Monday, May 4, 2009

Gone South Again

Not THE South this time -- just South Ontario. While the rest of the Tall Tree crew were toughing it out at the Almonte Roubaix, Anna and I took The Big Green Machines to Ontario Cup number one at Mansfield.

It was sure great to spend Saturday pre-riding the smooth fast trails in short sleeves and shorts -- a first for me this year. We didn't feel as useless on the mountain bikes as we'd expected and thanks to the very generous support of Coach Vipond and his Oshawa family we were content and ready to race by Saturday night. The weather did it's best to break our spirit though with crazy rain and wind overnight. Oh well. We mounted up the mud tires and remembered the words of the great Sean Kelly speaking about Paris Roubaix, "I hope for rain because I know half the field gives up when it does." Or something like that.

I race in the Master Expert 30-39 category. Yes, I'm over the hill. It's a very competitive category though and I really enjoy the atmosphere. I can usually hang in the front group, occasionally win and always have fun. Perfect. The category has been dominated for years by a guy named Jon Barnes. When my best day collides with his off-day we can have a real race so I always try to crack him.

No luck this time! I gave it everything on the first lap and we quickly formed a lead group of three, but I could tell he wasn't having any trouble matching my pace and on the second of four laps he began to distance me. Chasing after him allowed me to hold off the rest of the group though and I came in for second place. Good race for Jon and I was satisfied too. This gang of guys is the measuring stick I use for my fitness and I'd say I measured up okay.

Anna was on the course at the same time in her Elite debut. After a great season at or near the front of the Expert field she made the big jump over the winter. The Elite race is one lap longer than Expert and generally requires some pacing adjustments. I think Anna played it conservatively for fear of that extra lap. She's a better rider than her result indicated and when she gets more comfortable in this new group she will shine.

Next weekend at Albion Hills maybe?

1 comment:

Matt Surch said...

Well done Rob, great first foray. I know Anna was unhappy with her day, but it'll get better. I remember my first Sr. expert xc race. It worked me so bad I bonked and had to DNF. My only biological ever. Its hard moving up at first, but then it comes along. Keep on it Anna!