Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Thursday, 27 April 2017

P2A or Nay - Tough Decision

Is it a gravel grinder?  A mountain bike race?  It's the Paris to Ancaster...and it's coming  up this Sunday...again.  If you don't know what the Paris to Ancaster is, what can I say??  It is one of the most iconic races around...maybe in the country.

It's been going since 1994??  (I think).  My first P2A was in 2009...where I clocked a finish time of 3hrs 49mins...on a mountain bike.  At the time, finishing was an accomplishment!  Not exactly Chuck Norris tough!

(OK...I know....I may be overdoing the Chuck Norris thing in the last couple of posts.  Sorry.)

 Sorry...again...couldn't resist that one.  Enough of that...I have been warned by the only person on the planet that may be tougher than Chuck...

Lois...always ready for danger!!

Oh, I know...looks innocent enough...but...look out Chuck if you get in the way...

Yup...Chuck's done...

Luckily, I have never made Lois angry....well maybe just once...

Anyways....way, way off track...

So...P2A...yes...I have done this race every year since 2009.  My best finishing time at 2hrs 22mins.  But the course has changed over the years...they have added a few more kilometers...10 more?  And the thing with the P2A is you never know what kind of weather and trail conditions you are going to get.

I actually considered not doing the race this year.  I'm not so good at this type of race.  I put off registering until it was sold out....and thought, 'meh'.  But an opportunity to get in came up that I could not pass up.

So...I will be there once again...on a CX bike, sporting the True Grit/BicycleWorks team gear.  So far the weather forecast doesn't look great...but let's see how this one goes.

Stay posted!

This is the last one!!  (Today)  
And you may have to ask a millennial if you don't get this one...

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Woodnewton O'Cup #1

Well I wasn't there....but the reports I am hearing is that the first O'Cup of the season was great!!  The sandy surface of Woodnewton soaked up all of the weeks rain, and conditions were mint!

463 racers (130 more than 2016 provincials) showed up!!  The huge attendance along with a new format to allow for more accessible complete racing for the 9am and 10am youth races, made for large start waves.  Which made for great competition and race motivation!!  Kudo's to Superfly Racing for promoting youth racing, and holding yet another great Mountain Bike event!

Though I wasn't there many of my TrueGrit teammates were on site!

A large start wave!

Giant, dumped his chain 4 times, but still finished top ten.

JennR passing Jerry...

Then grinning about it all the way up the hill???

Or is that a grimace??

It is said that Jenn is so tough her tears can cure cancer...but she never cries...

Speaking of tough female about 14 yr old JocelynS (racing for Cyclepath Oakville); after taking second at Pisgah (a gruelling 5 day mountain bike stage race) vs adult competitors, comes home for a few days recovery, then takes second at Woodnewton mere seconds behind her teammate KaitlynS!!  Tough as steel??  It is said that Joc didn't have to recover from Pisgah...Pisgah had to recover from Joc racing there.

And...more about tough...this does not bode well for me...

serious...third place

serious (nickname is Tom)...takes third place.  One of my most toughest, most fierce, meanest competitors in other mtb events...getting too fast.  (Actually, he is one of the nicest guys around...).  I need to up my game....yet again.

It is said that serious is so tough, he has a bearskin rug...the bear isn't dead, it's just too afraid to move.

(OK, let me be up front and apologize forthwith to Chuck Norris for any inappropriately appropriated quotes...)

Anyways, I am trying to be a little more strategic (and economical) about my race choices...the O'Cups really are not my forte.  I am barely warmed up by the time they are done...and I routinely get my arse handed to me at them.  But I missed being at this one...the atmosphere, the always great...the courses are always challenging.  And redlining for two hours has to be good we shall see.

Maybe next time...

Stay posted!

 Some real tough kats!!  They have to be...they are related to me.  Sisters n daughter...

Friday, 21 April 2017

April Showers bring May Riding??

Well quite the deluge of rain we have had here the last couple of days.  Puddles, ponds, and creeks are flooding basements, roads, and trails.  But like the greenery and flowers it is sprouting some amazing mountain bike events!

So, what is up-coming??

Well, we have had the now classsic Tilsonburn to open up the gravel grinder season.

We have had the perennial Homage to Ice to open up the marathon mountain bike season.

This weekend is Woodnewton to open up the O'Cup mountain bike race season.

Then April and May are full of race/ride options.  Here are the ones I am aware of...

April 30th, the iconic, uber-popular yet ever-growing, Paris to Ancaster gravel- CX- mountain bike- fatbike race.  Survive the chutes and hill...

May 6-7, O'Cup #2 Kingston, the first O'Cup to be promoted by Substance Projects!  Should make for a special one!!

May 13th, the Spring Epic 8 Hour at Mansfield to open up the team relay/solo endurance mountain bike race season.

