Is This A Logo??

Is This A Logo??

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

BT700 - The Adventure Continues - Part 2 (Deux...D'Oh!!)

At the end of part 1 we left off with Hal's tire, after numerous re-pumps, a tube insert, a boot attempt....finally giving up the ghost.  Flat and un-repairable, with a long section of bead separated from the tire wall.  This was around the 70km mark for the day.

Luckily, we spotted someone on the deck of a nearby farmhouse.  We rolled into the yard, it was a young girl and her mother taking care of the farm and the plants while the owners were away.  To make a long story less long, after some conversation and explanation of the situation they actually offered to drive Hal to Collingwood (about a 45km drive) to purchase a new tire.  (People are amazing!!).  I topped up my water, and proceeded to continue the ride while Hal went to get a new tire...Hal and I would figure out a way to reconnect later on.

So on I went, now properly solo, into the heat and back into the relentless repeated climbs, broken up with steep rocky descents on this section of the course.  At the 108km mark of the day I came to an optional loop on the course, through the Loree Forest.  It was an opportunity for a little more fun while Hal caught up to me.  A steep little climb lead to a fun rooty trail loop that lead to a lookout that loomed over the Blue Mountains, Lake Huron, and Craiglieth Provincial Park.

The view was spectacular!  May camera skills don't even 
come close to doing it justice.  Where is ApexTed when you need him????

Then, on I continued...I still had not heard from Hal...but I wasn't always totally alone...

Moo, eh...

Finally, a text from Hal...he had acquired a new tire and was back on his way from the location where we split up.  My optional trail loop had let him get closer to catching up but at this point he was still a good hour and a half behind me.  But after a half a day of riding lost to the tire issue, he was back on track. 

So on I went, into the Blue Mountain trails (more climbs), into Blue Mountain Resort that was robust with tourists and downhillers.  I stopped for a break (and a $5 PowerAid!!!), re-fueled with some packed food.  Then on...more crazy climbs through the Scenic Caves area...then into some wet, washed out (literally under water) fire-road/ trail...up a heart busting long, loose, steep, rocky climb (was there no end to these things???), then into some of the most fun single track on the route.  The 3-Stage trails...ridiculous steep rocky climbs...screaming fast descents, hucking rock and root drops on a fully loaded bike...had me wishing I could strip my bike of bags and rip around in here for a couple of hours...

Yeah...Red Death Lookout...
had this Metis a little worried...

Unfortunately, had to eventually move on from the 3-Stage/Kolapore trails.  The heat of the day, the climbing were beginning to take a toll.  Saddle sores were starting to burn...even with regular applications of chamois cream.  A niggling pain in my right knee at the start of the day had grown to screaming burn from inside the joint, and was accompanied by a blister on my little toe.  Perhaps, a change in cleat position would alleviate the discomfort...if I remembered to address it this evening.

At about the 135km mark for the day, I texted Hal...he was about 30 kms behind me.  The events of the day had worn on him.  We determined we would make camp at Highlands Nordic.  A site that offered tent camping space, a washroom and a shower.  It was about 20km ahead for me.

Unfortunately it was on Concession 10.  One of the hilliest gravel roads in the area.  Of course....continue the BT700 experience.  Onward....climb after climb....then there it was.  I pulled in...sore, and dehydrated.  Mark and Dave, two other BT700-ers were already there.  As I set up my camp, Cambridge rider also pulled in.

Eventually, Hal limped in.  Kelly, Highlands Nordic staff person helped us, as a group find a place that would deliver pizza out our way.  (People are amazing!!)

Feast was had.  Then sleep...hoping for an early morning start.

Tuesday:  155.34km.  2173m elevation.  9hrs 6mins.

Day 4: Wednesday

Awake early...but took time heating some coffee and pre-made breakfast with the small camp stove.  On the bikes rolling by 6:15am.  The hope was to beat the heat, but it was already densely humid.  Mark and Dave had rolled out about a half hour ahead of us...Cambridge was still at camp packing up as we left.

I had put a bandaid over the blister on my little toe, but did not re-position the cleat on my right shoe; this would prove to be a mistake.  It was another intense climbing day, and my knee with a sharp thud followed me through the day.  And the saddle sores were in full scream mode (that means they hurt like heck!!).

