So its Tuesday morning(soon to be afternoon) Laundry is almost done, my bike is not in my possession so no marathon bike wash. Caught up with Mom on everything, it would be easier for her to just come to the races.
The whole race is still sinking in, but ill pick up sunday morning with sunny skies, two things were still up in the air, tire choice, and if my legs would give me any power. Many thanks to Matt Paziuk for lending me his XTR wheels so I could mount up some Kenda Nevegals to them, i had a set of Karmas on my wheels. That course can change so much hour to hour its crazy. In the morning Small blocks could have probably been used. But the weather was promising to be nasty, so the "professional weather predicitors" said
I had a solid Breakfast....let me back up, for dinner i had some gluten added pasta as last weekend i had gluten free pasta and im pretty sure it didn't give me any energy at all. Moving forward good breakfast chatted with Matt about various things, we had some good geek out conversations about bike geometries that would last for hours, and crank the shield bike possibilites.
I rolled up to the site on kevins Faze as my FFH was all primed and ready to go at the site. Watched part of the womens race, and it started to rain a little, Still not enough for the Nevegals. I was stressing. Hung out with Kyle talked to some race fans who were loving the new carbon hardtail, which i still don't have a good picture of unfortunatly. Then my wish came true the bottom fell out of the clouds and unleash some awesome rains. I think i was the only person with a smile on there face for a 100 miles. Nevegals were going on. side note, my front nevegal was blessed the night before winning the four cross aboard Fionn's 4x bike. so i had every confidence in it.
Warmed up on the trainer, under the tent, it has become essential in the nation. My legs felt ok, i felt healthy, and i was in a good mood. I new that anything better than the previous week would be good. Last year i had the same sensations, feeling healthy by my legs had not recovered yet.
Got staged, which may have included about 5 guys standing under one umbrella, maybe 6 Manny Prado, Atkins, Cam? there was a lot. Of course i was standing next to Ryan, long story.
Got lined up, with the skies opening up, Got started was going ok, first right hand corner things got really piled up and i ended up somehow laying across three top tubes. Never hit the ground but lost a ton of spots. you can see me ride past then getting back on my bike. I stayed calm and stuck to my orginal plan. Basically start, and just hold my position, and not burn any matches making passes my first lap. The first laps are so crazy and people trying to move up it takes enourmous amounts of energy to move up one spot compared to latter laps. When i got close to the top of the first climb i looked back and saw maybe 10 guys behind me, quick calculation i was around 95th. Awesome. There was lots of walking, and not much riding first climb. The first decents were crazy slow, i think i lost half my break pads. Guys were riding the breaks like crazy. I was able to make some passes without expending too much jsut ride past when they slipped on a rock or root or something, The nevegals(yes i talk about them a lot) helped a ton.
Lapped through in 78th. My legs were feeling good, but this was the same time that at st anne i started to shut down. I put the pressure on during the long climb, and passed some more guys legs still felt good so i thought its now or never and got my game face on and started to Cole Trickle it up through the field. I still couldn't ride the singletrack at full speed yet still some good traffic, but i was everything on the course, minus one little 10 foot section of the climb. Started riding with some canadians, it was good to see some familiar faces, and people you know what and how they ride.
Finished lap 2 in 58th, this is when i asked myself how many laps am i doing anyway, the plan was for 7, but i heard briefly it was maybe cut, and it totally slipped my mind to double check before the start. The course really started to open up, and even when i caught groups it wasn't hard to pass, as people were starting to wear down. I went through the top feed zone and asked Kylie how many laps, 6 laps. It continued to just rain and rain and rain. (Insert Nevegal comment here)
Lap 3 another 14 spots to 44, and i knew by the time backs i would make the last lap. Also noted that Kabush was at the top of the leader board, this really got me going. Started passing guys in the tech zone, a couple flats and muddy bike issues. I settled into a nice rythem and kept moving up, my 4th lap was 17th fastest in the race,(lap analysis) Matt was giving me some good splits even though when i heard them i didn't believe him.
Lap 4 done 35th, good stuff, 5th lap more the same, started to have some fun riding the singletrack, the course was really clearing up and i could pretty much ride any line i wanted too. Matt gave me an 18 second split to McGrath i thought he was pulling my leg then i looked up and saw the maple leaf jersey. Moved up a couple spots in the last singletrack section. First panic moment of the race happened. I saw sealent spurting out of my front tire, in between the treads, i was coming up to the tech zone, but it sealed up and i didn't seem to lose any pressure.(blessed i tell you) Took the gamble and rode past the tech zone and feedzone, grabbing a feed bottle from Kevin.
I made one pass early on the 6th lap to move to 25th. I started to real in Ludovic. My tire opened up one more time briefly, 2nd panic moment, but it sealed quick and i was on my way. Climb finished and i seemed to be in a bit of no mans land. The crowds were gone heading to the finish line to see the k-bomb win his first world cup. Matt was on the last gravel climb giving me some encouragement, all the hurty stuff was done all that was left was to traverse the hill to the line. Kept it upright closing to 6 seconds of Dubau.
A hair over 10 minutes back, 8.7% pretty happy with that. Knowing how hard those starts are and how much time is lost on the first couple laps with traffic. Really need to get some points going to get up in callups.
So yes it was a "Watson race" patent pending, but thats what i had to do. And watching the coverage it looks like Kabush employed a similar tactic, i think some royalies are due.
Zandstar had a good race as well finishing up just behind US champ JHK. in 19th.
post race dinner with Norco factory team and friends which included some Aussis, brits and canadians, some good conversations and i may even have some "what aussi women want" pointers posted soon.
good ride yesterday morning Norco style, flat pedals, baggies, long travel bikes, it was fun, it felt a really long ride to me, Kevin said probably as i raced a world cup 20 hours before, nonsense.
yes this post reads like a novel, im sorry.
All the thanks in the world to Kevin Haviland, Matt Paziuk, Jonathan Duncan, Kyle, Catherine and many others for all the support and good conversations. And of course Kylie, who keeps things in persepctive at all times.
Next up,mmmmm we'll see......