46. 24 Hours of Summer Solstice

20170625_014303 copyChico Racing’s 24 Hour of Summer Solstice (20th Anniversary edition).

Chico who there?

Chico Racing.

24 Hours of what now?

24 Hours of Summer Solstice.

sol·stice

noun (/ˈsōlstəs,ˈsälstəs/)

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.

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Geoff S.  This guy flies.

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:

  1. NOT seeing where I was going
  2. seeing ONLY where I was going
  3. the boogeyman
  4. 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:

9:15AM     

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.

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A few kickstands (From l to r: Gregg, New Guy, Rich, Bill, Geoff, and Mark.  Photo courtesy Cynthia Husband)

11:30AM

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.

12:00PM

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Race start.  Holy crap.  The population of a large village was there FOR A BIKE RACE. It was remarkable.  Bikers everywhere.

1:00PM

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.

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A sweet shot of my bike (photo courtesy Apex Photography)

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.

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Nearing the transfer (photo courtesy G. Simpson)

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.

6:30PM

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.

When Geoff 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?

12:15AM

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.

After my lap, I wrote on Facebook:

“Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself”

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.

20170625_014313 copyWhy did I say yes to Geoff?  Because if I’ve learned anything through cycling it’s these three things:

  1. everything is always all right
  2. nothing bad ever happens to Colin on a bike
  3. 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.

9:00 AM

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.

11:50AM

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.

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David.  22 Laps Solo.  ‘Nuff said.

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.

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Rob and Miro.  Tag team.  Awesome.

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.

And it was really fun too!

Ride.

 

Check out the results at Chico Racing.

And would you look at these sweet shots from Ted at Apex Photography.  If you haven’t bought your picture, do so.

17_24hr_T (6922)17_24hr_T (5598)17_24hr_T (4854)17_24hr_T (3460)17_24hr_T (581)

Here are some other shots from the days:

 

 

 

 

News: DMBA Demo Fest!

What’s better than a sweet rip through the forest.

Um, nothing,  If you said anything else, you failed.

And what’s better than riding YOUR bike?

Again, nothing.  There is nothing better than riding YOUR bike.

However, testing a new bike comes pretty close–especially if you’re on the market for a new bike, or if you like super sweet high-end bikes, or if you’re like me and you just like everything about bikes.

If only there was a way to test a new bike, and maybe have some PANCAKES IN THE FOREST with a bunch of bike minded people (see what I did there)…

Or if there was a way to try a skills park created by Joyride 150, while rocking out to music by the Red Bull event team…

Or if there was a way to take a Ride Guides skills session, while checking out some awesome bike stuff…

And if only you could do all of this with your kids, at Durham Forest (one of Ontario’s best trail systems–with over 125 km of awesome trails).

Well you can:  The Durham Mountain Bike Association Demo Festival.

Demo Fest Poster040417 (1)

Yeah, BOOM.

So, while last weekend was the official start of the Spring season (with the Homage to Ice), this event is the officialler (and very AWESOME) start to the Spring season, and I have no doubt it is going to be one to remember.

“Who is going to be at the Demo Fest?”, you might be asking.  The better question is “Who isn’t?”

Bike shops (by the way, each is a link to their web site):

Manufacturers:

  • Giant
  • Norco
  • Specialized
  • KHS
  • Cannondale
  • Trek
  • Santa Cruz
  • Devinci
  • Liv
  • Pivot
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Scott
  • Yeti
  • Staran

Plus a bunch of other cool bikey and food-like merchants, manufacturers, and what have you.

And the best part is, it’s FREE.  Yep, totally free.  Well, it’s free for DMBA members. What, you’re not a member yet?  No seriously, you’re not a member?  Well, if you aren’t a member (although you should be) you can get a DMBA membership here.  A basic membership is $31.

If you’re on the fence about membership, or having to pay an admission fee, think about this.  Not only does DMBA promote our sport and maintain our trails, they have assembled a ridiculous number of exhibitors (who are sure to bring some pretty choice rides–bikes most of us usually don’t get to a chance to taste).  Plus, all the cheap, cranky people won’t cough up the coin, so they won’t be there to rain on our parade.  Really, 10 bucks is a pretty sweet deal.  Sometimes you gotta pay to play, and I can’t think of a better recipient of some well needed funds.

