Friday, April 29, 2011


Today I hardly left the couch.  My day has consisted of several movies and allot of internet trolling.  In fact it was almost like a sick day.  Except for the fact that I am not sick, and so I feel a little guilty.   I was feeling a little worn down.  The only activity I have done today is to wash my bike and ride it around the block.  I think I am bringing a whole new meaning to the term "Rest Hard".  To be honest though I feel like this is just what I needed. 

The last few days have had me feeling a little displaced.  I raced twice on the weekend.  Not much to note.  Mentally I was not fully there and so physically I suffered.  Then a couple Easter celebrations, which were awesome.  Then Monday I hit the ground running back to work and full training.  Trouble was I was beginning to feel as if my house existed only for sleeping in and not for living in.

So today I went about the task of ironing the couch.  I have done a pretty good job of that, and I think its safe to say that my house is starting to smell like home.  Now that I am feeling grounded and settled, it will be much easier to focus on what really counts.  Training hard and racing my bicycle.  Now if you will excuse me I have to go find out whether Tyrone or Kevin is the father of Molly's baby.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday Night

Across the world there must be something special about Tuesday Night.  No matter where you go, if the locals ride bikes, Tuesday night is Hammer Time.  The formats may vary but the premise is always the same.  A weekly "Tune up" race, where riding as hard as you can is more honourable than winning.  On Tuesday there is no prize money and no Title.  No one is afraid to lose, so everyone goes for it.

In Saskatoon we race 55km handicap road races.  With three ability groups staggered at 5 minutes.  Often the weather plays a strong role.  The scratch group catches the leaders 90% of the time and then the racing explodes.  Often there is a bunch kick but bold attacks are very common as well.  Tuesday in Vancouver is a 30min Critt with a hill not enough to slow you down just to add some burn.  If this race where longer it would surely come undone, but almost always finishes with a bunch sprint.  In Ottawa I rode the first Tuesday Critt of the season.  A simple square loop on the research campus owned by the NRC.  The format is a standard 50min criterium.  Flat and simple this race is not made by terrain but by the riders.

  Lots of Ottawa locals come out to race.  For many locals this is the weekly world championship, others will just be glad to finish.  Then there are others like myself who will only be interested in working hard.  Tuesday is for Tune ups.  Stretch the legs, get the lead out and to get the kind of training that you simply cannot achieve by "training."  To put it bluntly.  The best training is racing, but you have to be careful because that is putting it bluntly.

Thoughts on that later.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Above is the layout of the Calibogie race track.  The local auto enthusiasts ensure me that it is Canada's most dangerous race course.  I am not surprised.  The track is continuously changing directions in all three dimensions and rather exposed to the prevailing winds.  Racing on bicycles I think is considerably safer, although you will still feel your tires slide when you throw some watts into the corners.

To race on an auto track is unique.  The tarmac is smother than you can imagine and every section of the course can be used to capitalist on velocity and efficiency.  The result is a peloton that is in a constant state of acceleration.  When you add in strong cross winds and the occasional snow storm the race resembles some sort of musculo-pulmonary warfare.

The race start was slightly delayed.  A Sqwall blew in with a hit and run snow drop.  In ten minutes there was early an inch of snow on the track.  This was cleared by the track crew while all the under-dressed cyclists dove for shelter in cars and in the stadium house.  The tarmac is really fast and so everyone is feeling fast.  The aggression starts immediately. 

With the full squad in attendance the team wants to be represented in everything that goes off.  As we constantly change directions so to does the angle of the wind.  The enthusiasm of the bunch keeps the surging peloton intact and at a high pace.  Eventually the attacks take their toll, and a group forms off the front.  The group is 5 strong and we are not there. 


Life and death YO.  I rip off the front, diving into no mans land.  Crossing this open space is the only way to survive.  When I jumped I took along some baggage.  A rider from Garneau and on from Gaspesien.  Both had a teammate in the group ahead and would be doing me no favors.  I put my head down and poured my legs into the pedals. 

Made it.  Time to asses the situation.  3 riders from Garneau, 2 from gaspesien (one of whome would become victim to our pace), 2 others and myself.  Less than a minute to the charging field behind.  This could go forward or backwards either way crossing the gap took me down a notch.  The break away group floors it.  For almost an hour we are less than 1 minute advantage and fighting for every second.  Then slowly our gap begins to grow.  eventually the chase behind must have slowed we maxed our advantage at about 4 minutes.  The pace became a little more civilized.  For now.

