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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lake to Lake Report.

So my goals for this race were to get top 5, and potentially podium. In retrospect, it was a little bit of a pipe dream =)

I got to the race start with plenty of time to spare. I got in a decent warmup, chatted with familiar faces and lined up.

Off the start, the pace was pretty typical for a mass start on road; brisk and erratic. I kept near the front and side to keep away from any rogue rider who couldnt hold their line. Turned out to be a good idea, as there was a crash just behind me that took out DeCal and a host of other riders.

Into the gravel, I held with the lead group consisting of Chown, Souter, Wagler, and a few uber quick St. Catherines kids. The pace wasn't too bad when riding with the pack, as the drafting ensured I was sitting well below threshold. I figured if I could work efficiently, then my top 5 was within grasp.

At about the 10k mark, we transitioned onto some ATV trail. Probably the most miserable ATV trail ever. It was riddled with foot deep potholes filled with mire scraped off of satan's ass. <--so much for eloquence. I got sloppy and managed to dive into a few of the puddles, losing my pace train. I hammered hard on the next stretch of doubletrack, redlining hard, praying for some singletrack so I could turn down the power demands. Unfortunately I didnt realize how long this gravel doubletrack was.

On the next set of ATV trail it was more of the same. In this phase, Trev managed to get by me. I briefly hopped on his wheel and we hopped on to a chase group. I was still fried from my heroic chase the leader effort, and had to fall back.

We got on to a 3-4k gravel doubletrack section parallel to the canal, into a headwind. Trev was maybe 100m ahead, I tried to reel him in, but best I could do was maintain the gap. I need more threshold power!

The next 15 min involved me riding solo, holding threshold on soft gravel into the wind for an ungodly amount of time, desperately trying to find a wheel to draft. Even if for a little.

Eventually I cracked, and a pace train consisting of Carl Clarke, a liberty rider, and Justin Henri managed to reel me in. While I was dismayed to be caught, and knew for sure a top 5 was out of reach, hopping into their train for 5 minutes turned out to be a good choice. I got my HR down, cleared out the threshold burn in my legs, threw down half a bottle and then proceeded to jump on to Justin's wheel who had just launched an attack.

We rode at a decent pace through the Squeezer singletrack. My legs felt good, but my nutrition was running low. I brought 2 bottles and had run out and was sweating buckets. I thought about how I should have brought 3, as dehydration chills shot through my body.

Once we got on to some gravel doubletrack, I could tell Justin was slowing down, so I jumped in front, and returned the favor and did a good pull while he sat in. We reeled in Trev quickly on the singletrack section that followed. We had him within 30m, so I decided to launch an attack on a quick steep up. In the process it looks like a little gap had formed between me and Justin.

The next stage was a 1-2k false flat. It was here that I felt the euphoric feeling of bonk hit me. My pace slowed and I was unable to reel in Trev. Time to default to survival mode with 5 k to go. Some young'in wearing hub kit rolled pass my sorry state. I glanced back to see Justin also suffering as his pace fell.

I crawled in at 5th in my category, 12th overall.

Overall, im feel fairly neutral about the race outcome. I feel that I fried myself way to early by trying to bridge the gap on a pace train of elite/junior experts. I paid the consequences of that by having to fall back to the 'recovery train' before ramping it up again.

Also, I should have brought a 3rd bottle. When will I learn? Having some extra gas for the last quarter of the race would have ensured me at least a couple positions. im 100% sure of that. In full honesty, its the weight weenie in me that holds me back from carrying an extra bottle.

At the end of the day, more power, more fitness and better bike handling can compensate for any of the 'excuses' I listed above. Put simply, the engine as it stands, is not strong enough to get a top 5 finish at the Lake to Lake. The result today is a good representation of my ability.

The next two weeks are heavy build weeks with convieniently enough, plenty of threshold work. Then its a rest week, and Buckwallow. With several top names off to Alberta for Nationals, I can probably get a decent result at Bucky.

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