Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Scratch group

Over the past couple years, my biking has really seen an improvement.  I bought my first bike at the end of grade 12 after having many long discussions with my grade 12 chemistry teacher about cycling.  He was a member of D'ornellas bike club, and invited me out for a few rides with the them during the summer.  After riding with D'ornellas for a bit, I began to outgrow the slow steady rides, and luckily met some people along the way who led me towards who I currently cycle with: The Scratch Group.  I have been riding with Scratch for a couple years now and have really enjoyed the friendly yet competitive nature that makes up this great group of riders.  Rides are up tempo, fast, and include numerous sprints, but also remain very contolled and safe.  New challanges are often made and accepted, such as the "Schleck challenge" (created by myself).  For this challenge, I take the role of professional cyclist Andy Schleck, and the rest of the group takes on the role of Andy's brother Frank Schleck.  I will get a 20-30 second head start in a 15km TT, and the rest of the group attempts to chase me down (I havn't been caught yet, 4/4).
The Scratch group year end get together has become a regular event, and the group met this past friday for our second annual gathering.  The night was full of activities ranging from a "traditional swiss cycling game" (seen below), to watching some cycling footage of gyro d'italia.
Me vs. Allison (I got a flat tire and lost in the final stretch. Allison won it all) 
The gathering also served as a great time to catch up with other members of the group and talk about what others were planning for winter training (I managed to drop in a few references about my blog in an attempt to get some extra blog readers).  All in all, it was a very enjoyable night to finish off a very enjoyable season.
As the outdoor cycling comes to a close, I am looking foreword to at least a couple more rides with the group before the snow hits.  After that, it will be hard indoor bike training for the rest of the winter to get ready for what I hope will be another great year of cycling.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The glass is.....half full?...!

Its been six weeks, and I haven't run once.  I basically live in the athletic therapy clinic and an ice bucket has replaced my running shoes as my footwear of choice.  I had to watch from the sidelines in the pouring rain as my cross country teammates raced in the OUA championships, only getting the opportunity to cheer instead of represent my school (the hosts).  I also had a recent crash on my commute home from school, breaking some parts on my bike and landing hard on my injured foot.  In summary, the last few weeks have presented some pretty big setbacks.

Setbacks however are part of sport and life, and in order to succeed, they must be overcome. That is why at this point in time I remain extremely optimistic, and have set myself up to not only recover, but drastically improve.

Lets go through my glass half full outlook

I like to view my injury as a gateway for realizing new opportunities that might remain unseen in my uninjured state.  As the door closed for the opportunity to run with the cross team, another door opened to the athletic injury clinic.  In taking the opportunity to receive treatment from my team therapist, I have seen my injury improve every week that goes by.  If that wasn't enough, we also developed a comprehensive plan to turn my weakened self into a strong, well oiled machine for next years racing season.

Coming to the realization early on that I probably wouldn't be running for a while lead me directly to the pool, where I not only was able to maintain my fitness, but also meet some people essential to my further success.  I decided I needed to invest some time and money into my swimming, so I signed up to swim with the york swim team.  This was perhaps one of the best decisions I could have made.  I won't reveal everything, but basically I have been able to see both my swimming and cycling improve just by signing up.  I have also lined up some top class running partners for down the road as a result of swimming with the team.

Right to Left: Me (3'rd), Cody (2'nd), Richard (1'st), Paulina (1'st woman), Alex (4'th), Angela (2'nd woman)

And as if I needed any more motivation, I got it when I was awarded a nice big cheque of 500 clams (dollars) for my third place overall finish in the elite age group of the Multisport Canada Triathlon Series.  To top this would take something something for free (for those blog reader who aren't aware, I take after my dad and get really pumped over free swag).  As if higher powers were at play, I get an email from Multi Sport Canada informing me I was a winner of a $200 gift card towards a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses in the season long draw.  After winning nothing all season in post race prize draws, I finally get my name picked, and end up getting one of the best prizes of the lot. Hows that for motivation!!  I might be down for now, but not even close to out!

Thats it for now, my foots getting cold in the ice bucket