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The Biker in me
Reflecting back on my Island Cup DH race season I can be reasonably happy with results:
Victoria 7th of 43 racers
Parksville 33rd of 68 racers
Duncan 25th of 29 racers (32 with DNS and DNF's thrown in).
Riding as fast as you can is an eye opening experience. It is mentally challenging as well as physically challenging. The mental game was a big part of the results for Parksville. Mentally I wasn't "on" during the race. I tapped the brakes before the jumps, and took it easy through spots where I have previously crashed. I probably could have moved up a few spots if I had let go of the brakes more. 2 years ago I certainly flew more than this year. I think the reason for that would be sprout. Either that or I have turned into a chicken
Duncan was a physical problem (then mental). I added air pressure to my tires the day of the race, and I think that messed me up a bit. Then I crashed and mentally I couldn't hold it together. The goal of a DH race is to get down the course as fast as you can. When you crash you aren't moving. This is bad. Getting up from a crash the instinct is to get going as fast as you can. The opposite should be done though. I tried to grab the bike, seat myself, calm myself then go.
So, ever wonder why mountain bikers wear armour? I can tell you why. Because when they crash it saves their sorry butt.
The Duncan DH was not my finest race. I got to signup later than I wanted this morning. That was a bad sign. I rushed, got my gear together and got on the first shuttle I could. I got to the top of the race course and did my prerun. My shoulders were tight, my feet were aching, and my arms were on fire. Other than that, I only made a couple mistakes on my pre-run.
The pre-run did point out that the finish line was not where I was expecting. This was good news since I was expecting an uphill sprint to the finish line, and this new ending saved me from that. Whee.
I hoofed it back to the shuttle point. The sun was out and I was baking pretty good in my armour. My brakes felt a little off on that run too. Did I mention that this morning, before loading my bike in the truck I added a few pounds of pressure to the tires? Eh, no big deal.
Shuttling back to the top I sat in the back of the pickup. Besides being very dusty, it cooled me down nicely. I hiked to the top of the course and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. Seems there was a miscommunication, and the beginners were sent to the wrong spot. They started late. My race number was 207. Thinking the intermediates were in the 200 range I thought I wouldn't have to wait long for my run. Wrong. The numbers were doled out randomly, and I guess race order was signup order. I paid the price for arriving late, and was 3rd to last in the race order.
The Duncan stop of the Island Cup DH series is this weekend, and I am not as jazzed about the race as I should be. For one, noone else I know is doing the race. I was super pumped about this race since it is such a long course, but it would be way more fun for me if there was someone else I knew there. Someone to talk with. Boohoo eh?
The other thing I learned is that there are no shuttle on practice day (today). Suxor. My plan is to ride the entire course once today, but repeat sections. Upside is Darryll is coming out to ride today, so that should be fun. If we take both cars there is a chance we could do a couple complete runs down the course.
Top it off, race day is on Mothers Day, and even though Sox is away this weekend, that kinda sucks that I am out of town on Mom's day.
I'm sure the race itself will be fine. I know that Sunday I will get one pre-run, and my race run. I'm really not as pumped about this race as I should be. That may change though. At least the weather is supposed to be nice.
I got something to say here. To the drivers of vehicles on the streets of Victoria, get your heads out of your collective asses.
It's not that hard to be a safe driver, and yet, there are lots of examples of stupidity by careless and clueless drivers. Since I am now a regular cyclist this trend scares me, and I know it scares Sox too.
My Friday commute home was a prime example of what makes me irate. 3 incidents in a 10 minute ride.
The first was as I was climbing a hill on Esquialt Road and approached Tyee, an SUV passed me with their right turn blinker on. No big deal since there was lots of room for them to get past me and make the corner. Stupid lady driver stops and looks back through her vehicle at me. She was wanting me to pass her on the inside. I had to stop and wait on the uphill. Why do people think this is a god idea? Pass a cyclist then stop on a busy road to let the cyclist pass them? Yeah, good idea moron.
The next incident was by a cab. Again on Esquimalt I approached Dominion the stupid taxi driver started to pass me with his turn signal on, I saw this and began to wonder. Sure enough cabbie turns in front of me, cutting me off, forcing me to grab the brakes. I yelled at him, something along the lines of "what the fuck are you doing". One of the fares in the cab then gave me the finger. I was pretty displeased by that act, so I read the plate, and started reciting it over and over the rest of the ride.
My race run today was pretty good. Only one small bobble that caused me concern, and another that caused a small slippage in time. The concerning one was one of my feet slipping off the pedal while in the air during a bug jump. Yipes. Right in front of a bunch of people.
As usual it was a fun race, but I think I would have had more fun if I had done the race with some friends.
The details. I got to the race site around 10:30. I got geared up, and headed to the pit to register. After paying I grabbed my plate and got in line for the shuttle. Attaching it just as I got on the shuttle I was a little anxious. I was feeling a little tired, and not as fresh as I would have liked.
Jumping off the shuttle I made my way to the top of the course, got my armour all strapped on and set out for an easy run down. No taking chances, no pushing myself, just ensuring that I know the course and am ready for the race. No problems during the run. Previous races I have managed to crash pretty hard during my practice and I really wanted to not do that this year. Mission accomplished.
At the bottom of the course I headed back to my truck, dropped off my camelbak, ate some food, grabbed a bottle of water and a cliff bar, then headed back to the pit to get ready for the race.