Done and done. First pro National Championships out of the way. The day was wild pretty much right from the get go based on the sheer volume of waffles that Adam and I consumed (Not to worry, gluten free so no ‘poofy-ness’). With that out of the way it was off to the Nordic Center. Rick Batty and Zach had gone a bit early to set up the tents so it was all business with we arrived, or in other words it was pure chaise lounge time. We had spend a bunch of time all getting our bikes ready the day before and I had decided to change tires to something a bit slicker than my Karma’s. The course was still really bumpy though and flats were a definite concern so I decided to go with Continental Race Kings. They are a fast rolling tire but have big volume so they still soak up lots of impact and on the super bumpy stuff were a huge bonus. Those of you who raced Buckwallow would appreciate them a bunch, they would be perfect for that course assuming its not a mud fest like a few years ago.
I got called up about 4th row in the Elite Men’s category. There were 36 of us in total so that put me somewhere smack dab in the middle of things, if not slightly towards the back of the group. The start loop was short and stupid. We blasted off at mach 10 up the feed zone climb and hit some bumpy doubletrack for all of 30 seconds before we were spit out in a group onto the road. Round again, we went up the feed zone climb again and then back down in front of the nordic center building and then back up another open climb (that’s right, again) before we started the real climb into the singletrack. If that all sounds confusing, it’s because it was. As it was Nationals, the organizers wanted to give the spectators something cool to watch which I can totally understand, but it was boring doubletrack climbing and well we have to start mountain biking at some point. If my description makes it sound hard, that is also true. All that big ring climbing totally KO’d me for the first lap and it turned into one of those survivorman type races. Second lap I had recovered on the totally awesome descent and started catching people on the climb when I could go at my own pace. A lot of other people were gassed from that start pace too. The rest of the race went down with little excitement and I rode with Matt P to the end. Finished 25th or 26th in all. There were a few DNF’s that were inevitable either from exhaustion or the downhill eating parts of your bike.
Even though the start loop was silly, the rest of the course was actually super awesome. 200+ meters of climbing was probably a bit much per lap but it was super super fun to go down with the singletrack being super fun to ride. Look for next years Canmore course to blow this one out of the water though.
Post race was all about recovery nachos. Went out with Emily, Adam, Zach and Rick to the local establishment and ate too many jalepenos. Photo documentation will probably surface on the interweb somewhere.
Sunday’s race was wicked, as I wasn’t racing and could go down to set up and leave all the chaise lounging to Zach who was great to us the previous day and watch him completely destroy the expert men’s field. Putting a 100 foot gap on your field in 10 seconds isn’t easy to do. He ended up winning by something like 2:15 so watch for him to put tons of hurt on the pro field next year. Jon Barnes was having a great race until he unfortunately crashed out and ended up with a concussion. I can definitely sympathize there so I hope he is fully recovered asap.
Currently driving back home to Toronto and are sitting somewhere between Winnipeg and the Ontario border. When we haven’t been driving, Zach and I have been making slide shows of the trip on Imovie so we will each have up our own in a day or two.
Last but not least I want to throw big thanks out to everyone who was there this week. Zach especially but all the Trek Canada/World team were super fun to stay with and also Rick who volunteered his time to help out at the races and feed me during mine too.
Good luck in Europe everyone who is going/already there!
In the Canmore now, have been for a few days now. For a town that seems to ooze relaxed atmosphere I seem to be keeping myself pretty busy. First and foremost, it’s insanely beautiful here which just makes it so hard to rest and recover for this weekends race when ALL you want to do is ride ride ride.
First day we got here it was snowing. You heard me right, snowing. Blanketed mountain ranges and slush barreling down on the town provided the backdrop for believe it or not, one of the most enjoyable rides I have been on in a while. Zach and I set out when it was pouring rain and went exploring. Both of us have had stints of living out west so we relished the opportunity to ride similar terrain again. Stopped for a coffee break and finished up the ride with only about 2 hours in our legs but it was enough. Rain is rain and it was just nice to get the legs moving again.
Wednesday was course day. Did 3 laps in the morning with the rest of the Trek family. My first impression of the course was that it was so much climbing that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the race on Saturday. Sure enough though, after doing a few laps you get used to the pacing of the climbs and start to understand where to push and where to chill out and you get the hang of things. After cruising down and eating the biggest panini of all time I headed back up and killed another lap and a half but stopped there due to bear warnings and the fact that I was alone.
