It wasn't just me that was using the 50km as the last mountain bike of the season. Perfect conditions and rumours on how fun it was last year brought out a huge field. Just under 190 rider ranging in age and ability. The front couple rows looked like the start of any Ontario Cup race.
After a few instructions from Glenn and a quick comment from me, something along the lines that if it's not taped it's legal. If I only know how much that was going to come back on me. We were off and after an initial blast a pack of us settled into a good pace up the start climb. No one that shouldn't have been in the mix was in the mix as we headed into the first piece of single track. Clean, no bottle neck for us. Ripped through Serious pretty smooth, just a little slower than a weekly race coming through the check point in a very comfy spot.
Onto the next course, Radical is well radical. Steep climbs, steep rooty descents, mini drops etc. Familiar ground for those that have done the Canada Cup here. Aww the Canada Cup course, as I blasted around a doubletrack corner I became a person of routine. I saw a sign and a taped entrance to a trail, that's were the CC goes, I didn't see the Radical sign 20 feet further away. Luckily I only went about a minute or so down the trail before seeing the Sidewinder sign. %&$(!!!!! Of course a minute or so back. Don't panic, kept it sane and worked my way back into my head. Dropped 4-5 spots in the overall because of that. Still lot's of time left and I was feeling good. Maybe to good, started to push the technical sections and pulled back a couple riders. Maybe that downhilling at Horseshoe paid off.
Of course that's when I over pushed, heading into a section I know but over gauged my speed, missed the prejump, launched, flew and then proceeded to have my best crash of the season. It was one of those ones that I stopped and stared for a second or two thinking WTF and did I break anything. Heard later from Don who was just behind me that I left one hell of a groove in the ground. Couple minutes of chill riding to regroup my head and I was off again. Feeling good minus the pain in my left quad. Riped through Cranked with easy and knew I put some time into a few riders that I needed to. Was in 2nd in my division at that point and felt good.
Up the start climb I grabbed a wheel of the wall named Brandon. With my head down and talking I totally gaped wasn't looking at signs and when Brandon pulled off I proceeded right up the start climb. I love climbing so much I wanted to through an extra one in. Yet another minute or two lost going in the wrong direction, yep the same time trying to get back on course. This time I started to swear to myself a lot more. I also started to hammer a lot harder. I knew I had a comfort zone but thought I just burned it all off on that nav error. Forget a taped course I need huge neon flashing signs telling me which course to go on!!!
I made my way back on the pack only losing one spot in division. I continued to push hard knowing that the last course would almost be impossible to gain anytime on anyone. Fun is just that fun, fast and flowing with little in the lines of technical which is what I needed. For the 4th time I caught up with Don Gain as we had flash backs to our Weekly Series battles 8 years ago, fun times. Followed him through Gnarly but I started to get that funny feeling. Not a fun feeling for sure. I was started to break. Ran one of the last crazy steep hills which seemed to be faster that riding but either way it started to really hurt. Things went downhill from there, both the course and me. Let Don go and told him who he was chasing. I just tried to hold on to 3rd. At the pace I was going I knew it wouldn't be long before someone caught me, it ended up being Paul, there goes 3rd. I tried to get back on track and kept him in sight.
Through Fun it was exactly as I thought, couldn't do much. I dropped a couple more spots in the overall and one more in the division. The tank was empty. As I crossed the line I was happy to be done. I was in a great mood though considering all my screw ups, I pushed hard. 10 minutes later Mother Nature opened up with rain and wind. Glad I was off my bike. From there some Anti Race training was done in the parking lot. Liquid Carbs helped get the body back in check.
So what's left, lot'.