Oh, and who doesn’t like group rides.  DMBA group rides are awesome–but you gotta be a member.

Speaking of rain, Durham Forest is a jewel in the rain.  It’s sandy and has great drainage. With over 125k trails, and encompassing Dagmar, Glen Major, and Walkers Woods, Durham Forest is my go-to for mountain biking nirvana.  It’s about 40 minutes away from my home, and always great for a sweet, technical, heart pounding, gut busting, ride. Oh look, a map to Durham Forest.  Thank you Trailforks!

If you haven’t ridden Durham, or if it’s your place, the Demo Fest is going to be awesome. And it’s not just demo rides.  There’s a bunch of other sweet things happening that day. Check out their full site for more information:  DMBA DEMO FEST.

Here are some more facts that you need to know

  • DMBA Demo Fest is Saturday May 6th, 2017 between 10am to 4pm
  • Durham Forest is located at 3789 Concession Rd. 7, Uxbridge, Ontario
  • There’s parking for 500 vehicles.
  • Registration is required to participate: DMBA members are complimentary, non-members are $10 (under 16 years of age free with paying adult or DMBA Member).
  • Registration fee includes access to all manufacturer demo booths to test premium bikes, and entry into amazing prize raffles.
  • Food is available for purchase, including pancakes, and lunch options from local businesses: The Copper Branch, Hy-Hope Farms, The Merchant of Meat, and Primal Pizza.
  • It’s best to register before you get there.  Do that here.
Full disclosure.  DMBA called this event to my attention, and gave me a few passes for friends, and a few more for the Epic Boom Prize Giveaway.  I’ve been a DMBA member for a while now, ride regularly at the forest, and was planning to write about the event in any case, but I think it’s important to be open about things like this.  I’m writing about this event because I think it’s going to be awesome.  Period.
Ride.

36. A Spring Ride

Nothing Like a Spring Ride

Spring started two weeks ago.

Except I think Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.

But I don’t care.

I don’t care because it’s not warm, but it’s warm enough to get outside.  I don’t care because the trails are too fragile to ride, but the roads, urban paths, and gravel aren’t.  I don’t care because THIS IS SPRING IN ONTARIO.  Unpredictable, cold, windy (I really hate the wind), crappy, horrible, and wet.

And AWESOME.  Yes, awesome.  It’s shoulder season, and while most of us are itching to hit some sweet singletrack, there’s still plenty of riding to be done.

And so, last night, after work, I was sulking.  I was sulking because I have this boss new bike, and for the past two weeks, I’ve been dying to let it roar.  Lately, so many riders have been posting pictures from their rides on social media, but I’ve been fairly inert. Forget the bike, the savage beast inside ME wanted to roar.  I NEEDED to get out for a ride, so finally I planned to leave work early and go for a romp on my CX bike–just some park paths, a bit of gravel, and bit of road, and a ravine or two, down to Lake Ontario. It wouldn’t be much, but enough to warm me up for Sunday’s Steaming Nostril, and tame my restlessness. And then I left work a bit late, and got home with only 2 hours before sunset.  Aw dang it!

My wife hates it when I sulk (but I wanna sulk…) so she said “Go for a ride”. What else could I do?  I squeezed every ounce of those dwindling hours of light.

I wrote this on my Facebook page:

…most people in my neighbourhood don’t even realize that we basically live right on Lake Ontario. It’s true. It’s only a quick shot up the road, through a ravine shortcut, into the park, up to my old high school, along a 2k road connection, down (and up) a sweet gully, over the train tracks, into Morningside Park, through the university campus and Colonel Danforth Park, straight to the lake, and then a quick boot to Rouge Beach. Yeah, I pretty much have beachfront property.

And would you look at the beauty I rode.

Norco-Threshold
My new (used) Norco Threshold SL.

It was my first proper rip on my new (used) Norco Threshold.  Forget that I had drivetrain problems; and forget the fact that I had to turn it upside down three times during my ride; and forget that I coiled the chain so badly around my crank that I bent the heck out of it and need a new one. Despite everything, this bike purrs. It climbs like a rutting bobcat, and tears at everything else like a tyrannosaurus rex.  What a rip.

