It’s a crazy time of year for our family. With school/work ending (Justin and I are both teachers), crunch time for marking, flu and sleepless nights are abound, and you are just looking for something to shake you up, to stir up those competitive juices.
I wouldn’t have thought that spending 12 hours in a community park would have been my first choice, but hell, at the 5:30 buzzer, when your head is saying “go or no”, sometimes you just gotta do it.
Leaving Nanaimo we headed up to Cumberland, two kids in tow for an unexpected wonderful day. As much as we love/hate racing the TEST we were looking for a change and an event where we could spend the whole day together as a family. Surprised by the record breaking turn out we found ourselves amongst 135 racers, big and small, old and young. Pledging their hearts and souls to have some fun, hang with a new crowd, or simply give the day to the gods by attempting the solo category (Can you believe six women did 12 hours solo! The top rider did 30 laps ON HIS own, and a 15 year old kid lasted all day for laps)
I wasn’t sure how our three and four year olds would handle the day. But blazing for glory, they were right at the start line with their dada, and not to mention almost getting run over in their excitement at the start. Guess there is no better parenting than showing a kid how to enjoy life, stay healthy, and forget the little things like safety once in a while.
Eager, but completely unaware of the days success ahead, Justin and I decided to warm up with a couple of laps each to start the race, and build our distance as the day evolved. Other adopted a “three hour interval” approach, where they would do as many laps as you can, switch when you’re cooked! Another Nanaimo team, of four, kept it short and sweet riding a lap or two each, then switching. Our strategy fell apart a bit when Justin rode by around ten o’clock for a switch, and there I was, posting open the port a potty door, with my daughters pants down, and my helmet hanging on the bar of my bike. Oops, “one more lap?” I yelled out. The next lap wasn’t much better as he caught me lounging in the sun. I figured an extra couple laps weren’t going to kill him, especially considering what the solo riders were putting themselves through.
The weather was hugely cooperative, and the mid-day heat was welcomed. The course, that race organizer Jeremy Grasby and UROC (United Riders of Cumberland) had chosen was perfect, a sun spotted gentle fire road climb, winding through clear cut rollers, a speedy decent down Crafty Butcher, and into the cool turns, dips and hiccups of Space Nugget and Black Hole. Each lap felt easier and faster as I mastered the efficiencies and tricks of the course. I guess I finally got competitive when I was told around two o’clock that we were actually in the lead by five minutes. It never dawned on me that we’d have a chance against our competition, which have won World Cup events for cyclocross, and race internationally. Lucky me! Pressure!
Hell at this point I could have gone for a beer and called it a day, but I was having so much fun, and with my husband shooting for another sub 20 lap, and my kids painting bicycles in the park with a local artist called in to volunteer I decided to dig a little deeper into the locker. After finishing an awesome burger on the barbie and downing a Coke I was ready to go for the win. Great races always come down to the wire and after all the sweat and pain of the day we attempted to squeeze one more lap into the day. With the competition on out tail, and only 29 minutes left on the clock Justin set off for his final lap. Without mechanicals, smooth and fast, Justin returned 22 minutes later tailwhipping the hip jump into the park for the win. (1st team of two, 2nd most laps overall). Whoop whoop!!
Speedy results table, awesome volunteers, a huge table of draw prizes and the coveted Cumberland twelve hour mugs all lined up, the kids joined us on the podium to celebrate our win, and take home a new lezyne pump and a new shirt from The Riding Fool hostel. Sweet! Everyone was all smiles and giggles, a stark contrast from our 5:30am wakeup call, 16hrs earlier.
Thanks to Steed Cycles for giving us the push to always perform at our best, and the opportunity to represent such a classy shop, and amazing group of cyclists. Thanks to UROC for a fantastic race course, support/volunteer team, and awesome event overall! In the words of that famous Austrian tough guy, “We’ll be back!”