Monday, October 28, 2019

Race Report - Coconut Cup #1 Markham Park

Time flies when you're having fun! It's been a few weeks since the Markham opener of the Coconut Cup and it was a blast. Huge fields in all classes made the racing tight. Good starts and holding a consistent pace was critical. The race loop was carved out of the existing trails for a unique race day only course. More of a power course with few climbs but still constantly undulating terrain meant key was stay steady and don't pop on one of the temping wide open sections. So how'd it go?

Elite Wave Start!

35 racers lined up at the XC2 40-49 line (HUGE for the class), and despite my early arrival to the grid, I was still starting 2nd row. The whistle blew and I never had a chance at a good start. Instantly pinched from both sides and a quick course bottleneck meant I had a lot of ground to cover to move up the pack before the singletrack. I decided to be patient and not blow up in the first two minutes. Settled in behind a group and would wait my chance to make a move. After five or so minutes of singletrack we hit the biggest "climb" of the day (More like 50 yards with gradual incline) and I layed down my first "match". Having been working on short burst efforts, I was curious to see how well they'd go. Turns out practice makes perfect. I punched it up this short climb and gained 4 spots and wasn't completely cracked! Kept rolling and slowly pulling for the group in chase of the next group. Hmm...maybe today would be fun despite this terrible start!

Tired but pushing into the final lap
The above is pretty much a synapsis of my entire race, unfortunately it would come at the expense of a dropped chain and a small crash throughout the course of the race. Nothing catastrophic, but always ill timed (are they ever actually well timed??) and would cause me to lose time and positions, then spend time and energy chasing back and waiting for passing opportunities. That said, it was actually kind of fun! Pace and endurance felt good all day. I'd lay down hard efforts on flats and power sections that normally I'm conservative on, make some passes then unfortunately go backwards. Make efforts and passes again. Fruitful it was not, but at least was engaging. Last 10 minutes I woke up enough to fend of another racer from my class to hold my lowly but hard fought 27th place. I'm nowhere near the lead but I know I have better results in me this season and can't wait to hit Round 2 in Alva in a few weeks!

Speaking of season, we're ironing out some plans and big events for 2020. Stay tuned!

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