May 13, if the team relay/solo endurance thing is not your forte, another option on this date is the Spring Chicken Enduro presented by BORCA (Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association).  It's an exciting single track/gravel-road race (60km, 27km options)!!  The quandry always which weapon to choose??

May 20th is the Long Sock Classic in Ganaraska forest...the second race of Substance Projects XC Marathon Race Series.  Apparently unglued did the lawyer thing and has put out the challenge to single speed this thing.  Team Colin??

So...April and May loaded with options...and probably others I have missed here.  So much exciting stuff coming up!!  Perfect to get ready for the summer season.  Pick your poison, or do 'em all!!

If you haven't already, get to your favourite local bike shop and get your weapon all tuned and ready!

BicycleWorks Waterdown, my LBS of choice!!

And as Raf would say, "JFCI!!!"

As PinoyRyder would say, "Just Ride!"

As my Ma would say, "Riot, quit playing with that!!"
Just kidding, my Mom never called me Riot.

Anyways, weather (see what I did there??) you are racing Woodnewton this weekend, or doing your own thing, respect the wet trails, enjoy and stay safe.


Stay posted!

Is Chuck mountain bike tough??

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Homage to Ice 2017

It was a rainy day in Pizzaville...and at the Dufferin Forest.  It was SubstanceProjects' Homage to Ice; the first of the XC Marathon MTB race series.  It was cold...around 6 degrees...and raining steadily.  Me, Giant, Jaimie, NewfieSteve, and NeilTheIrish huddled, shivering under the ApexRacePhotography tent that Neil had brought (Thanks Neil and Ted!!) as we prepared for the race.

A brief warmup rip in the large parking lot in the rain.  It wasn't enough for me...I was feeling the effects of the previous day's 173km Tilsonburn rip on gravel and single track.  Then into the start paddock, where we waited in the cold rain.  All the friendly familiar faces...SingleSpeedSarah shivering on my left...Clarkie constantly broguing up the paddock airways on my right.

Not quite this wet and miserable...but close...

Finally we started!  Now soaked, down the long, sandy, fireroad descent...sand and mud flying everywhere...speed creating a headwind that drove the wet cold right into ones bones.  The sketchy right turn...mud, sand, and uphill on the fireroad...then right into twisty single track.

So much single track...I love it, but I am terribly slow at it.  And it was rife with so many slick log overs.  It made for huge fun...but not much speed for me.  Plus I was riding safe.  This was the first real mountain bike ride for me this season...and last year I started by breaking three ribs early in the season...and that didn't seem like a great way to start again.  So, unfortunately, Hal caught me and I hung him up for a while...there wasn't many opportunities to pass, so I eventually pulled over to let him and a few others by.

Then RocketDog caught me on his fatbike, and I held him back for a while...until I caught a stick in my derailleur and had to pull over to discard the potential disaster.

Then a few minutes later another stick, that I had to stop to remove...and there was Raf on his pink tired fatbike.  So we rode the rest of the lap together, Raf's character keeping me going...which was great, cuz the last half of the lap was where all the climbing came.  The Wall...a long muddy double track climb.  Then some sketchy, steep rooty climbs.  One of the sticks that had lodged in my derailleur had bent something, and my granny gear was unavailable, which made the climbs a bit more work.  (I was warned that things would go sour if I didn't send money to that Nigerian prince...ah well...who knew...).

Then there was Jenn and Liz at the aid station cheering us on, like a beam of sun through the rain.  Then only 13 kms in there was a 10km to go sign!  What??  Was Dan actually taking it easy on us??  Only 23 km laps...I was expecting 35 kms!!??  And so it was...through the transition zone and on into lap 2.

It had really taken the entire first lap for me to warm up...but now my back was starting to stiffen up...likely from the previous days efforts.  And I was fighting the need to pee.  So before the climby portion of the lap I pulled over for a nature break (who stops to pee during a race, you say??  Well, I didn't want to find out what happens when someone doesn't stop)...cold, wet, over 50 yrs old...what can I say??  I also took the opportunity to make at attempt at straightening out the derailleur/hangar combo.  I wasn't in contention, and didn't want to snap a chain, so I took the time.

Now, finally warmed up, 'relieved', and bike operational, I took off with full effort to make back as much time as possible.  Finished...not fast...but spent, and body and bike all in one piece.  A good any day on a bike is a good day.

Not quite this happy...but close...

In fact, I was slow enough that all the vegetarian food was gone.  Dan???!!!

Anyways...there were some hugely impressive performances on this day.

KarenG competed in the full marathon, after competing in, and WINNING the Good Friday road race the day before...just recovered from a fractured neck last season!!  How is that for tough!!

Anyone who did this thing on a single speed is impressive...but SingleSpeedSarah, took third (three seconds off second place!) in the women's category, on her single speed!

