holy cow!

May 19, 2009 at 7:01 am | Posted in exercise, plans | 3 Comments
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whoa. that’s all i can say!!! too bad this is taper week for me because that looks like some awesome running weather. oh well. race day (sunday) looks fab, so i’m keeping my fingers crossed that nothing big changes. i’m not a big fan of downpours.

this past weekend was adventure weekend #5 in a series of 9 and boy was it crazy. the boy had a 24 hour bike race up at a mountain biking park/outdoor ed centre place, where we’d been for a normal mtb race, not too many weekends ago. the life$tyle$ of the rich and famou$ race is a unique 24 hour race where cabin accommodations, shower/bathroom facilities and food is all provided. (ordinarily at these events, you have to camp, bring your own food and have your own volunteer helpers to support you while you ride). we did it last year and it was a ton of fun. last year the boys came in #4, so this year, the determination to podium was like a fire on their rear wheels. they had 3 new team members (on a team of 5), including a girl, who threw them into the “mixed” team category, increasing their winning chances manyfold, as she has the speed faster than most other girls around.

we arrived on friday evening so everyone could preride the course and we could get ourselves set up for the race. the weather didn’t look great (cold and rainy with lots of mosquitos), but that didn’t stop us from drinking beer and rocking out to some tunes in the big bike tent we set up.

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saturday morning after bowls of oatmeal and a general meeting to go over rules (no cheating, time penalty details, only one rider on the course at a time, etc), we headed back to our cabin to strategize riding order. jon was picked to be anchor, since his performance at last year’s le mans start (where the riders are all behind a line and their helmets and bikes are about 100 metres away. it is insanity) was awesome. this year, the organizers decided to go for a regular race start, with everyone on their bikes at the line. jon pulled out in 4th or 5th place out of the 135 riders, but after the first lap, he was in 1st. it was really exciting. 2/5 of the team were on single speed bikes and although people had a lot of doubts of team doppler effect’s awesomeness at the beginning, after the first few cycles through, everyone was talking about those fast university of waterloo guys on their single speeds. by nightfall, it was clear that there was no real competition and they were a shoo in to win, so team DE decided to see just how badly they could beat the next team, busting out hot lap after hot lap. their slowest times were faster than the next team’s fastest.

i had a great time as team support again. last year, i stayed up and outside for the entire 24 hours, but this year i decided that sleep would be good. i had the bunk above jon’s and i went to bed right after his first set of night laps and woke up just as he was getting ready for the break of dawn round. i headed out to the fire pit to hang out with some riders to see him come in before i went off on my long run, without music or any way to measure distance. i ran for an hour and a half so i could be back in time for breakfast. by 9:30, 4 laps ahead of the team behind them (our laps were about 40 minutes long), nearing the end of a rider cycle, we discovered that the 36 lap goal the team had set before the start was within reach. although we were 2 riders down, we did some calculations and figured out cutoff time points to see if sending a rider out for one final lap before the finish gun at 12:00. the second to last two guys each shaved an extra minute or two off of the times we estimated for them, which gave us a little bit of extra buffer for the 37 final minutes allotted for that last lap. at 11:21, jon was off! the countdown was exciting! we waited at the finish line with celebratory beers as we cheered for the final riders coming in. jon reached the finish with 5 minutes to spare!!

36 laps over 24 hours = lots of fun and lots of super tired/sore muscles! i showed everyone some good yoga for cyclists poses (like half pigeon, downward dog with one leg to the sky) while they cleaned up for the awards ceremony. doppler effect came in 1st in the mixed category with 36 laps, the team behind them having 31 laps. even if they had been in the men’s category, they still would have been in 3rd place (winners had 38, 2nd had 37). the winning solo man pumped out 27 laps (can you imagine? 24 hours of almost straight riding only stopping to use the washroom and quickly eat?) and the solo woman had 23 or 24. both were on single speeds!

some highlights:

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how many 11 year olds do you know who could handle a 24 hour solo race? this kid is TEH CUTEST EVAR. he rode with his mom and they did 5 laps, which is just as many as each of the women on the 3rd place women’s team did. did i mention he’s only 11?

