I guess I am already a little behind on my race reporting given I have done the Prologue in North Vancouver, taken a ferry to Nanaimo, rode 70km offroad there, swam 4km in the pool next to the finish, slept, then drove to Cumberland to ride another 53kms of dirt today before a short run and some legs up time. It has been a whirlwind three days! This race is fantastic!!
To say this is going to be an amazing week is a complete understatement. First off, I couldn’t do a week of better training doing anything else. Sure, I could do a mtb stage race on dirt roads but that would not be fun. This race is TRAILS!! And not all super gnarly launcher trails. For the XTERRA crowd, I promise this is the best training you could possibly do IF you consider yourself an INTERMEDIATE (ie the blue trails on the ski mountain kind of rider). There are no hucks, no jumps and no skinnies you have to ride. You just need to be able to negotiate some longer steep descents that flow and some roots now and again. It is rideable fun! Funny that I should find two other off road triathlete types here: Ingrid Rolles is racing solo category and Yu Yumoto is leading a Japanese tour group.
Now I can feel already where my weakness is on the bike. Lack of mileage and lots of running really has killed my high end power. If we go steady hard (and by we I mean me and the group of men I bounce around in) then I am all good. However, if there are harder attacks, fast starts or steep ascents, my acceleration just sucks. I get dropped at the start of the race pretty bad. I am glad I am here to really put my head down and address this weakness. Also, my ability to ride singletrack with the BC crowd is also in need of some sharpening. Too many easy trails on the XTERRA circuit and my ability to really haul ass in gnarly stuff is impaired. Again, I am in the right place to sort that out.
After three days I am leading the solo women’s category. I have been beaten by three women, however, and all three are no strangers to the mtb scene. Catherine Pendrel, Mical Dyck and Wendy Simms all race in the mixed team category and all three have beaten me the last two days. I can sort of ride with Wendy, that is, until we go downhill and she destroys me. That girl is an animal in singletrack. So cool. So far I have a decent lead on my competition but given I have now ridden more hours in two days than I have averaged per week this year… I need to ride conservative! I also plan to mix in some swims and runs to keep myself in “training” mode so hopefully I keep it all together this week.
Thanks very much to the folks at BC Bike Race for letting me come and race and to Shimano for the fancy shiny new XTR to test in real mountain biking situations. So far, all is well with the bike, the body and my head. Day one was a short 9 mins and 35 second prologue, Day 2 was 3h58min in Nanaimo (I DIED in the last 30 mins) and today was 3h25 mins with me DYING in the last hour somewhere. I couldn’t ride singletrack anymore by the end. I am really not used to mountain biking it seems! However, I will live to fight another day.
Tomorrow is Powell River. The new course should be good fun for all. Start time is noon but first we need to ferry over there after spending a night here in Cumberland. I am at the Riding Fool Hostel which is super funky and cute. I have a room full of girls to stay with so it is like adult sleepover night. Haha! So stay tuned for the race week story: Visit BC by Mountainbike… with Melanie McQuaid. You would never be able to ride this stuff, all in a row, as fast as you can without this race. This is a killer opportunity. If you have been thinking about it.. stop it and just get ready to do it.