Sunday, July 20, 2008

photo by Rob Jones www.canadiancyclist.com

National MTB Champs

I have never really been a mastermind peaker, which means I have never had really had a rockstar Nationals. It's not that I crumble under pressure and  tank the big events (except that DNF at Nationals when I was crapping my pants for ten days after getting home from Belize...but thats another story). But some people just seem to be better at eeking out that extra few % on the right day. With the help of my brother Kevin we have gotten much better at the peak. During this time, I have discovered how to squeeze out what I like to call my "faux peak". Its a pretty easy recipe. Do a shitload of miles, rest, and then do some short, hard cyclocross workouts (or races) and voila - I trick my body into thinking that have a winter base under my belt. So, with the 7 day BC Bike Race in my legs I knew I was primed to pull out a Simms faux peak for Nationals. 

Unfortunately, with a 2 day delay on the arrival of my bike (thanks Air Canada) my faux peak was thrown off and my legs felt pretty noodley at the beginning of the week. But I did all the right things, all week long and hoped for the best. The morning of the race I started my warm up and assessed how my legs felt. I started with "good", moved onto "pretty good", and ended my warm up with "(potentially) great legs". I guess I was still a bit skeptical....

I was pretty realistic for Nationals. Marie Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) is number one in the world cup series, has trained on this course for a decade (everything in the area is named after her) and has been National Champion for 5 years running. Catharine Pendrel (Luna) has had a phenomenal year cracking the world cup podium and mastered the Nationals peak when she was in diapers. My chances of beating these gals was pretty slim, but my goal was to get on the podium. I had to race smart and not blow it chasing down our Olympic MTB team to end up fourth. You know how much I hate fourth.....

photo by Rob Jones www.canadiancyclist.com

With only 23 girls on the start line it wasn't exactly world cup aggression at the gun. I went into the first climb without blowing any matches. None! First goal - check. Marie was already waaay up the road on her new carbon hardtail but I blocked out the rabbit and concentrated on smooth. I got a small gap right away on the descents and focussed on riding steady. Don't blow, don't blow, don't blow.  I saw the chasers close behind but kept them at bay on the downhills. On lap 2 I saw someone come out of the tech zone right ahead. I didn't really recognize her because she wasn't wearing her National Champ kit (she has been in it every race for 5 years except nationals so you can understand my confusion). Marie was having some technical troubles. It was a good little carrot so I kept her close. When she stopped in the next tech zone and I got ahead I decided to up the ante a little bit to see where Catharine was. But there is a reason Marie is #1 in the world and when she sorted out her fork issues she caught and dropped me in one fell swoop. I had to stay focussed on my goal and not blow my good position. I only had 30secs on Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing) in 4th so I went back to riding steady and grew my gap bit by bit. I kept it together and rolled in 3rd, my first podium finish at Nationals. A long time coming....The faux peak came through.

photo by Rob Jones www.canadiancyclist.com

Lizzie and Geo finally got to witness a good race out of me at Mont Saint Anne. They have been watching me race national and international events here for years but I have never been able to give them a good show.  Throw the Thibaults in Quebec on holiday with Norm's godparents and Norm shipped out last minute for his birthday (thanks Stefan!) it was a family affair. But.....

Unfortunately I may have rubbed my fourthplaceitis off on Norm as he finished 4th in the Masters race Sunday........he hates being 4th!




5 comments:

Kristenn said...

YAY WENDY!!! :)

morgan said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

It was worth placing fourth to witness your 3rd place. Running all over the course to cheer you on was one of my personal highlights. You had an awesome race. Thanks STEFAN and crew for sending me out to Nationals and taking care of everything at home. Rip things up in the Belle Province over the next couple of weekend's Wendy!!

Marty and I will be waiting for you at home. 14 days from today.

4th place Norm

Michelle J said...

Kind of hard to follow Norm's post...

Way to go Wendy!!!
:)

Bow Seat T said...

Way to Go WENDY! I hope there was a feast of YUMMY FUN after that performace!!