Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Thursday, 11 April 2019

The Supreme Race?

So, it seems mountain bike race season is getting here...or is even upon us now.

For example...Pisgah is happening...and there are some local heroes out there killing it.  There are Stels, Ben Jiks, and Alexas (Oh my?).  All very accomplished riders...whose race posts I am enjoying following on social medias, and expect some good stories when they return.




And locally, there are two races this weekend.  At Turkey Point on Saturday is the first of Substance Projects' (Dan Marshall) XC Marathon Race Series; and on Sunday there is the Steaming Nostril, a gravel race out in the St Jacobs area.


Map of Turkey Point Marathon Course

Map of the world...you know...just for context...

Some truly, epically hardy folks are doing both races (You know who you are!!).  I considered doing so. There is also the Spring Kicker on Sunday...a celebration of Mountain Biking, and Demo day attended by several mountain bike manufacturers at Turkey Point.  So many options to consider (mtb race season IS here!!)

However on today's (Wednesday) ride I crashed hard on a rocky trail and banged up my lower back fairly significantly.  I am already signed up for Dan's Turkey Point race (Singlespeed Catagory)...so I think I will leave it at that.  I am icing the back and hoping to keep it from stiffening up.  

So I will race Saturday...and likely do a Riot ride on Sunday...that way I can choose the pace and distance to what I can handle.  Who am I kidding...it will be epic...as always!!

Am I in race shape?  Hell no!!  I am planning on peaking for mid June (ya...Summer Solstice 24 hour)...but I am on my way...much better than I was last Christmas season.  At that time I weighed in at 220lbs.  I am currently bouncing around between 190 and 195...not where I wanna be, but on my way.

I've been working hard, riding lots...and good friends pushing me hard on our Sunday Riot rides.  Jenn, Jonny, PowerPaul, Al, Seth...regulars who are all faster and in better shape than me and who push me to be faster on every ride.  And ocassionally Oggie's, KarenD's, NewfieSteve's, and MikeV's who even make it faster.  And these are all folks who don't normally whine about how tough, fast, far the ride is...just the opposite!!  (Well we do occasionally lose a couple of riders, like at last Sunday's Riot ride at Turkey Point to pre-ride the race course...but that's because the pace starts too fast for the distance...).  

The fast crew at last Sunday's Turkey Point ride...


Folks often trying out the Riot face...







Anyways, sorry...a little off track there.  About my friends who believe in punishing me...  With this crew it's usually "Let's keep going...let's find another hill...lets get a buttertart." (Ya!!!).  OK....maybe that last one is always me...

Yup....these folks are fast!

On many of the rides I feel like this guy...


Although, Wednesday once I pulled myself off the rocks
 I got to ride with Al and Roscoe 

Roscoe

Makes me wonder what the dog is really thinking...


Squirrel!!!  Or...Buttertart!!!


Anyways...here I go off track again. (Dont say it Dan!)  So, back to my tough friends...pushing to be better...you know what I mean...in fact, Jenn wants to do a 3000m climb-fest next week.  So let's get at it!!

Someday I want to feel like the wolf...

Instead of this guy...

OK...focus.   So, yes...it looks like the new MTB race season is here...finally, winter is on its way out.  Time to set aside the fat winter riding.  I'm working on getting back into race shape for this summers big races.

And as far as the immediate future, for me, for now...the focus is to get my bruised back pushing my single speed through Dan's Marathon this Saturday.  Review next week...

Stay posted!!





Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Update - No Races But Epic Rides!

Well, I have not done any races to report on, but it has been a little too long since my last post so I figured...time for an update.  Whether or not no one other than Putin or Trudeau read this to figure out what's happening in this country, I enjoy writing it...so here's an update of sorts.

I actually missed a couple of fatbike races that I had considered doing...a couple of Dan's fatbike races, the Wendigo, and another race or two missed.  A couple because of a life event or two...and a couple because course conditions made for a convenient excuse.



Anyways now weather and trail conditions have changed significantly...what a difference a couple of weeks can make!!

I may have missed a fatbike race or three, but I have still been riding quite a bit.  With MTB and gravel race seasons right around the corner I've been working to get into some semblance of race shape.  I'm still working on getting the injury time-winter laziness-not racing last season fat weight off...and it's going away....slowly.




I dropped from close to 220 lbs down to under 200 then stalled.  It took some time to figure out what would get the fat burn machine working again, but a tweak or two to my nutrition plan and a focus on more endurance riding has got me leaning out again...now down under 195 and dropping.



