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.


  1. Anonymous09 June, 2010

    Quite the novel you wrote there!

  2. Anonymous09 June, 2010

    Summer Solstice............can't wait...make sure everything is attached...not detachable....And rain...please...

  3. the races near Midland are great. We get to see family and play with friends! I'm sorry I was not able to see Amy and Scott race, but it was miserable out. I'm glad it cleared up before Deny and dave's race. They both did well. I look forward to camping with the gang in June at the Summer Solstice. Should be fun!