Why have you never heard of it? It's new and can see this also becoming a very poplar event. It was a mini bachelor weekend for me, Shannon is away so I took advantage of the man time and I, hmm, I went and rode my bike. Ya I know, nothing out of the ordinary, typical morning start and the just under 2 hour drive north to Sir Sam's just north of Haliburton. For some in the know, this was a part of the 3rd day of Crank the Shield and from some FYI from a teammate I was told I would have a fun day up there. That was an understatement, I had a blast and plan on being back next year.
Now the race, I really wasn't thinking about the race side of it, just a 4 hour training ride on the side of a ski hill. When ever you're at the bottom of a ski hill looking up knowing where you are going you just wonder how much that climb is going to hurt. Lined up with the group and waited for the countdown, it was a pretty fast paced start, I settled in a few riders back as we made our way to the bottom of the hill. A right turn and up we went. No pre ride of the climb so I kept it pretty chill, chill meaning I wasn't fighting back puking during the climb. Like every ski hill it hurt but it was a fun hurt. The crew at Sir Sam's made the switchback climbs flowy with just enough breaks along the way to not make you fall over at the top. There were some single track sections thrown in to just to break up the climb. The climb was actually fun.
Once on top, which had an amazing view of the lake, no I didn't stop to spectate, we cut in to a new section of trail that was like riding at home. Tight, rooty turns mixed with some random rock gardens to keep you on your toes. I was smiling, that's when the fun began. What goes up gets to go down. This place is known for downhill races, they did keep us on the chill side of the descents but still awesome with bermed corners and random jumps. Yes I was giggling on the downhills. First lap done, left turn, it's always a left turn and it was back up again. Ramped up the pace a bit and settled in. It was going to be a fun 4 hours.
I have to admit that I enjoy the low key events more and more. Everyone was laid back and friendly, there were a couple young kids racing, under the age of 10, the future is looking bright. The laps added up the time diminished. One interesting note was the course was short, Was steady with sub 17 minute laps. This meant a lot of climbing. At the 3 hour mark I chilled a little on the climbs, the race was done at 4 hours, not the normal you need to start your last lap at 3:59:59. That's when it happened. With 15 minutes left, I was ready to go ride around the parking lot for a bit when they said if you get to this point on the course by this time it counts.
Shit, you know I have to do it. Turned for the hill, locked out both the front and back shocks and pinned it with everything I had up the side of the hill. It hurt, I battled cramps, I kept pushing. Caught a rider from Cycle Cambridge and tried to get him to hold on so he could make the time cut off. That hill can put the hurt into you. It was a good hurt though, it felt great to making my body do something it really didn't want to do and do it semi well. Pushing through the woods I knew it would be close. 24 seconds before the cut off time close. It felt great.
The overall rundown, fun course, really fun. Great organizers, everyone was friendly and helpful, great location also. This has Ontario Cup potential., a great mix of everything. This one will grow for sure. Yes, I did win, climbed up and coasted down 14 times, it was a great way to spend a Saturday. Worked out well as prep for next weekend. Mark it on your calendars for next year, it's worth the drive north.
So what's up for today? The road bike is calling my name, followed by a team pub ride. Some calories need to be replaced. Congrats to Mr. Watson for winning the East Coast Open spiral of death, first round of beers????