Our gap moved around between 3 and 4 minutes, trending towards 3 minutes.  With 30 km remaining it was apparent that we would not be caught.  I knew what was coming.  Garneau had the numbers advantage and with 25 km remaining they took the gloves off.  I made my day earlier on the bridge.  I cold not follow the acceleration.  Our lead group split with 2 garneaus and one other in the lead.  I and the remnants of the group made valiant chase, but the front of the race had moved on. 

I spent all day in the break.  95 kilometers and finished sixth at the line.  At least it puts hair on your chest.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tour of the Battenkill

I`m not sure where to begin.  The tour of the Battenkill is America`s Queen of the classics.  Held in Cambridge NY.  The race tours around the back roads of upstate new york including over 50km of gravel farm roads and some explitf steep climbs.  It is a hard-man race where the terrain and the prestige refuse to let anyone hide.  This race is truly something special in North America.

When I looked over my racing calender this winter The Battenkill jumped off the page.  This was a race that excited me and stole my focus.  I wanted to come to this race.  To be strong.  To be aggressive and to ride for the W.  I did all that, all that I could. 

The race began slow out of town and wound up as we approached the first of many gravel sections.  With a peloton of 150 racers your position in the group is critical.  Each time we hit the gravel the road becomes narrower.  The terrain is dusty and rough.  There are many riders who crash or fall in the ditch or puncture their tires.  Every gravel section results in disaster for someone.  You must keep yourself safe near the front, with fewer people to have disasters nearby.  You must trust those around you, trust your team mates to stay safe and to keep you safe.

In the first 50km there where many crashes.  Too many to count.  Many riders do not feel comfortable on the gravel.  It is very rough, the dust clouds your vision, there is less draft and it is harder to pedal.  I fell very comfortable in the gravel.  In Saskatchewan we ride gravel every couple of weeks just to mix it up or take a short cut.  I must be rough rider at heart.

The team stays vigilant.  We are looking for a good attacks and waiting for the race to come undone.  We are riding aggressively and it starts to take its toll.  With 50km remaining the race remains wide open.  With short lived attacks and groups off the front constantly re-shuffling.  Fatigue is setting in.  The pace has slowed but the aggression is increasing.  The peloton has lost nearly two thirds of its volume.  What remains are once civilized cyclists, coated in dust and gnashing at the pedals like animals. 

The riskiest thing I can do is wait for the finale.  I need to make my race and with 30km and 3 gravel sections remaining I start on the offensive.  I am not the only one of this mind.  There are fluries of attacks before during and after gravel section 3.  The group remains intact albeit now less than 50.  Attacks continue and in Gravel section 2 there is a hesitation and I go for it.  I bridge hard to a single rider out in front we are then joined by a third and fourth from the rear.  There is just over 20km remaining, and we ride.

As they say in poker, I am all in.  For nearly 15km we nurse a gap of barely a minute.  Then before gravel section 1 two of the breakaway riders stop pulling through.  They seem to think this is futile.  We exchange some "words" and they are riding some more.  Gravel section 1 is entirely up hill for over 1km.  I punch out from the breakaway but the peloton is surging hard.  I am overwhelmed on the lower slopes.  Already cross eyed I force myself blue in the face to cling to this group.  Over the climb I survive 5km more to finish in the lead group of thirty.  I cross the line 23rd.

I was strong.  I was Aggressive.  And I tried to win the bike race, but I want more.

Much More.

Cuylar Conly

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Setting in

Moving is pretty busy work.  I have spent allot of time getting set up.  New city.  New Bike.  New roads.  New Job.  Check Check Check Check Check.  It has taken nearly a week but I dare say that I have moved in.  I am in a pretty cool neighborhood.  It's called New Edenburgh and I am only two blocks from Rideau Hall and #24 Sussex drive.  If you don't know that is where the leaders of our country reside.  Also within the range of projectile granite is the embassy of almost any country you can think of.  New Edenburgh.

View Larger Map

Now in case you forget how to read.  I have summarized the above in a few photos.




More Neighbors.

Capital Hiil.  Capitol bike.

Race number one is coming this weekend.  Cambridge, New York for the Tour of the Battenkill.
 Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly