K is for Kowalski, Karr-Boom & Karma

After coming back to earth from our recent race in BC Canada, my usual Wednesday rides with Al have been dedicated to getting the trails ready for the 2014 Kowalski Classic. The forestry guys have been thinning in East Kowen this year and we had to do a lot of uncovering, re-routing and some new link tracks to make this year’s edition use almost all of the single track on both sides of the HWY.

Full Kudos to both Paul Cole and Alan Anderson for their work in Sparrow and the Kowalski Brothers with Paul in East Kowen. I had the privilege  of helping out with the course design this year with Paul and Al and in the weeks leading up we managed to ride the course to get an accurate length and were as close to 100km this year as possible. I rode the course on my single speed and the only hill I couldn’t get up was Short and Stout but it helped us indicate how the field would go as we had put in a few little stout climbs to test things out.

On the Saturday afternoon I rode most of the second 50 to do a final course sweep and even though I thought I was taking it easy strava said otherwise, but I felt fine after a bit of a disruptive lead in. I had a silly crash 3 weeks before opening up the arm and getting internal stitches which means I now have to ride with an arm guard (courtesy of Troy Lee Designs) for three months.

Race start – I used the BC trick and put myself in the first wave at Al’s insistence and rode a very steady climb to be at the back of the pack coming into the first bit of single track but had a flawless first 20 kms with little traffic and riding it like a club race – problem No1 – forgot club races go for an hour, not 5 like this one. I thought I was fueling well but I was going too quick early on – sounds familiar but enjoying the free track.

The second wave caught me but then took a wrong turn and as I knew the track I got in front of them again to the sounds of WTF. I held one guy up for about 3 seconds as he was trying to pass me doing 40km/hr to his 42km/hr and there was no-where to pass as rocks were on the edges. He tried anyway and Karr-Boom as he went by yelling why was I in front again. I “politely” told him it was he who had taken the wrong turn as I knew the complete course layout and that by the way you have just broken your derailleur – KARMA!

I continued to have fun but at the 40km mark I started to cramp and the effects of a fast start (21ave) were taking their toll. I continued on and came in at 33rd for the first 50 but surprise surprise I started to slow up and eventually hit that hunger flat spot so had a decent 6min+ stop at the 67km feed station and counted 20+ pass me as I was refueling. I had been riding with the 4th place female for a while but wasn’t in a happy place. At this stage I was looking for Libby to come riding by as she usually does in these longer events and thinking to myself I definitely have to stop putting myself through this usual race strategy.

Luckily I came good at the last aid station (85km) when another friend Jonno dP caught up. I knew he had three minutes on me so as I was feeling better I tried to push it but only gained 2 1/2mins on him to come home in 60th place but 16th in a very competitive Masters (would have placed 10th in Opens). My finish time was 5.29 but next year I will definitely race only the 50 as my results over the years point out after 2+ hrs I’m shite 🙂

Bring on the MONT 24!