Into the climbs and about the 20km mark of the day...climbing another ridiculous long, steep, loose rocky fire road climb we met Bill Wang...who was into Day 2 of the tour.  He started a couple of days after the Grand Depart, but he was doing it in the opposite direction.

Bill took this pic.  I was glad to meet him; 
gave me a reason to stop to rest on this ridonculous climb.

Then onward...we ended up leap-frogging Mark and Dave throughout the day.  We rolled into Creemore where we found a small gas station open for another coffee, water, and stock up on fuel for the day.  Mark and Dave rolled in as we ate.

It was another hot day...slow progress with the repeated long, steeeep climbs.  A constant search to keep water topped up.  Trying to stand as much as possible to alleviate saddle sores, and an aching knee.  At about the 70km mark for the day we rolled into the small town of Primrose with Mark and Dave and stopped at a small restaurant for lunch and water.  (Steve's Restaurant....I think...).

After lunch the route took us through Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, and some very fun single track.  At about 110km mark we hit the Tim Hortons at Airport Road and Hwy 9 for more fuel.  Then directly into more fun single track...through Glen Haffy Conservation Park and the Oak Ridges Trails.  A few kms of gravel followed...then into the Palgrave single track.

At 126km mark, almost directly out of the Palgrave single track, the route lead us directly by provincial legend, Sarah Caylor's country home.  Sarah had offered her property as a spot for BT700 riders to camp for the night.  How much of a legend is Sarah??  She had started this journey 2 hours behind us...she passed us on day 1 in Southampton...and finished the entire 715km more than a full day before we rolled into her yard!!  ON A SINGLESPEED!!!  She was already home, slept and recovering...cheering us on as we rode up...with beer for us!

Mark and Dave were somewhere behind us at this point and we expected them to roll in at any time.  But they had decided to ride on fact they continued on throughout the night, to finish the full route at 3am in the morning.  Well done guys!!  Cambridge made camp for the night at nearby Albion Hills camp ground.

Sarah and her favourite fella, Scott, offered to go to town for pizza and (more) beer for us.  (People are amazing!!).  So we made camp for the night here...and visited with these amazing folks...swapping stories.

Relieved, happy, to make it to Sarah's.

Wednesday:  126.15km.  2004m elevation.  8hrs 16mins.

Day 5:  Thursday

Thursday morning saw us enjoying our accommodations, and taking our time, continuing our visit with Sarah and Scott.  It was 7:30 by the time we got going. 

The day was almost immediately into the Albion Hills single track and double track.  One of my favourite memories of this route is the abundance of fun single and double trails.  It's not all gravel...and almost no pavement! 

Off of the Albion trails and onto the Caledon Trailway...finally!!!  40 kms of almost dead flat rail trail lay ahead of us.  It actually took a few moments to adjust my actually shut off and zen out...and relax into a steady cadence for this section.

Where the trail crossed Airport Road, we stopped to hydrate and fuel at an amazing little bakery, Four Corners Bakery...enjoying some pastry, and conversation with staff/owners and customers.  A great place to stop if you are in the area!!  Continuing along the flat rail trail...having to stand to give the saddle sores and aching knee a break as often as possible.

We exited the rail trail at the town of Inglewood...and the route took us up one of the limited sections of pavement on the route.  But what a stretch of pavement.  Just another looong, steep climb.  Damn...after so much flat rail trail, this was a slap in the face!!  Knee shouting its displeasure...we finally crested this climb (the last real climb of the route!)....into more fun single Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.  Then onto the Elora Cataract trail....more flat rail trail...most welcomed!!

Into the town of Fergus, for one more stop at a Tim Hortons...water and fuel.  Then into the Elora Gorge...a place of beauty!!  Such an awesome sight...nature at its finest...and fun twisty rooty trails.

Then across an old, closed bridge...we crossed then were met by of this route!!  She led us out along a section of pavement.  Thank you Tabi!!  Great to meet you!!

Through the covered bridge at West of Ontario's last historic covered bridges.  Then the route took us onto the Grand River trail...several kms of fun tight twisty single track then some seriously overgrown trail along the Grand River.  Another historical bridge...

Hal took a rest here, while I attended to my hardware...

Here...I finally took time to readjust my cleat...and almost immediate relief to my knee!!!  Ya...don't even say it...

There were actually several very interesting bridges along the route!

