Once again, Team Colin is holding a super sweet, totally awesome, massively huge, REALLY BIG GIANT GIVEAWAY.
It’s a FUNDEMIC!
My son suggested the first two names.
Once again, mountain biking is about to get a little bit awesomer, with the Team Colin Really Big Giant Giveaway (not to be confused with last Spring’s Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic, or last Fall’s Team Colin Epic Boom Giveaway Spectacular).
So here’s the thing: I have no ties to anyone, anything, or any shop. I’m not an ambassador, and I don’t get free swag. However, I write a blog, and my blog sometimes has a massive audience. So I reached out to a few super awesome people that I ride with/race with/like/whatever, AND THEY RESPONDED WITH AWESOMELY GENEROUS GIFTS THAT I CAN NOW BESTOW ON THE BIKING COMMUNITY!
No kidding. Here’s the list of goodies.
THE PRIZE DEETS:
My bike shop, Cycle Solutions, has authorized the bestowment of a FULL February Tune-Up. Yeah, a full tune-up that can be scheduled for any time during the month of February. Wicked.
Joyride 150, the hosts of Team Colin Day (um, Night) have authorized the bestowment of a free Day Pass. Very boss.
Dan Marshall from Substance Projects has authorized the bestowment of a free registration to not one, but TWO of his supremely cool races: A free XCM race reg, AND a free 45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Series (p/b Cannondale) race reg. So excellent!
Glenn at Pulse Racing has authorized the bestowment of a free reg to this Spring’s Singletrack Classic at Hardwood Hills. 25 or 50k of sweet Southern Ontario singletrack that hits all the best bits of Hardwood Hills. Teamm Colinn approved!
Apex Race Photography has authorized the bestowment of not one, but TWO different race picture downloads: a personalized magazine cover AND a digital download. Ted and his photography artists always capture the best race shots. Cool beans.
Adam at Chico Racing has authorized the bestowment of a few “24 Hours of Summer Solstice” jerseys, and is putting together a sweet package of MTB swaggy goodness. BTW, Adam is also providing a “24 Hours of Summer Solstice” shirt for EVERYONE who rides at Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150 on November 11th. Outstanding!
Evolution Cycles has authorized the bestowment of a $20 Gift Card. They’re are also chipping in a $20 Gift Card for EVERYONE who rides at Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150 on November 11th. Exceptional!
Jamie Davies, the same guy from Evolution Cycles has also authorized the bestowment of a free registration to a King Weekly Series race. Pick a Tuesday night from May to September, and kill it at Centennial Park in King City! So rad!
And finally, Sean from Superfly Racing has authorized the bestowment of a PAIR of passes to his Polar Rush Winter Obstacle Race. Yup, a PAIR of passes. Bring a friend and be SNOW HEROES on February 24th, at Horseshoe Valley! Brrrrrrrawesome!
How many times did I say “bestowment” in the preceding paragraphs? Lots and lots–because it’s a veritable gift bestowment fiesta!
Honestly, I’m going to have to cut the gift bestowment into two draws.
Wait a sec, I forgot the best part. Team Colin (hey, that’s me) is even kicking in a limited edition, very chic, Team Colin hat. Ka-BOOM.
The Big Giant Grand Prize
Team Colin special edition, free range, artisanal, comemorative hat
Registration to a Substance Projects XCM race
Joyride 150 day pass
2 passes to Superfly’s Polar Rush Winter Obstacle Race
FULL February Tune-Up at Cycle Solutions
20 buck gift card from Evolution Cycles
Apex Race Photography personalized magazine cover
Registration to a King Weekly Series (p/b Evolution Cycles) race
24 Hours of Summer Solstice jersey (which may or may not fit), courtesy of Chico Racing
Chico Racing Swag Bag
The Big Giant Second Prize
Registration to a Substance Projects/45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Series (p/b Cannondale) race
Registration to the Pulse Racing Singletrack Classic (at Hardwood Hills)
24 Hours of Summer Solstice jersey (which may or may not fit), courtesy of Chico Racing
Apex Photography digital download
Registration to a King Weekly Series (p/b Evolution Cycles) race
20 buck gift card from Evolution Cycles
Honestly, I’m in awe of the super massive generosity.