Anyone who did this thing on a fatbike is impressive...but Jack killed the Tilsonburn 160km the day before...on his fatbike!!  Then went on to win the fatbike cat in this race!!  Beating JeffS by 11 minutes!!  Who does that???

KaitlynS, in her first full marathon...wins it in the under 35 women's cat.

TeamColin...completes his first full marathon...on a single speed!!  It may have almost killed him, but I was impressed enough to possibly motivate me to do Dan's next race on a single speed, cuz you know, the Long Sock Classic in Ganaraska is not climby at all.  Maybe...

Anyways, that's it...first mtb race of the season under my belt...another first class event by Dan and SubstanceProjects...and all is good with the world.

And there is alot going on to end off the month....O'Cup #1 this weekend, Woodnewton.  Then the P2A the weekend after...So...

Stay posted!!

Who is this masked rider??  Could it be Fig??  EnglishJim??  Blaze??
They all seem to be missing...alien abduction perhaps??

Monday, 17 April 2017

Tilsonburn 2017

This was the second year I have done this event...and once again it was amazing!  Especially considering there is no registration (yes, that's cannot register), it doesn't cost you anything to participate (but donations are accepted for Freedom Bike....a more than worthy cause!), and it is all run by a dedicated group of volunteers...mainly one Wardy N. Petunia (you will have to ask him about that nickname...).

There were 3 distance options this year.  50km, 100km, and of course I had to do the 160...gotta do the Full Burn!!  (60 riders did the 50km, 47 hit the 100km, and 14 of us tackled the 160km route).

So at 7am, with a cool, hefty breeze pushing the sun over the horizon, 14 of us headed out of Tilsonburg for the 160.  Giant and I decided to ride together with the intention of keeping each other in check to not go too extreme as we both had a 50km mountain bike race the next day.  The problem was, there was no easy on this course.

The first 80km were stiff headwinds, and almost entirely thick newly graveled roads.  The course looped back through town, where you had to be especially aware of the directional signage...then back out for the next 80km.  The last 80km were a combination of gravel roads with 1200m of climbing, then sandy/muddy roads, soft railtrail, farm fields, and fun challenging singletrack.

Also, it wasn't until 120kms into the ride that we found an open variety store to replenish food and water (I only had two water bottles on me, so I was plenty dry by then!!).  Although the stop was in Port Burwell, where we rode by this...

Ya....a giant in dry dock...very cool to see.  It is now a naval museum.

Restocked...sort of....we were on our way again.  But somewhere we took a wrong turn.  Not sure how, as the course was very well marked.  We found our way back on track, but we had put in a few extra kilometers.

Sections of the single track were pocketed with huge, deep puddles (more like sloughs!!)....and in one of them Giant took a mean header and got soaked.  After that I tried a little harder not to ride behind him cuz it smelled like drafting a frog...

Then about 10kms from the finish, we hit 'the cabin', which was stocked with water and bananas donated by the local Sobeys.

After reloading water, and scarfing down about 5 bananas each, we headed back out into the single track.  Then somewhere in the single track we found where Wardy had set up the Blue Angel (always there to let you know you are almost home!).

And, of course we couldn't go by without a pic of our own....

I think the Angel was hoping I would ride her the rest of the way to the finish...  Hey, there were folks out there killin it on fatbikes (right Jack?!!) Angel may have been an easy ride!

Anyways we did eventually make it to the finish at the Indigo Lounge after over 8 hours on the bike....173kms into the 160km ride....totally spent from our 'easy pace' ride.  Where we enjoyed the best organic, vegan chili I have ever tasted!!

Signed the participants book...

And collected our stickers and keychain...

For anyone who didn't make this missed a great one!!  Put it on your list for next season!!

Thank you Wardy, to you and your team of volunteers, and the Indigo Lounge for such a great experience!!  I'm already looking forward to next year...always a super fun challenge.  And I hope you collected enough for a couple of bikes for some well deserving teens!

Then it was on home, to rest and recover to do it all again the next the 50km Homage to Ice mountain bike marathon.

For the next post (tomorrow???)...

Stay posted!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Steaming Nostril, Screaming Lungs, Burning Quads

So the Steaming Nostril happened this past weekend.  (About time I get this post in, eh?)  After being warned/alerted/clued in to some of the features of this year’s race on SteveS’s RideCycleSpin blog it was time to experience it first hand.  There were over 400 participants for the 65 km various surface race (and the 40km Runny Nose version)!  It was a chance to sport the new True Grit kit..

The fit on the back of the neck feels amazing.   ;)

It was great to see so many familiar friendly faces back at this game.  

The always happy Pinoy Gang

Mike and Bob...ready to roll

This was, for me, the first race of gravel and mtb season.  So after many hellos to old and new friends, I set out to warm up and scope out the start of the course...which was much different from previous years.  This year the start was a long hill, on soggy wet grass...a long gradual climb that got steeper towards the top.

