Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ah, its time to relax.

Anyone who can tell me what 90's album starts off with that can have a prize!

We'll were mid October somwear, Nationals was just about a month ago. If I've learnt one thing a few times is its better to take a break rather than have to. Weather its because your burnt out, or mentally you cant stand the sport anymore. When I got home from Moncton I decided to take a few weeks holiday from training and enjoy some social time for a change.  What it turned into was three weeks of solid work, working on my car, other little projects and some more work.

As one may recal in the summer had a situation where on the island my car decided to be a miss pissy pants and had to do my best to get it home without paying a tow truck driver. It didnt take long after getting it home to fix most of it but it kept getting deeper. This is where most people would throw in the towel and buy a new car. Not me, I love this car, Ive bled in it, I brought it back from the grave. And its still cheaper than car payments on a newer one! So eat it! In the weeks leading into Nationals I started to notice that the engine was running a touch warmer than it usually did. I knew it ran cooler than it should but cars dont just all of a sudden run warm because they want too. The intital chapters were basicly the initial repairs and fixes needed to determin if it was somthing catistrophic like a bad head gasket, or if it was just somthing quick. This is the story of Jamie's break from training and racing 2012.

Chapter 1 "Choclate pudding with a hint of green"

An engine that doesn't come up to temperature means the inside of your car is always cold.  Not so bad in the summer, but in the winter its horrible. Last year I had a 30-40 minit commute to work, and an hour or more too and from the track in a car that produced no hot air unless I was stuck in traffic long enough. It also means you're not getting the fuel economy you could be. I assumed my thermostat or T stat as I call it for short was stuck open. When they fail, their suppost to fail open so you dont over heat your engine and destroy it. When the engine started to run hot I knew somthing bad could have happened. They dont just start to work again. The first night was the messiest by far. Lift the car a foot and a half off the floor, get a big ass drain pan, buy some powder dish detergent and 3 gallons of distilled water. Pop the lower rad hose and the result was a disgusting, smelly mess of runny choclate pudding, with a touch of green antifreeze in it. It was like a swamp. I popped the lower feed hose from the block into the pump and even more disgusting swampy mess poured out all over me, the pan and the floor. Estimated I must have run 40 gallons of water thru the engine and another 20 thru the rad to flush as much junk out as possible. While it was all apart I made my plan of attack for 2 days later to get at the T stat. With it all clean of junk I proceeded to refil everything only to add a cup of cascade into the water before sealing it up. I was told this would help clean the nasty mess out. Go for a quick drive, park for the night. Top up coolant bottle with more water next morning. Good Night!

Chapter 2. "I smell like a dishwasher"

With the car been driving around and sat for a few days with a brew of detergant and water in the cooling system it was now time to get to the worst of it. It would appear in my car that the location of the waterpump and T stat housing is in a great spot in the origional engine specifacation. But wait, its now the 90's! Lets put powersteering on the car too! Where shall we put it? How about right in the way of the T stat! The first task was to remove the power steering pump, It took me at least 30 extra minits to find a hidden bolt that goes thru the water pump bracket itself. This car came close to not having power steering ever again. Once I had the power steering pump slid off to the side it was time to find my thirsty friend the drain bucket and get ready to make a mess. Laying under a car isnt so bad. When its wet its less desirable, when you know your're about to get soaked its the worst. I popped the lower rad hose and made minimal mess. The water was not clean but not swamp dirt like before. Now on to the fun, 2 bolts hold the T stat housing in. 2 bolts come out with no issue but no fluid came out. Oh I see, the T stat is just stuck into the water pump housing. Just as I reach up to touch it to gently break it loose it drops strait into the bucket, and about 2 gallons of dish water smelling brown yuck poured out all over the floor, some in the bucket, and the majority on me. FML.
With it all apart I spent at least an hour with the hose flushing clean water thru the block, heatcore and rad to rinse any soap and debris out. This was starting to get old, real fast. I pulled my old T stat out of the messy water to see what the hell its problem was. Low and behold it had been stuck open before, but I could see it had been moving recently. So perhaps I wasnt over heating, just coming up to temp. Wierd eh? What pissed me off tho was the fact that some dummy at somepoint put the wrong one in the car. VW calls for a 92 degree T stat, this ensures cabin heat and engine temp. The old one, was an 80. With the new one and its o-ring re installed into the housing and all the hoses re connected at the bottom it was time to once again......can you guess?...... re fill it with water. "Rinse Cycle" as Gordon Reddy called it. Filled it, started it, burped it, went for a drive to really burp it and then parked it. The next day I did the same, drove it out and around and made sure the fan came on a couple of times to ensure the T stat was opening and flushing properly. Time to park it and not work deal with water for a day.

Chapter 3: "how the hell"

How the hell did my car have the origional O2 sensor in it still? A healthy O2 is vital to engine fueling and emissions. It was un real how plugged it was. So far its been the easiest repair yet. Buy a new one, put it in, throw old one out, road test. The car definatly has some more umph and idles a touch better but it still stumbles a bit intermetantly. Back to the brainstorm boards. Even after repairing a connection to the computers temperature sensor for the engine it was still not quite right.

Chapter 4: "blue stuff, not green"

In my research I discoverd I had made a mistake once in topping up my coolant years ago. But it was purly based on what coolant was already in the car. Digifant equipped VW engines were the first ones to spec and use G11 coolant witch isnt your regular prestone green stuff. G11 is designed to be compatible with several differant grades of aluminum, steel and plastic in use in one engine. When mixed with green stuff it starts to turn to pudding. Great, I found another bone heads mistake! Tonight I got to do what I was getting really good at, removing the lower rad hose and block outlett hose and then flush everything again and again untill it was clear as bottled water. This is now really old. The joy tonight was installed a brand new coolant expansion tank, one that I could see thru since the old one had been pudding-ed. Got it installed, hooked up. Hoses re conected at the bottom, Filled the rad with my 50/50 mix of G11 blue and more distilled water, filled the head and block, then topped up the resivoir. Squished all the hoses a bunch, started it up and let it idle with the cap off while it bled out a bit. Topped it off, capped it and went for a drove. And wouldnt you know it, by the end of the drive I had heat again, and the more the heat core bled air out, the more heat I got!  So much win!