HOW TO ENTER:
It’s easy. All you have to do is follow my blog. No, this isn’t a “follow my blog type of contest”. You can unfollow the blog after the contest (and I really, honestly, might not be totally hurt), but it’s the only way for me to easily generate a printable list of contest entrants.
If you already follow the Team Colin blog (not the Facebook page), you’re in.
But if you don’t click, FOLLOW THIS BLOG somewhere on this page.
The draw will be held live on Facebook, at Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150, which is Saturday, November 11. Enter before that date to be eligible.
How about some small print.
THE SMALL PRINT:
Total value of “The Team Colin Really Big Giant Giveaway” is a kazillion dollars*
The draw will be held live on Facebook, at Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150, on Saturday, November 11. Enter before that date to be eligible.
Unfortunately, if you don’t come to Joyride on the 11th, or if you can’t meet Team Colin at a race, the hat, jersey, and Evolution Cycles gift card cannot be mailed–-but you still get everything else!
Prizes are NON-TRANSFERRABLE. All the sponsors are hard working businesses, and they just want to give back to the cycling community. To ask them to transfer your prize to someone else would be very not cool. I’ll email the winners names to each sponsor for prize redeem-ment.
Finally, the terms, conditions, and prizes in the Team Colin Really Big Giant Giveaway may change because, well, you know.
Don’t forget to come to Team Colin Day (um, Night) on Saturday, November 11th. Half price (that’s 9 bucks) admission, and rentals after 7PM. Just say “Team Colin” when you get there. Check out my blog post for details.
Chico Racing’s 24 Hour of Summer Solstice (20th Anniversary edition).
Chico who there?
24 Hours of what now?
24 Hours of Summer Solstice.
summer solstice, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at noon, marked by the longest day
Yup, the longest day of the year. 24 hours of MTB goodness. 24 hours of playing bikes…24 hours of BOOM.
Albion Hills. 2,300 riders. 388 teams. 17k. It was AWESOME.
When my pal, Geoff Simpson (from the Tuesday night King Weekly Series), said “Hey Colin, want to do the 24 Hour Race?” I said “Um, okay” (because I never say no to a ride).
Best. Answer. Ever.
24 Hours of Summer Solstice was totally and completely, off the charts, outrageously awesome. Honestly, it was lit AF–that’s what the youths nowadays would call it (because for some reason, they refuse to use actual words and have a propensity for acronyms). They might punctuate it with the word “fam” at the end (because, well, whatever).
Seriously though, it was fleek. What? I spend my days with teenagers. Their language is bound to rub off on me. Plus, it’s fun to use made up words, fam (note: I may have used the words “fleek” and “fam” incorrectly, but that’s totally okay with me).
As usual with something new for me, I was pretty nervous leading up to the event. Since it was a last minute decision, I really wasn’t prepared physically for the race. I worked late every day of the prior week, and even scheduled my daughter’s birthday party on the Friday night before the race. Let me say this, nothing calms pre-race nerves like 12 screaming tweens… I’m kidding. Nothing scratches at your eyeballs–from behind–like a birthday party of 12 tweens.
But it wasn’t my lack of preparation or the course that worried me. If anything, with a 17k lap distance, and a pretty epic spring of racing behind me, I’d faced way tougher endeavours in the last few months. It was the whole “riding at night” thing that scared the bejeezus out of me (a real mom word, not a made-up word from the youths).
However, I’ve been steering my life by listening to the universe lately, and everything has been fine, so I figured I’d do it.
