Aug 26, 2013

Québec Road Cycling Championships 2013

In 2010 I was the Criterium and Team Time Trial Champion of Québec.  In 2012 I was the Road Cycling Champion of Québec.  After training in Lac St. Jean, the Laurentides, New England, and at home in Montréal, I felt ready to try for a new title in 2013: Individual Time Trial Champion.

Photo: Robert Wilson.  Added with permission
The course was 22km along the coast of the St. Lawrence river near Rivière du Loup, QC.  It's so far east that the St. Lawrence actually smells like the ocean.  It's gorgeous too.  With a tail wind, the flat course was so fast I didn't appreciate the beauty of anything further than several meters from my Specialized S-Works SHIV though.  I tried to stay focused on my pacing, and go hard enough to keep the speed up, without emptying the tank too early and 'exploding' before the end. 

I'm proud to be the new Champion of Québec in Time Trialing, it's an honour to stand atop the podium with such strong girls!

Motel Recovery 101: After the road race, I recovered with a good Travel Roller session (I'd almost left my Travel Roller behind in Montréal!), microwaved a steak, drank a Rumble, and enjoyed the scenery at the waterfront.
Travel Roller, Rumble, and a to-be-microwaved steak!
Rivière du Loup port
ROAD RACE - alone with 5.5km to go

The road race the next day was different.  A time trial is an indvidual effort, all about pacing, position and approach.  There's quite a bit more strategy involved in road racing.  As the solo athlete from NOW and Novartis for MS, and the defender of the Championship title, I knew I would have to be savy.  I pre-drove the course in my beast-of-a-car to make sure I knew what to expect.

I told Audrey Lemieux, the race's announcer, that I would try to escape the peloton later in the race.  I followed some moves and tried my chance at creating a break earlier on but I didn't like how things played out.  In the final km of the first lap, I found the place where I wanted to attack the next time around: a long, slightly uphill grind with rough pavement, where the winds seemed to shift unexpectedly.

The race dynamics were perfect when we approaced that area a second time and I slipped from the pack 5.5km before the finish line, and pounded on my Time pedals.   I crossed an overpass, and still nobody was on my wheel. As I approached a roundabout, a car came onto the course. Talk about DANGEROUS!  The  commissaire tried to stop the car much too late, and suddenly were blocking my entry into the roundabout. I screamed at both of them to stay where they were as I sped through.  I didn't want to lose my gap, and I didn't want to get in my second accident with a car in the same week.
I ignored the pain in my legs in the final km, especially up the last kicker where I promised myself I would drill it as hard as I could.  I was convinced after cresting that hill, my lead would hold and I would be safe.  I get a little loopy sometimes when I go really hard though; I became a bit paranoid that the girls would come back on me.  I looked behind a zillion times, and threw in some last efforts.  The gap was there.  Everything was fine.  I sat up.  I put my arms in the air in the final metres.  Crossing the finish line and I brought back another victory for NOW and Novartis for MS, successfully defending my title.
On the podium with my Nuheat bottle, and my fresh Champion of Québec jersey
What a weekend!

Aug 11, 2013

Volume, Technique, Intensity, Recovery.

Since my last big racing block with NOW and Novartis for MS out West (B.C. Canada, and Bend, OR)  I'm happy to be home in Montréal for a few weeks to focus on hitting some good training days HARD.  I'll be training at the PowerWatts Studio in Montréal, all over the province of Québec, and even in New England, USA.

I spent a weekend on the Véloroute des Bleuets in Lac-St. Jean for some volume riding.  Steady pace, long rides.  The bike route goes around the Lake, covering over 200km with perfect pavement and the scenery is excellent.  Here are a few articles on my visit in the local papers:
En amour avec la région - Roby St. Gélais (Journal de Québec)
Lex Albrecht s'entraîne chez nous - Serge Tremblay (L'étoile du Lac)
I took the time to stop and pick blueberries after my final ride in Lac St. Jean, a fruit that the area is famous for.  I had a tough time deciding what I was going to do with them.  I ended up creating...these:


Kindgom Trails in East Burke, VT is my absolute favorite mountain bike destination.  I took my 29" double suspension trail machine and hammered through the trees for 5 hours.  Pure bliss!  What a great way to work on bike handling skills.


Le Parc de la Mauricie the ultimate place to ride in Québec, in my opinion.  I drilled through the Parc with the highest intensity I've ever held before (confirmed by my Quarq Powermeter) with a great training partner and friend.  YEOWCH.


You can't go hard if you're not well recovered from the last hard workout.  I purchased the Indie Coffee Passport in Montréal this summer for my coffeshop rides.  It's the perfect way to see the city, discover new coffee shops, and a fun way to create a destination for a recovery ride.  Somtimes...I go to two in a row.  Want to know my favorites?  I usually share on Twitter: