Wednesday, 21 October 2015
50Km SingleTrack Challenge - The Review
So, yeah. PulseRacing's 50 km Single Track Challenge. I haven't done this race since 2010, or there abouts. Mainly because I really struggle with twisty single track (this means I am slow as shite at it). I am getting better at it (maintaining momentum, staying off the brakes, accelerating out of turns properly...), but it is still not my forte (no, not the Hyundai).
But, I enjoy riding at Hardwood....so I considered doing the race; enough that I went to Hardwood to check out the conditions Friday (before the Sunday race)....and Jaime and Giant joined me.
What photogenic folks!! Like these guys??
Anyways, now that we got that out of the way...
Our 'preride' was very leafy, rooty, wet and slippy. Since the race course was not yet completely marked, we rode 'Gnarly' and 'Radical' as practice. On the long double track descent on the way back to the start, at the end of the day....I washed out my front wheel, at speed, (on one of the taped twisty sections where they hope to slow you down)....went down hard, smacking my head solidly on the ground. Knocked me loopy (yes worse than normal)...
Yeah, kind of like that....except he is a little whiter than I am...
So, I thought conditions might even things out enough to slow my competition down, and let me keep up somewhat, if I could stay upright....plus, I like riding at Hardwood...so I registered for the race. So did Giant. Later we found out that the enigmatic EnglishJim also registered!!
So, on race day Giant, EnglishJim, and I made our way to Hardwood....and prepared for the race. It was dry, almost sunny....but flippen cold!!! 0 degrees Celsius cold!! But dressed accordingly, so it was all good!
The cold may have kept some of the regulars away...but many braved the cold (I believe there were over 200 participants). Seth was racing, as was his son. Unglued was present on a geared bike. JeffS was there racing his fatbike, and his daughter Sarah was racing. And the members of FatBoyNation were also racing their fatbikes!
FatBoyNation: Burnsy, Raf, and CheerSquadJenn??
So after a significant warm-up....very required in this weather, we made our way to the start paddock...and I actually got a spot closer to the front. Boom....we were off. And I actually had (for me) a pretty good start! I kept the lead group within site during the double track start climb...until the bottleneck into the first bit of single track. And then the climbing started...
The first 8 kms of the course (the race was two loops of a 25km course) was climbing. Mostly steep, twisty, rooty, singletrack climbs. My heart rate stayed near max this entire time...trying to keep pace with the racers around me. And this is where, my head started pounding....and I began to feel nauseous. This has never happened before...and I concluded that it must have been due to the smack on the head on Friday...a bit of a concussion.
Otherwise, the trails were in good shape...and had been almost totally leaf cleared by the organizers. The middle part of the course was more single tracks combined by short bits of double track...in fact some more steep climbs on much of the double track connectors....just to keep the heart rate up.
Then the last 4 kms....fun, fast, flowy, single track....with a couple of rock piles to ride over (or around). A great finish to the loop.
I got passed by some racers, and passed others...but during the first lap, I really had no idea how I might be placing. I was mainly trying to ignore the aching head, and properly hydrate and fuel through the nausea. I knew for certain TerryS was well ahead of me...(he is in my category, but one of the fastest racers at any age...he, in fact, finished third overall...and 40 full minutes in front of me). As it worked out I ended up riding much of the first loop with Tom211, Gavin142, and Allan197....until we hit the fast last 4km of the loop. Then they dropped me...I am so slow and overly careful at the fast, twisty stuff...
However, as I passed through the start/finish zone, Tom, Allan, and Gavin had all stopped to grab more food and water. I had enough food and water on me, so I didn't need to stop, and took the opportunity to ride on and put a gap behind me, between myself and them.
Then it was back into the steep, twisty climbing....and it was here they caught me....and pushed me faster than I really felt comfortable going. However, for mostly the remainder of the loop we stayed together, taking turns leading....pushing each other. In the last 4km....the fast stuff...Tom was in front, and started to pull away...trying to drop us. I pushed my skill limits to keep up to him....and to stay in front of Gavin and Allan. Then, the last 200m or so into the finish was wide open double track. As we sprinted to the finish I managed to pull in front...barely...beating Tom by just one second. As it turned out, Tom and I were in the same age category; Allan and Gavin were in a younger category.
I had finished 8th (Tom 9th)...well off the podium; but, for me, not bad considering how I struggle with single track. And other than the pounding head, it was a good day.
Giant finished 5th in his category.
Seth did Rock and Road Race team proud and finished second!
JeffS kicked butt and finished first in the Fatbike cat....and his daughter Sarah won her category!! (Yeah, the whole family is fast!! I may have to nickname them Shikaze...which is Metis for 'Holy hell they are fast!!)
In case you didn't notice in the FatBoyNation pic above RafRider finished second to JeffS to take the silver in the Fatbike cat.
So, yeah...a good day. Thanks to Pulse Racing for a great race....and great eats at the finish!
I have to thank EnglishJim for insisting he drive home; with my headache this was me...
So this is officially the last race of the season for me. Now, to enjoy some fall riding...
Like this ride in Dundas that ended up with having to repair a broken derailleur (or if you notice, everyone else repairing my broken derailleur).
Although, I think it was Giant taking the opportunity to get a pic of Mandy...
Anyways...yes...the plan for the next week or two will be to get some fun rides in...and to keep the weight off...before CoachRob gets me into winter training.