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you have to dismount, run to your next teammate and touch them before they get on their bike and start the next lap

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team doppler effect: from the left, 4 people in strting with shawn, jon, jasmin, jeff and nick. champions! they’ll be getting leader’s jerseys in the mail. awesome job guys! i hope we get to come back next year.

yesterday was victoria day, and like proper canadians, jon and i did a bunch of yard work (after we did a lot of sleeping). we mowed the front and the back and got my vegetable patch ready for next week, when i’ll be bringing back my plants from the farm. back to work today (though i am working from home, waiting on mr fedex) and another super busy week! my race is on sunday, so we’ll be heading out to the odot on friday or saturday. i’m excited and a little nervous. my training got a tiny bit derailed in the last two weeks and i never got in a really really long run in, but i’m confident that i’ll be able to finish the 21.1km without a problem, and hopefully smoke my old PR. i’m hoping to shave off at least 7 minutes this time. we’ll see!

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phew

May 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Posted in exercise, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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i was almost relieved that monday came after crazy weekend #3. i need a weekend from my weekends and although work is as far from relaxing as possible, it was a welcome change.

the boy and our houseguest arrived really late on friday night after going to see a fellow cyclists’ band play (i sadly had to miss this because i was in the wrong city). i woke up early for my weekly long run. 16km was the plan. the forecast said it wouldn’t start raining until “late morning.” i left the house at 7:30 and figured i’d be safe. i briefly considered taking my cellphone and decided against it.

8km in, at the halfway point, the sky opened up! i did my turn around and RAN. like the wind. i was seriously flying. and getting seriously wet. there’s nothing like thunder and lightening to kick your ass and make you faster. at the 13km mark, 3km away from home, i saw a familiar car pull over and stop for me. even though i didn’t really tell him where i was going to be, jon came and found me. i felt warm and fuzzy inside, even though i was cold and wet on the outside. it was a really good run anyway though. i’m almost sad i didn’t get the last 3km in (but not sad enough to not take my shining armour rescue). my ipod wasn’t as happy, though. i thought that after her first encounter with the h2o last fall (after an accidental trip through the washer that she miraculously survived) that maybe skye (or robin) liked being wet! i hoped for another miracle, but…no deal. i did manage somehow to get my run synced to the nike+ website though, which i am quite pleased at. replacement nano is in the mail, currently on a whirlwind vacation (started off the morning in lantau island, going to disney and checking out the pink dolphins and is currently in anchorage alaska, probably doing some dog sledding. i’m not sure what will be next!) we should be reunited by friday. apparently i manage to epically kill my ipods (first one went through the washer and dryer, then died. second one went swimming in the rain. i should take bets on how this next one will meet its end)

sunday morning was another early one, as we had to leave the house before 7 for jon’s 9:30 am race. someone miscalculated driving distances or maybe just forgot to account for the fact that 7am traffic on sunday morning does not exist, but we got to the conservation park at 7:40. it was chilly! by 10ish, it started to warm up and i enjoyed hanging out in the feedzone in my camping chair, giving jon fresh bottles and cheering him on. even though the course was pretty wet and muddy, he still managed to do awesomely in the single speed category, coming in 2nd out of 21.

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that’s my boy! i was sad he took off his sweet jersey before the award ceremony. hopefully he’ll get some more podium action later this summer.

jon and i spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon chilling out in the sunshine, watching our friend race (and feeding him) and playing with our other friends’ adorable new puppy. we came home and bbqed, drank beer and ate some homemade ice cream. that’s what good days are made of. i did send my mother an email, but besides that we didn’t really do anything special for mother’s day, since both of our moms were far away. (i have gifts for my mom when she’s here next month). i cut myself a nice bouquet of tulips and other wild flowers from the garden because even though i’m not a mom, i do a lot of mom-like things and i like flowers.

