Monday, July 19, 2010

Canmore Nationals. Gluten Free?

A solid preparation week similar to how I have prepared for major races in the past. Finally, a working heart rate monitor as I mooched parts from Trevor Pombert's old Polar. Headed down to Canmore Thursday evening to allow the legs time to prepare for Sunday's race, pre-ride, and sign on. Speaking of sign on, apparently some riders have people who sign on for them. Must be nice...

It had been haunting me for the last two weeks: Should I jump the double logs on the first descent, "Mad Handler". 2 weeks before, I had gapped them, but had a weird crash on the next corner. Initially, I played it safe and rolled them, but while looping back up the climb, I saw Derek Zandstra gap the logs with ease. I had convinced myself to give it another go and then before I knew it, I was on the ground. Alright, no log hopping for me... The pre-ride pain continued when I tagged my hip on a tree on "Nectar Noodle". Ouch!

While having pre-race dinner at LunaBLUE (food was okay, $$$ and adagietto), Steve called me out for eating pasta, citing that gluten inflames muscles. "Haven't you ever listened to Allen Lim?" Well that set the tone for a weekend of WWALD (what would Allen Lim do) jokes.

Race day, watched some of Le Tour, then some live footage from the woman's elite race, and then headed up to the CNC in time to see the finish. After a solid warmup, I was in the start grid with the clock counting down the 45 second gap for our start (under 23 men) after the Elite men. Oh yeah, some frenchie offered up one beer to whoever won if he did not get lapped. I thought to myself:

yeah right. You are from Quebec; you came all this way to race; you must be fast

The start was not too bad through the start loop, nice and strung out, but I found myself in the back, which turned out to be a problem once 2 CVM riders decided to let a gap go (probably the dude who was worried about getting lapped). I chased back on, and the engine was nice and hot to slay the climb. However, my descending was not up to par as I lost contact with the riders I was with. Settled into laps 2 and 3 nicely, and started to notice the fade in lap 4. Finished lap 4 just before Elite winner, Geoff Kabush came in, phew, I did not get lapped! Lap 5 with the Coke bottle was survival mode to bring it home to the finish. After a solid effort 13 mins back, 16th place, and 5 UCI points (thankfully, not enough to race a World Cup), I was spent.

A few recovery beers helped to ease the pain, but I was still too tired to ride Highline. This year, I have "raced" myself into shape, but all of my MTB races have been just over 90 minutes. But the last 2 races have required at least 120 minutes of racing. When I would usually be "bringing it home" to the finish, I now have to try to avoid getting lapped and then do another lap on top of that! Already looking ahead to next year: by competing in more 2hr + races next year, and improving my descending, I can easily shave more time off my race!

The organizer really took a lot of heat about the course design. It actually seemed to have a nice ebb and flow, and was pretty good, it just did not live up to the Canmore reputation.

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