. . . I went into the event with the goal to have fun and finish. Racing with a dislocated sternum/ribs would have been unrealistic anywho. I had hoped that my trip to Colorado two weeks before would boost me to super human status for CTS, however a wicked awful crash on the first day coming down Monarch Crest changed my plans slightly. Despite my injury I did manage to gain some significant Colorado fitness from the climbing/riding at altitude. At no point during Crank The Shield did I feel that I went into the red zone. The intense pain in my chest from heavy, deep breathing was all the indication that I needed to back off any exertion and thus kept me at a steady, manageable effort. I finished each stage feeling good and I kept a steady consistent pace during each stage. I am sure that I could have gone faster, but how much faster - who knows.
At times while riding behind the geared riders my skin would crawl from the sketchy, grindy gear changes caused by copious amounts of mud in their drive trains. Single speed was the way to go for sure. No skips, no jumps, no chain suck. I ran a 32x19 which I felt comfortable on throughout. CTS is a perfect race if you want to destroy some perfectly good bike parts or are looking for an excuse to replace a bike. I burnt through two sets of brake pads (outside of regular maintenance and upkeep, I've never ever gone through a set of brake pads!) and destroyed a bottom bracket. I'm also trying to convince Peter that I need a new bike cause mine got too dirty.
Three days of riding through muck and water and all I get is a cap?
The money spent on that could have been used to buy beer glasses (or even these glasses) - a very useful prize for finishing.
I don't recall a lot of fun sections of the course. But two do stand out: first, Sir Sam's. I was pleasantly surprised at how good Sir Sam's Ski Hill was. They did a great job putting a fast and flowy single track course there. It would have been nice to have been longer, cause it was so much fun, but it's only a small hill and I think they did a great job with the space that they had. Secondly, The North Shore Trail - yep, right at the start - twisty, rooty, rocky, loamy, up and down. It was long and difficult, but for some reason I loved it. Perhaps it was because I was still in a positive frame of mind as it came within the first few km's of the race and my spirit and soul hadn't yet been crushed under the sheer weight of the mud that I carried on my bike and clothing as I waded through swamps, bogs, marshes, puddles, and lakes.
Perhaps my wicked bad head/chest cold that developed during stage two, my dislocated sternum, the hole in my wallet that was caused from having to replace parts due to the shit ass conditions, all may have me being a tad negative. If you haven't found what you were looking for in my report have a look at these fine bloggers to see what they have to say:
Course conditions were less than optimal, however many felt this was just part of the adventure. Riders who have participated in other stage races around the world including Trans Rockies, BC Bike Race, Transportugal and Cape Epic all said Crank was tougher. It is an amazing achievement just to finish Crank The Shield, whether you did the short course or long course. Congratulations to all finishers!
Many of you heard correct that there will not be a 3-day Crank The Shield mountain bike stage race in 2011, however we will be back with Crank The Shield 3-Day in 2012. We are seeking cash sponsorship, as well as some trail grants to make Crank The Shield 2012 the best yet. The market for mountain bike stage races is small, and the cost of hosting them at a high level is big.