Chapter 5: "Are serious? How Thanksgiving is that"

Thanksgiving was spent in White Rock at a family friends house. OK maybe they arent friends of the family technically to be they are family. Stayed over night as being a responsible person I decided to leave the car parked after a few Whiskeys. I drove hom Sunday, parked for 15 minits while I showerd and got ready for work. On my way back to the car I noticed a small puddle underneath. You have got to be kidding. Im leaking?!? This car never leaks! Get back from work, clean it all off, start it to get it hot and start looking. Yep, my water pump is leaking. If you had asked me before I spent days flushing, cleaning and renewing my cooling system if I had considered the water pump I would have told you yes. I know dam well that somtimes gunk and dirt is what's keeping things from leaking. But like I said earlier, I didnt want to jump and replace a ton of stuff only to find out the head gasket is shot, or I have a cracked block. Onwards and upwards. Tuesday morning I phoned my pals again at PG preformance to order a water pump. Being smarter than the average bear I knew 2 things. First if I get a pump with the housing its far easier to remove 4 bolts off the front of the engine, than it is to remove 9 on the side in a very tight place. I also knew that in changeing that I would probably spring a leak at the next weak point so I orderd both coolant flanges that mount to the head with fresh O rings. Today was a big day seperated in two chapters.

Chapter 6: "do it all again"

As the title states, do it all again. Lift car, remove powersteering pump, remove water pump belt, remove altenator and its belt, remove timing belt cover, find large thirsty drain pan, disconect T stat housing, get most of the coolant into drain pain. Hard work done, Undo 4 bolts that havent been touched in 21 years and presto! I have removed a bunk water pump. Next: remove hoses from coolant flanges, unplug sensors. Un do bolts, remove flanges, swap sensors and dummy plugs, loctite bolts and re install new flanges. Reinstall most the hoses, the rest will follow from experience. Clean surface of block for new pump. Reinstall T stat, O ring and T stat housing into water pump housing, re install new pump, with the pully swapped onto block and torque accordingly. Re conect lower rad hose, block circulation hose, coolant outlet from heat core and start filling. Re install altenator, belt, power steering pump now with the hidden, secret bolt that isnt so secret anymore, its belt, tension both accordingly, adjust tension of timing belt while Im there. Take a deep breath, a swig of coffee....... start filling system with new coolant again. Burp it manually, top up, start car, idle it to burp, jam screw drive in throttle to keep the revs up around 2000 untill fan comes on an off a few times. Shut off, check for leaks and let it sit untill we can open up the resivoir and top it up again.

Chapter 7: "Yes, STOP"

With the repairs for the day done it was time to do the first upgrade to the car in ages. Last fall I new it was time for brake pads. A man just knows. I drove over to Canadian tire and just bought pads and shoes to fit what I had. They didnt have the rotors I wanted so I was set to go somewear elese to get them in that week. Not long after my friend Doug said I should buy pads for vented rotors and then buy vented rotors in the same size. The stopping power would be the same but I would get less heat fade and the rotors would last longer. I liked this idea. Marie at work sudgested her boyfriend at the time could hook me up with what I needed, and basicly I would just sell the pads I bought, or stock em in my parts collection. A parts collection I call "useless parts on a rainy day". So that was that. In the two weeks it took to get the parts in I had to put pads in. It was metal on metal. Do or die. So they went in regardless of what I had on order. Eventually my stuff arrived. YAY! It was late in fall and I had no ambition of working outside in the cold so I put them in a box to wait untill I moved into a place with a warm garage. March rolls by, and I decided its time to put the new stuff on the car. Only to find out that the rotors I got were much bigger than actually fits the car. I was not  a happy camper! With a bit of reading and measuring I found out the pads he got me were right, but he had got me rotors for a Mk3 Jetta, not a Mk2. Dam. I was going to sell them, but then looked into doing a Mk3 10.1" brake swap and what it would take to do. Over the course of summer I collected the bits as I had time or they popped up for sale. Mk3 brakes wont fit a Mk2 steering assembly. Without being to tech about it they just wont fit, so I needed to find Mk3 steering knuckles. Found a used set complete with calipers, carriers, rotors and new bearings for $50. Score! The rotors and pads were junk so they met the dumpster. There was nothing wrong with the OE calipers on the knuckles but I wanted to up the cool factor a bit. I sold them off for $20 and traded bike work for a set of new Girling 54 calipers that fit onto the carriers that fit the knuckles. Bigger pistons mean you need a bigger master cylinder, otherwise the pedal goes further than it should. Mk3 Jetta's had ABS witch ment I couldnt just order a master cylinder to fit one of them, I eventually found that Mk2 GTI 16 valve cars and Passat 16valve cars had the bigger master I needed and would work with my non ABS brakes. PG Preformance got on in for me along with new brake hoses. The day I got my car rolling 2 weeks ago, pre leaking, now fixed I had PG get me new ball joints for the steering assembly and some good high preformance brake pads that wernt race specific. I also treated myself to a pressure bleeder to make life easier. NEW TOOLS ARE FUN OK! So once the new pump was one and cooling system done it was time to get some new brakes on!