Two awesome friends (Dan Marshall from Substance Projects and Mark Summers from Joyride 150) offered to loan me some sweet lights for the race, so at least I’d be lit. Not like “lit fam”, but actually lit with 2,000 watts of illumination. They assured me there was “..nothing to worry about…” on my night lap.
Um, can I just say there was plenty to worry about. Here are 4 things:
NOT seeing where I was going
seeing ONLY where I was going
things that actually go bump in the night
Hey universe, help me out here…
(Sort of) Race Report: 24 Hours of Summer Solstice. Albion Hills (June 24-25, 2017)
Here’s my hour-by-hour (or so) recollection of the day:
Arrive at Albion Hills. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people, bikes and vehicles. The ENTIRE park was buzzing with excitement, and so was I.
My team campsite was close to the chalet, and right in the middle of the action. Prior to the race, I had only met one teammate, but within 5 minutes, this new guy knew these guys were the real deal. Honest to goodness, big boss MTB people, with hearts of gold.
Our team was Billy Biker and the Kickstands. I was a kickstand!
These guys are awesome. They’ve raced as a team for the last 22 or so years, and had been doing it for so long they even had two teams on their site: Billy and our team, and a team of their kids and their kid’s friends.
Team meeting. Okay, this didn’t really take place, but we sat around and decided the order of riders. It was decided I would ride third because I’m not sure. At just over an hour per lap, that meant I’d be riding at around 3:30PM, at midnight, and at about 10:00AM. Wait, at midnight… This is where I got a bit woozy.
“Pfft”, I thought. I could do this. Bump in the night, schmump in the night.
Race start. Holy crap. The population of a large village was there FOR A BIKE RACE. It was remarkable. Bikers everywhere.
Our transfer point was an ad hoc location about 500m before the START/FINISH (shh, don’t tell anyone, it was 3 sites away from our campsite, and really really convenient). We watched Gregg finish his lap and hand the number card to Bill. I changed into my kit, and Geoff and I went for a little zip around the campground to warm up a bit. Everywhere we looked, there were bikes and riders and families and awesomeness. So awesome.
3:30PM (or so)
It was time for my lap. I was warmed up (sort of) and mentally ready (not really). Bill got to the transfer site, I took the race plate, and boom, I was off.
I hit the actual transfer point, swiped the number card, and started the lap.
The course was sublime: great climbs, lots and lots of wicked trail features, fast and fun doubletrack, rocks and roots, spectacular singletrack, more spectacular singletrack, and even the brown monster. It was everything a good MTB race should be, and everything a great MTB race is. Gotta love Albion Hills.
And to make the lap even greater, a lot of the course skirted the campground. People were cheering, hollering, and offering bacon. Did you hear me? Bacon.
I finished my lap without incident, and even saw my buddy Ted Anderton from Apex Race Photography on the trail. Ted may be A race photographer, but I always think of him as MY race photographer.
My lap time was 1:04. Not a great time, but not horrible given my lack of preparation.
I brought two boxes of Taco Bell burritos for my team (what you didn’t). Standing at the door of my RV, I only had to say one word: “Burritos!”
And just like that, I gave each and every one of them indigestion.
7:00PM to 11:00PM
I tried to catch up on some sleep from the week before, relax a bit, and just experience being surrounded by so much bike love and awesomeness. Sleep didn’t come easy, so I had a bunch of short naps. I brought a courier bag full of marking and it was staring at me from the top bunk of my RV like a giant sack of guilt, so that didn’t help. What a doofus. Who brings marking to a bike race? A teacher who is late with his marking that’s who.
WhenGeoff knocked on the door of the RV to “wake me up” I was already up and ready, and nervously pacing in my RV. The night lap was really weighing heavily with me. Why would I choose to ride at night for the first time in a race?
Transfer point. It was dark. Waiting. Scared. Transfer the number card. Boom, I was off.
I could see!
