Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adversity Found in Toronto

The hunt for UCI points (to maintain a good starting position for when I do get stronger), the appeal of a new adventure, and aversion to the unbearably long New Jersey Turnpike trek to Beacon resulted in a last-minute road trip to Toronto with Rebecca. The race promoters were infinitely helpful, setting us up with host housing and helping our crazy plan materialize over a matter of hours. The Centennial Park venue rocked. Saturday the course was a mix of power sections and lots of grassy corners fast mucking up, plus a dirt ride-up. A few puddles grew progressively deeper. Warming up I was reluctant to test one puddle, given 40-degree temperatures, instead just watched repeated masters riders endo spectacularly to try to gauge the line. Off the gun I was pretty good – I had horsepower for the first time all year!!!! I closed to the third place rider but by then I was cursing myself for a loosening saddle, unsure whether to pit given Josie on my tail. Didn’t pit, and rode differently to avoid total saddle malfunction, but maybe a mistake as I fell back to 5th. But it was a very hopeful ride. I was disappointed I didn’t ride that puddle. I picked the method that was 100% effective and pretty slow versus the method that’s fast 70% of the time, disastrous 30% of the time, but maybe I gauged these odds wrong. It was just a puddle. Sunday’s course featured muddy switchbacks on the side of an alpine ski slope. I would have loved a compact (especially given that muscular strength is my big limiter right now) but found myself riding in a quality 4th place coming off the first climb. Then I ate it in downhill corner, cracking my derailleur hanger. Got a bike once I made it to the pit, but I had fallen out of the race. I wasn’t gong to gain much time riding up those switchbacks at 30rpm. Plus I had gotten overzealous on the low tire pressure and was scrubbing speed into any fast corners for fear of rolling a tire. So it was a bit of letdown – but exciting in the broader context. Natasha Eliot is rocking this year. On to New Jersey! Pictured: Sunday's slope-side course. Oh and check out this NYT story, and few photos of the puddle and live-action endoing here.

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