Last Saturday, 7am me, Fig, and NewfieSteve pile in with VVagabond for the drive up to Northumberland Forest for 'The Humbler'; a 60km Mountain Bike race...third race in SubstanceProjects XC Marathon Mountain Bike Race series, run by DanOfSubstance.
What's great about Dan's races? They are fun, unpretentious, run by Dan and his family, and on trails we don't normally get to ride; and they are challenging. Racing a mountain bike for 60 kms is not a normal everyday occurrence, and it is a challenge not only to compete, but to simply complete. Which means the competition is stiff...because the hard core MTBers come out for the challenge. (The race is two loops of 30 kms, which means there is also a 30 km half marathon option for those working their way up to the full 60 km challenge.)
Other racers attending included EnglishJim, Giant, Oggie and about 135 others.
So, bang....the race started at a serious pace...Giant, Oggie, and a plethora of others pull in front of me off the start. I wasn't feeling it on this day...the pace was more than I felt I could handle for 60kms so I settled into my marathon pace. Fig pulled on ahead, while NewfieSteve settled in behind me.
The talk before the race was about how there was no climbing on the course. It was BS. While there were only a couple of short, sharp, punchy climbs, there was plenty of long false flats, that had me wondering if I had a flat, or my bottom bracket had seized, or I had immediately gained 20 lbs.
This is me, in my race garb...
This is me in my regular clothes....
The positive side of these long climbs was that there were several long, flowing, twisty but very fast single track descents. Huge fun...but you really had to stay aware, as some of the twisty corners were quite sandy, and many racers washed out and crashed....oddly enough, I wasn't one of them!!
About 15 kms in, Steve and I passed Fig on one of these descents, who had just pulled a twig out of his rear derailleur. Fig rode with us for about 5kms then pulled away never to be seen again.
And so the race went...with Steve on my wheel the entire race...until with about 10kms to go; after one of the short, steep, punchy climbs I looked back and Steve was not there...he had dropped off. Finally, I saw the finish line...and crossed at 3hrs,38mins (36th place overall; 14th in my category). And there was Giant eating his post race meal...he had beat me by over 20 minutes...he kicked ass!! He even, beat Oggie...by 15 seconds...and nobody beats Oggie!! Ever!!!
Even Fig beat me on this day...by nine minutes...oh the humility. Steve rolled in minutes behind me, then VVagabond...then eventually, before the sun set and the earth cooled and the dinosaurs returned EnglishJim finished.
Everybody finished relatively crash-free, mechanical-free followed by a 2 hr drive home, and group recovery food and beverages on the deck. It was a good day! Thank you DanOfSubstance!!
How did I follow up on the Sunday?? misconceptionz convinced me to go on a 145km road training ride with the Rock & Road cycle race team. I was wiped from the race, but it would be a leisurely pace he promised...and no hills...I grudgingly agreed, and got Fig to join. But as the group gathered, Kyle showed up...an elite OCup racer. Then JeffS...JeffS has no idea what a leisurely pace is (Jeff and his family went camping in the US last month for a holiday...while they were there Jeff and his daughter entered the New Jersey state MTB championship race just for fun...and they each won their category...they are no longer allowed into the state...). So I figured I could be in trouble...and I was; it was all I could do to just hold on the entire time...(I think I may have pulled for about 20 seconds); my already depleted legs screaming at me every second. Our average speed was 31km/hr, with the last 30 kms a 15km/hr slugfest at full effort into a nasty headwind.
Fig and Hank at BelFontaine...our halfway stop.
misconceptionz selfie, with me and Fig in the background....way, way back in the background...
4hrs45mins later I fell into my garage barely able to walk, or put two words together...lucky to have Lois help me prepare a recovery drink as I sat and gulped it trying not to drool on myself.
Here are some examples of how I felt...
Yup....I may become narcoleptic...
Oh well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...or something...it is better to have loved and lost than how you play the game...a stitch in time means cheaters never prosper. Thanks misconceptionz...you almost killed me...but yeah, I will do it again next time...regardless of how much I was swearing at you.
Lois got me a new friend this weekend!!
CptSydor appropriately named him SpeedGnome.
So now I have two helpers to assist me with writing this shite...
Anyways, what's next?? This weekend...off to Sudbury to make an attempt at an OCup race. Talked into it by misconceptionz (again), Blaze, and CptSydor...what could go wrong?? I will let you know.