Sunday, July 11, 2010

Too fast to be slow, too slow to be fast

photo: Emils Muehlenbachs

Well after a solid weekend of training in Canmore, I was pumped to test out the top end for the final time in the Tuesday race before the big race on the weekend. The legs were still a little dead from the weekend, but I was motivated to suffer hard, and that is what I did. I crashed at the beginning of the 2nd lap and looked down and saw a lot of blood on my left knee. Still finished the race strong! I had to get driven home from the race and headed to emerg. to get 3 stitches.

Wednesday morning woke up at 4 with my knee in excruciating pain, not due to the cut, but because of some bruising. Fortunately, I did not break my patella! The knee set me back pretty much until Saturday, where I put in a solid pre-ride to loosen up the legs without even noticing the bruise.

I was stoked for race day, and feeling pretty good as I rode to Kinsmen, ready to suffer hard. After chilling around the expo area and a warmup, I was called up near the back.

We are off, but on the first climb, there was a bit of a pileup (poor shifting/crash?) and so I had to get off and run. I was in 2nd last and there was another bottleneck on the next hill. The course was in really good condition except for a climb that is now permanently muddy due to a spring. I started picking off some riders, until I reached a Sask. rider (Cory Zet. BCW) who I just could not close the gap too. Some juniors passed me, and then I rode behind Emily Batty for a bit after she "chicked" me. More juniors, then Amanda Sin, dang chicked again. On the 4th lap, I was hurting pretty bad, and was waiting for my final lap Coke bottle to appear in my feeder's (Gary Middleton, thanks!) hands. It didn't come as I was only on my 5th lap, which I suffered some more on. Then I saw Derek Zandstra a little bit behind me, and so I hit the gas as hard as I could. I held him off just as he turned to go through the finish chute, but was pulled from the race. Thanks for putting me out of my misery! I wasn't disappointed as the legs were hurting and I left it all out on the race course. Solid race for me; legs were not quite there.

After the race, checked some results. There were some riders who were not far ahead of me. But almost all the riders I passed had DNF'd, so I was in 2nd last place! For 5 laps, my time was pretty much 2:00:00, which would have placed me well in my usual expert men category, competitive with the master experts; 2 women and a whole bunch of juniors beat me (ignoring tactics, battles, course conditions, etc...), so not too bad.

I've never really dominated the expert category; I've just thrown down some consistent podiums, and started closing the start gap into parts of the elite field. I enjoyed the prestige of racing in a Canada cup category, enjoyed having to deal with less lap traffic, enjoyed having a drier course due to a later start (except for the muddy hill, which only got worse).

How does it compare to last year? Last year with one less lap, I did not get lapped. I didn't see how long after I lapped through for my last lap that Andrew Watson finished last year. I technically just avoided being lapped today doing one more lap with what could be considered a stronger field. I was definitely noticing the home field advantage as I had a lot of the rooty lines dialed in. The only area I sucked on was the rhubarb'y area after the road climb.

Ha the next EMBA project should be to fix up that climb. I would be interested in helping out. As an engineer (not a CivE though) it would be interesting to see the solution. Do you have to bring in granular material, and some pipe to permit draining? Do you use wooden structures to divert the water or the trail? Is the trail a lost cause?

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