Saturday night i headed to downtown Toronto to the 54th floor of the TD center and the Canoe Restaurant for my cousin Kyle's wedding. We made it just in time to be seated right beside an amazing view of the waterfront. It was a really nice wedding, though my idea of the perfect wedding is two tickets to vegas and and Elvis minister. After a nice gourmet meal, of a crazy salad and "B.C. Sablefish" which we later found out was Cod. We headed home but not after my Grandpa explained to the server that i was racing the next day so he was drinking for the both of us.
After the wedding on Saturday night I was a little tired and slept in to the best of my ability. I think I made it to 10:00 a.m. I was hoping for 11:00 with an 11:30 departure to head up to the hill. I woke up to pouring rain and checked the weather for Midland which showed 90% chance of rain.(I never learn) I ditched my dry wheels and went for a more aggressive tread. Sure enough when we arrived at 12:30 the rain stopped and the sun starting to come out. I was all registered so all I had to do was show up on the start line at 1:30. I did a little warm up and the legs still weren’t feeling much better. So I was pretty sure I was going to DNF. Since 1997 I have only once finished a provincial MTB race once without winning, which was a 4th in 98. Other than that it was a win or a technical DNF. So I was just wondering what would it be, flat? Chain? Pedal exlosion?
The race started out heading straight up the "mountain", it was a good way to start the race it sorted itself out pretty quick and we filed into the singletrack. Stu Alp lead the start up the hill and took the pressure of the rest of the field so I wasn’t thrown out the back right away and I rolled into the singletrack in around 10th. I was pretty comfortable there, I knew it was going to be a full length 2 plus hour race, not a 1:40 sprint race. So I was patient and tried to stay relaxed and see if my legs would follow. I was riding on KD’s wheel and Glassford came by so I jumped onto his wheel, knowing a nice steady pace would follow. KD jumped on my wheel with Ryan Atkins chasing up from behind on his Big Wheel. I was feeling good about being on Pete’s wheel until he forgot how to ride a bike for half a lap and started bouncing off every tree, before finally falling out of the way. I knew exactly what that’s like (I actually hold a patent on it) and knew Pete would snap out of it and ride back up in no time. Stu was still ahead of us and putting on some time until he crashed over some tape on a tricky left hand corner. Through the flat singletrack at the bottom I could hear Atkins rear hub (it puts out about 98 decibles of noise) coming up and soon enough he was on me. Before the last climb of the lap Atkins, KD and Pete came by me. I just held my pace steady and tried to stay with them. The last climb had some running in it, at least every time I hit it there were people off there bike in front so I’m not even sure if I could ride it. Near the top there was a switchback corner which I dismounted and ran every lap and each time either passed someone or put a good gap into them. This is where I got passed atkins and I was back with KD and Pete again.
Heading out to the second lap Pete put in a bit of a charge and left me and KD, at this point we were 6th and 7th. KD was really hurting me on the climbs so all I could do was hang with him and hope my legs would open up. About halfway through the second lap Pete was pretty much out of sight and it was. On the tricky climb I ran by KD when he had a second delay getting out of his pedal. (insert cyclocross joke here) and decided to put in an effort and see if I could put some daylight between us and test my legs. With a good run through the switchbacks and a solid first climb at the start of the third lap I managed to open up a gap and close down the Gap to Pete. At the top flat section I could see Pete and closed up to about 5 seconds of him which he determined about holding onto. It took me ¼ of a lap to close 25 seconds but another half lap to close the final 5 seconds. Again on the last climb of the lap I dismounted and had a good run through the switchback to open a gap.
Coming through heading out to the fourth of five laps I could see Adam Morka in 4th, and by the top of the first climb he bobbled and let my by and I was now in 4th place. I kept a good pace going but I could feel my legs starting to fatigue a bit. I found I was able to flow through everything really nicely and piece everything on the course together nicely which I really focused on so that I could recover and really be able to punch it on the two climbs on the lap. I was starting to catch some lapped riders but it wasn’t too bad the long course really helped to keep it down and I was able to slip by just about everyone.
Heading out on the last lap I was very happy that I only had 26 more minutes of pain to endure and I was done this xc season. I think that helped me push through. I passed Michael Joseph Garrigan early on the last lap and continued to ride smart and conserve my energy in the singletrack and push it on the climbs. I pushed it right to the line, which I don’t think I have done all year and finished a strong third. I was pretty happy that my last three laps were very consistent and that I didn’t DNF. My brother and Terri were able to make it out to watch which was nice.
Next up is a couple days off to make sure I’m good and rested to win Crank the Shield with Matt Paziuk in less than two weeks. This weekend I’m planning a couple long gravel road, rail trail, trail rides to make sure I’m comfortable riding off road for 4-5 hours.
"i cannot think of anything"