Sunday, April 13, 2008

Uxebridge Icebreaker

Things didn't go completely as planned. This is my 4th year doing this race and I have to admit that I love it because it is usually a test of the elements. Cold, windy, sometimes raining. Add this in with mud and a bit of ice means one awesome race. Hey I like to suffer. This year was different.

Was up bright and early and feeling good. Car loaded, coffee cup loaded, sun shining and the temperature hovering just below the freezing mark. Great day for a race. Because of the prerace report I had both a mountain bike and a cross bike on the roof.

Uxbridge is north east of Toronto and usually the snow is pretty much gone by this time. Last year it was a mud fest and the organizers bumped the race date back a couple weeks hoping that there would be less environmental impact. I couldn't even imagine us racing two weeks earlier.

Still indecision on what bike to ride on I did the the kids loop which had about 4 km of our loop in it. This would give me a little idea of what shape the course was in. I think I should have ridden farther!!!

This was what I thought would be the worst of the course. An I thought this would be kept to a minimum. I was wrong.

It was a good foot deep but the rest of the trail was very much ride able. Cross bike it was. As I rolled into the last km I came to a nice section of freshly shoveled single track.

I think it was single track.

The 50k guys line up. I'm among some fast company. 3,2,1 and were off. Things feel good. Ok let me rephrase that thinks were bare able. It has been a long winter. Even with all the miles during the winter nothing gets you like that first km of racing. Everyone is hammering, heart rates are spiked and there isn't a rider out there that can put more than 5 words together without pausing for a breath. This included me.

I had my race plan layed out last week. Take it easy in any area that I had to dismount and hammer the road sections. Would have been fine had there been less off the bike sections. We will get to those.

The course was shortened this year because of the amount of snow. Total distance was 18.5 km according to my Garmin. It was no more than 2 km in to the course when the non ride able sections began. Hell, walking it was hard.

I kept pace and was hanging at the edge of the top 10. We hit the road and I'm able to hammer. Sweet. A turn to the left took me out of contention. For the next 4km there was more running sections than riding. For me this turned into a walking. I could have kept pace and run but the last 4 months of physio and the bigger picture popped into my head. Not worth trashing your knee on the first race.

I backed down. This sucked I thought. I got passed by at least a dozen people in these sections and watched them pull away from me like I was stopped. Walking si stupid.

We hit the road. Finally. Of course the top 20 are ants in the distance for me now. Very hard mentally to deal with but got into my rhythm and started to pull them back and caught 5. Awww shit back in the bush. This was when I made my decision.

The last 2km were close to the beginning of the race. So much snow that it was hike a bike. The riders I'd passed caught up with me while running.

I'm done after this lap. Of course I was a little pissed off that I was bailing on it but I'm thinking long term. I don't think the organizers had ever expected to run an event with these types of conditions. They did another amazing job. I'll be back for sure next year.

Now being done early is great because you get to see the look on the people that suffered through it. There were not to many looking happy and smiling.

The long course was won by Mike Garrigan finishing in less than 2 hours.

Next event for this guy is Paris-Ancaster. I'll get to ride the bike the whole race!!


The Vegan Vagabond said...

You did the right thing. Better to save yourself for the rest of the season.

the original big ring said...

Man, I'm glad I didn't make the trek down to do it this year. Didn't sound like fun! Chaulk it up to training. Glad that your knee worked out for you.