Sunday, June 27, 2010

Raccoon Rally

This is the Garmin file from the road race. Lots of climbing (4-10k climbs) and lots of time spent with heart rate above 170.

OK.... so the Raccoon Rally was dope. I have ranked the road race the best race I have ever done. It was an amazing course and the the cat 1/2 competition provided the perfect challenge. I went into this race with my only goal being to get some excellent training, and I did just that. I pulled a whole bunch, I bridged gaps, I shut down almost every attack, and I attacked too.

The climbs were not steep, just looooooong with grades 3-10%. I was able to use my big ring for almost the whole race because we were climbing fast. The course was not technical at all with only sweeping turns that could be taken very fast. I think I enjoyed the race so much because I felt that we were all evenly matched. No superstars were around that could go clear easily, and the the teams were not large enough to put the independents at a big disadvantage.

The winning move was made early on the last climb, and the guy built a nice gap by the top that he held on to till the end. I worked hard to help reel him in, putting in so good digs, but when I pulled aside nobody would come by to take over. Near the top a bunch got clear and I bridged, but lost the 3 who went clear when the wheel I was on gaped and I could not close it. We caught those 3 after the decent by sharing the work, and then sprinted for second. It was an uphill finish, and I had no jump left, but managed to muscle my way in for 6th. I was was very pleased with how things went.

So I don't have much to say about the XC race. The course was disappointing, but epic at the same time. The disappointment was the lack of singletrack (less than 1km out of 50), but similarly to the Road Race, the climbs were loooooong. I took the lead at the start and hammered up the first parts of the climb. We climbed up gravel, then, dirt, then more dirt, then grass, then descended a bit, then climbed more grass and that was when I kind of blew up. About 6 guys got by and slowly pulled away and I could not respond. After 30mins plus of straight climbing we finally got to go down. Two guys on CX bikes were with me and I worked with them till the end of the first lap, gaining a couple spots. The second lap was shorter, with only the dirt climb, and I upped my pace shedding the CXers and catching one other guy to roll in for fourth. A solid result for the second day in a row, but the fitness gains are the most important result to me. The XC race was amazing for suffering, but if I do it next year (very likely) I will use a Cross bike to make it more fun, and help with the grass climbs.

Congrats to Chown for the win, and Henri for some solid races; you are starting to get the results you deserve and I'm sure will not be S3 for long.

So Chin is Thursday, can't wait. Going to rest as much as possible till then and do some short intervals tomorrow to keep the engine fired up.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

So how did my Lake to Lake go?

Well the pic says it all. I was involved in the big crash at the start. What I remember was someone going down onto/in front of J.C., who went down in front of me. He was a bit to my left, and went down that way, so I was forced to ride straight into his bike, and I flipped right over it. I got up quickly, and jumped right back on my bike as if nothing had happened, then realized my stem was way crooked. Got of and fixed that, just by cranking on, but it was tight and fidgeting with a multi tool may have been faster. Jumped on again, and then noticed my front tire was nearly flat, but rode it to the first right hand turn where my parents were to tell them what happened. I shot in a Co2 there and watched the last riders of the first wave go by, then I jumped on again and hammered hard passing people like one of those asshole highway drivers who does 150 weaving between lanes. I was running off pure testosterone and adrenaline, and that got me past hundreds of riders before Dain City. Once on the first ATV trails I was feeling great, just flying past others, riding smooth through the unwanted lines to make passes. I knew that even at my pace I was still losing time on the racers I should have been with, but I was determined to make the top 10. Then Kaboom!!! At one part where a bunch of guys were all going walking speed to get around a big hole, I went for the gap, but came up short and my front tire exploded upon impact (found out later that it was actually the yellow tape bursting through a spoke hole). I took a small spill, spent some time looking for my shades, then realized I lost them during the first crash. I walked back to the road to call my parents. During the walk I started to feel my injuries, and figured it was good that I was done for the day; I had some healing to do.

My only real frustration was wasting my great form. I had a great week leading up with some solid intervals and a very fun/fast 3.5 hr MTB ride the added motivation of coming off a win added to that.

