Canadian XC Marathon Championships

On July 16th I was in the middle of the start line with 57 racers on the main street of East Hereford, Quebec.  It was moments away from the start of the 86 km Canadian Marathon Championships and I was pumped. This was my third time competing in the Canadian Marathon Championships and it was being held at East Hereford. It was held at the same location last year so I knew what to expect this year.



The days leading up to the race was great. We left Thursday night after I was done work  and did a 9 hour drive to our Motel which was in Coaticook. Coaticook is only 30 minutes west of East Hereford so we weren't staying too far away. Our motel was very nice and gave us lots of room to do our cooking and rest. Friday afternoon we went to East Hereford, signed up and got all of the information that we needed about the race. Then we were off to the top of Mount Hereford which you can drive to. I was going to do the 4 km long descent so I could make sure I had all of my lines figured out for race day. I decided to wear a Go Pro Hero 3 that my sponsor The Highlander gave me to shoot some video. You can go and check out my video of the race and descent by clicking this link:  Canadian XC Marathon Championships   

The next day we looked around Coaticook and I got myself and my bike ready for race day. I can't thank Coaticook's local bike shop Le Foyer du Sport enough since I broke a seat post bolt while I was checking everything in preparation and was able to get one just before they closed.

The following morning we were up early and got everything packed and headed to East Hereford. When we arrived I noticed that a lot of people had camped the night before. Since I had picked my race package up Friday afternoon I didn't have to sign in so I just got ready and went for a warm up. Once I did my warm up I got the last item's that I needed and I headed for the start pen.  In the start pen the commissaire went around and made sure everyone was there. They called up the top Elite male and female racers from the previous year to the front line and then everyone else lined up behind. I lined up on the outside left about 5 rows back. I wasn't worried about the start position since it was an 84 km long course and there was about 1 km of paved road before it turned into double track.



It was about a 5 minute wait on the start line before the buzzer went off. It was a bit crowded going through the start but once everyone got on the road I made my way to the front of the race. It was a very tough first 5 km because everyone was bunched together and the double track got pretty tight, we did come out on another road and we all got back together and settled into a good pace. Once we hit the first single track everyone lined out, I was leading a group of about 6 racers for the first 20 km of single track and I settled into my endurance pace, I had a couple of slips that slowed me down. I found that the single track was quite slippery and I had to be careful with my lines or I would have crashed. The course was very challenging with it's rock's and root's in the single track with long climbs and descents. I rode the first half in a group and on the second half I rode pretty much by myself. I was getting tired so when the 6km climb to the top of Mount Hereford came it was all about determination and the reward of a 4 km long descent once at the top. I have to say the 4 km long decent was a bit scary during the race as I was tired and it was very technical with steep drops and a lot of big rocks.



After the big climb and technical descent there were around 15 km left to go so I rode as fast as I could through some really fun single track to double track and then back to the paved road to the finish. There were a few racers that weren't in my category that were riding ahead of me for the last 5 km and on the finishing stretch I gave it my all to catch them but I fell a bit short. I luckily saved myself from having a very bad hamstring cramp as I came across the finish line. I was giving it the last couple of power strokes and I felt a cramp coming on right as I came across the line so I just kept riding and it eventually went away.

I went and got changed out of my racing kit and went to the podium area and got a burger that I got for free for participating in the event. We had to wait for the podium but it was good to sit and rest for a bit. They were calling the names in the Junior division for the podium and I got 2nd place.  Unfortunately the winner of my category did not show so there was an empty space on the podium. I am very happy with my 2nd place performance and I will keep coming back to the Canadian XCM Championships hunting for the W.



Once the awards were done we got all of our stuff together and headed for home. East Hereford is a great place to go ride your bike and if I was going to go for a bike trip it would definitely be a place that I would consider going back to.

Hope to see East Hereford in the near future. And I will definitely be ready for the Canadian XC Marathon Championships.

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