Terry Tomlin's Race report on XC Provincial Championship

Fitz of Fury 2013: One Man’s Tale of Two Trails July 15, 2013 at 11:24am

Shit I’m stiff this morning. Not so much the legs since they’re used to feeling ‘worked’ on Mondays, it’s more the shoulders, hands and upper body. The Fitz course offers a solid beatdown on anyone who can’t handle a serious chunk of descending. Of course that also means it offers a solid beatdown for anyone not into climbing in exposed terrain in 33 C heat. Enviro Can Humidex thingy says it “feels like 44 at the high” but most would agree that it “feels like your head is gonna pop off”. I’m not sure how the Pictou County Cycle guys do it but they arrange perfect weather every year- and a perfect course, solid organization, happy volunteers- well done!

The A field could be defined as “one guy racing at a strong National level and the rest racing at a regional level”. Lamb of course was the ‘one guy’. After finishing some 30 hour weeks on the bike (yes, that’s right, he rides about as much as you work… and he also works.) and starting his taper for Nationals it was never in debate who was gonna rule the day, only by how much.

11:01- Starting gun goes off but body fails to respond as hoped. Obviously suffering from a combination of ‘too many beers on the beach Saturday mixed with a shitty warm-up’. Furthermore my internal thermostat hasn’t kicked in and I’m broiling alive on the first climb. A long pain train of riders passes me on the 13 minute climb (ok, 11:47 for Lamb) to the top. I’m damn near in the double digits in placing by the time we turn tail and start heading downhill. Fortunately I’m descending well and both Lazza and The Kluester graciously let me pass when they hear me coming.

As we start Lap 2 (of 4) Kluester re-catches and drops my ass on the climb and i solo suffer my way back to the top at a pace no more impressive than lap 1. Thank heavens for a repeat performance on the descent and now I’m starting to claw back time and placings on the riders ahead of me. Getting some timely feed zone hand-ups from eldest daughter Mackenzie in the feed zone too was new and cool!!

Suddenly as we finish lap 2 my thermostat kicks in and the heat feels normal. Currently sitting 4th. I catch Brandon on the descent and we start Lap 3 together. I time Tyler ahead of us at 47 secs and work the race math “hold your own on the climb and make it up on the descent, 30 secs per descent, 2 descents to go.”

Brandon and I roll the climb steady and then tear the descent open and catch Tyler at the start of the final (4th) lap. Time to really race! Tyler and Brandon have both made the NS Canada Games mtb team and are coming into fine form for Sherbrooke. I set my tempo on the climb while they sit on. I think to myself “tsk, tsk, that’s a mistake.” They’re both arguably climbing better than me yet they’re letting me lead the climb when they should be attacking a trying to pad a gap before the descent. The closer we get to the top the tighter their window of opportunity closes. We hit the descent and I lead in to start a 3 man, 12 minute shredfest down off the mtn. Eventually Tyler gets gapped and it’s TT vs BC. We hit a brief 45 sec doubletrack section that represents the last real opportunity to pass. It’s obvious what’s coming and Brandon doesn’t disappoint. He attacks hard and we have a full bore sprintfest up the dirt road where I manage to retain the pole position heading into the singletrack. Bloodied fangs are in full ‘fight AND flight’ now and i keep it dialed to the finish to snag the silver. BC steps on the box with the bronze and a stellar ride that speaks volumes about the progress he’s made in the last two years. I can’t recall Tyler being in my view plane for so long before either, never mind kicking my ass for 3 laps. Nothing stoked me more than seeing the progression of the younger shredders!

Oh, did we forget our lone warrior at the front?? Lamb rolled a pre-XC Nats form test that stretched into a 7-8 minute lead by the finish. A class of his own and all part of the season long build to Marathon Nats in late August.

Had planned to get a final podium shot with the Lambinator since he’s moving West but our 3 year old Felix was having a heatwave meltdown so we immediately hit the load-and-go and headed for cooler pastures. I guess that means that Lamb will have to return in the hopefully not too distant future so we can get that podium shot.