I’ve lived in Scarborough my whole life, so it’s safe to say that I pretty much know most every rideable nook and cranny (although I’m always looking for more) around my house.  I don’t really follow a set route.  Depending on weather, conditions, and my mood, I usually just make it up as I go–and Wednesday was no different.  Wednesday was about climbs, wood chip trails, winding park paths, and repeat.  I had an hour to get to Rouge Beach (the furthest east I figured I’d make it), and an hour to get home before the street lights went on.  That was my usual curfew time growing up.

I made it to the beach.  And somewhere along the way, which is usually the case on a great ride, I changed a bit.   I remembered something.  I remembered the joy, bliss, and absolute peace of a ride.  I remembered the physical, emotional, and mental cleanse of a sweet rip.

I spent the winter riding at Joyride, spinning in my basement, and even on a fatbike (or three), and while all of it was awesome, nothing–and I mean nothing–beats being outside.

Part way through my ride, I also remembered that sweet climb up to a great lookout at the Highland Creek Sewage Treatment Plant (at the foot of Beachgrove Road).  It’s a quick detour, but totally worth it. There is a walking path climb that starts at the top of a paved climb, and it was dry enough to shred.  The paved climb is sprintable, but not really, so when I hit the walking path, my lungs were already burning, and my legs were on fire, but it didn’t matter because the change in cadence from the pavement to grass was enough to reinvigorate me.  I hit the climb and the wind kicked in (stupid wind).  I dug in and gave it everything I had left.  At that point of the hill, you can really smell the poop curing in the nearby sludge tanks, but it didn’t matter because I devoted my attention to managing the ruts, fighting with that damn wind, my legs, and my lungs.

And before I knew it, I hit the top for the sweet view.

But I was in the zone, and I didn’t remember to stop and enjoy the view.  I de-snotted, got out of my seat, moved back on my bike, steadied my grip on my brakes, and hit the descent on the other side of the hill.  More ruts, a bit of spongy trail, a horrible wall of poop smell, and I was at the bottom.  I shook it off, did a 180, and continued on my way.  It was 6k to Rouge Beach against a punishing head wind.  I kicked the wind in the throat, and made it the shack on the beach with just a bit more than an hour before dark.  I was feeling strong–not summer strong–but strong enough.  My back was feeling the climbs, and that bloody wind was just mean, but my legs felt good, and my heart was still beating.

Heck, it wasn’t just beating, it was singing.

I never really forgot how a awesome a great ride makes me feel, but between work (that’s been a bit of a mess lately) and life (that’s been a bit hectic lately), and trying to carve out some time for a proper rip, the joy took a back seat.  Not anymore.

It’s Spring, and I’m back in the saddle.  Boom.

I took a different route home, and made a quick stop on a bridge overlooking MY ravine. I made it home well before the street lights came on (phew).  My route was awesome, and I wondered about the awesome secret routes that other riders carve close to their homes.  That’s MY ravine in the background, but I also wonder who else OWNS it.  And how THEY use it on their rides.  A-Spring Ride

After a winter of waiting, the outdoor riding season (in shorts) is upon us, and I’ll take the uncertainty of spring weather, the waiting for the trails to dry, and the stupid jerky wind, because spring riding is AWESOME.  It’s not sweet singletrack, but you can smell it in the air. And I’m not talking about the smell of the poop from the sewage treatment plant–I’m talking about the smell of the eminent singletrack bliss.

I know it sounds hokey, but for me, nothing soothes the savage beast like a sweet rip. Initially, this ride was intended to be a warm up for this weekend’s Steaming Nostril (Runny Nose distance), but it became so much more, because at the heart of every great ride is fun, a bit of evolution, and just a great time playing bikes.  Team Colin:  1, Savage Beast:  0.  Roar.

Here’s to a season of sweat dripping into my eyes, cramped calves and sore wrists, the occasional sun burn, horribly awesome climbs, shiver-inducing descents, grit-covered water bottle nipples, the promise of the road, the grind of gravel, and miles and miles of sweet singletrack.

Even when it’s windy.

Ride.

 

PS

I’d love to hear about your secret route.  Or whether you think I got this right.  Comment in the space below, or send a message to: teamcolinblog@yahoo.com

 

 

News: 1/2 Price @ Joyride 150

Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150

Wait, what?  Half price at Joyride 150?  Is Team Colin pulling my leg?

joyride-150-pump-track.jpgNo.  Team Colin is not pulling your leg.  While out of town helping his mom convalesce, Team Colin has been busy planning not just a Fundemic Giveaway, but a fun night at Joyride 150–the coolest place in the world.

