So there ya go...OCup 7, the provincial finals held at NordicHighlands trails just outside of Duntroon, was held last Sunday Aug 30. This was the last OCup of the season, everyone would be out...especially for provincials. Meant all the fast guys would be here too. Would make it tough for me...I needed to finish in 9th or better to maintain my spot in the overall standings for my category (currently 4th).
Giant and I headed up Saturday to camp and pre-ride the course. Our campsite was interesting...felt like I was back in Saskatchewan. We were camped in a farmers field....literally. I believe the venue is owned by the farmer and his family. These were our neighbors.
Ooops. Well maybe not that last one...I don't know....ask JeffS as almost all of the fine pics on this post are his. Thanks Jeff!!
So, anyways....Giant and I prerode and got familiar with the course....which was important. There were very fast flowy bits of trail with the odd technical feature thrown in (usually a rock over, or rock drop that you had to launch, and a short but rather bumpy rock garden), and if you were not aware they would come up on you quickly. Approximately the first half of the course was climbing, the second half was mostly downhill, except for the last km or two included a very nasty rocky ridge climb.
Photo cred to John on this one
Yeah....slick new kit...compliments of BicycleWorks....thank you BicycleWorksPaul!!! Guess I should look happier??
This pic was by John
There...is that better?? Actually I'm smiling cuz that's as close as I knew I would get to ChrisBL (the guy in the cool shades) all dang day. Plus, I often just think random funny things....the voices....
Anyways...I was chatting with serious, till he got called up...then wondering where BobM was...he wasn't here....and he is fast! Then the countdown, and boom...we are off!
And I actually had my best start of the season. I was up with the lead group as we tore up the ski hill. Then up the looong doubletrack climb, I stayed up with the leaders....but it was killing me. My heart rate was up to near 170...which is huge for me. I was actually happy for the bottleneck that happened when we hit the singletrack....especially since the first bit of singletrack was not easy. It was both very twisty, and steep....then a steep, loose, sketchy left turn out of the first singletrack and into another doubletrack climb. I was still with the leaders at this point....including MikeL, Jacques, and serious just directly in front of me. But my heart rate was still sky high....and I was struggling. I had to let the leaders pull away while I recovered a bit, otherwise I would have blown up.
The course continued alternating long doubletrack climbs providing opportunities to pass followed by twisty, flowy descending singletrack...and frequent rockovers and drops on the singletrack with opportunities to catch air. It would have been a great opportunity for ApexTed to capture some great pics...but Ted was taking a very deserved day off...so nobody taking pics in the singletrack.
There was a spot where we came out of the Flowy Fun Trail into a sharp switchback right and up another doubletrack climb, and up the climb you could see racers behind you entering the Flowy Fun Trail. And there was JP, just entering Flowy as I climbed the doubletrack; he was well back of me, and I was relieved that I didn't have to contend with him....we had close battles in past races.
Then into Marshall Law, a piece of single track with fun rock jumps, and ended in a rather loose bumpy rock garden. Many racers were walking the rock garden....another opportunity to pass. Then out of the rock garden then into a screaming fast (but new and bumpy!!) singletrack descent that shook your bones at 50 - 60 km/hr. Then into the trail 57 Chevy...loaded with narrow roots and a sketchy bridge. Thick with Maple trees, you could smell the sweet maple sap in the air....it made me want pancakes every lap!
Out of 57 Chevy past a sugar shack and up a steep singletrack climb on the very edge of a ridge...and it was rife with rocks! One wrong move on the rocks and you would get bounced into a nasty fall down the ridge. Then a twisty thick sandy descent off the ridge and over a fun little rock drop near the start corral...where fans were gathered to watch racers jump the rock. Here some pics were taken...
Spinner gettin air.
Too bad there wasn't a video....wait....what??
Then up the hill through the feed station....through a bit of climby singletrack....then the switchback through the finish line for lap one. But on the switchback there was serious just going through the finish...he was just that close in front of me! I was so surprised to see him...I gunned it to catch him...but he has a bigger gun. He was also surprised to see me, and sped off dropping me as we entered lap 2.
Into lap 2...it was important to maintain focus, otherwise it was easy to make a mistake, especially on the fast twisty singletracks. And I tend to lose focus easy...
Ooops....see?? You do know this is MTB related though, don't you?? Hint: You going batty??
Anyways...I began catching lapped riders...there was JP still behind me as he entered Flowy...and I still wanted pancakes...through the feed station again but this time I took a new water bottle as Giant handed it to me.
I powered up the hill from the feed station, through the finish to complete lap 2, then hard into lap 3, up the long doubletrack climb. Last lap to give it all I had, into the twisty steep singletrack, heart pounding, sucking air. Through Flowy then up the doubletrack...JP still behind me. Good. Into Kate's Kitchen....and as I came out of Kate's and started up the doubletrack climb into Marshall Law I saw MikeL just entering the singletrack. What?? Usually he is much faster and so far ahead of me I rarely see him. But he doesn't like the technical and there was enough of it here to slow him down to my speed. I pushed, determined to catch him. And at the rock garden at the bottom of Marshall Law I caught him as he carefully picked his way through the rock garden, but there was nowhere to pass. Then we came out of the rock garden in the screaming fast singletrack...again no chance to pass.
Then we came into the doubletrack climb to 57 Chevy. I floored it to pass him, but in the open Mike's engine is bigger than mine. He pushed too, and we were side by side up the climb...but he had the inside line into 57 Chevy, and entered it in front of me. My lungs were exploding, but I stayed on his wheel....over the roots, over the sketchy bridge....slower than I could have been going but there was just no place to pass.
Out of 57 Chevy I tried to pass again as we raced by the sugar shack, but he was too fast....then up the ridgeline singletrack...I was right on his wheel again. Through the ridgeline rockgarden on his wheel...but no place to pass. He pulled away as we came off the ridgeline, but I caught him at the rock drop because he took the around. Then we raced together again, but he pulled away as we raced through the now empty feed station...and up the hill to the finish. He crossed the finish line just seconds in front of me...dammit. I was spent...and then some!! I was just happy to see this...
I finished the day in 12th spot. Not as well as I had hoped but not too bad with all the fast guys out. That put me in 5th spot overall for the season in my category. I felt strong on this day, and finally almost fully recovered from my injury, and almost back to my fighting weight. Speaking of, I made my way to our campsite for my recovery meal.
Other notables for the day...
JennR won second overall for the season in her category.
Mark was happy for her...see?
Seth went fast...
John raced singlespeed just for laughs.....and won...and laughed...
CoachRob finished second on the day...and second overall in his cat for the season!! He is one of the best at this game!! Helps make for a good coach!
"Game?? This ain't no m***f***king game!!!"
This is Oggie...(random Oggie pics abound!)
Anyways...to sum up my OCup season. I finished 5th overall in my category. That is WAY better than I expected. I have always considered myself more of a marathon/endurance racer. But with CoachRob's guidance, gearing my training for the shorter 'sprinty' racing of an OCup, helped me to achieve better than I thought I would. In fact my only podium this year (so far) has been at an OCup...actually lucky enough that it was a Canada Cup...
Thanks CoachRob for talking me into this....I will do the series again next year!
OK, enough bragging-ish bullshite.
OK....I will....in a minute...
So what's next?? Some of those long endurance races. Next one is the Marathon XC nationals at Horseshoe on Sept 13 put on by Superfly Racing. Next is Paul's Dirty Enduro, then the Fall 8 Hour. And CptSydor has challenged me to do a 120km race up in his new neck of the woods in Oct. So lot's of season left! So the training is geared to the longer races again...which means I better get out there...