02 June, 2010

Race Report: Hardwood Hills Canada Cup

A little delayed as usual. Going back to the last post (Albion O-Cup), training has been relatively solid - hard rides a couple times a week and last weekend I may or may not have raced a 24h event that may or may not have happened.

As such, I was going into the Canada Cup with less than fresh legs, but everything seemed relatively good otherwise. Everything except for the weather which had been dry and hot for 2 weeks. Race day would be no exception with temperatures around 30° in the afternoon and humidity adding to the feeling - it was going to be tough for everybody. I know most people were happy it was not 4° and snowing like 2009, but I will take that any day over the heat. Temperatures under 20° are where I am happy.

Anyhow, the trip to Barrie was long involving a detour to the shop to get a new damper for my fork. I got to the venue late afternoon Saturday and did a medium pace lap with Jarrod and Mac before heading out for dinner at East Side Marios and then to the Georgian Suites Hostel for the evening. Replaced my damper in the hostel, not without spilling fork oil all over the floor (and cleaning it up). Good thing it was tile...

On to race day, I got to the venue pretty early to work the feed zone for Jeff in the 9:30 race. During the elite race I got out to warm up and came back to watch the finish. Watson was doubling the second Joyride jump pretty nicely each lap. Top style points, even if he was 3rd in the actual race.

Lining up for the race it was clear the heat was going to be a factor. We got off and as everyone else's race reports indicate, it was just a big dust cloud which made breathing and seeing anything tough. I got on Justin's wheel as usual but couldn't hold it up the little climb after the woodchips ended. Into the singletrack I was sitting ok, but there was a big bottleneck and I was waiting my turn. Got rolling, only to find people all over the trail off their bikes around the next corner. Got back on, but I am pretty sure I was last at this point.

I chased back up a few spots and was riding with Jay Menard, who was also suffering. I felt pretty terrible and was not getting up any of the singletrack climbs well at all. We caught Peter Mancini who was presumably also having trouble his first race back from an early season injury. He caught on and then started to pick up the pace a bit, which was good because it changed my mindset from just riding around back to racing a little. Jay didn't hang on to this pace so it was the two of us for the rest of the lap.

Lap 2 was pretty poor as well, but uneventful aside from a couple encounters with trees. Starting out lap 3 we got halfway up the woodchips and Pete pulled a U turn. I tried to convince him to keep going but he was done. Back to riding slow for me, but now I was more fatigued and I couldn't handle the bike at all. I did not have the strength to weight my front wheel to turn and was washing out all over the place in the loose sandy corners. As such I was starting to think I would only hurt myself by continuing, and after a sketchy 3rd time down coffee run I pulled the plug.

Reflecting on the race, aside from the heat which I could not change, I definitely went too long without an easy week. I will take this one very light on training and see how this weekend's race at Mountainview goes. After that it's a much needed few weeks off before the next race. Lots of club rides during that time should help get my fitness back on track and then I will start building toward my fall cross season (I already can't wait for cross and the nicer weather it will bring with it).

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