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