Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 Kingston Trophy Half Marathon

Labour Day weekend came fast and with it came the Substance Projects Kingston Trophy. And in past years this was the last event prior to Paul's Dirty Enduro. However with that no longer in existence and no races at all this year as life happened.

So there was no expectations for this edition. But you know...just to make it interesting let's do some pre race course work the day before. You know because resting is for the weak.

Race morning awoke and ended up running a wee bit later than planned as didn't exactly feel a rush. Hey, I readily admit I slacked off and simply did this novel thing called riding because Tom Warren was right.

The half marathon started in the same spot and on the same farm track as last year. And with the usual hammer like it is a 2k courier sprint at the go siren. This year had a better start and was further up the back half of the field when we made it through the gate and on to the singletrack of the Collins Lake system. Careful not to get sucked into go hard now like everyone else.  Passed 4 racers at a log when the took the easy route while I went over the straighter line....score for skill.

After the Collins Bay singletrack it was the long ride of grass beaten by horses...aka the filling test section. Which brought us back to Unity which in my mind is the important point of this race. I say this because after crossing Unity the race truly begins. When I say begin I mean it starts to become technical.

After crossing Unity the course made a right to round the field into a section of old farm road. The night before some would say foolishly rode this section with a bike light but this was to prove to be smart. As at a certain point I knew there would be a long gradual descent I could use to my advantage. On the gradual uphill to that point bided my time and when it was at that point upped the pace to pass 4 more riders.  And then it was a traverse from there to go up the sand track...where local knowledge would be important.

 Then through part of the sand box into the Soybean field where the next important decision to be made....take the straighter rock line through the copse of trees or increase pace slightly and beat everyone taking the non rock line. And the end result was the non rock line was faster as the 4 riders ahead took the line and had to dismount. Yep, sometimes racing is about being smart. A head of 4 more riders back to the barn for the first feed zone. Quick shot of coke and into the DH flow track.

Got a head of one rider as they agreed that I was faster on the track and didn't want to be making them nervous. Thanks for that. After the flow track it was into the first half of home loop where it began the exercise in  smooth and flow. Past a few riders in here while trying to keep riding smooth. And had a reminder in this section of why it is important for a racer to not only call out their pass but more importantly which side..

Off to the lower ridge and then part of Route 66 in reverse. Route 66 was in part an exercise in knowing when to hoof it instead of riding. I had been carrying water, bottle on bike and a hydration bladder. Turns out this year had more water than I needed. It seems my week of cellular hydration had worked as no cramps on race day. It was the next day that got that fun when the back cramp came by to go for a ride. So maybe will have to consider revisiting the moto/enduro style tool pack method I used  20 years ago. You know before it was cool.

After ride, hike, ride, hike, brake, repetitively. It was back on Burbrook and up the hill to Pete's Loop. Another test of flow and smoothness.  Going well till racing hard as came out into a field when a racer re entered the course without waiting to check it was clear. Yes, thank you discs for preventing clydesdale from crushing tiny woman. After about 8 minutes of racing in the turns and rocks biding my time...waiting for the rider a head to screw up to make a pass. Log hop they got nervous on and with a "On your right"   I was off.  Then through the soy fields of Pete's land to the aid station. Coming up to the aid station could see 4 riders stopped. Drawing on my old school tri skills called out" Coke" and got it from Dan. Slammed it back and off to the DH run passing 4 more riders.

After the DH it was the gravel grind down Burbrook to the entrance for the final singletrack of Home Loop. Sadly got passed by 3 riders part way through this last bit of singletrack, oh well. Through the pine and down a DH with some pumps and as usual rail it a little close to the tree at the bottom. Soon it was to the climb up onto the grass to the finish. Didn't feel like sprinting so let a rider catch me.

2016 Kingston Trophy Results

 Rode better than expected and improved over last years time by 20 minutes. Not bad considering I didn't actually train this year.

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