Knocking heads at Nationals; and other racing adventures

Canada, July 25, 2006

Since last race report I have been racing a bit, but with kind of average performances - which makes it hard to get the motivation to write a race report. I'm just not quite where I want to be.

But I did the NORBA in Vermont; XC was pretty average, got spanked for a 6th. STXC was actually pretty decent and got 2nd in a sprint after watching Trebon take a pretty impressive flyer for his first win. Highlight of Vermont was probably the golf game on the way up in Hartford and meeting Lou from Fender who gave me a sweet new guitar and goodies; I got a nice resonator guitar that has a pick-up which I got a cool mini-amp to plug in so I can really annoy my teammates.

After that was Mt. St. Anne World Cup. Again, a pretty average performance. Had a good start but had to make a couple pit stops and lost 30 spots which kind of takes the fire out of your belly. It was good to see my teammate Mat (Mathieu Toulouse) back at the races after a month and a half on the injured list. The bummer is that it wasn't even hot enough to go hit the ice cold waterfall; we actually got lucky with the weather on the east coast this year which actually made it kind of boring.

After a week off it was another NORBA in Park City which is a pretty nice place for a race; close to the airport, pretty good course, and super plush accomodation. While watching "Le Tour" the riders were almost life size on the 60" TV and even better was the arcade game that had every Atari game made; 1941 and Centipede were my favourites and I nailed the high score on mini-golf. Only problem was Keri visited the race on the way to Victoria and the condo wasn't puppy friendly which was a big bummer. The XC was good and after JHK took off by himself it came down to Jeremiah and I fighting it out for second. I was sitting on his wheel last lap and the singletrack is so fast in narrow there was absolutely no where I could pass in the last ten minutes. It came down to an impossible move in the last 50 metres to the line; I didn't think I had a chance until the last 3ft and I got it by a couple inches with a bike throw. Jeremiah wasn't too sure but I did see a picture that confirmed it about a foot away from the finish.

STXC was a tough course and I didn't make it easy on myself taking a solo flyer after 5min. It turned it into a time trial against JHK who ended up chasing in second and I managed to hold on by about 10-15secs. I had to take the win because it was our puppy Tallulah's first race and she got a big salty kiss after the race.

After Park City it was a sweet direct flight Salt Lake-Victoria; so I was home by noon which is a new record. I am back in Canada for almost a month which is nice; along with Keri we have a lot to take care of to get ready for our October wedding. One of these things was to get the wedding vehicle running; my old 76 VW van needs an engine rebuild after it got in a bit of a smoke show last summer. The medical bill for the old van was a bit of a body blow as I found out good air cooled engines aren't easy to come by anymore. Note to self; better keep winning races or sell the van.

Keri drove all the way up from Albuquerque and arrived Thursday and was a bit cracked from travelling with the doggies who are a little chaotic at times. She came into the country on the Blackball ferry which I watched pull into the harbour in front of my condo; I then proceeded to hit stress factor 5 as I waited and waited looking for her to appear from customs. She finally got let through after some questioning but unfortunately I was only around for about 24hrs to take over with the doggies before heading up to Canadian Nationals in Kamloops.

I was hoping Canadian Nationals would be a really smooth in and out operation and it was....almost. I arrived Friday afternoon, rode a couple laps, had a nice dinner and then hit the sack. Saturday morning I sat around and watched my sister race in for 12th in the Elite Women and then lined up for my race.

Conditions were perfect and the course was excellent; some real mountain biking, not a bunch of lame ass roads like at US Nationals. Anyway, things were going great until the end of the first lap when I was snapping my bike up to speed as I headed for a little ditch I was lofting over. Unfortunately as I snapped my pedals down one of them hooked on a root.... and then sent me flying through the air to land squarely on the backside of the ditch. No safety roll on this one; just a really hard thud.

I had to just kind of sit there for a while and figure out what just happened; then I went over to see if my bike was in one piece. Luckily it was okay and I eventually got back on it and tentatively started off again. After ten minutes I was getting coherent and I decided I had better pin it or pull it and even though my body was hurting the legs were feeling pretty stellar. At this point I was quite a ways back and wasn't sure if I had any chance of catching Seamus or Ricky who were at the front. In the end I made it back to the front but only just; I caught Ricky on the last steep climb and was feeling pretty lucky that things worked out in the end.

Unfortunately after the race I was pretty hurting and got diagnosed with a Grade 1 concussion whatever that means; all I know is the nurse said stay off the bike for a week and no alcohol for 24hrs. No celebrating for me but I did get a good whiff of Gary's beer breath at dinner which smelled pretty good. Toulouse had a solid comeback ride for 4th and locked up his spot for Worlds. All in all a pretty good operation for Team Maxxis and I even made it back to Victoria by 11am on Sunday morning; another record.

Got a couple Canada Cups in Whistler and hometown Mt. Washington before heading back to the US to try and do the impossible and defend my NORBA XC title. It is going to be tough to take down JHK at 11000ft; I'll give it a go anyway and then head back to Rotorua for Worlds where this crazy season started way back in late February. Over and out,


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