Ontario Marathon Challenge #2

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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”.
  3. 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.

New goals:

  1. Convert bike to single speed so I could ride, rather than walk, most of the 12 km back to the start.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.



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