Saturday brought some nice weather for the 12:30 start time. The bike was ready (albeit with much more aggressive tires than needed for the essentially mud free course. This was a very different style of course for me compared to the familiar OBC series courses which tend to have one or two more mountain-bikey elements to them. This was lots of flat grassy twists and turns (which is generally not bad for me), and a few straightaways (which are generally bad for me) but there was no sections that I could really take charge in and make up any real time. Plus the attendance is significantly lower and even in this race there was three separate age group starts. About 25 in the start as opposed to the usual 100 +.
Start was hard and fast down the road with John Gee taking the hole shot into the hard left turn. He was followed closely by Rob Orange - these are the uber 40+ machines ! The rest of us eventually settled into our pecking order with me bopping around Kris Westwood, David Bilenkey and Peter Conn for about 3/4 of the race. The most vivid part in my memory is the long VERY BUMPY backstretch and after a few rounds of that meat grinder David and Kris were long gone. I had a reasonable enough gap on Peter - but it looked like he was closing a bit on the last ½ lap as I looked back at any strategic turn. Final result - a respectable 6th.
Saturday night brought it’s own little contribution to the triple threat but even with that and about 2 hrs of sleep (unlike Matt’s monk) I seemed pretty energetic for Sunday’s early race in Renfrew. Arriving with lots of time to scope the course I found quite a range, a lot of open straight field (crap), a tight 90 into a ditch at mach 1 and 180 out at mach 0.00000001, an awesome short steep dirty wall leading up to the forest section, then a cool series of about six 180 degree grassy switchbacks coming down. I switched up the front tire for something a little less aggressive for all the field.
Race started on 2 laps of a track then it was hammer for the steep up. Being in about 5-6th wheel was bad as Jay fooked up the wall and stopped us all while Chris Olsen rode away. (How important is that hole shot??). The downhill 180 series was another section to really know who is in front of behind you....some guys are smooth while others are jittery hacks, (I’ll let you decides which ones you want in front). I suffered from some hackage in the first couple laps. Surprisingly I managed to hold my own in the long sections with the usuals and Jim Laird (of 50+ fame) and was able to clean the steep wall each time up making up a bit of time. In the end tho Jay and David have just got a little more in them than I do and I dropped off a few meters on the last road section due to some errant shifting and limped in to the finish climb about 15 seconds back - all of us collapsed in heaving masses. Final result - a solid 4th. Two down and one to go.
Time to spin out just a little and down some choc milk and an banana and hit the road back to O-town. Got back with time to spare and figured since I lived only a few minutes away from race #3 that I would have a quick shower to warm up and refresh and even clean the machine a little. Of course at some point I looked down at my watch - holy shyte - 12 pm !! Booted it to the race and with a little ride around hit the start line realizing that the front wheel switch-over in the morning revealed a slow leak. There I was on the start line with about 5-10 psi in the front tire...this is going to be ugly. Luckily Trish was there ad was able to grab their floor pump and bring it to the pit. I really had wanted to put on a good show as I had friends come out to watch due to missing the Mooneys Bay intended race. The first half lap was a nightmare as I was swishing and sliding out all over the place - basically I was a complete hazard for anyone behind me and I felt rather sheepish about the whole affair. Amazingly I made it to the pit without completely flatting or rolling the tire. Thanks Trish ! Got going again after about a minute and chased down a few of the 50 + guys that passed while in the pit. I kept Drew Edwards in my sights every time there was a straight leading to a bunch of turns - but could never bridge the gap that was substantially further than it looked. This course was even more twisty and turny than Saturday and all the accelerate /decelerate was taking it’s toll on my dizzy ravaged body. I was basically on my own the whole race - giving it all I had (which was not much to be honest) until the last lap. Then the wall really hit and all I could do was a little more than a soft pedal in as John Fee and Shawn Marshall lapped me...soon to be followed by Matt and crew. Final result - a humbling 17th.