I got thrown a bit of a curve ball a couple weeks ago. My friend, Gary Robbins , sent me a strange email..."do you still have your BMX race bike?"
Not only is Gary a world class mountain/ultra runner, but he is also (one of) the race directors for the local Coast Mountain Trail Series. I kind of thought that he was planning some some crazy/fun stunt, and needed to borrow my BMX. To my surprise though, his next email was even better:
"Do you want to come to Rio to race Rockyman? You'll be doing the trail run...AND...racing BMX"
I couldn't type my answer fast enough. HOLY SHIT....YES!
Ok, now that I've reeled you in, I'll give some details on Rockyman (especially since their website is in Portuguese). It's a very unique team race, that is held over 2 days. A team consists of 5 athletes that compete in 6 individual events, and a 6th athlete that adds to the team for 2 full-team events. If you do the math, you can see that one individual needs to double up and do a second individual event; that's my job this year. Here are the legs/events for Rockyman 2015, and Team Canada:
Anne-Marie Madden (womens road marathon)
Greg Day (mtb)
Andrew Logreco (surfing)
Keegan Sauder (skateboard park)
Gary Robbins (manager, team events)
and myself, tacking the mens trail run (~30km, and wraps around the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue) and the BMX race.
Those are the individual components, but we then finish things off with a team outrigger canoe paddle and a team run. (Given that Rockyman is a timed event, they have obviously had to come up with a placing-to-time conversion for three of the events; skateboard, surfing, and BMX). I am the only new addition to Team Canada. Last year, the events were slightly different, and Gary did the trail run... along with being the team manager. I can imagine that it was just a bit too crazy that way, so this year Gary will be our 6th man, and also the team manger/coordinator. He has, by far, the toughest job on the squad, given how hectic the venues and scheduling is. Take a read of last years Rockyman race report, where they finished 4th overall. I should also mention that the event organizers, Rocky Mountain Publishing, are covering our travel and accommodation!
Ok, so...I know that I have previously joked about my off-season not really being 'off'. Well, with this opportunity falling into my lap, it has fully turned into an 'ON' season. There is no way that I am going to Rio to just take part. I want to show up in great shape, and ready to race hard. Which means that I have been squeezing in some bigger/faster/hillier runs over the past few weeks. Add those to my weekend racing, and I can definitely feel that my mountain running legs are coming back. I have to admit that the extra volume and intensity has taken the top end off my Cyclocross legs though.
The last 4 weekends have been a rollercoaster on the bike: Solid ride in Whistler. I got shelled at Vanier. I had a great race at Queens Park (but suffered a first-lap flat, and had to work my way back through the entire field). And I was a total train wreck at Mahon Park a couple days ago (including eating it into a set of stairs). Throw in a couple second place finishes at XC running races too, and the fatigue has been building. But this has all been intentional...I predict some real form once I get this recovery week (or 2) into my body. I had a great run on Grouse Mountain yesterday, and this morning I kinda feel like the hay is in the barn at this point. Rockyman is still 3 weeks away, but I'm just sharpening from this point on. I'll head over to the Island for the BC cross country (running) championships this Saturday, and I'm 50/50 on whether to race Pumpkin Cross on Nov. 1...but other than that, it's time to turn things right down.
Oh yah, and then there is the BMX...holy crap are those skills rusty. Thankfully, mother nature has given me a few dry windows so that I could hit the local tracks for some laps. I'm not going to lie though...racing on the Rio 2016 Olympic track is going to be really fucking scary! Take a look...