Then into the paddock where  everyone tries to look nonchalant, but really...everyone is eyeing each other up like sunglasses at a nude beach to see for any hint of who to watch out for.  


Finally we were sloth speed...up that start hill.  It was slow, but it shot the heart rate through the roof right off the bat.

 Grant up the start hill
Photo: Lauren Daniels

Seth cresting the start hill
Photo: JennKenn

JeffS first up the start hill on his way to another podium
Photo: JennKenn

Then it was onto a short bit of road with a tailwind...some gravel...a bottle neck over a very narrow bridge...more pavement/gravel...then that rail trail.  I am always the slow starter, and had been dropped right off the bat by my faster friends, and was working hard to pick my way back up to them...then that rail trail. 

That soggy trail
Photo: Lauren Daniels

The rail trail was soft and riding through sucking...10-15kms of it.   Add that to the intense side wind (gusts from 30 – kazillion kmp!!).  I managed to catch a guy (or he caught me) in CanadianCyclingMagazine kit (let’s call him Sam) and we worked together to help cut the wind...and managed to catch and hook on to a couple of other small groups.  Finally, feeling spent, through a deep puddle that left my feet soaked, off the rail trail, left turn onto gravel road.  Left turn...directly into the headwind.

By now, we were a group of 10-15...working together into the headwind...then at about the 30 km mark, one of those sounds you don’t want to hear.  The sound of air hissing out of a puncture in my front tire...Stan’s sealant spewing through the opening....I continue, hoping the puncture seals.  It doesn’t.  I pull group speeds on.  I position the puncture on the downside, hoping the sealant will puddle over the puncture and seal it.  It eventually does...then I CO2 enough air into the tire to provide enough pressure to allow me to continue without blowing the puncture open again.  Meanwhile, about 25 more racers have passed me...and I continue on into the headwind.  Alone.  I turned myself inside out to try to make back the time.

I eventually catch a couple of riders...and recognize one as LondonJoe who is racing on his singlespeed.  I had ridden with Joe once before in a day long winter fatbike Padega ride.  He is a very strong rider...and was carrying another racer.  So we worked together into the wind, then a left turn continued to work together with the side wind.  Then another left turn onto pavement and finally a tailwind...and with the tailwind Joe did not have enough gear on his singlespeed to keep up.  I was alone again.  But now I could see a larger group some distance ahead.  I dug deep to catch them....several more turns, and the kilometers ticked by as I struggle alone.

(Sorry, is that too much without a pic or a joke?  How about this:  'I just came back from a Transformers convention and boy are my arms tires!' ...  No??  Ok, there are some pics coming up...)

Finally a sharp left turn into a farm field, then eventually through a farm yard...into 'the longest kilometer'.  A kilometer through thick mud, long wet grassy field, three deep creek crossing with submerged sketchy bridges...ending in a long, steep, non-rideable climb that sucked what little life may have been left in the legs.  

Thank you to JennKenn and SandraA for the cheers up that hell hill!!  JennKenn and Lauren Daniels also got some great pics of racers climbing that hill.

And Ines Fisher of Pedal Power Photography got in on the pic action.

Robert up the mud hill

Linda...the face of determination!

Finally cresting the hill and back on the bike.  5km to go.  I pass a racer in a blue shirt and give everything I have left, and then some, towards the finish.  One km from the finish I hear blue shirt hot on my tail....I open up any reserves left.  Over a drive way, onto grass 200meters from the finish...the other bike on me...a left grassy turn into the finish I lose traction and slide wide...he takes me on the inside.  It's not blue's LondonJoe!!  He has caught me....and passes the finish line a bike length ahead of me.  A good battle!! (For 154th place!)

A great race finished.  MarkR, Giant, Seth, JeffS are up ahead already finished and chatting.  Post race discussion...then onto the clubhouse for the podium celebrations and food.  

Who are these three??

Steve and Miro on the podium!  The comeback kids!!

Those fancy Pinoy colours on the podium!!  Expect to see more of that.

JeffS second in a hard fought battle with Garnett

Top Ten man!!

For a race report by some serious racers, read about the battle for 1st overall between Matt, Sjaan, and Gaelen here!

Overall it was a great well run...congrats to the organizers (the food at the finish was awesome!!)  And the vibe and banter among the participants always adds to the joy of the event.  Everyone sharing their own take on the challenges of the day.  The passion for the sport, and one of the main reasons we do this.

A great way to start the season...and look forward to the next one...

Which is Friday!!

And Saturday!!

And Sunday???

Sunday is the Hell of The North (I couldn't find a logo), but not sure I can hack 3 intense rides, 3 days in a row...

Although it is Easter...and the impossible is always possible (does that make sense??)

Let's see how this week goes!  

Stay posted!!

One cool cat!