Apidura bikepacking gear!!! I really can't tell you how excited I am to try this new gear out! I like good gear and this is some of the best there is. Designed and tested by some pretty rad and hardcore adventurers!!
Why do they have to be both on the same weekend!!!! Baaaaah, Nimby 50 and Bastion Crit, two events that I managed to snag the top spot in 2013 were both on this past weekend, and which should I do?? I think I have a problem, I really don't like to be left out…..so I signed up for both!!!
Super sunny saturday morning in Pemberton; snow tipped peaks with dry hot conditions. The organizers of the Nimby 50 do a fantastic job with this event and I am definitely a life timer for this race. 11 am sharp with mtb legend Brett Tippie yelling into the microphone, we took to the roads. Short neutral road section lead out by a firetruck soon turns to a steep loose gravel road hammer fest. With a prime at the top of the first climb before diving into the single track everyone is gunning for it. Chloe Cross nabbed the first prime, I just couldn't match her pace, but had to pull out of the race once she realized she had no back break….less than ideal for this course.
With Sonya Looney, Amanda Sin and Jean Ann Berkenpas right on my wheel we headed into the infamous Nimby 101 switchbacks. Yes, one hundred and one! And they get harder and harder as you go up. I felt strong and pushed the pace to stay with the group I was with, slowly opening up a gap to the other ladies. About three quarters of the way up, probably around switchback number 75, the heat and the effort really started to catch up to me. I was running low on water, had eaten a lot of sugar and was really starting to feel nauseous…but I couldn't see the girls behind me so I kept going.
Hit the Red Bull downtime at about 1:30 hours in, and this is when I really noticed that there was something not quite right with my fork :( Best place possible to realize you are getting only 2 inches of travel….ya, that was rough….how did I ever ride with a rigid fork!!! Survived the downtown, not very gracefully most moments, but kept it up right. By the time I hit the feed zone where my water bottle angel and hot dog were waiting for me, I was really starting to hurt. The bacon feed zone killed me, I really wanted to stop, but the smell at that point was not good for my guts…..very evil. Rolling up to Sphincter I was a little wobbly, but I had made this my goal this race to ride it, and the awesome cheering crowd pointed my to the perfect scary line to make my way down in one piece :)
The last third of the course if by far the most challenging, especially when you are more than I little tired and I was in full survival mode. Steep punchy climbs and technical steep rock descents. Managed to hold it together to defend the title, with Amanda closing in fast for second and Jean-Ann just nabbed Sonya for third. It was a Canada Cup podium of years past :)
Hung around for the awesome BBQ and podium (they are always late), after which I promptly ran to the car yelling "Start the Car! Start the Car!" Driving completely and 100% within the law the entire way, we just managed to catch the last ferry back to Victoria at 9 pm, and have a Pacific Lite Buffet post race/ pre race meal which consisted of salad and a lot of dessert.
Immensly thankful for the noon start to the Bastion Crit, I milked that sleep in for all it was worth….then slowly made my way down to the venue. I had it in my head that everyone would be just as tired as I was from doing the road race the day before…..but I truely think that the Nimby is far more taxing to the body.
I was a little slow off the start, and the first couple of attacks, it was all I could do to sit in or chase down. It was great having the Optum girls there keeping the pace high, they did a fantastic job of making the race exciting. The Red Truck girls added some excitement in the mix. I found myself sitting on the front a fair bit, working with Megan Rathwell to keep the race together. Half way through I started to come around and launched an attack or two of my own, snagging one prime.
Coming into the final lap, I found myself a little further back in the pack than I would have liked. I made a hard push coming into the last corner and moved up into an excellent position tight on the inside of the corner. My line was solid and I was feeling really good….until the racer beside me decided she needed to get a little closer then was necessary. It happened so fast, but I think it was a half chop half hit, but my heart was in my mouth while my back wheel was in the air. Everyone stayed upright and no skin was lost, but WOW, that got the adrenaline going! I hind sight, it probably would have been a much more advantageous idea to be further up before the final corner, but it's all learning :)
Hammering from an almost stand still in you hardest gear to the finish line is purty tough…haha, lost some time and momentum on that one and wasn't able to defend my title twice in the weekend, finishing 7th place.
Huge shout out to the organizers of the Nimby 50 and to Jon Watkins and other organizers of the Bastion Criterium, I had an amazing weekend and am more than a little tired today. While lugging around 50 pounds of water sampling gear today I had to keep telling myself that recovery days are for wimps right?? I wish I could be wimpy right now hahaha.