Jun 26, 2013

NOW and Novartis for MS will be racing BC Superweek from July 4 - 15, in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.  BC Superweek consists of several independent races: some several stages, some one day events.

It promises to be a week and a half of hard, aggressive, fun, and exciting racing.  Professional teams from all over North America are coming to show their colours, and I'm especially excited to be there with my team: NOW and Novartis for MS.

Check out www.BCsuperweek.com, and follow #BCSupereweek on Twitter!

Jun 25, 2013

Canadian National Road Cycling Championships 2013

 BRONZE AND SILVER at the Canadian National Road Cycling Championships
Lex Albrecht: Canadian National Road Cycling Championships 2013. Photo © Pasquale Stalteri / All rights reserved
The Canadian National Road Cycling Championships were held in St. Georges, Québec from June 20 - 23 2013.  I race for NOW and Novartis for MS, an American team.  Since I'm the only Canuck, I was on my own, which is an exceptional situation.  No teammates, no staff.  A lot of extra work, but a welcome challenge.
Lex Albrecht, Canadian National Road Cycling Championships.  Time trial.  Photo © CanadianCyclist.com / All rights reserved
The first event was a 28km time trial (TT).  I went at the rolling course on my Specialized S-Works Shiv TT bike like I meant it.  I put in a solid effort.  I had installed a special chainring to help me go faster on the downhills but the plan backfired a tiny bit.  The chain wouldn't stay on the ring near the end of the race.  Lesson: never deviate from SRAM components.  Regardless, I'm proud of my 7th place finish, and am even more motivated to keep working on my TT.

Photo: D. Gagnon
The next day was a 110km road race around St. Georges.  To recover in time, I used my Travel Roller .  I bring that Travel Roller with me, EVERYWHERE.
On the road course, there were some really rough sections on the road (deep crevasses, huge potholes, sharp, rocky gravel), some good climbs, and rolling hills. 

I played it safe for the first part of the race, saving my energy for the end.  At one point I let my guard down and let myself get shuffled too far back in the pack.  As the riders hammered up a hill in front of me I decided I needed to step my game up.

I counter attacked another rider's effort, hoping to get away from the pack who was already tired of chasing the previous attack.  I wanted somebody to follow me or bridge up to me, so we could work together and stay away.  But, I saw that I was floating off the front solo a little too long and let up on my pace.  As the gap shrunk, one rider bridged up as a precaution before we were "absorbed" back into the pack.  I was a part of a small group that would finally break off the front on a difficult part of the course, leaving the rest of the pack chasing.

In the final kilometers, we were a select group of only 5 or 6 riders being chased down.  I took the 2nd last corner with just a bit too much precaution and had to make up for it in the final few hundred meters.  I sprinted up the last pitch to a 3rd place finish.  Especially after crashing out of Nationals in 2012 with a nasty concussion, it was good to be back on the podium.
2013 Canadian Road Cycling Championships podium. Proud to wear my Nuheat pin! Photo: B. Poredos
A quick interview with Pedal Mag after the podium ceremony.  Photo: B. Poredos
Canadian National Criterium Championship race was two days later.  I still "Travel-Rolled" and rode my bike on the day off to make sure my legs didn't seize up.  I did some mechanics on my bike, and mixed and matched some cassettes on my Rolf wheels to find the perfect combination of gears.  I needed something fast enough to launch fast attacks and to be in contention for the final sprint, and something easy enough to fly up the steep uphill pitch that we would climb 24 times during the race.
Greasy hands, again.  It's important to have an idea of how to take care of your own bike!
The crit was fun, and hard, but that's the way I wanted it.  I raced one of my most aggressive races of the season, throwing attacks at the peloton and trying to make a break stay.  The peloton dwindled down considerably by the end but no breakaway succeeded.  
Lex Albrecht, Canadian National Road Cycling Championships. Criterium.  Photo © CanadianCyclist.com / All rights reserved
With less than one lap to go, I put in a hard effort at the top of the climb that seemed to tire a lot of riders out.  I drilled it.  Leah Kirchman of Optum chased and caught up through the final corner that she took fast and hard, and shot past me.  I pounded the pedals until the finish line, not even daring to look behind me.  That earned a silver medal in the end.
Lex Albrecht, Canadian National Road Cycling Championships. Criterium podium.  Photo © CanadianCyclist.com / All rights reserved
It is great to bring home the hardware and represent NOW and Novartis for MS in "my" country.  I want to thank my team, NOW and Novartis for MS, all of our sponsors, as well as my partners for their support.

