Tuesday, August 19, 2008

M&M do J&J

Big Ringers Manzoni and Monvoisin participated in the J&J 8 hour in Kingston on Saturday. We figured it would be a good prep race for 24 hr of Hot August Nights this weekend.

M&M and our biggest little fan

Stef and I had never raced J&J's before. It is a small event compared to the 24hr races but it is well organized. The event takes place on a 200 acre property owned by a local farmer who also happpens to be a very avid mountain biker. So, the race is run on private property; hence, no red tape or hoops to jump through for the organizers - local bike shop J&J Cycles.

Our race strategy was to start out with double laps of the 10km course and then adjust as the race went on. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm. The course itself was in pretty good shape with a few wet spots here and there and a couple of rickety bridges that claimed a few riders. It was 90 per cent single-track, although very rooty and bumby in places. The first kilometre was very interesting and fun; you started on a sandy bmx type course complete with whoops/jumps and 6 high banked corners which you could really fly on if you took the right line. Once you got spit out of the turns you went up and over the cow fence on a ladder bridge. The next 300 yards after that was all whoops/bumps which didn't really allow you to take many pedals strokes, you needed to have enough speed to carry through them. You also had to look our for cows in one open section; I came across a calf fortunately, while going uphill.

I was the first rider up; which meant I had to do the LeMans start, i.e., racers line up then run to their bikes to start the race. We did not have to run that far, about 100 yards, so I was fine with that. My first two laps went reasonably well. While the course was mostly flat, it felt deceptively long; it is a lot more twisty than Albion or Hardwood, there were literally no straight-aways except for the finishing straight. When the first results were posted we were sitting in 5th place just a few minutes behind 4th. After, lap 4 we switched strategy to single laps. This paid off as we jumped one spot to 4th place.

The LeMans start...

Zamboni coming into the transition "barn"

Me leaving the transition

On lap number 7, I started to suffer from some cramping. I was having a good lap until my hamstring started to act up and it finally ceased to the point where I had to get off the bike and stretch it, lost about 3 minutes but I was able to finish the lap without any further issues. I was concerned on my next lap about cramping again. Therefore, i went out trying to manage my effort in order to avoid cramping. Things were going well until about half way when i stood out of the saddle, I felt my quads, right leg again, starting to cease slightly. I adjusted by staying seated even on short climbs. This strategy worked and I finished the lap without incident. However, as soon as I got off the bike at transition my quads totally ceased, they were as stiff as a board. Fortunately, there were massage therapists volunteering on site, one saw me and offered to help. It took her about 10 minutes to get my quads to relax. I have not suffered from cramps in about three years, so I am not sure what's up with that. I took plenty of Eload and Ecaps before and during the race.

Zamboni in action! Dude looks serious!!

It was a good experience doing a tag team. You really do not have much time to rest, especially on a short course if you are doing single laps. I am feeling much more sore than after 24hrs races racing team of five. We ended up finishing a very respectable 4th place out of 11 teams. There was no age categories, although we know the two dudes that finished first were as old as us - Marc Brule and Scott Forsyth. I hope Zamboni will want to do it again next year.
As a result of our gutsy performance, Zamboni and I attracted new bike sponsors!

Never mind 29er, big pontoons are the way to go!