come out and say it...

now, usually i find these types of post somewhat self-aggrandizing. to me they most often have a tone of conceit, filled with statement of 'i did this' and 'i accomplished that.' that is not the intention of this post, this is a public statement of intention and accountability. if i put it out there that i have some goals it becomes public and maybe someone will ask me 'how's it going?' that, or the fear that someone will ask me that, are the types of motivation that seem to work best for me. i find public statements of intention motivating, you know the 'walk the walk' type of thing.

last year was a good year for racing. i placed well in several races and was generally happy with my performance. this was somewhat surprising seeing as i did not really train that much, definitely without much consistency. i am hoping to be better prepared for this season and will be spending more time getting ready for the upcoming season.

so here it goes, my fitness goals for the upcoming season:
  1. better overall conditioning prior to the start of the race season
  2. better core strength
  3. a race weight of 185 by mid-season (starting at 195)
sometime later i will post what i am doing to meet these goals.


bikes in the news

normally i would post these on the fgbc blog but i thought i would let the jersey info sit at the top for a bit

good story about how important bikes are to Namibia

a piece on cyclocross in the nytimes - similar to what we have been doing with the mucr cross labs


hooray for mrs. dr.

it's mrs dr.'s birthday today.

no gifts being exchanged today, but a much larger project is in the works - a new ride for the good mrs. dr. what's in the works is another custom frame project form mr. truelove that will lead to a lifer (in my vocabulary a lifer are those special bikes that should last a lifetime - currently i own two lifers) for mrs. dr. planning is currently in the beginnig stages, we're looking at something that will be versitaile, very comfortable, and something that she can use for light to medium touring. current bikes that are being used as models are the A.N.T. light roadster and the Heron Randonneur.

the ANT light roadster

the Heron Randonneur

now some of you will undoubtedly accuse me of being selfish with regards to this project. 'all he's doing,' you'd say, 'is satisfying his need to build yet another bike;' and you would be right. hey, i have an addiction and i am the first to admit it and like any junkie i need my fix.


to be continued

managed to get some more of the siding up on saturday with the help of gianni and tinker tim. maybe my christmas present this year will be the completion of this phase of the project.


housing crisis

okay, the price i must pay for all of my play (bike racing) this fall is that i, well myself and the unfortunate souls that i convince to help me on this project, are now forced into uncomfortable environments while working on the house. last monday was warm so we got out the halogen work lights and took advantage of the comfortable temps.

cutting the hardie board

fastening the board to the north side

saturday was the day to tackle the insulation of the attic. we contemplated cutting an access in the gable end and loading the insulation into the attic that way, but nixed that idea when we saw there was shiplap underneath the plywood siding. so we had to go through the access which is located in our hall closet, this went much more smoothly than anticipated. in 4 hours we had the attic insulated.

insulation waiting to be shoved up into the attic

aiden putting isulation down

the white stuff you see is styrofoam pellets which is what the previous owner used to insulate the attic. the energy audit showed that we should increase the amount isnsulation so rather than trying to remove the existing insulation we used a rake to smooth out the styrofoam and move it into the corners, we then laid batts of insulation on top of this. this should significantly improve the heat retention of the house in winter and keep the heat out in summer.


supercross and provincials

two races in one weekend with a pizza party throw in the middle meant for a rough monday. the races went surprisingly well for me.

in the provincials race i managed to hang with the lead group until olli decided to up the pace. this spit me out the back fairly quickly which put in no-man's-land for a few laps. i managed to bridge up to dylan and brian and dylan and i took turns at the lead until the sprint for the line. second in the 40+ and 5th overall.

as per tradition, saturday night was the annual pizza party for those who volunteered, or committed to volunteer and help with the course clean up, setup and take down.

supercross was again a spectacle to behold. the course was built for the bike handler and included, again, the fan favorite mud bog to beat all mud bogs. i was skeptical about doing well in this race having spent everything in saturday's race, but things turned out well. i big part of that was due to the fact that somehow i managed to avoid crashing on this very technical course. guys that were riding really well and always give me a run for my money (luc, allan, tom, and daniel) all went down at one point or another, some more than once. this allowed me stay ahead and get 4th overall which was a huge surprise.


bike is done

after what seemed forever the cross bike is finally complete. yeah. somehow wires got crossed and the rear spacing came in at 135 mm instead of 130 mm, but the beauty of steel is that additional 2.5 mm on each side can just be squeezed in to accommodate the difference.

the colour of the frame worked out great

yes, that is the longest head tube in manitoba. so long that none of the shops headset presses would work, the top cup had to be persuaded into place with the only tool left in the shop that would work

the final weight 18lbs 11oz fully dressed



little pink houses - weekend turkey update

while i did not get the opportunity to participate in the turkey cross put on by gary and company, i managed to keep myself busy enough with other projects.

