With business trying to get done, the Ride to Conquer Cancer buildup, then the Calgary floods grinding everything to a halt, I haven't even had time to think of BC Bike Race on the horizon until packing started on a day and a half ago. I'm now officially excited. A week of the most fun trails going, with the BC coast's lack of bugs, and just food, sleep and bike has me really looking forward to it. To me its also the best skills camp you can fit into 7 days of "xc racing".
Last year I went in only a few weeks post a shoulder dislocation. My fitness was therefore a bit lower, my ability to push downhill speeds was quite low. I put on a 950g tire after the first day as the mud sketched me out, and my healing shoulder just wanted to feel planted. A big Specialized El Capitain had me at maximum traction, but pushing it was harder.
This year I'm going suspension - the nicest riding full suspension I've ever owned. I'm monkeying with tire choices. I'm pumped as they're doing wave starts, something which I pestered them on last year as being the perfectly feasible technology solution to the logjams experienced at some points.
Unlike most events, I've got a solidly defined goal for this outing, beyond the usual have fun and enjoy: place even or better than my age. Last year I was 39th overall. Ha!
The first day was my highest relative place last year (29th), and that was with a fall in the fern forest in Cumberland when a guy went down in front of me, a solid feeling climb, then a weak weak descent where, among other things, Wendy Simms passed me like I was standing still. In test runs on the Pivot out at Moose Mountain, I'm feeling a bit like the days of old downhill - time won't be lost downhill this year. That thing soaks it up, I'm planning on running enough tire to keep it planted and fun, but basically hit the downhills at bobsleigh velocity. Bam!
- I've been riding, so I don't expect to feel soreness everywhere and in the hole after day 1, where last year I felt shredded head to toe.
- On a smoother machine, which hopefully will help reduce overall body fatigue a bit through the week. Last year my back was frozen, my arms were mush from oversupporting a shoulder, etc.
- Keeping it upright will avoid the shoulder scares, there's no way statistcally I should go down the first three days in a row like last year. Especially the bent derailleur hanger and associated faffing around on day two, where using Wendy as my reference point as we're 95% of the time within 5 minutes of each other, usually less, I was 15 minutes down.
- Bullet the downhills to make up for a few pounds of extra bike on the way up. The cruising speed of that bike on flat singletrack is easy to ratchet higher cause its comfy. It's just more to push.
- Pace smart like a guy who's ridden 20 stage races. Incentive to absolutely push it and burn out at the start is reduced with the staging. They don't say how far apart the 50 (or 100 some days) waves are, but even a minute amount is going to just make sense. Riding full threshold might make up a minute, but bonking knocks off 15. Keep in mind the uneven payoff structure.