my mind I was hoping that all my volunteers would show up for marshaling, manning the community hall, and helping with registration. One volunteer I didn't even have a single second thought about was Jim, who arrived early as always and was there right to the end.

Jim was a tireless advocate for athletics and a person I would always point out to my daughter for his never-ending volunteering and enthusiasm for being able to help out. I will miss Jim and hope I can continue to lead by example the way he did right to the end.

I model Speed Theory Cycling in a lot of ways after the Calgary Road Runners, the club Jim was intricately a valued and long-time board member.

Many in this club will want to know when the memorial service is. The Calgary Road Runners will update their announcement page here as soon as the details are announced.

Jim at the timing station on the left. Weaslehead XC race Feb. 22nd 2014.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

World Championships

Cali Colombia is hosting the Track World Championships right now! You can catch most of the action live on the UCI Channel on Youtube. Here is the link -

The track has a roof over it yet the sides are open so weather will be a factor in most of the events, maybe that disc up front isn't such a great idea!

Also, Richmond Virginia has been selected to host the UCI Road World Championships from September 20 to 27, 2015. Make your plans soon - maybe a week of cycling in between the TT and Road Race which are a week apart. The road circuit has been used many times in bike races and features some nasty cobbles


Monday, February 24, 2014

Team Member Laura Bennion Inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame!

Club, I wanted to publicly congratulate Dr. Laura Bennion for her amazing accomplishments for which she is now being recognized!

Here is the news article outlining her achievements in developing women's University CIS hockey.

Congratulations Laura.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sebring 24 Hour Bike Race Report

Race Start

The Sebring 12/24 hour bike race took place Saturday, start time 6:30 AM. I came down here last year and did the 12 hour event. My overall impression was that I would never try the 24 hour race, it seemed out of reach. The weather in central Florida in February can seem quite nice from the perspective of a Calgary winter, in 2013 it was cool and windy, by 6 PM it started to get really cold. All day the wind was up, around 25 mph. It was good to get off the bike and have a hot shower.

In late 2013 I decided to do the race again and signed up for the 24 hour race. I felt I could always stop anytime and didn’t have to go 24. And we all know the other reason - do it because it is there. There are 2 categories in the 24 hour race, a draft legal race and a RAAM (non draft) qualifier. The RAAM qualifier is hard core, to qualify for RAAM the minimum mileage in 24 hours is 400 and you need to be fully supported, no stopping for lunch! When I arrived in Sebring on Friday evening I looked at the race roster and noticed everyone in my age group had signed for the RAAM qualifier, so all I needed to do was show up on Saturday and I would win my age group!

This year’s race had a lot of elite competitors including Marko Baloh, holder of a few world records for endurance cycling. The forecast was for a sunny and windy day with temps dropping to about 5 degrees C at night, winds up to 20 mph during the day so probably not a day for breaking records. The 24 hour record for draft legal race is held by Chris Ragsdale at 502 miles.

Already riding solo
A few people have asked me why I signed up for the 24 hour race, the easy answer is I’m trying to find my endurance limits, that seems to satisfy their curiosity. And it’s probably a fair answer. Stephen Kenny introduced me to the world of randonneering last year and I did a 200, 300 and 400 km series which seemed to go ok. Two weeks before Sebring I did the 300 km Gila Monster in Arizona so I felt I was in good enough shape to try the 24.  In the motorsport scene, Sebring is known as the most punishing track in the world, if something is going to break, it will break here.

Nothing really broke for me. I was tired, all contact points were sore, my gut was angry, but I seemed to be able to just crank out the miles at a reasonable pace for a long time. I found my limits - I just could not stay warm. The temps dropped by about 1 degree C for every hour after sunset, by midnight it was single digits. Sometime before midnight I stopped riding and took about 45 minutes to get in my car, warm up with some soup and change clothes. I brought what I consider winter riding gear for Calgary and I put on about 4 layers of thermal clothing, more than I would wear on a minus 15 degree commute in Calgary. Yet I still shivered and could not retain heat. Eighteen hours on a bike can do that I guess. Possibly dehydration related?

I didn’t have a clear goal going into the race, as the race progressed I thought I could get to 550 km, I adjusted that goal to 500 km sometime after midnight. My Garmin shut down after 18 hours use and my brain had trouble calculating as well so it all became a bit fuzzy and I really didn’t care in the end. The format for the last 12 hours is to ride around the 3.5 mile Sebring road race track. Everyone’s support crew was located in pit lane so food and bottles were handed off to the guys who didn’t want to stop. For those of us who welcomed a break every now and then, we just zip into the pits and refuel.

