Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nationals @ St. Felicien

So I am boycotting the rain tonight and am gonna do some core and strength training instead. Also gives me some time to update about Nationals. I knew it was going to be an epic weekend and right from the git-go it didn't disappoint. Rolled out of Barrie at about 5:30am since TomTom calculated a 1138km journey. Got off the 401 at Port Hope to pick up my travel mate Zach where my muffler decided to divorce its long relationship with the rest of the exhaust system. So a quick trip to Zach's barn and we got her all patched up courtesy of some clamps and a can of beans.
Arrived at our B&B at about 7pm after our barnyard vehicle repair set us back an hour and a half. Got out for a quick spin and took in some more of the beautiful scenery that is Northernish Quebec. We were staying with a bunch of team mates so we did a group dinner thing which is where I started hearing stories about the awesome course that had been prepared. Needless to say I was pretty excited to get out there and test the legs after some less than mediocre training from my annual summer cold. For some reason I was feeling good technically, I think the time off gave me time to clear my head.
Pre-riding on Friday was awesome. Probably the best XC course I have ridden to date, a big relief given the amount of time committed to making it out there. There were lots of man made big granite rock gardens and drops and berms. The course snaked around and over and back on itself which was great for spectators too. A couple high speed double track downhills that would feed into the singletrack via huge berms that would keep your momentum uninterrupted. I'd say there were 3 major climbs all in the 2nd half of the lap. The first was a tough singletrack climb that snaked up through the woods. This was followed by a technical descent which came out to an open switchback climb on the face of the ski hill. Then after a fast switchback descent we headed right back up a pretty steep climb that went straight up most of the hill only to come right back down the most technical descent of the race which brought you back to the start/finish. Not very much rest on this course.
There was rain the night before and rain that morning just before the race. About 1.5 hours before our 2pm start I decided to switch to my 2.0 Bontrager Mud X's. Sure they are aggressive but the roots and rocks were angry that day. Due to the insane amount of course prep the course pretty much stayed dry. There were a couple greasy climbs and descents but nothing that really got flung up and collected on the bike. I was still glad I had the mud tires on though, they really didn't roll that bad either. Anyway I had a pretty good start and stayed about mid pack most of the race. The Espoirs were flying and I got passed by a bunch of them. I finished mid pack as well, 28th out of about 50ish I think. Not my best finish at Nats but I was pleased because I felt I had a good ride. I can't remember in recent history being so tired after a race, it was just relentless.
Drive home was thankfully uneventful and the can of beans seems to be up to the challenge until I can find a used exhaust somewhere for cheap. So in short I am very glad I made the journey and if you can only make it out to one Quebec race next year then I would highly recommend going to St. Felicien.
See you next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment