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Friday, 26 April 2019

Turkey Point XC Marathon and More MTB Coming Up!!

Well...a little late...but that is how procrastination goes.  But wait....

So...two weeks ago (April 13th)...Substance Pojects first race of their XC Marathon series happened at Turkey Point.  Turkey Point, becoming a MTB Mecca...especially for early in the season where everywhere else in the world is still saturated, the sandy based trails here are primo...actually awesome even!!

And there is a winery nearby!!  Which is where Dan (Dan of Substance Projects) had the race start and finish.  (Smart that guy is!!). So...instead of a long winded, boring, detailed version of the race (which I can now barely remember cuz it was so long ago...) let's go with more of a brief re-cap.

Morning of the race RustyCrank and I left my house for Turkey Point (living in North Bay, RustyCrank stayed at my house the night before in order to avoid a kazzillion mile drive the morning of the race).



Me and Rusty...ready to roll??


Well...at least my bike seemed to be ready...

We arrived to see many of the familiar faces, fellow racers and organizers...friends, competitors, lovers of the sport...it was like a homecoming it was.

SleevelessAdam (even in the winter races...seriously!), 
Jonny, Grant, Richard hiding...

KTuff


Then a bit of a warm up...(there is never enough of a warm up for me...it literally takes me at least a full hour to properly warm up). Plus...I needed to test how my back felt.  I had taken a rather harsh fall on a very long rock garden of a trail 3 days prior.  My back was still very bruised...very stiff.



Sorry...should have warned about that view...

So into the start corral (moo!), where there was a mix serious intense racer types, folks looking to have fun and enjoy the trails, and some like me, observing while looking to push ourselves while enjoying the day.  And I wanted to ride safe...make sure not to fall on my back again...there is an entire season of racing to come.


Crowded


Then after Dan's required blah, blah, blah, we were off.  I started off too hot...each right legged pedal stroke with any kind of power was accompanied with a stabbing reminder up the right side of my back...so I eased off and just rode...or tried to ease off.  Dan's course had a few punchy climbs, at least for a heavy single speeder, that required more effort...and whatever power I could muster.  As I continued the discomfort diminished and after an hour or so it was mostly gone...and I was able to actually go at race pace. 


And Ted and his crew (ApexRacePhotography) 
were out there...caught me grimacing 
through one of the climbs.

Actually, check out this progression of Ted's pics...as I recognized him as I rode by...

This race hurts...dammit Dan!!  Hey...is that...



...Ted??  Hey!!  It's Ted!!


Hiya Ted!!


Haha!!  I saw Ted!!  OK...me race now!!


But at this point, I was an hour into a 40km (2 to 2.5 hour race)...so my race was effectively over...and I still wanted to make sure I didn't fall again.  But the trails were awesome...conditions were pristine!!  And the TP trails are just plain, all out fun!!  So much flow!!  Over a small hill at speed, down into the rooty drops on the trail 'Pile Driver' were a small reminder to be careful.  But for the most part I rode out the rest of the course in full out race mode. 


Topping out one of the climbs, 
there was NewfieSteve and PowerPaul taking a couple of pics as I went by...
laughing at me.  (They were not racing on this day).  
Laughing either at my discomfort, or how slow I was going...

Either way it was funny...and I just had to laugh back.
It was cool to see them there.


I finished off the race chasing down a fellow single speeder, Marc, who had come into view; and crossed the line with a finish time of 2hours24minutes.  I was last of the 11 single speeders entered...but I was safe and happy!


Post race interview??  No...unfortunately not...


Dan's races are always amazing...great race courses...but mostly it's the fun, relaxed atmosphere.  It seems that no one really takes themselves too seriously, and the main goal is to enjoy the day.  It's always a great experience...even if Dan always has a poke at me for my propensity to get lost (one time!!!...OK...maybe twice....or three times...but hey!!).


Why?  Just cuz it's funny...
Or is it??

Anyways...it took me so long to write this review/blog, that Dan's second race of his Marathon Series already happened.  (April 20th) I didn't race this one...so no review.  Sorry Dan. 

And the iconic gravel?? race, the Paris to Ancaster is happening this weekend.  I'm not racing that one either. 

I guess I'm saving energy for one of these two upcoming races.  But will have to choose...they are both on May 11th!!

The Epic 8 Hour Spring edition...promoted by ChicoRacing and held at the always challenging (which makes it totally fun!!) trails at Mansfield.  The idea is to race as many laps of a 10km course as you can do in 8 hours.  A mix of steep hills, sand, and roots, this is a race I try to do every year...especially considering these trails are not normally open to the public.  The Epic 8 Hour MTB relay series (Spring, Summer, and Fall races), have become a southern Ontario must do.

The other option this year is the BORCA Spring Chicken.  The folks at BORCA (Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association) work their tails off to create and maintain a series of single track trails in Whitewater township (Ontario), and each year they hold the Spring Chicken to help support the trailbuilding/maintenance efforts.  The race is 60kms, with so much awesome single track (there is also a 27km version if shorter is more your style), in the heart of the Ottawa valley.  Climbs, shield rock, roots all mixed into the flow.  And for a great cause.  Check it out at  BORCA Spring Chicken!




I really like the longer rides/races.  The sad truth for me is if the ride/race is less than 2 hours its hardly worth putting on the gear.  I don't know if its my metabolism, age, hairdo...or what, but it seriously does take me an hour or more to properly warm up.  Hence, my focus on 4+ hour races.  If you follow my strava most of my rides fit this narrative...(is that a proper use of the term???  sounds fancy anyways...).  And I try to drag along as many friends that like to do these types of rides...and most of them end up kicking my ass.  I've never claimed to be fast...I just really like to ride.

On one ride...re-water/food stop

So Oggie can practice his Riot face...


Sometimes Alpaca lunch...

No horsing around on these rides...moo!

Anyways...always getting off track.  So... May 11th will be my next race...maybe I will manage a blog post before that. 

Stay posted!!

Black hole...or....
Aha!!





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!