Week at Barrys (Bend Oregon)

The head bonk at the BC Bike Race healed up quicker then I would’ve expected but on average with other concussions right around the 7-10 day mark.  I was concerned as I hit my head hard in back to back games in juniors one year and had headaches for months after, lucky for me I kept my head off the ground in the critical period right after the first blow and was back riding just 2 weeks after the incident.

12 days of rest concluded with long time family friend Connor Mcdonald getting married to his now wife Kalee in a nice country setting up in Salmon Arm.  Country music, hay bales, horses, and a roasted pig, it was a great wedding and the perfect escape from the mental overload of the cycling world.  Being symptom free for 6 days I took a bit of a risk and headed down to Bend Oregon to stay with Barry Wicks for the week.  The drive down was great as the Russ Hays Team allowed me to hop in their van for the 8-hour drive.  Thanks for the trip guys!  Once down in Bend it was race time as Barry and I decided we would try to race the 6 day Cascades Classic road race around the 100 Mile NUE (National Ultra Endurance) series mountain bike race.   The only overlap was Saturday in which the mountain bike race was 5:30 am till 2pm, and then stage 5 of the Cascades classic, the Criterium was later that evening downtown.

What I didn’t realize when I made the plan to race the Cascades Classic was that it was a NCC or something race which meant all 9 of the top pro road teams in the USA were showing up with 8 riders each. When Barry and I rolled to the start of the 3 km prologue on our road bikes decked out with seat bags and 30 cc tires we were a bit shocked at the fact all the other 195 riders in the pro race were looking like space martians with there $8000-10 000 Time Trial bikes, aero water bottles, disc wheels and helmets with sails on them.  WTF, we better not soft pedal this one like we initially planned.  We both hammered, felt good about our efforts then road home and headed out for dinner with Ryan Trebon.  Checking results on Barry’s I phone we were shocked to not find ourselves in the top 200, in fact we were both pretty much dead last in the mens prologue and also got chicked by a lot of chicks.  It was a head shaker.

Stage 2 was a road race over Mckenzie pass. It was rad as we started in a lush fern valley and climbed up and over some volcanic lava fields and then down into the hot plains.  My legs were still sleeping from the 12 day rest period and I got dropped early on the climb and rolled in for 150th.  Barry road well and hit the top 50, making him the biggest gainer on GC after the weird prologue.

Stage 3 was another time trial, this one 25 km long and it had a time cut which meant we had to finish within approximately 8 minutes of the leader.  We took this one more seriously and put 25 cc tires on, Barry wore his wife’s commuter helmet as it looked more aero, and I put on a skin suit.  Off we went Eddy Merkx style again.  Emile from Russ Hayes started 30 seconds behind me and flew by on his time trial rig about 3 km into the time trial.  WTF, I had just ridden with him on stage 2 and we were going the same speed.  The rest of the tt was a head game as I tried to act aero but my balls would go numb so I just road normally on top of the drops.  9 guys passed me and I got chicked again, but I made the time cut.  Needing a cool down after another head shaker I road a 2 hrs back towards Bend.  In the afternoon Barry and I drove up to the mountains to take the dogs out and use his Stand Up Paddle boards.  It was a good escape from the seriousness hovering above the road racing.

Stage 4 was another road race, this once covering 149 km as it circumnavigated the Cascade Lakes and then finished with a climb up to Mt Batchelor ski area.  The top teams set a solid pace and we covered the distance in just over 3 hrs.  My 50X11 gearing was pretty much spun out the whole day as I hit 120+ rpm to try and stick with the group.  A different type of effort then mountain bike racing but ideal for training.  The final climb was short and sweet as Barry moved up to top 70 and I hit the mid pack mark around 110.  After the race I tagged along with the Bissell team as they road back to town.  On the way home I stopped in to pick up my race packet for the High Cascades 100 Mile mountain bike race and then headed back to Barry’s pad for food and recovery before the race tomorrow.  In the end it was a 192 km day of riding in just over 4 hours.  These road racing dudes were ripping.

