Monday, July 30, 2012

What's Golden

I was trying to find an excuse to skip town and head to Golden. The flow of Mt.7 has been on my mind ever since I rode it last year. Golden was also hosting some fairly low key road races which were the first 2 rounds of the Kicking Horse Cup.

I was feeling good riding up Mt. 7, the road is doable with my 36T chainring (34t cassette sprocket), and with some waiting, it was about 2hrs to the top (1:30-1:45 of moving time) for 14km and 1150m of vertical. Just in time to watch some paragliders take off!

We weren't feeling up to some of the harder stuff, so we dropped into the Summit trail to 10K, and then to the main DH course. 
sliced my tire just before the 5K feeds in. Put a tube patch in there and rode tentatively, but it held
I decided that I was still feeling good, so I decided to continue and race the hill climb stage of the Kicking Horse cup. Feels different to bust out the race wheels again...

The hill climb was 14km, over 500m of elevation gain, but not steady. I was able to move off the front on the first part of the course, but I got caught on a flatter section, then gapped on the last kick up to the finish to roll in 2nd, but with a respectable time. 

Post race, we enjoyed some rope swing action.
Bill's a rope swing guru, I let him go first

the best action shot

my turn
Camped in the parking lot, sleep interrupted by some drunken wankers who know nothing about hockey and talking about how they pussed out on the rope swing.

The next morning, I convinced myself to do the road race as with small fields, it would be pretty chill. The format was an Australian pursuit masters race, so the older categories started first with a head start. They combined the U30 with the 30-39, but the 40-49 and 50-59 fields were also decent sized, so it would be hard to make up the start gaps. Course was nice and hilly, a great change from the flat races that I used to do. 15km out and back, for 2 laps so about 60km. 

Pace was pretty chill off the start, but on the way back, I dropped the hammer on the bigger as it was only a 60km road race and I needed to make it hard or else it would come down to a DOWNHILL sprint finish. I got away with a group of 3, and we were joined by 2 more as we rolled through for the start of lap 2, but with a dwindling gap over more chasers. On the 2nd lap, I did the exact same thing on the hill, just rolled strong up the hill and was away solo! I had my work cut out for me. Some slight downhill rolling terrain to the finish. I pushed it real hard but was caught with 600m to go, too frustrated and fatigued to do much to contest the DOWNHILL sprint and lost to a guy with CX chainrings. I set some new power records from 5min to 60min, so that eased the pain.

I needed the engine from this on the flats

Overall a well organized race, and I'm definitely planning on continuing on with the series with the Dark Horse Enduro next weekend, and some CX races during the first weekend of September. The Aussi pursuit format is fun: similar to having some breakaways on the road, and if you get dropped, you usually can find someone to ride with, but I think it would be more fun and competitive using ability groups instead of age groups.

The plan was to head south to Invermere to give Mt. Swansea a rip. I was able to get a great deal on a tire from Derailed Bikes in Golden. A small shop, but incredibly chill. We will return because the mech. there has some trail beta for us!

We started up the steep road up Swansea, definitely a little ring with big tires and fatigued legs after 2 hard races. Bill doesn't have a little ring, so he pushed. Eventually we got to the top and dropped in, but got onto a trail that resembled more a steep creekbed than a mountain bike trail. For those reading this, Lower Booty Call is not recommended. Take Steeps instead. We then traversed over and found a super buff trail. The fun continued down lower, until the trail dropped over some steep outcrops and looked a little washed out, so we opted for an easier option. which was fun, until there was a creek running down the trail and it was muddy. Finally, we got onto the Meat Grinder, which ended in a fun chute back to the parking lot. Overall, some fun, but some suffering.

Fun trails, then total hell. WTF just happened?

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