Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Me And Lance Ride A Trek

This is Lance Armstrong's Trek Top Fuel 9.8 that he raced in "12 Hours of Snowmass" this past September.

This is my new ride. Same frame as Lance! Good enough for The Boss, good enough for me.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!! New Bike Day has finally arrived. I'm really excited, but alas!! It's February and I haven't even had my leg over it yet. You can see it hanging in the shop window at Sweet Pete's, the best bike shop in the universe. Can't thank these guys enough! I'll be blogging about this beauty again once I make the changes I want and have something to say about how it rides. But for now, she's a brand-spanking-new, sparkling example of mountain-bike perfection and I'm so friggin stoked.

In a lot of ways, this bike is a first for me.

- First full carbon frame I've ever had. Until now, I never really thought I was worthy. But ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived!

- First time I've ever had lock-out available on the handlebars!! How trick is that? It'll be great for training rides but I have never made use of lockout in a race before. In my experience, I get to the bottom of a hill and reach down for the off-switch and motor up. By the time I get to the top, I'm in complete oxygen debt, my vision is spotty at best and I don't realize I've forgotten to release the suspension until I'm halfway over the bars. BUT!! with the lockout switch on the handlebar instead of the crown, maybe I'm a changed woman!

- First time I've tried a "woman specific design" although I've been over the geometry charts and I can't see any difference besides my bike is rockin a pretty sweet paint job that a dude probably wouldn't appreciate

- First time using a RockShox Sid ... or any Rockshox since my first Judy, back in the day

- First time I've opted for Shimano SPDs. They were a little cheaper, a little lighter and they match the full XT Drivetrain on ...

- my first Trek!

Here are the full specs:

Size: 17.5
Frame: OCLV Red Carbon w/ABP Race, Full Floater, magnesium EVO Link, oversized bearings, 100mm rear wheel travel

Front Suspension
RockShox SID Race w/remote Pop Loc lever, dual air, Motion Control, rebound, alloy steerer, 100mm

Rear Suspension
Fox Float RP23, custom "race tuned" w/3-position Pro Pedal, rebound; 6.5x1.5"

Wheels: Bontrager Race X Lite Disc wheel system, centerlock, tubeless ready
Tires: Bontrager Jones XR w/Kevlar bead, 26x2.25/2.2"; 127 tpi

Shifters: Shimano Deore XT
Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT, high mount
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT "Shadow"
Crank: Shimano Deore XT 44/32/22
Cassette: SRAM PG970 11-32, 9 speed
Pedals: Shimano Deore XT

Saddle: Bontrager Race Lite FIT w/hollow stainless steel rails
Seat Post: Bontrager XXX Lite mast system
Handlebars: Bontrager Race X Lite, carbon, 0mm rise, 31.8mm, 620mm width
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 7 degree, 31.8mm
Headset: Trek Mountain Integrated System w/sealed bearings
Brakeset: Shimano Deore XT Ti, hydraulic disc, custom Ti; 160mm rotors (Trek exclusive)

MSRP: CAD 4,899.99

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The 24 Hour Spin

This weekend, RPM Spin Studio, where I usually do my weekend workouts donated all their bikes to the 24 Hour Spin for the Trillium Health Foundation. So I signed up and went off to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga to claim my workout. I raised more than $200 for the cause. Every year it benefits something different; this year we rode for Trillium Health's Cardiac Care Centre. 

The event was awesome. They took great care of the 1500 participants. The arena had been converted to a jumbo spin studio. Except, where the ipod dock usually sits, they had live bands including Mudmen, Superfreaks, the Cat House Dogs ... and even the Burlington Marching Band. Where the juice bar usually is, they had Starbucks, Booster Juice and Extreme Pita providing free refreshments. Add in some massage therapy, a couple vendors, coloured lights and a great turnout and you start to get the picture. 

I'd like to thank the volunteers especially. They came by at regular intervals to fill up our water bottles, bring us orange wedges and other treats and even fresh towels. So huge thanks to them! 

And for my own 4 hour experience I've posted my real-time updates below, straight from facebook.  