One may assume its easy, undo a few bolts, put new stuff on, bleed and your done. Really it is that easy, but its time consuming. Espessialy with 21 year old bolts. First we had to loosen the bearing nut with the car on the ground. Lift it, yank the wheels off and start spraying penitrating lube on everything. While Doug pre assembled my new ball joints into my donor knuckles  I fully removed the bearing nut and keeper, undid the tie rod end witch wasnt easy today, removed the ball joint bolts from the lower control arm, removed both strut bolts and then hoped the brake hose on the hardline would break free without a fight. Once all that was done a massive chunk of old assembly slid off the car and into a corner of the garage. Slide the new assembly into the lower control arm, connect the tie rod end and get it tight, witch was also not an easy feat today, slide the axle back thru the hub, attach both strut bolts and get the bearing nut as tight as it would go by hand. Installed new brake hose with calipers already mounted, opened a bleeder and let it free flow thru another hose into a coffee grind jar to catch all the old fluid out of the master. Mount the rotor, The carrier, drop the pads in with some special anti bonding grease Doug had, then pop the caliper ontop. Couple bolts later its all on. Side A done, onto Side B witch was exactly the same. With the brakes on the car it was time for the pain in the ass part. The lines came off the stock master cylinder without a fight but for whatever reason it didnt want to come out of the booster without some serious fight. Once it was out Doug had the new bigger one already bench bled and ready to put in. Pop it in, fasten it down, get the line fitting finger tight, swap over my old resivoir and fill the thing to the top. The trick with a master is to only tighten the fittings in once they start to drip fluid. Once that was all done it was time to play with the new pressure bleeder.

In the old days you would lay under the car while somone pumped the pedal a bunch. They would hold it and you would quickly open a bleeder then shut it. You would do this untill no air came out. A pressure bleeder is in no way cleaner work but you fill it with your fluid, connect it to the resivoir, pump up the pressure and then go from wheel to wheel accordingly untill no air comes out. Man did it make quick work of it. It was still messy and I learnt how to better use it for next time. The point is it took 30 min to bleed a brake system that the front end of it was new and full of air. All while laying on my back too.

Pop the wheels back on, drop the car to the floor, fully tighten the wheel bearing nuts, then the wheel nuts, pop the cool center caps back on and its time to go for a road test and initial break in.

Its been 2 days, Not even fully broken in yet all I can say is DAM! Those are powerful brakes. So they should be, they came off a car that weighs 600lbs more. With only a little pressure they bring the car from 100kph to nothing in a very short distance indeed. There are no leaks in the cooling system now, and I have heat witch was nice as hell today as monsoon season started and it was cold out.

Chapter 8: "I think"

With some major issues fixed, a big upgrade project done Im still left with the fact that I have an intermitant stumble or mis fire at idle and in the range. While we were hovering over the engine while it burped air out of the cooling system Doug, who I should mention is a red seal mechanic and knows Audi/VW's really really well mentioned it almost sounds like its a drippy, or leaky injector. It would make sence since Ive fixed or checked all other suspects. In researching this I did find that a leaky injector will cause a mis at any RPM and also causes a higher than normal Co2 on a gas anylizer. I have both those. When I get a free moment I will be using some very old school carberator tuning  methods to "listen" to the the injectors while the car is running using a stethiscope. If I find one that sounds differant I know where the issue is. If the If the voltage and miliamperage to that injector checks out I know its had it. I have a sorce to get a used one to test the theroy out. If it solves it 4 new injectors will be promptly ordered from PG, installed and the car taken in to have the fueling calibrated to the proper CO2 readout. 

Considering 2 months ago I had no idea why my car wouldnt start in Victoria, and somehow made it start and run to get home and then no idea why it ran like hell after, And then a month ago I had pretty much decided it was time to put a differant engine in I'd say things are getting close to being happy snappy again.

After all that I  forgot to mention that inbetween days of filling and draining soapy water I installed a brand new shift linkage set. Instead of an OE one I bought a set from a friend that he ended up not keeping the car it was for. Missing LinkZ makes kits for people who swap VW diesel engines into their Suzuki Samari trucks. The stock VW linkage no doubt doesnt hold up to off roading very well so they produced a heavy duty kit using fully adjustable lenghs of doo dads and thingys. Instead of rod ends into soft rubber bushings they use heim joints. Instead of crap rubber bushings that facilitate alot of movment they use a heavy duty durlon ball. Instead of crappy plastic bushings they use very tough durlon. Its quite the set up. Once it was all installed the tool used to set the center position in the shifter lever itself was a cassette tape. Yes, the thickness of a cassette tape is what is used. Without being to techy about it, the one rod witch takes side to side input from the shifter has to be adjusted to the distance bwteen the reverse lock out saftey and the shifter arm itself is the thickness of a cassette tape. Kinda cool. I opted to install mine with the 30% reduction in shift throw, slowly I'm making minor adjustments to the linkage doo dads and thingys so that it shifts beauty at any RPM.  Gear boxes are so picky! Tisk tisk.

In conclusion its been asked why put so much effort and money into this car. Well, step back and look at the big picture. I haven't spent much money. PG Preformance has been really good to me, and when it comes to upgrades and projects I'm patient and wait for the right part at the right price to pop up. Hense why when I do somthing its done right. Not like a 12 year old did it. Non of the recent work has been done in a shop, just in my garage. I've probably saved $2000 in labour between the cooling system update and brake upgrade. The parts were not that expensive in the grand scheme of things. If we look at what was critical here, the cooling system update + O2 sensor+ specific coolant, the parts are probably under half of what most people pay a month for a car payment, lease or loan. In fact, I know its under half. There is no exageration there. The parts I bought for the brakes cost more money that the cooling system update but that was spread over at least 4 or 5 months. It was also a fun and practical upgrade for that car. Certainly alot more practical than lifting your non offroad pickup truck 4 feet in the air dont you think? You also have to look at the fact that really the only expensive repair I've had to deal with untill this point was a shot altenator and battery. Not bad for a car that the origional owner sold to me for the same price the scrapper was going to give her, then brought it back to life, again for almost no money. So all things considering I'd say fixing my car was a smarter financial decision than leasing a new one, wouldnt you say? I think alot of people forget that there are a few of us that are not afraid to get our hands dirty and fix things. There is also the fact that I really do like working on my cars as its not so much a burdon as its a hobby. Plus my car is way more fun to drive than yours.

