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Eager Beaver - Cycle

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Duntroon, Ontario
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Event warmup:

Short preride in the grass and on the road just to get things moving and use up some nervous energy.
  • 7h 32m 40s
  • 156.4 kms
  • 20.73 km/hr

This was a tough race for me, I knew it was a bit of a stretch on a perfect day and the weather only made it more challenging. I am not a good climber and this course featured plenty of it 1760m (for relatively flat Ontario) I have been biking a lot but most of my rides have been relatively short.

The ride.

The ride started in a mass start at a cross country ski place. The route started on cut grass which was a little rough but fun at the start. I along with a bunch of others immediately lost a bottle on one of the rougher downhills. Stopping would have been dangerous so I just continued on. Lots of riders on the sides already mending flats.

After the grass we hit the gravel and a couple of hills including one dubbed the Murderhorn. Spirits were high and lots of riders were around which helped me up this one. I immediately wished that my gearing was lower through. I run a 12-30 with a 34 front which I thought was plenty low but I still searched frantically for lower gears as my cadence dropped and knees ached. Through the initial hills and onto aid station 1 @ 26.4km, it took me 1:18 to get there and I had the first inkling that it was going to be a long day. Aid station 1 also brought a weird smell, very familiar but certainly not one that you would associate with an aid station. BACON!

The rain started - cool refreshing rain that wasnt too heavy was actually a bit of a relief. The unfortunate side effect of this was sucking a lot of sand and fine gravel into my drive train and brakes. The constant scraping of sand through my brakes not only ground on my nerves but likely sapped a bit of energy too. Climbing continued and a couple of sections included steep uphill single track over wet smooth rocks. Limited traction, and smaller down trees forced me off the bike at times. At least I wasnt alone in my walking.

Aid station 2 came at 66km and 3:24hrs - a long day indeed! Aid station 1 was going to be hard to beat with the bacon so imagine my surprise when I was offered a can of beer from a cooler. As "luck?" would have it I had a free bottle cage open so went with it. Probably not the best idea but what the hay.

Somewhere along the way through the hills we saw heavy down-pouring rain. One side benefit if the rain was that it washed the bike so it started to sound less like a gravel grinding machine and more like a bike. I also got to use my new rain jacket which worked well. The down side to the rain were numerous, greatly decreased vision being one of them. Seeing as a lot of the course was on un-maintained roads more suitable for ATV's motorcycles and jeeps things were rough and only made worse by the rain running down the hills forming wide ruts. On the uphills this was annoying as you had to pick your way around the mini rivers and try to avoid the super mushy gravel. The gravel also seemed to turn to soup stealing precious watts into the gravel instead of being used to get across it. Down hills were a whole other matter- steep down hills, and blind corners meant rushed bunny hops and last ditch efforts to swerve in an attempt to avoid water filled ruts and soft sketchy gravel. The brakes got a heavy workout, coming around a corner in a pack of four we found a fallen tree across the entire road which lead to panic braking with everyone stopping just in time.

Coming to the half was point was hard, the rain had stopped which was nice but it was also warming up a little, my legs were fried from the low cadence hills and spirits were less than positive as I was wet, muddy and seemingly making little progress. The grinding from my bike returned and I was also mentally adding up the potential damaged parts on my bike - cassette, chain, rotors brake pads??? My impromptu little group of 4 also split as they were much better climbers than I and despite heroic descending I was unable to keep up. At 80km I was at 4.5hrs into the day - was this ride really going to take 9hours! I knew that the back half would be easier based on the course profile but I was highly discouraged. I pressed on because thats what I do.

Aid station 3 - No bacon, no beer just regular aid station stuff and Coke - not the weak Coke Zero or Diet Coke but the full on sugar / caffeine version which was a perfect pick me up. Along the previous section I had picked up a dropped bottle figuring that I better grab it "just incase" I filled my scavenged bottle with Coke. This also marked 94km (5hours) which served to boost me up a bit as I was over the hurtle with only 60km to go. I also pushed myself by rationing the coke to a drink every 10km as a reward for persevering.

The last aid station at 135km came and went as the course leveled out and my speed increased. The end was near, I could smell it. As the mileage clicked by I knew I was getting close, the final section, section 8, was through a farmers field. Rough dirt track turned to rougher grass track which left me gripping the hoods as lightly as possible to try and mitigate the vibrations and harshness through the handlebars. Before too long I saw a welcoming sign, a cross country ski trail sign, meant that I was back on the ski trail property and the end was very near.

One final optional section was the Iron Cross section (based on the Iron Cross race in PA) which was said to be very rocky single track. I went for it and almost immediately regretted it. Not only was it very rocky but also extremely slippery due to the rain, I knew it was a short section so I laughed out loud at my decision and carried as much speed as file tread tires on muddy mountain bike track would allow. Exiting the section left about a kilometer or 2 of grass before hitting the ski chalet and finish. 7:34:40 seconds on the bike! - probably one of the most difficult rides I have ever done and I will certainly never do it again... until next year.

What would you do differently?:

Wet lube - good
gear adjust - good
add second layer of bar tape for cushioning
brake adjust - bad. I set my brakes up to be very close to the rotors so I get a good initial bite without much lever travel. For the road this is great but in wet gravel and sand or dirt it will grind between the pads and rotors. Had to adjust mid course to fix this which was a pain.
Post race
Warm down:

Pftt! burger please.

Pictures are from another rider who must have had cameras running front and rear. My pictures are sideways and show an uphill single track and farm field towards the end.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lower gearing or stronger legs would have been nice.
Need to put in longer rides and more hills to be better prepared
working in an established team would be better to share the load and boost spirits to get through the tough times.

Event comments:

really challenging it was very hard especially with the rain, will do again.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2016-05-27 12:00 AM
07:32:40 | 156.4 kms | 20.73 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
1759m of elevation top speed 70.2km/h cadence 88RPM AVG HRT 146BPM
Wind: Some
Course: grass, gravel, dirt, pavement, singletrack - a little bit of everything
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 88
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Bad
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2016-08-15 10:34 AM

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Southampton, Ontario
Subject: Eager Beaver

2016-08-15 10:40 AM
in reply to: #5195200

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Falls Church, Virginia
Subject: RE: Eager Beaver
Wow, well done! Those conditions would have made me pretty cranky, but you seemed to take it in stride. Fueled by beer and coke....gotta love that! Will you do another one, you think?
2016-08-15 10:53 AM
in reply to: Atlantia

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Southampton, Ontario
Subject: RE: Eager Beaver
If they they gave you a hearty high five and t shirt after tootling around a parking lot for 10 minutes no one would sign up. These races, for me anyways, are about a challenge and pushing through them. Sometimes Fun isnt always fun but comes from rising to the challenge through the difficult situations and the great stories that come out of them. I will likely sign up again
2016-08-15 12:27 PM
in reply to: DaveL

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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: RE: Eager Beaver

Congratulations!  Epic ride.  In ride beer and bacon for the win!

2016-08-15 12:44 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Eager Beaver

You did a great job of describing the deteriorating trail conditions in the rain and apparently did a great job navigating everything the trail and Mother Nature threw at you!  Bacon! Beer!  Coke!  Great job and great write up, congratulations on finishing upright!

Edited to add: I love the race name and the little mascot!

Edited by melbo55 2016-08-15 12:44 PM
2016-08-15 3:32 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: Eager Beaver
Awesome! And of course the beer was a good idea. I love that you captured the mechanical adjustments you would have made and ones you were happy with. Nice work!

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