Warning this will most likely be a long post, pace yourself
The good livin started with a trip to see my travel doctor to tell me what to fear in Columbia. He was very concerned with the altitude and gave me a prescription for meds to help and said double check that you can take these.
While in Midland I also wanted to go check out the local Norco dealer Total Sports which is under new ownership, shop looks great and Mark is super enthusiastic about heading into the bike business.
Jetted home to await my ride down to the bike show with the Spaks, after being properly introduced to "she" ill just call her Shannon we were off to TO, driving much faster than I would be driving. I got right to point and asked what the deal was, they kinda giggled and smiled and didn't really answer the question. So I'd say 50/50 there getting married in October. Place you bets now.
After walking about 8 km to get into the show and only be able to pay by cash which is actually kinda sketchy I thought we got in the doors. Didn't take long to realize Matt was a real Social Butterfly, its true about the social aspect of the show cause you do see a lot of people down there. One person I bumped into was Aarif from Bike Depot in Thornhill, who was aside from my parents was my first big supporter. Aarif always worked hard with companies to get us bikes to ride for the year, and then sell at the end. At the time they were one of the only shops willing to take that on. It was pretty neat to be able to thank him for that so many years later.
Another stop was my local Norco dealer Bikeland, mainly to give them a hard time about selling Norco carbon bikes for ridiculously low prices while I'm trying to sell mine from last year
I never did find a new cycling cap to replace my Schwinn one. I didn't look crazy hard but I also didn't want to fight through more congested stores.
Anywho, got out of there, grabbed a wicked Burrito from a place Shannon recommended, and then it happened, Matt put a DVD into his dashboard and magically a screen appeared and I was in Top Gear heaven. I think it was so I would be quiet and settle down in the back. Rolled into Joyride at 730, tired and not feeling all that pumped about riding really just wanted to sit in the car.(which i will never dis again)
All was good though I jumped on a dirtjumper well not A dirt jumper Mark's dirt jumper. I think Mark gave it to me so I would be more careful about crashing his bike(and my body) over a rental bike. It worked and I kept it fun, staying off the bigger jump lines. Rode the skinnies a lot. Tried to give Matt advice about not starring two inches infront of his wheel, he didn't take it. Shannon on the other hand is kicking ass and will probably be putting the hurt on Matt sometime soon.
Home, a few pages of my book to get me in the mindset of racing in the rain and bed.
Part 2, go get a drink, snack...........k k.
Woke up to some nice rain at 7 am, really it just seemed like any other race day for the past 2 years. Cold and wet. California was good prep. Challenge one the parking lot was literally a skating rink, hardwood could have hosted a long track speed skating world cup today. Got the car parked ok, but walking the 15 feet to the snow was dicey.
Picked up my number plate (which they call a bib) warmed up, on the start loop a few times, some of these dudes looked serious, like spandex and stuff. The atmosphere was much closer to a road race than a MTB race ill put it that way. Most of the serious guys were in the 40k, the 20k were some younger skiers and masters and me alone in the 20-29 category.
Watched the 40km start at 9, looked pretty simple when they say go, just giver. But double pole to start till the red line. A couple laps around the flats dropped off my rain jacket and lined up.
Good start, fell behind while double poling which i never do on my skate skis. Started skating lady passes me shes moving pretty good thought cool, boom bails right infront of me. Get around her, she must have gotten up fast cause she passed me back 100 meters later. Again bails right infront of me this time taking down a younger female skier.
Lost a ton of spots getting through that, heading down to start the actual course. I got into a nice tuck, and passed a few people who were tucking yet snowplowing at the same time. Not criticizing but I don't get that.
Heading out pine trail passed a few more racers and then the lady passed me again but she was moving so I jumped in behind her and we passed a lot of people. I also noticed they regraded the first climb you hit as your heading out. You know the one with the orange fencing that causes all the mtb races to explode, yeah it will be a lot harder to split things up now. Hello big bottlenecks.
Settled in to a nice pace, just below throwing up pace, and just kept her trucking, the rain was very refreashing and the trails were in great shape, actually probably the est conditions i've skied on this year.
Came through about halfway, Jacob tried to hand me a cup but i realized I had no idea how grab it with a ski pole strapped to my hand? I said im good even though i could have gone for a splash. I think a few folks were starting to crack a bit and I passed two more guys going out onto the west trails. I was looking back and there were three people chasing me hard, Once we were headed back I knew it wasn't too much further but if they had put DVP or the other last loop in I would have been cooked. Crossed the line and fell over, I didn't need to fall over but that's what you do. 1 hour 12 ish. Had my cold pasta lunch and jetted, other than winning/being last my age group I have no idea how I did, im pretty sure the 12 year devo kids schooled me.
I loved it, it was great to race something again, It felt good to really dig on some of those climbs, I could see myself doing some more of those in the future.