Im tired, and Im ramble-typing. Someone should check to see if I just coined a new phrase by the way. I trained at the track today for the first time in a while. It was a good time off from training but its time to get back into it again. Sleep beckons, and I could care less about the spell checker.

G'nite all. Fahrvergn├╝gen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The trials and tribulations of BC Champs.

Ah Victoria.....again. This was my third trip of the year to Victoria to race and it defiantly had its moments. At least this time I'm happy to say my car survived the trip. I have to say I like the idea of the Champs being on Westshore Velodrome as its outside. I like Burnaby Velodrome, I consider it my second home, but being out in the sun is nice, and I like how racing can play out on a 333m track. 333meter being the old UCI / Olympic standard.

Friday morning the three of us, Eddie Reid, Rachel Canning and myself met up in Ladner and then headed towards the ferry. I banked on a 10 am sailing but didn't bother making a reservation as racing didn't start until 5 that afternoon. Paid at the gate, parked and headed for a coffee. Little did I know we actually made the 9 sailing until I was being paged to return to my car as I was holding up the boat! oops! Sorry for being that guy. We attacked the buffet breakfast and by the time we finished it was time to drive off. After farting around the Juan de Fuca area for a bit we got ourselves at the track along with the rest of the Burnaby riders and got things going. First order of the weekend: team sprint.

Eddie and I were originally supposed to ride with Scott Mulder as one last race before National Champs in 2 weeks. Scott ended up at a family holiday so we had no middle rider. At the track we made it known we needed a rider to fill in. We ended up with Alex Amiri, a young jr. Being his first team sprint we made it easy on him. Start has hard as you can, and make sure you move out of the way at the first pylon. We'll worry about the rest of it. Eddie rode in second spot and myself in third. We ended up timing the first exchange perfectly. We rushed in fairly hard but extended it into a longer acceleration to minimize any fade while Ed was getting closer to the 666m mark. I left a bit of a gap and then did a similar rush in and accel. Id like to say it was painless, but it wasn't. Just because I got to ride 2/3rds of a kilo in a draft doesn't make it easy. The end result was my lap being the fastest lap of the night and we had won by almost 2 seconds. That effort alone in the last lap was a good indicator of my training so far. I buried myself hard and didn't fade much. I was seeing stars and ready to puke for a bit after that one. I see big things coming from Alex. He continued to kick ass in his category all weekend too. Great job guys!

The next day was a bit of a gong show. Mix ups between the commissars and organizers meant that we sat around alot. More than normal. Way more. First off the bat we rode our 200m qualifiers. I set the fastest time and was quite pleased with my time. I geared the bike for what I would ride at nationals, witch was a bit bigger than this track needs for how fast its not.  Not long after our 200 was the keirin qualifier, originally schedules as a one and done ride but because of a few last second entries was turned into 2 qualifiers, and a repacharge feeding the final.  I won my qualifier conservatively and basically sat around for 2 hours. After lunch we rode the 1/8th round ride of sprints. At this point I figured we'd be on and off our bikes racing with no hiccup's until late afternoon, early evening. Nope. After the 1/8 round ride, or as I call it "the just get it over with ride" we sat around until almost 5, on and off the bikes to keep warm, not knowing when we were actually going to ride because of constant schedule changes. Eventually the updated the schedule so that the keirin final and the remainder of the sprinting and the kilo would be on the Sunday. After a quick protest the schedule was re written again so that we would ride the keirin final that night.

In the keirin final was a big heat. Mainly enduro's I knew that the sprint would more than likely go early. I sat into third wheel behind the motor no issue and waited to see what happened. I knew quickly when there was an attempt to box me in. When the motor pulled very quickly some riders came off the back and turned it into a prolonged accelerating swarm of wasps. Emile tried to take a flyer, as Soon as he was past me I sat onto him and waited. Akuna on the front saw it and reacted naturally. When he reacted I knew that if he got any gap it would be impossible to get around Emile and then around the 2 riders below and in front of us so I made the move. I shot past Emile and then closed the door on him with no hesitation quickly doing the same to Kylen. Not the cleanest racing, but its not a game of checkers, Its racing. At that point we just dropped into the last lap where I held off and then banked on a late accel. Mid turn I saw Akuna's wheel come up beside mine and I slayed on the gas to try and hold him off. It ended up being a drag race to the line but he had the speed to get around me and win by a wheel. Bitter end to a great race, but at least it was a great race. Kylen was the only one I was really worried about. He's raced track alot longer than I have and naturally is very fast. He's also been closet training I think. With that race done it was time to get out of there, have a quick dip in the lake to cool off and then get some food! We stayed with my friends Matt and Cindy Glen in Victoria this weekend. We had one hell of a good pizza feast and neither of us could keep our eyes open past 9:30 witch is kinda sad. Bed time.

Now that was one of the best sleeps Ive had all year! Hot dam. Considering the amount of time we spent in the heat yesterday and the amount of kilometers I rode on the rollers alone I actually felt kinda good. Too bad the weather was gloomy. All though it didn't rain at all it looked like it might try, and it was defiantly alot cooler. Saturday I didn't hesitate to ride without an under shirt, today I wish I had an electrical heated one on!