It was awesome. How can night riding not be a regular thing? The short zip to the START/FINISH was cool, but the real fun didn’t begin until after that. Alone in the forest, chugging and gasping until I warmed up, safe in a cocoon of light, I felt amazing. I wasn’t really alone though, because there were other rider’s lights zigzagging through the forest ahead of me and around me.
I was lost in a forest of darkness, streaking through the trails of Albion Hills, and could only see what was directly in front of me, but the clarity of it all was striking.
Ugh. How sappy. It was true, sort of, but I was high from the thrill of the ride, and feeling the bossness of owning the night. I wasn’t really lost, but the sentiment, however sappy, was on point. Because I could only see directly in front of me, my mind was opened for everything else. It was meditative. Me and my bike, pedal stroke by pedal stroke, tree, root, and rock. The only way to move forward was by pedaling, and since I couldn’t see further than 10 feet, I only saw what the IMMEDIATE and pedaled towards the end of the beam of light, knowing that I could never catch it. It was so very Zen.
Plus, it was just really really cool.
I finished my lap, and nothing went bump, and the boogeyman didn’t snatch me.
Like everything else in riding, it was awesome, and enlightening, and just plain fun.
Why did I say yes to Geoff? Because if I’ve learned anything through cycling it’s these three things:
everything is always all right
nothing bad ever happens to Colin on a bike
sometimes you just have to listen to the universe
I’ve learned a bit about tire pressure, bike geometry, S-1, and saddle sores too, but that list seems to fit this exercise.
In a good bike race, you ride an awesome course. In a great bike race, your bike takes you on a journey. The journey of the 24 Hour was awesome.
I went to sleep at about 2:30AM, with visions of night riding dancing under my eyelids. Awesome indeed.
I was going to start my next lap in about an hour, and it was probably going to be the second last lap for the team. We’d hit 21 laps overall. But then we realized something.
Team Meeting. Okay, it wasn’t a team meeting, but we sat around the site and realized that if I could start my lap at 9:55 (which was likely because Bill was on course and his lap times were blistering), and if I could nail a lap time of 1:05 (which was a bit less likely, but almost possible if the universe helped), and if Ed could nail a lap time after me of about an hour (totally likely because he was Ed and Ed wasn’t me), we could start our last lap at 11:50, which was well before the noon cut-off time, and would allow us to finish the race by the 1:00 cut-off time–and sneak another lap. The team was a bit wary because they’ve already “been there, done that”, but it was MY first time, and I had neither been there OR done that.
“If you’re going to be, just be EPIC” I told them. “Do it for Team Colin” I told them (okay, I just thought that part).
They agreed we should shoot for the last lap, and Geoff stepped up. “I’ll do it”. Yup, our finish was going to be epic.
Bill finished his lap in 1:05. Epic indeed.
I finished my lap in 1:05. “I gave you three minutes, Geoff” I said, as I transferred the number card to Ed. More epicness.
Ed was off like a dart, and I knew he’d be back in an hour. He was back in 1:01. The epicness was imminent.
Just after 11:50, Geoff started his lap. Without a GPS for time, and tired from staying up all night, Geoff left the transfer point. He would have to complete the lap, plus the additional 500m, in 1:10.
He flew. Like, literally, Geoff flew. That is all there is to say. Geoff let the rubber fly. and nailed a smoldering final lap time. Our team did 22 laps, and finished at 12:53:16PM.
And, that’s it. 24 hours of EPIC awesomeness. And here’s the best part. Chico racing actually bent time so that it wasn’t 24 hours, it was 25.
End of (sort of) Race Report
Under an overcast sky, at about 1:30PM, we celebrated the winners. Tag teams, solo riders, teams 4, teams of 5, teams of 6-10. All of them awesome. Everyone in the audience, equally awesome. Honestly, check out Riot’s post about the race. He is epic.
Then, under a canopy of rain, we waited to win one of the spectacular door prizes. The folks at Chico know something about prizes, and with an event of this size they were amazing. Gear, clothes, more gear, and a few bikes. Awesome. Seriously, for those who left early, bad move. I recognized two names of people who won but weren’t there because they left early, but I’m not going to be the one to say to them “Dude, you missed a $1,000 worth of prizes.