Friday, April 7, starting at 7:00 PM, is Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150.

Have you been thinking about going to Joyride 150, but never seem to make it?

Have you been to Joyride 150, but haven’t ridden there in a while?

Have you heard about the park’s epic XC Loop upgrade and want to try it for yourself? Hint:  it’s now an 800 metre flow trail and it is AWESOME.  Check out the new climb.

Well, here’s your chance to do it FOR HALF OF THE REGULAR NIGHTTIME PRICE.

That’s right, it’s Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150, and park owners, Mark and Leslie Summers are offering half price admission and rentals.

How do you partake in the evening’s festivities?   It’s easy.  On Friday, April 7, after 7:00PM, go to Joyride and say “Team Colin”.  Boom.  Half price admission (that’s only $8.50).

Bring your MTB.  Bring your fatbike.  Bring your CX bike (yeah, seriously).

Need a rental bike and gear?  No problem.  “Team Colin”.  Boom.  Half price.

So what’s your excuse?  The regular nighttime price is already almost half of the regular daytime price.  When you cut that price in half, the park is basically paying you to ride (or at least paying for your gas).  All you have to do is get there.

Bring your friends.  “Team Colin”. Boom.  They pay half price.

Bring your family.  “Team Colin”. Boom.  They pay half price.

If you didn’t make it to the first Team Colin Day, Um, Night @ Joyride 150, you missed out. Red Bull rider Drew Bezanson even made it!  Yeah, THAT Drew Bezanson.  Red Bull, DK Bikes…  Dude is even in the Canadian Tire Flyer.

I often hear XC riders talking about Joyride 150.  They say “Oh yeah, I’ve been trying to go” or “I’ve heard about the place, but…” or “Isn’t that place for kids”.  So I figured it would be cool to expose and encourage more XC riders to the park.  For those who don’t know, Joyride 150 is a cycling mecca, and an homage to all things bike.  With over 100,000 square feet of cycling nirvana.  It.  Is.  Awesome.  Just ask Steve Shikaze.  I met him and his family there last week.

And now you can see for yourself–for half price.

While you’re there, you can check out the coolest BMX (and BMX apparel) store this side of anywhere.  The Boiler Room.  You should go.

So, on Friday, April 7, won’t you consider joining Team Colin (and his family) and hopefully a bunch of other awesome XC riders, at Joyride 150?  There might only be four of us (me, my wife, and my kids), but we’ll be playing bikes, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night.

You can check the Team Colin Facebook page for updates and special surprises the evening might have in store.  Here’s a link: Team Colin Facebook page.  I’ve also posted a few FAQs, and the address.

Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150!

Ride.

 

 

PS.  Don’t forget to enter the Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic.  It’s a gigantic MTB/swag giveaway.

News: It’s A Fundemic!

UPDATE:  April 10, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS TO CASS K., WINNER OF THE GRAND PRIZE (XCM RACE REGISTRATION, JOYRIDE 150 PASS, RYDERS SUNGLASSES–COURTESY OF CYCLE SOLUTIONS–FREE REGISTRATION TO A KING WEEKLY SERIES RACE, 2 PASSES TO THE DMBA DEMO FESTIVAL–ON MAY 6th–AND A TEAM COLIN HAT.  BOOM.

CONGRATULATIONS ALSO TO JEFF S., WINNER OF A KING SERIES RACE REGISTRATION, AND 2 PASSES TO THE DMBA DEMO FESTIVAL.  SMALLER BOOM.

Thanks to Dan Marshall and Substance Projects, Cycle Solutions, Joyride 150, Evolution Cycles, and DMBA.  So fun.

The Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic

Yep, a Mountain Bike Fundemic!  AND IT JUST GOT BIGGER!!!

Once again, mountain biking is about to get a wee bit awesomer, with the Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic (not to be confused with last Fall’s Team Colin Epic Boom Giveaway Spectacular).

What exactly is the Team Colin Epic Prize Boom Fundemic?  It’s a boatload of prizes, that’s what.

UPDATE    Not only is it all of the cool stuff listed below, but it now includes a PAIR of passes to the Durham Mountain Bike Demo Festival on May 6.  Wickedly rad.  

