Monday, June 28, 2010

24 Hours of Elapse Time

Here is a time elapse video of the Burnt Helmets campsite located in the pine pavilion section of Albion Hills. The camera had to move locations from time to time based on setup logistics and location of the action.

This video was taken by capturing a frame every minute (used different times to conserve battery during the night due to flash - Nikon 8800)

Good Times

The results are posted, and BH actually finished 21st out of 86. Way to go team, I had a great weekend.

Chico Racing - Results

Kudos to Chico Racing for delaying the race by 2hrs to due to the rain. This, I am sure, helped keep the course in shape for the whole race - I was really surprised how well it held up.

We had our campsite pretty well decked out with enough tents, canopies and tarps that we were able to shelter 13 people, 2 dogs and all our gear from the rain - I think everyone was happy and as dry as we could be.

Thanks Dan for your homemade energy bars, they were really good!

Personally I am happy with my lap times, a little surprised actually considering my lack of training this year, let alone over the last month. My bike and gear held up well. I changed my suspension bearings last week and the bike felt so smooth again, creak free. I realized I want a brighter headlight, something that can throw a brighter spot further down the trail. Currently I am using a Maxx-D on the handlebar, and a Joystick on the helmet, from Exposure Lights. The joystick is pretty bright, but I'd like something brighter for next year.

Well the next race for BH is the next OCup #5 at Buckwallow Cycling Centre, Bracebridge

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Burnt helmets finish summer solstice 21st out of 86

The race is over. Dave finished up strong. It was a great race and I believe all had fun. We are packed up and attending the awards. No medals for us but we may still win some draw prizes. Here are some pics from the end of the race.


Scott finishes strong, his last lap of this race.

Deny is out now for his final lap and Dave will be the final rider for BH this race.

Lap 18 completed at 10:46:12, Rank=26, OutOf=86, lap time=1:11:20.
1m27s behind 25th place (265)

Smoking Lap Mark

Mark 'The MecahnIC' just finished his lap with a smoking lap time. We've moved closer to 23rd spot.

Scott is out now, the Deny then Dave.

Lap 31 completed at 9:34:52, Rank=24, OutOf=86, lap time=1:02:03.
7m24s behind 23rd place (246).

Dan is In

Dan is done his 3rd lap, 15th for BH. He conquered that nasty hill in the last km again, take that you ......

Mark is ripping it up on his last lap now. Looks like Derek won't need to do a third lap.

Lap 15 completed at 8:32:49, Rank=24, OutOf=86, lap time=1:22:46.
20m4s behind 23rd place (306)

Amy's Done

Amy is done, finishing out 15th lap, her 3rd. She had a great time, saying "the course is awesome!"

Dan the Man is now out chewing on some Albion hills.

Lap 15 completed at 7:10:03, Rank=24, OutOf=86, lap time=1:08:09.
6m21s behind 23rd place (306).

Chillin around the morning campfire


Derek finishes our 14th lap as the sun comes at Albion Hills.

Amy is now out for her 3rd lap.

Lap 14 completed at 6:01:54, Rank=24, OutOf=86, lap time=1:17:41.
26m20s behind 23rd place (286). 25th place (265) finished lap 13, 23m46s after we started lap 14

13 laps in and still trucking

Dave is in with a sub hour lap. The fog is still a limiting factor out there, making it hard to see in the distance.

Derek is out for his 2nd lap, and the sun is starting to come up.

Lap 13 completed at 4:44:13, Rank=24, OutOf=86, lap time=0:59:39.
11m14s behind 23rd place (286). Passed (252) 25th place who finished lap 12, 6m37s before we started lap 13.

Deny Lap Time

Deny brings home the bacon and finishes up his 2nd lap, 12th for the team. He had a late start, Deny style. He was probably a sub hour.
Dave is up next and he is fired up.

Lap 12 completed at 3:44:34, Rank=25, OutOf=86, lap time=1:04:34.
17sec behind 24th place (307).

11th Lap, Its Still Dark Out

Scott keeps cranking the laps, finishing the 11th BH lap. Scott reports the course is in good shape, but the fog is still a factor - he says if you can see, then go like snot.

Deny was late getting to the gate, we'll see if he can make up his lost time, he's on course now. Dave is up next.

Lap 11 completed at 2:40:00, Rank=27, OutOf=86, lap time=1:18:44.
41sec behind 26th place (259).

10th Lap

Mark continued to crank out the laps for the BH, finishing our 10th lap. Scott is up next.

Lap 10 completed at 1:21:16, Rank=27, OutOf=86, lap time=1:06:15.
5m2s behind 26th place (252)

Lap 9 - Dan owns the Night

Dan just finished his first night lap.

Dan says its pretty foggy out still, and all the campfire smoke in the air making it hard to see into the distance down the trail. Dan almost took a tree to the head, he's ok though. Mark is on course, Scott is getting ready now after his nap.

Its after midnight, we're on the home stretch now.

Lap 9 completed at 0:15:01, Rank=28, OutOf=86, lap time=1:28:02.
2m2s behind 27th place (277).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Amy's First Night Lap - Lap 8

Amy just finished her first night lap. She had some issues with her light that slowed her down. She still had fun. Its really foggy out tonight, lots of humidity in the air.

Lap 8 completed at 22:46:59, Rank=25, OutOf=86, lap time=1:16:59.
*6m23s behind 24th place (246).

Mark and Derek

Derek post lap. Mark being funny.
Amy's on the course now.
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Derek - Lap 7

Derek comes in and finishes his first lap, and it was in the dark. It's foggy out there he says, hard to see the trails. Everyone has done one lap now!

Lap 7 completed at 21:30:00, Rank=23, OutOf=86, lap time=1:13:29.
40m33s behind 22nd place (327). 24th place (265) finished lap 7, 7m7s after we started lap 9.
Team plate: 248, name: Burnt Helmets
, category: 6-10 cmpny
40m33s behind 22nd place (327). 24th place (265) finished lap 7, 7m7s after we started lap 9.

6th Lap - Dave

Dave finishes the team's 6th lap. Dave went out strong but all the beer last night and lack of sleep caught up to him and he slowed down 1/2 way though. Better have another recovery beer Dave.

Derek is out on course now, and its "lights on" time now. The night laps begin

Lap 6 completed at 20:16:31, Rank=23, OutOf=86, lap time=0:55:00.
35m32s behind 22nd place (275).

5th Lap by Deny

Deny complete's his first lap, the team's 5th one, with a wicked time. That improved our ranking quite abit!

Lap 5 completed at 19:21:31, Rank=29, OutOf=86, lap time=0:51:17.

2m9s behind 28th place (267).

Lap 3 done by Mark

Lap 3 completed at 17:22:58, Rank=42, OutOf=86, lap time=1:00:00.
3sec behind 41st place (276). Passed (315) 43rd place who finished lap 4, 13m28s before we started lap 3.
Team plate: 248, name: Burnt Helmets
, category: 6-10 cmpny
3sec behind 41st place (276). Passed (315) 43rd place who finished lap 4, 13m28s before we started lap 3.

Race Board

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Lap 2 completed, team 248

Dan grinds out his 1st lap and sets a personal best lap time for 24hr racing.

Lap 2 completed at 16:22:58, Rank=62, OutOf=87, lap time=1:15:15.

10sec behind 61st place (251).

Passed (314) 63rd place who finished lap 1, 6m41s before we started lap 2.

Team plate: 248,
name: Burnt Helmets
category: 6-10 cmpny

10sec behind 61st place (251). Passed (314) 63rd place who finished lap 1, 6m41s before we started lap 2.

Pre race update - 11 o'clock rain

Ah its raining. It has picked up in the last 20 minutes from a drizzle to a decent downpouring. Amy rides first. I hope its not muddy out there. If the rain stops the course should be fine.
Well, back to sulking about the rain. Here is a picture of our camp courtesy of Derek.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

24hour update - Campfire lights

The camp was setup in under 3 beers time. We pre rode the course @ around 730 after registering. It was fast and enjoyable. The only thing better would be a dry race.
Right now super is down, the campfire is lit and we are relaxing for the rest of the evening. I hope to show you a pick of the fire.

