Coming back from the America road trip it was a treat to get 12 straight days at home in Victoria. I backed off the hours on the bike, focused on some hard efforts, and chiselled away the winter insulation. Supplementing your diet at Nourish cafe and training alot with Mr Plaxton gets a person flying into proper racing form in no time. Chasing Plaxton around on his home trails is a task, if I manage to stay within sight I can track his lines and barely keep up, but if I falter then I fall into a game of kamikaze as I start guessing lines and ultimately making bad moves and crashing. Its the fast track way of learning how to rail the tough trails out here.
The highlight of the week was seeing my friend, Dentist John Dutcha at Orchid Dental for a routine checkup to check on a flared up gum. After last years tooth gongshow resulting in damaging race results for May and June I have been extra cautious with my teeth. This involved seeing a “Dentist” in the Dominican Republic when I was down there in February. She told me my teeth were amazing. When Dr. Dutcha probed into my mouth he found a surprise case of periodontitis (the progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth, if left untreated itcan lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.) This was causing a solid infection in my jaw again (requiring antibiotics), and also the ear troubles I was having flying as the infection was sending garbage into my sinuses. Dr. Dutcha saved me from another round of teeth gong shows as he fixed up that problem and spent another 2.5 hrs going over 7 different teeth fixing cavities, old fillings etc. Apperently the Dentist in the Dominican is use to seeing Dominican teeth and compared to what she deals with down there my teeth were top notch. What I am learning is just how lucky we are in Canada to have great Dentists like Dr. Dutcha, and also that being an endurance cyclists is lethal to your teeth no matter how much you brush. This starts to make sense when you think of all the gels, cliff blocks and sugary drinks we put in our mouths for up to 24 hours at a time.
Heading to Salmon Arm with a clean slate of health this year to do battle at the 6 hr Salty Dog XC race was exciting. Last year the race came to a brutal end as I was overtaken by a solid jaw infection and was in need of some redemption up there. The weekend started off with a bang as my friends Dave Mcnaughton and Jana (with her boyfriend Rich) joined my Dad and Eileen at there acreage just outside Salmon Arm. Here we ate some solid meals, talked about things and stuff and prepped for a solid race day.
On Sunday the race was hard from the gun as nearly 500 riders took to a 10 km loop to see who could get the dizziest doing laps the fastest. I was the 2nd best at getting dizzy behind a mysterious yellow jersey rider who had gone out like a bat out of hell. I chased this guy around the course for 4 hrs but the time gaps kept slowly climbing upwards of 6 minutes. I knew my lap times were solid compared to years past but I couldn’t figure out how this guy was ripping so hard and not cracking. I was impressed and starting to think of ways to convince him to come over to Australia this fall for 24 hour Worlds. Eventually I found out this rider was actually 2 riders switching off on a team consisting of Chris Mcneil and Martin Bojesen, two very fast riders (one a pro roadie, the other apparently the strava king of Kamloops.) Nonetheless these guys were ripping and demolished the other teams. It made my race harder as I focused on catching them rather then holding off 2nd place solo rider Michael Robinson. In the end I managed to claw 2 minutes back on the duo on the last lap but they still held onto a 10 minute gap. Catching these boys could be a good goal for next years Salty Dog.
Overall the race was great as I beat my 2010 Solo course record by over 9 minutes. It has been a tough spring on the mind as I sacrificed a couple races early on in an effort of putting in a huge base too insure I build my fitness properly for the longer races too come. This weekend was a success and a good sign training is working being able to do a 34:30 minute first lap, and finishing the race with a 36:00 minute lap, 6 hrs later. Full results can be found at Zone4.ca
Big thanks to my pit crew, Dad, Eileen, and Dave! You guys were awesome and made my race a one minded task of putting my head down and riding hard.
Post race we had a great get together with Leighton and Heath back at the house, eating apple pie and talking about gong shows of the past. Monday morning was just as rad as Dad took Dave and I out on his horses for a recovery ride around the countryside. Having a cowboy of a Dad is pretty cool!
Tuesday evening it was down to Kelowna to see my friend Luke Way at Balance Point Racing for some bike fitting. This is always a highlight as it magically makes me a faster/ more comfortable rider and it doesn’t involve any intervals! Wednesday a couple of Lukes athletes, Peter Watson and Jeff Sherbositoff took me out for a little 3 hr mtb ride in the hills above town. We were having a great ride until we started down a steep gravelly switchback descent. At the top was a sign saying “Don’t Skid! If you skid you are going to fast! Slow Down!”. The first two swicthbacks I skidded around as there was no other option as the trail was 100% loose off camber gravel and very steep. I began thinking back to the sign and getting angry as there was no way to not skid down the trail unless you walked. The fact it was a mountain bike trail made for mountain bikes made the sign retarded. More worried about the sign than riding my bike I cut the 3rd switchback too tight, got caught in a bush and headed straight over the handlebars falling 10 ft down the hill onto a pile of small rocks. It was my best spill in a couple years. Landing on everything but my face, I had a lot of wounds but thankfully nothing serious. Note to self. Take down that ridiculous sign next time I’m in Kelowna. A quick stop at Wild Mountain to do some shopping for some new TNF shoes,TNF riding pack and dress clothes and it was off to Victoria. Big thanks to Jessie and Dave at Wild Mountain for the new gear!
Time for a morning ride out to Nourish to kickstart another training block out here in Victoria.