As the last race of major importance to me came up quickly so did I. Up way to early, nervous? Excitement? Fear? All? I did my normal prerace stuff and was happy to see a hint of sun breaking through the clouds. Hmmm maybe, as I rolled out of town there was even a rainbow over Georgain Bay. That hope was shut down pretty quick as I drove through a wall of rain. It's going to be one of those days.
All the normal setup, social stuff, smack talk, and a quick warm up and it was that time. Lined up right on the front, wanting to stay out of the usual pack mess, Jon Barnes from Trek hinted for me to try and keep up, I thought about it. I usually kick ass or blow up so spectacularly and today I was hoping to kick some ass. If I tried to pace with Jon it would have been the second option. We were off. I had my game plan in my head and just under 8 hours to do it in.
The first lap was pretty good, kept it smooth and by 3/4 way through was leading the solo's not exactly what I wanted but I was also riding in control. My thoughts were to keep one in front and in sight and just deal with who ever wanted to go first. Good plan, safe plan, I'll be honest that I was concerned about how the body was going to hold up. I haven't really trained since the 24 hour, no really long rides, no real intensity except for last weekend, the fact I was still sick was in the back of my mind also.
the first of the highlights of the race came early, coming into the transition/timing tent I wanted to show off my cross dismount skills. FAIL!!!! The wood chips had better ideas for me and my bike washed out underneath me. Crash in from of the crowd, it's not worth doing if you can't do it good!!! There was no blood so I was laughing, off for lap two. I let John, who eventually finished 3rd start to set the pace and very shortly Evan rolled in to join the group. 2nd lap was sane. The 3rd lap I kept to my game plan, John put a very small gap on use of 15 seconds or so. Into the 4th lap was about the same, Evan was still with me, John about 30 seconds ahead. It was nice chatting it up with him. As we finished up the lap I started to get a feeling, it was of little concern but knew it would increase.
Evan held up in the pits, back on my own. Brain started to think, hmmm. Not long after Mike Mazza caught me and it lite a fire in my pedals. Picked up the pace, Mike held on for a few minutes but eventually fell off. I kept the pace up and grabbed a draft when I could on all the double track. Went blowing by John and didn't look back. The next 2 laps I continued to pin it, I started to feel good and that initial feeling I had a few laps earlier had continued to grow. Pit stop beside a tree. There is a reason I'm talking about my urinary issues. In time it will make sense. After that I felt even better and kept pinning it putting minutes a lap on everyone. I was smiling and it had nothing to do with leading.
I will say that this was one of the most enjoyable courses Hardwood has ever set up. The course never felt boring, never felt slow, it was just plain fun. There could have been a little more climbing but with all the grindy singletrack overall it was a great balance. Lap 11 came around, that feeling came back. A glance at the watch, hmmm I wonder how long you can hold it before the bladder will explode? I backed the pace a little, I had a 15 minute lead at this point, what we didn't' watch was the over 40 solo. As I went through on 12 my next little incident happened. On the double track I grabbed the wheel of a Trek team rider, not just any Trek rider but a female rider. The question came out, "is it lame that I'm drafting you" of course that was not asked with my inner voice. The response "yes it is" There was more commentary but you get the picture. Of course when she found out it was me it was probably even worst. As I passed Erica before the single track I did say thank you.
Heading into the last lap that feeling became unbearable. As I headed up the doubletrack start climb I pulled into a little corner and attempted to do the needed. My concerns became reality. Stage fright kicked in as I stood there using all my brain power, will and anything else I could do to pee. After 2 solid minutes of staring I finally went and was back on the bike. Less than a minute later Brent caught and passed me. On the climb I held back and he gaped me. I did what I could on the rest of the course but he was a man on a misson. I motored through the lap and crossed the line about 2 minutes behind him. 1 place solo under 40, 2nd overall. We chatted after the race and said he was shocked when he caught me. Most of the race I kept him in check on certain spots of the course where you could see back about 2-3 minutes. I'm going to start racing in Depends from now on.
Overall I'm really happy with how the race went. I had fun the whole day. My hands are a little sore this morning. An attempt to do an easy spin sometime will be made. Some beer will be drank in celebration, some food will be ate, 6500 calories burned during the race. Interesting note, start weight 156.2, weight before I went to bed last night 159.8. six to seven washroom trips in the night morning weight 152.3. I'd say hydration was more than adequate.
Huge thank you to my Mom and Aunt Ruth for yet again amazing support, couldn't do what I do without their help. Infinit Nutrition, energy level stayed perfect for the whole race. So that's it for the really important races, everything else is just fun.
More pictures tomorrow and more about the race and life.