It was hot. Too hot. 30 degrees hot. And it had been for the entire week leading up to the race which was a far cry from last year's tacky trails and snowflakes on the start line. This year we were choking on dust just on the warm-up. Beacuse it was a Canada Cup, there was an extensive call-up which left me in the back from the start. The first 400 metres were all about trying to keep the dust out of my airways and collision avoidance. Usually I have a decent kick at the beginning, but as soon as the heat intercepted my rising heart rate, I was feeling like puke.
And so, I suffered. Not going to go on too much with this post because I didn't even have fun yesterday, let alone a good result. And no one wants to hear me winge about it.
So since you either win or you learn, here's what I took away:
1) Heat = limiter. Must do more to protect myself from the sun not just on race day, but the days leading up to it. (Doesn't help that elites have to pick up their packages on the day before ... might as well preride, right?)
2) Still fighting expectations vs taking February off. This leads to a neurotic back and forth that takes up too much brain power while trying to just do my best.
3) Gotta get my head up in the single track -- can't afford silly mistakes or erroneous braking, especially on a course like Hardwood.
4) A couple niggling aches and pains to deal with so I can get the power I do have to work for me.
So all in all, it was a hard day. I fought, but my fight only lasted about a lap and a half and then I accidentally pulled the give-up switch. Didn't feel much like hunting after about 40 minutes in the saddle. In the first lap, I made a couple really brilliant passes (if I do say so myself) over the "secret" lines I'd scoped in pre-ride -- those have never come in handy before but I got two yesterday. I was riding smooth-ish and everything. So that's a positive. Nevermind that my prey later came back to pass me in much the same fashion.
Anyway, Emily Batty ended up winning it (putting nearly 30 minutes into me ...), with Mical Dyck and Amanda Sin up there with her. I was feeling too used up to stick around for the awards, and felt it best to start racing my "hangover" home.
When I got there, Gerhard had planted the whole garden. He let me take a nap all afternoon while he spread around dirt in the hot sun. He took care of all the dishes, made dinner, and then did the dishes again. He brought me ice cream on the couch. He rubbed my tired hands for me, and got up early this morning to make sure I had a good breakfast (asparagus omelette with feta ... mmmmm).
So ... even though I didn't have a good race, I'm pretty stoked to have such a good guy. Thanks Gerhard!!
And as always, thanks Sweet Pete's. Without the shop I might not have even had a bike this time, but they were able to replace a frayed cable in the nick of time. The bike ran beautifully. I just wish I'd held up my end of the bargain a little better.
Next week: Mountainview ... ?