First ride of the day was the 1/4 finals against Julian Base. We meet again! Last year we met in the same ride only it was 30 degrees out not 13. I rode easy and won with only enough effort to stay in the front. Onto the semi's, a ride I will never let myself forget for being a moron.

A big supprise this weekend was that 2 of my longest friends came to watch some of the action. Cam has been a great friend since I was new to downhill racing way back in the day, Terry is also one of my best friends, and one of 3 people I would trust to work on my bikes. We grew up at races together! He and his girlfriend were in town visiting from Toronto. It was great to see them all again! I hope I get a chance to hang out once more before they head home again. Its the one tough part about being a transplant to BC. I left alot of friends back in the old country.

In the Semi's I rode against Mike Rothengater. An enduro, a rodie, a pursuiter, the guy that sits around the track pretending to work all day long. Hes fast yes, but shouldn't have been a threat considering how I'm going. In the first lap I just tagged along for the ride. In the second lap he started to pick things up and turn it into a race. I layed off several bikes and joined in the fun when he jumped. I'm not sure if it was an example of how to use poor judgment, or how to let confidence get the best of you but I sure as hell should have re considered when I would make my move and rush in. Defiantly left that one a bit to late! Even with my power and speed leaving it until the exit of turn 4, probably not the best idea Ive ever had. At the line it was close but even with a dodgy throw it at least half a wheel I lost by. I laughed right away at how stupid I was and now looked. Before everyone assumes I lost to a nobody I have to hand it to Mike, he's not slow and trains hard now and then. He capitalized on my bone headed mistake and I do give him a job well done for that. I can assure you Mike it wont happen again, and payback is always a bitch.

I've been relegated in my fair share of races. Somtimes its legit, somtimes its for riding a bit to much in the grey area of the rule book and somtimes its because the cheif commiciar really doesnt like me that day. Non of those times Ive lost a race because of a relegation felt as embarassing as making a stupid cocky mistake like that won. And I know that is a race that within the world of British Columbia cycling will go down in the history books in big fat Sharpe marker. Dammit.

In the opposite Semi final Eddie who was riding well today was against Cid Martinez. Cid's quick, Hes an Enduro also, but was a world class rider. He's not an easy person to race. He's still quick and he still knows how to ride like a South American. That may sounds like a racist comment, believe me in that I'm not being racist at all. I like Cid, hes a good guy and a good buddy. Anyone who's raced any one from South America knows what I'm talking about tho. Eddie wasn't quite able to make a pass at the line to win it. We all kinda joked at how the two enduro's were racing for gold and silver and the so called sprinters racing for bronze. Cid ended up being relegated for what was called forcing his opponent off the track. I saw what happened, no-one forced anyone any ware, Nor did Ed protest the move either after the fact. It was a bit of a strange one if you ask all of us. Cid was pissed non the less and I knew that I would be racing a very motivated and pissed South American for a bronze.

By the time the sprint finals started one hell of a wind picked up and it was trying to rain a bit. To add to the equation it was a head wind on the home stretch witch always makes things interesting. All though I was still pissed at myself for loosing in the Semi's I was defiantly out for redemption on poor Cid. In the first ride he took the pole position and I followed him along for a while until I decided to snap ahead of him and hold him high and slow. More or less to utilize my jump and accel. I matched Cid's jump while covering him and we basically dragged it out side by side well above the blue line only to drop into the pole lane entering turn 3. It was a very old school classic move to keep him high up track like that. And legal I might add.  He tried to take a run at me but I held him off well to the line.  In the second ride I lead out the race. He may not be a sprinter by blood but he's done enough of it over the years to know how to race. I tried to keep him low and slow but he knew how to get the pace up to suit him better. He made an attack going into the first turns witch I reacted to quickly dropping into the pole where I knew he would take a seat on the Jamie bus until it was time to make a jump. I made a big gamble again but this time thought it out better tho. I knew the wind on the home stretch was worse now and that I have more acceleration power than he does so to be a smart ass I let off the gas going down the back stretch while he was sat in my draft.  Just into turn 3 I jumped as hard as I humanly could in an effort to drop him. Onto the home strait he tried to pull out of the gap and draft to make a move but even admitted after in the wind couldn't. The gamble paid off! Granted it wasn't for Gold, it was better than 4th.

In the gold medal ride I hoped Eddie would stomp Mike. In the first ride Eddie played a similar move to what I did but he only made his move earlier, where I should have. He came up short at the line and now the pressure was on. Could an enduro win the BC sprint champs? In ride two Mike caught Eddie napping and took a leap of faith attack. He reacted but wasn't able to get into a decent draft until far too late. With all that said, Mike won the BC Champs, probably the last rider anyone would pick to do it. Its not many sprint tourneys where someone who qualified almost a second slower than the top qualifier wins. It was defiantly a good lesson taught today.

The last events on schedule for everyone was the pursuit finals and the kilo/500's. I opted not to bother with a Kilo as it wasn't listed as a championship event. I also learnt enough of how my training has gone in the team sprint that I didn't need to ride a kilo in the arctic temps and near rain.

We stayed over the extra night to see some old friends and to hang out with Bronze Medal Olympian Gillian Carlton and her Fiance who are good friends of mine. Mid next morning, after a pot of coffee and a good breakfast it was time to hit the ferry and return to Canada.....again.

Well, the tickets for Nationals are booked, gotta register in the next few days and then just get the final training in. Sounds easy but it wont be. Gotta go faster than ever, harder than ever, and probably puke harder than ever. I head to YVR early on the 9th and start my so called bus trip flight through Edmonton, Toronto, and then onto Moncton where I'll eventually end up at the hotel, new home of Cycling BC's track team absolutely smoked tired. haha.

