February 12, 2012 - Some 6 months after the event and Howie is getting around to downloading data from his GPS. Here's the data for Stage 4 which included the Stelvio.
Philip and Howie Poster Boys for the 2012 Trans Alp
November 1, 2011 - Philip and Howie have become the unauthorised faces of the Trans Alp in the current issue of Belgium active lifestyle magazine "Grinta". We're not quite sure how this happened; especially since the photo associated with the article was taken on Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, in May 2011.
Philip talks TransAlp, Howard Airey, Axel Merckx, rockstars and bike lanes.
Saturday July 9 - Sunday July 10: Planes, Trains & Automobiles
After spending a week with our families in the South of France, at separate venues, it was time for Howie and I to make the journey back to Canada. I had a fairly straight forward trip: from St. Raphael to Nice Airport by car and then a flight to Heathrow. Howie took the TGV from Avignon through Paris and onto London; he swears he will never fly again as he loves the TGV experience!
After a night in London we met up at Heathrow to catch the Air Canada flight to Calgary connecting on to Kelowna where our trusted lieutenant Vince would be hopefully waiting to drive us to Penticton for the following day's Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan. The flights were uneventful and connections all worked well, and Vince was waiting for us in Kelowna. Calgary airport was kitted out with cowboys and girls welcoming folks to the Stampede, however as much as we wanted to, we didn’t have time to partake in the festivities.
Arriving in Penticton at around 7:30 pm we met our Wedgewood team mates for dinner at the hotel and shared stories of our European adventure. After dinner it was up to the room to put my bike together, get organized and try to get some rest before the big ride.
Sunday morning, as expected, I was up early at 4.30am. Howie, clock still set on Calgary time, was ready to ride at 5am thinking it was it our 6am scheduled meeting time so he had more chamois time than most. Adjusting our schedules Vince, Howie and I headed out shortly after 5:00 in search of breakfast before the 7am start. Coffee, tea and bagels were enjoyed at a small shop and we then rolled over to the start where we met up with Axel, Eddy, and many of our TransAlps pals -- along with 2500 other keen cyclists.
The ride started calmly as we looped above Penticton and at a steady pace rode out to Summerland for the first climb. As expected, the group split into several different pelotons on the climb. Staying near the front I managed to hang on with the front group as we moved quickly over the route south through Wine Country. We made a quick rest stop at Le Vieux Pin Winery for water and bananas; this was just over the halfway point of the course and our group was getting smaller all the time. Towards the end my legs started to feel the effects of the effort and I rolled in 26th place at 4 hours 18 mins which I felt was respectable for 160km.
I have to say, having not ridden in the Penticton area before, the course was an absolute delight. The route was well laid-out, the event well-planned, and the course absolutely stunning. Axel says the Granfondo will be an annual event and I encourage anyone who didn’t do it this year to sign on for 2012. You won’t be disappointed.
After lunch back at our hotel it was time for Howie, Vince and I to drive home to Vancouver, completing a wonderful two weeks on the road!
Finish of Stage 7 - Arco, Italy
Philip and Howie cross the finish line of the final stage of the 2011 TransAlp.
Sunday July 3 - Rest Day/Week
After last night's celebration of the finish of the TransAlp, we were up at a reasonable time this morning to break our bikes down and pack up the car for a roadtrip to France. Howie, Anita and I were delighted to join Max Bruce, a good friend from Vancouver who also completed the TransAlp, on the drive. Max has been spending a few months with his family in Provence (see Max's blog here), and had rented a car to drive back from Arco to Provence. After a pleasant 6 hour drive, I was dropped off in St Raphael where my family, who had arrived earlier today, were meeting me for a week on the beach.
I'm looking forward to taking it easy on the beach with family -- until next Sunday at the GranFondo Axel Merckx in Penticton!
Saturday July 2 - Stage 7: Kaltern to Arco
Total Distance: 117km Total Metres Climbed: 2239m Weather: Sunny and warm Results
Philip's post: Today was the final stage from Kaltern to Arco and the plan was to meet up at the top of the first climb and ride as a group today..... well most of our group. It was a lovely sunny morning as we climbed out of Kaletern up the Mendelpass. The views were spectacular looking back down on the vineyards and lake.
Today was a nervous day after the crashes of yesterday and again riders did not listen to the organisers words of caution. Two bad crashes, almost identical and within a few kilometers of each other, had riders hit cars head on and as we rolled by, crumpled bikes and smashed window screens were all that was left on the roadside.
We met up as planned at the top of the Mendelpass and rolled together up and down all day on what was a fairly tough stage for the finale. Tired legs were the order of the day but the plan was to get everyone in safely and together. On the top of the final climb we looked out over Lake Garda, regrouped and twisted and turned our way down to Arco. Anita was waiting at the finish to see us in; Howie and I gently rolled across the line with a big high five.
Pictures, medals and finisher's jerseys were waiting for us, and this was followed by a great celebration dinner in Arco. A great week of riding with some great friends....what an experience!
Friday July 1 - Stage 6: Porto di Legno to Kaltern
Total Distance: 140km Total Metres Climbed: 3062m Weather: Sunny and hot Results
Philip's post: Another sunny day greeted us and today the plan was for Team Wedgewood to race. After the parade through town, which the organizers do to show us all off to the locals and tourists, we immediately hit the Passo Tonale. We had staged ourselves right at the front at the start line and I told Howie to stay tight on my wheel which he has been great at doing in the early parts of the stages. We crushed the climb; leading our group up we quickly caught the B group and rolled with them over the top. It was like a Tuesday night hammer of Cypress, full gas, same grade and length and Howie nailed it all the way up, stuck like glue to my wheel.
The first descent of each day usually has me a little nervous and it generally takes one for me to get comfortable -- today was no exception. Riders were tired and you could tell; slumped shoulders, unfocused riding and lots of crashes. There were especially bad crashes on the long twisty descents. Behind us the race was stopped for 30 minutess while a helicopter airlifted an injured rider off the course. I also saw a competitor holding an IV over his team mate who was already on a stretcher and being loading into a waiting ambulance.
After the descent, we rolled through the valley at a great speed with Rumon hammering away at the front. We started with just t a few riders but the pack grew to about 100 on the twisty, fast, fast roads. Howie was again stuck to my wheel as we stayed in the first third of the group. Hitting the second climb I moved away with the aim to test my legs -- all or nothing! The climbs were long and the day was hot; each pedal stroke was starting to take its toll. After the second descent we rolled through orchards that turned into vineyards. Just for fun, the Race Organisers included 2 or 3 climbs, through absolutely stunning villages, that kept everyone aware of their legs right to the end.
