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 true...you 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 160kms...so 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 submarine...now 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?!!)...so 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 ride...you 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 morning...at the 50km Homage to Ice mountain bike marathon.
For the next post (tomorrow???)...