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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 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 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 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 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 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!! 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!!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A Mix I mentioned in my previous post...ApexRacePhotography was on hand at the Spring Epic 8 Hour were taken...I got some...cuz ApexTed and his crew can make even me look almost good!

Obviously early in the race...

Starting to hurt...

Entering Exit Wound...

Later...engaged in the pain..that's a grimace...aka trying to smile...

If you want to see more or get your own pics head to ApexRacePhotography.

If you notice from the pics...the bright red gloves.  Usually in the solo endurance events my hands take a beating.  palms literally ripped to shreds.  And I was especially worried as I was riding the rigid for most of this event.  But the combination of ergo grips and these beauty hands survived relatively unscathed.

Fox Ranger Gels

With just enough padding in the right places...and a nice comfy snug fit that kept the padding or palm material from twisting or folding (which is a disaster on mtb gloves!!).  On this day, these gloves were a lifesaver....or at least a hand saver.  Just letting you know in case you do longer rides and have as much trouble as I do to find good gloves.  I have no affiliation with Fox freebies to me.  But I did pick them up at the best Local Bike Shop in Waterdown, BicycleWorks...

Anyways, in the spirit of sharing interesting info (and a bit of a gear shift), Lois and I attended the Hamilton Veggie Fest a couple of weeks ago.  (Which, I have to note, was 'managed' by our friend Laura of FiveFocusWellness...and she did an AMAZING job!!  A huge undertaking!!)  Anyways we ran into a wonderful gem of a small family business...especially for a busy mountain biker!  Actually, we had a great experience there with many vendors but this one in particular stood out for us.

Allin Mikuna means 'bon appetit' in indigenous Chilean language.  And they specialize in ready made soups...literally just add water and cook.  (We actually add veg broth...but you can be as creative as you want, or have time for.)  All the ingredients are included....and they taste amazing!!  So simple, quick, and easy.  But wait...there's more!!  (No cheesy tv commercial though...).  They also do organic powders.  To add to food, smoothies, juices...

If you are a SuperGreens kind of person they have a Kale&Spinach blend;
If you are a PhytoNutrient-er they have a Berry blend;
And every mountain biker knows the benefits of they have a BeetCarrot blend! affiliation...we just really, really like their stuff...and the fact they are a small, local, farm family.  Click on the pic above for the web link.

So, back to our regular far as mtb goes...I've been focusing on recovering from the 8 Hour.  Got out on a BicycleWorks group jaunt.

photo cred: BicycleWorksPaul

And getting ready for the LongSockClassic in Ganaraska this weekend (Substance Projects).  A 60km cross country marathon...the second of the series.  I will be doing it on the rigid single speed again...cuz TeamColin said I should.  And according to Lois, I always do what I'm told...

Anyways, if you have not yet signed up for the Long Sock...get on it...we will see you there!  Darcie, will you be there??  I will require more gloating at my struggles!   ;)

It should be worthy of more stories...always is!

Stay posted!

Please tell me it's over...
It's over.
Thank dog!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Spring Epic 8 Hour Mountain Bike Race


Just as the name was.
The Spring Epic 8 Hour Mountain Bike race...sponsored by Chico Racing (with SuperflyRacing in the mix)...the progenitors of epic mountain bike Mansfield Outdoor Centre.

Headed up Friday afternoon with PowerPaul in the team 'bus'...

NewfieSteve and Lisa eventually pulled in and we set up the solo pit area and relaxed for the evening.

The pit...
(Most of the photo creds to Lois, and/or NewfieSteve)

With the 'Riot' touch...

The stable...

I would be racing the rigid single speed on this day, and had the geared hard tail as a back up.  I registered in my age cat, not in single speed just for that give me the option if the single speed destroyed normally so much climbing and rooted descents in Mansfield.

(I broke three ribs on lap one of this race last season...did not want to repeat that feat again!)

Settling in...

Then Saturday morning was all business getting ready....and more racers came pouring in, and my pit boss (and sometimes wife), Lois showed up to take care of me during the day of effort and suffrage.  By acclimation (no election or votes required) Lois ended up taking care of several solo racers on this day.  Special thanks to KarenSpecializedAmbassador, serious, Giant, Al, and TimTheDuke for sharing their appreciation of Lois' fine efforts during the day.

Pit pose...

Ready to go...

Then a short warm up ride to the start paddock...plunked in next to serious...

me and serious...disregard the background scenery...

There were superstars on site!

Emily!  Did a few laps 'for fun'.

Anyways....enough pre-amble...on with the race report.