I went as hard as I could go today and finished with a time of 5 hours 32mins for the 140km and 3062 metres of climbing.
Thursday June 30 - Stage 5: Livigno to Ponte Di Legno
Total Distance: 107km Total Metres Climbed: 2700m Weather: mixed Results
Howie's post: I'm not going to say anything about the first 70km of today's ride, because it was ALL about the big climb of the day, the famous Mortirolo Pass. Like the Stelvio, it is quite often included in the Giro d'Italia (Italy's version of the Tour de France). It was ridiculously steep....for cyclists reading this who train on the North Shore mountains, this ride is about the same length but is TWICE the elevation gain (1,300m). It took me a bit more than 90 minutes ( for reference, the stronger guys on the team did this climb way faster -- like Thomas Haas and Wilf Leblanc at around 66 minutes....but they have fancy cycling shoes and shave their arms, which is probably the reason).
The grades are ridiculous......it supposedly has an average grade of 12% over the 12km but when you factor In the switchbacks where it flattens slightly, the majority of the climb was really at around 13 to 18%.... but there was ALOT at 19 to 21% and my GPS spiked at 23%. I did most of the hour and a half standing, with some saddle time at the 33 switchbacks or at the the rare pitch that dropped (!) to 8 or 9%. My arms were really killing me by the top because standing on the pedals at those grades is like doing endless reps of curls. The only relief today was that we didn't have temperatures in the high 30's.
The great descent down gentle valley climb up to our beautiful stage 5 town of Ponte de Ligno was interrupted 5km from the finish when I got a flat. I suck at fixing flats quickly so it was not a welcome event. Fortunately, as I was part way through the tube change Toby appeared in the support van and did a pro repair for me.
It was a very memorable ride and there is somehow a sick satisfaction tackling stuff that steep but I don't need to repeat it anytime soon.
Philip's posts (Stage 4 and Stage 5):
Stage 4 A big day, one which we had been talking about throughout the many days of training this past winter. The Stage started with a 30km "neutral" roll out which had many groups split on the rolling terrain, road furniture and other hazards. Howie stayed close to my wheel as we chipped our way through the various packs. I was trying not to go full gas but gauge a comfortable level. Rolling towards Prat which marked the start of the Stelvio climb we found ourselves (along with about 20 other riders) dangling..... obviously time to do some work so I went to the front and gunned it full gas, averaging 38-42km for a several kilometres and re-connected with the main peloton at the base of the Stelvio.
The climb started well as we again worked our way through the group and maintained a steady pace. I bounced ahead and took a few pictures of the spectacular scenery. Just before the top we grabbed our vests and extra clothing from Tobias as afternoon thunderstorms were forecast on the Passo Foscagno and road to Livigno. We stopped at the top, had a quick look around, took a few pictures and then began the long long descent of the Stelvio. As Howie described, going through the avalanche tunnels was like a theme park ride; you really have to pay attention as they are dark, twisty and uneven road surfaces.
The Passo Foscagno & Passo D'Eira two climbs after the Stelvio were tough and the downhill roll into Livigno was most welcome. After the finish, in what has become part of our daily routine we sought out an icy mountain stream to soak our tired legs.
Stage 5 Out of Livigno the first order of the day was go back over the final two climbs of yesterday's Stage. Howie took things a little easier at the start but after the descent of the Passo Foscagno we regrouped and headed of towards the infamous Passo Montirolo; the toughest climb that Lance Armstrong claims to have ever ridden.
We had suited up with rain gear as it had poured in Livigno over night and the threat of rain was ever present at the start line. Tobias had arranged to be at the bottom of the Mortirolo so we could drop our wet weather gear with him, if necessary,and reload our bottles. The climb was extremely steep and lived up its severe reputation. Howie and I split on the climb to ride at our own pace. After cresting the summit we had the winding descent down the other side and then another 12km of 3-5% up to the finish in Porto di Ligno. A small group formed at the base of the climb and we started working well together but quickly split apart as another rider and I pushed the pace to the finish.
With 5km to go Howie got the first flat of our TransAlp; fortunately Tobias rolled by in the van to provide assistance.
Wednesday June 29 - Stage 4 Naturns to Livigno
Total Distance: 118.37km Total Metres Climbed: 3572m Saddle Time: 6hrs, 23min Weather sunny and HOT Results
A short blog update today (c/w video from the Stelvio) as we try to rest and recover for tomorrow's big stage which includes the Mortirolo (1,852m)...
Howie's post: My Mac Air fell off a countertop, screen is shot, maybe hard drive too. Stupid move on my part. Using my I-Phone for this post....
It was an incredible day. Philip did a monster pull to the base of the Stelvio....same tempo as fast Iona paceline but longer and with 1 and 2% stuff as well. Stelvio was everything its advertised as, but better. It was steeper than I thought it would be...everything is steep here! I pretty much stayed with Philip but he probably could have taken it up a notch which would have been hard to match.
Surprisingly, that huge ascent you see in the pictures of the Stelvio (like our video on the home page) represents maybe only 40% of the total climb! It seems endless when you're going up but the scenery is jaw-dropping. The descent down the other side was fantastic and FAST, but included some unnerving, under lit, wet, off camber, poorly paved, narrow, ancient tunnels. It was like being in the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland except this one was real. At the bottom we rolled 7k through a valley and took in our sandwiches while still riding pretty fast with a group. You have to keep eating and drinking a lot or you're in trouble. Today's reading on my bike computer showed 8,300 calories consumed (!)
Next was the climb up to Passo Foscagno. It's 15k, 1,000m and once again steeper than the profiles would suggest. Also, it must have been at least 5,000 degrees....ok, closer to 38/39. I finally had to stop to remove my base layer undershirt as I thought I was going to keel over from the stifling heat. Once I doffed that my speed went up 2km/hr since I could breathe again.
The great thing about the guys that plot these courses for the TransAlp is their sense of humour.....they must sit around thinking "how can we make this stage even more miserable? I know, just when these poor buggers have climbed 3,200 meters, let's toss a cheeky 400m climb in right at the end just for shits 'n giggles". Thanks, guys.
Anyway, I finished in around 6 hours, a few minutes behind my wiley partner. Conclusion?.. Today was the ride of a lifetime and I feel very lucky to have been able to enjoy the suffering as much as I did!