Today was a little bit more chill, bit of stretching, rode two laps and then came home to eat a monster taco salad. Delish. Some SMR and stretching to cap off the day and Im knackered. Assuming I recover well tonight I might do a race lap and one super easy lap to make sure I’m 100% on the course. Im feeling more and more confident on the course day by day so if I pace myself the race will be painful but should go well and I’m looking forward to it.
So Sunday came and went with some good company, some great weather and a course that was surprisingly fun to ride. We (Emily, Adam, Eric, Eden, Rick, Zach and I) were staying with Kirk Hamilton and his wife Serena, who were extremely welcoming and very gracious in letting us use their kitchen to eat and floor to sleep.
We arrived at around noon on Sunday so that the Trek Canada team could do a small loop with some super enthusiastic kids before our race went off. Looked like everyone was having a good time. Zach and Rick had gotten there a few hours earlier and set up the tent so when we arrived after watching an explosive and disappointing tour stage we were all a bit shocked at how awesome it looked. Having the trailer, with all the tents side by side looks super great and definitely drew a crowd throughout the day.
It had rained the day before but overnight it had dried up so much that we all decided that running a bit of a faster tire would be the best idea so I went with Bontrager XR0’s front and rear which was perfect. There was one small muddy uphill that had I run something more aggressive I might have been able to ride it but I didn’t see a single person ride it anyhow so I still feel I made the right decision. My race performance however was a bit lackluster. Because of my recent Euro trip I had spent a decent amount of time in the gym but 100% of it off of my bike so as soon as the race took off up the first hill it felt like my lungs were going to get heaved up onto the ground. In the grand scheme of things, this is how it is supposed to feel anyhow so I kept on chugging away into the single track and got caught up in a bit of a train that had formed. Even though I felt like I was pushing hard, my legs weren’t burning like they normally do during a race and actually felt too good considering how hard I was breathing. This was annoying because we were going...well, really slow and I wanted to speed up but could not whatsoever. By the time my third lap was coming to an end I was starting feel really bad and couldn’t recover from the very anaerobically demanding course. Unfortunately, so much that it put an end to my race. I felt pretty bleh after the race and just kind of depressed that I had to pull the plug. On the bright side though, my legs did feel okay and with all the great riding I have the opportunity to do this week I am one hundred percent confident I can make it up this upcoming weekend at Nationals in Canmore.
After the race, everyone on the team helped Zach and I take everything down and get everything loaded back up into the trailer. All the bikes got washed and stored until everything was all purrdy just like when we came. Needless to say, I’m actually really excited to show off all our awesome bikes, the balling trailer and tents at next weeks event. Zach and I stayed and swept the course for markers and tape and helped Kirk anyway we could as thanks for letting us stay with him and for putting on such a great event. Team Trek Canada however, did have an exceptional day with everyone putting in a super solid effort with 2 podiums and everyone putting in a top 10. No crashes and no mechanicals, mostly in part to Zach who made sure that all of their bikes, (mine too!) worked better than they ever have. Would like to thank Rick Batty as well for the feed. That family has feed zone techniques on lock.
In the car right now bout 40km away from Canmore and have hijacked Emily’s Ipod so we can blast Lady Gaga and make Adam feel uncomfortable, even though I'm sure he’s just as into it as we are. Stoked to have a full week of riding here to get my body up to speed with what it should be doing. Ill keep everyone posted as much as possible along the way!
Almost there... Out about on my bike today with the rest of the gang. Zach, Adam, Emily and Kirk (who was very generous in letting us stay here) went to the course today to check it out. 5 minutes in, it was easy to see why I was really enjoying myself, it's the EXACT same as the don valley trail system, just...well..different in it's own westernly ways. Did one lap with Adam, Emily and Kirk then went for a tasty coffee just up the street (this is a definite perk of having a venue in the middle of the city). Zach and I were still ironing out our legs from our long drive so we hit the trail for two more laps and went a bit harder and draining our bottles super fast. It was hot today and the punchy steep few climbs are making me very happy that I added bar ends before I came out here.
