Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Turn off, Tune out, Drop out
Coupy Canadia Cup Thingy Part Dos

So we met up with the big kids up in Tremblant: Freye, Snyder, Ringquist, and Burns. The place was more pimped out than P Diddy's house. Check out the high-definition T.V. in the bathroom in the above photo. Puffy Daddy's house probably has far less gargantuan mosquitoes in it. Also note the uber-pro style with the tire-swapping the night before the race. Freye-Guy rolls with a portable Husky compressor for this express purpose. The guy riding the bike in the lower right photo...we followed him to the race. Oddly we wound up heading in the exact opposite direction of the venue.

We got to the mountain, it got hectic, barely had time to get my number plate, find the feedzone, and get to the line. No warm up...that's OK, I was coming off a rest week just like I was before the Fat Tire Classic. That went well, so to would this, right? The Fat Tire Classic didn't start at all like this, 80 dudes flying toward an uphill holeshot looking like a knobelly tired version of the Tour De France peloton, my "And the rest of the field" last row call up not ideal. The effective hole shot was an artificial bottleneck at the the end of a bridge. Guys around me putting their feet down as I did a track stand while waiting in line. One dude tried to muscle past me, I was not having it, Parlez-Vous "Are you fucking kidding me?". After that it was up a steep, loose, sun-baked gravel road to the actual hole shot. With a field this big and aggro, apparently an auxiliary hole shot is required. It was supposed to be 70° out, it felt like 70° Celsius on that exposed climb.

I hadn't pre-ridden, so it took me a lap to find that the course went up, across, up a little more, down. The traverse was flat and I got dropped in my 34 X 20. It was technical in spots, super-fun off-camber slippery rocks and neat little features, but the decent...yikes! Scariest thing I've ever really done on a bike, might have had something to with my head and body not being in the game at all. I was riding badly in every way. The downhill, batton bridges (steep wooden slides, intersected with small pieces of wood, and slimy too) were terrifying to me. The downhill berms, so steep and alien to my flatland mind, I was out of my element. Watching the lead Junior Expert come into one of these bizarre things like an old AMA dirt-track motorcycle racer, right foot out-riggering to the inside as the bike was turned 90° into the turn on the outside - sliding at an insane speed. I was flummoxed, baffled, bufoosed (I made up that last word), never seen some bicycle-ninja shit like that before.

Not long into the race I was pretty sure I was beating two dudes, I could not get going, I had no fire. After most of the Juniors passed me, Canadian superstar Emily Batty caught me. She had powered up to me on the slightly downhill bike path section at the bottom of the mountain. I found that I could climb with her though, staying about ten feet to her left on the fire road out of her way, watching as she climbed like a machine, so efficient, all business, head down, elbows out, upper body aerodynamic and static as her tree trunk legs ticked over the perfect gear. The fans went nuts as she went past, "Go Emi-leeeeee!". Once in a while I got a secondary shout of "Go Sing-gul Speed-dur - yew are duh man!" (Quebecois accent). But when we hit the traverse - BLAM! She put it in the big ring and was gone.

I did see her again as she was stopped dealing with some chainsuck issues, but once she worked that out she flew past me a second time and that was it. She went on to win in convincing fashion. After seeing her badness in person, the gloveless hands, the determination and concentration...I am now Emily Batty fan #1.

I made a deal with myself, either I was going to ride for two hours or until I got lapped. I got lapped slightly before two hours. The second place rider coming up on me in a bad spot (pay attention here because it may come into play during my post on the Coyote Hill race), I was out of my race, way off the pace, I didn't want to slow this hard-charging bad-mammer-jammer down for one nanosecond, I veered off on an alternative line (alternative to safe or sane) and jammed my wheel in-between a log and the edge of the trail. My bike stayed upright as I took a dive off the side, running it off down a steep embankment. I scrambled back up, got on my bike and decided to just get down the mountain alive and live to fight another day...which would be the very next day, at Coyote Hill. More on that tomorrow perhaps, but I'm not making any promises.

P.S. - IBC MTB Jedi-Guy Kevin Sweeney has started a blog, it is very good, he is smart and funny, go check it out.

Pee. Pee. S. - I got into the Vermont 50, the race I think about more than any other single race. Sweet nightmares for me from now until September.

I have no eye dear. Guy cramping at line. Linnea going up the awesome cobbled, Spring Classic like climb through the faux European village at the base of Tremblant. Rare siting of the mythological beast called "The Ben Moody". Guy wearing a shirt reading
"Pain is temporary - Quitting is forever". I beg to differ.
Pain can linger and linger on some more, quitting is over as soon as you do it.
It transforms the pain first to mild discomfort then not-pain.

For those of you who haven't been following along at home. This was the story of me, on my single speed, racing a UCI Cat 1 event against real Pros at a pretty major event. In summary it did not go well. But it was a way. A sick, sick way.


zencycle said...

"I got into the Vermont 50, the race I think about more than any other single race. Sweet nightmares for me from now until September."

Not that there was any previous doubt, but I think your sanity needs to be held suspect for riding the VT50 on a single speed, but that's just my opinion....

the original big ring said...

sacre bleu! Tres bien!

I raced tremblant a few years ago at a Canada Cup race. Meh.

Hope all the Jon Gee Rubber Boots treated you well.