So, with the opportunity to race new trails (trails absolutely new to me), support the lung association (a cause that meant something to me), in a rather low key race, with a good friend (yeah, I mean Blaze)...I was looking forward to this. The trail was 95% twisty, rooty, 'singletrack' (some rather wide, almost doubletrack, but still twisty...something I struggle with); a 25 km loop around the Wildwood Conservation Area Reservoir....and other than being rather rooty, was not at all technical.
Locked and loaded.
As a two-male team we started with the team wave (which started 10 minutes after the solo wave). In the team wave all team members rode together...and the ride times of teammates were averaged to come up with an overall team time. There were a few familiar faces there, including Duke, who was racing his fatbike in the solo 50km (two loops) category, SteveS who was racing his fatbike in the solo 25km category, and Unglued who was racing in the mixed team category (Unglued was the male, partnered with a female Lapdog team member).
Duke, 'suffering' for the camera...
SteveS, decked out in his hard-to-miss pink Ride The Earth kit.
A couple of the organizers and one of the best pics of me from the day.
At 11:20am, our wave started...and off the gun Blaze was off like a rocket!! Seriously...ablaze!! Unglued hit all his jets in an effort to keep Blaze in sight. I, on my usual slow start, giggled in stunned awe. By the time we crossed the 300 or 400 meters of doubletrack start, and dove into the singletrack Blaze was a good 100m ahead...followed by Unglued, then a couple of racers between me and Unglued.
Note: Blaze is a sandbagger! He says he is slow, fat, and out of shape...he is definitely NOT. Blaze is back in form. At worst, he is overly tentative on anything technical...which was not at all an issue on this course...so he was free to fly...and he did.
So now I had serious time to make up...in twisty singletrack (have I mentioned this is not my forte??), and worse, it was unfamiliar trail. So it was hammer, hit the brake at an unexpected twist, turn, accelerate; hammer, hit the brake at an unexpected twist, turn, accelerate; shampoo, rinse, repeat; shampoo, rinse, repeat... The repeated, interval-like efforts had me constantly redlined...then when ever we hit any climbs or open areas I gutted myself to try to make up the time I lost off the start, and continued to lose in the twisty stuff. And now we were starting to catch the back of the solo wave that had started 10 minutes ahead of us, and had to work to find safe areas to pass.
Then we came out onto a gravel road...I turned left up the road and hammered...for about 30 seconds...before I realized there were no signs and I must be going the wrong way. I went back...and a racer I had recently passed pointed out the proper direction. So, at it again.
Then, I eventually came up on that familiar pink jersey...SteveS flying on the fatbike. Steve's brother JeffS is one of the fastest racers on any circuit...so I was not used to catching one of these guys! So a quick chat...then onward, through the twists.
With about 10km to go I started to worry that I would run out of time and trail and would not be able to catch Blaze or Unlglued...the race was too short and fast. Then with maybe 5km to go we came onto a longish bit of paved road...must have been almost a kilometer long...and at about 600 or 700 meters ahead, there was Unglued! And far ahead, there was Blaze turning off the road back into the singletrack. Well...maybe I had a chance to catch them after all...I gunned it on the road...but so did they.
Back into the twisty stuff...then the final 3/4 of a km or so opened up into the final stretch to the finish line...and there was Unglued...about 100m in front of me. I dropped a couple of gears and hammered...beyond redlined...heart pounding in my ears; with about 500m to go I passed him. He swore something repeatedly, but rather unintelligible (he doesn't speak proper English)...and sprinted to catch me...but didn't. I crossed the finish...seconds ahead of Unglued...but 2 minutes behind Blaze (the sandbagger...he KILLED it this day!!!). That's OK...Blaze is my teammate...and I beat Unglued...and it was a beautiful weather day on ridiculously fun trails.
It took a couple of recovery pops for Blaze and I to determine how we had placed.
We took second in male tag team!!
I blocked Blaze's podium pic....
The three Amigos!!
Duke took third in the Fatbike 50km cat....amazing!!
Oh my?? OK, then...
Oh...and hey...Unglued and his partner took second in the mixed team cat!!
So, he can't be that unhappy...(plus he has his house slippers on...just be happy its not zebra stripes...)
By the way, SteveS writes a great blog about racing/riding mountain bikes (who would do that??). His plan is to do 50 significant races/rides this season...this one was number 24! You can check out his version of this race here at RideCycleSpin!
The other race that happened this weekend was a SubstanceProjects race...the Humbler, the 3rd race of the XC Marathon series. (I love Dan's races!!) Of course, this was the one I didn't do, so I can't give a proper report...but Oggie (who took third in Master Men cat...cuz he is fast like that!!), summed it up great! "Great race indeed. Dan nailed it this year with the format, starting times, signage and pricing. Great food, great organization and positive vibe were already there in abundance. The Humbler is one of the best venues and I can't get enough of it. Just the right measure of challenge and lots of fun."
I will do my best to make it to the 4th race of the series...the Kingston Trophy!
For the rest of this week, Blaze has me running around getting ready for the 24 hour race this coming weekend...he is managing my pit for the race. Extra shoes, kit, helmet...check. Cheerleaders....check...
Anyways...CoachRob has my training rides pinned to get me ready...one more tough ride today...then taper into the weekend. Sydenham hill repeats today if anyone wants to join...enough to get in 1500m of elevation...anyone...anyone...Buehler???
I expect my quads to look like this by the time I'm done...
Quit staring at the shorts Fig!!
Anyways...I'm drifting and rambling again. I guess this story is done...prepping for next weekend now.
I will let you know how it goes!
Another T shirt!! When will they give away Audis??