On Stephen’s rando rides we stop for a break and some food about every 100 k and that seemed to work well. That became my plan for this ride.

The format for the Sebring 24 is to start the day with 3 laps of the track then go out into the central Florida flatlands for a 100 mile out and back through mostly orange groves and farmland. There are almost no hills and almost always wind. Then there is an 11 mile loop around Sebring which you repeat until close to 5:30 PM when you are directed back into the race track. If you are doing the 12 hour ride you may only get 3 to 5 laps in before 6:30 PM however if you are doing the 24 hour race you could be doing anywhere from 30 to 80 laps depending on your speed.

The usual mix of cyclists and equipment was evident at the start line. Regular bikes, full on time trial bikes with discs, recumbents, old school and very high tech bikes. There was one fully enclosed recumbent style bike, he did close to 500 miles, every time he passed me on the track cruising at about 42 kmh it sounded like a Prius. I wondered what kind of motor it had!

My Roubaix seemed like a sensible choice for the 24. Clip-on aerobars were absolutely necessary, for the aero advantage and to facilitate a riding position where you can rest your hands and arms. One thing that would have been great is Di2. My hands got very sore from changing gears all the time (first world problem). Both GoPro and Garmin need to cater to the ultracycling community and offer longer battery life.

Anyway enough of a preamble and on to the race report.

The girls in pink were too fast
At the start of this race, as with many races, the pace starts off really fast. A few groups of riders try to shake off the wheelsuckers and then the pace settles. I had no hope or interest in being in the lead pack, the second pack was also too fast for me and even a third pack was a little on the fast side for a 24 hour race. So I settled into a no-pack solo race right from the start. I rode with 3 other riders for maybe 25 km, it seemed like a perfect pace until these guys stopped for their support crew and took a break. That was really it for pack racing for me. The 100 mile out and back was uneventful and I rolled back into Sebring in under 6 hours. I felt good even though fighting the wind a fair bit.

My 6 or 7 loops around Sebring town were also uneventful and I was back on the racetrack at 5:30 PM looking forward to 13 hours of riding on the track. I stopped to eat, add a layer and put on some lights. A big shout out to Dallas Morris and his support crew Trev and Brad, those guys also became my support crew and helped me through the night.

 I don’t know how many laps I did and I would also say it was not monotonous at the time, there was always something going on, the front of the race became quite interesting and as they lapped me every so often I had a front row seat. I was also amazed to see the hard core RAAM qualifiers racing, they seemed to never get out of their time trial position and just kept cranking the laps probably 10 kmh faster than me. It was just the cold that got me in the end. I had enough after 23 hours knowing I had gone over 500 k and I didn't have any competition in my age group. I had no idea I was high up in the overall race. I had no reason to ride for another hour.

It was interesting that my heart rate for the first 100 miles was up in the 150 range, I tried to limit it but at the same time not conserve too much. I also tried to limit my power output and not surge much. Then for maybe the last 8 hours, riding solo around the track my heart rate was at 132, no more, no less. My legs could probably not work any harder.

Dallas won the 24 hour solo event logging 464 miles. He spent the last few hours riding with the second placed guy who was one lap down. I’m sure he will have his own race report. I managed 6th overall with 315 miles. Currently not contemplating any long distance events.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Clothing Order ! First round for 2014. CLOSES Feb. 22nd at midnight.

Guys, we have our first round clothing database up and collecting orders!


We are keeping the same overall design as the last few years, so if you still have a couple jerseys in great shape then you don't need to get new ones.

Please realize that the club does not stock 'extra' clothing. When you make the order, the clothing is made for you and shipped to my house. Then a few of us volunteers sort it all and make it available to everyone. So please read the sizing charts carefully and realize you are purchasing a custom made garment for you specifically. We make a 'buy/sell/trade' forum available to club members if they end up with something that doesn't fit and members usually can sell their kit to someone who missed the order or just joined. So please realize you can not simply 'return' these items. This club has nothing to do with the store Speed Theory when it comes to clothing. This clothing is not available at the store, it is only available to CURRENT members of the club!

The clothing order ends on Feb. 22nd to give us some time to get the order together and send it to the company and have it before spring outside riding. We have to close the order this early so people get their stuff. There will be a second clothing order in April, but those clothes won't arrive until June sometime.

Steps to order:
1.) Read above paragraph.
2.) If you not a current member: Register here
3.) If you ARE a current member: Order clothing here!