Alas, Team Colin won nothing.
Gotta say, for my first dip into the 24 Hour pool, it was pretty epic. I was on a team of nine, and the actual racing for me fell a bit short of epic, but the event experience was unforgettable, and the 24 Hour vibe will stay with me for a long time to come. Plus, I conquered the night riding thing.
On my team, we only did two or three laps each, but we still felt pretty awesome. However, many other riders blasted truly epic performances. Watching Rob tag team it with his buddy (18 laps), and seeing Riot (13 laps on a singlespeed) and Raf (10 laps on a fatbike) solo the race, was awesome. Another of my racing friends, David V. soloed the race with 22 laps. Now THAT’S truly lit.
24 Hours of Summer Solstice was awesome. Riding in my balloon of light, watching the tree trunks zip past, and only seeing what I HAD to see—and only when I NEEDED to see it–was liberating. In my family and work life, I like to see the whole picture, and I spend my days overseeing the tasks of kids and a job , but at the 24 Hour, with my vision confined to a small patch of trail, I was reminded about the importance seeing what was directly in front of me.
Earlier this season, it was time for Team Colin to do the full marathon distance in a Substance Projects XC Marathon race, so I did it. 50k at the H2i. Here’s the link: Homage to Ice.
Then it was time for Team Colin to do the full Paris to Ancaster distance, so I did it. 70k at P2A. Here’s the link: Paris to Ancaster.
Then, since I did those two races, I figured it was time for Team Colin to do two more marathon distance races in the the XC Marathon, so I did. 70k at the LSC (here’s the link: Long Sock Classic), and 74k at the Humbler (here’s the link: Northumberland Humbler).
All of those races went fairly well (and by fairly well I mean to say that I didn’t die), so I figured it was time for Team Colin to do the full Singletrack Classic, and I did. 44k. Here’s the link: Singletrack Classic.
But I never thought it was time for Team Colin to do the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice. It has never been my thing:
It was too much time away from my family
It just seemed too big and busy of a race
I wasn’t ready to do it solo (and figured I’d only be able to ride a few laps if I was on a team)
Really, nobody ever asked me
You see, while I have a bunch of riding friends and people that I ride with on a regular basis (hey John, love ya buddy), I don’t have a formal MTB squad. You know, a group of regular riders who send weekly texts saying “Dude, where are we riding this weekend?”.
Anyway, I just wasn’t interested in doing the race, and I didn’t think it was time.
But the universe thought it was time, and the universe spoke to me loud and clear.
Here’s what happened. We’re going to travel back in time 6 days. I hope I don’t wake up on a planet of apes. Or worse, a planet with a pumpkin-faced idiot in charge of a launch button…
Saturday, June 18, 2017. Scarborough Ontario, My Bed, 5:38AM
I woke up early and couldn’t fall asleep. It was about 5:30, and while I was tossing and turning, and replaying favourite rides (what, don’t you do that too) I started thinking about Chico Racing’s 24 Hours of Summer Solstice race. The race had never even appeared on my radar in the past, and I don’t know why it did at 5:38 on a Saturday morning when I should have been sawing giant logs, but I started to think that it was time to start wondering about considering pondering the possibility of whether I should perhaps try to look into exploring the idea that maybe I should think about doing the race year next year. Or the year after.
Honestly, I don’t know what sparked the idea, but it stuck. I started thinking that maybe it’d be fun, or maybe I’d do it solo like Riot on Racing does, or maybe someday I’d be in a cool MTB squad and get a text that said “Dude, let’s do the 24 Hour”…
I fell back asleep and snagged an extra half hour of much needed beauty sleep, while visions of the race–and the sweet blog post that I’d be able to write if I ever did it–pedaled by…
And then things got a bit weird. I woke up at 8:00, stumbled out of bed, and waited for my knees to start bending while I walked downstairs to eat. By the 9th step I stopped walking like a drunken baby, but that wasn’t the weird part.
