Monday, May 13, 2013

Lake of Bays

In one of the best actions films of all time, Armageddon there’s a scene with Owen Wilson asking what the “conditions” would be like on an Asteroid. After hearing these he said ok just say “scariest environment imaginable.” It was no surprise that I had the voice of Owen Wilson rattling around my head on Sunday when I was in the group at the Lake of Bays road race riding along a wide open highway with no shelter from the snow, rain, sleet.

Backing up a bit, I had been looking at the forecast with interest since registering for the 170km Road Race held at Deerhurst resort. After factoring in a margin of error it wasn't a surprise to arrive there with snow falling.

Combine a 75km lap around a lake, with no shortcuts back, and freezing temperatures rain, sleet, hail, snowsqualls, crosswinds, and we all knew on the start line it could become an epic day on a bike. We were a wave of our own since we were doing 2 laps around the lake for a total of 170km once you ride to the loop and back from the resort. The other categories were slated to do a single lap for 96km.

Rain started pretty early on our ride out to the loop, I felt heavy with my full winter kit on but with team orders to “not get sick” I was willing to stay warm at all costs. A few teams in attendance, JetFuel- Norco had strength in numbers, Real Deal-Gears had some firepower, and Stevens from Ottawa had a solid crew out as well.

Attacks started pretty early on with Travis Samuel of JetFuel-Norco going off the front with another rider. Being a lone wolf I was perfectly fine sitting in. As we hit hwy 35, I looked at my Garmin and saw and AVG speed of 33kph. So much for the planned 40. And it was a hard 33kph, with lots of attacks and counter attacks. Seemed to be coming from Ed Veal, but Jet Fuel always seemed to bring things back together. And the wind was downright nasty for the first half lap. I hit the front once, on a DH pedalling hard and barely broke 40kph. A rider after commented saying we were riding faster up hill than down.

When we rode into the third snowsquall, and after almost riding over a guys head narrowly missing a big pileup. I made the call to pull out of the race at about the 50km mark. But i was still 50km from my car which was parked on the other side of a lake. So I stayed with the group just keeping an eye on the distance until I could turn off. The pace really started to pick up as well after the feedzone, and by the time we finished the lap the speed was up to 35, but my hands were blocks of ice. With no dexterity shifting was hard with the Di2, and braking was pretty much out of the question. At the turn off I turned off with another rider, about 20 or so brave souls continued on for another 75km lap. The other riders who were dropped also turned for the resort behind us.

I rolled in for my 2nd (by choice) DNF in 18 years of racing bikes. Which I am ok with.

The hotel lobby was littered with bodies huddled in blankets, with lots of racers in the “my teammate has the car keys” boat.

We would occasionally get reports from the road and the group seemed to be dwindling. In the end 13 brave souls rolled into the finish after nearly 5 hours of racing. 

I pushed the AWI board pretty hard to award Man ride points to the finishers, With Mike Mandel being awarded the most since he was out there the longest but my request was denied. Its under appeal right now.

hats off to Bruce Bird and WOB for a great race, I'm sure if I could have seen the course would have been beautiful.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Promised myself I wouldn't cry

What a week we've had weather wise, maybe I literally get sick of the cold weather? Mentally for sure but physically is that possible?

Lets keep this positive, my deep depression that was April and not racing is over and I finally swung my leg over some bikes to race.

Wednesday, May 1 where my first race of the season was also where I first raced ever, a midweek wednesday nighter at Coulson Hill in Bradford. Not a "big" race but the spok o motion guys showed up looking fit. 1st lap had me in a spot of bother, Steve Prosser (woodnewton sen ex winner) put down a good effort and opened up a healthy gap. I was able to bring it down and go by. So nice to finally be back racing bikes.

Did some nice MTB rides this week in copeland and sugarbush and "other", trails are already super sandy, but its better than a couple feet of snow. Even got my friend Krista out into the copeland she didn't like the roots that made her "tires go sideways" and only swore at me once so it was good.

Sunday I rolled over to the oro interclub for to race all the local strava competitors, where we put down the garmins and raced head to head, its a crazy idea.( *don't be silly we still raced with our garmins)

I was aboard the nicest road bike I have ever ridden, Di2 Tactic with some C50's from Shimano, my dream of finally seeing what the fuss is about with carbon wheels has come true. They're pretty sweet, they make cool sounds, accelerate great, and seem to like to hold a highish speed. Road racers might be onto something...

With my Norco Teammate Bretton sleeping in, I aligned myself with AWI racing to go up against the teams from Bikeland and Velocity

The powers that be gave group 4 a 5 minute gap back to us in group 5. I guess 90 seconds isn't enough when you have 20 guys in a group. I honestly wasn't sure if we'd catch. But we worked very well together and managed to avg 42-43kph for the first 3 laps to bring the gap down to a minute. Then the games began, guys start sitting on the back, nobody pulls through. So I gave her a go to see if I could get across by myself. No dice AWI racer Jacob M, chased me down with all the Velocity guys in tow. #notteamwork

Took another lap to close that final gap, so one lap to go and it was pretty much all back together. Up the 4th I was pretty much stuck on the front, with Rob H on my wheel. I hit the gas hard to string it out up the few rollers there are on the 4th. And a gap suddenly formed, weird how that happens, don't attack just up the pace and they let you ride away, attack and everyone chases you like a dog, must be some sort of evolutionary hunting mechanism.

Once the gap was a few seconds I really hit the gas to open it up and try to make it stick. About 8 km to go. Looking back I could see the 50 or so racers fanned across the road so I knew they weren't crushing it. Gap grew to point where I couldn't make out who was who but apparently Jacob sat on the front and just cruised. #teamwork

Felt really good and strong until I turned south on the 7th for the last 2-3 km to the finish, straight into a headwind. It was all I could do to hold 38kph. I was pretty sure I'd get caught but the gap held steady and I was able to crest the final climb with some distance to the group and roll over the line.
Big high five to Nathan Jeffs who rolled in for 2nd, an athlete I work with who has put in a lot of hard work and has improved a TON over the past 12 months.

41.5kph avg, not bad for a club race.

Post race I rolled over to Hardwood Ski and Bike for their annual demo day where Norco was setup along with a bunch of other manufacturers and shops. Lots of bikes going in and out, so much to choose from these days as well, 10 years ago a demo day would have been a bunch of 26 inch hardtails with v-brakes, now there's dualy's 650b's 26ers, 29ers. 100mm 120mm 140mm lots of options to suit your riding.
Afterwards we hit sugar bush for a tour of the new stuff, always nice to show some folks some new trail they've never ridden before, isnt that what MTBing is all about?