Tuesday June 28 - Stage 3 Ischgl, Austrai to Naturns, Italy
Total Distance: 160km Total Metres Climbed: 2,662m Saddle time: 5hrs, 59min Weather: sunny and HOT Results
Philip's post: After breakfast we rolled the 3km back into the center of town for the start of Stage 3. We were warned before leaving about the very fast 20km downhill start, through avalanche tunnels going from daylight to darkness, uneven road surfaces and at the very end of that stretch of road a 90 degree right hand turn onto an immediate 10% grade. We rolled out and and despite being neutral the cars and motorbikes let us ride -- fast! There were crashes and as soon as we swept onto the climb there were dropped chains and wrong gear selections so it was tricky to navigate through the field. Howie and I were split up on the descent so I rode on up the climb picking my way through towards the front. Once there, I decided to wait and check on him at the first feed zone.
We rolled from the feed zone together and stayed together until the last climb of the day. we entered Switzerland for about 30 secs and then into Italy and by the time we hit the bottom the temperature was reading 41 degrees. Water, water, and more water was the order of the day. Over your head, in your bottles, as much as you could get.
The climb started hard. Howie stopped to get coke from Tobias and I carried on, over the top and a long descent down through the orchards towards Naturns. Fortunately the organizers had added an extra water station at the bottom of the climb as both my bottles were empty again. A quick stop and a long flat and ultra hot ride through the valley towards Naturns. Just for fun there was 2km kicker climb just outside town which split our group so I continued through the apple trees with a couple of guys, ahead of the big pack.
We rolled Into town and the finish and immediately headed for the fountain where some of the group were soaking their very hot feet. Howie rolled in after being isolated in the valley and not finding a good group to ride (see his account for the details).
Tonight we had a big dinner for Tobias' birthday, I had 5 courses and am now, at 10pm, contemplating a pizza. All day I was worried that I was getting hungry and on the edge of bonking so between Hammer bars, bananas, and sandwiches I was constantly eating. Tonight i want to prepare for tomorrow's big Stage 4 ….. the Stelvio and more!
Howie's post: No wi-fi at hotel so a short update using 3G: Brutal day today. Amost 6 hours in the saddle, temperatures of 40 degrees. Steep shit, up to 15%. 7% now feels almost flat.
Look for a double blog tomorrow if we have wi-fi.
Look! We're poaching wi-fi....
Today's stage started with a very fast "neutral" downhill roll-out for the first 20km, which included a number of tunnels. There was a lot of jockeying for position in our part of the field and there was at least one crash (fortunately neither Philip or I). Once this was over the course quickly pitched up in to a short "kicker" that was only 2 or 3km but steep and long enough to thin out the riders. I kept Philip in my sites and we descended down the other side before tackling another short steep climb. This was followed by a great, fast, picturesque descent down to a long shallow 37km climb to the first aid/feed station at the 68km mark. We cycled through the border in to Switzerland for about 50m before turning hard left back into Italy. After this came the first big climb of the day, which took us past the very beautiful Norbetrshohe pass before carrying on up to around 5,000 feet (chump change for elevation around these parts).
Following this climb was another high speed descent down into the valley. I'm a bit of a cautious descender but have gotten more comfortable over the last 3 days and the roads are excellent. I haven't taken these descents faster than maybe 70 km/hr but there are plenty of great descenders (and some "sketch" Euros) that are routinely doing these downhills at 80 to 100km/hr....... They pass me like I'm sitting there picking my nose looking at the view.
At the bottom of the valley was the second aid station where Philip and I tanked up on water and food in preparation for the biggest climb of the day. We had analyzed the elevation profile on our maps and figured it was similar to the Cypress or Seymour climbs we do in Vancouver….wrong. Right after the feed station we met up with Tobias in the support vehicle. Philip decided to keep going but I knew Toby would give me a couple of cokes, pour some water down my back and then give me a short push to get me on my way so I stopped. Its amazing what a great jolt you get from a couple of cokes when you're tired and thirsty. Its also important to point out that the temperature readings we were getting at that point on the road were around 40 degrees. It really felt like I was cycling in a convection oven but with a nice breeze. Of course it cooled on the ascent down to a frigid 38 degrees.
After leaving behind the safety and comfort of Toby and his cokes I started up the climb and got Philip back in my sites. However, this is where it became very obvious that our pre-game analysis of this climb was very amateur. Instead of the 7 to 9% grades typical on Cypress and Seymour, this thing was quickly turning ugly. I watched my GPS start clicking right away up to 10% and then to my chagrin saw the road pitching up ahead and riders starting to struggle. This portion of the climb finally maxed out at 15% and between the heat and the 115km that I had already covered I felt like pulling to the side of the road and curling up in the fetal position....but I didn't....Philip would have frowned upon that kind of nonsense.....he's English. I kept him pretty much in my sites but he disappeared into the abyss over the top of the Vinschgauer Hohenstrasse (I love the names of these mountain passes!....very Euro. They have the Vinschgauer Hohenstrasse, The Hahtennjoch, The Arlbergpass, the Bielerhohe and so on. What do we have?....The Rogers Pass.). I didn't see him again until the finish.
The long descent and flats that followed in to Italy were difficult for me as I couldn't catch a good train of riders to latch on to and ended up doing a lot of soloing or pulling of small groups of riders who didn't want any part of being at the front of the train. Thankfully, with 10 or 15km to go, and just as I was ready to do the fetal position thing again I joined up with a tired but strong German rider (he's now my new best friend) and together we pulled each other through to the 160km finish line.
I finished the day 10 or 15 minutes behind my intrepid partner and clocked in at 5hrs, 59 minutes. I felt completely baked and was finally able to curl up in the fetal position....well not really, but I wanted to.
Today's count: 8 bottles water, 2 Cokes
Monday June 27 - Stage 2 Imst to Ischgl, Austria
Total Distance: 150km Total Metres Climbed: 2,793m Saddle time: 5hrs, 45min Weather: sunny and hot Results
At the start line for Stage 2 in Imst it was a looking like a hot long day in the saddle with 149km and 2793m of climbing which included two Austrian Alpine Mountain passes: the Albergpass and the Bielerhöhe Pass, at 2,071m.
The roll out of Imst was at 9:00 am and the first 20km were advertised as "neutral." However there is not much neutral about these controlled starts, other tha not passing the lead car for each group which goes pretty fast. Groups split, gaps form and crashes happen. A great piece of advice we had before heading over was to start at the back of whichever group you start in, that way you can generally stay out of trouble.
