The 19 minute 9 second Race

A Time Trial is a bicycle race of 10 or 20Km where you pedal as fast as possible. Instead, I chose to gradually improve fitness this year and just ease into training.

There was no one in my age category to race with. I could easily win by default for just signing up and then racing the final competition in August.

That night I went to bed wearing gold and silver medals won during my last race 2 years ago where I rode against the clock without a speedometer. That race was a race to manage one’s speed and arrive back at a predicted time. The medals I wore to bed were comforting. This race would be my first Time Trial riding at maximum speed with a speedometer.

The race was only a few days away. There was no time to train and make any fitness gains. I decided to rest up a lot instead, forcing myself to remain in bed and rest even though this was difficult. I didn’t feel like resting after all the extra sleep I had lately.

The rain stayed away but it was very wind. The route was over rolling hills.

As the group left the arena and cycled leisurely to the start line a few kilometres away, I noticed that no one was doing a warm up.

I dropped down into my lowest gear and started pedalling fast to warm up. We climbed a hill and I eased into a higher gear and pedalled easily to the start line.

The 20Km cyclists lined up ahead of me. I was the first 10Km rider. Every 30 seconds the front cyclist in the line would race off. Finally it came my turn. The jitters faded away and I was given the signal to race.

Within a half km I was into my deep breathing routine and pedalling at an effort I felt I could sustain. Within about 1 km I sped by the first cyclist like he was standing still.

A short time later, passed another. Then even more slowly passed a 3rd racer. At the 10Km turn around I was only a short distance from passing a 4th cyclist. I had gained almost 2 minutes on the racers ahead of me.

The return trip had me passing another 10 racers. People were cheering me on, apparently quite pleased with my speed.

The last few kilometres up hill into the wind was tough. The pace I sustained seemed easy at first but as the hill and wind worked against me, the effort increased. I was struggling to maintain my best effort.

I passed the finish line marker and pedalled slowly back to the arena where I discovered that I was the first one back. This felt very unusual.

My speed was 31.6kph average. Tom said I rode a very smart and good race.

The time keeper said that having ridden a heavy bike and having turned in such a low time meant I had cycling skills. I was surprised by her comment. I have been told before I had talent but was never quite sure what to do with it.

I was surprised too that I had turned in such a low time. Gold medal. 1st place.

I had raced myself and turned in my best time ever. Sometimes all that keeps us from success is getting out of our own way, put aside the nervousness and doubts, and just do your best.


Dangerous lack of snow clearing by Calgary Roads Dept

Airport Trail pathway has already been plowed this morning yet 96 Ave NE pathway past the Blue Ring is still knee to waist deep in snow.

I’ve been told that Calgary Roads Dept clears 96 Ave. The plow trucks also blast snow off the road and onto the freshly plowed pathway (even after the pathway is infrequently plowed).

Parks frequently clears Airport Trail (its a developing park area in progress so I’m told).

The City of Calgary has mandated dangerous conditions for people crossing the two 96 ave bridges in the winter time through a lack of plowing of the pedestrian overpasses in a reasonable time after snowfalls.

96 Ave is a divided 6 lane 60kph road which often has speeders going 100kph on it. The wide median is knee deep in snow which makes it impossible to get onto the eastbound lanes when cycling.

The pathway to the pedestrian crossing is buried in even deeper mounds of snow from road plows which prevents using the pedestrian crossing at all.

The only option is for pedestrians and cyclists to risk their lives getting across the bridge by cycling and walking in traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

The City of Calgary had no problem wasting $471,000 on the ugly Blue Ring but hasn’t provided sufficient finding or effort to plow the pedestrian overpasses or to allow snow angels to plow them.

The abandoned pedestrian overpasses and pathway is impossible to use unless plowed.

The city planned and installed a steep switchback pathway into Harvest Hills. This also is infrequently plowed, causing black ice to build up underneath the snow. When snow angels keep the pathway cleared of snow and ice, the usual response is that this is more dangerous than letting it ice up. There are a lot of dog walkers and handicap people who use the switchback daily.

The city doesn’t want snow angels to clear the pathway overpasses either. In effect, the City of Calgary has made laws to ensure that lives are put at risk. So when people are injured crossing in traffic because the city won’t permit any safe option, they should be on the hook for all liability and injury claims caused by mismanagement and the elimination of using a reasonable amount of common sense.


The Worst February 8th Snow Storm In 130 Years

Calgary had a massive 24-40 centimetres of snow that fell on Feb 7&8th. People in my neighbourhood were parking in the middle of the streets to avoid getting stuck in driveways. 73 snow removal vehicles were dispatched to clear major routes. Cyclists and pedestrians had to fend for themselves. Drivers had to fend off 575 collisions only a week prior. Even clearing a small driveway required 3 or 4 clearing attempts with a snowblower.

The icy roads that are a nightmare for drivers are a blessing to fatbikers which have much better traction on packed snow that is quickly turning into ice. Wednesday morning as the snow started falling and drivers were still cursing the icy roads from the week before, I was stuck behind a car spinning tires like a buzz saw from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I could barely even accelerate on the fatbike because of the slow progress of the car in front of me. I could have blasted past the car like impatient drivers frequently do to cyclists (when the cyclist is faster) except that I’m not that crazy. I would have however, shot through the intersection before the car was even half way through the turn. For now, I’ll have to be happy cycling head on into traffic on a divided 6 lane iceway (because of having no other option) until the pathway gets plowed by the city.

Quite the impressive drift on the pathway. Although I could clear the pathway in less than an hour, city politics continue to demand the right to endanger anyone who would otherwise remove the snow or use a plowed pedestrian overpass. Of course, by now, the cyclists who would otherwise have biked from the suburbs into downtown for the Winter Bike To Work Day on February 9 wake up to discover that there is actually no way to do that even with a fatbike or a Ktrak.