just when i thought work couldn’t get any busier, BAM! insane doesn’t even begin to describe it! plus one of my coworkers is going on his early honeymoon for the next week and a half and my supervisor has been ordered by her doctor to only work from home (she has kind of a high risk pregnancy and the next few weeks are supposedly critical). i have a bunch of new responsibilities and the opportunity to shine. keep your fingers crossed that things don’t go the other way.

little blessings

April 28, 2009 at 8:23 am | Posted in exercise | 2 Comments
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it’s tuesday morning and i’m still at home! it’s awesome because i didn’t get that much of a weekend. we had to wake up early (5am ish) both days AND i was outside in the rain for a good chunk of sunday. all day i was wishing wishing that i didn’t have to go in to work on sunday.

someone was listening! i got a call from my manager on sunday evening saying that the crazy storm that blew through here on saturday did some damage to our office building and that it would be closed for a few days- wahoo!!

i’ve been taking full advantage of these totally free days. yesterday morning i got my speedwork run out of the way before it got *too* warm. (it was 28°C/~86°F yesterday afternoon!) this week was 3X 1 mile at 8min/mile. i was strong and consistent. then i had a funday monday. made a summer salad lunch to watch with lost, went shopping and picked up a few cute shirts + a new immersion blender (i killed my old ones trying to make rice crackers. bad call) and had a nailpolish party (cute fingers and toes!). a bit of cleaning, some laundry and email catch up – bonus PLUS a walk in the neighbourhood with my camera, capturing spring flowers and trees. it was a pocket full of joy. i came home to a fresh bowl of homemade raspberry fro-yo. it doesn’t get any better.

backtrack:

the weekend was super hectic. we had a houseguest AND a super early morning race to drive to, an hour and a half away. a lot of my time was spent preparing food and getting things organized. for the first time ever, though we had a start time 4 hours earlier than normal, that everything went REALLY smoothly. there was no yelling, no short tempers, no frustration. breakfast was ready to go, lunches and snacks were prepacked in the fridge, bottles were made + chilling, gear was set out and ready to go and bikes were cleaned and on the car rack. i hope we can keep this up for the rest of the summer!

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jon got a new bike last year after his old racing bike fell off the car rack and got run over by the woman behind us (it was tragic). this one is single speed! i need all the gears i can get on my bike, so he amazes me extra these days. anyway, he did awesomely in his new category (against all the other guys on SS bikes) – came in 4th out of 30, missing the podium by only 40 seconds. i did a great job of waiting for him in the feed zone, handing off fresh bottles and cheering him on (he does this for me at my races too!). i’m looking forward to the rest of the summer. hopefully the other races are not as wet.

stg 2 a

April 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies | 2 Comments
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my first bike race ever and i survived! let’s start from the beginning of the craziness.

before

on saturday, we had to drive about an hour west to ancaster, the finish line of the race, to pick up our packets (timing chip, sample eload which is gross, and an eload gel) and drop off our friend’s car. then we drove another hour back to waterloo to the boy’s apartment to spend the night there because it is closer to our starting points. the boy requested some yoga for cyclists (!) and we went on an easy hour long ride (when we accidentally ended up at DQ and accidentally got some cones). the evening was hectic because we had to scramble around and get everything ready to go. i really had no idea what to expect and was probably being more difficult that jon needed to have to deal with at the time, but he was super awesome and patient anyway. he cleaned my bike for me and gave me some last minute pointers.

super bright and early sunday morning, we packed up the car, picked up our friend and headed to st. george. although my race from st george didn’t start till 11:45, the other two boys needed to be in paris by 9, so i had about 3 hours to kill outside the south dumfries community centre in teeny tiny little st george. i had very little on me (because everything i brought would have to go on the bike with me the whole race!) but i did have my ipod, the second breakfast jon packed for me and a camera (that i didn’t use enough!). i did some more yoga for cyclists on the grass (i took yoga anywhere! i’m sure people thought i was a little crazy but my muscles were way better stretched than theirs’ come the start!), watched some sex and the city on my nano and rode around, checking out the competition and their bikes. it was relaxing and nice to not feel rushed.