Dan Marshall from Substance Projects has authorized the Team Colin Blog to give away a free registration to one of his XC Marathon races this season.  Sweet.

The good folks at Joyride 150 want to help you get in shape for the race season–or maybe just have some fun going for a sweet rip on their new FLOW TRAIL–and have authorized Team Colin to include a day pass to the park.  Boom.

But wait, there’s more.  Evolution Cycles run the King Weekly Race Series every Tuesday night, from May to September, and Jamie Davies doesn’t want you to feel left out, so he is giving away a free registration to one of their weekly rips.  Pick a Tuesday night from May to September, bring your A-Game, and bust a lung at Centennial Park.  Kapow!

And there’s even more!  Matt Morrish and Cycle Solutions  have Ryders Eyewear sunglasses, and the want you to look cool.  Bam!

And to top it all off–literally–how about a Team Colin hat?  Team Colin hats are the perfect way to celebrate the Team Colin Experience.  Kaboom.

To recap:

  • Free registration for an XCM race this season.
  • Free Joyride 150 day pass
  • Free pair of sweet Ryders Eyewear sunglasses, courtesy of Cycle Solutions
  • Free registration to a King Weekly Series race
  • 2 passes to the DMBA Demo Festival on May 6
  • Free special edition, artisanal cotton, blue camo Team Colin hat

It’s a Fundemic!

Entering is easy.  If you already follow the Team Colin blog, or if you already follow the Team Colin Facebook page, just type a sentence with the word “Fundemic” on the blog or the Team Colin Facebook page (yeah, it’s that easy).  However, if you aren’t part of the team, all you have to do is one of the following things:

OPTION 1:  Follow the Team Colin Blog.  It’s not as bad as it seems, and you can unfollow it at any time after the draw.

OPTION 2:  Follow the Team Colin Facebook Page.  Once again, it’s not as bad as it seems, and you can unfollow it any time after the draw.

The draw will be held live on Facebook, on April 10, at 5:57 PM.  Yes, Team Colin’s kids can’t eat supper until they make the draw.

THE SMALL PRINT:
Total value of “The Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic” is, like a billion dollars*
The draw will be held LIVE ON FACEBOOK, on April 7, 2017, at 8PM.  Enter before that date to be eligible.
A full list of contest rules can be found at: http://www.there_are_no_rules.com
Unfortunately, if you can’t meet Team Colin at one of the XCM races, the hat and sunglasses cannot be mailed–but you still get your free registration to the races, the DMBA Demo Festival passes, and the Joyride 150 park pass,
Finally, the terms, conditions, and prizes in the Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Fundemic may change because you know, Team Colin makes mistakes and forgets lots of things.
*estimated value

33. Snumbler ’17

snumbler-salsa-and-meBest fatbike ride ever!  Saturday’s Northumberland Snumbler, race #4 in the 45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Series, was, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had on a fatbike.  Ever.

Wait, the Frozen Beaver was 10 days ago, and the Snumbler was 3 days ago?  Yup, two fatbike races in two consecutive weekends.  Please don’t pinch me–if this is a dream, I don’t want to wake.

So awesome.

The Snumbler was another great gig presented by Substance Projects and Cycle Solutions.  It was also at my favourite place to ride, Northumberland Forest.

Annnnnd, I got to spend the afternoon with Dan Marshall of Substance Projects (and Liz, and Sherry, and Jen, and Simon, and yes, his mom and dad), and Matt from Cycle Solutions, and a whole bunch of other cool racers (including Wally Ess, the winner of the Team Colin Epic Boom Prize Giveaway Spectacular).

But wait, there’s more.  It was especially awesome because of THE COURSE.  The course was a beautiful piece of fatbike beauty.  When preparing for the Snumbler, the God of Fatbiking bestowed upon Dan Marshall a special gift.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Dan Marshall:

Hey, um, God of Fatbiking (picks kale chip out of his hair, you know because the dude has 4 kids), do you have a sec?

God of Fatbiking:

Sure thing Daniel.  What’s uppeth (because the God of Fatbiking sort of talks like a Shakespearean character)

Dan Marshall:

I’m having a fatbike race on Saturday, do you think you could help me out a bit?

God of Fatbiking:

Sayeth no more Daniel.  I will bestow upon you the Gift of Legendary Fatbike Race Design

Dan Marshall:

Thanks.  And hey, can you watch the kids for me next week…

And the rest is history.  No, the God Of Fatbiking didn’t watch Dan’s kids, the God of Fatbiking gave Dan the Gift of Legendary Fatbike Race Design.  It was sent to him from Fatbike Heaven, carried on the wings of a Fatbike Angel.

Full disclosure, the aforementioned conversation did not happen.  Also, there is no such thing as Fatbike Angels.  However, Fatbike Heaven is totally real.

The course WAS Fatbike Heaven.  I literally yelped throughout the race.  “This is so awesome”,  “Wohoo”, and “ILOVETHISCOURSE!”.

I was ready to race, and before the race even started, I was in a great mood.  I spent the morning (and after the race) with my family at my mom’s place, which is just down the road.  Also, Saturday marked my almost 1 year anniversary as a blogger, which is kind of cool.  Finally, I was just really stoked to be spending it with my other family–you know, my bike family.

I was SO ready to race. My LEGS were ready to race. My BIKE was ready to race–okay, I had to borrow a bike, but my borrowed bike was ready to race.  My HEART was ready to race.

And I was late for the race.

What? Since I was at my mom’s I had a relaxing morning sleeping in, and then chatting a bit–which is rare because I usually wake up at about 6AM on race day and scurry around my house until I leave.

I made it to the forest with just 30 minutes before the race. I was almost frantic: I forgot pedals for my loaner bike and had to find a set to borrow; I had to register; I had to find my dickie and my helmet liner; I had to stretch my booties over my shoes; I had to choose my gloves; I had to choose a second set of gloves; I had to (unsuccessfully) try to mount my GPS on the handle bars; I had to chat with everybody (because that’s just what I do); I had to jam some food in my belly (also what I do); I had to find my sunglasses; and I had to lock and unlock my car a dozen times because I kept forgetting all the things I needed (again, it’s just what I do).

I finished everything with about a minute to spare, and made it to the start line in a nick of time.

And I had to pee. Aw dang it.

And so, while actively peeing, I heard Dan outside the Port-A-Potty say “30 seconds!”.  I was already standing, so I actually tried to loosen my shoulders and neck, and when I was finished, while putting on my gloves, I tried a few deep knee bends.  I zipped my kit, put on my other gloves, and booked it out of the Port-A-Potty.  Except that I forgot to wash my hands, so I took off my gloves, took off my other gloves, sanitized, re-gloved (and re-re-gloved), and I was off.

Yay, last place and I hadn’t even started.

Race Report:  Northumberland Snumbler.  Northumberland Forest (February 4, 2017)

The race started with a gentle stretch of double track, and, within a few hundred metres, it rose into a gentle, winding, climb through a planned forest.  It levelled out onto a beautiful field of majestic pine trees lining the trail.  It really was a beautiful sight, and it was immediately apparent that we were in for something special.  The course conditions were perfect.  Hard and granular, with enough fresh stuff to dig into.

I passed about 10 riders in the first few k, and seeded myself behind a small pack.  The pace was a bit slow, but it gave me a second to breathe it all in.  We were climbing a tight, switchbacked hill, and there were 3 or 4 levels of riders snaking their way up  through the trees.  The communal aspect of riding through a forest with a group of people  was deeply moving, and I started to wonder what everyone else was chasing.  Were they like me and just loved the race vibe, the chance to test their endurance while staying fit, and a chance to love the Team Colin Experience?  Were they chasing a spot on the podium?  Were they just starting out, and pushing themselves to the limits to see if they could make it?  What else were they chasing?

Whatever our individual pursuits, we were all on the same trail at the same time, doing the same thing.  Group boom!

With the pace, it even gave me a chance to talk to a rider in front or me, and we had a nice race chat.

Back to the Race Report.  After a bit of less-than-perfect-but-still-awesome-singletrack, we hit the first of two climbs.  It was a nasty short one that took me off my bike, and made me dig in for a hike.  When that was done, we hit some more sweet, winding singletrack.  Seriously, the course was truly a thing of beauty.  A bit of double track, some more single track, a few trail crossings, and we hit the other hill.  It was a long winding bugger that pushed me to my limits.  I was behind Karen G., and she rode the whole damn thing.  I didn’t want to let her get away, so I let her pace me, skootched forward in my seat, dug into it, and pedalled to the top.  Killer.