Then...with 5 -10 kms to go there was Matt Kadey...Tabi's partner and co-founder of the route.  He had come out to meet us and lead us into town.  Into St. Jacobs...and there we were.  Done!!!


Thursday:  125.56km.  903m elevation.  6hrs 54mins.

An unbelievable experience!  So complete...a total inclusion of everything an Ontario mountain biker/gravel grinder could look for!  Thank you so much to Matt and Tabi for the route.  I cannot even fathom how much work, research, recon, and logistics this must have taken!!  And with such success!!  So greatly appreciated!!

And thank you to Hal, for joining me on this experience.  Not many can handle me for this long at one time...some strange idiosyncrasies, and sense (or non-sense) of humour...or so I'm told.  Ask Lois.

I look forward to doing it again.  Soon!!  In fact...likely early September.  What say you???

Would I do it as a racer?  Or again as a fast tourist?  (We should have been able to do it in under 4 days without the mechanical, and the thunderstorm delay.)  It will depend on who I do it with...or if I do it alone.  I am fine to do it either way.  Although, I would recommend that for anyone who did do it as a do it again a little slower...and enjoy the amazing scenery, the local stops, the incredible variety this province has to offer.  It is all there on this route. 

Someone (a committed racer...who, I think has to be committed to it because he has committed so much to it...if that makes sense) mentioned that he will do the more tourist approach to any race/ride when he is older.  I think this is a mistake...because if you are living life 'properly' you will never feel 'older'.  One with a 'racer', A-type personality (I know, I've been involved in competitive sport for most of my life) has to consciously approach a route like this with the intention to take the time to appreciate all the extras that come with it.  This route is one worthwhile of taking that least one time.  I understand both sides...I want to race it sometime too...sometime.  The very cool thing is that this is a route worthy of both approaches.  This route...with it's unforgivable bits of single track and double track...navigational challenges...and amidst an Ontario humid heat wave was conquered by a challenger in under 48 hours is unbelievable!!  That is one committed athlete!!  Un-countable amount of kudos to that rider!!

Anyways...I'ma do it again.  Soon!!  And I will enjoy it at any rate...and curse it, and Matt and Tabi, as I suffer through. 

The BT700 will surely become a famous classic.  In fact....there are whispers...rumours...that there may be some additions to it...(perhaps another 300km???)...but you didn't hear it from me.  Cuz nothing is for certain...or forever...on the internet.  Right???  Right.

So, there we have it...

And with that...what's next for me in the MTB world??


Stay posted!!

Friday, 26 July 2019

BT700 - A Ride, An Adventure, An Experience; Beyond Epic - Part One

There are so many words, so many pictures, I will do my best to sum up this experience in a less than novel-ic blog post.  (OK...I failed so I have made it a two parter...)

The BT700...a 700 km tour starting at St Jacobs, Ontario, heading north through the Mennonite farmlands to the shores of Lake Huron, east to the Blue Mountains, south through the Beaver Valley and further through the Oak Ridges Moraine, then back west through the Albion and Caledon Hills back to St Jacobs.  All through various rail trails, gravel roads, and single/double track trails.  A route highlighting gravel/mountain bike riding options and the variety of central Ontario's geography, forest greenery, agriculture regions, river valleys, escarpment and great lakes views.  Seriously world class.  All put together by an unbelievable amount of research and recon by one Matthew Kadey, an experienced gravel-bike packing cyclist with an obvious intense passion for the experience...and a desire to share.

When I first became aware of this tour, I knew it was an immediate must do.  The question was how to approach it.  Should I do it as a racer, packing minimal necessities to stay light and fast, riding through nights with minimal sleep to get done in as short a time as possible?  Or do it as a tourist, packing full sleeping gear, tent, food, stove and taking my time to take in the full experience of the route, the views and the various small towns??

The previous week, my friend Hal and I had bikepacked up to Kincardine (220kms each way), and back.  Hal was also doing the BT700.  The two day Kincardine trip worked out well...we didn't get on each others nerves too much...Hal was ok with me blasting out obscure 70s and 80s songs (yes, with my own voice), and talking to farm animals as we passed by.  So we decided we would do the 700 together with the intention of doing it in 4 days.  Not racer fast, but more like fast tourists; riding as steady as possible during daylight...bringing lights but not intending to night ride unless necessary.  We planned to minimalist camping at night (I brought a bivy bag and a tarp), and take the time for pictures and admiration of points of interest along the way.