The mountain bike race started in first light at 5:30 am saturday morning to allow the slower end of the 360 rider field plenty of daylight to finish the epic course.  We had a full Kona crew out there lead by Barry and myself with Sean Babcock, Patrick Means and Alice Pennington all sporting our Kona Hei Hei Supremes.    The race took a turn for the worse just 8 miles in as Barry went down in a tight dusty corner and broke his collarbone.  This was super lame  but a part of racing.  Sean and I were both in shock and had a tough time continuing on the race at first as we wanted to help Barry out.  Barry’s a tough customer though and we knew we couldn’t do much for him in the big picture and decided winning the race was the next best thing we could do.  This didn’t go as planned for the first 2 hours as Sean and I road in 5th and 6th together, at one point falling over 5 minutes back to the lead group.  The legs were floundering a bit after the 190 km effort the day before but I knew I had to win this one.  Chirs Sheppard had been giving me massages during the week to help keep the legs fresh and he talked about sometimes having to “will” races out of the bag.  This was defiantly one of those days.  I put the leg crying on hold and re wired my brain that winning was going to happen this day.  Over the next 3 hours I picked off rider by rider but was unable to close the gap to race leader Christian Tanguy (Team CF).  He had won the NUE series in the past and was riding like a champ as he held onto a 2 minute lead.

With 30 miles to go the gap started to come down and just before the final feed station I was starting to see his dust on the trail ahead which meant Christian was in range.  Catching Christian just before the last feed station, he was a great sport andpulled over and let me by, and off to the finish I went to claim a 3:30 minute victory.  This one felt especially good after crashing at BCBR and getting chicked in the road race time trials.  On this day the closest chick was 1hr and 20 minutes behind which gave me some confidence that I still had some testosterone left in my body.  Barry was at the finish line in high spirits to congratulate  the riders coming across the line and was acting like nothing had happened, except for the fact he had to hold his arm weird to protect his broken collarbone.   Good luck in your recovery Barry.

After the race I headed back to Barry’s for 3 hours of recovery before hitting up the stage 5 Criterium in downtown Bend.  The place was a party with spectators lining the course.  I stole the show for the first 20 minutes as I dangled off the back and was one of the first riders to get pulled.  I needed to hit the 25 minute mark (1/3 of the 75 min race) to be eligible to race on sunday but it wasn’t to be.  The legs had diesel speed but 0% NOS after being depleted in the 8 hr mountain bike race.  I will try again next year as it would be rad to make the Cascades Classic/High Cascades double.  Getting pulled at 7:20pm, I ripped across town to make it to the High Cascades podium at 7:45.   I have never been First and Last in two separate races in one day but that can now be checked off my life list.

Sunday was a bit of a write off.  We had a big breakfast at Barry’s, I then hit the trails for 2.5hrs (which was a lot like Jasper Alberta riding) and then it was back to meet up with the Russ Hayes boys for the journey home.

Bend Oregon is a great town on the edge of the 10 000 ft Cascade mountain range.  Nice mountain bike trails (300+ miles of it), alright road riding, hot temps (+35-40) and a sweet little downtown full of health food stores, frozen yogurt and a cool river to tube down in the middle of town.  I now understand why so many of Americas top riders call this place home.

After 3 days of chill time at base camp in Victoria BC  the journey of life now heads over to Kelowna BC for some fitness testing with Luke Way at Balance Point Racing.  After that its off to the start line of the TransRockies in Fernie on Saturday.  Over and out.

 

Post High Cascades Interview:  http://dirtwire.tv/2013/07/hc100-mens-winner-cory-wallace-darkhorse-comes-into-the-light/

High Cascades Cyclingnews Race Report:  http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/national-ultra-endurance-nue-series-high-cascades-100-2013/results

 

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