Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All day, all weekend

The mountain bike season may have wound down for most riders by now, but I've been keeping on the race scene in a bigger way than ever before! This past weekend must have been one of the best weekends ever, and it all started with an idea suggested to my girlfriend, Tori. I found out that her Dad was doing the 8 hour relay race with the owner of the Trek Stores.

Ladies and gentlemen, possibly the most influential guy in my cycling season this year; Barry!

 The idea with an 8 hour relay is to put together a team of up to 6 riders together, and get as many laps done in 8 hours as possible, with the best time winning. These races are all about community, teamwork, and perseverance. Tori and I registered in the tag team mixed division, and I promised her the top of the podium.

Meeting Tori as she got off the bus with a rose, and a fish that I named Barry

We got to the 8 hour course early Saturday (race 10am-6pm), and set up under our VIP Trek tents right by the lap area.
These tents were my home base, with food, good company, and tools!
I squeaked to the race start just on time to hang out with Ryan, and man do we look good on a start line!

Considering this was an 8 hour event, the race start was ridiculously fast, and because I wanted to get one of the fastest laps of the day and rip the front lines with Ryan, I was off like a rocket too! Laps are 10km, and a pretty fast rider could clear laps in about a half an hour. Unfortunately we took an extra bit of trail, but Ryan and I ended up with the fastest and 6th fastest lap times of the entire day, respectively. I took off for a triple lap right off the start, and always came through the lap zone being yelled at to do push ups (for improper bicycle dismount through the timing zone), or with a new surprise for Tori. These were just small catastrophes like needing tools to fix a bike after falling, or always having some new blood on me, but I was just out to rip on my bike and have fun, which meant jumping a lot more than I regularly would.

Event photographer's photos, some good ones in here!

By the end of the first lap I had put a gap of 7 minutes on second place, and by the end of the first 3 laps I did we had made up more than a half a lap. I sent Tori out on her first lap as a single lap to ease her into the course (which was awesome!), and went out for another triple lap. By this point I realized that Tori and I were comfortable in our positioning, so I would wait for friends and ride laps with them, turning the 8 hour race into the social hour race. After sending Tori out for a triple lap (longest she had ever raced before), I set out to do a quadruple lap, to round off 100km of racing. Tori and I did a combined 15 laps, though our last two counted as one because we went out together for a "Victory Lap". I was able to keep my promise of gold too, and we stood up high on the podium!

Recognize the rose?
Another Trek dominated podium in the "old guys" division!

Because I really hadn't actually pushed my legs hard on any lap except my first, and because Tori is in high contention in the series, we headed to the University Cup for Sunday. Dave set up a superb course for the race (possibly the most fun that I had ever been on for a University Cup), and I was right on my game.

Just reckless!
Thanks to Misko Milicic for taking and posting such great pictures!

Though my legs didn't have quite the edge that I normally have (most rider mountain bikers have never ridden 100km), I was right on top of my game. After spending so much time the day before on my bike, I was incredibly agile, and knew exactly how that bike would respond to any twitch of my muscles. Being this smooth and confident on the bike meant I was flying through the forest, jumping entire sections of trail, and cornering better than I could on feet! Tori somehow managed to pull out another podium, with a silver medal on the day after she had done her longest mountain bike ride ever. It was awesome!

I know I shouldn't be dating a girl from Queen's...
(Misko Milicic photo)

University Cup number three is this Sunday at Hardwood Hills, race starting at 11am, and I will be at a rock climbing competition in Kitchener on Saturday!

Photo: Paddy Mcmanus

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