2015: S15/10

2015:  S15

Ten Races in my third season.

I added a Steaming Nostril, did the last Paul’s Dirty Enduro, booked a race across the Cape Breton Highlands, my first time on a podium, and I even rode on the track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Speedway.


#1:  Steaming Nostril-Runny Nose (March 29, 2015)

  • Gravel/MTB Race (point to point)
  • Time: 1:38:29
  • 35k
  • 7/33 (category), 7/38 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:24:13
  • Bike:  Norco Torrent
  • For the first 25 minutes, I couldn’t find a pace. Lots of riding buddies and groups doing it together. They seemed to be riding slow, but I didn’t want to charge ahead, only to be passed and mocked. Maybe they knew something. Also, leaving the pack meant I would be on my own. There was another pack about 500m ahead. I broke free, and made it to them. They were riding slow too. What was I missing? I had the legs, so I broke free, and spent the next 20k on my own. Against the wind. A very strong wind. With 10k to go, I met a strong rider who had a five minute detour for a pee break. We talked as we rode. He was on a CX bike and felt the pain of my 26 hardtail MTB. When I told him I couldn’t keep his pace, he told me to drift him for a while. I did. Five minutes later, a marshall yelled to us (and another rider) that we were “Ten, eleven, and twelve”. Huh? How did that happen? 8k to go, I had legs, I was riding strong, and I was close to the top ten. A few minutse later, I talked to him but he didn’t answer. I looked back and he wasn’t in sight. I rode. Coming up to the last 2k, I was alone on the icy shore of a river, then I was behind two more riders. We came to the bottom of a giant staircase. I dismounted behind the two riders. They told me to go ahead. Bike up, two steps at a time. Climbing stairs after 34k of cold riding isn’t fun. Step step step. At the top of the steps, I just knew the other two riders were on me. 100m to a turn around, and the finish line 100m after that. Go. At the turn around, I looked back to see how close they were. They hadn’t climbed to the top of the steps yet. 7th place. Hmm.

#2:  H2i (April 11. 2015)

  • MTB Race: 2 laps (Substance Projects XCM I)
  • Time: 2:01:30
  • 20k
  • 19/23 (category), 40/50 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:21:20
  • Bike:  Norco Torrent
  • What the hell? After a too brief warm up, my familiar chain suck killed me—on the first pedal stroke of the race. On the first pedal stroke of the race. After a few km arguing with my chain and chain ring, and some horrible gnashing of my chain on my bottom bracket, I gave up. No gears. Not a great race. But I rode my bike on a Saturday morning, and you can’t beat that. Plus, Dan Marshall created a Clydesdale category, and I placed third.

 #3:  P2A-Paris to Ancaster (April 26, 2015)

  • CX/MTB Race: point to point (St. George to Ancaster)
  • Time: 1:50:04
  • 40k
  • 5/40 (category), 104/635 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:39:36
  • Bike:  Norco Torrent
  • I came 5th place in a huge race—on a 26” hardtail MTB. Yeah, that just happened. I spent the entire race just behind the main pack. No cramp, I rode up the bloody escarpment, and I felt great.

#4: Long Sock Classic (May 16.2015)

  • MTB Race (Substance Projects XCM II)
  • Time: 2:20:48
  • 35k
  • 23/32 (category), 45/50 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:39:59
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • Annnnd, I’m back. First race on my new Norco Revolver 9.1 (picked it up the night before). Sweet ride, but I don’t know what happened. Some races are just plain bad.

#5   Northumberland Humbler (June 27, 2015)

  • MTB Race (Substance Projects XCM III)
  • Time: 2:11:46
  • 35k
  • 31/38 (category), 53/72 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:35
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • I didn’t feel okay during the race for a single second. I tried a warm up before the race, but I think I rode too hard. Every minute of the race was tough. The last 5k were even more tough. Not a great race in terms of results, not a bad race, just a race. 2nd place Clydesdale, but I really don’t think I earned it. The new bike was awesome.

