|The view from up top Carlington Hill. At night, I always think it is one of the prettiest in the city.|
So, LPP#3 is in the can. I think it went quite well, despite it being the softest trails conditions so far, and having one of the toughest features of any of the races (the old east side sliding hill). Andy and I went out the night before to pack sections of the course, and, to be honest, decided what the course should be. It was quickly decided that even with the snowshoe packing, anything but the most hard-packed or downhill trails would be unridable in the heavy, wet snow that were the conditions. So that in mind, the course was pretty straightforward.
the long slog up to the top. The downhill (which is hella fun) is in the woods picture left.
One issue to deal with when making a course that is mostly singletrack is how to spread people out. With my events, I have taken to making the starts selective, but without resorting to the tried and true (and boring) Lemans start. My starts involve walls, fences, snowball fights and airplane bottles of booze hidden like Easter Eggs. This time, all ten of the racers had to take off their front wheel and stand in a line facing down the main sliding hill at Carlington, which is no small rise. Once in line, they had to hand t wheel to the person to their right. Those whose who had bolt-on wheels had their bikes stashed in the woods by Andy and Glenn. When I said 'go!' everyone had to roll the wheel in their hand down hill, and wait 5 looong seconds before they could get them. That, I figured, would thin the herd.
Now when I planned this, I seriously doubted that anyone's wheel would go all the way down the hill. The hill was bumpy in some sections, soft in others and the simple fact was that no wheel would be able to go straight for that long without toppling over.
Unless you hit this one lane of smooth, compacted snow, but hey who would hit that perfectly in the dark, with a fat bike wheel?
Turned out that Matts wheel did, went almost all the way down. Matt won the last race he was in, and is always fast. this put him dead last, as pretty much everyone ignored the 5-second rule and ran after their wheels almost immediately, creating total bedlam. While bedlam is typical, this time I blame Andrew Olive. And Neil, because Neil deserves to be blamed for shit. But I digress; the last one into the woods was poor Matt.
I thought the laps would be about 12 minutes due to the soft conditions and that evil hill. So I told everyone that there would be three laps and then a descent down the main sliding hill to the finish line, which consisted of Andy wearing a red blinky and a pair of snowshoes. First man to touch Andy would be the winner. Oh, and Andy was allowed to move partly to avoid any indiscreet gropes.
To my total surprise, lap one was doen in eight minutes! While no one made it up the hill on thier bike, plenty ran it. and the soft conditions and narro trails did not seem to slow anyone down. I think it says something to the skill levels that folks are reaching on their fatbikes this season. The second lap was 10 minutes. Amazingly, by the second lap, Matt was in third! But I had to make a call, if everyone kept going at this speed the race would be over in forty minutes. I started to tell people there would be a fourth lap.
I was rebuffed. Not just rebuffed, but told flat out 'no.'
"Fuck that, you said three!"
"Fuck you, I"M done at three"
There were worse comments too, but what impressed me was that such long emphatic refusals were coming out of folks who had just climbed up the hill and were totally in the red. So it stayed at three.
The finish was pretty cool. Marcel, who had been leading the entire race (I think) came off the hill with Matt right at this heels. They started the descent of the sliding hill pretty much side-by-side. They got close. Too close, elbows came out, snow started to fly and Marcel slid out. Matt bombed the hill with reckless abandon (doe he desend any other way?) to touch Andy for the win. Marcel recovered for second, and Neil placed a surprising third on my borrowed bike; he showed up on a Kona singlespeed with 1.9 tires. I looked at his rig, mocked him and told him to ride my 9 Zero 7. It will likely be the closest it will ever get to winning one of these.
|Neil, learning the ways of the fat on my bike. He's wearing my helmet too, now that I look at it...|
So that is it. Many thinks to Andy for all his help the night before and the night of the race. Thanks go to Rodd for the pics you see here, and for Glenn, who threw bikes into the woods and took the videos posted below.
The finale will be at Kanata Lakes on Saturday, March 23rd. Race starts at 7:30 sharp, will last around 75 minutes (conditions depending as usual). BBQ, keg and fire pits to follow!
Now does anyone have a sled and firewood?