Having been unceremoniously booted from Ottawa by the City’s Parks Department (which, by the way, was also noted in Toronto where nationals were held this weekend), we found ourselves out in Almonte again early this morning. The most noticeable thing about the venue today? The fact that the ribbon of mud from the race out there three weeks ago was barely distinguishable. City bureaucrats take note. The second most noticeable thing? It is getting a wee-bit chillier in the mornings… necessitating an increase in Evan’s body mass to down ratio.
The race today lacked some of the character of a couple of weeks ago – no sand pit, no muddy singletrack, and no pile of zamboni snow to ride through. However, course designers made up for the absence of these features by including two high speed and slippery descents, a long, tough climb capped with a barrier about 5 feet from the top, a number of tight hair-pin turns, and an absolutely diabolical run-up. The combination of all of these things together probably lead to the hardest course this year.
No matter for Naomi though… she battled a fast junior rider most of the race to once again take second place in the Master A women’s category. Thank God someone out here in Ontario can race and put up some numbers, cause it sure ain’t me. Can’t have the Alberta riders claiming all the glory.
At the end of the battle, Naomi came close to having to go back and change her response to this Friday poll.
In my own race… well, I’m trying to be a little philosophical about it. I had a pretty decent start, and found myself leading a group of dudes who’s asses I have become quite accustomed to staring at. I had two or three good laps, and figured the gap I had established was staying pretty constant. Then I noticed a good Tall Tree rider in my category riding out on a flat… and a few minutes later saw another top Tall Tree dude sitting on the grass beside the start-finish. It was around there that things seemed to fall apart.
Maybe I was thinking about the spots (and the accompanying points) that the DNFing Tall Trees were leaving on the table… especially relevant since the buddy I have been battling all season hadn’t shown up today. Maybe I was thinking that these precious extra points might allow me to catch up to said buddy in the overall points race. Maybe I was thinking about… Well I sure as shit wasn’t thinking about that chain-link fence I just bashed into.
Then I was thinking about the chain-link fence, and I wasn’t thinking about the slick hair-pin turn ahead… It wasn’t long before I was thinking about the photographer standing over me taking a picture of my lying on my stomach.
I remounted, and a few guys slipped past. SOAB. I was cursing, I was pissed… I wasn’t done totally destroying my race. I approached another tight corner at high speed, and thought briefly “what the hell kinda line is this I am taking?” I hit the ground again, this time filling my brake lever with mud.
By this time, I had dropped what felt like 50 places and fought the last lap to try and reel in the guy ahead of me. I thought I might get him right at the finish line, as he dismounted to run up the last hill which had become a slick mud bog. I was gaining on him… but ran out of hill.
Anyway, hopefully there will find venues for the last three races, and I will have a chance to redeem myself.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Evan’s highlight of the day… seeing the zamboni come out of the neighboring rink to dump out a bunch of snow.
Full results here.