Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sudbury Canada Cup

This year has been quite a summer for me, if anyone has followed my blog lately it probably won't come as a surprise to hear that I had been a little nervous before my last race; the Canada Cup in Sudbury. Canada Cup racing is certainly a whole other step above any other racing that I do, the competition is fierce and people come early from across the nation to practice the course. These are the nation's top athletes, olympians, world cup racers, and the french. The aggression in the riders in races like these frightens me sometimes, and given how tired I am these days, I decided to get to Sudbury as early as I could. I arrived at Sudbury Thursday morning, set up camp (a friend of the family actually got me my own apartment). I'm lucky to have some great friends in town (the Wolfpack), and got out for plenty of riding on course.
The course itself is an amazing one, 6 km laps with tons of rock, one very punishing climb, and TONS of blueberries.

I was well prepared for the race in most every way, though admittedly a bit tired. The race start was chaos; 70 riders, with people jostling to have the best position. As one might expect, there was a big pile up probably 10 seconds into the race. My poor friend Matt's bike went flying about 10 feet into the air and everyone got jammed up. As I passed the the carnage I saw Matt looking around, dirty, bloody and confused looking for his bike. Of course I yelled at him where his bike is and seeing if he's ok but I doubt he heard. The usual pileups and bottlenecks happened in the first couple of pieces of trail but soon I was able to ride my pace. I wasn't moving quickly, but I ignored this in my head, refusing to think of how overtired I was feeling, but instead focusing on my strengths. As it turned out, my technical ability was gaining time through the descents and singletrack, but just wasn't enough to make up for my physical form. Though it was a 70 rider start, I raced the race on my own, wishing I had people to pace with. I fought a hard race, remembering a meaningful compliment that I received before the race
"You'll be fine Chris, I've seen you before, you're a fighter"
I fought my way indeed, and even when my bike started giving me troubles I was off, fixing it and back on board. But when it rains, it pours and unfortunately my bike began to act like a fixed-gear or a fly wheel and I could no longer coast. I tried my best to take apart the hub on the side of the trail, desperate to finish the race but with no luck. I was told though that I fought a great race, apparently always looking strong while coming through spectator areas, and I never really felt alone riding the course because of all of the spectators yelling my name/sponsors/race number.

steaming in for some water in the feed zone

I was lucky to race before my girlfriend this week and had a great time watching her and my friends race after me. We had practiced the course together and she was riding impeccably well - absolutely geared for a win! It was fantastic to see her coming through strongly every lap, and Tori took the senior expert women's field by over 12 minutes! All wasn't lost that day as I got to share the joy of a win with her and eat blueberries while watching it happen!

Wolfpack racing throws down with some big time results, local boys know it best!
Also U of G favorite up on the podium Will "the Shermanator" Clarke killing it!

Keep posted for more updates, the nationals XC eliminator is tomorrow, I've taken time right off the bike this week to hopefully get some rejuvenation in my legs and body - time to prepare for nationals!
Honourable mention to my car for rolling over 100000 this weekend!
is half a million too much to ask for?

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