Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where is Steady Eddy?

There has been a lot going on lately. I have continued to cycle quite a bit and will update everyone on my results from this last OCup race. I did miss OCup #5 (Buckwallow) as my Dad passed away in early July at just 67 years of age. It wasn't unexpected but perhaps sooner than we thought. Many of you know that my Dad had been experiencing health issues for sometime (dating back to July '09). It simply progressively got worse and his condition deteriorated substantially over his last 3 months or so.

Fortunately, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my Dad in the months leading up to his passing. Thank you everyone for your support and words of kindness!

So what happened at OCup #6 - Kelso?!? Well, as typical we headed south to Milton on the Saturday morning - making a couple stops along the way (to pickup those wobbly pops Deny mentioned in his post). We arrived at the race venue around 3:30pm and proceeded to do our pre-race ride of the course. Aside from the steep climb up the Ski Hill access road, it was a fast course - and once you got to the top, well it made the climb worthwhile with all the sweet flowing single track. IMO - a much better layout than last years course even though the course changes were relatively small.

So fast forward to Sunday morning, it was hard waking up as I too par-took in the consumption of wobbly pops and stopped one pop shy of what Deny and Dave slammed down as I race at 8:30am! After getting up, gearing up and eating some breakfast I then prepped the bike and started off for the race venue. Yes, it is close enough to allow riding there and back in a reasonable amount of time it also proves for a good warmup, at least for me. So as I approached the railway tracks the lights started and the gates came down forcing me to stop * Hmm, I thought to myself - is this gonna delay me? * As the gates went up I checked my watch and had about 20 minutes before the start - off I went continuing to ride to the race venue. I pulled into the start pen about 4 minutes before the gun went off which was just enough time to catch my breath from the warm up ride to the venue. * 1, 2, 3... GO! * (Yes, seems anti-climatic to not have a gun or horn go off to start the race - but with so many categories the novelty would wear off pretty quick.) Now, having pulled into the start pen so late, I was already at the back of the pack but pulled in a couple riders within the first few metres as we made our way to the "big climb". I put my head down and concentrated on my breathing (makes the climb seem to go faster) at the first plateau when I lifted my head there were more riders behind me than in front - sweet, I thought to myself. I rounded the corner and started part deux of the climb again concentrating on my breathing. At the second plateau I looked up and just a few metres ahead of me was *Cotton Shirt Boy* - I put my head down and started the last bit of steady climbing before entering the single track and as I reached it I was on CSB's wheel. At this point, I kept thinking - don't pass him yet stick with him and wear him down (Dave and Deny say that is better strategy than passing a competitor only to have them pass you back a ways further up the course). So wear him (and me) down was what I did. I rode his wheel through the single track, up the smaller hills - big ringed it in the double track - the only reprieve he got was when we came up on slower traffic where I wasn't able to get around them as quickly. As we started to descend heading back towards the start/finish line, CSB was able to put a gap on me and I crossed the line finishing lap #1 about 30 seconds behind him. As we approached the "big climb" on lap #2, I put my head down and at the top of the climb just ahead of me again was CSB - I'd caught his wheel again! Through the single track we raced, I could tell he was jittery and wanted to drop me but I held onto his wheel - we encountered little traffic on the second lap which kept the pace high and allowed me to stay close. Again on the descent to the start/finish CSB was able to put a gap on me - I just couldn't free wheel down the hill and round those corners as fast as him. I crossed the line only 22 seconds behind him and finished in 9th place. The best part, I was only 2 minutes 57 seconds behind 1st place! This is the closest I've been to 1st place - I have finished in 9th place in other races but not nearly as close behind 1st place. So this was huge for me and I'm quite proud of the result.

Thanks to my peeps for cheering me on! I appreciate the support both on and off the race course!

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