Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ontario Cup 6, Germany, and Algonquin

Ontario Cup #6
Well, it’s been a while – the last time that I wrote in here would have been after the Nationals race at Hardwood, and since then a LOT has happened (which has also had a great influence on my racing).  First and foremost, I finished my work off at the farm and had my first trip to Europe! Tori and I both went to Germany for an interview actually (the company brought us over, and the understanding is that we are a bit of a package deal). This was an awesome experience; Southern Germany is so beautiful, and the food and beer is both plentiful and great. Unfortunately for my cycling however, I spent much of the time with company engineers drinking beers and no time on the bike.  We left Germany on a Tuesday, and that night I went to bed in Algonquin Park (one serious day of travelling).

They even rolled out the red carpet at our hotel in Germany!

Now I’m in Algonquin working a 7 week contract with the Ministry of Natural Resources living at the Harkness Fisheries Research Station.  Harkness is kind of like staying at a 5 star rustic resort; food is always cooked for me, I live in a little cabin in the bush on Lake Opeongo (the largest lake in the park), and they actually pay me to go hang out in a boat all day! The work I have been hired for is fisheries netting, currently we are doing a broad scale monitoring program which involves putting out and pulling in 18 or more nets every day. This means throwing out and pulling back into the boat sometimes more than 100m of rope attached to about 80m of nets (which is tough on the hands!).  A basic day at Harkness is: Breakfast at 7am (which is cooked), pack lunch and fill boat with gas by 7:30-8:00, net till 6ish, come back and eat, then camp fires, slack lining, euchre, running, or riding. Unfortunately again for my cycling, the food here is very good, I spent the first week and a half without my bike, and there really aren’t many trails that I’m allowed to ride on in the park. But I’m quite comfortable and happy here!

With fish geeks like Claire
Living on a Lake in our own little cabin village.

And from time to time going on flights in planes with ridiculous names like the "Turbo Beaver"

This past weekend was Ontario Cup number 6 at Duntroon, and was the first ride over an hour and a half that I had in 3 weeks, which also followed a 2 week hiatus from my bike. I have one great picture to sum up what happened:

That is the look of pain and determination on my face, because it sure took a lot of both to finish that race. Temperatures were a scorching 30 degrees (compared with Algonquin Park which has been cold enough for me to layer up to 4 layers while working), and the race was a doozy. Very hilly, and fairly technical, with creek crossings, big rocks, and tight trees. Normally I wouldn’t consider this a very technical course, but in my current state of not having ridden bikes, I was hitting my bars off trees, and not really riding as fast as I know that I am capable of at all. To compound things, my poor, shocked legs were spasm-ing for 4 laps out of the 5 lap race, ceasing up a lot. On the bright side, however, my bike worked flawlessly, I had some great fun on the trails again (finally), and they had cool features like this
The best part of every lap

As well as uncool features like this
My face looks worse than my rear at this point.

It wasn't my best race, but I finished a great personal trial, and have a couple of weeks to build toward Provinicals and see what kind of result I can scrounge out of a bit of an unlucky season! Anyways, I start work in about an hour – Just another day in Paradise!

Always some great photos here