Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Steaming Nostril Race...the Report


So…the Steaming Nostril…first race of the season.  Here is the race report:


First a bit of a prelude.

Prelude A:  English Jim
So EnglishJim disappeared from sight for the winter…most of us assumed he was abducted by aliens, fell into a sinkhole, or ascended to a higher dimension.  I decided, after weeks (months?) of not hearing from him, to go on an epic search to find him…aka, I texted him.  He apologized for becoming a hermit, saying he was heavily involved in a ‘project’ (like what??  Discovering a cancer cure?...Anti-gravity??...Taking the planet into the ‘new world’???...I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to know).  Anyways, I mentioned I was entering a race this weekend.  Jim: “Oh, OK.  Well, I need to get back into it…so I will enter too!!” (Insert his silly English accent.)  Me: “Uhm, Jim you haven’t ridden all winter, this is a race.”  Jim: “Well, what a great way to get back at it.  Tip top!”….OK..so meet me at my house 8am Sunday.  So he did.

Prelude B:  New Bike

So, this was really a CX (Cyclocross) race.  I have a Mountain Bike, and a road bike.  Paul at Bicycle Works has been not-so-subtly trying to get me to buy a CX bike for over a year.  The current weather conditions in our area make it the ideal machine right now, and it is the right tool for training right now, and the right ride for the next couple of races.  So down I went to Bicycle Works to pick it up…the day before the race.  Was this the smartest thing to do??  Was I being as silly as EnglishJim?
The weapon...Kona Major Jake.




OK…Race Report:
Lois pulls the truck loaded with me, EnglishJim, Fig, our gear and bikes into the parking lot. 
The crew...Me, EnglishJim, Fig
 
 
 
We actually met Egggman and PaulH, fellow friends and racers in the parking lot.  Then we get set up, warm up, and get set in the paddock; and bang, we are off. 
At the start line...(pics compliments of Lois!)...
 
 
Actually it was a neutral start, led off by a pair of mounted police which was very cool! 



A kilometer in the horses pulled off and the race was on full bore.  Egggman and Fig managed to pull ahead and I got stuck mid peleton unable to pick my way through the mass of riders.  Another kilometer later we dove from the streets of Elmira into narrow rail trail…and that was the first crash.  A rider had trouble navigating the rail trail entrance and went down, creating a logjam.  The rail trail itself was a mess of either frozen icy, or frozen muddy foot prints jarring my hands, shoulders and teeth.  However, I thought to myself, thank goodness it is still below freezing because any warmer would soften up the mud and snow and make it a nightmare to ride through!!
I managed to pass many riders struggling to navigate the bumpy ice of the rail trail.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Fig was one of the riders I passed here (and I spent the remainder of the race trying to catch him!).  After 8 kilometers the rail trail opened up onto dirt road.  It was nice to get off the rail trail, and I managed to pass many other riders on the dirt roads.  Then the course turned onto a false flat, and into a serious headwind!!
Unfortunately for me, my body makes a better wind catcher than a rudder.  The headwind was a tough slog!  A pace line of about 5 riders caught me, and I tried to tag on…and did for a while; but I am not a road rider (I am proud to consider myself a mountain biker); and my paceline skills are woefully inept.  I just cannot do the steady grind thing…it works to sap my energy more than sprinting and recovering.  So I let the small group go, and I continued on doing my own thing.  I eventually caught another rider who was struggling up a long hill into the wind, and as I passed him I realized it was Egggman!!  I heard him call me a nasty name (I can’t repeat it here cuz this is a family friendly blog…plus I don’t want everyone to think Egggman is an asshole…he really is a nice guy), then he passed me back.  We played this game until another pace line caught us; he latched on to them and was gone.
I soldiered on alone.  I have to mention that it was kind of cool riding/racing in the Menonite community…meeting and passing horse drawn buggys.  And often there were groups of Menonite children gathered at the end of their driveways to watch the race…but most of them never cheered, just stood and watched silently…it was kind of eerie actually, almost children of the corn-ish. 
 
 
 

Anyways, after 25 kilometers up the false flat, and into the headwind the course turned right…the side wind was much better than the headwind!!  The road became a series of rollers and a couple of longer climbs, which worked great for me; being a 190 pound ape who is all quads makes the power game more of my forte (let it be known that forte is not French for kia).  I managed to use these hills to catch many of the pace line riders that had passed me earlier.
Then I saw the 10km to go sign!!  Great, I thought…I may finish in less than 2 hours!  Then we made another right turn, giving us the tailwind!  Fantastic!!  It lasted less than a kilometer, then I saw riders ahead of me turning left…then I realized…”Oh shite, NO!!!”…we were going back the opposite direction on the same railtrail we had started on!!  However, it was two hours later, and 10 degrees warmer; it was above freezing.  The ice and frozen mud, was now soft loose snow, and soft muck.  Again, leg power proved to be my friend in these conditions.  I passed many riders who fell, or went off trail, or just struggled with the power requirement necessary to navigate the squidgy (is that a word??  AutoCorrect didn’t show otherwise…) snow and muck.

But it was an energy sucking, soul depleting experience.  From 40km per hour on the dirt road, to 5km per hour in the muck.  For eight kilometers…almost half an hour, life sucked.  I was ready to throw my bike at God (or at least at the Waterloo Cycling Club), I was ready to quit all sports forever.  I felt like this guy...
 
 
 
 
 
My quads, and arse were screaming to stop…by lower back was cramping up…I just wanted it to end; but stopping wouldn’t have made it any better.  There were riders in front of me still grinding…I had to catch them.  Then the 2km to go sign…and the heavens opened up, the light of smooth pavement lit the way, choirs of angels sang, as the disaster of that rail trail gave way to the streets of Emira and I summoned whatever last bits of energy still remained glued in the far corners of my being and sprinted (it felt like sprinting…probably looked like I was walking on the moon) towards the finish. 
There was Lois, clanging her Saskatchewan Roughrider cowbells at the finishline, welcoming all the finishing riders (including me even!!).  (As a rider/racer I love the cowbells that many fans ring along the race course.  When you are out there, lost in the suffering…to know that someone is appreciating your effort, and willing to cheer you on…it breathes some life into you and the pain wanes for a while.  Ooops, sorry for this interlude…back to regular programming).
I never did catch Egggman again, he finished 3 minutes ahead of me.  So, I have some work to do…have to catch him someday!!
Fig finished about 20 minutes behind me.  This was not his day.  He was despondent that the old, chunky bastard (that’s me) had beaten him; but we all have our good days and bad days racing.  I think he is sandbagging to kick my ass in a bigger race later this year.
The race finished with great food (hot chili, rolls, and hot cider), good prizes, and a very welcome atmosphere provided by the Waterloo Cycling Club.  No prizes won by me…I finished 5th in my category (out of 35), and 64th overall (out of about 240)….and Egggman beat me (did I mention that yet??).  So more work to do…
Oh yeah…EnglishJim….remember him??  After Fig and I ate, changed, and consumed a couple (three??), post race Molson brewed recovery beverage (thankfully Lois was driving); Jim crossed the line…just happy to be done (if you remember the beginning of this epic, long, never ending story…Jim has not ridden all winter…this was literally his first ride in months…I was just happy he didn’t die out there!).  Lois went and grabbed his chili and roll while he changed…then we packed up and headed home.
So, that’s my race report.  The end, by Mike Riot.
Follow up to follow…stay posted!


 

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