My loaded rig.  Hardtail 29 Kona Ti Raijin.
With 2.3ml Specialized Fast Trac tires tubeless.

Hal`s Saturday evening prep proved we weren`t serious
about race pacing this one.  (OK that`s milk in the jug...)

And so, on Sunday at 7am...we were on our way...

Day 1: Sunday

The Grand Depart was scheduled for around 8am...however we wanted to take advantage of as much daylight as possible so we rolled out sometime between 6:30 and 7:00am.

Hal at the start line...

I noticed early into the ride that my newly rented SPOT tracker was not staying powered, it would start then power off in a minute or so, so after a bit of fiddling I took the time to change the batteries...still no luck.  I plugged it directly into a power pack (I brought two 10,000mA power packs to keep phone and garmin charged), it still would still not stay on.  Something was buggered with I did away with it, and texted the situation to family that might be tracking me so they wouldn't worry.  Enough time lost to this problem...on we went.

The buggered SPOT...

The Sunday route headed north from St. Jacobs, onto gravel roads busy with Mennonite horse and carriage traffic, then the route turned into long stretches of rough chunky rail trail as ATVs are allowed to use this trail system (Bruce County rail trail).  As we headed north on the rail trail we were treated to a few single track trail systems including the Carrick Tract trail system, and, my favourite on this day the Brant Tract trail system.

Some of the scenic (sorry I`m in the way!) sights along the way...
there were so many, and my pics don't do them justice!
Where is Apex Ted when you need him??

At the 175km mark we hit McGregor Point provincical park on the shores of Lake Huron.  The trails system here is extensive with multiple offshoots of side trails of single track that made navigation a challenge, so there was much out and back trial and error navigation to stay true to the planned route.  Extra mileage was put on here.  However the multiple views of the lake made it worthwhile.  The beaches and incoming waves of Lake Huron would have you believe you were ocean-side!  Seriously, the views on this entire 700+km route were so impressive...and they started here on Lake Huron`s shore.  An extensive ride down a lengthy boardwalk required us to walk the bikes with the volume of pedestrian traffic on a hot Sunday evening.

At around the 210km mark, we hit Southhampton where we had planned to camp for the night at Denny`s Dam campground.  However, it appeared that this spot had been shut down and signs alerting that there was no camping allowed.  So after a bit of riding/scouting around we found another camp spot and at 222kms we set up camp.

Sunday:  222.77 km.  1005m elevation.  10hrs 49mins.

Day2: Monday

After a rather good night sleep on an open bivy (Hal had a small bikepacking tent), we woke and boiled water for coffee and breakfast.  A little more leisurely than planned, we were hoping to get rolling again by 6:30am or 7:00, but by the time we ate, and packed up our dewy gear it was 7:50am.  (I brought my own pre-mixed breakfasts and dinners that were good to be coldsoaked or hot water added).

Riot smile selfie!!

The day started on gravel road and the Georgian Bluffs trail for about 50km into Owen Sound.  In retrospect we should have continued yesterday`s ride to include this section, as it was mostly flat, easy and fast.  A point to remember for next time.

Signs like these are common on this route!

Past Owen Sound the bulk of the ride was on rough gravel roads, and very rough trail.  In the heat and humidity of the day the main challenge (other than keeping pedaling) was to make sure we kept our water and food supplies topped up.  Tim Horton`s and local convenience stores became our best friends to keep camel backs and bottles full, and to pack as much `food` as we could fit on our bikes.

The heat and humidity...clearly added to the challenge of this ride.  Many times I pulled up to a convenience store with empty bottles and camelback...staying hydrated was key...the heat was intense reflecting off the gravel surface...the humidity oppressive when we were in the forest.

We were always on the lookout for water stops.  
Keeping topped up was key!!

Then it started to rain...which was a relief from the heat...but there was thunder and lightning on the horizon.  As we rolled into the town of Thornbury around 3pm we decided to stop at a local pub for lunch and see if the rain would let up or pass.  As one cider/beer led to another, more riders rolled in to eat/hydrate and wait out the rain.

Ahem...when in Rome...