most of the weekend, when it was not raining was spent working on the house. we (my dad and tinker tim) managed to get the house basically insulated. some work still needs to be done to finish the insulation, but once this is done we should be able to start to put up the siding

this was also the first weekend of bread baking. as is usual, with the first firing of the oven was the traditional pizza bake

firing the oven

pizza fixings being prepared

pizza in the oven

even the spider was anxious for the pizza to be done

next morning, getting the bread ready

bread about to go in the oven

loading bread

bread in the oven

finished bread

sliced and ready to eat

managed to do some work on the bike. sunday afternoon i went to tom's place and we spent the next hour gluing the tires for the rims. hopefully the wheels will be built up shortly and, if the gods are willing, the bike will be ready in time for southern cross

gluing tires

tires ready - all i we need are the spokes and at least the wheels will be ready


so you want to build a bike?

observations on building a bike from scratch...

building a custom made bike is an exercise in joy and frustration; joy in the construction of a well-made and beautiful bike and frustration in the amount of time it takes for the project to unfold - and there will be frustration. it should not be surprising how long it takes to build a bike, but it always seems to take longer than you expect and want; how long it takes depends on what you want.

the first step is deciding that you want to have a custom made bike and are you willing to commit to the time and money it takes to build such a bike. once you make this decision you need to think about what you want: how do you want it handle, what do you want to use it for, and how do you want it to look and many other options. of course the question you then need to ask is 'do i know enough about bikes to ask for something that will give me what i think i want?'. if you do know enough you are good to proceed, if not, you need to talk to those that do. once you have decided on the bike you want you need to find someone who can do this work for you; of course who you pick will determine both price and time it takes to get a frame, any where from $1100- $5000+, and anywhere from several months to well over a year or more. funny thing is this is the easy part. the planning takes time, but you don't notice this as this is fun because you know you are building something special; it's when you've placed your order and you find out how long it takes to fill that order that the frustration can kick in.

of course there is more to a bike than just a frame, you need all the other parts that make a bike a bike. collecting these parts is both expensive and time consuming. if you are building up a bike, and depending on what you want and where you live, it can be relatively quick or can take some time. sometimes your local bike shop has the stock and other times it needs to order in the parts and hopefully, hopefully, what you want is available and does not need to be back ordered.

here are some facts and observations about my latest project:

1) time:
  • decided shortly after i got my custom 29er that i would get a custom made cross bike - the 29er is the best bike i've ridden and wanted the same thing for a cross bike.
  • talked to mike truelove about this project in june and placed a down payment then. mike was able to start building this in september and finished it shipped it by the end of the month.
  • currently the bike is sitting in winkler waiting to be powdercoated - initially i wanted mike to have the frame painted in squamish but when this was not possible i had the frame shipped to winkler where i had my last frame coated. i picked a colour that was not in stock (a 100% upcharge from their in-stock colours) and they are waiting for the powder to arrive - the bike has been there for 8 days, arrrgggghhh.
  • parts have taken some time to collect because most of them had to be special ordered, this took about 3 weeks because the supplier had to order some parts themselves.
  • forgot to order spokes (assumed the bike shop would have spokes in stock) and this has delayed the building of the wheels even more
  • when i started this project i hoped to have the bike for the beginning of the cross season - now i hope to have it for the last half of the season.
2) cost:

here is what i orderd:
  • Frame - Truelove
  • Paint
  • Headset - Chris King
  • Stem - Thomson Elite
  • Seat Post - Thomson Elite
  • Seat - ?
  • Fork - Redline Carbon Cross Fork
  • Brakes - Paul Touring and Retro Canti
  • Brake Levers - Cane Creek
  • Handle Bar - Bontrager Cross
  • Cranks - SRAM
  • Pedals - Crank Brothers Candy SL
  • Chain ?
  • Hub - Chris King Cross (rear)
  • Hub - Chris King Cross (front)
  • Rims - Mavic Reflex
  • Spokes - Revolution
  • Tyres - Tufo Tubular
  • list price cost of the above, $3720 (before taxes and with still more bits to come). now, i did not pay this price. what i paid is between me and my bike shop. will you get the same price as i do? maybe, maybe not. it depends on what you do: do you race under their name, do you help put on their races, do you refer customers, do you buy with them even though it may be slightly higher than buying online (the will try and get as close to that price as they can). maybe i could have received even a better price if i would have gone strictly online but by buying from a LBS i get great service, easier warranty work, stuff to try before i buy, great advice, etc. in essence, it helps tremdendously to develop a relationship with your bike shop.
just thought i would share some insight on the bike building process for me.