Kris is spinning in the 24-hour spin for Mississauga's Trillium Cardiac Centre. 10:14 - Comment - 
 Kris Lake at 10:15 21 February via Facebook Mobile
Thanks to everyone who sponsored me!!
 Kris Lake at 11:09 21 February via Facebook Mobile
Updates: (cause what else is there to do?) 
1) The lights in here are sooo hot. So I'm melting and it looks like I'm working a lot harder than I am
2) The bands they got are awesome, but even more fun is biking AND singing karaoke at the same time!! 
3) Orange wedges are the best evar
... More updates to come the next time need to fidget.
 Kris Lake at 11:47 21 February via Facebook Mobile
4) Someone just came around offering sweets and squares ... Is this some kind of test? 
5) The Little Prince is an easy, awesome read. Can't believe I'm only reading it for the first time now. Grownups are so silly.
 Kris Lake at 12:06 21 February via Facebook Mobile
6) Punk rock bagpipes. Yeah. You heard me. *stoked*
 Kris Lake at 12:20 21 February via Facebook Mobile
7) I just looked down into one of the recycling bins around me and saw two heiniken bottles. Must have been some hydration going on last night. It's now past noon and I'd like my beer please.
 Kris Lake at 12:25 21 February via Facebook Mobile
8) Every day, your heart beats 100,000 times pushing blood through 70,000 miles of blood vessels.
 Kris Lake at 12:33 21 February via Facebook Mobile
9) This is really starting to hurt. 
10) Snowboarding/skiing/telemarking/one-legged skiing on the big screen now. Sweeeet. 
11) I'd like to thank eload (my sports hydration potion of choice) for sponsoring this event. I have now pocketed enough single serve packets to last all of 09. It's not stealing if they put it out, right?
 Kris Lake at 12:41 21 February via Facebook Mobile
12) I'm now rockin out to "home for a rest" courtesy of The Mudmen. And I'm not drunk. I think this is a first.
 Kris Lake at 12:49 21 February via Facebook Mobile
13) The Raptor was here earlier. Last time I saw him he ate an innocent spectator. I was happy to get away with just a hug. Sucks to be him though. I wouldn't hug me. I'm really gross.
 Kris Lake at 12:53 21 February via Facebook Mobile
14) About to cross a line: longest training ride of 09 so far!! And still another 90 minutes to go. Oh man.
 Kris Lake at 13:01 21 February via Facebook Mobile
15) Praise Jesus for Star Wars and Disco. Together at last!
 Kris Lake at 13:17 21 February via Facebook Mobile
16) I'd like to get off this ride now ... Pukey pukey.
 Kris Lake at 13:40 21 February via Facebook Mobile
17) Ugh. This is a very dark place ... With a light at the end of the tunnel!! I'm so getting a cupcake after this.
 Kris Lake at 13:47 21 February via Facebook Mobile
18) I just had a jooster boose and I am HAPPY again!! Almost done :)
 Kris Lake at 14:02 21 February via Facebook Mobile
19) All done!! Thanks for tuning in. I'm now going to nap the crap out of the afternoon. After my cupcake, of course. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's your excuse?

Everyone has a thing. Some people write songs, prose or poetry. Some find peace in a weekly yoga class. Others are happy just to join friends and colleagues for happy hour a few times a week. For me, growing up, that thing was music. My parents started me on the piano before I’d even learned to read. I played in all the school bands, won awards in solo competitions and everyone thought that one day I’d join the TSO. 


When the time came to choose a university all the excitement of moving away from home, being on my own, and defining myself caught up with me. Something changed. I chose a school based on whether or not they had a good athletics program — not a good music program. And that became my thing.


I’m four years out of university and while I do miss music sometimes, I know that I’ll always be able to come back to it — like riding a bike. For now, I’m most happy … well … riding a bike.


I devote a lot of time pursuing the things that will help me be a better bike racer: nutrition, fitness, rest, technical knowledge. People I meet for the first time always ask the same thing. Why?


It’s true that being a bike racer isn’t without hardship. There are long hours of training, sore muscles, injuries, expenses, disappointments. It’s true sometimes I think about how much time and money I’d have if I gave it all up. I wonder what I’d do with it, and just end up chasing my tail thinking about all the gear I’d be able to afford and the places I’d have time to ride.  Once the season hits, there isn’t time for much else so I miss camping trips with friends, lazy days at the cottage or even Friday night beers on the patio after work.


But there’s also the thrill of competition. There are the good feelings you get when you know you’re doing something healthy for your body. There are the amazing people you meet. And above all, there’s the ride.


What could compare to that feeling you get when you first get rolling after a winter cooped up on your trainer or in spin class? The smell of dirt in the spring? The taste of dust in the summer? Or giving in to getting good and muddy?


When I’m on a trail, and it’s just me and the bike, I’m myself. There are no roles to play, no responsibilities to weigh me down except the simple code of the trail. I can take the difficult path or the easy one. I find my centre the way a pianist does when they find they can play a piece at tempo that only a week before they had to feel out one hand at a time. Or the way a yogi feels after they reach that quiet place in the middle of the storm of their thoughts.


On a ride, nothing else matters except for the curve of the trail, the whir of the chain and the thump of my heart. The sun makes puddles of light through the treetops and all the crap that happened at work that day falls away. The everyday stresses of life — relationships, bills, commitments — it all waits on the back burner until the glow of the ride fades.


I mountain bike because unlike a lot of stuff in life, I get out of it exactly what I put into it. The harder I push the more rewards I reap. I mountain bike because by having something that’s all mine, I’m a more solid person.  We bring in what we put out, so if I’m happier and more confident on the inside, that’s what shows on the outside. That’s what I bring to work every day. It’s what’s reflected in the people that I spend my time with — on and off bikes.


That’s why I mountain bike. Why do you?