Have you ever ridden with a broom up your ass?
(Make yourself a mental image for a second.)
Yeah, that's pretty much how I felt today...not the smoothest way to get down the gnarly North Vancouver trails.
After yesterday's crash, I was pretty sore in the back and ribs so I went for a chiropractic treatment with Collin, who works for the BCBR wellness center. That's one more cool thing at BCBR; the wellness center is always set up at Basecamp and amazing professionals (massage therapist, physio and chiropractor) work there all day long to help the racers get through the week. Collin was awesome and after a couple of cracks, I felt much better. To my delight, when I woke up this morning, I felt even better, except for the third boob (bruise) that was starting to grow on my chest... No complaint here, I can sure use more volume in that area!
Anyway, after a coffee and bagel, I felt excited and ready for a short and intense stage in North Vancouver. Only 18km long, we had to go up for a few kms, than down some techy trails, a bit more up and all the way down back to the park. "Easy peezy" I thought, "I'll just go as hard as I can in the climbs and shred and relax in the downhills". Cute plan Magh... Spoiler alert, it did not go as planned.
- Neutral start
- Pavement climb. "Okay, time to go fast now."
- Hmmm Geoff (Kabush) is riding mid-pack with us. That must mean we climb for a long time, Geoff is a smart guy.
- Riding in the pack. "Probably not smart to go in front and attack all these pro guys...I'll stay chill here."
- BAAAAAMMMMMMMM!!!!!! Suddenly, all guys start sprinting. Me too!!
- Following Katerina. "Ouch, I'm hurting today." "Hang on Magh."
- We arrive to a steep loose climb. No traction. "I can do this."
- Wheel skids.
- Katerina get's off the bike. I mess up too. Start running off the bike. Me too.
- 3 steps later: Now walking next to our bike. I convince myself we are power walking.
- Start pedalling again. I am hurtiiiinnnng. "Here's an idea Magh: start signing to forget the pain"
- I have an Akon song stuck in my head..."Baby we're stuck with each other, stuck with each other, there's nothing you can do about it!" Thinking to myself and finding myself pretty funny: "Haha, baby we're stuck with each other Katerina! There's nothing we can do about it" (Except in real life, she was just about to do something about it...)
- Still hurtiiing...I need another song. Akon is just not doing it for me right now. Jay-Z is better. "C**ksucker take one for your team, and I need you to remember one thing. I came I saw I conquered, from record sales to sold out concerts..."
- That strategy works and we finally hit the singletrack.
- The soils is loose, trails are steep and I'm not riding super well. Magically though, I'm still hanging on to Katka.
- 1 min later. A guy passes me. "Try to follow him." Nope!
- Lose sight of Katerina. "Bye".
- 30 mins of braking waaayyy to much and holding on for dear life. Stuck between two mindsets: trying to go fast and being careful.
- Just try to relax Magh. Smile, relax, look up. "Man I'm slow..."
- Finally make it to the finish. Phew!
In the end, today wasn't my best stage. All week I've been really enjoying the downhills, but today I just didn't have it; I was way too stiff in the descents. The trails were fun, but I feel like I would've needed a couple of laps to figure them out and be confident enough to let it go on that lose soil. Oh well!
In Belgium last year, Waldek, Katerina and I went to a place called Balls of Glory (they served all kinds of meat balls). It became kind of a joke between Waldek and I to say "No Balls, No Glory" before every race. It was a way to motivate me and put myself into a good fighting mindset. Well, today, I had no balls going down the trails. So I had no glory either.
However, I didn't have time to dwell on it too much as after the race, we went out of a little spin to a juice bar with some good friends from the race.
It was quite fun hanging out at the finish line and seeing the smile on everyone's face. I think the whole group of 625 racers was split in two: half was super stocked on the trails they had just ridden and the other half was super proud and happy they made it out unscathed from these legendary North Shore trails. The good thing about these 2 feelings are that the end results was a big smile on everyone's face so the vibe at Basecamp was super positive once again!
We drove to Squamish after the race and the drive was gorgeous. Now, Dave and I get to hang out with Lola, Rubi and Katerina for the evening!
Hopefully I can take my broom out of there before tomorrow morning.
Links to previous days: