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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Summer Solstice 24 Hour MTB Race 2013 – The Review

The solstice cometh, the solstice goeth...leaving behind shattered dreams, crushed spirits, and barrels of sweat.  OK, a little (alot) over-dramatic, perhaps...depends who you ask; there were alot of different takes on this year’s Solstice.  Here’s mine:

Matthew and I pulled into Albion Hills on Friday afternoon to set up our race pit.  (Matthew is my son who abandoned his studies at university to help out his pappy in the pit, and to volunteer for Chico – the race organizer- at the event).  This is him:


 For any rich old ladies, or porn stars, yes he is single and available.
Sooo, anyways, once we got our pit set up...


Matt was off to work the registration desk.  When Egggman, my tag team teammate, showed up we made our way around to meet other friends competing in the race. Then after a couple of Wellington sleeping pills, it was time to hit the hay.

The geniuses at Environment Canada had predicted 10 -15 mm of rain Saturday, and we woke up to it raining on and off, so we thought we were in for a soaker…but…it stopped by 10:30 and the day turned into a scorcher…and humid!!
So, Egggman opted (sort of), to take the start lap (the route was a lap of about 16 kms of many short, steep, punchy climbs and switchbacks, with a couple of long fast descents), and we had decided to pull double laps as long as that would carry us.  So at 12:00 noon, the race started and Egggman was off with a group of hundreds of other racers (there were over 2100 racers in all at this event).

Egggman finished his first lap in 1hr4min, and called out as he passed our pit (our pit was just off the trail near the start), so I knew I had to be ready to go in an hour.  1hr5min later Egggman pulled into our pit, handed me the baton and I was off for my first lap.  The course was challenging…the last 5 kilometres especially.  A long gradual climb, into a very steep loose climb… followed by grassy climbs, then a long fast descent into the climbs of ‘High Roller’.  The last kilometer was great, almost a complete descent.  The huge grass ‘half pipe’, was fun…and my favorite trail ‘Pinecone Express’.  So, my first lap was going great, but about half way through something didn’t feel right.  I looked down, and yup, my right pedal was pulling off its spindle...then it came.  I rode out the lap on the spindle, with the pedal still clipped to my cleat; pulled into our pit at 59mins after completing the first half of my double.  I pulled into the pit calling for Egggman (actually I called “Mike”...that’st his nickname...I don’t get it but to each his own).  I said “dude you have to go for a single lap while I get this broken pedal fixed!”.  He gave me the ‘go f’k yourself’ look, something like this...


 Egggman relented and headed out for a single.  Matthew and I took my bike and a spare set of pedals to the on-site mechanic (from Sporting Life....they do a GREAT job!), to get fixed up.  We got fixed up, with working pedals, and Egggman pulled in after finishing his single, and I headed out to do a real double.
I finished the first lap of my was so dang hot!!!...after 1hr even...and continued on for the second lap.  As I started I went to swig from my camelback, and realized, in the pedal confusion I had misjudged and hadn’t taken enough fact, I was out as just past the start of my lap.  During the lap, I kept sucking on the bite valve hoping to get some, a drop, of fluid.  I pulled every drop out of that bladder...which would cost me later.  (dum, dum, dum!!!!  Dramatic cliffhanger eh???).  I finished off my double with a 1hr2min lap.  Pulled into the pit, as Egggman pulled out….and worked on rehydrating; and made certain I filled my camelback full for my next double.
2hrs21mins later Egggman finished his double…and I pulled out to do another…with lights ablaze as it was now dark.  A couple of kilometers in I went to take a swig of my water.  My camelback was full, but nothing came through the bite valve…I pulled/sucked on the bite valve again…still nothing.  Apparently in sucking the bladder dry last lap, I had twisted something inside; blocking the flow.  I spent the lap continuing to pull liquid through but nothing.  Another dry lap!! I was so parched!!  Almost like this!


 I finished the first half of my double in 1hr7min, pulled into our pit calling for Matthew and Egggman…they got my camelback/bladder straightened out…and I pulled out to finish the second half of the double.  With now a full 2 litre bladder I was good for this lap!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full double with no issues??  Maybe my next one??  1hr11min later I was done and Egggman pulled out to complete our 11th and 12th laps.
2hrs48mins later Egggman pulled in from his double…and I pulled out…again lights blazing, it was 2am.  Somewhere along the first lap, I came down a singletrack descent then up and around a tight switchback, to come face to face with a big dear on the trail!  I touched the brakes, and yelled “Hey lady, move!!” and the big doe, startled, thundered into the bush. Another rider pulled up behind me as I accelerated to continue, and asked what I yelled at him…haha. 

Finished lap one of my night double in 1hr13mins…headed out for the second.  Things were going great till half way through…my bar light went out.  Damn!!  OK, I still had my headlight. For about 10 minutes….then it went out.  Pitch black!!!  Seriously; could not see my hand in front of my face.  (Who puts their hand in front of their face???).  Where the hell was this Supermoon  everyone was talking about??? 

When you have your lights going, you don’t realize how really dark it is out there!!  So, I spent the rest of the lap stopping and waiting for a rider to pass so I could follow them as long as possible with their lights.  If they pulled away, I had to stop and wait for another rider.  I did, manage to finish the lap this way…but it took 1hr25mins.
Egggman pulled out to start his double…but he made it clear he was starting to hurt.  Egggman is one of the toughest dudes I know, which made him a great partner for this race!  I was also hurting.  Especially on the second lap of our doubles…they were agony…but necessary for the rider in the pit to get sufficient rest.  But we were in second place!!!  With 3rd and 4th close on our tails (first was well ahead)…we were motivated.  I managed to get about an hour’s sleep in a gravity chair while Egggman completed his double…and Matthew managed to get about a half hours sleep.  He was a superstar helping out and he was well in need of rest!!  Egggman pulled in in almost exactly 3hrs.  We were now in 3rd place, and as I headed out to do our 17th and 18th laps, Egggman stated that he did not think he had another double lap in him.  I was not so sure I did either…but off I went.  I finished lap 17 in 1hr10mins…we were back in 2nd!  I finished an agonizing lap 18 in 1hr18…we were now in third.

Egggman pulled out to do a single lap, our 19th lap…it was now 11:27am.  If he got back in time, I would have time to get a single lap in.  As I recovered in the pit, Matthew getting me food and drink while I stretched and changed gear; Lois and NewfieSteve walked up.  They had driven up to help us out, and cheer us on to the finish (and to help pack up at the finish…thank Heaven!!!).  Egggman completed his lap in 1hr25mins.  It was 11:27, which meant I had 1hr 33minutes to get a 20th lap in.  I pulled out to do so in an attempt to preserve our 3rd place.  I finished the lap in 1hr8mins…we had taken 3rd!!!  Podium time!!

This is how you look when you know you are done!  Me, Egggman, EnglishJim(who anchored a 5 man team).
So another great Summer Solstice in the books!!  Our first podium of the year…more to come??  Special thanks to Egggman, a great teammate!!  Special thanks to Matthew, a great pit boss…and he put in a couple of volunteer shifts for Chico!  And thank you to Lois and NewfieSteve for doing the packing up!!
When is the next big race??  Stay posted!!
Recovery time!!


  1. Awesome recap!! Man you had some bad luck there... but pulled through, typical of Superman!

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