The wait for results begins!
I got to the race site at 9:30. I figured just over an hour to get to the top and do my pre-run, register (another 20 minutes or so), then take another hour to get to the top of the course. Racing started at noon so this timing worked well.
When I arrived at the dump I lucked out and got a parking spot in the lot. I talked to a few others there, and found out that registration was under way. I grabbed my wallet and headed down. Plate number 56 for me today. Cost me $57 to get a membership to a club and enter the race. Good karma? I dunno.
I zipped back to the truck, got suited up, then headed up for my pre-run. I hiked to the top, zipped up my armour jacket, tossed on my jersey, got set on the starting platform, and rolled in. Instant tunnel vision. I was focused on the course very intently. For Snakes and Ladders I followed the lines I wanted, pedalling hard, but not enough to exhaust me. I flowed the dips and turns, lifting my wheel around corners, prejumping logs, sneaking pedal strokes when I could.
Coming up to Shar's Choice I noticed a newly exposed root. That was when I made the most elemental mistake when mountain biking. I stared at that root wishing myself to miss it. I fixared on the root. I hit the root. My front tire slid out, skidded across the gravel, and down I went. I slid a bit, then impacted a tree with my shoulder. Armour to the rescue. No harm done on that crash.
I am ready to race. Famous last words. How about I am finished my practice runs for the day? Better. Tomorrows DH race should be real fun. The course is much like the Kung Fu downhill from years past Many years ago that is.
Notice I said "like". Lots of changes to the course, none of them good. The first thing I noticed was that this course had not cut out some of the loops on Snakes and Ladders that had a fair amount of uphill climbing. Suxor. That will such the life out of me if I am not careful.
Next the gulley section had been cut in favor of Shars Choice. Again, suxor. Shar's choice is fun, but way slower, and more dangerous due to the tight trees one must negotiate at speed. A couple inches off course and blam. I've been known to hit trees so I will have to go slower than I would like here.
Also, much to my dismay they blocked off the Gay Terrace Drop. That is such a fun drop and allows racers to carry lots of speed into the fireroad. Instead there is a chunky, chundry section that is really slow, and has a tight left turn onto the fireroad that sheds almost all of your gained speed. Suxor.
Last night after work I went for a mountain bike ride with some co-workers. Great ride. I took the Bullit out to get some quality time in the saddle for the race. I haven't been on the Bullit much lately, so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable on the bike before the race this weekend.
Mission accomplised. I felt really good. Maybe the riding to work is paying off little by little. My legs felt really strong, and my balance was good. I practiced short downhill sprinting sections, braking and leaning into corners, tight twisties at speed, and the occasional jump. I also rode with the saddle lower than normal to get used to that too.
I feel pretty good about the race, and it is still 2 days away. Tomorrow I will actually get out onto the course for a bit of practice there. There are a couple sections I don't ride very often so I need to work the kinks out there. Also, the last DH race at the dump had a couple loops on Snakes and Ladders cut out. Not sure if they will be doing that again.
I do need to do a bit of work on the bullit today. Top up the fork fluids (bottomed out a few times yesterday), clean and lube everything up, and add a big ring.
Friday at work I began to wonder about the upcoming Island Cup downhill racing season. Every year I do 1 or 2 races. Last year was the exception due to conflicts with stag parties, weddings, and the like.
After the usual Google search, I ended up at the Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club. Front page there is the advertsing poster. Much to my dismay/amazement I noticed that the first race is this weekend in Nanaimo. Damn. I was hoping to do that race this year.
Next weekend is Victoria. WTF? I am dumbfounded that I haven't heard of this race yet. After seeing this race is next weekend I jumped over to the SIMBS page has no mention of the race. This is an organization that must approve of races in the park. This is the same organization that is supposed to be promoting riding and racing in Victoria. No big mention of the Victoria race in the SIMBS forums either.
In any event I am looking forward to the race next weekend. I called Oak Bay Bikes today and learned that the race is on the same course as the last DH race at the dump. This is good news for me. I don't have enough spare time next weekend to do a full training day on a new course before race day. Knowing those trails the way I do I feel pretty good about being able to put in a good race. I just wish I had put in some real training for the season. Maybe my commuting the last few weeks will pay off in the fitness arena.
Yesterday was a great ride. I haven't been riding in a few months, so it was awesome to get out and stretch my legs. I rode the Bullit since it hasn't seen any action in a very long time. Bouncy bikes are a lot of fun.
The group yesterday was a bunch of guys I haven't ridden with in a while. Even Shane came out!
We generally took it easy, didn't ride any high difficulty trails, but still had a great time. There were 6 of us riding, and 3 dogs. Perfect sized pack if you ask me. The dogs were really good and didn't get in the way at all. Can't say the same for some of the people though Just pulling your leg James.
Trail conditions were awesome too. Excellent traction, under clear blue skies, with crisp air. If I didn't know the time of year I would have guessed it was a fall ride.
I was under a time limit, and had to be home around 3, so when time came to make a decision on what trail to ride, I chose one of my favorites out there: Snakes and Ladders. I railed the trail like I last rode it yesterday. The twists and turns came flooding back to me, and I just pedalled for what I was worth. Such a fun trail.