I'll put up a proper post in a day or two, but for now I'll tell you that the race was won by a margin of 20 minutes by none other than Paul Simoes. Paul had the ride of his life while schooling the locals., winning in in seven and half hours. Most commonly word used to describe the course: Brutal.
This coming Sunday I'll be on the 6am starting line of the UltimateXC 100K MTB race -Crazy Quebequois Dan Desrochiers idea of sadism with a smile. My race training has been nothing but... almost nothing. Fact is, I've been on the bike to train for 2 hr hillclimby races this year, which means all my training was for the Pinnadebacle. Naturally, I treated training for a 62 mile 80% singletrack with 8000' of climbing as incidental, until I woke up last Saturday with "OMG WTF!" This prompted some quick thinking. With plan in hand the following day, I departed Concord on the road bike with zeal and a fresh outlook at 6 am. My head said go, but my legs said otherwise for the first hour. They whispered "Not now Albert" and clung to their bedsheets - pulled up around their somewhat hairy scrawniness. I pushed on to Gilmanton and downed a coffee from the general store with remarkable doping effectiveness. Caffeine, my hero. From then on it was "Game On!" ( the significance of which will be explained later). Rt 140 rolls easily and then its up up up to Sanborton on Rt 132. A long set of rolling hills keeps ya honest. Then I buzzed Rt 127 through Salisbury and back to Concord. 4 hours later I resigned myself to the fact that it is going to be a reeeaaallly long day in Canada. Don't get me wrong - the ride went well, it just seemed interminably without termination. Now it's four days later and I've supplemented my rigorous preparation by 1. freaking out over my No Tubes rear wheel that was leaking, 2. riding for two hours Wednesday evening in 85 degree humidity, feeding clouds of deer flies with my blood gorged buttcheeks (they took me for all I'm worth), and 3. riding a few times at 6 am, doing 1/2 hour wakeup spins. That makes me fully prepared for a 62 mile race on an unusually cautioned course, right? Riiight. My double secret strategery: Shhh. Don't tell anyone. Dan ran into some official issues with his race. Seems that the Canadian Cycling Federation has taken exception to his holding a MTB race without their sanctioning. They took the strongarm Mafioso route and posted that they would ban all participants from competing in any of their subsequent events if you race in Dan's race. That makes perfect sense doesn't it? It kinda reminds me of high school teachers that would hold everyone for detention unless someone squealed on the 'troublemaker' who'd orchestrated rebellion against administrative tyranny by getting everyone to wear shorts to school, in the middle of January. Jackasses. Oops, that just got me banned for life. Oh well. Therefore Dan changed the race to a costume contest- with official timing- and a $500 prize. My plan is to take the podium by storm, wig and all. It's amazing what suffering and humiliation people put themselves through for $500. BTW, the forecast is for 70 degrees and sunny... And my tire is holding air. Auspicious.
The Pinnacle saw the largest elite field yet - thirty something PJ announced at the line. Tom Sampson edged O'Keefe by three seconds... I'd like to hear the story. Despite the lack of any mud holes or water anywhere on the course, it was slick with the slightest film of mud on pretty much everything. It ate a few riders- one poor sod passed by me while I walked across the field, displaying a classic broken collarbone hunch and in obvious pain while Michael Goode pulled down the win but paid the price when his shoulder met a stationary tree after clipping a sapling with his bar. More prevalent mortal reminders were huge raspberries on bruised thighs. The bruises under the crushed skin take a while to dissipate don't they? Mmm. Hmm.
Lap One: today's race plan was to put as many experts between me and the rest of the field on the first lap, ride steady through the top and bolt down the downhill. I rode away OK, but had some bobbles on uphill roots here and there, making up for it with good solid power and a little recent pre-ride familiarity. Lap Two: plan-ride steady and get out of the saddle on any longer rises - which worked out but for a few nagging slippery spots. Lap Three: The rocky stream jaggedness 1/3 of the way up just before you head back up again on the doubletrack bit me, well my rear end. I flatted 100 yards later and suffered the consequences. I had made a conscious decision to run heavier tubes in my tires and skip bringing air, tube and lever. So there you go.
I was going for broke and it was working out, but as I've said before, you have to get all of it done.
That means you'll wanna see this to whet your appetite. The big rippin' downhills - both on back side and the tricep jiggling main descent- hold up against any downhill singletrack. Last evening Brian Currier, race promoter and fast guy, shared some cool new stuff w/bermed corners that beg you to throw your bike around them. If we're lucky, we'll see it next year. Enjoy. For better quality go here