I've been riding a single speed fatbike for most of the winter...with the occasional opportunity to ride a studded 29er on icy trail days...but since the weather has turned its been (over the last two to three weeks) mostly road and gravel riding on a CX/adventure style bike (a Kona RoveTi).





And I'm very fortunate to have a great circle of mountain bike friends drag me out at paces and distances that push me to be better!  We started the gravel season with 50-85km rides...then 100+km rides...then Jenn said, "Hey, let's do a 200km ride!"  So that's what we did this past Sunday.

Jenn, PowerPaul, Seth, Jonny, and moi left my house shortly after 8am, and headed west...into what seems to be a permanent headwind in these parts.  We rode pavement into the gravel of Sulphur Springs Road, Mineral Springs Road, and Slote Road.  This gravel had ocassional packed spots, with mostly spots that looked packed but was just soft enough to be energy sucking sponginess.

Then we headed southwest through a mix of pavement and gravel into Brantford where, at about the 50km mark, our first re-watering stop was at BicycleWorksPaul's farm...





Hmmm??  (I'm pretty sure we were invited...)

Then we snaked our way north, onto some of the Hamilton-Burlington railtrail (that was mix of rough, hiker created, post holing and sketchy slick top mud), up through Harrisburgh onto the gravel of Howell Rd, Burt Rd, Glen Morris Rd, and Lockie Rd.  All of the gravel was a challenging mix of hardpack, soft sponge, and thick rocky gravel where the municipalities had attempted to cover icy sections in the winter.  It all made for a fun but challenging ride!

A cool spot to stop and stretch



Hmmm???


After a series of steep, short, rolling hills our second stop came at about the 130km mark at 97 General Store (on 97 County Road near Valens Conservation area), which specializes in selling Dee's buttertarts....which we gorged on to fuel our ride.





Then we headed north and East riding the gravel Sideroads from near Puslinch/TwinPonds mountain bike trail system (North of the small town of Clyde) towards and across Highway 6, where after a quick stop at the natural spring water of Maddaugh springs for water refills, over the gnarley hill of 14 Sideroad, we rode into Moffat at about the 155km mark for our final stop at Dar's...for, yes...another buttertart specialty spot!!





Then we headed south on First Line Rd, up the Cedar Springs Rd/Britannia Rd climb...cuz Jenn said we had to (Dammit that is a nasty hill after 180kms!!!).  Then we headed east, back into the headwind...Seth setting a blazing pace over 30kph into the headwind for the last 20kms...the rest of us struggling to hold on.

Then...finally...done!!!  205kms...    We were home!!  Where Heidi "call me Lois cuz Riot is my Superman" had warm food and cold bevvies waiting for everyone...as she always does!!

So, first 200km ride of the season under our belts.  I'm still feeling it two days later...but great training for the upcoming endurance races...and just plain fun with great friends.  8 hours of riding/pushing each other...nobody whining...much...out loud (I may have cried inside every time Jenn said 'let's do another hill'...).  I didn't get us lost...well maybe a little, but not for long.  And plenty of fun, challenging gravel!!

So...now we are all ready to do it again!!??  Maybe...in a few weeks...or more...

Something a little different this coming weekend...

Stay posted!














Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Ontario Fatbike Race Series #3 - Georgian Nordic

So, I wasn't going to do this race due to the long drive to get there.  But Jenn & Mark said they were going and that I could ride with them...so I entered.  This is a Substance Projects (Dan Marshall) race...and, in case you haven't heard from anyone yet...Dan's races are awesome.  The courses are always a challenge, the vibe is always a fun, relaxed, form of race anticipation, and the people involved are so down to earth...and this atmosphere tends to attract racers who truly love the sport, and the camaraderie that comes with riding 'together' and enjoying a beer and stories after.  So many great people who just love to ride their bikes in the woods.  Can't beat that.

And the race was being held at Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre up in Parry Sound.  Parry Sound...where there is proper fatbike snow.



And all reports of the Georgian Nordic mountain bike trails are super positive...and somewhere I had never ridden.  It looked great!!

And the folks up there spent the night grooming the trails!!


So I entered.  Single speed cat.  (I love my SingleSpeed Fatbike!  If you have never tried it...you gotta...you will be hooked!!)



And then, Mark & Jenn bailed (something about feeling that it wasn't proper to leave their single digit aged children alone)...and I faced the prospect of doing the 2.5 hour drive alone.