Adam trying to sneak attack pictures of people. Going to take a whole bunch of pictures tomorrow to give you guys and gals back east a taste of this west coast Don feel.
The entire prairies summed up in one photo Training wise I think this race could go very well considering my recent time off the bike. Heartrate was a little high today but that was expected, all in all. Going to be a great warm up for Nats.
Jeez, I guess I dropped the ball a bit after my last post. Time to make up for it. Things are in motion to get myself, Zach Tatem and the whole team trailer to the Edmonton Canada Cup and then Nationals in Canmore Alberta.
We are somewhere just outside of Thunder Bay right now with one full day of driving behind us. The whole day was pretty painless and we and the trailer are all still in one piece.
Before I continue with this however, let’s backtrack. I arrived home from Europe on the 30th at around 7:30 pm and was supremely excited to get back to everything I was missing ie. Laura, regulated nutrition, bicycles and my own bed. I had been experiencing some discomfort in my right knee and had attributed it to the running and weight training that I had been doing combined with not enough stretching. Fair enough, I had that coming. When I woke up the plan was to head to Durham for hours and hours to got a good long ride in that would leave me gassed and at least get some of my riding legs back before we headed out for this trip. I had been trying to stretch as much as possible for the last bit since my knee started hurting and again once I got home but apparently it wasn’t enough, I lasted about 2 hours before I had to call it a day and head home. After more stretching and a good sleep I felt better and headed out on my road bike for a bit in the morning before heading to The Trek Store to get some work in. Again, lasted about an hour before heading home. Uh oh. At the very least, I managed to get in some good efforts right? After some worrying and intense amounts of stretching I did manage to curb the problem and now my knee is just glorious. Went for another mtb ride on Saturday with Row-bear after work and managed to get a stick caught in my something, which stopped something from rotating, which in turn ripped off my derailleur. Wonderful, half an hour of riding that day with 45 minutes to an hour of walking ahead of me to gt back to the store. Fiddlesticks. That is until thanks to Rowbear’s wonderful piece of Bontrager apparel, we McGiver’d a tow rope and I was pulled to safety. Highly recommended for those interested in electric bikes. Why spend thousands of dollars when there are fit co-workers for free?
Sundays ride was great. Headed out with Mr. Carleton on the road bikes for 4.5 hours after the first crash filled stage of the Tour. Great stuff boys, keep it up. Oh right, forgot to mention it was 40+ degrees outside with humidity. 7 bottles and zero pee breaks. Even tried to ‘givr’ once or twice on the return and wasn’t sad with my numbers.
Monday was good. Good in the sense that I did something that I should have done many weeks ago. Clean my bike top to bottom. It’s wonderful. All the protective nasty tape is gone, all my parts look new, new cables and even made some cockpit changes for these two western races. It’s even cleaner than Matt P’s bike! (who is having a great season on his Gary Fisher Superfly and has provided the reader with some good info on why you should get one too!).
Yesterday! (almost caught up) Loaded up the trailer bright and early with Barry Near and ZT, who’s name has been phonetically changed to (ZA-CHE TAH-TEM) by telemarketers recently. We headed out around 11 and ended up in White River by around 11, each taking marathon pulls through intense fog in the driver seat. Our accommodations there couldn’t have been better. We were referred by a motel with no vacancy to a small grouping of ‘cabins’ down the road about a km and it was a real treat considering we were fully prepared to sleep in the car. A whole separated cabin with 3 beds, full kitchen, living room, wireless high speed, TV and a very nice lady at the front desk. It was also $55.00 for the night. why can’t they all be like that. A friend pointed out that I should probably write down the name of the place in case we need an extreme northern party adventure cabin. Consider it done Kasia.
After a good family breakfast were off again on the road now and are shooting to get past Winnipeg tonight. We are going to stop mid day and do some form of riding. I have my rollers so worst case scenario rest stop intervals. Have been trying to fit in as many push ups/sit ups as possible during our limited stops and seeing how many I can get up to each day of travel. Yesterday was 180 push ups, 40 sit ups. Did some good jumping squats as well. Should easily beat that today, plus the ride. Aiming for Thursday night arrival in Edmonton or maybe Friday morning latest. Any Trek Canada team members who might read this, your bikes will remain in pristine condition *taps nose*.