Friday, July 4, 2014

Matter on my mind

The time is at hand.

I'm currently riding out my first taper since just before the marathon, all the way back in April. I've actually got some sleep this week, and really have cranked the training down. It didn't seem worth it for Woodstock in May (so soon after being hit by a car) and the weird block of events-every-week in June (sometimes two in a weekend), but this time I really need to be rested.

You see, I'm going back to the site of my very first DNF.

Event website here.
Apparently the bike course has been changed between 5.7-6.8km to make it slightly longer - it adds 1.12km to the 2-loops I'll be doing for the full off-road tri. However, I'm rather more concerned with making it to that point at all. I had only got 3.62km (according to my cycle computer) in on the bike back in 2012 before I experienced a mechanical failure of the most gut-wrenchingly organic kind.


Apparently my wrist doesn't take kindly to me getting repeatedly hung up in rock gardens and falling on it directly. Duly noted.

So now, almost two years later, I'm as healed as I'm likely to get and heading out tomorrow morning to have another bash at this. I did actually complete the race successfully in 2011, on my old, rigid steel mountain bike. Apparently my slick carbon fibre squishyness made me a little overconfident in 2012. Or, maybe I could have used more than 10 days to get used to the new bike before trying to ride in in anger. Who knows?

In any case, my mission is clear: actually make it through the race this time.

If I can do so with a bit of speed and skill, all the better. However, the primary goal is just to remain upright. I have actually done a bit of trail riding (though not nearly as much as I had hoped for, what with the whole "recovering from hood ornament syndrome" thing), but I have come out unscathed from 2 out of the 3 trail rides I've put in since May...which is still not that great a track record, but better than nothing. This, of course, includes the ride with Tanker out at GORBA where I managed to ride some sections I'd always walked in the past.

This was not one of them.

To build some last-minute confidence, I actually went out on Monday (which I had off, instead of July 1st) and rode a trail that sustained major damage over the winter. Frost heaved, trees fell, and the Mill Run Trail became messy (see above). The only other time I'd rode it this year was the day I had the rear wheel go out from under me, brutalizing my left knee - I think it was rather understandable that after that, I decided to get off and walk over the tricky bits. However, Monday I took no prisoners!

In my repaired Hub kit, no less!

I rode over all the messed-up bridges, and even did some off-trail farting around in the woods. I had a great time and felt pretty strong on the bike.

So, there's hope that 2012 was just an isolated incident, especially since I'm basically going to just be "tourist-ing" the bike course tomorrow - much as I did with the Tour de King before my cast came off. If something just looks too risky, I'll do some hike-o-bike-o, even if I just end up taking my sexy ride for a walk in the woods. As much as I'm not looking forward to running up the Niagara Escarpment, I am bound and determined to make it to the run this time!


It's just a matter of mind, right?

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