And then PowerPaul entered, and talked me into riding up with him.  Awesome!  And then EnglishJim entered...wow!!  In case you were not warned years ago to not follow this blog...EnglishJim has a bit of a history here...his name is actually ancient Metis for 'He Who Enters Two Races' (ooops...pun not intended!!), or 'He Who Randomly Races', or 'Hey, I Wear Nipple Tape' (long story...you will have to ask Jim...).  Anyways...travel crew established...early last Saturday morning we headed up to Parry Sound.

We pulled into the Georgian Nordic parking lot around noon (2pm race start time!!).  Hey, there was Jenn & Mark!!  They had 'un-bailed...with Jenn racing and Mark parenting.  Cool!!  Actually, it was cold...around -12 Celsius I think.  But the sun in the wide open parking lot and staging area seemed to warm things up.  And then we went for a pre-ride loop into the woods...out of the sun it seemed like the temp dropped at least 5 degrees...it was bloody cold!!  Off back to the truck to put on a warmer balaclava...warm head = warm everything ... or so they say.

The pre-ride also established that the trails were well groomed, but still soft enough to create significant drag...which would get worse as the trail got chewed up.  (The race course was a 7km loop that we would race for 4 laps).

Then it was start time and the race was on!

Seth leading the way with JeffS in hot pursuit...the FAST guys!!
(Photo GetOutdoorsParrySound)

Sarah...fastest female on this day (She is always fast!!)
(Photo GetOutdoorsParrySound)


Who dat??
(Thank you to GetOutdoorsParrySound)

Of course, the course was crowded for the first lap...a bit of a cluster with folks with too much tire pressure for conditions getting squirrelly on the track up front...trying my best to get by them, and stay on the best groomed sections of the track.  The track was mostly rolly double track, with several punchy climbs, and a couple of longer lung busting climbs...then dove into some glorious, very narrow single track...which also included a couple of longer climbs.  Actually it almost felt like the entire course was uphill!

I was rolling along at a pretty good pace (for me)...in fact, probably too fast...my heart rate was red-lining, especially on the climbs.  But then somewhere mid-lap I spotted TimM within eyesight.  Tim is a deceptively fast dude on his fatbike...and I thought if I could keep him in sight...that would be a worthy goal.  So I pushed on in that pursuit...again...probably too much.  I went to take a swig of water...but my camelback tube was frozen solid (despite my best efforts to ensure that didn't happen)....so no drink for me.

Also...I had started the race alongside PowerPaul...but somewhere during the first lap he had dropped off...so I kept a consistent look over my shoulder expecting him to come zooming up on me.  WillA racing for FatboyNation was also right on my tail for the first lap...pushing me.  So I had plenty of motivation to push it...although my heart rate was telling me that might not be the best idea.

I really had no idea where I stood in this race amongst the SingleSpeeders.  I knew JackB was here...and he is outta my league kinda fast...but otherwise I wasn't sure...so I was keeping my eye out for other bikes with a distinct lack of derailleur...(had TeamColin shown up singlespeed???) Otherwise, in my head I was racing against other racing friends that I recognized...

Out of the single track...and back into the double track that lead to the end of the lap...as I approached the lap end...there was Jenn starting lap 2 (the route converged for the first/last 100m or so) perhaps a minute in front of me...and there was Tim...perhaps within reach??  (He wasn't...I never saw him again...).

Into lap 2...the course was getting chewed up, and so much more work to ride through.  But I continued to push it...to stay ahead of PowerPaul and WillA...and to try to catch Tim, and possibly Jenn.  However, I was pushing too much...making mistakes on the chewed track as I was getting beyond fatigued.  Proof was provided when I got near the edge of the track on a fast curving descent...and went to dab just off the track...and poof!!!  It was like there was no bottom to the snow...I sunk at least three feet...and swam like a floundering fool to get upright, fish my bike out of the snow and get going again!  I am a slow learner though...I continued pushing my limits, not want to give up any gains I might have made by pushing so hard up to this point...but back in the snow to make snow angels I went...at least 3 more times.  I was also trying various efforts to thaw my water supply, but to no avail...it stayed frozen...I stayed dry.

Finally, I realized it was faster to play it safe, and stay on the trail, and on the bike.  As I finished lap 2 (the laps all finished with a long false flat ending in a steep nasty little climb!) there was Jenn starting lap 3 still maintaining her distance on me.