However, the rain did not let up, and the lightning storm slowly rumbled after ordering and eating, sharing stories with other riders, and more beer/cider, we decided to play it safe and found a cheap, but clean hotel (Penny`s motel in Thornbury!!) for the night.  (Besides, I don`t think Hal was in any shape to ride at this point!)

There were also buttertarts...of course!!

It was a good call as the storm raged for 2 or 3 hours throughout the night.  The motel was full with other riders who made the same call.  But is was almost a half day of riding lost...

Monday:  132.09km. 793m elevation. 6hrs 36mins.

Day 3:  Tuesday

Heat and elevation, with a bit of an adventurous side story would be the story of this day.

We got going rolling out of the motel, stopping at the local Tim Horton's to load up on food to get us through the day.

The temperature would reach the mid thirties, with the humidity taking it into the low forties.  Out on gravel roads you not only got roasted from above, but baked from the heat reflecting off the the forest the humidity felt like riding in the depths of a swamp.

Then add in the elevation.  Relentless loooong gravel climbs...followed by a screaming fast loose gravel descent, often littered with brake bumps from the auto traffic...followed by yet another looong gravel climb.

Relentless...but my camera and my pic skills don't do it justice.  
Where is Apex Ted when we need him??

And when the route dove into the forest and you thought there might be a bit of relief from the climbing the route presented you with a looong loose rocky double track steep I often found myself in my 12 speed granny gear.  These forest climbs also embraced the humidity but to add to the suffering the lack of breeze made it a haven for the black flies, deer flies, and horse flies...all happy to feast while you slowly struggled up the climbs...even crawling under my camelback.  Fun times here.

The extreme heat made it imperative to stay topped up for hydration...we had to venture off route, adding additional mileage, in order to find water sources.  As in this stop in Flesherton...a few kms off course...then return to the course at the point of departure.

Small store in Flesherton...showing us the way??

Be aware if you do this route, many small town stores and
 restaurants are closed on Monday and Tuesday...
I guess since they are open all weekend.  
We found this out the hard way!

And the morning breeze became a stiff wind...usually a head wind of course.  This was indeed a day made to test the suffer metric.

The headwind was substantial...this flag standing out straight.

And then...

Hal developed a slow leak in his rear tire.  And after 4 or 5 stops to pump up the leak Hal decided to insert a tube...

Repair time...

New tube inserted, and a bit of coaxing to get the tire seated properly, but it all seemed to be holding, we were back on our way.  For about another 20 - 25 kms...until finally on a flat section...we noticed the tube bulging through the sidewall...a quick stop and air release to ensure the tube didn't burst.  Inspection showed that the bead of the tire had split from the sidewall...not good at all.  As a last resort, we booted the tire with a $20 bill (all we had on us at the time).

As we worked on the situation, a fellow BT700 rider came up behind us.  I don't know if I ever got his name, but he was from Cambridge and riding a rigid gravel bike.  He was really struggling with the heat and the climbing, and as there wasn't anything he could do to help us, he mentioned that he was going to wander on and find a small town to have lunch and try to recover to complete the day.  Off he went.  We eventually got the tire booted, and re-inflated...enough to find a medium pressure that would prevent pinch flatting...and not burst the boot...very tricky.

Then on we went...the fix appeared to hold.  Hallelujah...but we would keep a close watch on it.

As became a matter of course on this route, I would drop Hal on the climbs and he would catch me on the flats.

Hal, speeding down another hill...

As we continued with the repaired tire, the dropping on the climbs became accelerated...then at a point about 20kms into the most recent repair...Hal wasn't catching me...I looked back.  No Hal.  I turned around and rode back...still no Hal.  Finally, there was Hal...limping along on a flat tire...riding gingerly as to not damage the rim of the wheel.  A quick, "I'm f...k'd" summed up the situation.  There were no more options...a new tire was required.

We noticed someone standing on the deck of a nearby farmhouse...


This story has taken too long to tell...let's end this chapter for now...

Will Riot and Hal survive to ride another day??
Will the person on the deck shoot at the Metis and the Judd??
Will Marvin's bomb make a 'Kaboom'??

Stay tuned for the next post to see if our heroes (heroes???) find a phone booth!!


Stay posted!!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

What's Been Going On?? It's Been Awhile!!

