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