Talk to you in the morning.

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We are here

The BH have arrived. Its tim to split a pint then setup camp.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The B Team

Well this weekend is the 24hr Summer of Solstice mountain bike race. The Burnt Helmets are coming from far and wide across this province to compete in the 6-10 person division.

Introducing the 2010 Burnt Helmets line up:

Deny "The Ocup Slayer" Buchwald
Our secret weapon

Derek "What Did I get myself Into" Thompson
Maybe we can find a new nickname this weekend for Derek

Scott "Steady Eddy" MacDonald
Soon to be a "The Law Bringer"

Mark "The Mechanical" Brozowski
Hopefully we can get him a new nickname this weekend

Amy " DENIS! " VanMeirlo
This is Amy's first time competing in a 24hr race. She will earn a new nickname this weekend too.

Dan "It Better Not Rain or I am outta here" Doucette
Dan will earn a new nickname this weekend too.

Dave Harding
(someone has to give me a nickname this weekend)

There you go, the Burnt Helmets. We just got jerseys, so after the race we'll post some proper team pictures.

We are going to crush the competition!

Hope to see you out there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hey you! Electric Scooter Drivers

L ately electric scooters have been ticking me off. I dislike em at the moment. I ride bicycles and motorcycles so I have an appreciation for both the road and the trail. So scooters are fine. Electricity is fine. Put them together and sometimes you get a bicyclist that drives around like a car, or bike where he or she wants and requires no insurance or license.

Here are the 10 reasons to dislike electric scooters and their drivers. (Directed at the driver)
1. You're too slow for traffic and hold up the lane because other drivers are scared to pass
2. You gun your scooters down sidewalks and through parking lots.
3. You don’t pay insurance and don’t need a license
4. Unpredicatable and you scooter drivers are fearless
5. What happens in a collision, do I pay my deductable and you drag your busted scooter home?
6. Walmart sells them, there will be a lot more on the roads soon
7. Where the $%^# are you turning, you don’t have any signals
8. How the *%^$ can you pass me on the right then expect to own the lane
9. Participaction! Hal Johnson wants you to get a real bike!
10. What’s with the stone cold face? You look like agent Smith sitting at a computer.

I do regard electric scooters as a green alternative to driving and a convenient way to get around without working up a stank. I also don’t think that the solution is to make scooter drivers pay more money to travel green.
I just want there to be some education about proper operation and road educate. If there isn’t already, a clear definition of where they can drive and what rules to follow would be great. Also maybe some sort of plate ID so that a driver can be tied to their scooter and they can be held accountable for any road related issues involving other drivers or even pedestrians. (Register them like an ice shack. NB0001)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This is my first post and thank you Denis for the other ones where you have included my thoughts!

As you have read in some of Denis' entries, I have had some good races, but truly I am at the back of the pack. It is normal though as I have just moved up from beginner to master sport category 30-39 age group. My best placing so fair was at Hardwood O-cup #3 which I came in 4th. My last race at Mountain View O-cup #4 was my worst placing, but my time behind first was only 7 mins which was great. The previous times behind first place were over 10 mins. So I should be happy about this however biking in avocado mush on a mountain bike trail is not fun! This means that your bike is always slipping out from you and you fall; which I did fall many, many times! I loving biking, but I hated it that day...all I wanted was to stay on my bike but my tires were full of mud making them slip whenever I turned or braked. My second lap I was afraid to push myself because all I had in my mind was FALLING. By the end, I just wanted to throw my bike into the bush and never see it again. It was also hard knowing that due to race times for the other burnt helmets would not be around to cheer me on. It is always nice to hear familiar voices pushing you and making the race a little more enjoyable. I know the next O-cup #5 at Buckwallow July 11th will be a come back. I love the coarse and I can even ride in the mud!!! The coarse is full of rocks, big ones to ride over, not a lot of hills and some beautiful scenery.

I am enjoying racing this year not only for racing but racing with my husband. Can't wait...

