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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Eager Beaver to Leadville - Mountain Bikes and Gravel Grinders - 100 milers Galore!!



SubstanceProject's Eager Beaver 2.0...another successful venture by DanOfSubstance, race progenitor extraordinaire, invaded the Singhampton area this past weekend.  The 100 mile (160 km) race (Dan also offered 100km and 50km distances) had over 200 racers navigate a mix of surfaces, but mostly some of the gnarliest gravel roads and 'paths' around.  And just a little climbing...somewhere around 1900 metres on the 100 miler...with almost all of that climbing within the first 80 kms!!


Gnarly gravel, and nasty ups...and downs!!


At least this year the racers enjoyed much better weather conditions than 2016...2016 was the deluge from .... from (where do deluges come from???)....somewhere.  No matter...100 miles of loose, rutted gravel with 1900m of climbing is extraordinarily, ridiculously tough in any conditions. That 1900m including the now infamous 4 stage MurderHorn climb.  It's not in Dan's blood to make an easy race.  Besides, if it was easy no self respecting mountain biker would do it.


True Gritters Seth and Giant killed it!!

Sorry...had to get the True Gritters in there...although they pushed LapDogs IanP and Jouko to podium greatness...

Speaking of podiums...

Kudos to all podium finishers.

160km podiums photo bomb by Bruno the wonderdog!!


Special kudos to anyone attacking the full 160kms.

Special kudos to all who signed up for fatbike at any of the distances.

Special kudos to all who signed up for singlespeed at any of the distances.

Superdy Duperty Special kudos to all who signed up for fatbike, or singlespeed for the 160!  I believe there were a sum total of 4 registrants into each of those categories.  That is a special kinda crazy!!  And an inspiration for a goal to shoot for!!

And it has to be said...again and again;  such a special atmosphere at every one of Dan's races!!  Although every one is some kind of insanely, nasty tough...you know it is a true achievement just to finish his races...still...it is such a fun, fun, fun, family type of party environment.  And so well planned...courses well marked...and enough cannot be said of the volunteers manning the aid stations...totally top notch!!





The combination of extreme challenge and fun keeps you coming back...and attracting more racers!!

Sadly I was not able to participate.  I was so hoping to...but the broken bones only 4 weeks into recovery and not yet ready for the extremes of this race.  Age and recovery...an inverse relationship...dammit.

However...TeamColin did attack the 100km version of the race, and his review is here at his TeamColinBlog.

And SteveS was one of the crazies on a fatbike, and he TKO'd the 50km version, and you can check out his review here on his RideCycleSpin blog.

I did race the full 160 km last year.  If you like to rehash old shite (or if you want to subject yourself to two of my posts in one day...cuz you are tough like that...or need to pay penance cuz your karma needs balancing...or....anyways...) you can check out my review of the 2016 race here.

Ok...slight gear shift...


Ummmm....




Woah!!  OK, OK....not that big of a gear shift!!

Another race, almost as iconic and well attended as the Eager Beaver happened this weekend.  Leadville 100.  Actually one of the most famous, and toughest 100 mile races on the planet!

Two years ago (2015)...a crew of our 'local' Lapdogs went forth to conquer the race...




...and brought finisher buckles home.

This year two of Ontario's Wolf Pack Racing members followed that lead, qualified for Leadville...dedicated their year...and trained their asses off (almost literally!!).  If you followed them at all, they got noticeably stupid fast throughout the year!

TheGreatCanadianSagle and PauliPaul, set a goal knowing that this could be the race experience of a lifetime...and they totally crushed it!!  Sagle conquered the gruelling 100 miles in 8 hours 43 minutes!!  Pauli smashed it finishing in the top 100 in 8:33!!!




They didn't need to recover from Leadville...Leadville needed to recover from them!  Lance is going back to try to beat them.

New logo for TheGreatCanadianSagle??
The big buckle take home for the achievement.


Also earns a take-home podium girl!!

Well done guys!  Watching the support of community, friends, and family, coupled with your incredible hard work and dedication all year pay off so specially...it is truly an inspiration.  Great things within reach for the willing!!

Makes me even more eager to heal up, and get back at it!!

Which leads to....wait...

More to blog about...but what can top this??  This is epic...anything else must wait till next time...

Besides, I need to save some topics for future posts...maybe not so worthy...but...

Stay posted!
















Thursday, 10 August 2017

Mountain Bike - Stage Races, Marathon, World Cup, Weekly Series, and Eager Beavers...Oh My!!

Well...a bit of action in the mountain bike world this week...probably enough for half a dozen blog posts.  But, you know if you procrastinate long enough...