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during

11:45 came pretty quickly and all of a sudden, there were 400 people at the starting line, waiting for the go gun. the start was one of the scarier moments for me. once we got out, we had a few kilometres of paved road, which was awesome. i got behind a bigger guy (bigger than me anyway) and drafted off of him until we hit the dirt roads. the rest of the race was insane! i managed to stick with some of the same few people throughout. most inspiring were the little kids – some riding their own bikes and some on those ride-along fake tandem things with their parents. seriously awesome.

we rode on rail trail, through some organic farms (that smelled like poo but had the best spectators), dirt roads, hiking paths, single track (jon says it is really double track but i have no idea) and paved road.

there were two gigantic mud pits, that ~1500 riders had gone through before me. it was soooooo sloppy and gross. obviously i couldn’t ride down or through, so i had to pull my bike. this resulted in a bit of a pileup/traffic jam. the amount of wet mud that collected at the tops of my wheels was ridiculous and there were times when even just walking was hard because my feet were sinking in the mud. sllllurp, i had to pull up hard. there was a significant amount of climbing which made my quads burn. i had to walk a couple times up some hills because i just couldn’t do it anymore. the singletrack was the most terrifying for me because i don’t ever mountainbike and i have very little in the way of good handling/technical riding skills. my arms and hands were really tense for a lot of the race because i was afraid i was going to crash.

i didn’t though! the headwind was MAD. i tried to stay close to people so i wouldn’t get knocked off my bike but that was quite difficult. i’m certain my time could have been at least 15 minutes faster without it. also, i unfortunately left my bike computer at home, so i had a very poor concept of distance. the event staff that kept telling us “you’re almost done! just over that hill and you’re there!” (all lies) didn’t help. i think this resulted in me not pacing myself very well. still, i managed to finish and gave it my all. i didn’t feel sick like i often do at the end of running races – the thought of eating was actually very appealing, and i was able to drink a 24 oz bottle of hammer heed. my camelbak was amazing because during most of the race, i couldn’t take my hands off the handlebars to pull out one of my bottles to drink from. i didn’t hydrate enough (my face was so salty at the end!) but it wasn’t terrible. my new tropical fruit flavoured hammer gel (i’ve been using espresso but decided it was time for a change) was awesome! so much better than espresso (i think because it doesn’t clash with the citrus flavoured heed). i didn’t manage to eat my shot bloks or sharkies while riding, but i did get at least a serving and a half of gel (stored in my devil bottles) which gave me good boosts of carbs + caffeine.

although my time was a bit slower than i wanted, i think i did really well (especially given the wind). i think my expectations were unreasonable anyway, given that this was not only my first race but my first time riding on single track, on soft wet grass, through mud pits, and in a pack as well. i finished in the middle of my category. i was in awe of all the people that did the 60km race because i thought my half was incredi-hard. a lot of them finished in the same time as i did 😉 (jon was actually 12 minutes faster than me and he was riding on a single speed bike – no gears!)

after

i’m experiencing some soreness today but it’s nothing too bad. nothing a little yoga with dawnelle can’t fix right up. i feel great about my accomplishment. if i’m around this area next year, i’ll definitely do it again! there’s only one way to go and that is up. i’ll be more prepared for the climbs and will know what to expect. this was kind of the perfect race for me because although it needed some handling skills, it wasn’t overly technical. it was long enough to be long (took me 2:30 to finish) but not crazy long like a 200km race. plus it wasn’t as scary as a road race (where people crash into each other left and right) or like an mtb race (where there are big rocks and trees in the way).

for once the rain didn’t make me sad. a) it’s turning all the grass etc green and b) it makes me feel less guilty that i am not riding my bike to work. thursday should be sunny. i left my cute helmet in jon’s car, but luckily i have a spare somewhere in the basement. i’ll have to suck it up and not be stylish, for the sake of my brain, i *guess*.

