Feeling it

The official summer brought some very nice temperatures and lots of sun around here, it was about time! So sunday was a nice interval-like (lots of stop and go) 26km singletrack ride in Burke VT with friends. It was nice and surprisingly sunny. Since one of my friend is doing his first endurance race next week, we wanted to add more distance so him and I then added a fast paced ride on hilly dirt and gravel roads in Mansonville. Again, pretty nice ride with stunning views of the surrounding mountains (after our recent european trip, the Appalaches are our mini Pyrénées).

I did a short race last wednesday with about the worst preparation I could have. That's not eating well and enough the previous day, a short night with 3 hours of sleep leading to a busy day at work with again no good meals and not drinking much. Add that I was rushed to head to the venue, my car's heating is stuck on and me stuck in traffic... and I only had a single bottle. Asking for trouble I know. So what does a short and intense effort on the bike combined with being tired, hungry and dehydrated gives? Cramps! Bad ones. I could feel them coming during my warmup so it wasn't looking good for the race but I still wanted to do a good effort as a training.

I lined up mid pack on the grid and when we started, I followed the pace of the surrounding riders for about 15 seconds. I usually start too slow and too conservatively and the race being short, I upped the pace slowly on the flat opening part, passing maybe 2 guys and then on the first short climb, I passed almost everyone to head into the singletrack in 3rd, being squeezed by a guy for 2nd place.

After a few turns, there was a gap in front of me but another one behind me... the legs were already not feeling too good but I kept going. About mid lap, there is a descent that sharply leads into a short but steepish climb with switchbacks and that's when the cramps started to kill my calves! BANG! From then on, I was trying to manage it, trying to rest the calves while not losing too much speed but I couldn't go fast.

Lap 2 and 3 were not much better but by lap 4, the last lap, even though I wasn't fully recovered, I was able to pick the pace a bit and passed some riders back and lapping others from slower categories but I was feeling like my legs were probably giving only 50-75% and with some slower traffic, there was no way I could finish well. I wasn't completely recovered until sunday, thursday and friday feeling like the calves were not mine, like I had weights attached on my legs... Still, I knew I was badly prepared but I still had fun. I heard there was a problem with the timing that they are resolving right now so no clue how I finished.

This week I'm taking it as it comes on the bike, thinking about doing a semi-recovery week, split between the end of this week and the begining of next week to then have a nice block and hopefully do good at the Mont Sainte-Anne World Cup... I mean Quebec Cup, same venue, same weekend, different riders, different speed. Tomorrow is a national holiday in Quebec so some riding is on the plate but I'm not sure where yet.

Other things going on this week and this may be of more interest to you guys... Good things are happening in the Cannondale world currently, first, Matthew Lee is currently leading the grueling Tour Divide race on his F29... or could it be another 29er bike from Cannondale? We'll know soon enough, the company is getting ready to show the 2010 bikes so stay tuned for that, some wonderful bikes are coming.

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