So while I did have insiders knowledge of the trails as I spend many hours riding and doing trail work at the Farm. You never know what Substance Projects course setter is thinking up.
The half marathon course this year was 37km over the singletrack and farm tracks of the http://www.mtbkingston.ca/ system. Sounds good in theory till you add in temps of about 36 degrees celsius then add in supposedly a 75% humidity. Made even harder when you are a Clydesdale and have to work harder than the Greyhounds. In my mind this was the final race before Paul's Dirty Enduro.
Knowing the easy part of the course at Collins Lake was first plan was to be smart and save energy for Route 66 and Pete's Loop. I knew that these sections where technical especially Route 66 and alot of time could be wasted if not enough energy was saved. This in my mind is where the race actually starts.
Unfortunately screwed up in the beginning as missed the half marathon start by a minute. After a bit of mental ass kicking. Started trying to not over due the ride angry to make up time. Shortly after entering the first singletrack came upon Shannon a friend who had issues with a bent hanger. It became the bike version of the moment in Dante's Peak where the tech is telling everyone to turn around so as to not see the brute force handi work......in this case to a carbon Kona frame. After a few minutes of combat bike surgery. Shannon was back to racing albiet with maybe 4 gears. But better than a mechanical DNF.
After that back to racing. Well kind of as I had to fix a bit of a bike issue and Shannon got away. But eventually caught back up on the long bumpy farm track back. Once the road crossing was done said see you at the finish to Shannon as I could see a rider off in the distance. Maybe it's my time racing Tri and Du especially Tri as a stone with arms swimmer aka the Kenny Souza style triathlete. And being forced to pursue on the bike and run. And have it fully ingrained because my better results are when I am the hunter.
After the Soyfield it was the aid station for a slam down of coke and then into the Fun Track section. Which put us into the first half of home loop. Focused on being smooth and flowing through the track. Then it was Burbrook and a bit of singletrack and then the swamp crossing till reached Route 66. This is where the work began as Route 66 was designed by Rob to be more like a BC XC trail. So if you keep your focus the whole loops you can nail it. But under race conditions it is a whole different animal as some found out. Made it through no issues other than the right hander around the big rock screwed up the turn. No biggee.
After Route 66 was back across the swamp and through some singletrack back to Burbrook. Then a grind along the gravel of Burbrook to the climb up to Pete's Loop. After a stop at the aid station at the top it was into Pete's. Another trail of rock and twisting fun. It was after leaving the singletrack and coming round the cornfield after ignoring the timer on the bar. I finally took a look and realized I was riding faster than I thought. After stopping again at the aid station before descending the singletrack back down to Burbrook and the grind to the second half of Home Loop.
I had caught and kept close to a guy on a True North singlespeed through all of it. And looking back just before entering the singletrack could see no one behind. Huge ass gap. But about 5 minutes into the last half of Home Loop decided to let him go. I decided I had achieved the goal of the day and it being a training race for Paul's to ride smart....smooth. Though gotta say..nailed the swamp berm perfectly. It turns out this was a smart decision as on the last grunt after the DH and silo panel road. Could feel the heat and low energy levels starting to have an effect. That last hill sucked.
Was a good day as I had achieved what I set out. Never checked the results as I wasn't concerned. So was surprised to hear I got third in the Clydesdale Category. Happy with that. Guess this means I have to start doing this thing called proper training for next years season.