Big thanks to my crazy boss at Velocity for letting me have an extra day off after the racing, Big thanks to Matt and Cindy for not only letting Ed and I crash their place but coming out and spending all Saturday and Sunday at the track with us and mega shout out and thanks to Apex Wireless for their support this summer and friendship!

Parler tut suite!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

BC Day, The Olympics, and Racing!

Yet again it was another weekend away enjoying the sights and smells of the infield of a velodrome. West Shores Velodrome hosted Track Fest 2 for the year right over the long weekend, PERFECT! I opted to miss the Saturday racing so I could stay behind and help out at work. Its a bit of a give and take thing I have going on when it comes to leaving to go race all the time. Saturday after work my friend Michelle jumped in the car and to the ferry we headed. A few hours later we checked into the hotel downtown and it was time to eat a third dinner and sleep. I some times forget how much energy it consumes being at work for 8 hours. Unfortunately when it comes to travel days some people adapt right away and sleep like a baby. Some of us, even if in the same time zone are wired from the drive, and maybe a bit too much coffee on the boat!

Before I go any further I have to congratulate The woman's team pursuit in London who placed 3rd place in the ride off against Australia. This Olympics was special for me because I know all of the track cyclists competing for Canada really well. Some of them are very close friends. I have spent a lot of time training and racing with people like Zach Bell and Gillian Carlton and have to say that I was proud to see them representing Canada in the world's center stage. Great Job to all the Canadian Athletes!

Sunday morning was an early start, god I hate those. Up at 6, watch some Olympic coverage, go get food, coffee and then on our way to the track! It was already hot out when I started to warm up for sprint qualifying. And do I ever mean hot.  I like the heat, I always have. The trick is staying out of the sun. When its hot I warm up easier, I don't have to spend as much time on rollers between heats or races and I just feel better. I also find it to my advantage when its killer hot. A lot of riders cant deal with it and you can see them progressively fade through a day of racing that way. Years ago my old downhill coach pointed this out to me. At a Four Cross event he noted that although I hurt after each heat in the sun the other riders were even worse off. He suggested rushing back to the start gate earlier so they officials would rush the others along too. This Sunday would be very similar with a mass group of sun baked faces and tired eyes as the track in Victoria is more or less a giant concrete bath tub / sun reflector.

Because they decided to run qualifiers in order of our numbers we were wearing I didn't have to go first or last.  There is nothing I hate more than being first qualifier up. I rode a half decent 200meter with a nasty headwind. Each time I ride here I learn how to ride a 200 on a 333m track a bit better.

My first round saw a re ride when my opponent popped out of his pedal. I wasn't too concerned as I knew I had an easy ride qualifying first spot buy a good margin. In the re ride I basically just followed the rider around at the rail. For whatever reason a lot of these guys just like to ride really slow, like the rules say they have too. When the time was right I made my move but shut off early to save a few litres of gas. In the Semi's I raced against fellow team mate Eddy Reid. He put up a fight but ultimately I was able to get to the front when he turned his head before going into the last lap and control the ride until the end.  A late jump and razor secured my going through to the finals and Eddy going on to the minor final.

In the finals I was racing young cat Henri De Boever. He's a weapon in a road sprint and won the biggest upset of a ride I've seen since god knows how long beating one of the tracks local star younger sprinters using his endurance. Eddy would ride against Andrew, who Henri put out. I have to say the minor final was the closest and best sprint action of the day.

In the first ride Eddy rolled up the speed 200m out but saved it for a late jump mid turn to hold Andrew on his hip. What bit him back was a relegation for lane violation. I did see him flick up a bit un intentionally but I didn't see either wheel cross the red line. I think it was a bit of a sympathetic call but its how it goes. I am myself a champ at being relegated for practically nothing. In the second match Eddy rode a perfect race, He caught Andrew napping at the first turn in the last lap and went for it. Andrew never got on terms with it. In the final ride Eddy tried to mix the first and second rides tactics together and it worked out really well. Took a jump off the back but saved the rest of the coal for the last dig to the line. The finish was tight, too tough for me to call where I was sat by eye. The judges awarded the ride to Andrew.

In my first ride I rode it on the front and controlled the ride. I kept the pace slow enough to give me all the advantage. Even when I started to wind up a bit. He may have thought he had some opportunity to jump me from behind but I had him covered and years of experience on him. I used a late second jump to keep the win and save some gas. In the second ride he played it cool on front at the start but learnt that he needs to pick up the pace. He made a leap of faith jump to either tire me out or hope I'd explode trying to catch him. I have to hand it too him for trying something and not riding around like he had a pair of pants on his head. What he didn't anticipate was that I saw the move a mile away and then took a good solid run at him. I won the match sprints in 2 clean rides. Nice try Henri!

Like I said earlier, I have to hand it too him. You end up against a lot of guys, like perhaps my first ride who are intimidated just being there against someone who only races on the track and they ride around like they have already lost the heat. In the fall I rode against Kyle Buckosky at Burnaby's Bare Bones race. Instead of giving up he took a big risk, made a decision and went on it. He got beat but he tried. At the end of the day I will always remember the first bit of sprinting advice I was given by Gordon Singleton. Make the first move and done look back. You will win more than your fare share for trying.

