I'm going to steal a line that I keep hearing everyone else seems to be using. It's great to have that first race done. Yes it is. So the short story, it hurt a lot but with all things considered I'm very happy with the results. Not the final standing but more a body thing.
So now the long story, same routine as normal, huge calories lots of coffee etc as i headed out for the hourish drive to Mansfield Outdoor Center for the first official race of the 2010 season. Substance Project put on a bit of a tribute to the now dead Uxbridge Icebreaker. There would be no ice today. Let's just say that Dan Marshall and his very small crew are a fantastic addition to the Ontario cycling scene. After last years marathon series I swear he stepped it up even more this year. What a fantastic course, organization etc etc.
Rolled in with plenty of spare time since there was probably going to be lots of hey how was your winter etc, have you been training, and apparently an insult or two. I'm sorry Ryan!!! Cars started rolling in and faces that make people go oh shit started to appear. Mr. Glassford showed with a stone cold stare at Jacob, a few more Trek team riders showed along with a the current Junior National Road Champion. Let's just say that this race pulled out the big guns that happen to still be in the country.
Call ups, count down and we were off. The pace was pretty high right out of the gate, expected. Was sitting 5th or 6th wheel as we made our way through the start loop which included a nice climb that popped a few people that went out a little quicker than they should have. From there it was into the infamous Mansfield climb up the front of the ski hill. I hate this climb. I love this climb. Dropped back a couple spots but nothing that I didn't expect. What I didn't expect was the interesting noises that started coming out of the back of my bike. Some of that ticking and chain clicking bad noises. Just kept pushing.
Things seemed to settle a bit as we hit the long double track section, a few km's which were a great place for me to feel what my legs were doing. Not exactly my strong points of riding but I managed to pull a couple riders in. It wasn't much past here that my 24 hr tag partner went ripping past me. Because of call ups the Shake'N"Bake twins didn't leave together. Probably a good thing for Peter. I just stayed at my same pace, just below vomiting. Nothing to exciting happened for the next few km's, then came this narrow chute decent that I came barreling into full speed. Hey that's an arrow to the right as i turned my head in awe. Hey look at the deep trenches in the narrow chute, hey there's Tristan, Hey there is the trail again. I managed to get through there without any damage but unfortunately for Tristan his wheel and his pride didn't.
The rest of the lap remained the same, I'd now officially done more anaerobic at this point of the race than I had on any ride this year. Yes it hurt. Lap two was going to hurt a bit more. That notorious clicking coming from the bike seemed to pick up a couple new sounds. The sound of a chain rubbing a front derailleur. Some barrel adjustment and it was gone, for now. I noticed that my pace didn't drop dramatically but I seemed to settle into my 8 hour pace. 5 % below O-cup pace. I noticed that I started riding the technical stuff cleaner. I also seemed to get into a little happier place. I also started pulling in a few more riders which of course made me happy. Having that carrot out in the distance makes you ride just that little bit faster.
So back to that weird noise of chain rub, yes the cable began slipping and I started to lose big ring use which on the double track sections was a little concern, I continued to barrel adjust until I could barrel adjust no more. As I got closer to the finish I actually got concerned that I could loose my middle ring if the cable slipped anymore. The bike was not in a happy place, I forgot to mention that during the warm up with Jacob one of my pedals almost came off, so here is the thought on that. I'm very very good at fixing appliances (ego? just a little) but when it comes to bikes let's just say that I failed miserably today. Part of the problem was my race ready and only bike was not ridden after the new derailleur and cables were put on. It's been on the wall collecting dust. So all bike problems were my problem.
A few km's later I was heading into the last downhill section, pretty much done. Onto the doubletrack, mashed the pedals with what I had left. The need to do it was minimal, had a pretty big gap on the next rider to the point they were not insight for the last 20 minutes, trust me I was looking over my shoulder. Crossed the line pretty content, I think I inched into the top 15 overall which amongst the riders out today wasn't to bad. Of course I would have liked to have been up a little higher but amongst everything over the last week I'm pretty happy with that.
SO a few congratulations to go out. Peter for the win after I put a carrot out to him, Tim in 2nd, division 3rd overall Jacob 3rd division 4th overall. Squeezed in to 2nd was Steve Noble from Jet Power. Tristan was seen walking in the wrong direction with a wheel that should have had a little Mexican dog sitting beside it. In a slightly smaller less important race than our a huge congratulations to Mr Watson with a 5th place at the Pan Am Championships.
MNS will be a little slower tomorrow night, like it should be. Andrew needs to take an earlier flight home tomorrow, we'll save a beer for you.
I'll probably have more to write in the morning. For now, comfy chair and a movie