Sunday, October 5, 2008


Ok, we're going to start slow as there is a lot to cover today. It was an eventful day in an epic sort of way.

In the beginning there was Cafe Awasa and immediately I noticed something unusual. What could it be? It's a smell, and it smells good. It's the coffee. Hey, I can smell again. The head is finally clear. Sweet start.

We met up for a group run at the Lakes for an 8am start. The workout: 20 minutes warm up, 70 minutes race pace target HR, 15 minutes warm down. Today was the first time I've done the long hard run following a long hard ride the previous day. The plan was to notice how the legs react to TT time. Be aware of this.

Decent run overall. Legs felt pretty good and I was happy to be running in the rain, a nice bonus. Rainy runs are among my favourite.

Thanks for a sweet run.

Freshly picked Mackintosh apples for the drive home and massive bottle of sugar water.

Home for a lunch of leftovers: Arctic Muskox, Ratatouille, Polenta, Dill Potato Soup, and a cup of extra potent green tea. Feet up and a 25 minute power snooze.

Throw together a kit for this afternoons cross race.

Jalapeno and I rolled out of the house around 1:15 for a good warm up before our 3:15pm start. Now this is where things become interesting.

I was a little unsure how the riding legs would feel at effort, and knowing there would be plenty of this to come, I kept the warmup fairly easy but of substantial duration (about 70 minutes).

Ride out to Juan de Fuca, loop the lagoon, back to register, and pre-ride the course. On my way up one of the steeper climbs I literally pulled the handle bars right off, cracking the carbon steer tube in half. No joke. Just pure torque from the arms managed to crack this thing climbing the hill.

Wow. That was very lucky. If I were descending when the steer tube broke in half, that could easily spell impalement.

Well, maybe this is a sign that today was not meant for me to cross race. Carry Jalapeno back to the race course.

"Hey dude, that's harsh! Do you need a bike to race on?"
"Yeah, totally man that would be wicked. Are you sure that's cool?"
"Yeah, man. Let's swap the pedals and get you ready to race."

Big time shout out to a dude named Hichem. Thanks mano, I owe ya one.
This was sign enough for me that today would be a racing day.

Off the start I kept it pretty chill. As chill as things can be for a cross race. Feel out the new ride. Feel out the course.

1 Lap in and this is too easy. Legs feel pretty good. I'll kick it up a notch.

There was one super steep pretty long hill which a few riders could make it 1/2 way up. In this situation, I always choose to run. For me, this is just simply faster and there's no point riding with 35 cadence only to stall in about 30 seconds.

The hill was my place to move. I dug in there pretty deep and found myself running past a group and into no mans land. Dig the flats, run as fast as possible over the barriers, and chill where it becomes technical (bmx track).

The next time up the hill I found myself coming up on Norm Thibault (wicked awesome race, thanks for putting it on) and a dude who I think is called Andrew. These guys are pretty technically proficient cross riders.

I thought, "Hey, I might actually be in this thing. May as well give'er a rip."

Storm the hill. Run fast. Run past.

On the way back down, I heard one of the Berg's say, "Come on Killer, you're bringing back in the leaders." Cool. This is good.

Dig in. Dig in. Dig in. Next time around the BMX loop Russell had one of a few Technicals right in front of me. Roll past. Ok. Here's a chance to pull right up. Let's make this hill flat.

I managed to reach a new max HR this time up the climb, beating my previous run max by 2bpm, and cycling max by 12bpm. Sweet.

On my way up I heard. "Your fighting it out for second with Russell!"
Really? I'm actually in this race.

Next lap. "Your pulling in Jeff Kabush!"
For real? Jeff Kabush? This is going pretty well.

Next lap. Barriers. Somehow, after 6 or 7 laps of running the barriers with ease, I managed to forget of there presence and rode straight into one of them. Crash. Over the bars, and over one of the barriers.

Up. Faster. Quick transition. Run. Hop on the bike. The front wheel isn't spinning. TacOOOOed.
Seriously tacoed front wheel. We're talking 2 inch difference from 6 to 12 o'clock. Well that's an easy fix. Just disengage the front brake and keep going. 2.5 laps to go. Hang in there.

Hmmm. . . my balance seems a little off. Probably a mix between fatigue and the wheel. Wobbly front wheel was a challenge for sure, especially climbing, and through the mud.

Now the descent. A serious descent with only a back brake. Should I get off and walk/run the descent? Are you kidding me? What kind of lame question is that?

Just what all the Mt. Doug Papaya practice last year was for. Lock up the back wheel and hang on for dear life. One of the more sketchy moments of the day for sure.

You might think that no front brake factor would make things faster. It in fact makes things quite a bit slower. The wobbly factor also contributes to an overall decrease in velocity. Fortunately, both these things increase the fun factor.

A bunch of the other guys sailed past on the swervy muddy bits with about a lap to go, and that was that.

Awesome, fun, sweet, epic race. Wicked cool and definitely one of the funnest races I've ever been a part of.

Now batting .667 for the Most Aggressive Rider. Sweet.

Thanks for a wickedly awesome day.

Big week on it's way. Time for sleep.

Rest well.


Sue said...

Good story and great day...Which we had pics...Oh well, the story was so good that I saw it all in my mind. Hope you rest deserve it

A-Russ said...

yup, that is the best blog post i have read in a long time, maybe even best ever. I never knew i was so good at cyclocross though, what place did i end up in?

I think you should go to nationals next weekend and show em the killer-smash!

stevo said...

Thanks dude & dudette. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. You'll be happy to know that Jalapeno is on the mend and will be up and running soon.