Into lap 3...there was not much pushing it left in me.  In fact...I don't know if it was my pace for the first two laps, or the softening course conditions but it felt like I was riding a flat tire...or dragging a piano behind me (a couple of quick checks revealed no pianos...).  I was now walking all the longer hills....and on one of them Seth went sprinting past me...he had lapped me!!  I felt like a fat slug!  I relented on...I was sure I saw Jenn cresting a longer climb as I was pushing up it.  Then 3 more fast dudes, including superfast JeffS lapped me.  Damn!!  OK....no more getting lapped...get your slow ass moving!!

Seth...ended up so far ahead (first overall!!) we couldn't see him...seriously!!
(Photo iSparkStudios)

(Photo iSparkStudios)


I am...but I'm working on it!

Into lap 4...there was Jenn...just in front of me!!  I pulled up directly behind her, and let go with my best BatDad routine...'JENN!!'.  She must have been lost in a daydream...cuz I think I startled her more than I intended...she might have even swore at me some.  She pulled away from me...I strove to keep her within eyesight.  However, my leg and lower back muscles were rebelling.

These shorter, sprinty, red-line races are not my specialty...I was hurting at the intensity of the effort.  I was also thirsty!  And besides the deteriorating course conditions (the single track had become particularly nasty!!), it had also clouded over, gotten dark and blizzardy with wind and snow.  It was getting difficult to properly see the nuances of the trail.  In fact, race officials had started to pull racers off the course as they finished their third lap as it was getting too tough to see.

At this point...Jenn was still within eyesight...I could see no one in sight behind me...my legs and back still screaming at me I relented choosing to ride to ensure a safe, upright finish.  I saw Jenn exit the single track ahead of me...heard the clicks of her shifting gears...and she was gone outta sight.

I exited the single track...up that now stupid false flat...and the stupid steep little finish climb...and across the finish.  Where Dan stood...congratulating me on finishing...and for staying on course for the entire race (get lost one time...in one race, years ago...well maybe 2 different races...or 3...).

Anyways...I was finished...and beyond spent.  And there was JackB, he had totally kicked my arse...finishing almost a full half hour ahead of me...he is a speed machine on his SS Fatbike!!  Keeping him in sight is a stretch goal for me to strive for!

Anyways...the the podium celebration was held down the road at Trestle Brewery, yes...a brewery!!!  I tell ya...Dan's races are awesome!!



The winning ladies...Sarah first, Jenn second, Hollie third.

I managed second place singlespeed, eeking out a spot ahead of Dean.  
Jack was first but was so fast he skipped right past the podium!!  
(He left his beer prize though....)

Beer prize with silver medal...Dan's races always great prizes!!

And always great swag and draw prizes...
there was even an EagerBeaver mouse pad!!!???  
(These were not my prizes...I scooped the pics of someone elses treasure.)


So there ya have it...another great day at another of Dan's races.  There is one more in the Fatbike Series...Kingston.  Be there...or you will miss it!!???

Otherwise...
Stay posted!!

OK...not that posted!!

Friday, 25 January 2019

Wendigo

As I get prepared for the third race of SubstanceProjects Ontario Fatbike Race Series being held at the Georgian Nordic trails in Parry Sound, there is another type of Fatbike race coming up for you to consider.  An Ultra race....the Wendigo.



Ultra basically means long.  In this case 155kms...across snowy gravel and trails of North-Central Ontario (the start is out of Cobden, ON...from a brewery no less!!), and in fact the route travels 75kms into the province of Quebec.  (There are also 50km, and 100km route options.)




Full details of the Wendigo can be found here...    https://wendigoultra.blogspot.com/

For reference the wendigo has its roots in native Algonquin folklore.  The Wendigo is a mythical man-eating monster or evil spirit native to the northern forests of the Great Lakes Region of Canada, a possible relative to the Samsquanch (Bigoot/Sasquatch).

So a mysterious, dangerous, tough, entity...with a touch of evil...




And by definition, the quick gist of this race is that it is tough...an honestly difficult test of skill, fitness, and determination.  It's through snow...and not necessarily groomed surfaces...(the first and last 10kms are across a frozen lake surface...Muskrat Lake)...so don't expect to maintain a 30km/hr average speed.  In fact 10 may be pushing it.

A couple of years ago OndrejB and I challenged the Wendigo.  Ondrej did great...I barely survived.