#6:  Across The Highlands Challenge’15 (July 18, 2015)

  • MTB Race—in Mabou, NS!
  • Time: Not sure
  • 40k
  • First overall (but it was a social ride for the rest)
  • Bike:  Norco Torrent
  • There was no official timing. It felt more like a group ride, and the vibe was pretty cool. Rustic trails, great atmosphere. There was a nice mix of crude single track, farmers fields, gravel roads, rail trail, and laneways. Great ride. I did the shorter distance, and finished about 20 minutes before the next rider–but most riders ride the longer race that summited the highlands. I’m still calling it a win. I rode my 26” hard tail. 

#7:  Kingston XC Marathon Championship (September 5, 2015)

  • MTB Race (Substance Projects XCM IV)
  • Time: 2:41:19
  • 37k
  • 27/36 (category), 60/84 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:48
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • Once again, a punishingly hot day. The start line was across the street from the parking/finish. I was running late and left for the start with just enough time. I missed the laneway to the start line, and made a 3km detour to the next concession. When I realized my mistake, I booked it back to the start. Everyone was gone. Not a soul to be seen, and I was dying from a 6k ride (of which I sprinted half). There were 84 riders ahead of me. So I rode. Hard. I’ve always been terrified of warming up too much. It wasn’t a problem. The 6k rock garden was still a killer, and the course was still so damn bumpy, but I rode as best as I could.

#8:  Paul’s Dirty Enduro (September 20, 2015)

  • MTB Race (Pulse Racing)
  • Time:2:07:53
  • 30k
  • 22/61 (category), 41/116 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:43
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • The stars lined up, the sun beat through the clouds, and I rode hard. I was strong, agile, and good to go. My new bike was humming. I felt I was just behind the lead pack for most of the race, even though I couldn’t believe it, but I knew other riders were breathing down my neck just out of sight. At the feed station, I tried to unclip, but couldn’t, and fell down. Nothing serious. I guzzled some feed, and I was off before the pack arrived. If I could just clip in…damn. On the climb just above the feed station, I realized there was a problem with my cleat. I checked my GPS time, dismounted, and took a look. I lost a screw from my cleat, and it was rotating. 1 minute lost. I got my allen key and tightened it up as best as I could. Another minute lost. I tried to clip in, in the middle of a hill, and…the next pack was on me. Four riders passed me, and I lost another minute. I finally clipped in and found my pace, but I had to make up some time. I passed three of the four riders. With the fourth in sight, a tree jumped in the middle of the trail and smoked me. I went down hard, and was wedged between two trees, at a 90 degree turn. Riders were on me like crazy. A fellow rider tried earnestly to help me up, but I couldn’t unclip, and I was a pretzel. After a few minutes, and a hundred riders passing me, I got up and pedaled on my way. Sort of. There was a Mexican restaurant special where my front rim used to be. One large taco coming up. My wheel was warped so badly that it actually stopped twice on each rotation as is rubbed against the fork. With 4k to go, and zero DNFs under my belt, I did what I could. I rode. At the finish line, there was a collective “Ohhh” when I hobbled in. I had to take my shoe off to get my clip out. Shoeless, warped to hell, and a bit sore, but it was a Sunday in September, and I rode the race of my life. Boom.

 #9:  Hardwood Single Track Challenge (October 18, 2015)

  • Time: 1:59:08
  • 25k
  • 8/18 (category)
  • 26/85 (overall)
  • Category winning time: 1:40
  • Gap: 18:48
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • Hmm. I felt strong, but I didn’t get the result I wanted. There were a bunch of jams, but I rode well otherwise. I always start at the back of the pack because I’m terrified of the middle, and it’s usually not a problem, but today it was. I got to thinking. Maybe it was a problem in other races as well. I pushed hard. Nothing spectacular.

#10:  Overdrive Race Series (November 8, 2015)

  • Time: 1:02:51
  • 20k
  • No category
  • 1/3 overall
  • Bike:  Norco Revolver 9.1
  • Last race of the season. Cold as hell, with few riders, but it was November, and I was racing. Sweet.

S15 Other

15 x King MTB Weekly Series (Tuesdays)

Leslie Summers at Joyride150 called me one day, at about 2:30, and asked “Are you doing the King Series tonight?”.  I didn’t know what the King Series was, so I went, I raced, and I had a blast.  The other riders were amazing.  Each week, I battled for last place.

Durham Forest Thursday Night Race (Thursday)

Fun race.  Good vibe.  I would’ve done others, but the Tuesday night race usually killed my week.