Had a blast today!
Ryan Kuhn, the boys from Revolution Cycles, a pile of volunteers and countless other sponsors put on a great grassroots event today. Definitely on the agenda for next year.
Yesterday I should have been putting in a smart pre-race protocol effort but instead I went out for a reasonably hard 2.5hrs of riding, it's not my fault, there was sun on my face and the trails felt great and I didn't want to stop riding. When I rolled out of bed this morning (as late as possible) my legs were still a bit heavy, but there's a solution for that... I hit the caffeine hard, put the earphones in, jumped on the hardtail singlespeed and started the playlist on some old school Beastie Boys, AC/DC and Van Halen. A 30min ride up the highway to the race course opened the legs up and gave the caffeine a chance to do its thing, bwhahahahaha!
By the time I got to the racer briefing I had sweat running down my face and I was raring to go. The briefing went smoothly and everyone lined up for their 2min gap release times. I was third up with lucky plate number 113 at 1006hrs. I got the word to 'Go!' and punched it, I was only 10secs into the course and clipped a root or rock with my pedal during a series of low-grade descending tight switchbacks and went off course a touch (at high-speed) and lost a few seconds fighting to ride it back on track without unclipping from my pedals, all of this in front of Doreen and the boys who just happened to be right at the spot where I almost biffed it. I didn't see them until I had cleared my error and was back on track and I only registered them peripherally. That's what I get for racing on adrenaline rather than focus, 5secs after the mental lapse I quickly rebooted my mental game and raced dab free to the finish line.
Right away I knew the course was in AWESOME shape, tacky from the previous days of rain and quite possibly some of the best dirt since we arrived in Rossland 2.5mths ago. The trail maintenance was perfect. World class dirt. Seriously.
A couple of minutes into the race and I knew my legs weren't going to give a top-notch performance but my head was in the game and so I just turned up the punish-o-meter and decided to ignore the physiological complaining. After nearly 10mins of climbing-racing and a healthy serving of anaerobic effort and lactic acid, things began to improve as the course reached its highest point and proceeded to point downwards for the rest of the course. What lay in store for every racer at that point... a beautiful ribbon of descending twisting dirt for the next 7mins.
Whoop de doo's... check.
Dirt ramps... check.
Tight hairpins... check.
Rock work... check.
Thread the needle flowing... check.
Tears of joy kind of riding... check.
Anyone who was on that course this morning got treated to a magical trail.
After the race we headed home to relax a bit and I caught up on some athlete files before we headed down to Trail for some Dim Sum at 'Ace of Taste'. That's our second time there and I gotta say it has some pretty good Chinese food.
An hour later it was back to Rossland for the Huck en Berries dirt jump event, some of those guys were catching big air! Lots of 360's, backflips, and other assorted craziness. Definitely not my thing but totally impressive to watch that kind of athleticism. Rory from Revolution Cycles had the tunes blasting and was working the microphone as the riders went down the jump line, I swear he was making up names for some of the stuff those guys were doing.
Awards ceremonies time and I got to hit the podium in 1st place Masters category with a finish time of 16mins and 40-something seconds.
I was racing that course to grab the 1st place overall event placing (of course) but had no idea how my singlespeed hardtail would stack up against the guys with gears and full suspensions. Turns out the bike did ok, sadly the rider let it down today, but I am happy with the 2nd place overall finish. The young guy who beat me in the overall came up from Seattle and his time was better by approx 10secs, I talked to him after the race and he seemed like a real nice guy, congratulations to him.
What's the best thing about racing grassroots events in the Kootenays?
A beer brand I've never drank before, sausages from Star Grocery in Trail (the best) and a Rossland Rubberhead Bike Festival hat - I've been assimilated by the Kootenay borg. ;-)
Had a blast today!