Seriously, it a true test with a just enough of a hint of danger to make it even more compelling.  In fact there is an extensive compulsory required gear list:

Rules/Gear (From the Wendigo webpage) 

​MANDATORY GEAR LIST (MEANING "MUST HAVE" AND NOT A "SUGGESTION")

NOTE THAT ALL RACERS ARE REQUIRED TO DISPLAY THEIR GEAR TO A RACE OFFICIAL AND HAVE IT CHECKED AND SIGNED-OFF. THIS IS MANDATORY IN ORDER TO PROCEED TO THE START LINE.

GEAR PER CATEGORY

50KM 

1. MINIMUM 8 SQ INCHES OF REFLECTIVE MATERIAL ON FRONT AND ON BACK OF BIKE OR RIDER

2. RED BLINKING LIGHTS (X3BULBS) ON FRONT AND BACK & BLINKING AT ALL TIMES (24/7). BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT ON FRONT ACCEPTED.

3. TWO LITERS (2L) OF INSULATED WATER IN A WINTER-RATED INSULATION SYSTEM (CAMELBACK DOES COUNT). BE SURE IT WORKS IN -20C. INSULATED "CHILL BOTTLES" DO NOT COUNT, UNLESS FULLY WRAPPED IN WINTER-RATED CLOSED CELL FOAM INSULATION OR A COZY DESIGNED FOR FULL BOTTLE COVERAGE. (NEW FOR 2019)

4. 12X12" INSULATING FOAM PAD OR INSULATING INFLATABLE PAD FOR RESTING/SITTING OFF OF THE COLD GROUND (NEW FOR 2019)

5. EMERGENCY BIVY OR BLANKET THAT CAN FEND OFF THE COLD/WIND. (NOT FROM DOLLARAMA).

100KM & 150KM 

1. ALL OF THE ABOVE (NO NEED FOR THE 12"X12" FOAM), PLUS...

2. 3/4 BODY LENGTH (MINIMUM) INSULATED FOAM PAD OR Z-REST, OR INSULATED AIR PAD"R" VALUE OF 3 OR GREATER. 

3. WINTER-RATED SLEEPING BAG. MUST SAY -18C OR WARMER ON IT AS ITS 'COMFORT RATING' AND NOT ITS EXTREME RATING (NEW FOR 2019)) 


4. HIGH POWERED LIGHT SYSTEM (IDEALLY 500LUMENS OR MORE) WITH BACK-UP BATTERIES FOR EXTENDED USE IN COLD TEMPS.

5. WINTER COOK SYSTEM THAT YOU'VE PRACTICED WITH AND TRUST TO WORK IN THE COLD.  (MSR/PRIMUS LIQUID FUEL, FIRECUBE/BIO FUEL STOVE, ETC..)
IN OUR OPINION, CANISTER STOVES ARE USELESS WHEN THE TEMPS HIT THE FREEZING MARK. BE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF WORKS BY PRACTICING WITH IT, IN THE COLD. 

6. MUST FINISH WITH 800 SPARE CALORIES (EI: 4 CLIFF BARS). WE WILL CHECK YOUR CALORIES AT THE FINISH (NEW FOR 2019)

7. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: SPARE LAYERS/BATTERIES, FOOD, VAPOUR BARRIER SOCKS, TOOLS, ZIP TIES, GPS, CUE SHEET, PHONE.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR LIGHTS  BLINKING AT ALL TIMES, YOU WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE COURSE!!!


So...proper preparation is not an option.

Check with these wily local podium finishing veterans of this race...

 AdamF...first place in the 150km long race!!


JackP...second in the 150 (yeah...only second!!)

So it's tough...ultra tough.  It really is a test on many levels...physical fitness, mental/emotional toughness, endurance/nutritional discipline, temperature management, logistical preparedness.  So...yeah it's difficult...a test worthy of challenging.

And it's all on a fatbike...how fun is that??



The fastest riders will complete the 155km course in 10-15+ hours.  On a fatbike.  In a winter wonderland.  It's a mountain biking winter lovers dream!  There are similar races in Alaska/Northwest Territories...but this one is in our own back yard.  And promoted by one of our own well seasoned ultra-endurance riders, CameronD.  If ultra endurance events are your forte, or have ever been on your radar, this is a great opportunity!!

Again, check out the details, pics from past races, and register here.

https://wendigoultra.blogspot.com/

And then conquer the mystery and spirit of the Wendigo on February 9th!!

And we will stay posted!!