Monday, July 12, 2010

Race Report: Ocup #5, Buckwallow

We arrive at Buckwallow ... and yes, I painted my nails to match my race kit (for you Thorsten!)

Another Ocup, come and gone. But this wasn't just ANY Ocup! This was Bucky, my favourite course, and to make it an even sweeter deal, I had a cheerleader and personal photographer accompany me for his first ever race-of-any-kind experience. Chike kept the day super positive from my perspective, on what was otherwise a pretty tough race for me. David, from the sport-class was along as well and we had a great relaxed drive up in the minivan for his 11:30 race.

David, all class in sport class

I like to go early because I get a chance to say hello to folks, watch some racing, and with Chike there it was fun to show him around as well. He even learned how to feed!

The weather was great. The sun beat down as it has been for the past week, but thankfully, not quite as intense as the heatwave a few days prior. Still, it became apparent that the heat would be a problem pretty much as soon as I spun out for my warm up on the Muskoka Parkway.

I ride Shimano components, and since my brakes run on mineral oil instead of automotive braking fluid, i was dealing with a common side affect: expanding fluid pushing my pads into my rotors making a very disheartening sh-ch-sh-ch-sh-ch sound as my rotors went round and round. with conventional brake fluid, i think there's a little more resilience when it comese to environmental factors. Oh well, no time to do a thing about it, not that i'd know what to do anyway. So, I had to line up with a little piano tied to my ass.

On top of that, my warm-up left me feeling a little TOO hot out there on the pavement. I went through almost two bottles of water (one with eload) before the race began and still had dry-mouth and nausea. "oh boy" i thought, but i still felt like I had a good day in me. Especially with aforementioned cheerleader standing by!!

The start was crazy -- Mike (the property owner) had warned me about a rock that comes up fast on the left side of the opening double track. Apparently he'd seen his fair share of endos as people launched themselves into unexpected "big air" during the local thursday-night series. I remembered his words, but only as we came around the corner and a Cycle-solutions kit went flying in front of me at eye level. Somehow I managed to stay out of her way, but heard a kafuffle behind me indicating others hadn't been so lucky. At the end I found out it as Mandy, and her day had been cut too short by the bad news bears. I wondered where she was all race, and her "ghost" kept me honest (i.e. hammer now or Mandy's gonna get ya!). So thank you Mandy for a good race anyways -- I hope it's just a little irritation and nothing serious.

The line

After that, my first two laps went fairly well. I was happy with my position, convinced that I'd be catching up to the lead group momentarily. But then it just seemed like all systems began to fade ...

It all went wrong on the third lap. I started making mistakes ... and really awkward ones at that too. Ones that left me precariously perched atop rocks while I prayed my cleat would stick to it's foothold while I regained my balance with one foot still clipped into the bike. Then I got passed. Then I got passed again, and the only thing more unpleasant than being passed is when the passer is extra pleasant to the passee. Strategy? Or is she just a really nice girl? I'll never know. Thus undone, I just focused on riding clean, however despite accomplishing that for the most part in my last lap, speed was not a by-product. in fact, I rode every lap slower than the last, starting out with a sub-thirty lap and finishing with one that can only be described as "sub forty". ouch. and may I also add, "wtf".

Anyway, the one thing that saved me from a total pit of despair moment was a Hub rider who passed me and instead of the customary "have a good race" one usually hears as the male fields work their way through, he said "have fun!"

"Thanks for the reminder!" i said. Because, really, that's what it's all about. Sometimes I forget as I get ready for the Ontairo-World-Cups.

Having fun.

Happy to see the finish, I rejoined my trio, got some hard-earned watermelon and we went off to jump in the lake. Then we hit up webers. And I even ordered TWO orders of fries. It was an awesome day because I got to ride bikes, i did it safely, the company was excellent, the weather perfect, and ... it was fun.

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