Wow….It looks like all I need is some really nasty cold rain and mud to have a great race. I’ve been wishing for mud all week ’cause I was really excited to run my Kenda Kwickers in the mud, love these unassuming, super affordable but incredibly awesome tires, and they helped me win my first ever Canadian National Championship title….YIPPEE!!!!! Though halfway through the race I was really wishing for some warm (em>sun.
Caught the 5pm ferry over to Vancouver Friday night after work, made a quick stop at the pet store to buy another collar and leash (not used to packing for the puppy yet), then over to the venue for about 8pm. I did a quick slippery walk around as much of the course as I could…should have brought a light…as Regan set up the tents near the course.
Saturday morning still hadn’t brought the forecasted rain and I was seriously starting to doubt my tire selection. Come noon the skies opened up, and I mean it started DUMPING!! Horrible start slipped my pedal once, twice…uggh…finally got in and had some work to do. Thankfully the starting straight was really wide so I had no problems finding a path back up to the lead group. Pretty quickly we had a break with Pepper Harlton, Wendy Simms and I off the front with a small gap to Catherine Pendrel and Emily Batty. First time up the stairs I tripped, second time up the stairs I tripped hard landing on my knees in the rocky mud, third time up the stairs I tripped yet again!! GEEEEEZZZZZZ, first time with my new feet! I think it was the 3rd step each time too.
|Photo by Steve Pukesh|
|Photo by Steve Pukesh|
All 3 of us were trading blows trying to hammer each other and break away…also knowing there were some really fast women very close behind us. Part way through the 3rd lap, Pepper started having some problems with the corners and hit the ground a couple of times. This allowed Wendy and me to open up a gap on her. We seemed to work together a little to put some distance between us and the chase. Near the end of lap 3, through the slow slick off camber section, Wendy choose to run and I managed to clean it (just), looking back I had opened up a small gap so I kept the pressure on. I ran a clean race for the final 2 laps, staying upright with Regan’s smooth is fast and fun mantra. Not quite believing it I won my first ever National Champion title!!! Happy Dance, Happy Dance, Happy Dance….though I was too cold do to my happy dance at the time. Celebrated in style by ordering in pizza, grabbing a tub of Hagen Daas and popping the top to some San Pellegrino. YUP, I’m wild in my victory….supper in bed!!
Day 2 had no more rain, leaving the mud a very sticky peanut buttery consistency, and a really flipping cold wind. They changed the course a little, removing my dreaded stair (not sure my knees could have handled that one again) and all the straightaways were straight into the nasty head wind. Had a great start but smartly decided not to stick myself out in the wind right off the bat. Sunday’s race stayed a lot closer together due to the wind making it a very different dynamic of racing, really neat to have a race so close. After the first lap I found myself in the group just slightly off the front with Catherine, Wendy and Pepper. Lap 2 Catherine had some serious troubles with the blowing course tape and soon it was just the 3 of us again.
|Photo by Steve Pukesh|
No one launched attacks (when we did it was useless) because as soon as you moved out of the draft you were really hammered by the wind. My only strategy for this day was to hit the last section of muddy course in the lead. I wanted to have a clean run at the course and if I made a mistake I didn’t want a gap to open up. I had a clean run and the second last corner I heard Wendy who was sitting second wheel bobble and I opened up a gap. There was a fast pavement downhill into a hairpin corner to the finishing straight from there. I hadn’t realized how hard Pepper had hammered to catch back up to me, and while rounding that last hairpin I noticed her tire out of the corner of my eye. Head down full on sprint (slowly) uphill into the head wind. She played it smart, staying in my slipstream as long as she could, but made her move a little too late and I was able to just hold her off at the line, taking my second win of the weekend.
Thanks ladies for the awesome weekend of racing. Hard, muddy, cold and fun! And thanks Daryl Evans for hosting the nationals weekend. This was my first really good disc brake cross bike experience and they were great. Late braking into hard rough muddy downhills, no problems! My Ridley X-Fire performed flawlessly with my Stan’s Iron Cross Wheels and Kenda Kwicker tires at 25 psi…loving this low pressure thingy. Very thankful for my Lazer Aeroshell, kept my noggin warm!! Huge thank you to everyone for their congratulations and big hugs!!
Thank you to my great Stan’s No Tubes CX team and my awesome mechanic Regan who made everything run so smoothly!!
Giggle giggle giggle