I remember back when I was “just” a cyclist and the East coast riders would talk about the “rules” for cyclocross racing: no training allowed, no whining allowed, and no organizers making the races too long allowed. Westcoast didn’t have much cyclocross racing until recently when Wendy Simms and Normon Thibault brought the Island Cup series to Vancouver Island and thus spawned a new generation of cyclocrossers. Now cyclocross has enjoyed an overwhelming resurgence in popularity which has made the events themselves a lot more serious and important. People TRAIN for it now. Cheaters. That goes against the code of offseason which means don’t train, just suffer periodically.
The Bear Mountain 10km is billed as Canada’s Toughest 10km. There are probably people squirming in their seats to nominate their race for the contest as to which is the hardest but I am just going to say that if you have not participated in this one, yours will not count. My rules. This 10km winds its way around the top of Bear Mountain (no bears as far as I know) on the golf cart path. It has three significant climbs that have sections of very, very steep and some very sketchy, steep downhills. All of which make your legs feel like they have been pounded by a meat mallet when you are done. In order to further increase it’s legendary tough status, the Bear Mountain 10km went ahead after an unheard of snowstorm in November. So, snow/ice/cold did not deter a sold out event from going as planned. The Bear Mountain 10km is as tough as Chuck Norris (www.twitter.com/chucknorriz). Thanks to hard work from Frontrunners Westshore we get to participate every November.
I was defending winner from last year so despite my “offseason” status I was stoked to be on the race start list. The rules for off season racing are: you can’t do any training before the race, you must enforce your crappy off season diet and you must stay up late the night before the race having fun with non-racing friends. When you do all of the above then you can still partake in as many races as you like and are not allowed to complain for one second about your result.
I actually thought I was going to do fairly well this year and although I knew I was going to have a battle on my hands with Care Wakely, I thought one of the two of us was headed for the course record. I am running significantly faster than last year but Care has probably improved even more than I have (she and her partner Mark Nelson did very well in the TR run race). I don’t think it played into my hands when the course was cut to 6.5km though. I didn’t know the finish loop (would cost me 2nd) and the course had only one significant climb which had the most significant downhill. Although I tried to push the climb as hard as possible I could not lose Care and when we went into the downhill she was far braver than I. The downhills would be salted and fine for one second and then covered in ice and sketchy the next. I couldn’t get visions of a knee injury out of my head (I must be getting old) and she just drifted away from me on the corners. There was one more small hill that I clawed seconds back only to lose again in the last sketchy downhill. She was away and I couldn’t catch her. I didn’t expect another girl I don’t know named Laura to sprint past me when I thought we were doing some kind of loop through the village (I didn’t know we were three!), which turned out to be like 400m straight into the finish. Ouch. Anyways, with Care and I about 20s apart that was a close top three and a solid off season result. Powered by licorice allsorts ;). We were all much, much faster than last year…. even with the snow and a short course I think the quality was better.
On the men’s side, Dave Jackson successfully defended his title ahead of Shawn Chester and Shawn Nelson. I was stoked to see a lot of the triathlon boys in there mixing it up as well.
Frontrunners Westshore actually puts prize money up for this race which really contributes to the elite running community. A little prize money for our effort is a nice touch so thanks guys for your commitment to the race in tough conditions and I look forward to seeing you at the races (both Mark and Nick are solid athletes in their own right!). The race was marred by only one thing: loads of ugly, not hot men. I hate Mo-vember. 🙂
Thanks for reading. Okay… back to coaching. Tis the season to help OTHER people get on track!
Clearwater 70.3 Worlds was my last race of the 2010 season and it was less than I had hoped as far as a result goes. It was all it was cracked up to be in terms of a difficult event despite a flat course given the strong field to make up for the lack of elevation gains. To say things didn’t go my way would be an understatement but having raced the course I would certainly do a lot of things differently in order to go there to race well. It wasn’t ever really going to be my day… it was always going to be Jodie’s. Bravo!
Thank you goes out to Specialized for encouraging me to go and race another 70.3 to learn from for next year. Thanks to Shimano Cycling for the cheers on the day and the sweet race wheels. Thanks to Nathan and CycleOps Power for the shoutouts before the race! Thanks to AVIA, Maxxis, Sundog Eyewear, Profile Design, GU, USANA, ESI Grips, Genuine Innovations, Zerod and Titec. It has been a good year with a 70.3 win, three other Half Ironman podiums, a Canadian, US and European XTERRA Championships title and a BC Bike Race overall win. It really was awesome… even if it ended without the final fireworks!
Stealing a photo from Facebook.. haha!
So as for Clearwater: onto the blooper reel. Right at the start of the swim I chose the furthest right hand side of the field so I could take a straight shot at the buoys beside Dibens, Swallow and Magali. As we waited for the countdown they were carrying the para triathletes and placing them in the water on the far right side. Immediately in front of us. I thought for sure someone was going to move but with 15 seconds to go that was obviously not happening. When the gun went off I think Julie and Magali barely got around on the left and I had to run directly AT those athletes, which in itself was devastating because no one’s race needs to start with a flipping woman running at you in a wetsuit. I jumped OVER that person, subsequently tripping and belly flopping/ falling in 11 inches of water, to then have no momentum and continually trip trying to run through the very shallow water that went on for at least 30m or so. When I finally was swimming the pack was gone, I was at the back and my swim was already a disaster. Nice start. Moving on to the bike…READ MORE HERE
Continue reading “Clearwater 70.3 Worlds And The Offseason”