I love riding and racing regardless of results, but I definitely know that training hard at PowerWatts Premier studio in Montréal, Québec is really paying off.  (If you want to learn more about PowerWatts, click HERE to follow them on Facebook)

Jun 13, 2013

Thanks, Ottawa Bicycle Club

I spent a couple of hours at the Canadian Museum of Aviation this afternoon.  I saw a lot of neat planes and even sat in the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet.  I wouldn't actually want to shoot missiles out of a jet.  I'm glad I'm a cyclist.  Anyway, that wasn't the real reason that I was in town...

I was in Ottawa with my Specialized Shiv and Rolf wheels for my first Ottawa Bicycle Club time trial.  It was excellent practice for the Canadian National Championships time trial, which will be in exactly one week.

Every week in the Gatineau park, the OBC puts on a 15km TT.  A lot of people come out to race.   The atmosphere was great, the course was fast, and the venue was perfect.   We registered around 5:30pm, found out our start times at 6:00pm, and racers were off 10 minutes after that at 30s intervals.   There was no typical photo finish, but there was video being taken probably to cross-check times and riders if necessary.  There were no race numbers either, which was A-ok.  We just had to shout out our number as we crossed the finish line to make sure the right time was attributed to the right person.  A super race put on with not a lot other than great team-work, and obvious dedication and passion from the club. 

Thank you for allowing me to participate as a guest this evening, OBC.  What a great experience!

I drove back home to Montréal, Québec right away, and recovered with a bottle of Dutch Cocoa RUMBLE during the drive.  20g of protein, totally natural, and 100% delicious. 
Never heard of it?  Click the picture above.  You're going to want to try it...

Jun 12, 2013

Together in MS. BikeMS in Duluth MN.

I blew it. 

As I was retrieving my items from the airport security bins that had just passed through the scanner at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, I looked down and thought "Sheesh, I almost forgot that", went back to packing my things back up, forgot it anyway, and headed to board the plane.

I had just finished one of the coolest events that I have done outside of NOW and Novartis' race schedule this year: the BikeMS event in Duluth, MN.  Running on 6 hours of sleep over 2 days thanks to 2 early mornings in a row, and a super exciting day with Beth and Regina at the event, my energy was starting to run low!

Yeah, so low that I left all of my recordings from the BikeMS event behind at the airport.  Fear not, they're in the mail, heading home to Montréal thanks to Jim and Walsh from the MSP Airport Security lost and found.

In the meantime, CLICK HERE to watch the FOX 21 NEWS story about Regina, Beth and I at the event!

We had such a great time.  I want to do more BikeMS events.  Check out www.togetherinMS.com for more information about what we do at these events.

Jun 6, 2013

Together in MS - Duluth, MN

I'm going to Duluth this weekend, because I get to have the opportunity to do a Together in MS ride on a tandem bicycle!  One of the coolest perks of being on N.O.W. and Novartis for MS.  I can't wait!

 For more information on what this event is all about (and the other ones that will be held across the country) visit : www.TogetherInMS.com

Jun 4, 2013

Philadelphia Classic

The first time I raced Philly (2010), I crashed out, had 3 flats, and a major concussion.  I didn't finish but loved the scenery, the course, and the atmosphere so much I told the race organizer I'd be back.  (Which really wasn't necessary but my brain had been sloshed around a bit in the accident).

The second time I came back to win the Queen of the Mountain title after riding the majority of the race off the front (2011).

2013 was my third year at Philly.  And the first since having watched the entire series of Rocky movies.  Which made the whole experience even cooler.