We rolled through the town of Landbeck, and as we were climbing out of Landbeck the light on the Race Director's went from red to green -- the race was on! The first big pass was the Arlbergpass and from Landbeck it was pretty much all uphill to the feed station at the top. Along the lesser slopes leading up to the main climb we jumped up through various groups on the road and were in good shape as we started the serious stuff. A quick stop at the top at the first feed station to refill both empty bottles (after only 55km!!). A long descent into a the valley between the Arlbergpass and the Bielerhöhe Pass where the temperature readings were showing 35 degrees and things on the road started heating up.
Two of the ladies in our group Ginny and Silping who were sitting 4th in the Women's competition after Stage 1 were hoping to move into a podium position, but a rider in front of Silping touched a wheel while reaching for a gel and went down hard taking her down and sending Ginny into a ditch. Scraped and bruised they completed the stage and remain 4th.
Howie and I split up as I moved ahead into a slightly faster group. As we hit the lower slopes of the Bielerhöhe Pass we stopped at the second feed station to fill bottles; that made 6 full bottles gone for the day so far, as well as several bananas, a few nutrition bars and a cheese roll prepared from the morning breakfast buffet. We were burning through things fast but are also determined not to bonk so so have been very focused on general nutrition pre-, during and post-race.
One of the nice things about the TranAlps is seeing all the spectators out cheering in every town and village we pass through, on the climbs pouring water to cool you off. Our on road support Tobias was waiting 3km after the start of the climb of the Bielerhöhe Pass, it was a tough climb to finish off a long hot day. Just like yesterday riders were scattered all over the climb looking for shade, some being given medical attention as the heat didn't let up. Rolling up to Tobias I noticed my bottles were again empty. Each morning we give him two new bottles for the van so it was a quick change and a bottle of water over my head while I waited for Howie. To my delight it was not long before he turned the hairpin below. Rolling up he also needed new bottles and a bottle of water on the head. He needed a couple minutes and gave me the green light to go on ahead; we would meet at the top. The climb from there was gruelling: twisty and hot and just when you thought it was easing it would kick up hard.
At the top I passed the ubiquitous hotel, restaurant and souvenir shop which seem to be at the summit of every Pass (even at 2071m!). I thought that climb would destroy Howie so I thought it better not to stand around too long and started to head down. Twisting down the other side of the Bielerhöhe, the descent was fast and tricky and I passed an ambulance attending to a fallen rider on the first hairpin. We had been warned about cattle roaming on the roads and the warning was well received as they were all over the place on the upper slopes. Euro riders who are used to these kind of descents were flying. luckily I hopped on one of the trains going full gas and managed to roll into Ischgl in good time. Joerg was at the finish line waiting with our finish line bags which today just included a recovery drink as there was no need for a jacket or warm clothes in this weather. I picked up our bags and headed back to the finish line to wait for Howie... and there he was after enjoying a high speed descent. A fantastic ride from Howie today has moved us up a couple of spots in the overall standings.
Our hotel was a couple of kms out of town so we rode there and then back into town for an early pasta dinner in preparation for tomorrow's stage.
Before I begin today's Stage 2 report I need to correct a grievous error in my Stage 1 blog from yesterday....the following is an e-mail quote from Geoff Duyker:
"Even Geoff Duyker got off his bike twice" requires some clarification. The facts are as follows: - fracture ribs 10-days ago in Vancouver - though hardly able to ride bike day of TransAlps departure got on plane - rode Day 1 rib cage bandage - output on last climb required more breathing than body would accept - had to get off bike to literally "catch my breath"
Sorry Geoff, I may do a feature blog tomorrow on you where we can really set the record straight and I'll go in depth about your new wheels, your near-crash and your generally overall "Pro" look...in the meantime I should point out the Geoff and his partner are sitting in 100 spots ahead of us in the overall standings, so enough said there. Follow Geoff's blog here.
Onto today's report. The stage started with a 22km "neutral start", where there is an attempt to control the speed of the riders by breaking the 1,200 riders into 4 groups with pace cars in between each. Attempt is the operative word because its still really fast and fairly sketchy as the Euro riders tend to take a lot more chances than us so one has to be extremely careful. There are also a lot of tunnels which are not all well lit and which are a little stressful at higher speeds.
After the neutral roll-out there was an uphill 25km climb to the base of the first climb of the day. Philip and I rolled with whichever groups of riders met his particular taste (ideally groups that are in the distance and require a lot of work to catch!). The grades were only 1 to 4% but the tempo was really fast. Fast enough that 1 and 2% felt like riding on the flats.
We reached the first big climb of the day, the Arlbergpass, at the 48km mark, where I gestured for Philip to scamper on up ahead if he felt like it. On these big climbs, I've quickly figured out I need to find my own tempo and it's easier if i don't have to watch Philip's turquoise and yellow helmet bobbing up and down 50m ahead of me. The climb was a bit of a beast with grades of 9 to 12% the whole way up. The loop that was running through my head was that this was only the first climb of the day and we were yet to reach the second climb, which happily featured twice as much vertical!
I met up with Philip at the top and took some live-action video of the incredible Austrian alps, which hopefully the intrepid Vince Lee of Tora Design will be able to load on the site shortly. As a side note I can't stress enough the beauty of this area. It is really amazing to be cycling up at this elevation. Both passes we climbed today were at around 2,000m, which is about the height of the peak of Whistler, yet all around are peaks of mountains that must be half or twice as high again. Add in the authentic cows (complete with authentic sounding cowbells) shepherds with their flocks, and people harvesting hay and really the only thing missing is Julie Andrews twirling around singing The Sound of Music.
At the summit of the Arlbergpass, we stopped at the aid/food station and hooked up with our good friend Max Bruce for what was a very long, fast 30km descent through a series of small (again, impossibly authentic) villages down to the base of the valley...which is great if you don't have to then proceed to climb back over the next pass to the same elevation you just left! Its a blast rocketing through these tiny villages on the way down and there are lots of people out cheering and waving...you just have to watch out for livestock and 107 year old farmers on tractors. Once we reached the valley bottom there was another 25km of gradual climbing before the base of the climb up to the Bielerhohe Pass. Again, the tempo was really fast once we hooked on to the right group.
At the 114km mark, we reached the base of the second climb and took on food and water at the aid/food station. The climb up to the Bielerhohe Pass is about 15km, and although not as soul-destroying as yesterday's climb up the Hahntennjoch it was very steep. The only relief is at the switchbacks where you can get a momentary "rest" at 6% before it ramps back up to 9-12%. On top of the steepness, the other factor today was the heat. By the time we reached this climb, the temperature was around 37 degrees. This brings up the topic of hydration. It is amazing the amount of liquids and salt one requires when doing something like this. Today I had at least 6 full 750ml bottles of water mixed with electrolytes, 3 cokes (they are great just at the beginning of a climb!) and 6 or 7 salt pills.....and didn't need to stop and pee once in 5 hours and 45 minutes!
I had sent Philip ahead again so just settled in to a tempo that I felt i could sustain for an hour or so. I didn't want to end up like the numerous riders I saw either at the side of the road or pushing their bikes, or worse. Again, it was a climb through spectacular scenery, ending well above the tree line. Just before the top, I spotted two riders in the distance wearing Astana gear and realized Philip and I had targeted them as a team we had to beat. I realized that Philip must have already passed them, so the gauntlet was passed to Howie to beat them up the climb and hopefully keep them at bay for the descent to Ischgl. Fortunately I was able to crest the pass about 2 meters ahead of them, but it took more than a little effort.
The 20km descent to Ishgl was epic but the fight with Team Astana wasn't over. One of them flew past me and i quickly realized he was a sketchy descender so let him go. However, I caught up to him on some flats before the descent continued and gave him a good spanking!.....we're done with them for now.
All in all, a good Stage 2....5 to go. tomorrow's features even more kms and elevation than today.....yippee!
Sunday June 26 - Stage 1: Sonthofen to Imst
Total Distance: 121 km Total Metres Climbed: 2,447 m Weather: sunny Results
The forecast was for a beautiful day and temperatures were already rising by the 10:00 start of Stage 1. The roll out was neutral for the first 6km which enabled groups to sort themselves out before the first climb of the day, the Oberjoch. The climb started well and Howie maintained a solid position on my wheel as we picked off riders and climbed into a good group by the time we crested the summit. The plan was to sit-in and roll with a group for the next fairly flat 30km. Drinks and food were going fast in the heat and by the time we reached the first feed zone two bottles were empty. After a quick stop for a few half bananas and one energy drink we were on our way again. The terrain was beginning to get rolling with some smaller climbs and twisty descents that began eating away at Howie's reserves. The roll through the last valley left us a little isolated as we approached the left turn to the Hantenjoch, the last long, steep climb of the day. Steep really doesn't do it justice -- it is a beast. Unrelentingly hot, with switchback after switchback as we climbed up to just over 1,000m over 16km.
There was a feed station to refill our bottles on the climb and at this point the steepness seemed to intensify. Several competitors were walking their bikes, some doubled over and vomiting. Our team support Tobias was waiting near the top with our ride bags in case we needed a jacket for the descent, but it was unnecessary on this warm day. The descent was pretty good although some stories of crashes have started to trickle in.
Finish timing was taken outside of the finish town of Imst and groups were escorted into town as the roads were too tricky for racing. A quick recovery drink from the car and then we rolled down to our hotel which conveniently is located next to a mountain stream which proved the perfect ice bath for the legs.
My ride today was steady, and I never really felt under pressure – just looking out for my teammate.
Today was the first stage of the race so my nerves will a little on edge as I've only ever done one race....seems like a bit of a leap to go from one GrandFondo to a 7-stage race in the Alps, but that's how Howie rolls!
The stage started with a neutral roll-out for a few kms and then the hammer went down on The Oberjoch, which is a 7km climb out of Sonthofen. We did it about 25% faster than our practice run the day before....around 21km/hr at 5 and 6%, which is fine for the pros but fast for Howie. I managed to stay just a bit back from Philip so all was good. However, each of these spurts when you're riding a little on the edge take their toll. Next was some nice rolling valley stuff for 25km or so. Incredible scenery with very SERIOUS mountains all around. Having said that, it was no ride in the countryside with baguettes sticking out of panniers. Philip can't stand to be stuck in a group that's too slow so if he spots a fast pack ahead it's like catnip for him. Unfortunately, Howie has to try and hang on to the train or get dropped like a cheap suit.
Next followed a series of cheeky, short climbs that don't look like much on the profile map but certainly are when you hit them. Of course with the steep ascents come some very nice fast technical descents where we got to practice our Euro-descending. We don't have anything like this stuff back home so it takes a little getting used to.
The piece-de-resistance for the day was the much anticipated Hahntennjoch, which is a 16km climb over a 1,900m pass. I have never done a climb anything close to this (for such a sustained time). The grades ranged mostly between 10 and 14% for 1000m, which is no picnic after you've already ridden for 3 hours and close to 100km. For reference, the Cypress climb is 10km at 7 and 8% and only 600m.....what I would now call a baby mountain. Philip was ahead for the entire climb but I kept him within 50m or so. I was shocked at the number of riders that were stopped at the side of the road or actually walking their bikes. We had one guy in our group who threw up at the side of the road and I know he wasn't the only one. Even Geoff Duyker got off his bike twice on this climb. Of course I knew that would be unacceptable to Philip, so I just ground it out. I was deep in the Hurt Locker and there was no key to get out other than get it done. By the time we reached our support vehicle with the smiling face of Tobias I was ready to pop. However, he jammed two glasses of coke down me and we were on our way up the final 300m of the climb. The descent into Imst from the Hahnntenjoch was beautiful but fairly technical with lots of hairpins. Its very long, so my hands and neck get quite tired.
All-in-all a really tough first day, and certainly the toughest ride I've done to date....and there are still 6 stages to do....(yikes!). Philip and I finished in the top third overall for the stage, so I was pretty happy with that. Of course, Philip will be looking for a top 10 finish.....maybe next year!
Saturday June 25 Up early as expected with a fairly full pre-race day ahead. Breakfast is at 8am and then it will be off to the sign in and to collect our race bags. After that we are heading out as a group for a two hour ride to spin the legs....I'm quite glad we stayed up and built the bikes last night.
A solid breakfast at the hotel followed by a walk over to sign-in to pick up our race packages and numbers then we headed out for a two hour spin with some of our group to look at the first 15km of tomorrow's first stage. The stage begins in Sonthofen and heads on a gradually climbing road for 7km and then the climb of the Oberjoch begins. The climb is not that difficult but at 7km long it will provide a selection. Hopefully we can get over the top with a group as the next 25km will be on fairly flat roads. The finale tomorrow will be the climb of the Hahntennjoch 1894m and then a descent to the finish in the town of Imst, Austria.
While descending the Oberjoch Howie pushed ahead while I stopped to take a couple of pictures. Rounding a hairpin he was faced with a line of stopped cars. He locked up his brakes up and fish tailed a little before coming to a safe stop. His TransAlp was nearly over before it had begun.
After the ride a quick lunch, look around town, a few minor bike adjustments and we are settling in. Ready and in high anticipation for tomorrow's 10am start (all others days will start at 9am). We are race number 201 A & B.
Organizing our various bags has been important. One bag of things we don't need is being shuttled with our bike boxes to the finish in Arco. Our other official race bag is transferred from hotel to hotel each day. Our race bag with rain jacket and other weather and nutrition requirements will be on the course with Tobias. Lastly, we'll have bag at the finish with Joerg with our recovery drink, jacket and sandals.
Thursday June 23 / Friday June 24 Departure day from Vancouver. We met at YVR only to find out that our flight had been delayed three hours so after checking in and seeing our bikes off and hoping they would show up in Frankfurt we headed for a spot of lunch. Time passed quickly and after a stop at the Patron Tequila sample stand in duty free we were off to board the Lufthansa flight direct to Frankfurt. We had notified Tobias through Joerg (Magic Places) that we would be landing three hours behind schedule. The flight was uneventful, the way they should be, dinner, movie and some sleep.....think we actually slept for 4-5 hours.
After circling Frankfurt we finally landed and parking away from the terminal we boarded the bus to get us over to collect our bags. We were delighted to see that the bike boxes were actually waiting for us alongside the baggage claim well ahead of our other bags. Tobias met us we loaded the van and we were off in the direction of Sonthofen. Tobias has worked with Joerg for several years on TransAlps supporting their various teams over the years and it proved very useful to pick his brain and get some insight an stories from previous years.
After a couple of big traffic jams, a stop for a sandwich and drink we arrived in Sonthoften about 5 hours after leaving Frankfurt.
The hotel is very Bavarian and on first impressions the area looks beautiful. We unloaded the car, checked in, and walked into the village where several of the other Vancouver contingent were having dinner. Howie and I opted for dinner back at the hotel as Joerg had planned a team meeting in the dinning room for 8pm.
Joerg welcomed everyone with a glass of bubbly, the teams he (Magic Places) are looking after were a mix from Scotland and Canada about 12 teams in total. He ran through the daily routine and what is expected pre-, during and post- ride to make sure we are disciplined, especially with our time management.
Weekend June 18 - 19 This weekend was the Ride To Conquer Cancer; the Wedgewood team has participated in each edition of the RTCC since the inaugural event in 2009 and has raised close to $1 Million for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Keeping in line with the rest of the season this year's event promised to be wet -- and it was. Standing at the start with the rain pouring down it was looking like a long day in the saddle ahead. Our mission was to get to the border as a small group and get across quickly. We did and it was smooth sailing from there down to Mount Vernon. For the third year we were the first group to arrive at camp at Edgewater Park in Mount Vernon. This year however, we were disappointed to find that we would have to wait several hours to get massages. So instead, after a nice warm shower we headed off to the pub. 120km was a good days ride.
That evening, after enjoying a late lunch with members of the Wedgewood team, we (Vince, Howie, Jonathan, John and I) drove up to Glacier to stay the night, with the plan of a climb of Mt. Baker and a ride back to Vancouver the next day.
On Sunday, we again awoke to rain (what surprise). Regardless, after a light breakfast we headed out towards Mt. Baker. We rode the climb as a four man group with Vince in support. We crested the top in a cold rain which prompted John to jump in the car. The three remaining riders descended until Howie called it a day. Jonathan and I rode on to Glacier where we dried off, changed and headed for home in the car. 80km was a little less than we were planning but nonetheless it felt good as our last road ride before our departure for Germany on Thursday.
Friday June 17 My partner is having a tough time. This week Howie had his bike in for a final tune up and a crack was discovered in the top tube. A quick scramble around the local shops and we located a Specialized SWorks SL2 at the Bike Gallery that would do the trick. Between Stephen's efforts in securing the frame and Jeremy at Speed Theory who set it up and fit Howie, we are now ready for the Ride To Conquer Cancer tomorrow morning. The bike was finished at 9pm tonight and after a celebratory Stella Artois with Jeremy we headed across the street to Quattro for Spaghetti Quattro and Negronis.
Tuesday June 14 A small group of us headed up to Cypress on Tuesday evening. Wedgewood team mates Jonathan, Jason and Dave joined me for a quick up and down on a grey overcast evening. Howie opted for a 60 minute home spin as he is still trying to crack his cold. Summer temps are promised next week just as we leave for Europe!
Monday June 13 This is the week to get our bikes serviced by our friends at the Bike Gallery, new tires, new brake pads (we will probably eat through two sets of pads during the TransAlps), new bar tape, a good clean and lube, stock up on our nutritional needs, and start to think about packing.
Sunday June 12 No riding today as we held our annual fundraiser for the BC Cancer Foundation the Westside Cycling Classic which this year also served as the BC Provincial Road Race Championships. Busy day for everyone off the bike.
Saturday June 11 Howie was lying low with a very bad chest cold so I had a sleep in and joined the Wedgewood Club ride over to the North Shore/Cypress/UBC. I felt good on all the climbs, team mate Rosco gave me a good push on Cypress.
Thursday June 10 Overcast skies over the North Shore mountains looked intimidating and with Howie's pending arrival back in Vancouver I decided to ride Cypress. Traditionally, during the summer months we do a midweek Cypress ride and tonight there were four of us doing the ascent, while Vince did repeats to the First Lookout. Wedgewood team mate Dave Roberts and I started the climb in the company of our rivals, Andrew Sweeney and Damon Williams of the PH&N Horny Goats. There is quite a friendly rivalry between the two teams that will be played out on the roads of BC this summer, so tonight it was important for us to send a message and we did: WW 2 - Goats 0.
Tuesday June 7 Howie took the red eye on Sunday night to Boston to catch the Vancouver Canucks' two games in Beantown as they play for the Stanley Cup. I went out to spin the legs around UBC with two of our younger stars Darius (my son) and Chris (Mike D'Arcy's son) and we checked out the course for our upcoming road race, the Westside Cycling Classic. The Wedgewood Cycling Team has organized the Westside Classic for the past 6 years on a variety of courses in Vancouver's Point Grey/UBC area and it again is one of the Team's fundraisers for the BC Cancer Foundation. This year the Race is also the BC Provincial Road Race Championships and goes this Sunday June 12th.
