Gobble Gobble, Gulp
The Inaugural Turkey Point XCM, race #1 in the Substance Projects XC Marathon, presented by Cannondale.
Which is what I would be saying if it wasn’t actually my WORST. RACE. EVER.
Yup, Team Colin donned a racing kit, loaded a bike on his car, and made the trek two hours west for the first MTB race of the year: The Turkey Point XCM.
Ted Anderton of Apex Race Photography was there with his camera, and check out his new photo mosaic:
As awesome as those shots are, the race was much less than awesome.
So, What Happened?
It all fell apart, that’s what happened.
While my last post was an optimistic (albeit honest) hint of what might come, this post confirms what I suspected: I’m a mess. Sure, I’m still sick, but aside from that, I’m a flabby, out of shape, what-am-I-gonna-do-this-year, mess. I wish this was just a knee jerk reaction to a bad result, or a narcissistic plea for someone to say “No way, buddy, you’re awesome”. I wish this was a simple case of just being tired or poorly fuelled. I wish…
I wish I could turn back time. But not in the french-cut-bikini-thong-leather-clad, way that Cher does from the deck of the USS Gawdawful (That video always cracks me up. See what I did there). I wish I could turn back time and revisit all the bad food choices of the past few months. I wish I could turn back time and get on my bike more often. I wish I could turn back time (is the song in your head now too) and strengthen my core and bowflex my body and yogasize my, um, whatever you do when you yoga.
I wish I could turn back time and have last year’s body. I wish I felt good in my kit, and I wish I could ride for longer.
I wish I could turn back time then you’d love me, love me, like the way you used to do.
Wait, that’s not where I wanted to go with that.
What I really wish was that I could turn back time to when I didn’t have this damn cold. Is pleurisy still a thing, because I’m pretty sure I have it. Or maybe the ague. Dropsy? Grippe? The croup? Consumption?
Seriously, in the past, I’ve felt tired and spent, and I’ve been exhausted, and I’ve ridden into (and past) my wall, but Saturday’s race was another thing altogether. I’ve never raced with so little prep, and I’ve never raced feeling so sickly–I don’t know what this thing is that has such a grip on my body (and seems to be morphing into something different each day), but I just wish I could feel better.
I Just Want to Ride!
Okay, enough complaining, because, holy cow, the trails at Turkey Point are sweet. Fast and flowy, with unbermed corners to keep you on your toes, and just enough log-overs and whoopsies to have fun. Turkey Point is sublimely awesome, and I can’t wait to ride there again (super family-friendly, and awesomely fun, trails). If anything, I kinda sorta wish there were a few more grunty climbs–you know, to make you feel alive because you want to die while riding up them–but that’s cool.
Everything about the day was awesome. The race came fresh on the heels of another successful Team Colin Day @ Joyride 150 the week before, and I can honestly say the event was a thing of MTB fantasy: Spectacular weather, an awesome START/FINISH area (thank you Burning Kiln Winery), the oh-so-chill Substance Projects vibe, great food, and what felt like pretty much the entire cycling tribe in attendance.
Those trails tho. The course was so nice that it would have been a dream even in the middle of the summer, but at the end of a long winter WHEN LITERALLY EVERY OTHER TRAIL IN THE PROVINCE WAS STILL A SWAMP…or snow covered…or both, the trails were from another world.
Everything else was perfect too. I didn’t forget an important piece of gear (like most races, but most recently at Georgian Nordic), my bike was dialled to perfection (unlike that time at last year’s Spring Epic 8 Hour and so many other times), and I even slept a bit the night before.
Even the drive from the east end of Toronto was uncharacteristically calm, I was rocking to some decent tunes in my car enroute, and I was on time. If that’s not enough, Dan asked me to help with the audio stuff, so I got to play some Wham for the adoring crowds before the race.
Seriously, it was the stuff of race nirvana.
And then there’s me. Okay, I’m back to pouting, but just for a bit.
I was too tired to stretch–and too terrified about how my lungs would react under exertion. Like I said in my last post, I’ve been to two doctors in the last 5 weeks, taken a week off work, slept for the entire March Break, napped every other (non)waking moment, and shoved as many homegrown and prescription concoctions as I could, down my throat and up my nose, but to no avail.
