Another crappy race in the books for this year. Seems my spring is doomed, but I hope to reset that after some forced time off due to a knee injury today.
I’ve done P-A for a few years now seeking to improve each time. 37th last year set the bar pretty high but I knew what I had to do this year and had the fitness and knowledge for a top 25 or even top 20.
I rode the first 10 km inside the top 10-15 with almost no effort spent, so everything was going to plan. I knew the right hander up the rocky climb is always a clusterfcuk, but figured inside the top 15 should be pretty safe. Nope. The guy in front of me crashed at the bottom so I got a slow start to running around, and missed the front group at the top. About 6-8 got clear and I was in the next group, which at that point isn’t a terrible place to be.
Things went downhill from there. Guys going down in singletrack ahead of me slowing me up, then getting dropped on some rollers on the road. I was still well inside the top 20 at this point, but knew I had to get to the group ahead.
That’s where things went really wrong when I hit some of the slicker singletrack and realized my tires/pressure were going to make for a pretty tough day. No traction at all. I lost a bunch of ground, and then in my excitement of trying to make it back up had crash #1. No real harm done except my shifter got bent in a bit and the bike picked up a lot of mud. My shifting went way downhill from there and it wasn’t even halfway into the race.
I got into a few rotations some of which were good, and some which weren’t working. Then a big group caught us and that’s where things went really wrong. We missed a turn (sounds like even the leaders had this problem, so there were definitely some missing/insufficient markers) and ended up in someone’s farm. Back on course and ANOTHER group has caught us and we are now a giant group of 20. Bad news. Said group of 20 proceeds to make another wrong turn into someone’s driveway and my morale has gone down the tubes. I’ve pretty much given up on my result at this point.
That’s when someone cut me off and I crashed again, this time a bit harder. My knee hurt enough that I couldn’t sprint back on to the group, but it was a few km later before I realized how much it was bleeding. Not good… but help is at the finish line and unless I was in really rough shape there was no point in stopping before there, so I picked it up and got in a decent group.
I dropped half the group in the first mud chute and rejoined some of them afterward. Limped it through the remaining climbs gaining and losing a few spots here and there. Then I headed to Brantford General where they washed out the large hole in my knee and stitched the flap back overtop. Not bad!
All in all a pretty crappy day for me in what otherwise is a race and even conditions I tend to thrive on. Time to reset, heal up and hit the rest of my spring races with even more motivation.