|Todd shrugged off the damage he took to his hand during a crash on gravel. Turns out my electrolyte drink served as an effective cleaning fluid. Gnarly.|
Four hours in t he car on Sunday was worth it. While many Ottawa-based CX racers are finding it challenging to find the extra time required to drive to some if not all the out of town venues, those who made it to Kingston on Sunday were welcomed by many spectators and an excellent race course. Featuring long 10 minute-plus laps, the course had it all. A few features were striking, including a long stair run-up and serpentine descent. This was a course for those who could dismount well, with five forced leaps off the bikeI In fact gamut of skills were necessary on this track. Post race conversation among our Tall Tree/Steelwool folks confirmed the 'most rockin' feature had to be the roll in we were hitting full speed and pumping to keep the wheels planted. If hucking was desired, hucking could have easily been accomplished. The drop allowed confident riders to carry more speed and gain a second or two with no extra energy; outstanding.
While the A race went down with no significant injuries, unfortunately the same can't be said for the B race. Sadly, one of the men in the race took an awkward fall in the snaking desent and fractured his leg. I don't know specifically who it was, but wish him well in his recovery.
The A race was fast and furious. Imad led us out over the first lap, to be superceded by Osmund. I managed to get past Steve Proulx on the second lap (first full lap), and pulled away with Neil, to have Doug VdH bridge up. Meanwhile, Steve, Marc Boudreau and Matteo formed a chase group and drove hard to close. After slipping back from Neil and Doug, I maintained a tenacious mental game and fought to stay close and not allow the chasers to bridge. Many a spectator recommended the same tack, thus preventing me from letting up, easing the pain, and letting the others come to me. The dismounts were hardly more than flail-fests, but I was determined to drive hard, which meant I was nearly blowing up, but pushing on, a few times every lap. With two to go, Boudreau pulled away from Matteo, and Steve was nowhere to be seen. Marc was closing the gap, so I kept the pressure on and kept hime at bay until I caught Neil on the last lap. Neil was clearly recovering (from Doug's repeated vicious attacks, he'd later tell me), and I didn't want to make a dangerous pass, which allowed Marc to get on. Neil faltered leading into the stair run-up, leaving Marc and me to duke it out. Totally gassed after the stairs, Marc had the door wide open to pass, which he promptly did, allowing him to lead into the snake run downhill. Turning onto the uphill finish on Marc's wheel, I knew I didn't have as much, let alone more than he had to give, so away he sprinted to third overall, leaving me in 4th, 1st Master A. No regrets, Marc rode a blazing final lap, an excellent display of skill and power. Bagged but smiling, I was yet happier to see my team-mates roll in with strong finishes too, with Iain in 4th, Rob 5th, Jamie 6th and Todd in 8th. The guys are all motivated by the overall points ranking, and Sunday's results might well have solidified top 10 finishes for all of them. We've got two more races to accrue points; its great to have the overall as a motivator!
Mike finished a strong 3rd in the B race, Anna 6th, and Tanya 5th, excellent! Everyone is riding consistently right now and many are still improving each race. Bring on Provincials on Saturday, and Upper Canada Village on Sunday!