The next part of the day was a bit of a fluke. I entered the flying lap more or less as a training effort. 333m is a long lap and I figured a nice big gear, a harder than hell jump and then the following lap would put some serious lactic overload into my legs, especially with the days racing in me already. What happened instead was a solid jump, really good speed and no pain at all. Everyone seemed impressed at my time, a time I didn't get to see until the end at the podium ceremony. I clocked 19.42 seconds, Andre the event organizer figured it was close to the tracks record and with a bit of research we found out I had beat the record by .04 seconds! Quite proud of that. Josh Weir set the old record in 2003 and before him was Curt Harnett I think. I have to give props here to Jason Reddy. His brother has turned into quite the trackie and to help him out I loaned him my old steel bike to ride and race on. For a laugh he hopped on my old bike and rode the flying lap. This is his first track race period. We tried to keep his result from him but couldn't. I gotta say kid, you may wanna look at riding track more often.

This is where the fun began. Some wear along the way my car decided to be a bit of a miss pissy pants. When we decided to go to the lake for a swim after the racing she decided not to start back up. Not even a boost would do it. We ended up pushing the car and bumping starting it, witch seemed to work well enough. The next day It cranked and cranked and cranked but wouldn't go. Another bump start from my friends got it going again and got us to the boat. But not before it stalled in the line up. I was petrified! For whatever reason it started right up! It started up fine to get off the boat witch was weird, but then next morning wouldn't start at all. After 3 hours of work she lives again, I hope. Turns out a negative battery lead from the block to the battery had gone bad. At the same time I found a major vacuum leak that after temporarily fixing it temporarily threw the fueling mixture out the window. I tuned as best I could without using the proper exhaust gas reader my favorite shop, PG Performance has. Time to book her in I suppose. My initial fear was the starter was fubar. Turns out it works. I'm going to change it anyways since it has 250,000km on it and up dating it is only logical since the battery and alternator are brand new also. Getting it going at least gives me a way to keep going to the track to train, but it certainly isn't what it was a week before!

Its time for me to hit the sheets. Some how I let me self be talking into working a few hours before a big day at the track tomorrow and then another hard training day Saturday that will no doubt leave me puking in the ditch. In two weeks is BC Provincial champs in Victoria. I'm looking forward to the event as it will be good fun racing and a great last chance to see how the training is going before Nationals.

Go cars.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Home is where the laundry machine is.......

Once again I'm starting off a fresh blog posting at home again after a trip away. This weekend was one of as much adventure as they all usually are! Marymoor GP, formerly FSA GP is a great event to be at. It always attracts top pros and a lot of spectators. Its held on the Marymoor velodrome in Redmond WA. The city name always rings a bell with people who cant quite place it. Usually that's because its where Microsoft is located. This year was my third trip down to the GP. Sadly I missed it last year as I was starting a new job and couldn't afford to go. My new job wouldn't have lasted that long if I had.

Historically, if its correct to use that phrase here, I have always done well at Marymoor. I've ridden kilo 3 times there and not stood off the podium. Its not an overly fast track but I just seem to get along with it.  Marymoor's location is right in the middle of a hot spot for track in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past years in living in British Columbia we all seem to get to that one race. Its always nice to see old friends that I've met along the way in my adventures. Some of them top level racers, some of them former pro's and some of them got into the spot long after having kids and just enjoy it more than golf.

My trip down started Wednesday morning. Once I arrived in Redmond I went strait to the track to get a good ride in. The previous week leading into and through Alpenrose I was pretty sick and had taken time off Sunday through Tuesday to rest as best I could. Wednesday I needed to go out and spin my legs out. It was a bit of a gloomy day but was still nice to get out and pedal while my sinus drained. This is where my adventure started. After leaving the track and an early dinner I drove back to the hotel located pretty much at the track. Upon checking in I learnt the hardway that my reservation that night had been given up due to high demand of rooms needed. I was not pleased. As a sorry I was given a map of how to find the next closest hotel in the area. That was the start of going from hotel to hotel for the next 3 or 4 hours! It would appear that Microsoft had a function of some kind and everyone in the world came to Washington for it! I made it as far as Everett before finding a place. If we open up our atlas we will see that Everett is on the I5 and not close at all. I was great full that the Motel 6 in the worst part of town had a room of any kind for me to sleep that night!

The next morning after a breakfast of some kind, I got my track bike all built back up and headed back towards Marymoor. I checked in successfully this time at the Redmond Inn where they at least were sorry for my adventure and then went to the track to get some training time in during the hottest time of day. A lot of people shy away from this. I learnt it to be a nice trick for last Minuit preparations so you know exactly what to expect the next day out of your body and wind when Kilo's are scheduled to start at noon. I had a great session on the track, felt pretty good all things considering and decided to call it an afternoon.

After a quick bite to eat, a nap, and some TV time I grabbed the road bike to head out and buy some more sun block, razors and a snack. I then pedaled over to the track to hang out with Kevin Mansker. I knew Kevin was riding Kilo too. He has turned into a fantastic Kilo rider, smashing the record in Alpenrose a week before! We shot the shit for a while, mostly about cars, and then went along my way to find another meal and more feet up time in bed.  This is where for at least 24 hours the weather went south. At some point in the night the sky opened up. And did it ever pour.

When I woke up in the morning my first task was breakfast, but not after looking for the rain jacket I didn't bother packing. I got to the track when I normally would have to get ready and it was still pouring. The race organizers set a new start time, optimistic it would dry up so I went back to the hotel and got to loosening up on the rollers, while watching the Tour time trial going on.

At 2 we were happily on the track getting ready. It was cool and damp out, and there was one hell of a breeze. Witch meant today would be slow, for all of us. They ran a bit of a rush program so they could get throughsession 1 without holding up session 2 in the evening.  When it was my turn to go, I was in the same boat as all the other elites in that non of us really got a great warm up in and was going to battle the wind. My ride went fairly solid. I set the new fastest time overall and held it until the last 2 riders. In the end T.J. Mathison of Los Angeles has taken second, and Kevin of Portland had landed in first. Not winning never feels good. All true competitors will tell you that. But this was still part of a test to see how my form is coming along and the end result, all though plagued by illness the last 2 weeks left me pretty impressed with my training so far. I have to tip my hat to Kevin and T.J. Both of them fresh off Olympic trials are absolutely flying fast. They rode well. Great job boys! The only event I normally would have ridden buy chose not to was the team sprint. I had been asked by a few teams if Id like to but I have no intention in anchoring a team sprint on a 400m track!

