Monday, May 25, 2009

Opus Spring Epic 8 Hr Race Report

For the second weekend in a row, me and my race travel partner headed west to test our race legs. This week's race was the Opus Spring Epic 8 Hr at Mansfield Outdoor Centre, put on by Chico Racing.

This is the third year I've done this race and it is one of my favourite events that I look forward to. I'd prefer a long looped course, but if you have to ride in circles, you may as well be doing it at Mansfield. I found this year's course especially fun and fast, perfect for single speed - super buff, fast, non-technical single track (typical of southern Ontario), only a few long'ish climbs, a couple short steep pitches thrown in that kept you honest and torquing on the pedals.

My race was pretty uneventful, started out too fast (as always), settled into my pace, tried to take in too many calories to try and compensate for any potential cramping/bonking issues that I might have, stomach went into digestive distress, managed to overcome a mental low during laps 6,7,8 to recover from feeling sick and wanting to toss in the towel, picked my game up, and got on with the rest of the race. I was lucky to hook up with a few fast riders out on course to help pace me along. One such rider was Richard, riding on a tag team with Dave for True North. He was running ss as well, pretty much the same gear, and slightly higher pace than my previous couple of laps (I was trying to recover from nearly shatting myself and an uneasy stomach). We rode an entire lap together. At the end of it (maybe my 7th or 8th lap) I felt revived and ready to get on with the rest of the race.

Eye of the tiger is dirty, dusty, sweaty.

The eye of the tiger wasn't enough. Smart racing was the answer. I give credit to Mark Summers and Jamie Davies for being faster riders than I am, but I give credit to Peter for being smarter (I'm sure Mark and Jamie are smart riders too).

I finished my twelfth lap riding it entirely with Jamie, who so happened to be on his thirteenth. I have no idea when or where he lapped me, cause I never saw him. We went through the timing area nearly at the same time (on my 12th) and saw that he was in first place. He looked like he was hurting, so I decided to stay with him and see what panned out. As we rode together my mind worked away and figured (wrongly) that I must have passed 2nd and 3rd spots along the way (while they pitted?) because on my 8th lap one of the race announcers said over the loudspeaker that I was in 4th. I knew my pace had picked up after my stomach settled, so in complete and obstructed optimism I figured I had moved into second place . . . . not realizing that Jamie was in fact one lap ahead of me, meaning 2nd and 3rd were behind him, out on course ahead of me . . . . follow?

Simply put . . . I was still in fourth. Fugg.

There were a few times in the first 5-7 km of the course as I followed the first place rider that I was feeling good and thought about passing - I knew he was suffering and I wasn't a threat to him, so he most likely wouldn't follow. I opted not, figuring this was my last lap, so I'd take it easy, coast across the line and capture second place.

What a chump.

I didn't think that I'd cross the line in time enough to get out for a final lap. I crossed at 5:50 pm. Cut off to go out for your last lap was at 6 pm, you had to be back in by 6:35 pm or your attempt at your last lap wouldn't count. This gave me 45 minutes to complete another lap . . . . . plenty'o time to do it considering my 12th lap was 40 minutes.

Here's how I wasn't smart: one, I didn't pay attention to my lap times. If I did, I would have known that I had enough time to go out and get one more lap in. Stoopid. Two, I didn't have anyone keeping an eye on the competition - if I did, I might know that Peter was only a minute or two ahead of me when I completed my last lap AND he was running consistently slower laps than I was (ouch! Did that hurt?!). Duuuuuumb. Three, I didn't pit and pick up a new bottle on my way to the finish, figuring I was done. Boneheadddddddd.

Hat's off to Peter though, even missing both nipples, he rode a strong race and beat me fair and square.

Nipples on the far right.

Mari and Jenny taking 3rd (riding ss in a geared division) in the female tag team. Way to go ladies.

The Vegan Vagabond and first place in the solo women's - very exciting race as 8 hrs of hammering came down to the last five minutes. Wicked.

Matt was flying, riding tag with Bill. This was a prep for Solstice for Matt, who rode ten strong and fast laps, then handed the baton over to Bill for the last three hours. As long as Matt keeps the stomach and head issues under control I am guessing that he'll have a podium shot for sure.

And me. Fourth and bitter.

Actually, I'm not bitter at all. I had an awesome race, met some pretty cool people, rode a great course, had a lot of fun, gained a lot of confidence and got dirty. Why do you race?

Turd place . . . I mean , in third place in my division was the Dark Lord of the Empire himself. Matt, my apologies to Molly.

Race results.


Dan Frayer said...

you cannot expect the brain to drive on all 8 cylinders after that much riding. A very solid result, nice work.
love dan

Peter Keiller said...

once i leave this comment...i'm going to surf away from your blog via the most despicable depraved dasturdly excuse for a porn site imaginable.

when google gets a load of the kind of through traffic you encourage...well...look out...

as for what's happening the dayg...i've been in worse spots...this one time, when i went out for my THIRTEENTH lap...and so on and so on...

Matt Spak said...

Great race Craig,

I have seen worst things come out of Molly. She has broken into the garbage can once or twice.

I'll let Andrew know.