Sunday, May 25, 2008

Opus Spring 8 Hour

I don't swear to often on here but all I can say is Holy Shit that hurt. This is definitely the hardest 8 hour course I have ever ridden. It was technical for sure but it was also incredibly rough and hard on the whole body. It was also extremely hard on me mentally as I had lots of bad times during this race.

So the start was nothing out of the ordinary. Last year the solo's started 10 minutes behind the pack, that didn't happen this year. Good!

As I looked around the start area I saw a few people I wished I hadn't. First off was Jeff Shikaze, only good thing was he is now 40 and in a different class. Next up was who I was really concerned about. Tristan Smit, #12 in the world right now at 24 hour races and defending champion of this race. Yep it was going to hurt today no matter what the course was like.

3,2,1 go. The pace stayed sane for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for everyone to get clipped in and standing. With the mix of solo, tags and teams in the start you really need to get in the right spot at the start or you can get stalled up.

Halfway through the first lap I felt something bad in my stomach. Yep I need to throw up. No I am not slowing down!! BLAH!!! drink and pedal. The gurgling is still there as I passed through pit row. I have a good rhythm. At the top of the next climb my stomach talks back again. BLAH!!!! Alright there can't be much left in there. Eat a gel and go. Last time I eat that particular power bar before a race again. A good clean lap happens after this.

This is where the next round of bad things happen. Have you ever had that feeling of floating? Let me be a little more specific. Have you ever had the feeling of your back end floating all of the place? Coming into the transition tent I heard a weird ticking coming out of the back wheel. I topped quickly, spun the wheel looked and didn't see anything. Screw it ride. Over the next few minutes is when that floating came into play. The back wheel is going all over the place. Flat tire? Grab my co2 with sealant and hammer it on the valve. My mind is going gotta go gotta go.

I run Stan's sealant in my tires and have never ever had a flat. This was different, no more than 5 minutes after I filled the tire the floating came back. I have a tear in the tire bead!!! Shit, do I stop, screw go and deal with the damage later. This was on the 4th lap. Came riping into the pits like a man possessed. I'm lucky my Mom loves me. She grabs my other bike as I'm tearing the wheel off the hardtail, changes my bottle and puts gels in my pocket. A shot of Coke(the legal kind) and I'm off.

You can't get another flat again, tubed tire, no spare tubes. I also updated the crew on a few things while I was doing all the panicing. My right foot has a stabbing pain in it and it's getting worst. Ok Matt settle down and focus!

The next couple laps are really hard on me. My right foot is getting worst and I'm having a hard time standing up on descents. It wasn't that annoying pain or throb. This felt like I had a couple nails in my pedal. Lap 7 came around and as I hit the pit row I come to a complete stop. Got off the bike and took off my shoe. This is where I wonder if my Mom and Aunt love me or hate me. Your in 4th and gaining on 3rd. Alright give me some drugs. Lucky Advil is not a banned substance or I think just about every endurance racer would fail that urine test!!

I start riding mad, seems to work for me. It took a full lap for the drugs to kick in but I was able to pick the pace up again. It also seemed that the people I needed to see at the right time were there when I needed them. Lee running through transition to tell me that I'm less than a minute behind 3rd and 2 minutes behind 2nd. Of course that gives me more go.

The body of course had other plans but it was definitely a mind over matter thing. this is where I ran into Andrew Parry. Number 10 in the world right now. He said the words I needed to hear and started showing up in different parts of the course. Some how I missed seeing the 3rd place rider, whether I missed him in pit row or not but I passed him with less than 2 hours to go. Of course I'm still looking for him.

With just over an hour left I saw who I thought was in 3rd. Actually he was in 2nd. Unfortunately he saw me also. So much for the element of surprise. This is also when my last round of bad luck happened. The double track climb coming out of the timing tent my seat moved. Not a little but all the way to the back of the rails. Stopped quickly and slammed it forward, grabbed my tool and go to tighten it. Shit I don't have the adapter on it. Alright just deal with it.

Start going again hoping I will have someone I know come by to get a tool off. There is Andrew again. He has tools. You know this guy knows his racing strategy when he goes start riding and I'll meet you around the next loop. This gave him time to get things out of the bag and not have me sitting still. I owe Andrew a huge thank you for keeping me in the race. He also said a few more motivating words to me that got my mind in check.

Last lap I'm looking over my shoulder to make sure there are no solo plates coming up behind me. Nothing. Crossed the finish line 3rd with 14 laps. 7 minutes behind 2nd place.

My whole body is sore today. Some decisions were made on what I'm riding for the 24 hour race. This was a great race mentally and physically. I have to give a huge thank you to my Mom and my Aunt for putting up with my crap. If any of you have ever seen them run the support crew you will understand why. I've had teams ask me to borrow them. Also to Lee and Rob for yelling at me at the right times. Andrew, Thank you, and I will be chasing you down at Solstice. I think you wouldn't want it any other way.

Congrats to the guys from Oakville Racing.

Great race Chris and Terry. I Chase Terry in the O Cup races.

The boys from Cadence XC Kick some ass again.

Lee knows how to hydrate afterwards

My recovery ride today was great, now its relaxing with a Corona, clean the bike and enjoy the last 2 days of holidays.



Lee said...

Great job out there this weekend Matt. Very cool to see you gain those crucial minutes right when it counted.
Solstice soon!

Rob Prouse said...

Great race report, it is nice to know that we are all hurting out there. Congrats on a fine finish despite all the issues, you earned it.

Greg Shikaze said...

Great blog. Congrats on your race and thanks for the pitch for the Oakville team. See you out there.
Greg S.