With A Rebel Yell, We Went For More, More, More….

This weekend was the polar opposite of last weekend. Instead of cold, muddy and rainy, we got super hot, humid and sandy in sunny Southern Ontario. I like the hot and sandy course at Hardwood Hills much better, and had a bit better weekend as a result, but still not what I was looking for. We had two races this past weekend. On Saturday I won the short track, which was a good start, but again on Sunday, I ended up going backwards on the last lap and ended up fourth. I had lots of problems during the day, and nearly dropped out had it not been for some great cheering from junior Emily Batty I would have stopped trying to fix my mechanical (I was about 100 metres from the start finish) so thanks for that! Marek Lazarski was also really great, one of the photographers, and he has been a great cheerleader the last two weeks! I am really frustrated from my last two cross country races, but I think these lessons I have been learning having races with adversity will help me be better at more important races this season. Regardless, I was looking forward to better results, but will be more hungry next weekend at the nationals as a result. Lots of funny things happened in Barrie (well, they are funny now) so to our weekend we go back?.

We drove through back roads from Ottawa to Barrie, in a Civic with no CD player, only a radio that works a little of the time, but likes to be held? literally. You have to touch the dumb thing to make it work when the reception is poor. So no radio stations for a long time, and as we got closer to Barrie we got some music, but it was awful. Bad, bad songs. We couldn’t find a decent station the whole time we were there.

We stayed with my buddy Bill’s sister (Bill is the man at Rider’s Cycles in Victoria ? or is Gene?? They can fight about it?) Kathleen. She has a cute house in downtown Barrie with a view of the lake and the cutest little golden retriever puppy. Wicked place to stay, very nice house, within walking distance of the grocery store, where we went the first morning we were there. Piped into this grocery story specifically designed for very old people was the same horrible music that we had been listening to in the car. 80s baby, lots of it. We were starting to wonder, this town that boasted Thornley playing the night we arrived couldn’t possibly know about Thornley, they were reduced to only 80s, forced into loving the old school due to no other choice!

We then walked down to get our espressos at one of the many great coffee shops in Barrie (point for Barrie) when we saw this pack of teenaged girls approaching us in their day-glo splendor. It was a bunch of Gloria Estevans. They had white high top shoes, with white slouchy socks, denim mini skirts, bright pink or orange tank tops, plastic bracelets, and high pony tails, and I swear they were to the side. Napolean Dynamite has brought back a horrible, horrible fashion statement that even the fashionistas crushed a couple of years ago when it tried to come back. Well, in Barrie it stayed, and it is going strong! The youth of today don’t know how horrified they are going to be when they wake up one day, look back at their school pictures and cringe. Like I do, because I was in school in the REAL 80s, and it was UGLY!!!!!

There was a thread on www.canadiancyclist.com about how UN-technical the course at Hardwood Hills is, similar to the one we had on www.xterraplanet.com about the course in Temecula. Some people thought it was gnarly in sections while everyone heckled anyone who thought so. I don’t consider the Hardwood Hills course that technical, but I managed to crash TWICE, and hard, while preriding on Friday, on the same section, and for the same reason. My first crash came courtesy of my partner in crime, Danelle, conveniently stopping right in front of me on the ?boneshaker?, this short rocky drop thing, so I had to cut left to avoid plowing into her and ended up throwing myself over the bars. The second crash came on the same section for the same reason, some jackass standing in the ONLY line there is. Oh well. The second time hurt, my knee has bothered me since, and now all of my left side is healing scrapes and bruises while my right side is fresh scrapes and bruises. Owie! I liked the course, lots of twisty turny stuff, good practice for Richmond, and good flow, but pretty tiring. We packed it in a bit early, I got an icepack for my puffy knee and hematomaed thigh, and we created a pasta masterpiece for dinner.

Saturday was the short track. Came first in that, Dan (as Danelle will now be known) came third, triathletes represent! Then Sunday was the cross country, and we woke up to HOT weather. Apparently it was 40 degrees Celsius with the humidex (I dunno, 90-95 degrees in American Celsius?) Fricken hot. Like a day only suitable for lazing around near a cold pool with some sort of blender drink hot. Like redneck down south ask for ID and be shown a belt buckle kind of hot.

Four laps of cross country madness, led for three, stopped for some repairs, tried to rally but ended up fourth and Dan was fifth. Catherine Pendrel won the race. Did the podium and headed home directly (after a little run in the sauna of the forest and a little socializing in the beer tent), showered, packed the car and off we went. I was sick from heat exhaustion, and a popsicle and salty pretzels made for a nice dinner on the road. Fifteen minutes into the drive the rack was nearly airborne with about $10,000 in mountain bikes. It was funny really, two totally blown chicks sitting on the side of Hwy 400 contemplating a rack hanging half off an already overloaded Civic, while calmly finishing their popsicles (actually, Danelle decided to take some action and in the process DROPPED her Fudgesicle, I soldiered through the Bomb Pop).

Just call me Melanie McGyver (we just tightened it back on and hoped for the best) as we kept it pinned for Ottawa. Then navigator Dan, with a map unfolded on her lap for an hour, managed to send our driver WEST on the 401, instead of EAST to OTTAWA, which is where we meant to go. We put a huge chunk of highway between us and Toronto before we did a big U-turn and heading back East and home. We got in at about 2am?and woke up to a nice day, with three days before we leave for mountain bike nationals in Quebec.

So hopefully the trend towards top three results continues as we go for our biggest mountain bike event of the season. Thanks to my supporters for their cheers on the weekend, and the internet cheering that I really appreciate. Lots of cool pics on cyclingnews.com

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