Hitting a Wall and Bouncing back up

The past 3 weeks have been a bit of a lull as the body seemed to need a bit of R&R after hitting one of the strongest stretches in my racing career.  In hindsight a few weeks of proper recovery was probably needed after digging as deep as I did to win the World Solo 24 HR Champs in Italy.  Testing the limits of the body is a favourite pastime of mine and I certainly found the limits this time.  Apparently trying to race a World Marathon Champs in Europe, a 4 day stage race in the jungles of Sri Lanka, the 7 stage BC Bike Race, and then a Marathon Champs on the other side of the country all within a 1 month period while fighting jet lag, the flu and the built up fatigue from 24 Hr Worlds was a bit much.  

If everything went perfect the race schedule could have worked out but that isn’t how life often goes when your travelling around the World as wrenches generally get tossed into the plans. A few too many got tossed in this time which lead to a weak immune system and ultimately the body catching a flu the week before BCBR.   The body came around for the first 3 days of BCBR battling a high flying Geoff Kabush and Stephen Ettinger but it was skating on thin ice and I paid for it. Mid week another flu went through the BCBR camp hitting a few of the top racers including myself.  The proper decision would’ve been to pull the pin on Stage 6 in Squamish but my stubborn mind decided to try and ride through the high fever/sickness to try and finish off the week.  Things got worse and after sinking nearly a a half hour behind the leaders in the first hour of racing in Whistler it was time to stop the damage.  There are times to push through the pain and suffering but also times to look after your health and body as you only get one of them in this life.  

A much needed break was in need but with my final big goal of the season, the Canadian Marathon Champs taking place in Quebec just 3 days after BCBR finished I tried to wind it up one more time to bring home the National jersey for a 3rd time.  My team Kona was great and suggested resting instead and told me there was no pressure but after training all year for the Marathon Champs I had to at least give it a shot.  Getting on a plane friday morning, run down, and with a high fever was a stubborn and sketchy call but all the travel plans, plane tickets etc had been arranged beforehand. Figuring if I used every trick in the book and slept until the race on sunday there was an outside chance of a miracle.   Worst case I’d not be able to start the race but still get in a small visit with my good friends out there. So, my buddy Simon and his girlfriend Mari Eve picked me up at the Montreal airport and we had a perfect 2 day lead up to the race with over 24 hours of sleep in that time period and miraculously I awoke feeling somewhat alright sunday morning for Nationals.  

 

The race was unfolding as planned with young U23 National champ Alex Vialle 30 seconds up the road and myself in a good rhythm behind waiting for the last big climb of the day to put in a late race surge. After that it would be a sweet 50 minute enduro type decent to the finish which I figured my trail skills could pull in the Maple Leaf Jersey for another year.  Unfortunately the reserves ran empty 2.5 hours into the 4 hour race and the body went into a full  shutdown.   It was survival at this point to finish the race which included walking a couple of the steep hills.  I managed to fight through it the best I could but lost a huge chunk of time to Alex in the final hour of racing and barely hung on for 2nd place.

After a feed of Quebec poutine it was back across the country to my buddy Leightons place in Canmore to get ready for XC Nationals.  It was just what the body needed with a week of good recovery and hanging out with some great friends including a 5 course protein feed with my friend Stephen and Debbie which definitely helped the recovery!  

It was also one of the roughest weeks I’ve had in a while trying to come back to life. Come race day the unfortunate decision was made to not start as the body was in no state to push its limits.  It was a race I had been looking forward to all season as its in my backyard and would be in front of loads of friends and families.   It was the right call though and heading up there to watch definitely lit a fire inside as it reminded me just how much I love racing and that now isn’t the time in my life that I want to be sitting on the sidelines!    If there was one quote to sum up the past few weeks it would be  “One can accomplish practically anything, but one may not be able to accomplish everything… choose wisely!”  

 

With the Canadian race season dwindling down I’m stoked to have the opportunity to be racing the Single Track 6 by TranRockies this coming week in the Kootenay region of BC.  My old work truck blew its transmission a few days before my buddy Anderl from Germany and I were to head out on our road trip. Looking into the options it was decided a last minute mini van shopping spree was the best solution so it was off to Calgary to purchase a $900 soccer Mom van to drive around for the week to keep this journey alive.  It’s a bit of a beater but the luggage storage is great and we figure the cops will leave us alone if were speeding as they’ll figure were just driving the kids to soccer practice.. 

 

 Along side BCBR, the ST6 is the other major stage race in Canada and consists of short but sweet single track riding as we’ll race 220 km over the course of 6 days.  It’s a real mountain bikers dream holiday but I can guarantee the racing will be hard at the front as we’ll be pushing our bodies to the max.  Shorter days just equals harder efforts!

Back in the saddle tomorrow as Stage 1 in Rossland will kick off at 8 am.  Race results and reports should be found here throughout the week:  Zone4.ca

 

 

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