May 19, 2014

Salty Dog 2014

I headed out to the Salty Dog race just over a week ago, some of you know it as a tough 6hr course in Salmon Arm. I've done it 3yrs in a row now and it's always a good assortment of Western Canada hammers that show up, which keeps it real. Last year didn't go as well as I hoped, I raced for most of the 6hrs without a seatpost or saddle which was hard, that story is here. Obviously I was hoping for better luck this year.

The race weather was looking a bit dodgy, and to confirm that dodginess I was only 45mins outside of Rossland when I hit a snowstorm. This photo shows the start of it, by the time I hit Nancy Greene Provincial Park there was snow forming on the sides of the highway.

It rained on the course for the two days prior to the race, which made for some tricky conditions on race day. Lots of mud, wattage sucking boggy climbs and people flying off the singletrack descents and crashing into trees. I got lucky and managed to keep the nose of the bike pointed in the right direction and pretty much had a crash-free race. I had five other athletes at the race, some had good luck and some not so much, amongst them there was everything from 1st place finishes right through to seven stitches on the 1st lap (Julie slashed her forearm open in a crash and after finishing up at the hospital she headed back to the course and raced for another 3hrs - nails!). I managed a 5th place finish in my Expert category, not bad for the token 50yr old. ;-)

As you can see, everyone was in pretty good spirits after the race.

The rest of the evening was made up of sitting around and having a few laughs, while refuelling with an IPA and Chris's homemade cookies.

This was the first race I've done on gears since 2010 Worlds in Australia, the new 1 x 10 system worked flawlessly and I have to admit the geared thing is pretty handy for racing. No doubt about it, I luv my Orbea Alma singlespeeds, trg and racing on them is a blast but the 1 x 10 is going to see some love this year as well. Of course it's hard to stay off the new 1 x 10 bike because of the 2014 Orbea Alma geometry/tech advances versus my 2012 Alma's. The differences aren't huge but they are noticeable out on the dirt. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new bike performs at the 24hr Solo this weekend, my 26th 24hr Solo, my how time flies.

Last thing on the new bike, I want to meet the Orbea engineer who designed the magical ability to keep the ORBEA markings clearly visible on the downtube, while under the assault of a metric ton of race mud. It even defeats Rossland mud. He is a mud genius.