I got to the race site at 9:30. I figured just over an hour to get to the top and do my pre-run, register (another 20 minutes or so), then take another hour to get to the top of the course. Racing started at noon so this timing worked well.
When I arrived at the dump I lucked out and got a parking spot in the lot. I talked to a few others there, and found out that registration was under way. I grabbed my wallet and headed down. Plate number 56 for me today. Cost me $57 to get a membership to a club and enter the race. Good karma? I dunno.
I zipped back to the truck, got suited up, then headed up for my pre-run. I hiked to the top, zipped up my armour jacket, tossed on my jersey, got set on the starting platform, and rolled in. Instant tunnel vision. I was focused on the course very intently. For Snakes and Ladders I followed the lines I wanted, pedalling hard, but not enough to exhaust me. I flowed the dips and turns, lifting my wheel around corners, prejumping logs, sneaking pedal strokes when I could.
Coming up to Shar’s Choice I noticed a newly exposed root. That was when I made the most elemental mistake when mountain biking. I stared at that root wishing myself to miss it. I fixared on the root. I hit the root. My front tire slid out, skidded across the gravel, and down I went. I slid a bit, then impacted a tree with my shoulder. Armour to the rescue. No harm done on that crash.
I grabbed my bike, descended Shar’s Choice, then messed up the chundry section while bottoming out my fork quite harshly. Onto the fireroad I pushed like my plan laid out. I crested the hill and while coasting I recovered. On the next flat section I started pedalling again and was feeling pretty good. Down the last fireroad section I could see the turn off to shortcut. 100 metres away I hit the brakes and pedaled as I downshifted. Over the log, up the tiny incline, then down the other side.
I hit the road gap with a bit of speed. Unfortunately I was off my line. I landed with too much speed lined up with a tree. I spiked the brakes and skidded into the tree. Thankfully I slowed down enough that crash 2 didn’t hurt either. Untangling myself I hiked back up to redo that section. Second time through was much cleaner.
Shock Treatment was a blast as well. No problems there.
So, 2 crashes on my pre-run. Hmm. Must remember those on the race run eh?
I went back to the truck to swap out my camelbak for a bottle of water. No sense wearing a pack if I don’t need it. I grabbed a different set of gloves, then headed back to the bottom of the course.
The hike up for my race run was pretty slow. Didn’t want to tire myself out. I ate a Clif Bar along the way. At the top there was a lot of nervous energy. The beginner male racers were up first, and lucky Darryll was 3rd out of the gate. Next in line were the beginner females.
When they called the intermediate men, I learned I was first in line. Great. First intermediate male down the course. I ran through my checklist making sure all gear was secured properly, my bike was in the right gear, and mentally reminded myself of sections to take care on.
All too quickly I was up on the starting block. I remember 40 seconds to go. I heard 10 seconds to go. I heard 5 seconds to go and started my stop watch. 3 …. 2 … 1
I was off. I was feeling great. I had way more speed than any previous run. I was hitting lefts and rights with ease. I was shifting correctly in all the rights spots. I was “on”. Nearing the spot of my first crash I saw the root again, and reminded myself to not look at it. Down Shar’s Choice faster than every, turned into the chundry section and blasted it. I almost slid out onto the fireroad, but managed to save the bike from going down.
I quickly got back up to speed and recovered on the downhilll portion in prep for the uphill fireroad. That was killer. I have no idea what gear I was in but as I crested my legs were burning and I had slowed considerably. I sat and spun out to higher gears on the back side and when the fireroad went flat I stood and pedalled. At one point I was on a different line than previous practice runs and at the last second noticed a huge root that I was able to bunny hop in time. As I practiced so many times before I came screaming down the road and as I hit the brakes I downshifted to get myself onto Shortcut. Hitting that I made the road jump no problem (and avoided the tree), then down Shock Treatment. My only bobble of the race came on this section. I took an incorrect line that slightly cost me a little time.
The last chute to the TTA was a blast and I straight lined in. I crossed the finish line, and was very, very happy with my run. I hit all the lines I wanted, and only made one mistake. I wasn’t breathing too hard at the end so I guess I could have pushed a little more, but who knows I could have crashed. I finally stopped my watch at the 5 minute mark. I knew I had done a sub 5 minute run. Very happy with that.
My legs were starting to seize so pedalled around a bunch to flush out the lactic acid. I watched the finish line for a while and saw a couple spectacular crashes, and one amazing finish (huge jump that made the finish chute look smooooooth).
Fun, fun time. Too bad there was no food being sold there. I noticed that preliminary results were out. My run was 4:36. Woah. Very surprised I was that quick, but that made me very, very happy with my run. I could immediately see a couple other runs in the 4:15 and 4:30 range, so I am pretty sure I didn’t make top 3. It would be great if I could make top 10 though. I think that is possible. I left soon after getting my results. Now I wait anxiously to see how well I actualy placed.