The next race is the 24 Hour of Summer Solstice at Albion Hills, 7 person team in two weeks. It will be my first tackle at a 24 hour event, however I know what I am in for as in the past I have supported Denis and Dave in many of there tag team races.

In the mean time, I will be out on both my road and mountain bikes to train for the rest of the racing season. Denis and I went out on the North Bay Tri route last night (only part of it) which was awsome. It was just long enough to get the legs spining and worked out the muscle stiffness from the run Sunday.

Next ride will be the group ride on Thursday evening at Nordic mountain bike trails. Until the next time...keep moving forward and smile!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Occasionally the burnthelmets like to partake in other sporting events. This weekend was the Patrick for Life run. Amy registered both of us for this Sunday's event. She was our running camera chick who also did the 5 km with her sister and a few of her friends. I ran most of the way with a friend Ed who's goal was to run 10km in under 1 hour. It was nice to stretch the legs for a good cause. I'm not a runner so there will be no stories of chasing down the competition.

Here is the garmin data from my watch and a few pictures capturing the fun.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Evening Ride

The 4 of us went for a nice little ride at Laurention last evening. The trails were beautiful.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deny's Regurg Ocup #4 Mountainview

Mountainview - What a nice course, when its dry. Well the first bit of climbing is a throte full but I would take Mountainview over Kelso any day. I would take it over Buckwallow too especially when it’s Muckwallow.

Pre race
After the amount of food I ate @ supper the night before, and the crappy sleep I wasn’t really hungry in the morning. I decided to snack back some bacon and strawberries around 10:30 just shortly before leaving the confines of Dave’s grandfather’s house. I was feeling crappy… I didn’t get to stay and take pictures for Amy’s race and I knew, with the rain and chill in the air, that she was not having a good time. She was up there by herself too. I will make every effort to be there for her in the future. Something happened before or during the pre-ride that caused a few spokes in Amy’s wheel to burst. She has my wheel for her race and I borrowed Scott’s to get me a warm up. 10:50… rendezvous with Amy, whose face carried the look of someone that just got ketchup on their white Sunday shirt. Got my wheel back now time to warm-up a bit and race.

The Race
The course cleared up accept for a section of single track before and shortly after “The Wall”. All you had to do was run for 2 mins and it was out of the way.
If you read my last entry I committed to try and be the top dog up the ski hill. With the coach Chris guys upgraded and out of the way I had a better chance to take the hill. While I’m on the topic, what’s with everyone upgrading so soon? I thought about it too but if everyone who win’s a few races upgrades, they won’t be around when I / others get the mid season legs back. I got up that hill and had to run the last bit. It left me with little left but I didn’t have to worry about anyone in my way until I caught the tail end of the next group. I looked back from time to time and didn’t see anyone on my tail so I focused on my turns and staying low in the open double track. Tasting bacon from time to time and wondered when that would take a turn for the worse was my second concern.
The last lap is when I caught the leaders of the first group 17-18 sport male. I rode up on 3rd and he looked tired. 2 minute ahead I found 2nd place in rough shape. He asked me what to do with his right leg, it was ceasing. I told him that his left leg was his new best friend and if he perfected his corners in the single track he could hold his place. By the looks of the standings he made it in without a change up.
I did finish strong and in the number one place albeit, not too far ahead of 2nd and 3rd in my category. The win doesn’t shock me but the recent upgrades and no-shows have me realizing that my role now is to be chased, a complete 180 role from any Ocup I’ve ever raced. With this role change follows a rethinking of strategy in the races to come. The Cycle solutions guy is fast, and my new Shorthills Cycling friend is a strong rider and hungry for a win. Looking forward to having fun and being challenged by the remaining competitors is my only concern as I don’t really care anymore about points. The Coach Chris upgrades essentially wasted a worthy overall point’s chase.

Griffin Gastropub was a decent stop. It was fitting that I was throne’d with the blue monkey chair and thirst appropriately quenched by Hoptical allusion. I don’t remember the next 12 hours.

