A Tale of 4 Races: Part 3
XC Marathon race #4.
The Kingston Marathon.
Substance Projects. What the hell just happened?
I was the series winner in the Clydesdale category of the Marathon distance, that’s what happened.
Annnnnd, I didn’t even have to race the marathon distance at Kingston. Yeah, I had enough points from XCM1 at Turkey Point; XCM 2, the Sausage Suit ITT at Dufferin County Forest, and XCM3, the Long Sock Classic in the Ganny. Actually, I had pretty much the ONLY points, because aside from Turkey Point, none of the big kids raced the marathon distance in the Clydesdale category this year. So, on one hand, the win is tainted by the fact that I beat no one, but on the other hand, a race is only ever between the riders who show up. I showed up, got my arse kicked (like, royally), and won.
So, with enough points to win the series (the XCM takes the best 3 races), I skipped the marathon distance at the Kingston Trophy and raced the half marathon…AND PLACED THIRD.
Um, double podium for Team Colin.
Annnnnnd, there were more than three riders entered in the category.
Actually, there were only three of us, so once again I was last place–but it was still good enough for a podium.
The riders are out there. They just didn’t show up this year. While it’s true I’m one of the biggest of my kind (by like, 40 pounds or so), there is still plenty of competition, and for some reason, all of them decided to stay home. I didn’t stay home. I got up and got out of bed, I kitted-up and clipped-in, and I suffered.
Maybe it’s because Clydesdale riders typically have a slower start to the season. Maybe it’s because Clydesdale riders just weren’t ready. Maybe it’s because there is a special island where all the Clydesdales roam free and they were having a special party. Maybe a lot of things.
Also, I like parties. Why wasn’t I invited?
Also also…Series winner, Clydesdale category, marathon distance.
I’m going to savour this.
I was still broken, I still looked horrible in my kit (like, really horrible), and I was still suffering from the lung plague, but I won. Kaboom!
Race Report. Kingston Trophy XC Marathon #4. June 1, 2019 (MTB Kingston)
Billed as “The hardest XC race in Ontario”, the Substance Projects Kingston Trophy (p/b Cannondale) lived up to its name and then some.
Last post, I talked about the unique beast encountered in each race. The beast that resides at MTB Kingston is the Kraken.
The exposed limestone, off camber bits, and twisty, rooty trails, are no joke in good weather and decent conditions. In less-than-ideal conditions (um, Spring 2019), MTB Kingston isn’t just a Kraken, it’s an angry Kraken with a score to settle.
Worse, with the wettest spring since Noah wore duck boots, the limestone trails were menacing and hostile. Hell, the rocks were dangerous on foot–which is how I spent a good deal of the race. How wet was it? Well, every year, Substance Projects chief Dan Marshall boasts the Kingston Trophy is “the only course in Ontario that rides through a barn–twice–and has a poolside podium”. This year, it had an added feature: Riding UNDER an actual waterfall. It was as cool as heck (literally), but it also commented on the amount of water in the area.
Oh, and if that’s not enough, MTB Kingston has the biggest pump track I’ve ever seen, and, courtesy of Wally Ess, it also has a new skills section that rides through the brick arch of an abandoned school house!!!
How do you do it MTB Kingston? How is it that you get better and better each year. An abandoned school? You’re like a craft beer wearing a beret ironically.
Back to the Race Report. Unlike years past, there was no road crossing, so we didn’t hit any of the trails to the north of Unity Road. The race started in the dell just behind the quonset hut, and climbed up immediately behind the barn, and along some double track, before hitting the first stretch of sweet MTB Kingston single track. It was fast and furious, and the immediate sprint was a killer pace. I was doing the half, so I booked it. Uncharacteristically, there was no mass passing of Team Colin. I held my own, and gave it al I had. MTB Kingston isn’t just MTB nirvana, it’s also very pretty to ride, and I was having a gas for the first 10k or so. I actually felt the machine inside me start to activate for one of the first times in 2019.
And then we hit Peter’s Loop and The Ridge.
Aw, dang it.
For the next 12k, it was treachery. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that I spent more time of my bike than on it. It was embarrassing and humbling. Machine? Pfft. I was having a hard time not slipping, tripping, and getting my feet wedged in the rocks. It was about an hour of ugh. It was great to be on a bike, but still, ugh. That is all.
After The Ridge, it was back onto more MTB Kingston sweet stuff: Tight and twisty, gnarly singletrack, before the final rip on their massive jumpline/roller/flow trail, that led directly into the new skills section.
Whoa, it was the end of a tough race, but my cheeks had enough energy to be cramped from the permagrin. Awesome.
A quick shot up a steep hill, and the race was over.
Third place, half marathon, Clydesdale category.
End of Race Report.
Since I only did the half marathon, I was finished about 3 hours before the end of the day. That meant I got to spend about 3 hours chatting with my racing family. Mon ami Simon (he’s French) came with me, and there were so many people in the community, along with the Substance Projects gang, to connect with.
There may have also been popsicles. Lots of popsicles.
I helped Dan with the Podium, ate a burger or three, and baked in the spring sun. Sweet.
And the best part is that the Kingston Trophy was sort of a REBOOT for me. I finally felt like I was shaking off the demons of the season. I was feeling (a wee teeny tiny bit) better, and I was riding for the sake of riding. My performance wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad either. Team Colin hit the reset button, and it felt great.
Technically, with one 8 Hour and the full XCM 4 race series done, the season was pretty much over for, but there was still lots of riding and racing in 2019, and I was back baby.
Thanks to all the sponsors, Substance Projects, and the rest of my family. So awesome. Also, HUGE shout out to Amsterdam Brewery for always supporting. Beer goes a looooong way for the average MTB rider.
And check this out. While I was driving home, a truck clipped my side mirror. It was a tandem tractor trailer (like, 104 feet of rolling death) and it was going a buck-twenty. The truck pinned me between the bridge abutment at Brock Street in Whitby (where there is actually no shoulder) and it was a moment of absolute terror for me. So not awesome.