So, Dan of Substances second race of his XC Marathon MTB race series was a couple of weeks ago...or three. Yeah, I know I'm a little late on this blog...work commitments, much volunteer work, and other very important stuff delayed me.
Anyways, me, Fig, CptSydor, and VV all piled into NewfieSteve's truck for the trip to Ganaraska (where the race was held....Long Sock Classic the name of the race because prevalent poison ivy requires wearing long MTB socks). The race is two loops of a 33km course for a total of 66kms...which would take about 4 hours to ride at race pace.
Fig slept a good part of the drive....but yes....he kept talking...
Either Steve's speeding, or my poor scouting/planning got us to the race two hours early...so plenty of time to register, kit up...and look to warm up. At my age I require a significant warm up...at least a good half hour. Ran into many of the regulars at the race...Kevin, Oggie, dumbopinion, Unglued, Giant...of course all readying to kick arse...
Kind of like this guy...
Sorry, but Saywell (aka misconceptionz) demands at least one cat pic per blog...
Anyways, as everybody was doing their thing getting ready...at about 10:15 I went out to hit the trails to warm up...
The Ganaraska trails are great and not a place we normally get to ride (there are 300 kms of trails at "The Ganny"), I was thoroughly enjoying warming up when twenty minutes in I realized I had better get back! I turned around and raced back to retrace my warmup. About 5 minutes into the 'retracing' I hit a fork in the trail I didn't recognize....and there was not a sign in sight! Well shite what do I do know?? Just pick one and go. Well that didn't go so well.
Ten minutes later and a couple more forks and I was completely lost. Since it was approaching race start time I thought I might hear the sound system and ride in that direction...but I heard nothing. (Apparently the sound system failed...the perfect storm??)
So I moseyed on. Hoping to get back and possibly start the race late. I met a dirt biker on the trails, who graciously gave me directions that he assured me were accurate; they were not. I was over an hour into my 'warmup', now it was less about getting to the race start...it was more about just getting back. And I had left my camelback at the truck, and I was getting thirsty. Even a compass wouldn't have helped, at this point.
Maybe smoke signals?
Anyways, I eventually met a group of ATVers...who I asked for directions, but they were also lost and looking for their truck. However they supplied me with a bottle of water (Thank you!!), and gave me what they thought may be possible directions to the race start area. Their directions were wrong, but they did lead me to a large posted map of the area, which clearly provided the direction for me to get back...but it was still some distance away.
On my way back, I again met the ATVers who had found their truck, and they apologized for giving me what they now realized were wrong directions. Ah well, their intentions were good, and I was on my way back.
I did get back!!! At 12:15 (the race started at 11:00). The race marshall (Dan of Substance's father, I believe), said I could start the race now if I wished. I declined, as I had already been riding for two hours; but I did want to do one loop...so thats what I did. At 12:17 I took off, I made it my goal to try to catch a straggler or two, and to finish the loop in under two hours.
The course was great! A couple of lung bleeding climbs, lots of twisty somewhat technical singletrack, and some fast doubletrack. Dan's race courses are always great, which is one of the main reasons I do as many of his races as I can!
And I did catch a couple of stragglers (OK 8 but who's counting??), and I crossed the finish line 1'58" after I had started! And there was Dan of Substance at the finish, with a look on his face that basically said "What a doofus!" I couldn't argue.
Then I waited for CptSydor who crossed the line in record time, as always.
Then Oggie came in fast as always (Oggie is technically in my category, but in actuality he kicks my arse...that means he's way faster).
Then Giant came across with a great time! VV came across very happy with her time given that she was just recovering from a nasty bout of the flu. Then Unglued crossed. Then came Fig who had bonked hard on the second loop. Then eventually Steve struggled in...he was hurting heavily as this was literally his second ride of the year! (Steve is now back into training, and getting into race shape...except for this week, which is another exciting story for another time.)
So, when I explained my predicament to the group CptSydor asked, "Just how does a native get lost in the woods??" My reply, "Man, I am a warrior not a scout!" Clearly.
So there you go. The best race I never did? What a doofus! Better 'luck' next time??