Climbing against the clock

Last wednesday night, I raced on my mountain bike for the first time this year, it was also my first race in North America this year having done a road race in France earlier this summer. In the middle of my first training block with intensity (first training block of any type in months), my legs weren't feeling fresh following lots of hard miles last weekend and intervals the previous days. I just wanted to have fun and train a bit more. I didn't expect too much.

The race was an uphill XC Time Trial up Sherbrooke's Mont Bellevue. The course featured some nice technical sections, sharp steep climbs and lots of roots. It was the first time I raced against the clock so not having anyone around to figure a pace (we were starting with 1min gaps), I climbed into the unknown. I started a bit too slowly and I could feel I had spent more time on the road than in the dirt this year as I had a hard time getting a good flow on the technical course. I also went off course once, with no arrows or tape at the exit of a wooden singletrack section, some people walking on the trail where I was supposed to turn. I had to pedal around a bit before I found my way back... Good or bad, I didn't get caught by anyone else from behind but I didn't catch anyone in front except a girl who started minutes before. As always, it takes me several minutes to get my heart and legs to feel good and powerful, usually around 20-30 minutes... But I finished in 18 minutes and 29 seconds, good for an okay 4th in the 30-39 Masters.

As for my Scalpel, the 1x10 setup was fine for the course. The only thing that could be better was that, since I went from an old school flat bar to a wide riser this year, I think switching to a negative rise stem would be better, the front felt a bit tall on the steepest climbs.

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