PS. Amy has an account now so she will be posting her own write up, if she is ready to talk about it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Post Race Reports

Apparently, I don't write often enough to provide our readership with the tantalizing updates that they so crave! So, although I don't expect to change - I will fill in some gaps since my last entry.

In my last entry I talked about OCup #1 and finishing 15th out of 20. It seems so long ago, but in reality it was only about 6 weeks ago. In that time, I have raced three (3) more OCup races. I also mentioned in my last entry that I was going to 'try something new'. Well, that strategy paid off somewhat in OCup #2 as I finished 13th out of 22 racers. It really is nothing special - just simply expending a little more energy off the start in order to hold onto a competitors wheel long enough to sit in a good position.

So leading up to OCup #3, I began practising 'race starts' - again nothing special but nonetheless it helped. I finished 12th out of 30 racers and at only 6:41 behind first place - definately a personal best for me! I should, however, mention that my riding has improved this year; mostly due to holding Dave and/or Deny's wheel a little more often during our MTB rides which has allowed me to see their line and inspires me to a little more confidence. I have also, prehaps, been more vocal in asking them what the best line is but mostly only if I'm holding their wheel. As they are out to improve their technique and it isn't fair to always be asking them to slow down for my benefit but riding on their wheel does give me confidence to tackle more technical sections which ultimately allows me to ride even better.

Where does all this leave me with the last race - OCup #4 - you ask. Well, it was a disaster. It rained a good 6 hours leading up to my 8:30am start time and continued to rain during the race. The course got ripped up and I wasn't sure if my wheels were spinning or sliding! I did place fairly well, as I finished 9th out of 12 racers but at 12:33 behind first place it was my worst finish this year. This race wasn't without falls, I must have slid out on the single track at least four times during the 2nd lap as the rain continued to affect trail conditions. If the conditions had been better I might have finished a few places higher or at the least keep my time behind first place to under 10 minutes as in past races this year.

... but that is just the way things go sometimes! If you've been following along with all BH posts you'll know our next event is the 11th annual Summer Solstice by Chico Racing. With the next OCup about 4 weeks away there will be no time for resting as practice makes perfect. Thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Beer Goes in my OCup

OCup#4 was in Midland, at Mountainview Ski Hill. I have family that live in Midland, so it was nice to stay and visit with them while being so close to the course.

Saturday on the way down from North Bay, we stopped in at Highlander Brew Co. to stock up on some fine IPA, and we also stopped in to Muskoka Cottage Brewery for a brew house tour and stock up on some of their fine products as well. After we got to Midland, we headed over to the race to check in and preride the course. We opted to ride the singletrack climb instead of the opening climb 'cause we were all familiar with it from previous races there. The track was in great condition, in our opinion, but we suspected that was going to change. We had a potluck bbq dinner at my Grandpas, and enjoyed many of the fine brews we purchased that day.

Sunday morning, it was pouring rain. A cold, constant rain.

Scott raced at 8:30, and Amy at 9:30. Deny, Julie and I headed over to the course, boots on, umbrellas in hand, to cheer Scott and Amy on. The course was deteriorating due to the rain, and I wondered if they would be cutting any sections out - turns out the cut the rock garden out for Amy's 9:30 race time.

After Amy started, we had to get back to base camp at my Grandpa's and get ready for our 11:30 race. I suited up, got some coffee in me and headed back to the race. The rain had stopped and the sun was out - the course should be drying out  I hoped. We saw Amy after her race - she did not look happy and I suspect she had a awful race - she won't talk about it. I don’t blame her, the conditions were bad and its hard to have a good race when you can barely keep traction.

I warmed up by spinning the legs up around the feed zone hill, off the course. About 5 min before start time, I headed over to start line and found my category's pen. I chatted with a couple guys as we waited for our turn to go. For the start, we had to race up the ski hill on some double track. I wanted to try to stay close to the leaders going up the hill, so that I had a chance at a good position before we hit the singletrack. Hills are not necessarily my friend, and I know my limits, so after the start I tried to hold my position, without causing any crashes and tried to ride within my limits without going into the red zone too much. I got boxed in abit going up the hill so it was hard to get to the line that I wanted up the hill but I didn't panic, and just rode till I no longer had traction in the slick muck. I hopped off the bike ran up the rest of the hill and got back on the bike at the top. I think almost everyone had to run up the hill at one point cause they lost traction.