The weird part happened after my morning constitutional. “Constitutional” is a classy way to say I peed. You know, because I’m classy that way.
I checked my phone. It was Saturday morning and I was waiting for my MTB squad to text… I’m kidding. No squad.
A few Facebook notifications and Instagram whatevers, some work email to ignore, and a message on the Team Colin Yahoo mail account. “Who is contacting me on the Team Colin Yahoo account?” I thought. “Nobody ever uses the Team Colin Yahoo account…”
Well, My buddy, Geoff Simpson contacts me on the Team Colin Yahoo account (actually this was his first time, but you get the idea). Geoff does the King Weekly Series with me. He’s a boss rider, and a cool guy.
Get to the weird point Colin…
Okay, here it is. Geoff’s message said “Dude, let’s ride this weekend”… No it didn’t. I’m not in his squad.
Geoff’s message was better. Geoff’s message said
“I know it is short notice, but are you available next weekend? We are looking for an extra rider for our 24 hour team. I know it is exam report card time and short notice but just wondering if you are interested?”
WOHOO. Team Colin has a MTB squad. Okay, not yet. Breathe Team Colin, he hasn’t asked you to be on his squad, he only asked about the 24 Hour.
So I stopped doing my happy dance and replied to his message. It was a good thing I stopped dancing. My kids were already up, and the sight of daddy doing the happy dance in his underwear, with morning hair, and still numb knees wasn’t pretty. Sorry kids. Daddy is lame. Click on that link.
My response to Geoff was a resounding YES–although in the coolest and most blase way (I didn’t want to sound too eager, lest he dismiss me from his squad without a chance). You see, I don’ t know much, but I know this: when the universe speaks, Team Colin listens.
So, on Saturday, June 25, I’m doing the 24 Hours of Summer Solstice, because there is no way I am going to pass up on the chance to be epic.
And I know something else too. If you’re going to be, JUST BE EPIC.
And that’s what I’m going to do. Just. Be. Epic.
I’m looking forward to the community and camaraderie
I’m looking forward to my first kick at night riding, alone, in the woods (okay, I’m not)
I’m looking forward to being scared in the woods (what, I’m delicate and things that go bump–or worse scratch–in the night give me the willies)
I’m looking forward to connecting with the billion riders who I usually meet at races
I’m looking forward to playing bikes, along with a few thousand other bike minded people for 24 hours of awesome, solstice-cracking, awesome-being, cycling goodness
I’m looking forward to the challenge, and the fun, and the whatever
I’m looking forward to pedaling waaaaaay out of my comfort zone
Like I said, I don’t know what to expect, but I expect to be surprised, and if I’ve realized anything on this biking journey, I’ve realized that when you listen to the universe, things always work out in the best of ways.
24 Hours of Summer Solstice, here I come–be gentle with me.
Oh, and to the guys on Billy Biker and the Kickstands, I’m sorry for, well, me. Whatever Geoff said about me to get you to agree to have me on your team is probably a lie. I’ll do my best, but no promises.
24 Hours of BOOM.
PS. I don’t know where the Team Colin Support Vehicle (okay, it’s just my family RV with the letters “TEAM COLIN” on the rear bumper) will be parked, but if you see me, say hi. There are ALWAYS popsicles (and sometimes freezies) in the freezer. For the 24 Hour, there might even be Revelos and ice cream bars. Team Colin loves iced treats.
UPDATE (Friday night). I’m at a birthday party for my daughter. She wanted beef burritos from Taco Bell. Her twelve tween guests weren’t fans. To make a long story short, I will have 20 beef burritos in the Team Colin Support Vehicle as well. I’ll be campsite # something, in the Rustling Brook Campground. I’ll update the Team Colin Facebook page when I land.