In the paddock with serious on one side of me...he was racing solo single speed...and TheGreatCanadianSagle on the other solo.  Off the start...they were gone and outta site.  I just tried to keep pace with the group....which at Mansfield off the start on a single speed is a tough push.  The start is a loooong grinding doubletrack (or more) steady climb...and on the single speed had my heart rate redlining right off the bat...which is ok...I need that warm up.

Then the course leveled out into a section of flattish double track to allow a bit of recovery before diving into the single track.  The first half of the course was a mix of short sections of single track and more double track to allow for plenty of opportunities for passing.  Which was great to let the racers get sorted out off the start.  And great kudos to ChicoRacing for such a fun, challenging course!!  With enough slight changes from previous years to add a bit of mystery and new challenge.

But with 175 m of climbing per 11 km lap...some long steady climbs, and some steep punchy walls....then some fast, tech, rooty descents; I found the rigid single speed a massive challenge.  But that is what I signed up for.  As CoachRob aptly put it...with the rigid single speed the 'ON' button is always pushed all the way in...there is no rest.  It is up and out of the saddle climbing, or up and out of the saddle descending the tech...your body being your dynamic suspension. I said, that is what I signed up for, I wanted that challenge and experience for future races.  But so much respect for the single speed veterans, like serious and Alexa who schooled me like the newbie I am.

The single speed may be so much more work, but it is also so much fun.  Pure, simple, light, and efficient.

And ApexTed and his crew (ApexRacePhotography) was on site to record the pain.  Looking forward to those pics!!

Anyways....the long start hill...then a mix of single track and double track....the long single track climb in the middle...a long swoopy double track descent....the aid station with much appreciated cold water handed out, meant one less tired reach for a bike bottle for solos.  Then the nasty rooty descent into the solo pit area...feeling fine on my first lap.  Then the long grueling false flat climb out of the solo pit area to the wall of pain climb...up into exit wound...a chance to catch some air before the nasty descending switchbacks....getting more soft and torn up as the day progressed...through the transition zone, and all over again.

My first 3 laps went fairly fine...then by lap 4 I was feeling the hurt.  Caught on with Karen again...and rode some sections with her...or tried to...keeping these socks in sight...

Rode some partial laps with Alexa...on her single speed; before she dropped me like the geeky kid at the prom (which was also me...).

By lap 5 I was deep in the pain zone.  My ego wanted to stay with the single speed for the entire 8 hours...but my quads, and lower back were begging for gears, and my shoulders, neck, and upper back were begging for suspension. I finished lap 6 (over 1040m climbing so far)....and headed up the start hill, barely able to keep the pedals spinning for lap 7...I knew it was time to switch.

And as I pulled into the solo pit on lap 7, I made the switch...(well, Lois mainly made the switch...I mostly stood and drooled...).  But by now, I was mostly shattered.  The geared hardtail was more comfortable, easier to ride...and likely faster at this point...but I was mostly drawn out...hashtag- nomorejuice.  I finished lap 7...onto lap 8.  And there was Martin mentioning he was struggling...and considering this his last lap (as he went on to do 11 total laps...).  Lap 9...I took a long break at the solo pit...considering my options...I was in no contention to podium, nor did I expect to be on this day...and was near the point of no return.  So, on I went to finish off the lap.  As I swiped my chip for lap 9, I realized I had time to do another...but not the energy...I was done.

So another amazing Epic 8.  And another great job by ChicoRacing.  They have this thing down pat by now.  So organized, and professional; yet fun...and always challenging.  And they had Emily!!

Congrats to all the podium finishers...including some TrueGrit!

Kevin and Christine, 1st place!!

Paul and Richard (Double W...makes sense doesn't it??), 1st place!!

And some amazing performances:

Adam always KingOfTheHill at this event...first overall solo with 14 laps.

Bryant first solo single speed with 13 laps.

Alexa second solo female with 11 laps...on a single speed.

TheGreatCanadianSagle second with 13 laps, in training for Leadville.
Me and the Sagle

Al M making a comeback after taking all year off with knee surgery with 10 laps.

JohnH with 10 laps on his first solo 8.

Giant, struggled ready to call it quits at 5 laps, Lois cajoled him on...and he went on to put in 12 laps!

HeatherM completing her first solo 8.

We missed TeamColin at this event.
We missed SingleSpeedSarah!!  Get better soon, please!

Then the usual post race shenanigans....

So there.  The first endurance event of the season (or relay, if you did it that way).  I survived intact...which is a win over last year!

And still loving the single speed.  Enough that I registered to race it at this coming weekend's Long Sock Classic in Ganaraska.

Stay posted.

No cats were injured in this post....

Or puppies...

Or hedgehogs...

