Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Norba #1 - A Mixed Weekend

This weekend definitely had its ups and downs. The weather was balmy, the course was fast and fun and the event was huge with good racer numbers and a full tech zone. After being on site for about 2 minutes I already had Randy from Hayes offering to trim my brake cables and then hooking me up with some new pads for my El Caminos. Yeah sponsors Rock!

The course was very undulating with mostly single track climbs and loose rutted descents. We were scheduled to do three laps of the 7 mile course making it a bit shorter than the usual Canada Cup. So you’re thinking, Okay that’s lots of ups, where are the downs? The next day we were lined up for our 12:15 start. I don’t think a single Canadian got a good call up position. I lined up mid pack. Countdown, then the whistle and we were off. Then just as quickly my bike was down with two girls landing on top of it, me still standing and unhurt. I anxiously bent down to grab my bike, eager to get back into the race only to realize that my handle bar was no longer attached to my bike. The Stem bolts had been sheared in half!! 5 seconds into the race and my race goals were stripped away. It was devastating. I wandered around trying to figure out what to do, not being prepared for this. I tried removing the bolts but they were stuck. A friend then led me to her bike. Same Pedals, same Sram XO shifters with a lower seat it could work. As they switched over my race plate I went and asked the commissaire if I could finish the race. The let me in, but I wouldn’t be able to count my result. When I rode through the start 10 mins late I was given lots of encouragement as I set off to redeem myself.

The borrowed bike, although in desperate need of some chain lube worked well for me and by the second half of the course I was beginning to reel in the stragglers. At the end of lap I was probably about 53rd. I continued to pick off women all race, having good legs but going down more than a couple times on the descents until I just started to tripod them. I was able to finish the race in 28th position and with a self timed 1hr58 which would have placed me 15th and only a couple minutes off the top ten. I’d really like to think that with a clean start that is where I would have been. I felt good at the end and capable of more. Our Canadians did well with Alison Sydor grabbing 2nd, Wendy Simms 9th and Mical Dyck 11th.

So although a very disappointing start I have confidence in my fitness. John and Anthony from SRAM & TRUVATIV made my weekend by offering me a new stem and bars when I came looking for a drill to fix my set up. Thanks to them I was able to get my bike up and running for the short track the next day.

But the day was not over yet. That night a group of Canucks headed out for some authentic Mexican cuisine. Mical and I then drove our hotel mate to the airport – a 2hr+ round trip to Los Angeles. Upon arriving back in Ontario at Midnight I realized my helmet and shoes were missing. Had they gone in the wrong bike box and headed to LA? After checking the car and front desk I had to give up my search until morning. In the morning we called Kate – no luck. Well at least we don’t have to drive to LA before the short track. I left my info at the front desk but they hadn’t seen anything. We were just about to head out to the race site when we got a call from security, they had found my stuff!! My luck wasn’t completely horrible after all.

The short track started at 2:30. My legs felt good and I really liked the loop. A couple loose corners, a climb up a 4cross track and a good descent into the final stretch of twisty single-track. Our race would be 20 min+ 3 laps. With a very similar call up to yesterday, this time I lined up at the side. I started cautiously, trying to avoid any mishaps. The first corners were slow and I was at the back eating dust. By the power climb I was able to get past a lot of traffic only to be forced to a stop as we bottle necked into the descent. After that cleared I steadily worked my way up one girl at a time. Having been too timid at the start I never saw the front and settled for 21st. Sydor took the win with Wendy and Mical finishing 11th and 13th respectively.

So it was a mixed weekend. I had some really tough luck in the XC, but I know I’m strong just without the results to show. The most feel good part of the weekend was definitely the support I received from Norco Sponsors SRAM, Truvativ and Hayes and that I did push on to complete the XC race even though it wouldn’t count for more than my own desire to finish it. It was a fabulous event and hopefully at my next big event I will be able to put everything together for that great ride.

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