Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sparks Fly at the Hammer and Anvil Cyclocross Double Bonanza!

The Anvil begins. Photo: Bernard Durand
I still love double cyclocross weekends. This weekend's racing was particularly sweet, as our Masters fields started at 12:30pm. This afforded me time to break the fast with my family, get suited up at a leisurely pace, and even warm up in the garage (you know, calisthenics and stuff...or maybe the trainer) a bit before heading to the Nepean Equestian Centre at 11. One could get used to this pace!

Ok, cool, stay here, this is good. (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
Oh yeah, this is definitely going well. Man, do I look PRO or what, matching tape, coordinated shoes and gloves.... (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
Shit! WTF am I doing?! Bye Shawn........ (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
After battling illness for over a month, I was hopeful that I'd feel good on the bike on Saturday. Well, I did, which was a real treat. I started well, battled with John Fee and Shawn Marshall, made significant bike handling errors at key times, and ultimately saw Shawn ride away from me as I floundered. In the end, I finished in second spot, with Simon Smith hot on my heals. Even though I knew my unforced errors cost me a chance at the win, I was nevertheless happy to be riding at or near full strength again; one can much more readily control errors than one's state of health. Jamie took a hard crash due to a pile-up on the first lap, injured his shoulder, but showed real character in soldiering on and putting the hurt on for the whole race for 9th spot. You can't buy spirit like that. Dave, Mike and Rob were in the mix as well, finishing 5th in MA, 6th, and 9th in MB, respectively. Pretty darn good.

This is Masters is all about, crushing it AND parenting at the same time, or at least the same day. (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
After some vegetarian chili (thanks to the organizers for making that option available), I returned home motivated to improve in the bike handling department on Sunday and go for the win. Positive thinking and belief in one's ability to win is at least half the battle. As I wrote on my facebook page Saturday night, "If one wants to fight like a ninja, one must sleep like a monk." So that's what I did.

Sunday morning's routine replicated Saturday's, with an additional 50 pushups thrown in (uh, right). This time my lovely wife and daughter came along, cowbell at the ready. We arrived to a slightly less balmy, perhaps chilly venue, the same as Saturday's, and proceeded with the proceedings. The course was not drastically different than Saturday's, but I did find it flowed better for me. I liked Saturday's twisty, technical course, but I liked this one even more. Chapeau to the Ride with Redall crew and volunteers for creating a terrific course. I think the majority of us were confused by the tape from time to time, so hopefully next year something can be done to help the old eyes and brains register what we're looking at.

Dudes looking good. Jamie, Pascal, Todd. (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
 We had far more Tall Tree riders out to race today, distributed between the Masters 30-39 and 40-49 categories. We started well, and this time, as I staged at the front, I was able to get the holeshot and lead for a bit. John Fee and Shawn Marshall were right there, once again, and Simon Smith was also very close. John passed before long, and I settled in behind him at a good manageable pace. After taking the lead to pull after a couple laps or so, I slid out and they surged away, Yohan, the fast junior in tow. I managed to bridge up, and regained contact, so all was well again. About a lap later I stuffed my front wheel in a turn, and to my horror, rolled my tubular! "Krikey, I'm going to have to get this back on," I thought, as Shawn and John rode away, Yohan trailing. I rotated the tire around, bringing the 1foot long length of rolled tire to the top, reached down, and yanked it back onto the rim. It seated back as it was, but I had no idea how well it would hold. I rode tentatively and Yohan caught up. Once I was reasonably confident the tire would remain seated, I started chasing, however, John and Shawn had opened a gap of at least 30 seconds. I tried to harness all my inner strength to reel them in, but I could only go so fast in the turns, so I could do little to close. Yohan was tenacious, and we battled a bit, but in the end, I came around the last turn leading, and held the position across the line for third. Again, I was happy with my physical performance, but accepted that there was nothing I could do to prevent my technical, so I'm ok with it. There will be more races, more opportunities to get everything right, or close enough.
Here we are, the lead group of 4: me, John, Shawn and Yohan.  Everything is going well at this point. (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
Jamie, Rob, Todd. Hey, where's Rodd? (Photo: Kelly Marshall)

Oh, there he is, with matchy matchy tire and kit. (Photo: Bernard Durand)

There goes the train. (Photo: Stu Blunt)

Here they come! Shawn just couldn't hold the sprint. The guys hammered out a very hot last lap, battling the whole way. (Photo: Stu Blunt)
Then us. I led into the sprint, and gave it 100%, unclipping near the line! Oops. (Photo Stu Blunt) 
This time I wore pants. Congrats John, great racing guys! (Photo: Kelly Marshall)
Behind me a train of Tall Tree riders steamed over the course, battling amongst themselves and having an absolute blast, from what they said:  Rob, Rodd, Todd, and Jamie, rolled a fast pace, and rounded out 5th through 8th spot in that order. Awesome! Meanwhile, Pascal and Chris rounded out 14th and 16th, and David, Glenn, and Mike took 7th, 11th and 17th in Masters 40-49. Great riding everyone!

You might notice from the photos that I'm racing on my new Steelwool Truffle Pig cross bike. Yep, that's right, the bike is in full effect; actually, Todd has one too, and he raced his for the first time today. I'll do another post about the bikes asap. They are HOT. We've got a couple studio shots of my frame and Todd's complete bike here. More to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if sick - stay home :)

really though - take honey!