Sunday, July 18, 2010
I had an awesome race at nationals this year! Probably my best race since nationals last year – and probably even better than that.
In the morning both Cathe/arines had good races. Pendrel rode away from the field and won solidly, and Vipond had a very good race to hang onto 4th. It was pretty exciting to watch their races on the live webcast and then I caught the finish in person.
My race I started a bit slower than sometimes – I knew from the Alberta Cup I did here in Canmore last month that I really suffered from starting too hard. This race I was in about 10-15th into the singletrack climb on the first lap, and guys were already starting to pop halfway up the first climb. I got on Craig’s wheel (blue competition cycles) through the road section and we worked together a bit, then on the climb I got ahead and away.
I rode a good lap 2 and then on lap 3 Cory Wallace (kona) caught up to me and we worked together a bit – he made me suffer on a few of the false flats but I figured I could suffer though it and stuck on. By the climb I was feeling good again – Cory and I were trying to close the gap to a group of 3 with Marty, Eric, and and Kris – they had been dangling out front at 15-25seconds all race. Lap 4 we caught Marty right near the end of it when he popped off the train, and then starting lap 5 I thought to myself “man do my legs feel good” and that it was the time to go for it – commit 100%. So I cranked those afterburners on and ripped up the climb, I dropped Corey by the “eye dropper”, a drop back into the stadium that I built last year with a pick axe. Then I motored up the dbl track climb and caught Eric at the start of the singletrack climb, he was pretty blown at that point and I was just flying up the climb. I felt really good and could see Kris not that far ahead (maybe 10s at this point), I thought to myself 5th is pretty good, I’ll be happy with that, but I kept chasing hard anyway. I hadn’t closed the gap on the climb and didn’t close it descending the “laundry chutes”, but then climbing the next gradual singletrack Keith yelled to me that it was only 8sec and that I could get him – oh, and I had tons of fans including the super fans from Kamloops, so that was motivating too. So I chased hard and could see Kris before the next corner and thought that he looked like he was hurting, over the top I closed a bit and then along the rooty flat section I closed quite a bit more, by the actual descent into Shorty Chutes I took a few of my sweet lines jumping rocks and roots and just sprinted to get in the draft for the fast ski trail descent, Kris pulled hard in the singletrack hoping I’d make a mistake, but I was on fire at this point, I felt really good and when we hit the final open ski trail to the finish I sat on his wheel and then put out an amazing sprint to take 4th!
Needless to say I am super excited and completely out did my expectations of what I was capable of at nationals this year. Also of note, Catharine Pendrel won the elite women’s making us the Fastest MTB House in Canada, and Catherine Vipond and I were both 4th so we are the Fastest Mtb Couple in Canada!
Many thanks to the good folks at the Nordic centre (Magi in particular) for letting me work here last fall building a lot of the race trails, and for all the support this year.
Next up Keith, Marty and I are doing a sweet road trip including Fernie, Rossland, and Revelstoke, so I might be out of touch for a bit. The girls meanwhile are going to race two world cups in Europe, so we are trying to make them jealous of our sweet riding.
Oh, and at Edmonton last weekend I had a good race finishing 5th - it is a great venue too - being right down town and attracking lots of spectators.
Posted by Matt Hadley at 8:36 PM
Monday, July 12, 2010
Updates... updates...updates. Well, I’ve had a fantastic few weeks back out west. Catherine and I went on a super cool canoe camping trip to Wells Grey provincial park. We borrowed a canoe from friends Ryan and Tanya, and then were over at a friends place returning a dvd and they suggested we go to Murtle lake, the largest “no- motorized” lake in NA. They also lent us a canoe cart, fishing rod, and some waterproof bags, so we were set.
We loaded up the trusted vibe and with all the gear (of course including bikes) and drove up to Blue River and then 30k in on a dirt road. There we loaded up the canoe on the cart and pushed/pulled it the 2 km into the lake. At this point the skys opened up and we got a bit wet, but it quit raining in time for us to put the canoe in the water and put on a few more layers. We had an excellent paddle out into the “middle” of the lake, and then we started watching the rain clouds move across the mountains, out from the shore, across the water, and finally on us. We got a little wet and were glad for the waterproof bags, and made it to shore without any white caps coming in. We set up camp on a beautiful sandy point with absolutely no one in sight or that we could hear. In fact we couldn’t hear any people noises and with the snow capped mountains around it was super nice. After camp was up and the sun was shining we went out fishing, Catherine got a little bored of me casting and had just fallen asleep when I got a good tug on the line and saw a fish jump, I reeled it in an Catherine woke with a jump to help me land it in the boat. I cleaned the 13” rainbow trout out and we paddled back to the camp site. There we roasted the fish over the camp fire in tinfoil with pesto – it was the BEST EVER!!!.
The next day we had beautiful weather and paddled out, fishing but not catching along the way. We had 3hr road ride to do for training, so we thought we’d go do a nice easy spin on hwy 24 west from Little Fort. Well, were we ever in for a surprise! We had a nice 10 min of flat up the river valley, and then the road veered up the mountain side and we ended up climbing at 8% grade for 17km. It was actually a really nice climb and we quite enjoyed the ride.
The next weekend I drove down to the Bear Mountain BC cup race with Pete, and we stayed with retired racer Ricky Federau. He is now full into chicken farming (for a few hrs a day) and the rest of the time he is just loving life. He mixes it up with kayaking, skiing, mtb and road riding, running, and just about anything else you can think of that is fun outdoors. He also coined the phrase ”best ever”. Anyone that knew Ricky from the race scene would know something awesome was “money”, “cash money”, or maybe even “the best ever”.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed out to the race. There was a pretty good group of us there for the elite field, and Daniel Sessford led the charge up the hill the first time. I was able to get into the singletrack first and got a decent gap on the BC style descent. Then we had a 10min climb and Dan almost caught back up to me but I held him off, rode the descent pretty well lap 2,3, and at the start of lap 4 I saw Ricky was close at the bottom of the descent. I turned the afterburners on and ripped up the climb and shredded the descent to stay ahead for the win. Ricky came in 2nd, with his baggy shorts flying, and the biggest grin on his face possible – exclaiming “it was THE BEST RACE EVER!!!”
Speaking of best ever – I’ve been eating fresh carrots from our garden, and I got my new Xprezo SUB 5 with XX – both of which are the best ever!
Posted by Matt Hadley at 9:58 AM