This was a last minute decision to go. No dirt to shovel so dirt to roll on was the answer. I also had a pretty laid back attitude about this race. My legs are still a little sore and my left shoulder is still bothering me lots. With that being said I did pretty much the opposite of my normal pre race night before stuff and pre race morning stuff.
First off, patio at a local restaurant with a really good not the right choice dinner last night mixed with a beer or two. Aww that was followed by a couple more when I got home and a little damage of a bag of potato chips. This is my last week of bad food so I had to binge. Woke up and had a halfway close to good breakfast along with lots of coffee. I was feeling the results of last nights poor decision. Anyways, loaded the car and I was off. 2 hours later I rolled into Ganaraska forest. Lots of cars. Nice, the numbers are increasing which is great for Dan.
Did the normal run around and get registered. AWWW Tim is here. First question from me, Aren't you supposed to be in Quebec??? He is saving it for next weekends National Championships. I started to see a few more really fast people. Hmmm it's going to hurt a bit more than I thought. Got a half decent warmup in and rolled up to the line. It's hot, I'm not sure what heat is anymore. I saw sweat. A race without kneebands or arm warmers??? My fashion accessories.
So the talk started at the line, lets not go to hard off the start. This wasn't me this was everyone saying this. Hey I'm cool with not killing it right off the get go. It was funny Dan had predicted the first rider to finish up around the 3 something hour mark. We'll get to that one soon enough.
So it's go time and everyone does take it pretty easy. Well sort of, I end up setting the pace and I keep it pretty mellow for about 5 minutes then get into my happy place pace. My legs were not to happy at this pace but I kept at it. Backed down a hair on the hills but kept the pace high every where else. Tim, myself and another rider from Coach Chris put a gap into the group. Right about this time this is when I did this. How I don't know.
I didn't lose a bottle but it did make things a little awkward pulling a bottle out of the jersey every time I wanted to drink. I dropped the pace and ended up joining in with the other group. It's early be smart. I have know idea where I am for strength.
I hung with this pack of 7-8 till just before the 1st feed zone when they road away for me. This put me out of the top ten, I felt a little shitty but just kept pedalling. Just after the feed zone roughly 18 km into the 79km a rider rolls in behind me. "How do you like my trails?" So I knew he was local but called back" who's that?" Zach Wheeler, Awww makes sense. We rode together for about 5 minutes chatting about this and that. Hey cool I'm going to have someone to ride with. Zach and I battled back in forth at the first race at Horseshoe. Well until.
I made a bad turn and got kicked of the course letting Zach get ahead of me. This was just about the time he was telling me that he built most of the trails here. That's fantastic. Zach is a former top Elite racer. So right as he finished up his thought about the trails he slammed hard into a tree. Enough that it rung his bell and cracked his helmet (saw the crack after the race). A quick are you ok are you ok and a response of "ya I'm good keep going" and I did. He was more shaken than anything. So on that note at the first race Zach and I were climbing right about the same time in the race as this one when his wheel basiclly froze solid. Hmmm am I bad luck for Mr. Wheeler?
Now right after that I started to feel really good, why I don't know. I was climbing fast felt very strong all of a sudden. The pace picked up. A lot. It wasn't long before I started to catch riders from that pack of 7-8. I went passed them fast enough that they couldn't grab wheel to recover. I slowly made my way up to 5th overall. Things are good, Kept at it into the 3rd feed zone feeling really good. Not to far after this we made our way through the start/finish area on my return out for the final loop which ended up being 28 km I got a chance to gauge my gap on other riders. I was in a pretty comfortable place.
This is just about when things started to change. My shoulder was starting to get mad at me. All the way down my arm. The next thing to start was a little twinge in my leg. Both I can deal with. Just back down a little on the climbs. Aww the climbing, both legs just started to scream at me. Loudly!!! Not good. Not sure what set off the cramps. Started to push a little more fuel into my body and back down even more. To the point that I walked one of the steep switchback climbs. I was always looking back to see if anyone was gaining. It was always clear even though the sun breaking through the trees did play a little trick on me the odd time.
I knew that my pace dropping that much someone would gain on me. First up was Zach. He checked to make sure I was ok then went. Another rider who I had past 40 minutes or so earlier had full recovery and went by pretty quick. He ended up finishing 3rd in the under 40. It wasn't to much longer when another pack caught me. Back to 10th overall, No worries. The cramping was under control and I was into some flat singletrack now and could still moter pretty good. This is when I noticed how low on fluid I was running. Low enough to make me nervous.
Who's that, it's Dan with a mini feed. I stopped pretty fast, sat down filled up my two bottles, said thanks and got back on my bike. The next 10 minutes or so was spent doing controlled fluid intake. My cramping settled, strength started coming back and I started to pick it up a bit. I was still about 10 km from the finish. I started feeling good enough to catch one of the riders that had went by me earlier.
After the 3rd feed I started to look at the time on my watch. first time we were 3 hours in then 3.5 hours then 4 hours. Dan must have thought we were all on epo or something Anyways, I was very happy when I saw what was the 1st feed zone and we were directed the other way. Nice. I kept pushing and crossed the line 9th overall and 5th in the division. Lots of fast riders there which made me happy with my performance minus the time lost from cramping.
So a couple off notes.The 2nd place rider from Summer Solstice was there today. I knew it was Stu but didn't saw much till after the race when Big Ring Craig introduced me. We chatted about the 24hr/12hr I will say that I did want make sure I beat him. Sorry I know, just some minor revenge. For anyone wanting to ride the Ganaraska I would highly recommend Paul's Dirty Enduro. Congrats to Tanya and Craig for getting up on that podium again. Big Ring Racing domination???
Heather knows I raced, a couple mellow recovery rides then I'm back at it. One other thing. Congratulations to Mr. Watson for killing it in Bromont. Heard it was a crazy course. I expect a race report up shortly from him, Check it out. I think he is still the National Overall leader heading into the finals. A wonder if Zandstra and Kabush are getting a little nervous. Between the elbows and the moustache I would be.
That's it, more food. 3500 calories burned at the race today. I'm a weeeee bit hungry.