Im going to split this up into three separate posts so that if I fall asleep mid report there is something to read.
First off there are two huge thanks I have to give to Norco Bicycles, and my riding partner Matt Paziuk for having me on the Team for this weekend. The bike, a Norco Faze, and the on site support was world class. And secondly to Adam and Sean Ruppel, Matt Douglas and the entire Chico racing crew including all the volunteers and helpers who made it an amazing three day adventure.
Buckwallow to Kandalore 75 km
I headed up to Buckwallow for the 10 am start with some time to spare to double check my bike and make sure everything was ready to go. I was anxiously awaiting the start. Before I left in the morning my mom even commented on my pacing and uneasiness the prior few days. After a pre-race meeting we all lined up, I think about 275 people. We started out at a nice easy pace for our loop of Buckwallow for 10km of nice rolly terrain and the last single track we’d see for a couple days. We dumped out onto the paved road and headed in a northeast direction on 16 km of mostly paved roads. A huge group formed near the front of the race the pace was raised a few times but nothing ever stuck, with MTB gears on fast paved roads nothing was going away.
After an hour of just rolling along we turned left into the first atv/snowmobile section. The race basically just shattered at this point. This is when the adventure started. I knew it was going to be wet, but oh man I have never seen anything like this. We were off our bikes every minute or two running around a bog. Or we would try to ride on the edge off one until your rear wheel would break loose and you would end up sideways. Sometimes you would try to ride them to discover it was wheel deep. It was a blast for the first hour then it quickly got old and I just wanted to ride my bike. Luckily there was plenty of gravel road sections in between these rugged atv trails. So there was plenty of time to regroup. Matt and I would use these sections to recover cause it took so much energy to run them we wanted to be good and fresh going in. At this point I wasn’t too sure if we were sitting in first in the team race or not. There was a two man team just behind us which we would find out later were in the over 80(combined age) category. But other than that we just tried to ride a good solid pace. We ended up catching up to a couple riders, Imad and Rob which turned into who could crack the best joke competition. This was around the time we were walking over a beaver damn between two big ponds.
At the second feed station we stopped and grabbed a bunch of food, and drink and carried on knowing we were getting close. Matt and I kept the pressure on and as we popped out onto a gravel road Sean Ruppel was there telling us it was 7 km on the road to the finish. This is about when I started to crack and Matt went to the front and rode us in to the finish. Kyle Douglas who was MC’ ing the event told us we were the first two person team so I was pretty stoked about that.
After the stage we had to keep riding to the Kandalore summer camp we were staying at. Kyle gave us some quick directions and said it was like 3-4 km. As we were riding I ran out of fluid, and started to shut down. As we quickly realized it was more like 6 km mostly uphill which finished with a categorized climb into camp.I really started to struggle. I threw it in the granny and almost had my head on my bar. I think Matt noticed I was hurting but didn’t want to say anything. At the end of the day we rode about 75km but only climbed 800 meters so not much climbing.
We grabbed our bags got cleaned up and mowed down on some food while we socialized and bragged along with other riders about how hard it was and how tough we are. Dinner was awesome, after awards we all settled in to our cabins, Matt, another guy and myself were in "the riddle" it was ummm well, rustic. Basically four plywood walls, and a plywood ceiling. But it was dry and clean so no worries. As I got into my sleeping bag I was pretty warm so I took off some clothes, but by the time 4 or 5 in the morning rolled around I was freezing and struggling to get some clothes back on.
Quote of the day
"And here come a couple riders finishing up."
Kyle Douglas announcing through a loud speaker with absolutely no one around for miles.