Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

XC Marathon 2 - Long Sock Classic Race Review

So, since it was two weeks since the last race...the mind and competitive spirit were looking forward to racing again...the ribs were more like, "Wait a minute...".  Some SpiderTech tape, and a Naproxen (no 40Creek in the water bottle...this time) quieted the ribs enough to pile into a truck with NewfieSteve (I talked him into doing at least the HalfMarathon) and Fig and head  to the Ganaraska Forest Centre to compete in DanOfSubstance's (Substance Projects) Long Sock Classic.  This was the second race of Substance Projects' XC Marathon Race series, and Ganaraska offers hundreds of kilometres of killer trails that we normally don't get to ride...and Dan always puts on a great event, so busted ribs or not, I couldn't pass it up.

We got there in time to catch Oggie and Giant 'warming up' together...






Not really sure if Oggie was warming up for the race or...






Anyways....was surprised to see EnglishJim in attendance...haven't seen him on a bike much lately...but in fact Dan, once again, had a great turnout for this race.  Happy for Dan, as mentioned he puts on great events at venues with some of the best trail systems in the province and it is well past time more racers started noticing and participating.  

Hey...and DonnaDub was there!!  I was able to get her her water bottle back, and again say 'Thank you!'

And so, I sidled into the start paddock somewhere between Jaimie and Alexa...and looked behind me.  There was a huge crowd of racers in the paddock behind me!  Oh, no, I thought...I probably shouldn't be this far up front in the paddock.  My goals on this day were to enjoy the day, compete and push to my limits, and primarily NOT CRASH!!  Crashing could put me back to day 1 on the rib-heal scale...and I don't want that.  They are slowly getting better...but still very annoying in many ways;  I'm still terrified to sneeze...I'm not a back sleeper, and I still have to sleep on my back...and cats from all over have started to get back at me...

Seriously...it started with my daughter's cat Felix mocking me...




Then somehow (is there a cat-internet...caternet???)...I was inundated with pics of cats displaying how they perceive my bike abilities...


Great 

Then this one is just nuts...


And so on....





Oh, this is just a small sampling...even one of my own got in on the act...







Anyways...sorry...badly off track...again.  So...I was where I was in the start paddock...and once we got going, I kicked it hard to not clog up the way for all those behind me, hard up the doubletrack climb off the start...and although I had warmed up well, I felt heavy and sluggish...and my heartrate was already topping out.  Onto 2 kilometres of gravel road/farm lane that was a series of sharp rollers starting with a short climb, then a long, loose, rocky descent into a lengthy mess of deep sand bed that washed racers somewhat uncontrollably back and forth across the road.  Then up the next longer, rockier climb, where now a thick cloud of dust had made it difficult to see to navigate, I struggled badly, I felt no energy at all, and my ribs were screaming (and I noticed I lost a water bottle...again!!  WTF!!??)...and upon cresting the climb, before heading down the steeper, longer, rockier descent, into a longer, thicker sand bed, I decided to back off...at this rate, I was too likely to not attain my primary goal (remember...NOT CRASH).  So, I let my heart rate settle...I let many racers pass (there went Burnsy past me at a top speed!) and I navigated with caution.

I am typically a slow starter, and have been pushing harder on the starts to try to correct this...however, in the longer races this has cost me, leaving me gassed well before the race is over.  This was a point my good friend serious has noticed, and made a note to point out to me earlier in the day.  (serious competed in the Half Marathon on this day).  And I remembered something that Alexa had mentioned earlier...that, in longer races she prefers to not overdo it at the start and spend the race at a solid pace picking off zombies...zombies being people like me, who start too hard then fizzle out and ride slow and depleted...like a zombie.

In fact, there was Alexa just ahead...I sped up to catch her and we rode together for a short while...until the dirty hill...also know as the Amsterdam Brewery Big Wheel Ale Big Ascent...



The dirty hill, a 2km long steep doubletrack climb...that ended with about 100ms of steeper climb.  I hit it hard just to get it over with....passing a couple of riders...including SingleSpeedSteve...ribs screaming all the way.  As I crested the hill I noticed my heart rate at 172...wow...I better step it down some...but maybe I was finally warming up?

Then into a tight, twisty singletrack downhill, I ducked into it carefully...and SingleSpeedSteve was right on my tail.  He said this kind of trail is his thing, so if I could let him pass....so I did.  Boom!!  He was off like a rocket!!  He wasn't kidding!!  I worked hard just to keep him in sight!

I would catch him on the flats and climbs, then let him go on the single track descents...we were faster together that way.  Then somewhere along the way I noticed, I was feeling much better, energized, and the always present stabbing rib pain had reduced to a dull thud...either my body was running out of pain juice, or the naproxen was kicking in.  So, perhaps I could make this a race after all...


Out there somewhere...


Into another singletrack downhill...and there was Alexa and SingleSpeedSteve back on my tail (SSers stick together like that)...I let them by...and fought to keep them within catching distance.  On the flat, I powered to catch SSSteve, and did, but Alexa had pulled away, dropping us both.  I passed SSSteve, then headed into the last 5km...which was not SS friendly at all...including a long, loose, rocky climb, followed by double track flats, and a long, flowy double track descent into the start-finish.  I hammered it, hoping to catch Alexa, but never did.

But as I pulled into the start-finish there was Alexa and Burnsy just pulling out for loop 2.  I had to stop to refill my water bottle (since I only had one now!!)...and as I took off to start loop 2, SSSteve was just pulling in.  I hammered to catch Alexa and Burnsy...but they were totally out of sight...how the heck did they get that far ahead??

Then up the dirty hill once again...but this little girl flew past me like I was standing still.  She was tiny, but her power to weight ratio must be through the roof!!  She was a rocket on the climbs...wearing a red, white, and green WCC jersey...one of these, I think...



By the way, extra big thank you to ApexRacePhotography for providing many cool pics!!

So, I made it my goal to keep that green and white jersey in sight (I do better with a visual goal I guess, and no...I didn't mean it like that!!).  I was now much more into race mode, and slowly started picking off zombies (thanks Alexa!); then into a tight switchback climb, there was Giant...just putting his back wheel on his bike; I stopped to see if he was OK...all was good, he had broken his chain but was back in action.  I took off knowing he would catch me...and he soon did.  He asked if I had passed Fig or Jaimie...I said no.  They had taken off hard on the start and I never saw them again.  Boom!!  Giant was off!!  Standing up, sprinting like this was a 2km race...his goal (I guess) to catch Fig and/or Jaimie.  I am so impressed with how much power and stamina Giant has developed!!  It is borderline ridiculous!!

By now, I was feeling much better...energized, and totally in race mode...ignoring the dull thud of the ribs; and seeing Giant take off like that was just a little further motivation.  I hammered, knowing that from my start I wouldn't be in contention, but determined to get this thing done in style.  

I stopped briefly to get more water at aid station 2, and that familiar green and white jersey pulled up behind me, she was still flying!  At about, the 15 or 10 km to go point, I thought I saw Burnsy on a switchback...I hammered to hopefully catch him and Alexa.  With about 5km to go I caught Burnsy...he was looking quite zombified...just turning the pedals to get done.  I passed him, and he encouraged me on (which was cool!  Fig would have likely kicked me off the trail...) then I managed to get past a couple more racers in the last couple of kilometres...then into the finish.  Done.  Time 4hr:10min:48sec.  There was Alexa, finished a couple of minutes ahead of me...

There was Oggie, finished over 20 minutes ahead of me...sitting in the shade, his jersey coated in his own salt...trying to rehydrate and recover.

I wandered over to the truck to change and recover...there was Fig, Jaime, Giant, who all finished well in front of me, and EnglishJim and NewfieSteve who did the HalfMarathon.  We went to hang out for the podium presentations...although I would have been OK to go home, since none of us were podium bound, but Fig wanted to stay for the draw prizes...go figure...

Anyways, I had just cracked one of PowerPaul's recovery beverages (thanks PowerPaul!!), when I heard my name announced...WTF??  Third place, Master Men!!  At first I thought Dan was BSing me...but no it was true.  Third to Oggie in first, and IanPtall second...two legends of the sport!!  Pic to prove...


Yeah...that's a six pack...of Amsterdam Brewery BoneShaker...yum!!

I should point out that TerryS mechanicaled out with a broken derailleur...otherwise I likely would not have been anywhere near that 3rd step...

Alexa came in third in Female...well done!!

DonnaDub came in second in Female Half-Marathon...did that new water bottle have anything to do with it??


That is KarenG in 3rd...now a regular on the podium!

Anyways...I am sitting enjoying my recovery beverage from PowerPaul (thanks PowerPaul!!), when I hear my name again!!  Huh???  Series Leader Master Men (a combination of the two race times so far...the series is four races)...ridiculousness!!!


Yeah....that's a big cookie!
Cookies and beer...a dream made for a Riot...





Uhhh....thanks Shadow...


Anyways...another race in the books...
But what a crazy day!!  
How does one follow this up??  I have no idea!

So....stay posted!!



 Yeah...I know...but I don't catch one of these that often...


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