last week my running kind of took a back seat to time on the bike, so i’m hoping that this week i can get in at least 2 of my 3 scheduled runs plus a swim. we’ll see!

point of no return

April 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Posted in exercise, food, hobbies | 2 Comments
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i registered for next weekend’s 35km bike race (my first ever!) so now there’s no going back! well, i guess there is, but it’ll cost me $45. it’s a pretty unique race in that it’s not a mountain bike race and it’s not really a road race either. it’s 11km of gravel and dirt roads, 8km of rail trail, 6km of singletrack (1-3km sections) and 10km of paved road. i have no idea what to expect on the rail trail and i’m a little worried about the single track, but i think i’ll be okay.

today we practiced drafting again. it’s hard! at least i’m fairly comfortable with the shoes/pedals and being clipped in now. it’s amazing what a difference that makes with my speed and climbs especially. we also practiced changing tubes, in the event that i flat in the race. it will cost me a whole lot of time, since i’m pretty slow, but i’m just doing this for fun so it’s no big deal. i’ll try it a few more times tomorrow to make sure i’m completely comfortable with all the steps and using my CO2 inflator.

easter weekend was pretty lovely and continues tomorrow! thumbs up for 4 day weekends. i plan to do my long run in the morning, go grocery shopping (since the stores were closed today) and then spend the rest of the time chilling at home (watching tv and making turkey stock). my almost-last-minute easter dinner was a huge success. luckily i had a turkey in the freezer that i pulled out and most of the ingredients for the awesome stuffing recipe (with dried cherries, maple syrup, pecans and sausage) i’ve been dreaming about for a while. we had mashed sweet potatoes on the side. dessert was some homemade butterscotch pecan ice cream. i’m pretty sure i’ll be eating leftovers all week, though i did send half of everything home with the boy.

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happy spring!

the stars align

March 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Posted in exercise, food, plans | Leave a comment
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even though it’s the last full week of the fiscal year and there is all kinds of crazy nonsense going on at work and we didn’t have the most lovely weather, i am still having a great week!

lots of good:
– fun package in the mail
– a great job interview
– a weekend road trip to look forward to
– a sad but very inspiring retirement party at work (we are losing a legend)
– a few quality runs. the training plan is hard, in fact, i’m not quite fast enough yet but i’m working on it! today’s tempo run wasn’t as good as the intervals but i’m still happy
– some new (to me) awesome tunes (discovered through working on the below project. who knew punk would be so fun to dance around to?) the album is indestructible by rancid
– i have a batch of potentially delicious tuffies, waiting to be enjoyed with some tea
– i finished the fun bike video that i’ve been working on. enjoy!

(blerg! wordpress does not embed vimeo and youtube is obnoxious. so. i’m just leaving the link here. i encourage you to check it out because it’s fun fun fun!)


clip on, right foot, clip off left foot

March 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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clip on, clip off, breathe in through the nose, out the mouth.

this weekend, i took my bike out for it’s first sunshine spin of 2009. for my birthday (around christmas time), my boyfriend got me a set of clipless pedals + cleats. i’ve been practicing the getting in and out on my trainer all winter, but it doesn’t compare to doing it on the road. it was an extremely humbling experience. i fell off my bike twice, skinned a knee and wound up with a bruise on my hip. i forced myself to get right back on and keep trying because i knew if i gave up then, that would be it. jon was extremely patient with me. after a second day of practice on my own around the baseball diamond near my house (so if i fell, it would just be on soft grass), i’m feeling a lot more comfortable. clipless pedals make me feel so much more pro on the bike! i’m not just a girl with a bike, i’m like a for real cyclist. i have a few actual cycling jerseys too! logistics pending, i am also going to sign up for a bike race that is semi-off road (farm lanes, trails and gravel roads). i have a cyclocross bike, which is pretty ideal for this type of terrain (it’s road bike like, but designed for off roading. but not like mountain bike off roading), so i’m excited! (i’ll only be doing the 35 km ride, while the boy will do the 60 km one. i wish we could do it together but this is an important training race for him and there’s no way i can handle 60 km!)

