A couple weeks ago, I got tickled by the idea of returning to my mountain biking roots and turning the pedals for a University Cup Race. The idea became even more tantalizing with some cyber smacktalk between myself and fellow O-cup racers KK and Ashley. The two of them had been leading the series and with Sunday being the final race, I thought I'd throw my hat in too.
Except, while they assure me they haven't been training, they have still been racing every weekend ... whereas I haven't been on my bike since Provincials due to lack of interest and also the persistent shoulder sprain thingy (which seems to now be a-okay, btw.) Oh, and I was also staying up late, eating garbage and happily drinking some wobbly pops on weekends.
And so out-gunned, I lined up on a rare warmish and kind of sunny October day relying on residual fitness to get me over the first big hill.
And it DID! I WON THE HILL CLIMB! and then died shortly thereafter when all the snot and mucus I had in me tried to make its escape through my nose and mouth, and my lungs shrunk to the size of a sandwich bag. It is REALLY hard to breathe with that stuff hanging off your lips. I grossed out Falco (an old friend from U of T and random photo-shoots) who was kind enough to ride with me nonetheless and compliment me on smooth pedal strokes thus taking attention away from the slime stuck to my arms and legs.
I found out that throwing a race into your rest and relaxation program is ill-advised ... I haven't hurt like that in a race in a really long time. It is amazing how fast the fitness goes if you don't take care of it. Good inspiration to stay on top of winter training!
The three leaders got away, and Morgan called out a three minute split at which point I remembered that as an "alum" I wasn't getting any points for this ... so I decided to quit the suffering already! I just rode the rest for fun, which isn't hard to accomplish at Ganaraska.
The course was super tacky, not very technical, but some sections had some serious flow to them that brought me straight to my happy place. I'm super glad I went, even if I did open up an opportunity for the annual cold/flu. The results are posted for your viewing pleasure.
The rest of the afternoon we spent enjoying the University Cup BBQ, beers, fun and prizes. It was so great to see Derek and Morgan from Sweet Pete's '08. Got to see Eric again, and his lovely fiance (and their new pup, Sammie) who all took an extra-long ride in the minivan (thanks to badly placed detours!). Caught up with Falco post-race and covered a wide range of topics, most notably his two-month touring adventure to Newfoundland. And perhaps my favourite part of the day was watching KK shotgun a beer faster than a bunch of college dudes.
In closing, I'd like to thank U of T and especially Dave Wright for their dedication to the sport and in recruiting more and more riders every year. A lot of the racers in the "B" category had never rode a mountain bike until this year, let alone raced one. I was one of them, back in the day! Ganaraska was the site of my second-ever mountain bike race in 2004 and I'm so happy to have met the people I met, learned what I learned and used that knowledge to lead me where I am today: still loving the ride, and still racing my heart out. I wear my Blues jersey proudly!