The Canal Days Mountain Bike race was on August 1st this year and is a 2 loop course consisting of LOTS of single track, and rocky terrain for a total distance of approx. 30kms. It was a very challenging course for a rookie like myself, but I still feel I did really good. The weather was sunny & hot, which was perfect.
The Friday before the race I pre-road about 90% of the course and found a few spots where I knew I wasn’t going to even attempt, but for the most part I really liked the course. I did have a pretty significant fall during the pre-ride that left me with severe pain in my right hip that I still feel to this day (almost 2 months later).
Come race day, I was scheduled to start in the 3rd wave. The race started on a paved road section that went for approx. 1 km before it got into dirt. The first lap was all about finding a spot and getting in the grove which I did. There were a few minor tip overs, but nothing serious…mostly due to avoiding unpredictable riders.
At the end of the first lap was the start/finish line & an aid station. I grabbed a banana & kept riding, eating as I was riding. That was the only nutrition I had for the ride. For hydration, I had my 1.5L hydration pack which I drained with about 5k to go.
Starting the 2nd lap, I already felt spent. Probably a combination of the heat & the challenging course, but I forged ahead. It was grueling to say the least, and I started having rear shifting issues were the it ghost shift during climbs which made it a little hazardous on the tougher climbs. With approx. 2-3 kms to go for the end of the race, my rear tires started getting soft. I pushed a little harder to get it done to avoid changing a flat so close to the end. I managed to finish with some air left in the tire, but barely.
With another race in the books, and a little more experience under my belt, I was happy with my results. Can’t wait for next year. I’ll be sure to pre-ride a little more also.
Here’s the details from the Garmin 305:
- Official Time: 2h 17m 14s
- Overall: 62 of 128 competitors (48%)
- Age Group(M30-39): 19 of 26 (73%)