The climbs were few though, and they weren’t really that tough, but all was forgotten in the last few k.  The last bit of the Snumbler was absolutely spectacular.  A bit of gentle double track, some twisty singletrack, and then Dan treated us to a long, winding, downhill that felt like it lead to the pearly gates of Fatbike Heaven (totally a real place).  Seriously, when we were descending, I felt like I was about to sprout wings and swoop along the course.  Long, winding, beautifully groomed, and fast.

“Woweee”.  That’s not a description of what I felt, it’s what I actually screamed.  True story.

And then the course got fun.  No kidding.  It actually got more funner.  The funnerest.

A bit of wide singletrack led us to the final downhill that was like a roller coaster.  I can’t commit to this fact, but I think I unclipped from my pedals, put my feet out and in front of me, and actually giggled.

Dan gave us a mach-speed stretch of doubletrack that led to the START/FINISH.  OHMIGOD.  I actually got out of my seat for a sprint.  A fatbike sprint, 10k into a race.  BOOM.

Around the START/FINISH for a second lap.  Lather, rinse, smile,and repeat.  I’m pretty sure I maintained most of my speed throughout the entire second lap.  I finished strong and happy.

Booking it through the FINISH line, I think I yelled “I love you Dan Marshall” dismounted, and gave Dan a giant MTB/Fatbike hug.

Hugs all around!

Who hugs at a bike race? That would be me. I know it’s not very MTB, and I’m pretty sure it’s the opposite of gnarly, but I’m a hugger.  I hug the people I care about, and I really care about these people. The weekend before,at the Frozen Beaver, when I really didn’t want to race, these people elevated my spirit. At the Snumbler on Saturday, when I really wanted to race, they just made my day that much lighter.  So I doled out the hugs.

Team Colin hug!

End of Race Report.

By the way I’m a big fat liar.  The God of Fatbiking didn’t give Dan the Legendary Gift of Fatbike Race Design.  It was all Dan.  DAN marked the course.  DAN lugged a tire around the course a week before the race to make sure it was awesome.  DAN gave us all a great day.

Hey wait, Dan Marshall is also the God of Fatbiking…  Who knew.

And can I talk about my bike for a second?  Once again, I had to borrow a fatbike for the race.  This time, Dan Marshall answered the call of the loser-who-sold-his-fatbike, and offered to let me ride his 2016 Salsa Beargrease XO1.

Wow.  Whattabike.  I’ve had some pretty sweet luck with fatbikes this year.  Not only did I demo a Norco Ithaqua 6.1, and a Trek Farley 9.9 (both at the top of their respective game), but I also got to borrow a Norco Ithaqua 6.3, and now this.  Which one do I like the best?  The Salsa Beargrease.  It was nimble.  It was quick.  It was a sherbet coloured fatbike dream.  It stands alone (see what I did there, because there’s no stand).snumbler-salsa-2

It actually made me a better rider.  I’ve always heard about Salsa’s legendary fatbike racing groove, and now I finally get it.  The Beargrease cut through the trail like a bullet.  I’ve never felt as fast as I did on the Beargrease.  Maybe it was the course, maybe it was the forest.  Maybe it was because we were in Fatbike Heaven (totally a real place).  Heck, a bit of it may have even been my legs and lungs.  I still don’t know, but I know this…

Best day of fatbiking ever.

Ride.

 

PS

I’m editing this blog a few days after my 45th birthday, and a few days (plus one) after my blog’s birthday, which is February 6.  I spent my blog birthday with my other other family (my students) and then I booked it to Joyride 150 for Birthday Laps.  Birthday Laps is when you ride your age in laps on the XC Trail.  I did 50 laps this year.  I turned  45, but 50 is a cooler number.  Boom.

Yes, I rode 40k on Monday evening.  Yes, I’m tired. Yes, it was awesome.  No, I’m not sure how I’ll make it through the week without showing a filmstrip…

Look at the bike again.  Here’s a sweet hero-shot leaning against the Cycle Solutions team support vehicle…

Here’s the factory spec sheet 2016 Salsa Beargrease X01.  Dan dialed it in with an X9/XX drivetrain, Raceface Turbine crank, XT cassette on Hope hubs (with Rolling Darryl rims), a Truvativ bar/stem/post, and Dillinger 4 tires (which aren’t studded, they’re “semi-studded”–his words–with 120 on the front and 80 on the rear.  He’s also got a Fabric seat, which I think are a new sponsor of the series.  Damn comfortable seat.