Note:  I use this opportunity to collect orders for my own company called 'The Doctrine Training'. If you are an STC club member, you require an STC jersey and can order anything else as desired. Most people order STC short/bibs to go with their jersey for example.  The Doctrine kit, and Doctrine Women's kit is available to you, but not required at all to purchase when simply joining the club.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Gila Monster 300km Brevet

I arrived in Arizona on Wednesday hoping the last few weeks of indoor training were going to cut it for the “Monster”.  Paul Anderson, Mike Healy and Trev all arrived on Friday and we convened at the Best Western in Casa Grande.  My friend Jim Smith who would be spending the following week in the desert with me also joined us.  Jim had no plans on doing the event but would start with the group and return when he hit the 50km mark for a 100km day.  I have had the pleasure of riding with Mike on a few brevets last year and although I find him a man of few words one can’t say he isn’t spontaneous.  The Monday before the event Trev announced in one of the training sessions held at his studio that he would be joining me for the 300; flying out Friday and coming back Sunday then put the course profile up for the class.  Mike took one look and said “I’m in.  See you Friday night”.

After a breakfast at Denny’s, (the only place we can get enough food into Trev in a reasonable short period of time), where we received the hotel and the seniors’ discount, oh ya, big money savings when you’re my age, we headed to the start in Coolidge. 

A great turnout of 46 riders on a beautiful day, at least from our perspective. Paul Layton would be the trail boss and we would see him often throughout the ride.  Carlton Van Leuven’s family was providing support at the controls throughout the ride and did an amazing job for the riders. 
Paul and Stephen Cresting Gonzales Pass

The ride starts on a long 50km gentle grind so things strung out fairly quickly. The night before the ride we talked about actually riding with the hard men and women of Arizona on this ride, ok most of the discussion was directed at Trev, we needed him to behave for the first 150km of the ride.  Surprisingly he actually settled in and we had a good pace-line of 15 riders rolling down the road.   Actually, Paul and I needed to dial it back bit, after one pull Steve Atkins muttered something about trying to kill them, in a friendly kind of way.  This didn’t last long as Trev flatted after a pull and asked that it be passed up the line. Paul and I were wheel two and three after Trev and never got the message so after our pulls we realized Trev wasn’t with us and were then told he had a flat.  We turned around and headed back down the road looking for him.  We finally connected with him and then realized we lost track of Mike.  We were fairly confident he was up in the group so the hard work of the chase commenced.  It took us an hour and it might have been longer if there hadn’t been a control at the junction.  Amazing how much distance a group working together can cover.

Paul Cresting the Monster
We were quick at the control as riders were drifting out as the road got a lot steeper heading into Oracle.  It was at the control that we realized that Mike was not with the lead group and must be back down the road.  We elected to press on were not worried about Mike.  Now we were into our kind of climbing and the three of us worked well together moving up the road. 

Tire Change
Great road and scenery with the temperature getting a tad chilly on the decent down from Oracle.  Trev said he could see the goose bumps on my legs two-bike lengths back.   It was then my turn to have a flat and with my poor tire change we were stopped a short time later dealing with another one.   A few riders came by with Steve and Tom slowing up to make sure we were ok.  There were a half dozen of us at the Winkleman control where we were treated to a gourmet feast by the Van Leuven family.  I should have passed on the pickle as we were to hit the Gila monster climb shortly after the control.  We made good time over a few good size rollers then hit the climb.  Trev pulled away as he ended up standing pretty much the whole 12km’s, that’s what happens when
your running an 11-21, I suffered and actually whined a little on the final 14% pitch.  Trev was waiting for us at the top with Paul pulling around me for the final 5-meter push to the summit.  Paul would ride steady and hard all day, some of the best riding I’ve seen him do in some time.  Our jackets came on and we started the descent into superior where we met Paul L at an unofficial stop.  We were able to water and fuel up then pounded towards the out and back turnaround with one course correction along the way.  Roger and Toby arrived at Basha’s store as we were heading out for the final push home.  Trev had a small “all contact point” meltdown in Florence but he re-grouped and we pushed home to finish three minutes before sunset completing the 303km’s in 10 hours and 57 minutes.  We were off the bike for 1 hour including flats and traveled slightly over 30km/hr. while moving.  We were met by Paul L at the finish who had cold drinks and warm pizza for us, a real class act.
Heading to the Finish

Now we worried about Mike.  I neglected to bring a change of clothes, which was rectified at the Walmart.  Paul and Trev were highly influential in choosing my attire.   We tracked Mike down an hour back on the course; he was in great spirits and riding well.  After a beer at the local bar in Florence where my new attire was warmly received we headed to the finish to welcome Mike.

Oh and Jim, he ended up riding 160km, there were no services at the 50km mark, I kind of knew that J

Ready for the night life

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