This past weekend in Ottawa was a busy one for racing… on the road there was the 13th Annual Ottawa Bike Club Grand Prix; in the water there was Bring on the Bay open water swim; and there was even a 5 km fun run put on by my local community association. With such a plethora of choices, what did I decide to do? Why, drive 2 hours to Kingston of course, to take part in the second race of the Ontario Marathon Challenge XC mountain bike series.
In retrospect, maybe not the best choice.
I had three basic goals for the race:
- Show some control and restraint at the start. In the two previous longer-distance races I have done so far this year, I went out way too hard, only to suffer and blow-up later in the race. This time I wanted to see what it was like to start slow and finish strong.
- Test out a feeding strategy. I hardly ever eat during races, and usually drink just enough water to prevent drying up and blowing away in the wind. This has undoubtedly contributed to the blowing-up referenced in goal #1. So you could just put these two together I guess, in a single goal of “don’t blow-up”.
- Build some calluses on my ass in advance of Crank the Shield.
The race started out not too bad… I showed some discipline at the start, and didn’t react when some old dudes sprinted past me and I dropped a number of places. I felt pretty comfortable as we hit the first sections of single track, and the strategy seemed like it might pay off as I started doing the passing.
Then at about kilometer 12 of about 55 I was forced to re-adjust my goals.
The single track took a nasty turn into a series of rock gardens… and a mean chunk of the oldest rock on the planet snapped my rear derailleur cage in two.
- Convert bike to single speed so I could ride, rather than walk, most of the 12 km back to the start.
- Not get eaten alive by the mosquitoes.
Then after probably 10 minutes of fiddling with my chain, I was forced yet again to readjust my goals when my chain tool broke. New goal:
- Get the hell back to the car.
In the end, I drove a little over four hours to race 12 km and was rewarded with a $350 repair bill and about 1,000 mosquito bites. Yippee.