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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mont Tremblant vs Ontario Riding

A bit delayed, but here's a recap of last weekend.

Upon pre-riding the course on the Friday before the race, Ive really come to appreciate Quebec trails.

The break down of the course, put simply was as follows.

Fireroad climb, moderate uphill singletrack, 30 meters of flat semi-techy singletrack, steep loose climb, false flat, another steep loose climb, then techy descent all the way back to the start.

The climbing in itself was not overly difficult, very comparable with Ontario. However, the duration which you ascend is much longer. For the first half of the course you are always going up, sometimes very steep pitches, sometimes ever so gradually.

The technical aspect of the course is quite a bit different than Ontario though. In Ontario, ive often found that a good set of legs and lungs can compensate for a lack of bike handling ability. Not in Quebec. You must know how to handle a bike at speed, over rocks, roots, drops, logs, off camber trail etc. Ive never considered myself a superb bike handler, probably pretty average compared to most of the racing field.

I was able to navigate the techy stuff easily at a steady pace, however on my race pace lap, it became a much more daring feat. Your focus has to be 100%, a momentary slip in concentration would put you over the bars. The best way for me to equate the course in Ontario terms is a mixture of Hilton Falls and Buckwallow, but on a big mountain with alot more velocity.

The race.

Overall, I wasn't feeling very confident going into the weekend. Ive had a rough couple of weeks, and I havent really found my stride. Having a poor mental state going into a National Level Pro race is bad news.

My warmup was a 30 minute workout with some solid tempo and 30 second all outs. I felt ok. At the startline, there were call ups. Being in the same start as Max Plaxton, Raphael Gagne, Andrew Watson and Kris Sneddon is pretty cool.

Off the start, I was a little slow, but wasnt too concerned. There were two bottlenecks ahead that slowed the pack down to a standstill. In that interim, I managed to take 5-6 positions. Logan who also had a slow start rocketed past maybe 15 guys with his bike on his shoulder. Gitter done!

For the first couple kilometers I was riding with a group of 3-4 riders who were close to my ability.. They were definitely better bike handlers, and opened up some good lines to follow. I was holding my own until the wicked fast Juniors caught up to us and we were forced to yield the trail. I lost my pace guy who had been showing me the good lines and I began to fall back. A couple clumsy messups and I was off the back.

The start area included maybe 800m of paved road.

It was awesome. Finally something that I can hold my own on. I went pretty hard and managed to get Lee and another elite rider within sight. I ramped up my effort, but the constant stream of juniors and my inability to ride roots and rocks forced me to lose time once again. I was getting frustrated and sloppy, and losing more time. Then on the techy downhill i blew a corner with waaaay too much speed, nailed my shoulder on a tree and proceeded to go over the bars. Ouch.

I limped down the rest of the hill feeling pretty apathetic and called it a day.


I knew Id get shelled this race. As you've read in the past, my body has been funky, and more recently my confidence has been hammered pretty hard.

I've had some time to recharge and reevaluate how to approach the uphill battle that is racing senior elite. I am considering getting a coach, not so much for devising a training schedule, but rather to diagnose limiters, perhaps to have some experienced eyes peruse my training habits. Even if its just for a couple months, it doesnt hurt to try. Ive seen first hand how a few small tips in the right place can undo years of bad habits. One of my friends has improved in massive strides this year on account of having some professional guidance.

I've realized that doing hill climbs and riding lots will get you to the top end of expert, but to get to the top of Elite, you REALLY need to erase bad habits and focus with 110%.

My ride time up until this point has been a 50-50 split of road-mountain. Since my aspirations are quickly shifting to the MTB side,Ive decided i will make that figure closer to 80-20 for MTB. I need to become much more fluid on trail if I want to crack the top 15.

Anyways im bored of typing... Im working on some training revisions that I will post about soon.


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