Monday, 17 October 2011

Hardwood SingleTrack Challenge - October 16th 2011

Adam and I headed up north just past Barrie yesterday to participate in the Hardwood Singletarck Challenge.  50km Solo, 24km Solo or 50km Tag Team were the options for this event and we decided to go with the 50km Tag Team because we were going to do the race on True North Cycles single speeds.  I had popped out to True North on Friday to pick up a single speed bike for Adam to race on.

We arrived at Hardwood at 7:45am after a 2 hour drive and we were just hoping the weather would hold for the race, it had been raining for a few days before the race and it was supposed to rain later in the day as well.  We had the pop up shelter just in case and not knowing what weather to expect I had brought a vast selection of clothing to choose from.

Nutrition for race was somewhat lacking.  We had ordered pizza the night before so we would have leftovers to eat between laps and I had made some coconut, chocolate chip cookies to snack on.  We had had eggs and toast for breakfast before we left in the morning and I had 2 slices of pizza at 9am so I would have energy  for my first lap.  After that between laps all I felt like eating was cookies.

It was very important for us to pay attention at the pre race meeting as we hadn't done this race before here's how this race works.

* There are 5 different loops through the forest for a total of 50km.
* Solo 50km riders ride all 5 loops in a certain order.
* Tag Team riders ride all 5 loops (in a different order than the solo riders) with one rider riding laps 1,3 and 5 for a total of 24km and the second rider riding laps 2 and 4 for a total of 26km.
* Solo 24km riders ride loops 1, 3 and 5 in yet another different order.
* Riders have to keep their heads up and follow the signs for whatever loops they are on.  Easy enough to do at Hardwood because the trails are well marked.

I was doing loops 1, 3 and 5 so I got to start with Fun 6 kms,  a sprint really.  I was getting passed right off the start until we hit the first hill.  With a single speed you have to climb up hills fast, there is just no other option so I pulled ahead of a quite a few people on that first hill.  Fun was an easy trail with nothing technical there.  I could be located in the forest by the sound of my barking cough.  I have had a cold for 2 weeks now and I have an awful cough that will not go away.  I finished up in just under 18 minutes and it was Adams turn to ride the Gnarly 12km, he was liking the single speed. He had fun passing a few people on the uphill sections.  The trail was twisty with a few boardwalks and mud free.  It took him 51 minutes. Then my turn for Serious 11kms, this trail had me thinking thoughts like...  This trail is seriously twisty and seriously awesome!  A great ride with 2 steep climbs I had to sprint up finishing up the lap in 38 1/2 minutes.  It was Adams turn for Radical 15km by the early beginning of this lap he wished he had stuck with the original plan of him being Rider A.  The trail was tough it had tons of roots and it felt all uphill, the downhills didn't provide enough momentum to make it up the uphill sections.  He finished his lap in just under 66 minutes.  My turn for Crank'd 8kms,  my best lap of the day.  I felt really good on this lap it had a lot of quick up and so much downhill I really got to let it rip.  Crank'd was also the muddiest trail of the day.

At the finish line Adam was cheering me on and Maroon 5 was singing Moves like Jagger on the sound system.  I couldn't have asked for a better finish.  We had no idea we were in contention for a top three finish. With this race there were riders everywhere and it was very difficult to tell who you were competing against.  We were ecstatic to find out we'd taken 3rd place!

The first place finishers in our 50km Tag Team 60+ category Brad Hunter and Rachel Mirvish had their pop up right beside us.  They brought their dog to the race and I just couldn't resist petting her a few times.  Boy did she look like my Zoe girl.

Podium pictures.  What a great feeling.  Only 5 seconds from making 2nd place. It was that close.

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