Thursday, April 5, 2007

2007 uxbridge icebraker race report

So the 2007 cycling season has started. On April 1st the anual Uxbridge Icebreaker was held. Well first off, there wasnt much in the line of ice. Mud, well thats another story. This is my 3rd time competing in this race. I find its a great test to see where the legs are at after a long winter. This year was crazy though. After watching the weather reports for the week I had a feeling it was going to be more of a mental race than physical. Well I was half right. They had predicted up to plus 14 for race day, that would have been nice.

My teammate/sisters boyfriend Rick and a buddy Craig came down from Ottawa for this race. It was a cool saturday evening with a great pre race dinner and a couple beers. Craig was playing good and stayed away from the pints. I was in bed pretty early and already had my gear packed and ready for morning. Like usual I was up at 6ish but let the boys sleep till almost 7. I will admit that I am very much a planner and like to be at races early so I can take my time getting ready and warm up properly. I was hoping to be on the road by 7:30 but it was closer to 8 by the time we headed out. One of my training partners from the tri club also was racing. Brandon came down with me. Things were motoring along pretty good even though i did get a bit impatient on the drive down and pushed to pass a few cars. With all of this just north of Blackwater we passed a cop. It was the tail end of a 50 zone and I saw i was doing just under 100k so when i saw the cop hit his breaks and the lights came on I pulled over assuming that it was me he caught. Unfortunatly for Rick he started accelerating to soon and was behind me and the cop nailed him. With this it put us behind schedule. We hit the race parking lot just before 10.

With a quick run to registration Brandon and I raced to get ready for a 10:30 start. Of course perfect timing, it starts to rain. Brandon and I had already started commenting on the wind and the tempeture. It was only a couple degrees above freezing and a very strong steady wind. The first issue of the day was what to wear. Wear to much and you overheat, start sweating equals cold. Wear to little and you freeze your ass off before you even get started. I've done alot of training in the crappiest conditions lately and I was hoping it would help me mentally.

We hit the start line with 5 minutes to spare. No warm up except the ride from the car. Rick and Craig are both there. I've got alot of respect for the guys that I went to the race with. Rick and I have a great race history with some fantasitc finishes in Tag team 24 hour races. Now that he is on some new gear I an see us on the podium again. Craig is defiantly a threat but also great competion. He decided to ride his single speed. In any other year that i've ridden the course I would have only seen Craig at the start of the race. Tis year I think he had a bike of choice. Brandon is a strong young rider. As he get older he will definatly be a threat. He is a powerhouse rider that has just started realizing that you cant muscle a gear for longer than an hour. With knowledge comes more power.

The countdown began with some good lucks etc. So to describe the first 30 minutes of the race for me. I was stupid. I went hard to early. If I had been able to warm up properly it woldnt have been a problem. I was in my zone 5 for almost 50% of the first 30 minutes. That basiclly means that I was pushing on the max side in the high 180 low 190s. Craig passed me on the first big climb and that was all I would see of him till we hit the road. In the last couple years I've become a strong road rider so I planned on being calm in the first few mud sectons and hammer the road. Well what are the chances that they grated the road just before the race. This basiclly meant grinding. I did ride by alot of people but because of the push at the begining I was fighting to maintain pace. Craig passed my again and I wouldnt see him till just before the finish line. After the next mud section I was having those inner demons popping up. I wasnt cold but the bike was not sound to great and the legs were mad at me. I really did think about calling it quits when i was on the first lap. As I hit the single track I was still flipping a coin but as I went into the finish area and had that option I just kept riding. Thats when things startng getting better.

At the end of the first lap I figured I was somewhere in the middle of the field and the were a couple riders in sight. I basiclly said to myself you're out here might as well have fun!!!. My heartrate and legs seem to ge in may favorite zone and I gave up mashing in the mud and just spun what I could or walk/ran through it. My nice pretty 24 pound Giant Nrs 1 was about 10 pounds heavier with the mud. I hit the first road section and got into my rythem. The wind was strong and I had manged to gain on people in the first few km. Thats when the smile started coming out. Every volenteer out there started to smile when they say me coming. I'd hit hit each check point yelling Things like "I love the taste of mud, or best race yet" This is where the mental came in. I started feeling awesome and I continued to pick up the pace. In the final single track section I passed even more riders. I just started feeling stronger as the race went on.

I crossed the finish line smiling and I really did debate about going for another lap. I figured it wasnt the wisest thing to do so after a photo taken by another racer headed out to find the boys. After a minute of looking I hear someone calling my name. It was Craig. I actually wasnt sure at first because all I saw was a muddy face under a huge blanket. He was surrounded by ski patrol and he said he was freezing. Totally understandable. He askekd me to take his bike and gear because they were taking him over to a building to warm up. Said no worries and I would get him some warm clothes once Rick came in. This was a very tough race to dress for and unfortunatly for Craig he was underdressed. After being stopped for 10 minutes while talking to Craig and then the ride back to the car I noticed the cold. As much as I care about the enviroment I ran the car the whole time I was getting changed. It was nice to wear some warm dry clothes. I got things loaded up and drove over to the finish line hoping to get there before Brandon came in. The timing was great and he got a nice warm car to change in . He did great even though he said he was fighting off bonking. Rick came in a short time later and filled him into the details with Craig. 10 minutes later we were up at the building with some warm clothes. Craig's body temp had dropped alot and was lucky they didnt send him to the hospital. This is one of those events that you learn what your bod can take and how much abuse you are willing to push through. Rick ended up taking the clysdale award. Craig finshed 9th and I followed 10th in our age group with a top 25 overall placing.

I was happy with the race overall and am looking forward to a great race season. I've already looked into a cyclocross bike and plan on doing this event on one for next year. The combination of a lighter bike and better setup would have moved me up on the standings. I have to thank Dave, the owner of Georgian Cycle and my main sponser for an amazing tune up on the race wheels. There was nobody that could keep up with me on the decents. I've yet to check the bike for any damage but it will be ready for the next event.

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