Take that Iceland, (its a long one, pace yourself)
So, just sitting here in Pickering with Roddi2 Scotty, Derek, Amanda watching hot rod after a solid meal. The trip over ended up being very smooth, good flight from YYZ to Heathrow watched Up in the air thought it was appropriate for the time. Great film thinking I need to empty my backpack a little bit.
After two sketchy uk customs officers we made out second flight, somehow a 2 hour stop turned into a rush. With the customs officers, I always think honesty is the best policy but they treat you like a criminal if you’re not on business or vacation. The story from now on, I own a driving range and I’m here scooping out international driving ranges.
Also got charged twice for my bike as it’s a bike and a second bag, so that’s awesome. Second flight was my first time at the front of the plane and oh boy it was soooo nice, too bad it was only a 45 minute flight.
I found travelling with someone with elite status is almost as good as having it.
Arrived in Manchester, first people we encountered were the rental car folks, super nice accommodating went totally out of their way to get us a vehicle that would fit us and our gear. Headed out on the wrong side of the road with Derek at the helm. We made a couple wrong turns and saw some good countryside. Had a nice greasy dinner at a roadside diner, again friendly people smiling faces.
Rolled into our cottages at around 6 then headed to the venue for a quick tour, Amanda took over the driving and did a good job keeping us from crashing on the sketchy narrow forest road.
Woke up, day 3 kinda, had a quick emergency breakfast as we didn’t really have much food. Scotty and Cody popped up out of nowhere with some good adventure stories. We left three days after them and arrived before them.
Grocery run, into the coop in town, again with the friendly, patient, courteous, folks around here. Kinda nice I could get used to that.
Out to the course for a lap with Sin and Zandstra, took our time and thoroughly checked out the small short tech sections. it’s a great course, lots of fast flowing well built single-track interspersed with 10 seconds tech sections which are great for spectators. The course marshals were super friendly and didn’t hesitate for calling us out for taking any of the chicken lines, they also congratulated us on a job well done getting there. Hard to tell now while its dry but I bet it would handle rain really well fort bill style. Unlike Bromont which needs another $100 000 before it can handle the rain well.
Said hi to the Hadleys, who arrived before the volcano blew.
Rode back, its about 15 minutes from the gate of the Dalby forest to our place but its another 25 in to the 8000 acre national forest to the venue itself.
Cody was racing the sprint eliminator’s we stayed back to make some dinner so we missed the seeding runs, unfortunatly Cody well ummm….kinda sorta crashed on the first corner in front of a couple thousand people. So he didn’t qualify for the 32 person final 4 up runs.
After they rolled in we just settled in for the night which brings me to now,
Another lap or two tomorrow morning, then max chillage, then race Sunday at 2:30.
Day 4- headed to the course relatively early for pre-riding that closed at 11:30. Dan gave me his webcam..sorry helmet cam. Amanda threw on her HD hero came so Derek, Amanda and myself were well documented riding our first lap. Rolled through fully to get some good footage. I may or may not post some of it once I get some north american style interweb. Said hi to Emily who I think was happy to see some familiar faces. Home away from Home in Pickering to watch Scotty and Kyle give our bikes some lovin. Dinner then movie night I love you man, highly rated.
Day5 part 1- Morning of, sitting here everything is set the weather looks mixed with intermittent rain sprinkles. Not Ontario super storms of death though. Just some Euro drizzle. Mansfield is going off today, now I don’t have internet and I’m writing this at 10:30 my time. Pick for the win there Glassford, here I’m going with Absalon, watching this guy ride is what it must have been liked to watch Jesus walk over water.
Just recovering after a french toast and coffee feast, Roddi2 and Derek are trying to get the washer/dryer going. stoked.
So, I have come to the conclusion that was a world cup, and all the joys and tears that go along with one. Back at the cottages now, enjoying some uncle bens 2 min rice, pretty sure it’s the next best thing compared to sliced bread.
race recap, good warmup, called up basically right in the middle of the 150+ riders. Race began in typical world cup fashion guys on the right cross to the left and vice versa causing major crashes. I avoided being taken down barely, though I got caught behind one for a good while and saw some 100+ number plates go by. Bottle necks were typical but tolerable where I was at least. Finished the start loop with all my skin and feeling pretty good.
Next full lap was basically lots of track standing, running, all the way to the bottom of the course then killing it up the main climb. At one point we were singled up going into a little technical drop section, sure enough hero tries to pass, got my arm out said NO, then he said sorry excuse me, thinking I was going to just pull over and say jolly good then right on. These guys try to pass in the most stupid places cause a crash then hold everyone up. I’m all for aggressive racing especially late in the race, but whats the point in causing a guaranteed crash on the first lap.
anyway settled into what I was told around 80’s. Not exactly what I was hoping for but I was trying to be patient I knew it was going to be 2+ hours which now that I think of it I haven’t ridden that long since before pan am’s. I could ride at the pace of the group I was in but didn’t have that extra gear to make up some ground.
My spotter and Milan’s spotter got together on the wall and got on the radio Daytona style and said we should run together. Or that’s what we were both thinking at least. We both were riding the same pace through sections and never really got to far apart from one another. We were able to shake and bake a few guys through the tech sections. But got passed by a random guy every now and again on the climb. I kept her in the middle ring on everything and felt good but not world cup good.
Came into the step up climb, which I think was pretty much un rideable , at least it was with guys strewn about the rocks, Managed to lead into it one lap, didn’t even hit my brakes and with a full speed cross dismount ran it faster than I have ever run before, probably would have dropped Tim Johnson. Huge cheer to a ohhhhhh, as my chain was dropped as I remounted and basically came out to a zero sum effort.
Midway, the groups were getting smaller as guys started to crack, but me and my czech friend stayed true and kept up a good pace. We were really able to ride our own race, the whole course became the race instead of just the main climb.
Stopped getting positions, so even now I’m not even sure where I finished up. Started to feel the length of the race, looked at my watch and realized if I was at pan ams I’d be done by now. Got some good random cheers. And some none random cheers from the Batty Family. Always nice to hear some familiar voices.
pizza break…….hot tub break…
k, back, last lap nothing too different past a few more guys who cracked, the last climb I could see probably 20 positions up, kinda frustrating, finished in a four way dual to the finish. Yup world cup its not over till you cross that line doesn’t matter if your 1st, or 100th your fighting for it.
greated by Kyle and Dan who gave me a refreshing coke to sip on as I cooled down, found a water hose and doused my head in it, didn’t want to get heat stroke.
All said and down, on a scale of one to ten, I’d say that was a 5, could have been worse could have been better. Not exactly happy with it, but it is what it is. a couple days to recover get some good rides in next week and hopefully have that 6th gear working.
Not going to say what we’re doing tomorrow as by the time you read this it will be past tense, so it doesn’t make sense really.
...monday morning sitting at a hotel using some interweb, short plane ride tommorow to brussels.