It seems like the Bow Cycle Bow 80 mountain bike race, has been an on\off again affair. With only 3 races running in the last 5 years due to last minute snow falls that sort of 'buried' the off road hopes of many, it was exciting yesterday morning to know the forecast was asking for dry and warmish conditions. So yes, things worked out well and the event was actually a go for 2011.
Under cover of darkness, Gabor my neighbor picked me up in his school bus sized Sprinter van that measures no less than 24 feet long at about 5:12 AM. If you haven't seen the inside of one of these 'Van' things they are huge ! With no back seats installed at the current time, I was able to setup my TAXC trainer in the back of the van and spin out a decent warm up on the way out to Bragg Creek. Ya ya ok, so truth be told I actually led an entire spin class in the back of Gabors van on the way out to Bragg Creek.
OK, we get to Station Flats, its dark, the Van thermometer reads -2 and we head over to the Registration check in. Luckily Franzky is there and I get a big swill off his coffee and Baileys, and that sort of perks me up as I feel an early morning Buzzz kick in from the creamy alcohol.
To back track about 6 months, if you aren't familiar with my cycling exploits for 2011, you wouldn't know that I've only done ZERO mountain biking this year. Soooo, as of only a few weeks ago I pull the Scott Spark MTB off the hook and start to make the improvements and repairs that should afford me a successful BOW80 completion, are you foreshadowing yet ? So to make a long story short of it, I've had One really good ride on my bike this year (last last weekend) with barely a couple neighborhood excursions just to prove to myself that the SCOTT would survive. And in case you don't know about the SCOTT, in 2009 I rode three seperate events on it that totalled more than 36 hours of hard core off road racing, not including other rides and races, so yeah, its starting to ride like a 52 year old hooker, kinda loose and smells like salty garbage.
Continued... Gabor and I head over to the Start coral and I quickly realize I could be a little bit over equipped in regards to carrying my Fully loaded 2.5 litre Camel Back system + tools plus a water bottle and enough food to feed a small Mexican village. Perhaps I was, and am still traumatized by the near death weather circumstances of the 2009 Bow80 that featured a 50% DNF rate. .. As i finished a solid 8th wearing only an orange garbage bag that I had to beat up a check point volunteer for after she refused to give it to me, because she only had a small amount of garbage bags. (" listen lady, Nobody else is coming ! they're all dead ! its only me ! )... As Jon Nutbrown is being spooned in an outhouse at Dawson checkpoint by Jeff Neilson and Troy Misseghers.
So ya, I had a lot of stuff. SO BOOM! the race starts and I'm leading (because I jumped the gun by 4 seconds ).. then I quickly get passed by several fast guys, like returning Bow80 Champ Cory Ghengis Wallace and several other tougher than regular human guys. Whatever, I know where I stand this year and to clarify I do own a Bow 80 belt buckle from 3 years previous.
The first climb starts and my heart rate ramps Wayyyy over threshold and I start sweating profusely, plus my seat post is sinking into the frame, under the enormous load of my Camel pack I'm guessing ? so I have to stop and adjust that. Within mere minutes a pile of racers are passing me and I notice they all have about as little gear as you would need for a brief 3 hour ride ?... while I have enough stuff to supply the entire 3rd Race Feedzone.
"this freakin camel pack is sucking the life outta me ".... ugh !
I get to a spot in the race past Prairie Creek trail where there is a right turn and a good climb starts. Two guys pass me who I don't recognize, I'm starting to feel embarrassed now. But oh well, at least Keith Bayly or Erik Bakke hasn't passed me yet. Might as well ride and have fun, I'm not really racing any more so lets just enjoy the Course I tell myself :)
I guess I never reviewed the course map either because I swear I was lost most of the time, as I seemed to be riding by myself, except for being able to see Cody Canning way up there some where near the Powderface road. I thought we were supposed to go up Jumpingpound, huh ?..
As my Bow Cycle volunteer friends heckle me when I go by, haha thanks guys.
Eventually I pass a couple guys who blew past me earlier on 'that' climb, they appear to look like drunk Indians staggering on the side of the Highway 1A at six in the morning...
"bonkings a bitch eh ? " haha.
I realize I have so much fluids on board I'm just drinking for fun now... forcing it in for something to do. Bad side effect, I stop to pee on the side of the trail several times, worse than a dog on a long walk. I also stop to eat a few times and take a couple pictures.
Then I get near Powderface/Prairie Creek and have to pee again, and world famous racer Jon Nutbrown catches me, catches me racing (not peeing) that is. So we ride together like old times all the way over to his Pneuma climb. Thats when all hell breaks loose, about 3 km into the climb my bike has a severe mental and physical breakdown... rear derailleur in the spokes, broken chain, broken dropout. FACK !!! What could I do ?.. so I drink some more water.
In my limited wisdom I forget to pack one of my 5 chain tools into my CamelPack. I resort to running/pushing for most of the way up Pneuma Trail before Pat Dodge comes along and lends me a chain tool. I take about 20 minutes to build my Scott into a fully suspended one speed, but not really. Since the slightest compression of the rear shock causes the chain to fall off the specific cog in the back, and or tangle up into the chain stay itself. Basically I'm rendered to pedaling only on flat or downhill sections.
Push push push... run run run... I'm beginning to fill with rage like William Cory Wallace combined with... well... just my regular self I guess. When I realize I dropped my Rudy Project glasses, just to turn around and watch Steve Walsh slowly run them over as they explode into pieces of lenses and frame. "AAAHHHHH!!!!!"
I decide not to murder Steve with the left over anger of using Pat Dodges piece of shit mini multi tool chain tool piece of shit. And just suck it up. After all, Steve is kinda looking like one of those 1A Indians by now.... So I keep on pushing slash/ coasting pedaling the climb. Then low and behold the Special K downhill :)
I've heard of the Special K, but had never actually ridden it yet. Well lets just say the suspension on the Spark was way more active with half the drive line disconnected, as I shredded the shit outta that drop, passing the Gorbs who road past me on the climb up. Nice, "at least I'm still holding onto my downhill integrity".
Anyways I finished the race with out a DNF, and even stopped and visited Doug Fox at his check point there to slam some Pilsner, drink some more of my remaining water, and finish up to enjoy my hard earned Chicken Smoky, my 6th completed Bow 80.
Love the Bow 80. Great ride. ( Although I like the old course better ).