Sunday June 5 We started early to meet up with the Wedgewood Ride To Conquer Cancer Team for a ride out to Whytcliff Park followed by the traditional ascent of Cypress. The team rode at its own pace and we pre-arranged a few meeting and re-grouping places along the way. The group climbed Cypress well and descended for a doppio at Crema in West Vancouver. The Ride To Conquer Cancer goes in two weeks and is a two-day ride from Vancouver to Seattle. Through our participation in rides like this over the last 7 years the Wedgewood Cycling Team has raised over $1M for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Saturday June 4 The promises of a sunny day were kept and for the first time in a while we rolled with summer clothing. The early crew set off at 7am and headed over to the North Shore via Stanley Park, Whytcliff Park, Eagleridge Dr, and Westport. Riders included regulars Chris and Julian and we welcomed John and Ross this week, along with UnitedHealth Care pro Christian Meier.
The plan was to complete two ascents of Cypress. The first was completed at a fast pace, and then back down to the highway to meet the rest of the WW team to complete the double. A quick trip along Spanish Banks to UBC and around the point to Camosun left us perfectly poised for a sunny lunch at the Bean.
Data & Pictures will be posted soon.
Drinking During the TransAlp, and now while we train, we will ride with elete Electrolytes in our bottles. Waiting for us at the finish will be our recovery drink of Hammer Nutrition Recoverite. And of course waiting for us in the bar will be a Negroni night cap!
Nutrition A few years ago I started to pay attention to what was going into my body. Rich foods, heavy meals before bedtime, and a good glass of wine had become a way of life, not to mention the soft drinks and sugary snacks. I was always around the 200lb mark, wasn’t the quickest guy on the hills, and enjoyed Richmond rides more than the North Shore. Then things changed.
I began researching the Acid/Alkaline Diet which told me basically that the food we eat makes our bodies 75% acidic and 25% alkaline when it should be the other way around as acidic bodies are a magnet for disease and health problems. Immediate things to cut out included coffee, chocolate, alcohol, soft drinks and sugary items. This was for a period of 3 weeks cold turkey -- after that things started to creep back in but I am still off coffee and soft drinks. The research lead me to better understand digestion and why you should be vertical for 2-3 hours after dinner so gravity can do its job!
Here is a chart of alkaline foods vs acidic foods. This really helped me and was certainly key in getting me down to my current weight of 175lb and in any kind of shape to contemplate an event like the TransAlps.
Some additional reading that might give you “food for thought” is here. And as for my partner we just call him "all natural Howie."
Monday May 30
This week we are trying to string together a block of four days on the bike, any bike! Howie opted to accompany our sparring partner CC over to Cypress for a late afternoon climb to the top followed by a reverse Westport/Whytcliff for a total of 1650m/95km. I opted for the Monday night Spin Class at Ron Zalko Fitness. The Spin Classes there are lead by Brooke and she has kept us going through some of the long dark winter evenings with an interesting mix of drills that leave us counting the calories burnt, tonight I hit a new high of 807, which I'm not sure how accurate but it certainly felt like a tough hour on the bike.
Weekend, May 28-29
The data below shows Saturday's ride and with another four hours climbing on Sunday we feel fairly satisfied with the weekend block. It was nice to have a few friends out to ride with us along the way, thanks David, Chris and Julio. Nice to also meet up with some of the club for the ride home from Cypress on Saturday, some of the regulars were over in Victoria for the Tour de Victoria GranFondo. We had a brief glimpse of Spring on Sunday morning as we headed to Whytcliff & Cypress, the sun stayed with us for most of the day and thankfully through into the afternoon for the Wedgewood Team BBQ. The tires are getting worn now after all the KMs and the lousy weather; lots of cuts and nicks caused three flats over the course of the weekend, so we will need to restock as we give the final push over the coming four weeks.
Gadgets and Garmins
I’m slightly interested in the data but I do not ride with a bike computer. Howard does and likes it.
For me the ride is the ride, although I have become more interested this year in grade percentages, metres climbed, and distance covered just so I can gauge the comparison to a stage in the TransAlps. I get the data from teammates as I still have no desire to go Garmin.
One of the big battles even in training for an event like this is making sure you are properly nourished both by liquid and food. The schedule I tend to follow is not really governed by any professional advice just years of trying to understand what your body needs and to listen when it speaks.
Here is a rough idea:
The day before a big ride I will eat well, usually at least one pasta or rice dish. Breakfast on the morning of the ride is fairly normal, banana, oatmeal, toast, peanut butter/jam and some tea
During the ride I ride with water with Elete drops which seem so far to combat cramping. I do increase the amount of drops depending on the ride. I will also have a banana or two in my pocket to nibble on.
I have started taking recovery shakes of protein and whey directly after riding, I’m not sure what to expect from that so we shall see.
After any big effort the tendency is to feel hungry for the rest of the day so I try to eat sensibly, lots of protein/carbs, raw almonds, and a good supply of liquids.
Being on a ride like the TransAlps it will be difficult to replace the amount of calories that that are being burnt each day so we will need to be disciplined as it will be critical to eat well and to some extent over eat, even when we do not seem hungry.
Part of the experience is enjoying the joie de vivre of the countries that we will be traveling through and as such our pre transalps training is not only confined to the road. The TransAlps training drink of choice has been nominated and it is the Negroni. Salut!
Limited Edition Commemorative T-Shirt To mark the occasion of the 2011 Schwalbe Tour TranAlp AireyMeyer.com is producing a very limited run of t-shirts for members of the Canadian contingent in the Race. Designed by TORA! Design, the shirt highlights the start and finish villages for each Stage, along with total metres of climbing for the Stage.
As a result of requests we have decided to make these shirts available to everyone for $25 Cdn each. Shirts are 100% heavy weight cotton and available in Black Adult Sizes S-XXL. Production of these shirts will be very limited. If you are interested in ordering please contact TORA! Design directly by June 1.
Flying the Colours
Over the course of the 7 stages of the TransAlp we'll be wearing the two versions of the Wedgewood Cycling Team kit. The two kits are the regular team kit and the Special Edition yellow kit for the Ride to Conquer Cancer team. We will also be wearing the kit of our friend, Axel Merckx's, inagural Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan taking place in Penticton on July 10, 2011. In fact, after the TransAlp celebration dinner in Riva del Garda on the final evening of the TransAlps, Howie and I head off to meet our families for a week of fun in the sun. We'll then meet up again in London to fly directly to Penticton (via Calgary & Kelowna) to take part in Axel's GranFondo.
