Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Monday, May 25, 2015

Spring Epic 8 hour

Before my disastrous attempt at the first Ontario Cup of the season and the following flu, I had committed to an 8 hour race the next weekend. 8 hour races are more like festivals really than races; teams of 1, 2, 4, or 6 can be entered and they are raced as relay races. Because there are so many people allowed on each team, you end up with a whole lot of people at the course, all set up with tents, coolers, bikes, and music. Sure there are serious guys and serious teams, but it really just like a festival. Team Progressive/Superfly/Maverix was set up in true style with the Progressive Nutrition girls handing out electrolyte drinks and recovery shakes.

I still didn't really have a stomach that could eat much, but I tried and had an egg and a couple bites of oatmeal, and we got on our way. I was set up to tag team the race with Jasiu Kocemba (also known as Junior), a wicked fast junior racer. We did 2 laps at a time each, alternating while doing the 200+m of climbing. Maverix Racing also had Ryan and Lindsay racing the tag team mixed category, and some guys on a 4 person team, plus Matt and Kelsey testing their legs on the course solo (8 gnarly hours in 30+ degrees!).

Start line stories

The race start was a bit chaotic, I did have a front line position, but I was basically starting in a sandbox and got crashed into by two other people before I could properly clip into my bike and get moving in a straight line. I got pretty flusetered after that and by the time that we had climbed up the first major climb, I was sitting pretty in 4th place - I knew this was pretty aggressive for a tag team rider, but my ego needed it after last weekend. Here I was cruising in the top 10 riders and hear some familiar joking coming from beind me, Kelsey and Matt had made it onto the back of my wheel - for bettter or for worse. I reminded them that their goal was to finish all 8 hours of the race on their own, but I guess we got a bit caught up in the moment. By the last quarter of my first lap I was starting to feel like throwing up and it was a long day after that. I slowed down and let Matt and Kelsey ride away from me, which is never an easy thing to do, but I benefitted in the long run from putting my ego aside and pace more moderately. I still came in from my first two laps in good standing, and Junior was a perfect partner for the race.

Smooth handoffs of the timing chip and safe storage (up my shorts) is important!
I had trouble putting back any food, but between the laps I would eat a half of a CLIF bar and some of the phytoberry and vegegreens product from Progressive nutrition. This small amount of sustenance was enough to keep me motoring as one of the fastest riders all day. Being teammates with Jasiu meant that I was treated like royalty and taken care of by his dad Simon Kocemba, who made sure I always had cold towels after my laps, that we knew when to get the timing chip, and that my bike was always in order. By the end of the day, Jasiu and I managed a collective 15 laps, lapping second place!

A gold medal on my birthday!

The Maverix 4 man team did quite well, with another solid 1st place finish, but I can't say the same for our poor boys out riding on a solo mission. Matt unfortunately had a big crash which resulted in a broken bike and staples to put his knee back together (he has made an unbelievably fast recovery since then), and Kelsey paid for those early sprints with some serious cramping. At one point in the race I passed by Kelsey on the side of the trail bent over his bike all seized up, I wanted to help him but he told me to keep riding. About 10 seconds later my leg seized up too. Real bros have sypathy cramps for eachother.

Happy team going home with lots of hardware, I missed the picture though..

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