Next morning I headed over to Infinit Nutrition to meet with head honcho Mike Folan, get a tour of the world headquarters and pick up some drink mix. I am really excited to be working with them this year as my nutrition sponsor and it was great to see how they custom mix everything for you right there. From Cincinnati I continued north and was making good time until I forgot to notice my gas gauge on empty and ran out of gas right on the interstate between Toledo and Detroit. I ended up having to sit in my car on the shoulder with transports flying by me in a serious rain storm for about an hour for AAA to arrive with enough gas to get me to the nearest station. What a pain in the #$@%!!! The rest of the trip was thankfully uneventful and I got across the border without the agent decided to search my car where he would have found about 17 pairs of shoes that I might have had a hard time convincing him that I didn't purchase any of them in the US. The next couple of weeks just flew by trying to get settled into my new schedule of working and training, and getting used to the old training venues again. The trails took a bit of a beating this winter and are just getting ready to ride again. One of my favourite trails, Twin Ponds, seems to have developed a couple extra ponds. For the most part the trails are dry and in great condition but in about three locations there are seriously small lakes. And not the clear, I can see the bottom and ride through them lakes, but the swampy, muddy, I have no idea where the bottom is or what the bottom is. It is definitely going to be a bumper year for mosquitoes, oh joy!! The local pool has also had issues when the maintenance guys decided to turn the heaters down since the weather outside was getting warmer. I don't really see the significance of the outdoor temperature since it is an indoor pool, but the end result was 68 degree water. Then so many people complained that they turned it back up way too much and it ended up at about 85 deg. Hopefully they will get it sorted out soon. I also stopped by Nineteen Wetsuits to pick-up my new frequency wetsuit. I am so excited to finally get it as my old wetsuit has been glued together so many times I was afraid it might not make it through another race. It also looks like at least the first two Xterra's of the season, Las Vegas and Michigan, are both going to be wetsuit legal so I will be ready to swim super fast. On the racing scene I had a quick race tune-up at the first Ontario MTB Cup of the season at the Mansfield Nordic Center this past Sunday, April 26th. It is always the first race venue of the season because the course is mostly sand and can handle water better than any of the others. It looked like it was going to be perfect weather for the race and perfect conditions on the course. I headed up Saturday afternoon to get a couple of laps in just to check things out. My first lap was great, then all of a sudden halfway through my second lap this downpour came out of nowhere. The course turned to complete slop and the only technical spot, a steep downhill through a ravine, turned into a slippery river. I left feeling pretty unexcited about racing the next day. It rained all night and was still drizzling the next morning on the drive over. It then poured for about 20mins right before the start and I have to admit I really didn't want to be there. I also didn't get in a good warm-up, opting to stay warm and dry instead. I am racing senior expert women this year and didn't know what to expect as I raced sport last year. The uphill start hurt way too much since I didn't warm up but apparently no one else did either. I managed to get the lead going into the first single track section and settled into a nice pace and pulled away by myself. The course was pretty wet but because of the sand base was nice and tacky and was riding really well. Even the downhill was no problem and happiness returned. Second lap, some of the masters expert women came flying by me (they started 3mins back) and I jumped in with them for a lap. Last lap I decided that my main race was next weekend and backed off the pace a bit. I ended up winning my category, but feel like I really placed 4th as there were 3 masters that finished ahead of me. Still, way ahead of last year . I am now in Vegas getting ready for the first Xterra of the season and there is going to be no easing into the season. The women's pro start list is the biggest I have ever seen at a regional cup race and has all the big names on it along with several international athletes over from Europe, Africa, Mexico. The hard work has all been done, now it is just time to relax, rest up and get ready to go fast. I am staying in Henderson with friends of Emma Garrard and having just read Lauren Groves blog about the great toilets in Ishigaki I thought I would include this.
So here is a quick update as to what I have been doing. I packed up my stuff, left Asheville NC on Easter Sunday and preceded to eat my way home. First stop was brunch in Knoxville with one of my oldest friends in the world John, his wife Sam and their little boy Miles. John and I have been friend since we lived two houses down from each other when we were five. We swam together, went to school together, got in lots of trouble together, though his older sister also got in on that one. We hadn't seen each other in year and it was great to catch up again if only for a couple of hours. From there it was a quick drive north to Cincinnati for Easter dinner with a bunch of my sisters girlfriends from her days in 'the nasty'. I literally pulled up, parked, walked inside and sat down to dinner being served. I felt pretty bad about not contributing anything but everyone else did a fabulous job and dinner was delicious. Nothing like sitting in car all day burning next to no calories and eating was too much good food.John and Sam Dolynchuk