Last Sunday I decided to jump into a local mountain bike race put on by my favorite store, Procity. I have mentioned before how amazing Victoria is to train in. I ride on the road weekly with Olympian Erinne Willock. If I show up at a local run race, likely one of many national or Olympic team runners or triathletes will be there. If you do a local swim meet to test yourself over the 1500m, you might line up beside Olympic medalist Ryan Cochrane. We live in Endurance, Canada. So it is only suitable that when I showed up to race our teensy Island Cup that Catherine Pendrel and Mical Dyck would be on the start line (two from among our best mountain bikers racing professionally in Canada). Added to that are aspiring talented locals like Joele Guynup and we had a solid race for a Sunday. Thanks very much to Arran and Scotty for doing such an amazing job pulling together the event. It was much bigger than I had expected!
I rode to the start as part of my warmup/training day and immediately was troubled. First, my chain decided to give up on life on the climb into Hartland and broke. Luckily, Christina Briante was coming to watch and gave me a tow up the entire hill so that I could go find a chain tool. Thank you TINA!! Luckily there were many helpful people there to not only lend me the tool, but help me through the process (including Troy who I refused to allow help me since I needed to practice!). When my chain was fixed I went to warm up a little more and noticed that it wasn’t 100% happy but I did a couple of efforts and it held so no worries. Having just come back from being quite sick I had NO expectations so I was not even close to nervous. If those two crushed me I was totally okay with it 🙂 although I would try my hardest.
Off the start for the first of three laps I managed to stick with Catherine as Mical rocketed off the front. By the top of the climb we had caught her (we traded the lead of the chase once so I wasn’t doing terrible) and then immediately got into a ton of expert men traffic. I had actually said maybe one minute back or something but in hindsight that wasn’t ideal given how much faster we were climbing than them. For half the lap we rode together, sometimes seperated by a man caught in the middle. Down a rock face Catherine passed Mical and a man couldn’t or wouldn’t move out of my way fast enough so a gap opened up that I didn’t get closed up until we came to a steep climb where, having finally caught up to Mical and Catherine, my chain fell off. So I lost about 20 seconds there running instead of riding. I trailed about the same distance for the next lap before my chain fell off again. This time loss continued, as I wasn’t fast enough to go faster than either of them so every time I had some kind of mechanical or made any sort of mistake that time was lost for good. No excuses, I need more punchiness to get my ass back up there but what did I expect really, they are fast. When I went around for the third lap I kind of lost my mojo and crashed. My lap times were like 25, 25 and 27 minutes so that last lap was crappy. Probably just tired as I remember one near crash where I did a pushup on my bars to prevent an endo ;). I am not sure the gaps at the finish but I was a minute back on Catherine at halfway so I am sure that blossomed to +3 by the end as I couldn’t see either of them and like I said, I went slow that last one. I would have been third anyways so it was fun just to race for a lap or two with some pros. I finished the week with a swim to make it 28 h: 30km swimming, 13h bike, 5h run. First week back to training after being sick was solid.
Bummed to have had some mechanicals but overall my form is coming. Hard to tell entirely because this race was more technical than fitness so it isn’t a fair comparison. Regardless, comparing early season to cyclists is tough since I start/end later than them but I like the challenge of trying to keep up anyhow.. I was in the mix for awhile though so for a triathlete, I will take it.
Nice to see Catherine in town racing and both her and Mical look fit so it will be exciting to see how their seasons pan out. Hopefully I can get some rides in with Mical since my man training partners are few and far between right now! Luckily I have a Powerbeam to keep me fit!
Next up: more training. Still getting back to where I was before the plague and nowhere is it showing more than in my swimming.. Ugh! All that work and I went backwards. So frustrating!