Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This past weekend was the Kaslo Sufferfest. An amazing 3 day weekend filled with something like nine different running and Mt. biking races. I was hoping to end off the season with the 50km trail run, but my knee is still not 100% so I opted for the 100km Mt. bike race. I figured since I've already ran a 84km race, biking 100km has to be pretty easy...so much for that theory!...Although I'd only ridden 5 times this year, I figured being in good trail running shape, it would get me through the day- and after all I was a decent Mt. bike racer 5 years ago when I decided to give it up...We started out in New Denver at 7am sharp and immediately begun the first 5,000' climb of the day. It only took me 30 seconds to realize I was not going to hang with the riders I wanted too, so I had to just fall into my own pace and forget about everyone else. The first big loop took us all the way back to New Denver and I remember thinking "now I have to do the biggest climb of the day all the way to Kaslo? yikes". We used to do this ride as a training day every year, so I was quite familiar for what I was in for. After riding the first half of the race with a small group of riders, I had to let them go as I needed to fall into my own pace and begin to suffer on my own. The next climb is almost 6,000' up and over Rico Pass. The hard thing about this climb, other than being relentless, is you don't know you are at the top of the climb until you are about 20 meteres from the top- so it feels like it just goes on and on without any sort of adrenalin boost. I actually stopped at one point to eat my 3 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to cheer me up as I I was slowing down to a crawl. As I got going again I realized I was only 45 seconds from the top of the pass. Pumped now for the descent, I glided no more than 50 feet before I heard that all too familiar noise of my rear hub grinding! Without going into a long story, I've been riding with Mavic wheels for 10 years. Everything about them are awesome except the absolutely shitty seals on the rear hubs. Mavic's lame answer to this issue is you must maintenance them regularly- Huh forget it...no other hub requires the same pain in the ass issue. So being an expert on dealing with this problem while in the middle of a race, all you need to do is sit and peddle all the time- no gliding or the chain comes whipping off...It's not easy peddling on huge fast descents as you are focused on speed and not crashing. I actually started thinking about more climbing as it would solve the hub issue...Once you get down to Retallack, at least the riding got a little easier, but still somewhat frustrating with my chain flying off. I happily got to kaslo and the finish line in around 8hrs35min really happy to finish better than mid pack with essentially no training. Bill Harbord also put on a mighty brave show and Suffered happily- coming in just under the cut off of 11hrs- Proud of you Bill!...It was great to re-connect with my former riding self as I've been so focused on running. I wish I had the health to do both, that would be the perfect world! It's actually been great that even with a sore knee and being off of running for a month that I've happily filled that huge void with some epic fall mountain biking with rides in Revelstoke, the Kaslo Sufferfest and a season ending ride next week of the 235km Kokopelli Trail from Grand Junction Colorado to Moab.
A huge thanks to Janis and the town of kaslo for putting on this amazing event- everyone should make an effort to get there next year!!