It’s All About The Journey
I can’t put it into any other words: For me, riding is all about the journey.
Seriously, I’m never going to podium, so a long time ago, I made a few decisions that guide me when I race. I jokingly refer to it as the Team Colin Ethos, but it’s a real thing, it’s friggin’ awesome, and it’s with me on every ride, and every race. Really, the Team Colin Ethos is just ME, so it percolates through every aspect of my life, and it means that my life is pretty much a giant blast.
That journey tho…so awesome.
The Team Colin Ethos dictates things like “If there’s a race, and I can do it, do it” and “Don’t replace it unless it’s broken (which is why all my bikes have two different wheels, and lots of creaks and rattles.), but it also informs my attitude on a bike. Plus, since I don’t like riding backwards–no momentum–I’m always looking forward to new challenges. This philosophy has never failed me. It’s what made me take the leap and do my first marathon distance race, it’s why I ride a singlespeed, and it’s why I do Epic 8 Hour races solo.
Keep in mind, I don’t enter bike races because I ENJOY them; I enter bike races because I ENJOY A BIG MEAN CHALLENGE.
And yeah, I looooooove a journey.
Wait, how on earth do I go on a journey riding in a circle for 8 hours? Easy, I put on my cycling kit, clip-in my shoes, and ride…and I don’t stop riding until it’s over.
And somewhere, between the first log-jammed lap, the delirious 6th through 8th laps, and the final sprint to the finish, the journey happens. I actually got goosebumps when I wrote that, because even though the Summer Epic 8 Hour was over a month ago (I didn’t write this blog sooner because there was just waaaaay too much summer to live since then) the journey took me on one heck of a ride, and I learned something pretty important.
I learned that I don’t suck.
Yeah. I even have a pin to prove it.
Okay, that fact that I don’t suck doesn’t mean that I’m good, it just means that I’m not as bad as I thought I was, and the Summer 8 Hour brought that into focus for me. Since I usually do big boss races that attract some pretty big players, I’m always comparing myself to them. Well, they’re twice as fast, finish in half the time, and train way more (and weigh waaaaaay less) than me.
However, my peers in those races don’t reflect the mountain bike community at large; they reflect a bunch of Greek Gods pedalling around Mount Olymous. A typical 8 Hour race attracts more of the community, which actually consists of (some) people like me. Of course, very few of them have my, um, physical stature (I’ll just never be like the others), but at least a bunch of them are regular (along with all the titans who enter as well), everyday, average people (who are still very cool in their own way), compared to the titans I race in full marathon races.
Around regular racers, I actually feel normal.
Also, there’s that pin…
A 100k pin is empirical evidence that I am not a chump.
Race Report: Summer Epic 8 Hour. July 27, 2019 (Hardwood Hills
The first lap was gentle and winding, and I actually got to chat with some fellow solo riders. The lap started with the usual Giant Climb (which is always a killer), but when we got on top of the ridge, it just flowed and flowed and flowed. Also, the climb wasn’t nearly as tough this year as in the past.
Wait, did I just say the climb wasn’t as bad as previous times? Yup. The year may have started with a sputter and a cough (um, LSC, SSITT, P2A…), but by the end of July, I was actually in sort-of okay shape, and the machine that finally awoke at Sea Otter was purring. Yeah, my legs hummed and my lungs sang. I’m back baby, and it feels awesome.
On the other hand, the course was also a heck of a lot easier this year, so maybe the machine didn’t have to work as hard. Either way, the course felt like a giant love letter from my BFF Glenn Meeuwisse.
TO MY SPECIAL GUY COLIN
FROM YOUR BFF GLENN
HERE’S AN AWESOME CLIMB, AND SOME WICKEDLY COOL TRAILS WITH SUPER COOL FEATURES. WANT MORE? HOW ABOUT THIS AND THIS AND THIS! FINALLY, HERE’S A 1K DOWNHILL TO FINISH THE LAP.
LOVE, GLENN XO
But then I realized it was vain to think he designed the course especially for me. Besides, he usually sends his love letters to me via email…
Such an awesome course.
This isn’t really a Race Report. What can I say about Hardwood Hills and an 8 Hour course except that everything was spectacular. The lap was somewhere between 9 and 10k, elevation was less than 150m/lap, and aside from the initial climb (which is getting easier), there were no truly grunty climbs. The singletrack was sublime, the double track was minimal, and it was just a blast to ride. My laps were somewhere in the 40-45 minute range (plus a break every lap to breathe, eat, rest, and refill).
With the gentle pace of the course, I found myself getting lulled a few times, but the pressure of doing 10 laps snapped me back each time, and I gave an extra kick. An 8 Hour race can be a cruel game of numbers, and I spend a lot of time fretting about my pace and whether I’ll be able to complete 10 laps.
What was my last lap time? What were my last three lap times? How much time do I need to spend sitting after this lap? Is that a cramp? Wait, what was my last lap time? When do I have to eat? Am I drinking enough…
Fortunately, my fuelling for the race was near perfect. No cramps, no hunger pangs, and lots of pee.
Speaking of pee…
It may seem like I’m making a joke, but my pee is the best illustration of my condition in a long bike race, and I rely on it to tell me everything is okay with my body, that I won’t cramp, and that I’ll be able to walk up stairs the next day. Clear(ish), frequent, pee is what I aim for, and I nailed it–although perhaps I nailed it too much because I actually had to pee during two different laps.
I was sloshing during my 4th lap, so I got off my bike, made sure there were no riders near, and let ‘er rip. Than again, near the end of my 9th lap, it happened again. Mid-stream, I noticed I was peeing on a patch of wild asparagus. I’m pretty sure I actually said out loud “Take that asparagus. How do you like smelling MY pee?”
I finished my pee, finished my lap, and had a quick snack before embarking on my final lap. It was just after 5PM, my last three laps hovered just above the 40 minute mark, and I had plenty of time to ride. I was sore, the day had taken a toll on my legs, lungs, back, and knees, but the last lap was bloody awesome, and I even had enough gas for a final, lung busting, sprint. My final lap took 43 minutes.
10 laps. 100k. 4th place Solo Singlespeed.
End of Race Report.
So yeah, I don’t suck nearly as much as I thought.
Also, I’d like to apologize to Sean Tee for what he may have seen during my 9th lap. Dude, I just couldn’t hold it.
The Epic 8 Hour: they call it EPIC for a reason. Also, great shirt design and quality! Thanks Pulse Racing.
And that’s the story of the time I went around and around in a circle for 8 hours, and learned something about myself. Sometimes a journey isn’t from Point A to Point B, it’s from one state of mind, to another, even if only by tiny increments. I really dig that. I also dig that I’m not as lousy as I’ve always thought.
I’m registered for the Fall Epic 8 Hour. Are you? September 21 @ Hardwood Hills. Also, if you have anything to add, say, or ask, always feel free to comment on this post, or send an email to TeamColinBlog@yahoo.com. You can always check the Team Colin Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates about races and other bikey stuff. \
Here’s a bunch of shots from the day: