Mine Over Matter is one of my favourite races I do, and I have done it the last 3 years. I find the mountain biking to be great cross training the compliments road tri and especially road tri at the professional level very well. One thing with mountain biking (or maybe I'm doing it wrong) is that is seems like things are either full gas or backing off for a technical section or corner.
After Welland took an easier week to recover from racing back to back weekends, but Rich wanted to get in one more solid week of training before Muskoka as it the big A race for the first part of the season. So the training load going into Mine Over Matter was a bit higher than typical races. I managed to get out to Milton a few times before the race to pre-ride the course. The first time had some race efforts chasing Rich Pady and Sean Bechtel, but there were a couple sections I wanted to ride again. I went back up on the Wednesday before and did an easier ride to really focus on some of the technical parts and try a couple of different lines through them. Pre riding the course multiple times for an off-road race is essential. If you are going in blind all I will say is good luck. Each year things get a little more technical, but each year I have enjoyed the race more. Riding cleanly through a new section is a great feeling.
The other thing I love about off-road racing is that things seem much more laid back. You don't have that nervous tension throughout the transition area, and it leads to a very low stress race.
Going into the race Karsten Madsen and Sean were the pre-race favourites, but I wanted to make things a bit more competitive than past years.
|3rd out of the water. Fast in the Nineteen Rogue and Vorgee goggles.|
|Heather Pady on her way out on the bike|
|Karsten hammering out the bike on the way to victory|
|Rich coming into transition|
|Heather cruising to her 3rd national championship|
|Aero is everything even on the bike. New Smith Overtake helmet|
|Rich trying to close the gap on me|
Swim - 3rd out of the water
The plan was just to get on to the feet of either Sean or Karsten and stay there for as long as possible. After a bit of confusion at the start, due to someone ringing a cowbell and some people thinking that was the horn to start, I was a bit slow to get going. The first ~400m to the turn buoy I felt like I was swimming strong, but I felt like I was all over the place with no rhythm. Once we made the turn I lost the feet and swam solo the rest of the 1000m.
T1 - 3rd onto the bike
Usually my transitions are super smooth, but I just haven't figured out the best way to do it on the MTB. My shoes have boa dials and no heel loop so I tried doing a flying mount and putting them on at the beginning of the bike. I couldn't get my foot in and eventually gave up stopping, pulling my shoes off with my hands, and putting them on on the side of the road.
Bike - 7th off the bike????
I think this was the cleanest year on the bike I have had. In the past I would get fooled by an obstacle and have to unclip but I rode everything clean so that was a big positive. It took Rich the first lap to catch me and then we exchanged leads a few times before he attacked me climbing the ski hill. I think I rode well overall but took it a bit slower on a couple parts as finishing in one piece the weekend before Muskoka was the number one priority of the race.
T2 - 7th out
All smooth on the t2 front
Run - 3rd across the line
When I was coming out of transition I thought I was in 4th and could just see Rich leaving transition as I came in so I had my first target to chase down. However, just out of transition I passed an unknown runner and then about 100 meters later RTC coach, Craig Taylor, told me I was in 7th and it took me off guard for a second (turns out a few people made wrong turns on the bike). Hearing the news didn't change much of the race as I was in chase mode anyway. I passed Rich at about 4k when we entered the only real technical section on the run course. About 3 steps after making the pass I rolled my ankle on a root and went crashing to the ground. I really expected if I was going to hurt myself it was going to be on the bike, but here I laid on the ground with my ankle screaming and a few scrapes. The adrenaline kicked in, and I popped up quickly and started running again. It was short lived as I felt like I couldn't put any weight on that foot. I started walking/hobbling a bit trying to fight back thoughts that I messed things up for Muskoka. When things go poorly time slows down, and it felt like I walked hobbled for 5 minutes but it was probably more like 90 seconds before I started to try and run again. I took thing really easy especially on the descents because I wasn't sure if I could handle it, but as I kept running things started to feel better. I could feel my legs slowly picking it up and when I was able to see another guy that passed me when I was hobbling the switch in my brain flipped and the chase was back on.
One of the best/worst parts about the Mine Over Matter course is that you basically come back to transition just to run about another ~1800m around the quarry. I could just see Rich up ahead, and I thought there was a small chance I could catch him. 3 years ago when I first did this race I was running neck and neck for 3rd when I got dropped in this last section so I wasn't going to loose here again. With about 400m to go I caught Rich and was in for my second sprint finish of the season. I thought I had passed him with enough authority he wouldn't come with me but as we approached the finish line everyone was getting really noisy. I didn't even have to look over my shoulder to know Rich was coming fast. I found another gear and was able to hold off coach for a small 0.5s margin of victory.