25 August, 2011

Summer wrap-up part 2: Binbrook 40k TT and lots of MTB

Continued recap of my Summer racing and training...

HCC Binbrook 40k TT

Having planned to do one of these all year, I finally made it out to a HCC club TT which was run very well and gave me a much needed opportunity to practice the 40k distance for provincials. I had a good ride, doing the course in 53:45, just over three minutes slower than Darko. With this under my belt, I felt good about the pacing for Provincials and hoped to improve on this effort.

"Hamilton Endurance Ride"

Jeff Landry has been putting these rides together on a roughly annual basis since about the time I got into racing. I've done a few of them, the first in 2008 when I was significantly less capable, and again in 2009 when I taco-ed a wheel fairly early into the ride. I skipped the 2010 edition, but returned for this year's which was to be taken in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction and included lots of new (to most of us) trails.

These rides circumnavigate Hamilton and Dundas taking in most of the local trails along the way, climbing and descending the escarpment many times. The full route is over 100 km and is mostly off road except for short connecting sections and the stretch along the waterfront between Hamilton and Burlington.

Starting at Cafe Domestique in Dundas, somewhere around 23 of us set out for this ride. The first section along the escarpment which was supposedly going to take around 3 hours turned out to be more like 4.5 due to many flats and bent derailleur hangers. This really challenged our water rationing and also set the tone for the day's pace. At this rate we would not complete the whole route, which was fine as in the end we still did the intended duration of roughly 8.5 hours. Lots of technical escparpment trail was ridden and for the most part I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I cruised up the King Rd climb from Burlington to the trailhead in Waterdown gradually distancing myself from the others despite Jeff (wisely) having called off the KOM competition. I definitely need to return there to climb that on my road bike as it was a very nice extended climb for Southern Ontario.

After the ride Mr. and Mrs. Monster hosted us for a great BBQ at their place in Dundas where we all refueled and recounted stories of the day. Miraculously I had no crashes or mechanicals, failing to live up to my reputation and generating no particularly interesting stories.

Duke's Summer Epic 8h MTB Relay

For no particular reason I felt compelled to do this event. It would be a good way to put lots of time on the bike and practice my off-road handling. I recruited fellow Niagara resident and SHCC member Ryan to put our previous tag team back together: "SHCC - What's the Rush?"

We travelled up to Hardwood hills and met up with all of the other SHCC folks. For no particular reason we decided Ryan would head out first and we'd do double laps all day until the end when we might switch to singles to finish it off. It was around this time I remembered the 34t cog on my cassette was a little bent, so I went in to see Benno at the shop and decided to throw a 12-36 HG-61 cassette on. This would prove to be very nice later in the day, given that I was running a single 36t ring in front.

Ryan and I tagged off after his first two laps and I set out just below O-Cup pace, riding carefully as I did not know the course. I felt really good, and picked it up a bit for lap 2 putting in almost the same time for that lap. It was Ryan's turn for 2 more and I ate a bit, drank some water and got ready to go again. Feeling good, I again headed out and put in a quick lap, but the second of this set did not go so well. I cramped up early and often in this lap, and it only got worse as the day went on. To make things worse, we were now in 2nd place so we had some reason to keep trying in order to hold on to this and see if we could catch the "Lapdogs Tom and Larry Show" who were leading.

I cramped lots more, and later found out Ryan was suffering just as much as I was out there in different ways. In the end we held on to 2nd but my body was not happy. It hadn't been to receptive to food all afternoon and though I was drinking upwards of 1.5 L/h I was still very dehydrated. It took a lot to recover from this one, but in the end it was probably worthwhile.

Next: Ontario Provincial TT and Pre-cyclocross musings

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