Two guys slipped by me before the singletrack; I just wasn't able to fight them off after that hill. The organizer cut out a significant part of this first bit of singletrack due to the muddy conditions, and I was thankful for that, cause it was a tough piece that goes almost half way down and back up the hill in a short area.

We hit the rock garden all single file, I was mid-pack I believe. I was hoping no one would get hung up on the rocks, including myself. We all made it through fairly well, with only a small hang up near the end. Then on to the flat double track along the farmer's field, I passed one guy but I could not bridge the gap to the next guy before the next bit of singletrack.

We soon approached the worst of the muddy trail - just before the "wall". It was sketchy to ride and I got off the bike and ran it out. There was a guy on the side of the trail cheering us on, yelling "Giver!" to anyone who attempted to ride the wall. The wall is just a short but steep bit of doubletrack, and with the slick conditions, it was tough to find traction to ride it. I opted to walk up it so I didn't get a "giver!".

The rest of the first lap went well, I was feeling good and riding well. Part way through the lap we come out by the start/finish area again, and I was able to see my uncle who was able to come out and cheer me on. Coming through the feed zone starting the 2nd lap, Scott handed me another water bottle of eLoad, and told me I was in 8th. 8th, what?! That is something I don't recall ever hearing in a Ocup. I thought ok, I am doing better than I thought I was - I better keep motoring cause there are some guys closing in on me. After the feed zone, its back up the hill, this time all up some singletrack. I had a guy in a white jersey behind me the whole time - I noted to myself how much I don't enjoy being chased, I'd rather be chasing (and passing). I could not shake him. In the singletrack Amy and Jenn were cheering me on, which helped me for sure. Once we got to the top and out in the open, white jersey guy snuck by me just before the rock garden. I tried to catch him on the double track, but he just slowly pulled away - I ended up passing another guy though, so that evens’ it out right? haha! I finish the 2nd lap with no real change and started the 3rd lap up the hill. This time Jenn and Amy surprised me as they were in the bush in the rock garden taking pictures. On the third lap, the trail was drying out and I was able to ride most of the track before the wall this time, though I still didn't attempt to ride the wall, so again, no "Giver!" for me. I really started putting some effort into finishing, I was feeling good and mentally strong - something I need to work on still though. Near the end of the last lap I saw a guy in my category just ahead, so I really tried to catch up to him so that I could try to out sprint him to the line. Coming out of the woods and out into the finishing area I started my sprint on the last corner, but I started too late and I didn't beat him - he was about a bike length ahead of me at the line. Oh well, it was fun, I enjoy a sprint finish. When I look at the results they have me down as finishing 7 whole seconds after him, I have no idea why that is, but I ended up being 12th so it really doesn’t matter, but it’s still puzzling how the timing system can mess it up by that much time.

I ended up 12th out of 23, finishing 6 minutes behind the leader. I looked at my past results and this was my best Ocup race in the last 3 years, based on finishing time - most of the time I am at least 10 minutes behind the leader. Scott figures that when he told me I was 8th starting the 2nd lap that there were a few guys with one day OCup plates and he didn't know to count them. Either way, it was certainly motivating to hear that I was in 8th spot at the time!

On the way home we stopped in Bracebridge to check out the Griffin Gastropub. Ok that was awesome. We're definitely stopping there again. If you like beer, and pub food, do yourself a favour and go out of your way to visit this place. I was able to have a few pints of, what I consider to be my favourite stout, Mill Street Cobblestone Stout. I can't get it in North Bay, dammit.

So again this was a fun weekend of visiting with friends and family and racing. I had my best Ocup race, probably ever, so I am not gonna mess with the formula - good beer the night before the race, and good beer to recover after the race.

