Monday, September 22, 2008

Paul's Dirty Enduro '08 Race Report

I got an e-mail from Curvy Butt the other day stating his race tactics for the 100km - go out hard right from start and see how long he could hold it, then go into damage control and get through the rest of the race. I e-mailed him back basically saying that he's fugging crazy - just because that's not my race style. I tend to start slow and gradually build and hope for the best. Pretty sophisticated race tactics eh!?

I thought about Curvy Butt's race strategy on my drive from Ottawa to Jeannie Beannies (my wonderful mother-in-law) and my own race strategy and experiences. I have never attempted to go out from the shoot with guns blazing and legs pumping. It's totally uncharacteristic of me as I like to ease into a race and put off going into the hurt locker until I have to (or not at all). I'm not a hammerhead racer and honestly, never thought that I had it in me.

Paul's was going to be my last mtn bike race of the year (CX is still to come and will be my first experience with that . . . . hoping that a nice new CX bike arrives on my door step soon *hint*hint*nudge*nudge*wink*wink), so I thought, "Fugg it - what do I got to loose?" Pride? Yes. A long walk out of the forest after blowing up? Yes. A bad last race to a great season that would leave a terrible taste in my mouth all winter? Yep.

Alas, that's what I did. I lined up early Saturday morning at the the Ganaraska Forest Center with about 30-35 other riders opting to do the 100km race. After a brief race prep talk from KT (one of the organizers of this awesome event) about the course marking and warnings of "weapon grade poison ivy", we were off. So, with an Iron Maiden tune pumping in my ear, I pinned it.

That's me right next to KT on the chair
- her fly was down the whole time that she was up there speaking to the riders.

And that was my race. I stayed with the top ten riders from the get-go and was back-and-forth in that group for the day. It was pretty uneventful for me - no nutrition or stomach issues, no mechanicals, the course was much firmer packed than last year, and only one crash (right in the last kilometer; got hooked by a tree branch on the entrance to a piece of single track). I did suffer from some cramping despite my best efforts at hydrating - which came mostly in my lats and forearms while reefing on the bars to get up the many steep, but short, climbs. Towards the end of the race I was getting some cramping in my inner quads and right hammie that I was able to walk off on a couple select climbs.

It was a very different race for me this year than last. I found myself riding alone quite a bit, with only occasionally hooking up with riders, whom I would play cat-and-mouse throughout the race. The toughest part of the race was the 15 - 40km section while in the western part of the forest, which only the 100km riders did. This part of the Ganny allows dirt bikes on the trails, and as a result, many sections were really chewed up, loose and rutted. It was a hard slog and the longest 25 km of the day.

I had forgotten how much climbing there was in the Ganaraska forest and how much unrelenting, never ending single track that there was. This was wicked and fun as hell, but at the same time, ass kicking. Getting nutrition in was tough to do in the twisty, roller coaster like single track. Any of the road crossings/sections were very sandy and difficult to pedal through and needed both hands on the bars. You had to be selective when you were reaching for a bottle or trying to stuff your face or you'd pay for it with a crash.

I am pleased with my result: top ten finish and my 6hr 59min time is a big improvement on last year's race. I am continually blown away by the Jabberwocky's handling on the tight and twisty and technical stuff, which it ate up all day. I ran a 32 x 18 gearing - which made some of 7011 ft (according to Joey's GPS) of climbing tough, but doable. Kenda Small Block 8s were a perfect choice for the course - great float in the loose stuff, very fast on the hard packed.

*I didn't have time to take pictures before and didn't think to take them after, so all photos posted are stolen from Matt's blog without permission or consent - Thanks Matt!


The Vegan Vagabond said...

Way to go Big Ring! Sometimes its a good idea to try new race tactics...we all get stuck in our ways. Great result.

Matt Spak said...

go till you blow. it works,, sometimes. Great way to finish the race. Congratulations. They should have a SS division. They talked about it at my start time. To bad I didn't get to see the awards.

Anonymous said...

Way to go for broke! And impressive result. It is nice to see the SS's coming in so high in the overall rankings. Phhhhttt to gears! ;)

Rob Young said...

Wow, congrats!

32x18. Christ all mighty. I did pauls this year on my 29er with a 32x20 gearing, and that was tough!