Monday, September 13, 2010

XC8 2010 Race Report

It looked like a bad weekend for racing. It poured rain falcon style for several days beforehand. When Gord and I got out to Buffalo Pound it was still wet everywhere. Rob and Janice had just pulled in before we got there. It was after 6pm and looked like rain, but we chanced the pre-ride. The course was super greasy. We were spinning constantly on the climbs and our tires were totally coated with mud. The normally fast single track descents were extremely slippery. It took us over an hour to pre-ride, and by the time we got back to our tent trailer clouds had blocked out the dusk light and it was nearly black. Rob and Janice were still out on course... We were close to going back up with lights to search when they showed up back at the campsite, apparently having the clarity of mind to abandon the trail in the middle, cross a field to the highway, and navigate back instead of attempting the remaining trail in the dark.

At night the stars came out and by morning it was sunny with a stiff breeze. on the first lap of the race there was already a big difference in the manageability of the course over the evening prior. Starting to tack up nicely. Except for "roots", which is a groovy decent through a long gully that stayed a mud bath all day.

The course designers had added a long section of Dale Cramer style single track which replaced the last half of the infamous "1/4 mile of death", upping the overall course length more than a kilometer. It was definitely a hard course. 1300 feet of climbing. Hard to tell if it was faster or slower than last year, but it was noticeably longer. The traditional lemans start included a 1/2 climb up the "1/4 mile of death" followed by a steep descent down the old ski hill in front of spectators only to climb it again.

It ended up being a perfect race day for me as the temperature was much more hospitable than last year (17C as opposed to 32C) and there was a nice cooling wind. Since the opening single track of the new "Twister" section was very tight, my game plan was to try to start in the top 20% to avoid bike jams on the steep single track climbs. It was a good call and I think I was actually in the top 9 or so when we got to the single track for the first time.

It was in and out with about 4-5 guys for the first few laps. I ended up riding for a good while with a Cat 1 roadie from Vancouver. He told me that he was heading down to Trinidad next week with the national team for a 7 day stage race. For a roadie he definitely had fantastic bike handling skills on the descents- it was hard for me to hold his wheel at times. Still I was eventually able to drop him, as well as the others I had been exchanging places with. People were super friendly on the course- it was awesome. No animosity at all, even in the tight sections. When i would yell "rider up" people would literally jump off the trail to accommodate. Lots of Cowbells and cheers from spectators and other riders alike.

As it turned out, despite several no-shows, we had a decent effort for Manitoba. Kat Horbatiuk crushed her field with 7 laps completed taking home first place in the solo female category. Janice Brigdon finished in second place. I sat in second place from my fifth lap on. Although I felt very strong and was gaining time each lap, I was unable to prevent Sasketchewan (Jeremy Eerdman) from winning their first XC8 title (sorry guys... Dave or Greg... i thought that was your responsibility!). I crossed the finish line around 7 minutes after the final cutoff, having completed 9 laps in approximately 7 hours and 37 minutes, approximately 12 minutes off the lead. Still, I am very happy with my ride. My lap times were consistent and I was having a freaking blast.

Thanks XC8 crew for a fantastically run event. On time, great prizes, smooth organization. Great atmosphere. We ended up having a bonfire with the 'tobans after the race. Kat, Rob, Janice, Karl Chandler, Gord, Myself, Dave Johnson and his wife and two of our new friends from Kola (sorry... can't remember your names right now). Let's do it again next year!!


Anonymous said...

Good Job J.P.!

You did us proud. Wish I could have helped.

Coach Dave said...

Well done. I can't think of a better man to replace me! Cross?

Kevin B said...

No one could replace you Dave - you are one of a kind. Great job JP!

Coach Dave said...


that dave said...

Way to go JP!

JP said...

Thanks Guys!! It was a blast! It would have been even more fun with all of you there. Get better Greg. Don't do any more of your own renos Dave!

I'm sick as a dog this week- was getting sick before the race but I'm not gonna cop out because of a little smokers' hack! Rob was a true trooper, he had medical issues at the race start and ended up starting half an hour late- but he still finished 7 laps.

Robert L. Peters said...

Congratulations, JP!

You make your old brother proud, dude.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us join your group of Manitobans. Both Paul and I ( Leon)had a blast and are already planning for next year.

Congrats on your 2nd place finish. Watching riders of your level makes me want to practice more so thanks for the encouragement.


JP said...

It was great to meet you guys (Paul & Leon) too! Hopefully we'll be seeing you around in the future!

PaddyH said...

be careful there fella, I ended up with a nice little bout with pneumonia about 2 wks after Falcon, this season has been an uphill battle to say the least.

We were really looking forward to making the trip to XC8, but any chance to race in the mtns is a chance we'll take, seemed like the Krusher really put a dent in attendance at XC8. Hopefully some of the race O's can get 2011 lined up to take advantage of us willing to drive to race our bikes for more than a couple of is Bow80 will be moved earlier next yr to save it from cancellation/epic weather(this yr and last--look at attrition rate)...that said, we're in good times when there's more than one epic going on in a weekend...later.