OK...that's enough...
The end.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Epic Mountain Bike Time

Sorry...late again on the late, many dollars short.

Been life-stuff-busy....including trying to fit in getting ready for this weekend's race.
I will be at Chico Racing's Spring Epic 8 Hour.  The event that kicks off Chico Racing's mountain bike race season (ya they still do mountain bike race stuff).  It's a great way to get ready for their big event, the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice....anyways....getting ahead of myself (which is usually where everyone else is...).

The Spring 8 is sold out, so if you ain't registered you may be fubarred.  It's sold out cuz it's a great event...everyone has waited all winter for the first of Ontario's three Epic 8 Hour events.  It's at Mansfield where most don't get to regularly ride (it's not open to the public), and where the sandy trails are actually better when wet, which happens alot this time of year, or at least this year.  I hope to meet new mountain bikers, and look forward to seeing the familiar and friendly? faces (will Oggie have his friendly face, or his regular one???).

Who will be solo, who will be tag/team racing?

I will be solo-ing, and serious may have convinced me to race my single speed, although I have registered in my age category (yes they do make one that old!).  Gives me the option of what bike to I do not have to compete against the young guns in the open single-speed category.  Kudos to serious, he registered in the single speed category...but he is fast enough to compete against anyone any age (and saves me from trying to keep him in sight!).  Besides there are enough faster-than-me gents in my age it will be interesting to see who shows up.

Other questions:

Who will have more participants?  Lapdogs or Pinoy Pedal Pushers??
How many Shikazes does it take to fill a podium??
Will unglued stay glued??
Will we see Figs, Blazes, or EnglishJims???

And watch out for that new team True Grit.  They are growing...infiltrating from around the globe...from native Canadian (quiet and lonely), to Scotland (load and angry sounding), to central European (Oggie's rivals), Quebec (everyone's rivals)...even from the far corners of Newfoundland (everyone's friends).  And a tough, fast youth team!!  (Too much self propaganding??  Did that sound too weird??)

Anyways I am looking forward to 8+ hours of painful fun (did that sound too weird??)

Yes, enough with the weird shite!


...if you were not lucky enough to get registered for the Spring Epic 8; or if you live in the Ottawa/Pembroke area you may be able to get into the Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association Spring Chicken Enduro race this weekend.

Anyways still lots to do to get ready.  Hope to see you out there!!

Stay posted!!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The Kingston MudO'Cup

So, as I mentioned last post...the crew of ApexRacePhotography was on site at the P2A..(I was too slow in ordering the pics and missed getting them in time to post last week); and ApexTed caught this pic of me...

I was hurting!  The intense headwinds destroyed me.  But once I saw Ted with the camera I couldn't help but mug it up a bit...

Anyways, I was lucky enough to stay on the bike for the duration....which let me stay relatively clean, and avoid getting mudded up.

However, that was not at all the case who attended O'Cup #2 up in Kingston this past weekend.

Despite all of the hard work that DanOfSubstance (Substance Projects) and his crew and volunteers, MTB Kingston, and RobS.,  put in to setting up the race course, mother nature may have ultimately won on this one.

Are you serious??

Yup....and pics to prove the conditions were tough...

Tough on competitors...

Dirty Newf.  Is that a smile or did the mud make his face stick like that??

And hard on equipment...

Take a close up look at the cassette and drivetrain...

There were dropped chains, stuck derailleurs, ruined bearings;  there were DNFs and DNSs, but there was also True Grit.

Giant survived the DNFs, and DNSs to come in both first and last in his class.  Seth pulled off a second place finish.

Other tough friends...

The Great Canadian Sagle (Wolfpack Racing) dirty but he is cleaning up this year!

JackP (Outspokin Cycles) moved up to expert and still on the podium??  Watch out!!

Speaking of TrueGrit, some huge toughness shown by the TrueGrit youth squad!!  Plowing through these tough conditions with smiles and great attitudes!  (A testament to the coaches and parents).
Greyson chose this race as his first OCup!!  The rest will seem easy after this one!

That attitude got some TrueGrit on the youth podiums...


A first place for TheMexican!!  (Some call him Oscar but he ain't no grouch!!)'s supposed to actually be mostly sunny this week (if not terribly warm, yet) maybe conditions will clear up for this coming weekend. has the Spring Chicken Enduro in the Beachburg area this weekend.

And Chico Racing has the first local endurance/relay event of the season, the Spring Epic 8 Hour, in Mansfield.  Maybe we will see signs of Blaze, Fig, or EnglishJim at one of these???  So far they have been mostly MIA...

Fodder for next

Stay posted!

Where's unglued's new house?  I need to wipe my muddy feet clean...