Next race is the 24hr of Summer Solstice. Burnt Helmets have a 7 man team going this year, just for fun. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Denis' Race Report - It's O cup full

I ’m the only BH member that hasn’t posted a post race write-up. I thought I might save up a few then have a race dump of info and pictures. After all; I am somewhat writing for 2. I haven’t been training the same as last year so it was a test to see what unconventional bike training would accomplish. Last year I put a lot of miles on the trainer, I ran tones and pretty much had a week full of hard efforts. Thanks to some newly founded training wisdom I’ve toned down the hard efforts and increased the easy efforts to avoid overtraining. I focus more on heavy lifting only about once a week.

Race Ritual
A little about our race ritual. We drive down Saturday morning from North Bay, register, pre-ride the course, clean up, go out for dinner, enjoy 2 or 3 cold ones, head back to the hotel for a race briefing before bed. If we are lucky there is a good movie on. The next day we get up Über early because Scott races @ 830, watch him race, race, cleanup, head out for late lunch or dinner for our liquid debriefing and someone capable drives us all home where we unpack but keep stuff close by so we can repeat next week.

OCup 1 – I was neither ecstatic nor disappointed with my finish. It was, for me, the season opener and a refresher in racing. I think I finished 12. My second time down devils drop I didn’t touch the brakes but I forgot my fork was locked out so at the end of the drop, doing about 42km, I blew the Chico tape. I think I took a picket in the disc brake as it’s permanently bent.
This is a big year for Amy. This year running is on the backburner and she has gone from the beginner cat to the sport cat. Her 8th place finish probably felt similar to mine. The first race is out of the way and we both didn’t come last!

Ocup2 – I love racing at Albion. I’ve probably rode that course over 70 laps between Ocups and 24 hour races. Dave and I won the Solstice Men’s Tag Team last year so I know what I can get out of myself and my bike on that course despite how different they make it each year. Maybe it was the cold weather and snow in the forecast but a few fast guys didn’t show and I found myself in 3rd by the end.
What shocked me a little is that unlike most races where I never see the leaders, I rode with them for the first lap and felt strong the rest of the way even after they peeled off. I tend to push too hard and blow up before the end… not this time.
I could tell Amy was having a better race. She was looking strong and held her position. She finished 7th this time with 6th place 4 seconds ahead. I’m betting there is a trend here. Up and up.

Ocup3 – I always do well at hardwood. It’s a technical course and most of the riding I do, and the entire burnt helmets do, is technical. Give us a technical course and we shine. Give us a flat smooth course and we’re just average (accept for Albion). I am certainly not going to win every race but I am going to make an achievable goal ahead of time so I’m racing for something. My goal was to point and shoot for the next guy up from me in the point’s standings. I achieved my goal, finished ahead of him and came 4th in the process. He is still ahead by 1 point so I still have to stick to the plan for the next race. It was a crazy dusty technical course with lots of double track to pass. I began the second lap evenly matched in speed with a guy in Dave’s category. He was fast enough that I couldn’t pass him in the double track and he held his own on the climbs. There was no point blowing up to get around him and it was motivational to try and keep up. When you are alone you get in a groove that could be slowing you down as you get comfortable. Keeping up with someone tends to increase your pace and take your mind off the pain. I caught my target by the end of the second and kept calm. The guy I was pacing made a move so I followed suit and we both dropped him on a climb. My legs were screaming but my heart rate was in check. I found a sweat spot and with the help of my impromptu riding partner put some distance on my competition. At one point the guy in front of me said “Don’t crash me, don’t pass me.” I honoured that to the finish and he crossed the line 1 second ahead of me. The finish was nuts anyway with all the loose woodchips.

Amy blew some of her competition away this time and came 4th as well. She may not believe she is improving but its clear the skill conditioning, the sprint training and avoiding over training is paying off. This puts her 4th overall. We both raced @ 930 this time and I didn’t have a chance to see her race. I wish I could have taken some pictures and watched her progress. That’s a great finish. She finished strong, avoided wipe-outs/ injury and I am proud of her.

Next Race - MountainView Midland. I get to start upfront with 1st and 2nd overall. All I have to do is make it up that ski hill with them (the leaders) and roll with what I got left for the rest of the race. I won’t enjoy this course for the single track ski hill climbs so I will be sure pace myself and make up lots of time in the amazing flat/down hill single track that Mountainview has to offer.