Just look at it…

snumbler-salsa-cycle-solutions

Hey, did I get this right?  If you have anything to say about this race, the fatbiking, that sweet Salsa up there, or riding in general, fire a message or comment at me.  If you want it to be public, comment at the bottom, and it you don’t, you can send an email to: teamcolinblog@yahoo.com

 

News: 1/2 Price @ Joyride 150

Team Colin Day, um, Night @Joyride 150.

Wait, what?  Half price at Joyride 150?  Is Team Colin pulling my leg?

Nope.  Saturday, December 3, starting at 7:00 PM, it’s Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150.

Thinking about going to Joyride 150, but never seem to make it?

Been to Joyride 150, but haven’t been in a while?

Want to train in the warmth of an indoor bike park with your friends?

Heard about the park’s epic XC Loop upgrade and want to try it for yourself (hint:  it’s now a 800 metre flow trail)?

Well, here’s your chance to do it for half of the regular price.

That’s right, it’s Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150, and park owners, Mark and Leslie Summers are offering half price admission and rentals.

How do you partake in the evening’s festivities?   It’s easy.  On Saturday, December 3, after 7:00 PM, go to Joyride and say “Team Colin”.  Boom.  Half price admission (that’s only $8.50)

Need a rental bike and gear?  “Team Colin”.  Boom.  Half price.

So what’s your excuse?  The park is basically paying for your gas.  All you have to do is get there.

Bring your friends, bring your family.  “Team Colin”. Boom.  They’re all in for half price.

I thought this event would be a fun thing to do.  So often I hear the name Joyride 150, and people say “Oh yeah, I’ve been trying to go” or “I’ve heard about the place, but…” or “Isn’t that place for kids”.  So I figured it would be cool to expose and encourage more XC riders to the park.  When I asked owners Mark and Leslie Summers about a special event, they jumped at the chance.  Half price admission AND half price bike rental.  Sweet.

Joyride 150 is a cycling mecca, and an homage to all things bike.  No kidding, when I park my bikes at night, I point them north/east, towards the blue-signed industrial complex  in Markham that houses over 100,000 square feet of cycling nirvana.  It.  Is.  Awesome.

And now you can see for yourself (or if you’ve already been, you can see once again).

Friends always ask me what Joyride 150 looks like.  I have a standard answer. Remember that dream car you drew as a kid–you know, the one with the huge spoiler, gigantic rear wheels, whale fins, jet propulsion module, missile launcher, flame thrower, and combination slushy maker/pizza oven…oh, and a sweet pinstripe?  Yeah, the coolest car in the world.  Well, Joyride is the bike park equivalent of that car. It’s like someone asked an 8 year old to draw a bike park.  Well, that 8 year old did, and then Mark Summers, and his #1 carpenter, Ty Dawson, built it.  More than that, they work tirelessly to continue to make the park better and better.  In the four years that I’ve been riding there, they constantly improve the features.

It’s not just a BMX park.

It’s not just where olympian mountain bikers sometimes train (yeah, you read that right).

It’s not just a 800 metre flow track.

It’s not just where Red Bull riders spend their off season (like my pal, Drew Bezanson).

It’s not just for kids (although if you have ’em, bring ’em–they’ll love you for it).

It’s a BMX park, covered in jumplines, with a dash skinny goodness, wrapped in a XC rider’s paradise (served with a side of a vert park).

Oh, and it has the coolest BMX (and BMX apparel) store this side of anywhere.  Seriously, the Boiler Room.  You should go.

So, on Saturday, December 3, 2016, won’t you consider joining Team Colin (and his family) and hopefully a bunch of other awesome XC riders, at Joyride 150.  There might be four of us (me, my wife, and my kids), and there might be more, but either way, we’ll be riding, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night.

You can check the Team Colin Facebook page for updates and special surprises the evening might have in store.  Here’s a link: Team Colin Facebook page.  I’ve also posted a few FAQs, and the address.

Team Colin Day (um, night) at Joyride 150!

Ride.