So when I got back to Forks Rd, the couple spectating let me use their phone (thanks) and then an ambulance rolled up, perfect! I got all disinfected then my parents arrived and brought me the news on J.C. I was shocked when I heard he was unconscious for a bit, but very releaved to hear he was back, and in the hands of doctors. I wish I had just stayed at the crash sight to help him, but I was for sure not thinking clearly after that impact. Thank God so many good people were around who could help him. Glad to hear he's doing fine.

So it was a shity day. Someone ruined it ruined it for J.C. myself and many others. This guy needs to learn how to ride a bike before he tries racing it at the front of the first wave or any wave for that matter. This race has always been very sketchy at the start, and something needs to be changed about the wave system. Invite only in the first wave (like P-A) would fix this for sure; but what do I know, anyway enough ranting.

I feel like I sensed that crash coming. I was trying to get out of the bunch just before it happened, but kept getting boxed in. There was a lot of tension leading up, with that first decisive turn quickly approaching. It was not a calm bunch.

So I am doing Racoon Rally this weekend, road and XC. I will do the S1/2 race as I will be upgrading prior to Chin. I was not sure about upgrading, but when I saw the road upgrade points list, I found out they decided for me. So I will go from winning, to trying to survive, but if I want to ever win an S1/2 race I better start racing them soon!

So my elbow hurts, my right cav hurts, my left shoulder hurts, and it is impossible to lay or sit comfortably with these oozing wounds all over my body. Yet.... I consider myself very lucky, because nothing is broken, and no-one that I know has anything broken, so we will be given'r again in no time!

Hope you enjoyed the day more than I did Dad. Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

K-W Classic

Victory number two came today, and it was a good one. I wanted to get the most out of this race, and feel like I did. I made some moves and followed most of the others.

I created the move that lasted the longest on lap ~7 by by sprinting after the finish and railing turn one at full speed. No brakes and as aero as I could be got me an instant gap. Then I heard a slam and some scraping behind me. Did the front of the field all go down on that turn? If so I had a solid chance. Lucky for them it was only one guy who slid out, and the chase was not disrupted. I got a nice gap, and saw Noble bridging up. He caught me at the climb and we hammered up, then just after the dh two more joined on, but we failed to get organized and were reeled in by the feed zone. I got gassed pretty quickly there and did not feel strong when joined by the other three. The pace slowed a ton after they caught us, so I had plenty of time to recover. This huge failed effort told me that likely nothing would stick, so I decided I would wait for a field sprint. I kept my eyes on the front, and caught on any jumps just to be up there.

On the last lap a couple moves went, Max's lasted a little, but no one seemed too worried. I got into the perfect spot for the sprint sitting about 6th wheel going through the final s-bend. I kept seated until I was in 53x13, then saw Mark P go and swerve left for some reason, opening a gap right through the middle for me. I shifted into the 12t, then stood and put out every watt I could blowing past everyone. My cadence got too high to stand so I sat and spun as fast as I could wishing I had an 11t. I threw the hands up early and it enjoyed the moment.

This was a fast sprint, with the down hill out of the s-bend, and a slight tailwind, we were flying. Everyone went early for sure, but in those circumstances it was possible to last.

The course was a great one for sure, just like everyone said. The dirt and water spray in my eyes was the only unpleasant part, but that's road racing in the rain for ya.

Congrats Justin for showing some solid form today. You seemed to be at or off the front the whole race. Use that strength at the right time and you will be putting the hurt on everyone. Also Noah who chased down everything and looked quite comfortable.

The SCCC dominated cadet again, good stuff. My club was 2 for 2 today with Sara winning the Master A woman's race; awesome work!

Looking forward to seeing the marathon results from the Ganny, sad I missed it again this year, but I am waiting till Sept 19th to tear up that forest.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feeling better.

I think I am through the worst of this cold now. Mornings still suck because I feel crappy and my nose runs like a tap, but I improve through the day and have been able to train a bit this week. I got some intervals done on Thursday and have done some 2hr rides yesterday and today. Tomorrow is the K-W classic. I have been looking forward to this race for a while because everyone says great things about the course. It is fast, with only two small climbs and some good turns in there too.

I have been thinking about my strategy and decided to just play it by ear. Siting in the whole race and then taking part in the heroic sprint seems like a good idea, but I want to get a workout in this race. I will attack, and I will go with attacks, and hope to get off the front with some strong guys to work with. If I can't get away I know who's wheels to follow for a lead out in the finale. If getting out of sight is easy (twisty sheltered roads), a break will have a chance, and if the course is technical that will increase the advantage. Also the weather is a big factor; wind and rain could help a break.