Well I guess I have procrastinated on putting off delaying (???) this post long enough that I can't really call it a review of any race...but TeamColin has been blog posting so I guess I should.  So here are very quick re-caps of what has been going on this spring and summer...

The Spring Epic 8 Hour mountain bike race...

Always a true test of spring fitness levels.  Held at Mansfield Outdoor Centre where the sandy trails stand up to a variety of conditions, and are in fact, better when a tad wet; which it was this spring.  Plenty of roots...and plenty of hills on these trails.  But this year, it seems the folks at Chico Racing went out of their way to include every rooty climb in the trail system...and then found/made a few more just to add to the fun/challenge.

Seriously, with 250m of rather technical climbing every 10km lap, from very steep to long and grinding, it was a serious single speeders challenge.  Actually, for me the start climb is the toughest...although it's wide open fire road width, it's so long and relentless, and either soft sand or loose gravel, by the time I get to the top I'm redlined.
I'd been riding fairly consistently throughout the winter (yay for fatbikes!!!), but I still had no idea what kind of endurance ride kind of shape I was in.  After the first couple of laps I settled into what I thought was a proper 8 hour pace for me.  I paid zero attention to the 'scoreboard' during the race...just intent to enjoy the day and put in as many laps as I could muster.  (Meeting other solos along the trail, and having JennR chase me down, or push me for the final half of the day).  However, at the end of the day, with 10 laps put in; I realized I wasn't totally trashed like I should be, and usually am at the finish of a race.  Which meant I could have, should have, set myself a faster pace and had a better result.  (You may ask why I didn't recognize this during the race, but all the climbing had me concerned about flaming out at any point...which didn't happen...and good to know for future races this year.)

No podium spot for me this year...this time...but for me a great day...

And ApexRacePhotography was on course.
Ted at his best making even me look fast!!

Summer Solstice 24 HR Relay Race

Another Chico Racing classic.  I had the unfortunate circumstance of crashing hard on a gravel road ride just 7 days before this event.  A broken road helmet and severe road rash on my knuckles and up the right side of my body from my knee to my shoulder threatened to keep me from participating in this years Solo 24.  But the road rash was nicely scabbing over (yum, eh??), and any possible concussion symptoms had subsided (a doctor visit resulted in only a tetanus shot) so on Friday Jonny (who was also solo-ing so we were sharing a pit) and I headed up to the race venue at Albion Hills Conservation Area to get set up.  We had planned to race unsupported (no assisting back up crew), but MarcS showed up...he was supposed to be racing but had very recently broken his thumb in a he offered to help us out with support.  What an amazing help Marc was!!  Marc has solo-d the 24 HR before  so he knew when we should eat, what we should eat, when we should rest...all the stuff that an endurance racer doesn't always make the best decisions on in a glycogen depleted brain  fog!!  So many sincere 'Thank yous' to Marc for the help!!

 ApexTed on course again, clickin my pic!!

Different jersey, trying to stay fresh through the 24 hours. 

Ted catching a Riot smile! 

Race day Saturday was perfect weather...there must have been close to 3000 racers entered into this event.  It really is a classic, and so well run by the folks at Chico Racing...they have been doing this for 100's of years (well alomost....) and have it down to a art even.  It sells out early every year (by February).  There were 50 of us solo-ing....with 13 entered into my age category (male age 50+)....and at noon sharp the start gun went off...we were a going!  I settled into a pace early...with almost 300m of climbing per 17km lap, the plan was to survive the climbs, take advantage of the long very fast downhills, and recover-eat-hydrate on the flats.  With two of the strongest endurance riders I know in my age category, DaveS and KenW, not entered in this race cuz they were doing a little thing called the Tour Divide, I thought I might even have a chance at the podium on this one.

So for the first few hours of the race I saw myself battling between 3rd and 4th place with Andy (a racer with the team Lapdogs).  I would pass him as he took long breaks between laps then he would rail past me somewhere further up the race course.  Then somewhere during the night laps I had begun to develop a headache.  Not knowing the cause exactly...a result of energy/electrolyte depletion, or a recurring concussion symptom from my previous weeks crash, Marc suggested it may be a good idea to have a sleep and see how that would work out.  A great call I might not have had the faculty to make on my own.  So...a couple of hour nap...headache was gone.  Get some fuel back in me....and got back out into the race.