Recently I had the chance to catch up with my friend David Cohen who this year competed in his first ever mountain bike race, the famous Cape Epic.
Not unlike the TransAlps this is an 8 day adventure that is ridden in teams of two. Even though the events are quite different in terms of riding I discovered that a lot of similarities actually exist; not only the mental toughness and physical ability that is needed to compete, but correct nutrition, recovery, patience and a very good sense of humor. Understanding the daily routine of preparing yourself in the mornings with proper hydration and nutrition, what you might need for the day ahead in terms of food, drink, clothing to the basics of laundry after the ride and trying to consume enough calories to recover and get you set up for the next day is key to being able to finish an event like the TransAlps.
Howie and I have met with many friends who have participated in events such as these and all have provided a valuable insight into what we need to do to prepare, ride and recover. Thank you to everyone…. Thomas, Trevor, Michel, David, Geoff and all the team heading over this year.
Victoria Day Weekend
With the promise of dry weather we were anticipating a good three days of riding. The riding happened, but of course the weather didn’t co operate.
Saturday Howie was away so Philip climbed through the British Properties on the North Shore of Vancouver for an hour before dropping down to meet the Wedgewood Club Ride at the Bean in West Vancouver. The usual route took us along Marine Drive to Whytcliff Park where sparring partner Chris Conklin made us test the legs. From there most of the group headed home, Chris and Andrew joined as we headed over to Cypress. We managed to climb to First Look Out before it started to hail and we descended to work our way home through Stanley Park over to UBC and down to Camosun.
Sunday was dull and wet again and we joined some of our fellow TransAlps teammates from Vancouver to climb the Three Peaks. We quickly found out that these guys are strong and most are returning riders aiming for a top finish at this year’s event.
Monday was a mid morning ride to Whytcliff and over to Cypress via the steep Westport road. A good climb of Cypress finished off with a stop at Crema in West Vancouver.
Tuesday Philip was up early to ride a early spin class at Ron Zalko Fitness for an hour.
The past few weekends have seen generally unseasonable weather in Vancouver especially in the mountains. Wet, foggy and cold weather have made training hard and without the vehicle support of Vince it would have been difficult to get the miles in.
We have managed to ride back-to-back days on the weekends (with the exception of Mother's Day). Saturday's we now ride what used to be a summer highlight but is now the new normal - The Trois Cols. Our route out to Deep Cove takes us over Lions Gate Bridge over to Dollarton Highway and onto Mount Seymour Parkway to our first climb of the day, Mt Seymour. Once Seymour has been conquered we head down Mt Seymour Parkway to Lilloet Road, this takes us to the base of the Seymour Demonstration Forest where we cross over to Lynn Valley Road via the gravel path. From here we work our way over to Capiliano Road via the tough Dempsey Road climb. We usually climb up Capilano Road to the upper parking lot of the Grouse Mountain cable car and then back down to the Cleveland Dam where we cross over on another gravel trail to the British Properties and finally onto Cypress Mountain. The route is about 135km with about 2800m of climbing.
Sunday we have been heading out to Whytcliff Park and then doubling back on Marine Drive to grind up Westport Road towards Cypress. Depending on the day we either ride to the top of Cypress or we ride to each lookout starting with 3rd switchback, descend, back up to 2nd lookout, descend and finally 1st lookout and the home. We call this ride the 3-2-1.
Easter Weekend - Vancouver-Whistler-Vancouver
Our Easter ride to Whistler started well on a sunny Good Friday afternoon, Howard, sparring partner Chris and Philip figured everyone who was going would be up there and the roads would be fairly quiet. We were wrong, the roads were busy and the shoulder was messy with debris and by the time we reached Squamish we were out of CO2, tubes and in desperate need of a new tyre. Fortunately Corsa Cycles was open and we restocked. Vince & Darius provided support in the vehicle while also getting in a ride in Squamish, a flat 40km on Squamish Valley Road (Darius' longest ride!)
Arriving in Whistler after a 4-hour ride time we stopped at the brew pub before heading over to Howard's cabin in Alpine Meadows. After a fine dinner at Quattro, we were ready for the return ride the following day.
After breakfast in Alpine Meadows on a frosty morning, we started off on the road back to Vancouver via a 10km detour up the Callaghan Valley Road to the Whistler Olympic Park, site of the Olympic nordic events. Back on the road south we encountered busy and equally messy roads as the previous day. By the time we meet up with Vince at the Tantalus Lookout it was time for summer wear (finally!) Lunch was served at the Lions Bay Cafe on a picture perfect afternoon looking out over Howe Sound.
A cheeky ascent to the top of Cypress finished the day off nicely
Team & Events
One of the big thing the Wedgewood Cycling Team does is raise money in an effort to find the cure for cancer. We enter a team every year in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and organize the annual Westside Cycling Classic in Vancouver. Through our great sponsors of both the Wedgewood Cycling Team and The Wedgewood RTCC Team to date the team has raised $1 million for cancer research and programs in BC.
The 2011 Winter weather was not co operating and we knew a trip to a warmer climate and more challenging roads needed to be arranged. Wedgewood team mate Andrew Sweeney had organized a trip to Southern California and the canyons above Malibu for March, so we immediately signed up.
We stayed in Agoura Hills, California at the Homewood Suites by Hilton situated in a great location. The hotel is all suites so we all had kitchens and with a Trader Joe's Organic Grocery Store next door to the hotel and hot breakfast included, it made for a great set up.
Most of our training trips involve good nutrition, that is after the ride. Philip was tasked with sourcing restaurants in the areas we visit with our entourage, once there we leave the wine list in his capable hands. Nutrition in Malibu included visits to the following restaurants:
We also found this really neat sandwich shop, John's Garden in Malibu which provided need sustanance before the first ascent of Latigo Canyon Road.
Riding through the winter season with on friends and teammates on the Wedgewood Cycling Team was great, it was a cold & wet winter so knowing we had a group to train with was the motivation we needed to get out the door each Saturday.
We considered the winter rides as a way to try and maintain any fitness we had but riding once a week in Richmond was not going to cut it. Midweek and during snowy days we tried to find various indoor spin classes where ever we could make them fit into our schedules.