Sunday, September 5, 2010


....from vacation. I haven't actually been away for 3 weeks; the lack of posting has been due in part to laziness and due in part to being away. But I'm back with got tons of new material to fill up your free time with.

So once again, I had to find ways to combine biking and/or racing with family time. So this was the plan: race in Velo raid, a 3 day stage race at Mont Sainte-Anne. In years past, the Velo Raid has been a one day race from Quebec City to Mt. Ste-Anne, and is usually in July. But with the World championships here this year, they decided to change the date and the format. The format involved a hill climb of MSA Friday night (August 27th), a 78km “Raid” from QC to MSA Saturday, and then a 60km stage on the trails of MSA on Sunday. The cool thing about this event, though, is that you had the option of doing all 3 days, or picking and choosing which stages to do…an “a la carte” option they called it. So in the interest of staying in "the good books", I did the hill climb Friday, the Raid on Saturday, skipped the third day and the following week was family vacation time in Quebec.

The first part of our vacation consisted of 5 nights staying just outside of MSA in a quiet little chalet with a great view of the St. Lawrence. We managed some “touristy” stuff during the day on Friday, and then it was off to the base of MSA for the hill climb start at 6:00. Ran into Neil, Anna and Imad who were down for the Raid, but Imad was also doing the hill climb.

 A familiar face at the start, Imad (who happened to win our category...nice one!!)

 There were about 200 riders in total lined up for the start.

In comparison, the not quite-as-popular foot race had 6 racers.

At the start line, there was a little confusion (or maybe I was confused because I didn't quite catch the french instructions). In any case, there was a 2 minute staggered start, allowing those who were doing all 3 stages to start first. The start was fast and brutal, mainly because I didn't put in a good warm up and then there was a lot of waiting around at the start, negating any effect my crappy warm up *may* have had. The race was basically straight up a gravel fire road, about 6km in length. It was pretty steep at the start, then was a little less steep, and varied between "this sucks" to "Right on! I can recover a bit" on the steepness scale. The variation in pitch made the race "just hard enough”, but thankfully wasn't brutally tough. I wasn't feeling completely spent afterward, meaning I probably could have ridden harder, but I was happy enough with my effort, AND I wanted to save something for the next day. According to the results, my time was 35 minutes, which put me in third place in my category. However, if I was racing all 3 days, my time would have put me in 15th place. Overall, a nice, short event, and who could complain about a $12 entry fee?

Rounding the last corner before the finish.

 This pair won the tandem category before the race even started!

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