This week was rather tumultuous for the cyclocross community of Ottawa. Bob and Ian were quick to react to the City’s decision to revoke the permits to use Ottawa public parks to hold the races and moved the venue to Almonte. As usual, they set up a very challenging course for us and it looks as though it got the better of the Tall Tree Team. The course was muddy, slippery and technical, and in the end for me, a bit much.
This is my first year racing cross and I have a lot to learn. Lesson 1: Make sure you get plenty of intensity during the year.
I have over 7000km in my legs this year, but most of them are from either riding to work or going on long “slow”, all day road/gravel slogs. Minimal red zone riding has resulted in mostly pain and mediocrity for me so far. I generally finish bottom third in the Masters A category. Sure, I’m up against some real honches, but in most other races/rides (Almonte Roubaix etc), I’m at least top half.
Lesson 2: Know how much to dish out and when to dish it out.
Today I was in my usual position, in a dimly lit hurt locker, duking it out with the usual suspects (Disco Stu among others) when an attack on a hard climb with a barrier halfway up (Thanks Ian and Bob) put me over the top. I began to dry heave uncontrollably. After about 8 heaves, I decided to call it quits. At that moment, I was not thinking of Matt’s wise words: “The pain only lasts an hour, quitting lasts forever.” It’s only after I saw the photos my son and sister took that they came back to me. I could have taken a 10 second break, eased off and finished the race. But I would have been behind all those guys I was racing with and I had trouble dealing with that. In hindsight, I should have kept going and just accepted my place in the pecking order. (For that day anyway)
The Walk of Shame. Tsk Tsk.
Lesson 3: Don’t quit, just take your lumps. You’ll feel better in the long run.
Bad luck struck much of Team Tall Tree: Matt and Jamie flatted out, Dave had some sort of pedal cat-ass-trophy very early on and our good buddy Phat Moose Kent died a quiet little death mid-race.
Rodd and Rob Represented Respectfully
We’ll be back next week for more at Ride with Rendall’s Anvil Cross. See you then!
Photos by Frédérique and Felix Marais here