Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mine Over Matter Off Road Nationals

It was a muddy one this weekend
This past weekend Cliff and I thought it would be a nice mid season break to try an off road triathlon, and it happened to workout that the Canadian Nationals were just down the road in Milton. My only mountain bike experience was in the Netherlands 5 years ago. That ride ended up with me clipping a log that I tried to bunny hop over, branch from that log ending up in the spokes of the guy behind me, and going over the bars breaking his collar bone and bike frame (my bad).

A big thanks to Howie Walker who let me borrow his Specialized Epic. My mountain bike "training" began sometime in June, and consisted of about 1 ride a week at Boler. After Welland we took a bit of an unstructured week so I managed to get in a couple rides that week with AJ Baucco and Ryan Power. One thing I learnt mountain biking is that previewing the course is so crucial so the Monday before the race Ryan, Cliff and I went up to Milton for a ride and run. It only took us four attempts to figure out the mountain bike loop, but I was glad I previewed and knew what was coming even if the race day conditions were completely different.

Saturday night it must have poured because when we got to the race sight Sunday morning everything was drenched. Cliff went for about a 3k warmup ride and came back with his face covered in mud. This was going to be a long messy day.

The swim was rather uneventful as we all tried to get on Sean Bechtel's feet. I quickly realized this wasn't going to happen and settled in with the chase pack. I came out of the water 4th, and it was on to the bike.
And we are off. "Where is Sean? We all have to get on his feet
The bike was a ton of fun. I tried staying on Karsten's wheel, but he quickly dropped myself and Rui Xu after the first climb. From here on out it was just trying to limit my time lost. I think I did alright on the technical sections, but maybe could have eased off the brakes a bit. However, I think I lost most of my time on the fast/power sections like going up a damn ski hill!! I was 12th on the bike, and I don't think that is to bad for my first attempt at off road racing. The big thing was I kept the rubber side down and didn't crash.
Thou shalt always be aero even when on a mountain bike
The run was a back and forth between Rui Xu and I. We had pretty much been together the entire race and were swapping surges as we hammered through the forest trying to catch those ahead of us, and break each other. The last 1.5k was on a gravel road that looped around the lake. I tried putting in a small surge at the last aid station, but after 3 steps my legs said I don't think so. Rui must have sensed I was hurting because he counter attacked and the elastic band was snapped. I was disappointed in my self physically and mentally for not being able to close out the race especially for that last podium spot, but I think that may have been my best run of the year.

It's far away, but I'm still in it
And the band is snapped
The off road stuff is sooooo addictive, and I will definitely do another one at some point. Next up for me is a 4 week focus building up to Du Worlds in Ottawa. I think I might be one of the most versatile multisport athletes out there doing draft legal, non draft, off road, half iron, sprint, olympic, tri, du you name it I will do it. Maybe after du worlds I will have to do one of those kayak/bike/run races or something.
Glad they had a giant bath for us.

PS if anyone knows of a mountain bike sponsor let me know. I think it is time to get my own bike.