Things started off much better than they finished yesterday. Great breakfast, headed down early enough to be social, find a feeder and watch the Elite race. My predictions for the race were pretty close. Consumption of fluids were high already and I wasn't even on the bike yet.
Last year my warm up for this race consisted of riding from my car in the parking lot to the start line, with it not hovering at the freezing point this year I was planning on improving that a little and was on the bike with just under an hour before our start. Headed up Old Barrie Road and along the 7th. It was warm but it felt great. I think it had something to do with not being surrounded by dirt, wood chips and hay back at the venue. My warm up had a game plan to it, I randomly turned to the right and found myself riping a little singletrack in the 8th line grid. Just enough to get everything in check. Back to Hardwood with plenty of time.
Sitting 2nd row I was feeling pretty good, countdown and we were off. Settled in around 15th. Much better than I normally do and I was at a lower intensity. I planned on being a little more reserved than my normal endurance race pace for the first little bit. the heat was there and it took about 100 feet to realize that that dust was going to be a killer. Hit the first punchy climb and steady consistent and moved around a few more riders. Into the first piece of singletrack still with the lead pack. There was a big split in the group already at less than 5 minutes in.
Got on former teammate Jeff Buchan's wheel, just stayed smooth. There were a couple guys in front of us that decided they preferred the steam roller approach to single track and it didn't take to long before the first tree was hit. No damage done but we were off the lead group now. The nice thing was the open trail and it didn't take to long for Jeff and I to pull in a couple guys still in that other technical riding mode. Coming into coffee run, which is becoming almost scary with the lack of solidness. Those roots are looking a little worn now. This is where I think the start of my eventual demise began.
We all know that sound, it's a very distinctive sound. Train wrecks, cat's on fire and Celine Dion are in that same group of horrible sounds. The sound of a tire side wall bend the wrong way along the wrong side of a root. I heard it and thought, it's all right, it's all right. At that point it was as I willed the air back in my tire. Up the bridge and heading into boneshaker still on Jeff's wheel, clean run and started the climb out past the second feed zone/tech zone. Awww. The next singletrack decent is where my willing power to the front wheel failed. That sound returned again as I turned and a root gently turned me a little more. It took a few seconds to realize what happened, a few turns and I knew there was more float in the front than there should be. I tried to ride a little farther, it wasn't flat but it was low. Out came the pump.
First co2, fail, second co2 fail, re inflation fail, swearing began. After what felt like 10 minutes, in reality it was about a minute of sitting still debating on what to do I started walking, lots of riders passed, it wasn't long till I clued in that I still had a few km to go and decided I would run the single track and walk the double track. This was more to not stand still and let riders by. After about 500,000 riders seemed to go by one rider did offer me his pump. At this point I was not even remotely interested since he was at the back of all the men's group that left and the women would be coming through soon. I'll continue to run.
My thoughts on running, it's stupid and it hurts. Running should only be used when being chased by bears, dinosaurs and cougars at a country bar. Crossed the line, called it a day. My knees were not impressed with me and I'm still feeling a little ache this morning. A visit to Dr. Bill this afternoon will help cure that up along with the return to work. After being tormented by a few friends, can you feel the love in the dust filled air, changed and chilled around the finish line. The very strange comment that I heard from many, all very similar, there jealousy of my mechanical misfortune. This was usually followed with a little bit of hacking up of dirt.
I'm a little frustrated, a little disappointed but yet I'm also like ok what ever. This was yet just another ride, I needed one of those kinda blowup races either being mechanical or physical. Just for a reality check. Could I have pushed through on that wheel, had it been important enough, yes. Was this race important enough to me, no. Do I like these wheels, yes. Did I feel like having another trashed SLR front wheel hanging in the basement, no.
There was a rumour and talk of me skipping Mountainview Ocup this coming weekend, it was considered but never mentioned to Heather. The update on yesterday's race was sent, training instructions were received. At this point it's looking like I'm racing since it's not my decision. Right now my only thoughts will be trying to get the brain back in work mode.