in other weekend news, we did a major cook once, cook big. jon buys the cans of campbell’s soup. the last time we were at the grocery store because he was out, i saw that they’ve gone up to almost $2 a can, and they are really not at all tasty. he is on a tight grad student budget and he does love soup, so i volunteered to make him some delicious soup, all from scratch, to keep in the freezer. i fell back on my two old favorites, the minestrone and the chicken chowder. the stock came from 3 chickens that i skinned and butchered up myself! he helped me, and together we were the most organized team ever! everything was prepped and ready to go. we had three simultaneous pots on the stove AND we managed to keep the kitchen pretty clean the entire time.
this was the result

20 meals worth of yummy, healthy, low sodium soup for probably less than 50 cents each! i snagged the 3 small portions for lunch this week.

today was my first day of running speed work. i’m not gonna lie, i was a little anxious about it all day. 12 repeats of 400m at a pretty fast pace with 90 seconds in between. it went so well! i felt awesome the whole time (well. i didn’t FEEL awesome but i felt awesome about what i was doing and how fast i was going). i ended up being an average of 8 seconds faster than my plan said, but my 12 times were fairly consistent, and i think that is what is important. i hope this sets the tone for the rest of my interval work! i ran about 4.5 miles in 36 minutes of actual running time, which is insane for me – i’m more of a 9 – 10 minute/mile person. and i burned over 500 calories. woohoo. i know i’ll be in pain tomorrow though. yoga to the rescue! (after our bike ride this weekend, jon did yoga for cyclists with me. i think he really liked it! yay. maybe another convert)

i’ve got another crazy week at work. have a good one. don’t forget to breathe! very important.


back in the saddle

March 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Posted in exercise, hobbies, plans | 2 Comments
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after a glorious weekend filled with fun, it’s back to work for me! luckily i came home to a nice big box on my doorstep full of the running and biking wear i ordered from mountain equipment coop. i was able to score a ton of stuff on sale (including some arm warmers and seamless undies!). all but one shirt are made in canada and everything is either mostly or completely made from organic and recycled fibres! awesome. you’ll be seeing them on me in the near future. i think that looking cute makes me faster 😉

i went for my first (and second!) outdoor runs this weekend. i cannot tell you how fabulous it felt getting back out on the road after a winter of riding my bike indoors. the bike has definitely made me stronger because even though i haven’t run in 4 months, i still felt really strong. i don’t officially start my training (next post) until next week – 9 weeks before my first race – so this week is a gradual easing back in to running. the weather looks like it is going to cooperate, and i have a ton of awesome stuff to wear! (today i was out in capri tights and a long-sleeved freeride jersey. no layers or gloves, headband, neckwarmer or anything. how fantastic) last year i was down on spring but right now i am lovin’ it!

the weekend was full of fun. i went to the bike show, like i mentioned. getting there was an adventure in itself. i don’t take ttc enough, it seems. i got on the wrong streetcar trying to get to exhibition place and somehow ended up on the streetcar heading uptown. it was a lovely ride through the city – kensington and china town, and i was afforded lots of interesting people watching.

the bike show itself was great. i scored some excellent new louis garneau bike shorts, the chamois of which is super padded! i also picked up a half priced camelbak because i’ve been wanting one for ages but didn’t want to pay $60 for it. i can’t wait to take it out on a long bike ride or hike. i also got a pair of fingerless riding gloves for cheap, so i can protect my hands and have better grip without overheating.

i took some excellent video at the bmx stunt course and the 4 cross races, and my first ever video is in the works. i’ll be sure to post it here for your enjoyment when i’m done! imovie rocks.

medieval times was quite underwhelming, though i had no expectations. the highlight was when i caught one of the horses pooping in the arena. this plus eating dinner without any utensils doesn’t really make for a great dining experience.

i’ll leave you with a picture of me, rocking our friend’s new downhill helmet. those things are super padded on the inside!


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