98. El Bandito ’19

Take THAT El Bandito

Well, another El Bandito is in the books, and it was a blast.  The Bandit STARTS and FINISHES at the bottom of Brimacombe ski hill.  It’s not easy to start at the bottom of a ski hill, but it sure was fun, and with three distances to choose from, a course that was awesomely fun while being wickedly challenging, and terrain that is as varied as a box of chocolates from Greenbow, Alabama, it was cycling perfection!team-colin-el-bandito.jpg

El Bandito holds a special place in my heart.  It’s not only one of my favourite races because the terrain is so awesomely wretched, but it’s close to home, which reduces the chances of being late (but only slightly, see pretty much EVERY prior blog post), and it’s also the race where I first met mon ami, Simon (he’s French), a few years ago.  We were riding a similar pace, and started talking about bikes and stuff.  Within a few minutes, he mentioned “dat blog from dat guy Team Colin” (BTW, he doesn’t really talk like that, but it makes for better copy)…”Hey, that’s me!” I squealed (yes, I squealed), and we’ve been buds ever since.  He took care of me when I hurt my back last year, but HAD to race the Kingston Trophy, we both chased each other around the START of the Howling Coyote, and then he babysat me for the rest of the race to make sure my concussion was okay (I didn’t have one, but it was a precaution), and we ride and/or meet whenever we can.  Mon ami even introduced me and my family to Chocolate Favoris.  Google it and go.  Order a Petit vanilla with Dolce.  Also, not cool mon ami.  Chocolate Favoris is actually responsible for one of my side gut flaps…  No regrets!

And the accent…so much fun to ride with a dude who talks like a Voyageur…

Anyway, this blog is about El Bandito, you’ll have to get your own ami.team-colin-el-bandito.jpg

Since there was so much life to live this summer, and since school began almost in an instant and loaded me with buckets of work (awesome work, but buckets nonetheless), I thought I’d take a different approach this time.  This post is sort-of a photo essay.  Really, there isn’t much else I can say about El Bandito that I haven’t said in my prior three posts about the race:

So, here are some pictures of the awesome community–MY awesome community–that shows up to these races.  I know it should be all about the bikes and the race and the competition, but for me, racing is so much more.  Dan Marshall and Substance Projects know it; Glenn at Pulse Racing, Sean at Superfly Racing, and Adam at Chico know it; Matt, Andrew and Nelson and the rest of the staff at my shop (Cycle Solutions) know it; and Jamie at Evolution Cycle (King Race Series) knows it.  EVERYONE knows it.  If we didn’t like the vibe, we wouldn’t race.  It’s why 8 Hour races are so popular–the social vibe and the community, and Dan and the rest have perfected it.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning to do a photo essay, so I didn’t take shots in anticipation of it, but I did get a bunch of shots of SOME of me people, and here they are:

Post-Race Photo Report:  El Bandito.  August 24, 2019.  Brimacombe, ON

This is what it’s like after a race.  People sit around, and chat, and there are bikes everywhere, and there’s a table with espresso (courtesy of the Cycling Gym), and the podium happens, and Dan gives away prizes, and we chat, and it’s awesome.team-colin-el-bandito.jpg

First there was me…and then there were three.  Nick Emsley races, his mom does too, and  Dan is always there to support.  Awesome.


Dan’s dad (love that guy), Annie and Maximillianna (all the vowels), and a sweet El Bandito commemorative tumbler (I have three of them–four if you count the one I stole while they weren’t looking).


A sweet photo bomb:team-colin-el-bandito.jpg

Me, the legendary Adam Hill, fresh from a billion mile bike race in Michigan, and Heather Dee (who always makes me feel like I’m a pro):20190824_133547.jpg

One of the first 130k finishers (beast), Jonathan Cee (who nailed the 130k on a singlespeed titanium dream (Riot’s old bike), and my pal Andrew.


A sign that pretty much sums-up the course.20190824_160102.jpg

Some of the terrain at Brimacombe: The ski hill (top left), the descent into the course just after the ski hill (top right), and a wide shot of the rolling Northumberland Hills (bottom right).  Note the “NO EXIT” sign…

Annnnnd, the race took place at a ski hill thats “Open Today until CLOSED” pm.  Sounds about right for an OnGravel Series race.team-colin-el-bandito.jpg

Check it out, Bruce from PEI raced El Bandito.  He was signed up for the 130k, but wisely chose to switch to the 70k.  Smart guy.  BRuce

Some more shots:


There are a billion pictures that I didn’t get: Dan’s mom (love that lady); Steven (who I only get to talk to at Dan’s races); and James (who also goes to my shop). Heck, even Dan’s son was there helping.  Barry, Chris, Andrew, and bunch of fellow Lapdogs flew the colours, and it wasn’t Until after the race that I noticed Monika and Jack were there.  too.  It’s family, it’s community, and awesome.

End of Post-Race Photo Report.

Finally, I got to see my mom after the race.  She met my family at the START, and I met them when I was done.  I know, adorbs, eh?team-colin-el-bandito.jpg(2)


For how an actual photographer saw the say, check out this video from Big Ring Entertainment.  These folks know how to shoot video.  Two quick appearances of yours truly.

Btw, I lopped a few minutes off last year’s time.  For a lousy season, I’m still here…  Take THAT El Bandito!

See you at the Scrappy Badger!





Race Report:  Hills, rocks, gravel, some sections, the Ganny, hills, gravel, and riding up a ski hill at CLOSED pm.

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