Tuesday, June 23, 2009

24 er 12 hrs of summer solstice

This was to be my first attempt (and most likely last) at competing in a solo 24 hr mtb race. Training had been going ok, and I knew that if I paced myself properly I would have a good race. I wasn't expecting any fast performance, but I just wanted to ride the majority of the time.

The forecast had been looking bleak over the previous weeks, and raceday didn't disappoint! We started during a light drissle. A huge pack of over a 1000 riders started off. I positioned myself middle back to allow myself an easy start. It was a slow first lap as the packs thinned out. By the second half we were able to ride without any back-ups. The rain was stopping at this point and the trails were in decent condition.

The second lap was awesome. I was feeling fantastic just cruising around trying to be as smooth as possible. I was working on getting the best lines down as I knew that would help me in the late hours of the race. The conditions were mucky and by the end of the second lap my brake pads were toast. They weren't new. I made a quick stop and changed them out.

The third lap was a different story. The first 2.5km of trails had been chewed to pieces by all the riders. It was virtually impossible to ride that section. The mud was clay and stuck to your bike, eventually keeping your wheels from turning and adding 30pds! However, the 2nd half of the course was in good shape. I took a break for food after this long lap.

The fourth lap was much better. The trail was drying up and by the end I was able to get in a rythym again. The laps had been really slow and dusk was a couple of hrs off so I decided to stop and put on my lights. Good move. Over the last few km of the 4th lap, the rain started again slowly. By the time I got back on my bike it was pouring. This destroyed all of the improvements and took the good parts and turned them bad.

The RD's had taken the first part of the course out because it was unridable. I thought this would solve the problems. Nope! I ended up walking 90% of the 5th lap. Stopping every fee hundred meters to remove pds of mud. It was insane!!! I have never ridden/hiked in anything like it before. The 13km lap took me over 2hrs! I should've been able to ride it in 40min!

At the end of that lap it was nearing 10pm. I decided that I was going to wait a bit to let things dry out again before I went back out, and I had worn through another set of brake pads. I went down to the sporting life booth, and they were sold out of pads. They were waiting on a shippment from their store. I decided to grab some warm food from the chalet. As I was sitting there eating with some friends word came in that they were cancelling the race at midnight. I then debated heading out for another lap, but common sense prevailed. Stories of horrid laps were comming in left, righ, and center. The memory of my last lap was still fresh as well.

So that was that. I went to sleep! It was an interesting experience. I am humming and hawing on whether I want to give it another shot. We'll see. Props to the Chico guys for trying hard to keep the race going, and for having the guts to shut it down when they realized how much damage we were doing to the trails. Great organization, bad weather.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Milton Sprint 2009


All the bike training definetely paid in Milton. I had no real idea of were I stood compared to the rest of my AG, but I knew that I was pretty fit. Been doing a lot of cycling in prep. for the 24hrs solo mtb race I am doing in june, so the bike legs are on right now.

It was COLD in the morning. Spent most of the time in transition wondering why I was going to be jumping in the water when it was 8 degrees out. Not so concerned about the actual water temps, more with the fact that I would have to ride in the cold air wet after. Not too mention the 30kph headwind we would face on the way out!

Got in the water and it was actually ok. Warmer than the air. Did a good warm-up and settled in for my second wave start. There are a few awesome swimmers in my AG(ex nat. team swimmers) so I don't try to hold on to them anymore, but I found a good groove early and held it. In the past I pushed super hard on the swim here and suffered on the run because of it. Because there weren't any swimmers directly in front of me, I eased off a bit more. A little slower, but felt great coming out of the water and at the beginning of the bike. I was able to put the power down from the word go! I didn't just feel good, I felt great!

Now, about half an hour into my drive in the morning I remembered that I didn't swap out my 21 cassette on the disc before the race. This is normally all I need for most races, but there is a little hill in Milton that requires something a little easier. So, I knew the hill would be tough, but I figured I could gut it out.

I was realing in the other people from my wave, and the first wave pretty quickly. Got to the hill, and obviously was pushing a much higher gear than everyone else. I blew by 10 people climbing. By the last steep pitch at the top, I was out of the saddle and grinding to get up over the last few meters, but I did it. Thanks to all of the MTB training, my recovery from these sorts of efforts is pretty good right now. I settled back in and pushed. I was making good time everywhere. Passed everyone who was infront of me out of the water before the decent back down the hill, and managed too gap the second guy in my AG (first place went in the elite wave) by 30 seconds or so. I think he pushed hard to try and stay with my which might have burnt him out a bit.

I managed to hit 83.6kph coming down the hill which is a new record for me! It was a little sketchy, but not too bad.

Came into T2 feeling pretty good about the ride, but a little wary of how the run was going to go, as I haven't been running much to heal my achilles which I strained in a 5km race a month ago.

Out of T2 there is a really steep punchy series of hills. Tough to get a rythym going. I was feeling a little off, and my feet were numb. I kept waiting for someone to catch me, but noone did. By the time we got off of the trails and onto the road I was starting to feel better. The out road section was really windy. I could see the next placed guy about 1min. back so I knew I had to keep pushing. By the time we hit the forest section my legs were truly under me again. I was feeling great. I started to push the pace to see if I could open a gap. It is hard to tell where anyone is in the forest so I just assumed they were gaining on me. Coming out of the forest and onto the road I still didn't know where anyone was. Before we headed back into the last section of trails I noticed a pair behind me about 400m back that were gaining. I thought they were the two others in my AG. So I started to get scared that they might get me. I pushed a little harder.

Coming out of the trail into the parking lot I noticed that one of the runners was really gaining on me, and had the same suit on as the guy I was worried about. It was on. I started to push really hard into the line. Crossed the line about 100m infront of HER! It wasn't him. Turns out I had put a fair amount of time into him on the run. It was the second overall female from the first wave who was gaining. So, I buried myself for nothing, other than to not be passed by a girl!

Didn't know exactly where I stood at this point, but knew I was top 3. Turns out Matt Reid was in the first wave, and blew me out of the water by 6min. Damn he is fast.

Second is good, especially to him. More over, I am very pleased how I felt in the race. Normally I want to vommit during sprints, I just felt strong today.

Now some more cycling then 24hrs of MTB'ing, then peterborough 1/2 the next weekend! Should be interesting!