Well the nap may have saved me a few much needed brain cells...but I had now dropped to seventh place.  So I just proceeded with the intention of just finishing up the race at my was still night time...about I planned to ride careful...I'm not a big fan of night riding...I can crash just fine in the daylight.  For a solo racer, it's when you hear the birds start to chirp their morning calls that you feel a wave of relief knowing daylight should be coming on the next lap...and you can do away with the lights on the bike and helmet.  So, on I proceeded into the sunrise and onto the morning.  Approaching the noon finish I was struggling...the pains of riding for that length were starting to take lap times had dwindled to 1hr44mins for my last two laps.  Very slow, just pedalling to keep going...survive the climbs, take advantage of the downhills, recover on the flats...just slower than before.  Then near the end of the race time, I pulled into my pit to fuel up and stretch before heading out for one more lap to end the day.  And Marc mentioned to me, "Hey Mike, (he forgot my name is Riot) you know you have worked your way back up 4th place...In fact you are only 10 minutes out of 3rd."

What??  What??  Making up 10 minutes at this point of the race, and in my depleted state was a near impossibility but I knew I had to off I went...blazing like a tortoise!  Pushing through all the hurts...doing my best to hammer up the climbs...and push on the need to save and recover now.  It was my buddy Orville I was chasing...Orville was in 3rd place.  I had met Orville at the previous years 24HR race.  Orville is a surprisingly fast mountain bike racer...surprising because he is built like a football strong dude!  When he stands up to push his single speed (yeah...single speed!), he is gone!  Well there he was in front of me!!  On a looooong grassy double track climb....just ahead of me.  I passed him on the left...and said, "Hi Orville" as I passed.  At his point I didn't know if he knew I was in 4th pushing him for 3rd...but he must have because he responded with, "Dammit, I knew it!!".  And as we dove back into some single track, he was hard on my tail.

At this point I was wrecked...I had drawn on everything I had to make up the time gap and was now working on fumes.  But Orville must have been saving some gas in the we approached a long loose gravel road climb...BOOM! (as TeamColin says!), Orville stood up and he was away!!  I struggled up the climb in some wimpy granny gear....then back into single track...I pushed hard!  And pushed harder!  My hamstrings started to cramp...then my quads...and my lower back started to lock up....but I pushed through.  I felt like I was going fast, and expected to see Orville around every next bend or climb.  I actually wondered if I had passed him without noticing...but no.  As I pushed up the last stupid little rooty climb to the finish...I was done. I tapped my computer chip on the reader pad, my leg muscles weren't working brain was as foggy as Johnny Cash on a Sunday morning.  If there was time to do another lap...I couldn't do it.  Orville had finished 4 minutes ahead of me, he's an athlete to respect!  He took 3rd place, but I think I made him earn it.

I was done...but it was a good day. does one recover from solo-ing a 24 hour?  Usually with about a week of rest, or very easy riding.  But...I had gotten into bike packing this spring...and I totally enjoy it!!  Combine mountain biking...or gravel riding, with camping...what could be better??

So when my buddy Hal called me on Wednesday, 3 days after the 24HR and says, "Hey Mike (he forgot my name is Riot), I'm going to bikepack to Kincardine tomorrow (a 200+km ride), and back on Friday (a 200+km ride), do you want to join me?"

I says, "Hal, I'm still wrecked from the 24HR...I can't do that!"

He says, "So you'll do it then?"

I says, "Yeah, I guess so."

So, that's what we did...and many hurts were had...and good times.  Especially riding 4 hours in an extreme thunder storm on the way back on the Friday.

Oh...and apparently this is now a thing...

The Riot smile...

Well...some are still learning...

 And some have it perfected...

I think only my buddy Jody has figured it out...that the Riot smile was inspired by Bob and Doug Mackenzie...the two hosers eh!!

Anyways....sorry about the long post...there is so much more I could how Jonny killed his first solo 24, how Sarah kills every endurance race, how JoeM destroyed his first 8HR solo, Jouko and Robin attacking the DirtyKanza, NatalieT crushed her first 24 solo.  I'll try not to be such a procrastinating cat from now on...

Anyways...So whats up next for me??
There is a little ride called the BT700.  It's new.  720kms.  It's happening this weekend.  Hopefully I will report on how it goes before next Christmas.

Stay posted!