Tuesday, September 1, 2009

O-Cup #7. Kelso

I have always enjoyed racing at Kelso. I was a little disappointed with the course last year since it really lacked a good downhill. I headed down to pre-ride on Saturday afternoon with the expectation that the recent rain showers would leave my pristine Anthem mud ridden once again. Well fortunately by the time I had gotten there the course was pretty much all dried out with the exception of some slippery rocks and a couple puddles, I stayed clean.
I was incredibly impressed with the course. The usual long grind up the fire road led into some amazingly fast double and single track. There was the usual twistier stuff up top with some rock overs that was ridden the faster direction. About half way through we got a great rocky drop descent where you could really keep some scary speed if willing. This led you down to the main DH which was more open and also amazingly fast and fun. After that you shot out of the woods, rode down an open patch and hit the brakes late and hard for the last little rocky trail before heading back up to the top once more. There was some fast double track which led pretty quickly into the last descent which was tighter and added nice variety. In short, 2 big climbs, 2 awesome super long descents, and some great lightning fast single track for good measure. It truly was Provincials worthy.
I was pretty casual about the whole weekend. I know I haven't really been training. Been too busy having fun doing other stuff like eating cake. Honestly didn't expect to have a great race. I was relying on residual fitness from earlier in the year. One advantage I had was the whole 135lb body weight thing which comes in handy for a course with tons of climbing. Plus I've been mountain biking so much that my single track riding is the best it has ever been.
Race started out at a fairly reasonable pace. Kept a good spin going and didn't go into my red zone. I really didn't think that I had the fitness to maintain a hard pace and I didn't want to completely blow up having already done that at Mountainview. Was climbing well and the single track was flying by. I started picking up a few spots and was probably around 12th place by the 3rd lap. I had dropped Danny Souter and Haydn Boucher by the start of the 3rd lap and was right up on Ryan Atkins. I passed Ryan at the top of the first climb and he looked tired. I gassed it a little to see if I could get a gap but he was determined to stay with me. He actually managed to drop me by the start of the 5th lap and Danny had caught back up too. Since all of my laps times were so close I attribute this to them changing their pace and not me since I didn't want to put in that extra effort due to the lack of endurance. That is until the last lap. I still had some legs left and decided I better leave them on the hill. I caught and passed Danny back 1/2 way up the first climb on the last lap. He hung with me until the next pitch where I attacked again and decided to try and maintain that pace until the finish. I actually caught another rider, Mark Batty about 1/2 way through the lap and continued to hold a gap on Danny. I could still look back and see that I only had a 100m on him so I had to keep the head down and the drool flowing to not lose some spots. Lets be honest here, it's the last race of the year so you better put in a good effort or you're gonna regret it all winter.
So I held on and finished 10th. I was pleased with that result but more importantly I was glad I could push myself so hard and I was really glad that the course was so much fun. This one will go down as one of my favorite events so far.
Found a couple good pics courtesy of some folks.
Still have Pauls Dirty Enduro to look forward too so until then enjoy the late summer single track.

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