Because I had no desire to ride a keirin right after a kilo I had a quick meal and a nap. Then came back to the track for the podium ceremony in the evening session. It may have been out of boardem but I entered the 10 mile scratch race that night. The field was to track capacity of 40 riders, and most of them really fast riders. For most of it I sat in near the back and just motor paced along. I got to the front several times where it was obvious I'd rather not be. At one point I found myself rolling off the front and then had a gap. I decided to take a risk and see where it would go. At about a half lap I could feel it. I also knew that the leaders of the pack had started to speed up to try and hang me out to dry. Rather than destroy myself and explode I eased off and let them swallow me back up. Later in the race I managed to bridge up to a gap by myself, only for the breakaway to get caught again. When it came into the last few laps the race picked up very fast. At this point I just sat in and mixed it up. I knew I wasn't in contention to win it but it was a lot of fun.  After the race myself, Eddy and Eric, who were staying with me that night, ate like kings and then fell asleep watching a terrible show about ghosts. I don't even remember turning the show off!

Saturday morning was completely different than Friday. It was already warm. After a solid breakfast it was time to checkout of my home from home and get to a warm up for the sprint qualifying. I was really sore from the day before, not unlike everyone, but managed to ride a decent 200m time. Ive never ridden match sprint on this track so I had to quickly perfect where and how to set up my flying 200. I qualified 6th in a top 12 go through.

My first ride was against Danny Robertson of Illinois. I met him once, but had never raced against him. This makes it tough not knowing how to race someone. I played a good tactic but under estimated how powerful his jump would be from behind. Not pleased with loosing so early I knew I would have to be the repacharge superstar I'm known to be at times. In the repacharge ride I was up against 2 other riders put out in first round rides. The one that concerned me was Steven Beardsley. Known for being a hell of a good kilo rider in his day and still having a really good snap I knew if I didn't maximize what I could do he'd move on, and Id go home early. The moment presented itself and I attacked through the pair of them. I saved a bit of gas for the home stretch where I was able to put all the gas on the flame and hold him off at the line. Singleton's rule of sprint #1: You will win more than your fair share of races for making the first move and not looking back on it. The downside of this was I felt the effects of taking the race from 400meters out in that heat for a long time.

I squeaked my way into the quarter finals against Giddeon Massie. I don't really know him too well personally, but know his rap sheet on the track. He is very fast. 2 time Olympian, multi US national champion and just fast as hell all round! Its a tough position to be in racing someone like him. When it came time to get on with it I gave it all I had but was no match.  After that ride I was put into the 5 through 8 ride later that night.

After a few hours of chilling out it was time to get back to the track and ready for battle. I knew it wouldn't be an easy ride. Danial Walker, Stephen Mchlaghry, and the other rider who I cant remember his name are all very fast and fierce riders. I knew to win this ride of 4 riders would take something special. In the ride I found myself set up perfectly to take an opportunity of a move and go with it. In hindsight I made the move about 20 meters too early. Who's to say it would have worked or not but the point is I gave it what I had left in the tank and made it into one hell of a hard race for the other three. I ended up in 8th. After the ride, in a moment of luck I suppose I discovered how close I could have been to laying on the concrete in pieces when I noticed a huge bulge in my back tire and a large bit of tread gone. If that had of exploded in the final sprint it would have taken all 4 of us down potentially.

After that ride it was time to simmer down and take in some racing. I packed my things while cheering on. What a great event this is! By  9 30 or so it was time to pack the old Jetta up and head home. At least this time there was a convoy headed north with Rob and Eric Mulder leading the charge in the Roberts van, myself and then Eddy in the "group B" Volvo. 

The next race is in Victoria next weekend. I don't think I'll make it as I'm taking a week off to rest up from the chest cold and its time to get back into work mode for a bit. I will however race in Victoria later in August as a last check up before Nationals in September.

The last two weeks away were good fun, great racing and a good show for me of whats to come. I'd like to personally thank Apex Wireless for their very generous contribution towards my travels for racing. Without their help It would not be possible. I hope tomorrow the weather returns to normal for this time of year so I can get out with the Tuesday night Velocity Cycles club ride. Andrew the key man at Apex Wireless has spread his passion for cycling with his staff and every week it appears he has brought out another new rider keen on getting into such a great sport. With any luck the sun is shining tomorrow so I can get out and enjoy it with these great people.

Muchos Gracias to Andrew, Jenna and the Apex team! You guys are great! And big thanks to Travis, my eccentric boss, for letting me disappear for 2 weeks to race!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hotel Life = TV time

Since being out on my own, cut loose from the nest, poor I have probably watched a few hours of TV. I don't mind it. I'd usually rather be outside or doing something fun, rather than living the North American dream. That all being said when out on the road, going to races, staying in hotels one of my favorite parts of it all is getting to watch TV! 

In the past 48 hours I have enjoyed several new shows I had no idea even aired. My old favorite show Thunderbirds may be nudged off the top spot. Now I want a TV!

Mountain Men
American Guns
Great Lakes Warriors
Dog the Bounty Hunter marathon- I've watched this before, but is always a good way to spend time.
Property Wars
I Road Truckers

I hope the rain stops any time an hour ago so we can race today, I'd rather be doing that rather than sat in my hotel room, no matter how fun TV is!