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Road Riding and KCIBR: Haines for the weekend!
By:  Holly Jones   (2013/06/20)

       I’ve officially raced my first event of the summer! This past weekend in Haines Junction, YT, 1200 riders took to their road bikes for the Kluane Chilkoot International Bike Relay (KCIBR). A number of XC Ottawa alumni have already written articles on this race, and it’s renowned for being an awesome weekend of racing, socializing and eating – you can read about past years of races here:

http://www.xcottawa.ca/articles.php?id=2075 (by Lee).

  I was keen to try my road biking skills on a KCIBR team, so I got together with Kendra Murray, Holly Bull, and Julie McVicar to make up team “Holl-Ken-Holl-Jules”. Training for this event was quite interesting – I’ve only actually been road biking for a few years, and bought my first bike at the beginning of my first year at Carleton. So I took to the highway on a borrowed bike, going 15km to work every morning and back home in the evening. For those of you who are regular commuter bikers, I commend you. Commuting can be really tough, and I gladly exchanged my 30L pack for some panniers after two weeks of shoulder agony. On my quest for better road biking, I contacted family friend Caroline van den Bulk, who is a World Level Ultra Cyclist, and 3 time Race Across America (RAAM) champion, for some expert advice. Caroline is a great athlete: she and her husband Fred own Muskoka Bicycle Pro Shop in my hometown of Huntsville, and they are involved in basically any running, biking, or adventure activities you can find in the area. She moved to Canada from the Netherlands 14 years ago, is currently a volunteer firefighter for the town, and has her Master’s in education – as you can tell, she’s a good resource! I asked her for a top 10 list of her best advice for road biking.

Here are her tips:

1. Train harder than your race is. 10 %, If your race is 40 k, train for 45 k.

2. Do NOT experiment with food on race day.

3. Eat 2-3 hrs before, as much carbos as you can eat! Do not fill your stomach with protein, coffee, juice and fruits. They do not contain enough carbos.

4. Dress smart! Better be cold for 30 min, then overdressed! Use arm warmers, you can strip them down to your wrists.

5. Drink enough WATER! Eat a bit of salt extra the evening before!

6. Do not start too fast! Be steady! If you have, after 3/4 of the distance, energy left... speed up!

7. Take at least 2 days off before and 1 or 2 after for recovery!

8. You have gears! Use them; keep a 80-85 cadence.

9. Do not stop pedaling! Also not downhill! Moving legs will help to get rid of lactic acids.

10. Smile and be happy and optimistic! Love the wind, rain and hills!”

    I applied a number of these to the race and can especially vouch for the last tip – by keeping a smile on my face the entire time, I not only enjoyed a mouthful of protein in the form of bugs (just kidding, mostly), I was also feeling awesomely happy, even during significant uphill grunts. I’m very thankful to Caroline for her pre-race advice. If you want more information on her, visit http://www.carolinepersonaltraining.ca// and check out the feature documentary Labour of Love (2010) by Virginia Hastings, which chronicles Caroline’s last RAAM race.

   I had a fantastic KCIBR experience. Racing legs 1 & 2 meant I was able to stick with a pack of approximately 12 riders for the entire time, which was nerve-wracking and exhilarating at the same time. I pushed hard to stay with everyone, stuck close and drafted, and even got to lead for a few pulls! My team was enthusiastic and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. Overall, team Holl-Ken-Holl-Jules placed 6th in the Women’s 4 person team category, while the team consisting of Nansen Murray, Michael Abbott and XC Ottawa Alumni Logan Potter and Lee Hawkings placed 3rd in Men’s 4 person category.

Results can be found here: http://kcibr.org/node/64#2013

Congratulations to everyone who raced, and for those of you who have yet to experience the glory of the KCIBR, try it out! I personally found that a love of road bike racing was ignited, which may make my commute to work a little faster…

Me (Holly) and Jim Hawkings (Lee's dad) ready to rock behind the start line in Haines Junction, YT.

The start of the race! You can see the huge pack up near the bend in the highway. Lots of racers were dressed up in team costumes too!

Kendra (blue top) riding past her support crew during Leg 4 of the relay. She didn't have the luxury of riding in a pack, but caught up to lots of people nonetheless!

Kendra (blue top) and Holly Bull (orange top) doing the exchange at the end of Leg 4. Holly was pumped and ready to go for Legs 5 & 6!

A refreshing dip in a mountain lake on Sunday after a long but easy hike up Mt. Ripinsky in Haines, AK. An excellent way to recover from the KCIBR on Saturday!

Enjoying a beautiful day on my road bike along the South Klondike Highway! Loving the Yukon training opportunities & sun!

- Holly
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