Looking forward to racing with Justin and Noah. Fun times tomorrow.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mountainview....and sick.

So 0-cup four is a wrap, meaning that the season is half history already. Hard to believe.

Made it up to Midland around noon on Saturday, with Moote and Kerton for a pre-ride. Weather was sketchy, but the rain held for us, and we found the trails to be in great shape. Only a couple spots where wet. I did 2 laps, and rode the rock garden like 8 times.... just because I was enjoying it. I was feeling very comfy on the bike and felt rested....because I was. Being sick since Hardwood meant very little ride time. The little riding I did was on my MTB, but I only made it to some singletrack once.

I am not supper sick, I just have this bug that's been going around Niagara, that includes a cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, dizziness and loss of energy. A shitty combo indeed. I have been on Cold FX since Thursday, and it may have helped a bit. Could just be a placebo effect, but thats an effect right? And that alone justifies the $25 dollars spent. But I really do feel a bit better shortly after taking 2 in the morning.

So after the pre- ride Kerton and I set up our base at the HoJo. Got the repair stand up and dialed in our bikes. I discovered that my cranks spider lock ring had came lose, so loose that I could remove it with my fingers. So glad I caught that. Unfortunately I did not have the tool to tighten it, but I did my best using a flat head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench as a hammer. That was all I could do. My rear brake did some funny stuff to and I spent some time trying to get the pad clearance back to normal, but failed. Got it to spin without rubbing but barely.

After some rest we made our way to the Shack for some grub with Paul and Peggy. It was very good, much better than last time I was there, fall 2008. The steak was very tasty. After that it was time for a blizzard at DQ, then more rest. I was happy to see that the ratio of racers at our hotel was super high, so it would likely be a quiet night. We crashed at 10, just after the Two Wheel Express crew shut down there dance party.

I slept well, but woke up a little early around 6am. I found rain, puddles and a new waterfall coming off our hotels roof. Oh well I thought, at least it won't be dusty. I began the loading phase with some bread and nutella, than started to work on my giant bowl of oatmeal. I got some dates, and a banana in me as well. After some rest and some more messing around with my brake I made my way over to the hill to watch Kerton start. He was fourth man up the hill. Nice!

After meeting up with my parents I started my warm up. I found some good hills up behind Mountainview, and did some efforts up them. I felt all right. Not bad for being sick. I guess my voice is really messed because everyone new I was sick before I mentioned it.

So on to the race (finally).

Start was good. I was mid pack at the top, and felt all-right. Lost some spots here and there, but not to many. throat was hurting half way through lap one, but I could breath fine. My second lap sucked. I was feeling crappy. Kind of like hardwood, but not quite as bad. A train of riders came past, and I really wanted to jump on it, but needed to recover at the time. Luckily, the twisty flats provided good rest without too much loss, so I just went steady through the turns.

Lap three I felt better. But don't think I made any passes there. Lap 4 I was feeling good. I caught back up to Anton, and rode with him for a bit. He showed off his roadie strength by dropping me on the open double track. Never let him get too far, but couldn't close it up. I started to cramp somewhere on lap 4, and was forced to walk up Glassford's grind. I tried to shake em out, but there where there and kept reminding me when I pedaled hard. Shit; as soon as I'm feeling good I start to cramp? Damn.

On the final lap I managed to make up a spot or two with the cramps, but could not empty the tank without some serious pain. It was the inner thighs that hurt the most. Hydration was not the cause of these cramps. I drank tones, and skipped coffee in the morning. Maybe being sick has messed with hydration, or my legs just aren't used to going so hard for so long like that. Oh and my chainring spider was crazy loose post race. Lockring was just hanging on my a thread. So lucky it stayed on there.......

So I cruised in for 19th, just behind Anton. I was happy to pick up some points and learn how solid I can ride while under the weather.

Thanks for the driving and accoms Kerton, and I am very proud of your podium. Expert is just around the corner for you ;) Also everyone who cheered for me. It helps. I got a couple of "go whoever you are"'s too. Very motivational.