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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Long Sock Classic Race Review

Another great race by Substance Projects!!  #2 in the XC Marathon Race Series dubbed the Long Sock Classic...because you are encouraged to wear long socks to ward off the prevalent poison ivy...and this year also the ticks here at the Ganaraska forest.  In fact, you get a pair of socks as part of the registration...




Seth suggested that the new True Grit kit should be skin tone to match the socks...but I don't think that would be a great idea.

Anyways, I was racing in the single speed category this time...on my rigid single speed, this years course two laps of a 33km loop (there was also a half-marathon option for anyone not willing to do the full race).  So I got ready, then tooled around to see who else was single speeding.  There was DaveDer...the king of single speeds racing for TrueNorth...and a couple of his team mates also on SS...GuyL on a single speed...Alexa and her friend Steve...both on single speeds.  All of them superfast...so my goal would be not to come in last...

Then Giant headed off to warm up, and invited me to join him.  I declined, I wasn't leaving the parking lot/StartFinish area.  You see, a couple of years ago (or was it last year??  I don't know, I have tried to block it out...), at this race, I went out to warm up before the start...and got lost.  There is such a maze of unending trail at Ganaraska it is easier than you think to lose your way...and by the time I found my way to the start area, the race was already over an hour underway.  Giant, and Seth had laughed about it on the way up to the race this year...in fact everyone always makes mention of it.  So, this year I was staying put...keeping the Start area well in sight!

Then with Dan's announcement, we all made our way into the start paddock.  I sidled in next to Alexa and Steve...to keep some single speed company.  They were planning to race/ride at a comfortable pace...which was fine with me.  The start of this race can be a bit of a shite show...sandy climbs...but also fast sandy downs...sandy enough to have racers out of control....and a very, very fast rocky downhill that had me concerned on the rigid bike.

Then we were off...and I sauntered on with Alexa and Steve as the field tore off at a full bore start....we hit the sandy climbs, challenging on the single speeds but at a comfortable enough pace that we chatted about gearing (and I think Alexa made some comment about how the new True Grit kit made my arse look fat??  ...or did she mean phat??).

Anyways, then came the sandy downs....and I was glad not to be in a tight speeding group as the soft deep sand threw me about.  Then the long, fast rocky descent...and this time I was very relieved to not be in a crowded racing group.  This descent was faster, yet choppier than I ever remember it!  I used the full width of the double track to try to find the smoothest line yet keep the rigid bike upright as the rocks and ruts bucked the bike around.

Then a long bit of slightly ascending double track, before we dove into the single track.  I was now into race mode...so I pulled away, trying to catch a racer I could see up ahead.  I finally caught him, it was another single speeder!  And he was chasing a couple of female racers wearing D'ornelias race team kit.  He was on a Moots (fancy bike!), but he was sporting a massive gear!  The huge gear had him struggling on the climbs, where I would catch him...but then with that gear he, and the D'ornelias on their geared bikes, would drop me like a lead balloon on flats and slight descents....and there was alot of long flat doubletrack in this race!

Finally, I was able to pass one of the D'ornelias on a longer climb...and catch the Moots man, but I didn't have time to get by him.  Then finally, on the long climb after the aid station, I was able to pass the Moots man.

Then I spent the second half of the first lap chasing the other D'ornelia.  Out of nowhere, JackP flashed by me at RediculousSpeed on his bronzed out fatbike.  What was going on??  He should be far ahead of me by now?  Then a few minutes later, Giant caught me.  What??  Apparently Jack, and Giant (no beanstalk!!), got lost while they were warming up (see!  SEE!!  It's easier to happen than you think!!)  They eventually found the start, 15 minutes behind everyone else.

Anyways, so as I chased the D'ornelia, I would catch her as she struggled up many of the climbs....then on the flats she would drop me on her geared bike.  Finally, on the long, ridiculously steep gravel road I caught her but couldn't pass as we dove into the last bit of single track.  I struggled to keep up to her, and we finished the first lap together as we passed through the transition zone.  She continued on as I stopped to exchange empty water bottles for full ones...and Lorraine (volunteeering) peeled me a banana (thanks Lorraine!!).  I never saw the D'ornelia again....she was gone!

Then into lap 2...there was Jack on the sandy climbs...walking his bike back toward the start!  He had broken a hub, or derailleur or something, (nothing I could do to help) and he was forced to DNF.  Tough day for Jack.

Then I spent the remainder of lap 2 mostly alone!  Concentrating on going as fast as I could while staying upright.  Good plan, eh!?  Then, there was JennKenn....walking her fatbike without a rear wheel.  Her friend Monica was carrying the wheel somewhere ahead.  Again, a nice chat but nothing I could do to help...(eventually Jenns other half, MikeO caught up to her and got her bike back together), but a looong 33km for Jenn and Monica!

Then...I kept imagining??...I could hear someone coming up behind me, but saw no one.  Through the lap...finally up the long, steep gravel road climb...at the top I looked back...and several hundred metres behind, there he was...the Moots man!!  Damn...I never really dropped him!  I knew he would struggle up that climb...but I didn't leave it to chance...I booted the last 5km or so of single track...alone into the finish.  4hours 14minutes.  Not fast, but not so slow.  Good enough for 5th place...and would have got me 4th spot if I had entered in my age cat.

And best of all...Lorraine had saved me a veggie burger!!  (Thanks, Lorraine!!)

Another great event by Dan, and SubstanceProjects!!  And so good to see so many friends out once again...and Oggie!   :)

PinoyPedalPushers were out in full force!


TheGreatCanadianSagel crushed it, then showed off at the finish line!


KenMeatTrain wins 33km Clyde cat!


serious took second in 33km single speed!


Jenn and Monica did finally make it!


TheMexican and Grant showing TrueGrit...1st and 2nd in U20men!!
These kids are fast!!

Raf and TeamColin, 1st and 2nd 66km Clyde, Raf on his fatbike, TeamColin on SS!!

If you were wondering about some regulars, that were not here...some were at SingleSpeedApalooza...and single speed only race in New York!  And they crushed it...for Canada!!

SSSarah, and DonnaW...1st and 3rd SingleSpeedApalooza!


PeterF...3rd SingleSpeedApalooza!


And there was a roadie O'Cup...

KarenG...3rd, crushing the road circuit this year...
recovering from last year's broken neck injury!!


Then there was Canada Cup #4 in Tremblant, where ColeMac and PawelW represented True Grit...well done!!  And local favourite superstar Gunnar Holmgren, crashed out with an injury that we hope heals soon!!

Whew...so much going on this long weekend!!

Thank you Dan, SubstanceProjects crew and volunteers for another great event....challenging, and fun!  The way SubstanceProjects does it!!

What's next??

Stay posted!!