Beer update
I forgot to mention that we visited a small brewery, on the way to the last race. It’s a brewery called Highlander and it’s located in South River, ON. Highlander brews a wicked tasty pale ale that comes in a 500ml bottle. It’s my new favourite brew.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wood chips were flying

Here is my race report from OCup#3 at Hardwood Hills.

We arrived at Hardwood Hills about 7:45am, in time for Scott to get ready and warmed up for this 8:30am race. This race our start time was 9:30am instead of the usual 11:30am. I wanted to get a really good warm up this time. I got geared up and started warming up on the gravel road beside the race course about 45 min before the race start.

There were over 60 guys in our start pen this time, as they started my and Deny’s master sport categories together. We were the second wave to go at 9:34am. If you’ve never been to Hardwood Hills, the start of the course is all on wood chips. The weather has been pretty dry and hot for awhile, so the result of sending 60 guys racing down the course at top speed creates quite the dust cloud – I’ve been in some dusty races, but I’ve never seen that much dust before at the start – it was like a fog, I could barely see the riders up front for awhile. Someone crashed right in the middle of the pack; thankfully I avoided the pileup and continued on. I didn’t want to be at the back of the pack before we hit the singletrack, so I pushed to keep up. I guess I was doing ok, cause when we got into the singletrack, I saw Deny only about 4-5 riders in front of me (usually he’s gone out of my view by now!).

A rider in front got hung up on a rooty corner and took a few of us out – we were all pretty close, so this hold up ended up letting a bunch of guys get by and that’s the last I saw of Deny. That sucks, but that is racing so you deal with it and move on. It’s why it’s so important to get the hole shot on the start lap.

The rest of the first lap went pretty well for me, I started reeling in guys from my category and I was feeling great - I am not saying it was easy, but I wasn’t dying out there so I think my warm-up certainly helped this time. I struggled on the larger climbs, but I paced myself and got back into a groove on the singletrack. On the double track sections I made the extra effort to pass guys – in the past I would usually take time to recover and drink on the doubletrack, but not this time and I think it worked well for me.

2nd lap started up those dam wood chips again. Scott was in the feed zone handing out our bottles to us – he was easy to pick out in the line-up of feeders with his fancy white shoes. This lap went well, I could tell I was tiring, but everyone was I think and I just kept motoring along. Jenn was out filming and I saw her as I was flying down the ‘coffee run’ – I let out a ‘woop’ to let her know I was having fun. I was starting to catch up to some of the women who started behind me. They only had to do 2 laps, and I was obviously not thinking straight when I said to one of the ladies ‘you’re almost done!’ and she looked at me and said ‘I still have one more lap to do DUDE!’ – I obviously can’t count during a race, she was still on her first lap. I had a good laugh at myself, but I was just trying to encourage her as she looked to be struggling.

3rd lap started up those damn wood chips again, grabbed my last bottle from Scott. I was riding up the trail, and this guy up front was just slowly pulling away, and I thought if I could just push a little harder I’d catch him – I clicked down one more gear and it was enough to catch up at the top of the next climb. The guy had a cool number plate – he got the number ‘888’, which I hadn’t seen before, I had no idea what category he was in at the time, cause I was in the 300’s.

I passed a few more guys, putting the effort in on the double track to be in front when we hit the single track sections again. There was one guy whom I could not quite pass, he was not in my category, but I still wanted to pass him. I instead just tried to stay close to him and then I would try to pass him on the final stretch to the finish line. I hugged his wheel going down the bmx track, and as soon as I got on the wood chips, I put the bike in big ring and started to sprint around him – he wasn’t gonna give up easy though, he heard me coming and started sprinting too – we went right to the line, wood chips flying up behind us and I pipped him at the line – I beat him by 4 tenths of a second – ½ a wheel I believe.

For me it was a very satisfying and fun race. I finished 15th out of 37. I am looking forward to the next race, OCup #4 at Mountain View in Midland.