The SingleTrack 6 (as mentioned in last weeks post) finished up with local Landrys and Swayze putting in top notch showings.

Also in last weeks post, the Quebec SingleTrack Experience (7 days of mtb racing!) finished up with some of our local Lapdogs rippin' up the trails...(luckily no Quebec motorists on these trails...)





There was the Raid Velo Mag Velerium, 100km MTB marathon at St. Anne de Beaupre, Quebec.  Fellow True Grit Race Team members DavidV and Giant where there showing their charm.  In fact Giant charmed his way onto the podium!!  OK...you are right...he isn't that charming (well...maybe)...but it was hard work, dedication, determination got him there.  Congrats dude!!





Then there was the World Cup in Mont St. Anne, Quebec...and the Canadian contingent was all over the podium.

OK...a tad more local.  The Kelso weekly Tuesday nite series.  And this week GrantSonOfSeth toasted all of the fast guys...including his dad.  Yes!!  First overall!!  Grant...you are now officially one of the fast guys!!  Definitely hard work, dedication, and determination!  Congrats dude!!






So...even more local...and much, much less exciting...yours truly (that means me)...still not racing.  This past week did manage some rides on road and gravel.  Trying to maintain some level of fitness...or at least keep the fatness level somewhat under control.

I can't be Lois' Superman if I look like this, can I?





Or even this...



Anyways...I've been going through a plethora of bikes trying to find one that will be easier on the thumb and ribs...

My own carbon Crux cyclocross bike was still kicking the heck out of me...

A titanium Kona Rove with 36mm cross tires borrowed from BicycleWorks was more comfortable...

Then BicycleWorks Paul lent me this...



The 2017 Specialized Roubaix.  I tested it out on a shorter 50km ride.  The Future Shock technology...a semi-suspension system built into the steerer tube, and into the seat tube, and seat post just felt so smooth!  It had me leaping over broken pavement and gravel in a single bound!  And the 26mm road tires kept the bike fast and efficient as the carbon race bike that it is!!

It almost had me feeling like Lois' Superman again...


Well...OK...not quite...


But I felt comfortable enough to take the Roubaix on 100km+ ride...where I met this guy...



If you look close enough you can see him...that's my buddy Hank...yeah that's right...Hank Heron...

Anyways the Roubaix had me feeling confident enough to do another 100km+ ride and invite these fast folks...




That's Jack...who brought his fatbike...and still kicked the crap out of us  (yes...he is that fast!!).  Seth, and that super fast Grant...and PowerPaul rocking his Venge.  The Roubaix kept me in the game enough that I was almost able to keep up to these guys for the entire 100+ kms of gravel, rail trail, and road.

That is...until they decided to end the ride with Sydenham hill.  After over 100kms, including over 600m of climbing we scooted up the 120m, 7-8% grade climb.  But my ribs screamed in protest at the effort...so I dropped into granny gear to finish the climb...and my good, sweet friends dropped me.

Dropped me...like the fat kid at the prom...like Friday afternoon French class...like a bad idiom...

And as I humbly finished off the ride I realized I am not ready yet for this coming weekend's Eager Beaver race.  The Eager Beaver 100 2.0 

(Yeah, I bet you didn't even hear that gear change, did you...yup...that was smoother than the 2017 Specialized Roubaix on a 100km gravel ride!!).




Anyways...the Eager Beaver, Substance Projects 100 mile (yes...that is 160kms!!) gravel race is coming up this Saturday.  With over 1800m of climbing...160kms...it will test your physical and mental fortitude.  If you are on the fence, you still have time to register...  If you are on the fence just do it!!

I would be there if I could...

Anyways, I'm not done yet.  Another 3-4 wks in the thumb cast...I will be working to stay in shape, on road and gravel.  Maybe even on a mountain bike of sorts soon...

Stay posted...












Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bones 'n Bikes...the continuing saga...

After yesterday's post reviewing all the goings-on in mtb this week, I was asked for an update regarding the progress of my injury recovery.

Well, maybe I wasn't asked so much as nudged...

And, maybe it wasn't a 'fan' as such...maybe it was just one of my cats...





Well...OK then...

Anyways...

The progress of the broken thumb and ribs continues.  I don't see any mountain biking in the near future because the bouncing and jarring would not be tolerable...I don't think.  At the very least the threat of falling on them again is not tolerable.  (I think of Toblerone every time I write 'tolerable'....mmmm Toblerone...).

Anyways...last Sunday was two weeks since the injury...and any kind of real activity.  By mid-week last week I was getting antsy so Friday I ventured to test what the bones could tolerate.

I borrowed this beauty from the best bike shop in Waterdown...BicycleWorks.




A Kona Ti Rove with 33mm tires.  I thought it would let me get on the road and gravel...and soak up the bumps...so Friday I went to test it out.

A short 40 km romp....all was ok.  Major bumps and knocks were felt...and I can't get the broken thumb in a glove...but overall...it worked.




Saturday felt no ill affects...so Sunday, to give it more of a test, I had NewfieSteve and PowerPaul drag me around the countryside for 100+ kms adding rail trail and gravel to the mix...




Any hills...or any effort that required deeper breaths made the ribs ache a bit, but otherwise...it was all good!




So...Tuesday tried the carbon Crux...cross bike...again on 33mm tires.  The plan was to test the comfort...and if possible to push for 160kms.





At around 65km the bones were all feeling ok-ish...then I turned into this...





Thinking it would blow over and I would be OK, I continued.  Then about 500m down the road...a flash, crack, and boom had me turn around and hightail it for home!

The thunder chased me the entire way!  And when I saw these guys...I knew it was a bad sign...




With about 5km to go...soaked...

And in fact, I did not make it all the way home...




A good spot to wait out the storm...and Lois came to join me...

My 160km ride was cut short to just over 100kms...again.  But as far as the bones are concerned it was all good!!



Thanks dude!!

However I need to find a glove I can fit the thumb into.  Riding the Crux barehanded wore my palm raw (no...that is not a problem I am used to...).

Otherwise...weather permitting...looking forward to the next test.  So far the cross bike on the road is helping me to keep some form...and keep the weight somewhat managable...

So...more testing...longer rides?  Hill repeats??

Leading eventually, perhaps to being able to do the Eager Beaver 160 in two weeks??

Then hopefully...a mtb ride...soon-ish after that...

Not soon enough...

But...one step at a time...

Stay posted!!








Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Albion O'Cup and Stage Races

Ya...a Wednesday post...just cuz.

Anyways...what's going on in the world of mountain biking??  Lots...

Last weekend was the Albion O'Cup (#6 in the O'Cup series)...

Ya...I'm king of logo pics today!!


Sean of SuperflyRacing made this one a little different than most O'Cups...just to spice things up a bit.  My friend and fellow TrueGritter, Giant, may have summed it up best. so I'm going to steal a quote from him to describe the race (besides, I am lazy like that...)...

"OCup Albion Enduro
Different MTB XC OCup race, different race format, different race strategy and some different players on the podium. Going full out from the start without saving energy for later might have not been the right approach, in this 50km marathon race format with plenty of punchy climbs....and a few long ones:) Those who adopted well from the beginning reaped the benefits later. The Green Monster, Last long double-climb after the Sugar Shack, get a whole new meaning of respect.
The versatility of the OCup XC races is a true opportunity to become a well rounded MTB XC athlete.
One thing that stays constant at the XC OCup races is the relaxed atmosphere at the race venue. It's so awesome to pull in at the finish line and see smiles on friendly faces.
Congrats to the podium finishers on their mega efforts !!!"

Well said, sir!!

Travelling Photog PeterK was on site to take a couple of interesting pics before he made his way to Mont St Anne for the upcoming World Cup...

TrueGrit Grant leading the pack
(phot cred: Peter Kraiker)


Barry...staying glued??
(photo cred: Peter Kraiker)


And ApexTed and his crew from ApexRacePhotography were on site catching all the action!

 Those AWI folks...always up front!!


Click the logo to find your favourite action shot!!
(Ya...it's a new ninja game!!)  


Also going on this week...the Quebec SingleTrack Experience.  A new stage race...



Click the logo for results


A few locals are killin the new race!!

Darcie, Bevin, Garnett


Those Lapdogs are everywhere!!


And if you look hard enough you might see some True Grit kit up that way...


MarkR...is he lost???



There is another stage race going on this week (yup...probably not great scheduling...2 Canadian stage races the same week...).  

SingleTrack 6...(the new version of the TransRockies)...


Click the logo for results...and a prize...
(OK...no prize...)


One of the toughest races around!!  

A few local folks at this one too...a couple of Landrys (there are Landrys everywhere!!)...and GaryS...who frequents the best bike shop in Waterdown (BicycleWorks) often!  
And they are nailing it...check the results!

Unfortunately, I am not attending any of these races...but wishing!!  I am still nursing broken bones...and seriously missing the mtb. 

 Lois may be getting a little ticked off at my restlessness...she's taking it out on the cats...


Sorry, did you think you'd make it through an entire post 
without a cat pic and bad humour??


Anyways, this is a post about what's going on in mtb this week...not about my tribulations...well at least not until next post...

Thursday??  Maybe...

Stay posted!