And so, when I embarked for Turkey Point at about 8 AM, I was optimistic and excited to see my peeps, full of nasal spray, and puffers, even more full of phlegm. Also, I was eager to see, as a friend put it, “whether a good hard long ride outside could be what you need to clear out whatever’s got you hacking and coughing.” Of course, he also asked “What’s Wham?”, but more on that later.
I knew there would be long stretches of road and farm track (and likely wind), so I chose my Norco Revolver hardtail. No sense in spinning like a fool. Except that because I usually ride a single speed, gears on singletrack are tough: I forget when to change gears, and I never know if I should be in my big ring up front or the small. Thinking while riding a bike is hard…
Race Report: Turkey Point XCM #1. Burning Kiln Winery. April 13, 2019
Dan made his pre-race announcements, and we weren’t off. The start line of a bike race is always a giant, anti-climactic, log jam of polite bike skootching. Once past the START gate, we zipped through the parking lot between two ribbons of blue Shimano tape, before skirting a small lake, and then onto some farm track separating Burning Kiln Winery from Turkey Point Park. After about 2k, we hit the first stretch of singletrack, and I gotta say, sooooooo sweet. I felt okay. Not strong, just okay. I was waiting for a coughing fit to attack me and render me a spasming (and dizzy) clump of spandex. I kept my heart rate to about 50%. More singletrack. There weren’t any climbs, so I was always in the right gear. Yay gears!
We hit a park road, and I let it fly. Clydesdale legs, sick or not, can spin. I passed about a dozen people without raising my heart rate. Yay gears!
We entered the forest, and hit the formal part of Turkey Point MTB.
So nice to be back in the trees.
I had no idea when to shift gears, so when we hit the first punchy climb, I had to dismount like a rookie. I might have been able to grunt up the climb, but it wasn’t worth it, either for my heart or for my drivetrain. Gears.
The singletrack just got better and better. Damn, it was nice.
More climbs and more rookie dismounts–stupid gears–but the course was actually getting more fun. It’s too bad I was having such a lousy time, and the gears weren’t the problem.
PARENTAL ADVISORY: S’NOT PRETTY:
The phlegm ball, which I will now call Marvin, had winched itself under my uvula, and was threatening to derail my ride. For weeks, I’d had a dry, hacking cough, that produced only dizziness and an instant headache, and it was forming–along with a planet-sized gobbet of phlegm–at the back of my throat. I’d hit a twig, and the resulting jostle would tickle my throat, I’d breathe, and the intake of air would scratch my esophagus, or I’d shift a gear and the twitch made Marvin jiggle, and every jar, tickle, jiggle, or otherwise, reminded me the ride could end in a moment. Also, gears!?
For the first 15k, Marvin stayed in my throat. Ahem, I mean, the cough stayed in my throat.
Well, at least for the first 15k…
Marvin roared, my headache flared, I dismounted, and took a knee beside my bike to question hack and my life choices. As is always the case with me and bodily functions, the sky ripped open, flocks of birds took flight, and herds or Woodland Caribou stampeded on the Yukon plain.
I regained myself (and I may have used a bit of poetic license there–because I don’t think the Yukon has plains…) and continued.
It was just so bloody hard. I had no energy, the muscle memory I hoped for was, well, somewhere else, and the cardio that I thought would have kept me moving, stayed in Toronto.
No wall. No depletion of energy. (the energy wasn’t there from the start). The immuno-pulminarial-bronchitial-phlegmigitius was bad enough, but the lack of prep nailed the coffin shut.
I just wasn’t ready.
Aid station, dizziness and a cough, a banana, and I was off again into some of the sweetest forest around.
But I was still a mess.
I was slow and tentative, and just generally sucky.
A quick rip through the forest, some road, windy farm track, and the course led us back around the Burning Kiln lake for some trails around the property. It might have been nice if I wasn’t in such lame condition.
I finished the race.
That is all.
End of Race Report.
Before I end, I have to give a HUGE shout out to the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club. Sublime trail conditions aren’t magic. They happen because of toil, and devotion, and passion. Thanks TPMBC!
I pretty much placed last (in my cat and overall). How did you do? Any questions, comments, or concerns? Comment on this blog, visit the Facebook page, or fire an email to: TeamColinBlog@yahoo.com
Oh, and as promised: Wham
- “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”
- “Everything She Wants”
- “Careless Whisper”
- The duo that set the stage for the ear caramel that became George Michael, (click on that link–just do it )and so much awesomeness