it is starting to come around, bits are coming in and the new cross ride should hopefully be ready by southern cross. the frame is in winkler waiting to be coated; it'll be a green brown colour (RAL 8000), hopefully similar to the colour of the '07 speedvagen. the rims are in the city and are probably being deliverd to my empty house as i write this (if only i could train my cats to answer the door and accept the delivery - damn them and their inability to complete simple tasks). but at least this stuff is in...


cool people doing cool things

this is a story about a guy doing urban farming that gets rewarded for his efforts.


weekend update

busy but excellent weekend. started off by working on the house. almost all the studs are up and new front door and all the windows are in; next step the insulation and then the siding.

after working on the house mrs. dr. and i went out for dinner, but this was more than just going to a resturant, we borded a bus and headed out to an organic farm for a dinner put on by organza and the dandelion resturant.

mrs. dr and alberto on the bus

the farm

appetizers served on a board

the table

sunday was race day (see the mucr blog for details). the race was perhaps one of the toughest that i've had. after the preliminary sorting out of positions i found myself in about 7th place, behind olli, dave d, adrian, brian s, tom and don s. things became more interesting when tom went down because his pedal came out of his crank (seems like standing up on the pedals and cranking hard and then having you pedal come out equals catastrophe). dave d flatted and suddenly i found myself in fifth, the only problem was i was all by myself. the reason that was a problem was there was a train of death behind me working to catch me - which they were doing rather effectively.

the train

dj broke from the train and soon passed me. for once i managed to jump on his wheel as he passed me worked hard to hang on (luc and allan were still on our tails and not giving up). dj tried a couple of times to drop me, but i managed to stay with him, catching up every time. heading into the last lap i decided to see if i could pull ahead of dj and drop him with a short sprint - didn't work; dj stayed on my wheel.

dj and i going over the hill

because dj was drafting i decided to slow the pace a little not wanting to do all the work and have dj pass me on the final sprint - i had to have something in my tank. at the same time i had to keep an eye on allan who was behind us, i did not want to bring him into the picture as well. coming around the last corners and heading into the last 150m straight away i was planning on when to start my sprint when i heard dj shifting behind me. knowing that it would take him at least 1 if not 2 pedal strokes to get into gear i immediately jumped on my pedals and started my sprint and some how i managed to hold him off long enough to beat him by a wheel - my god, that was hard.

thanks to jonny g for taking my camera and capturing these pictures.


on a happier note

okay, maybe the last post contained too much detail, but hey racing can be ugly at times.

looks like the cross frame is done, now we need to find the powdercoat guy in squamish. i asked mike to have the frame coated out there but his guy has not been getting back to him. may just have it done here again - any ways, it should be here soon. yeah!


as the stomach turns

was wondering when it would happen: 24 hours of 9 mile, any one of the manitoba races, test of metal, buffalo pound.... every once in a while my gut decides to, well, kick me in the gut and make a day of racing less than pleasant; yesterday was one of those days.

the day started well and it was good turn out. temps were cool at the beginning of the race, but warmed up quickly. the course was a nice layout for an 8 hour event, a nice mix of challenging up hills (not too crazy), rolling flats, speedy downhills and one or two technical sections. for the single speeder there were three hike-a-bikes for the first couple of laps (or more if you have the leg stamina) which morphed into additional hike-a-bikes as the day wore on. the first few laps went really well, but this turned quickly. in these events your first two laps are fine, however i find laps 3 and 4 are usually quite difficult. laps 3 and 4 are not so much a huge physical challenge, more of a mental challenge because you realize that you are going to be doing this for the next 6 hours and it is going to be a phyical and mental grind. the reason it is such a mental grind is that you know what to expect on every lap and there are sections you qucikly begin to despise because they are phyisically tough and you know that your are going to do those sections over and over again. once you except the challenge you can get on with your ride, settling into your rythym - that is if your stomach decides to behave. upset stomaches and bowels are a challenge present in every endurance event, and yesterday i lost the challenge mid way through lap 6. what did it cost me? 1 velo artisan bread singlespeed cyclocross cycling cap (something needs to sacrificed when one does not carry TP (if you are riding at birch and you come across a vab ssc hat it would be best to leave it be). that was it, my day was done, having suffered these bouts before there was no need to try and continue on which was too bad because i had 6 laps in 4.5 hours, although the last lap was about 15 minutes slower than it should have been. c'est la vie.


the festival of belgian sports took place on saturday and mrs. dr. partook in her first 'cross event, no, her very first sporting event where she was not forced or obligated to particpate because of school. not only did she race cross, she bowled and competed in pole archery where she took down one of the birds.

here are just a few pictures of her cross participation.