I've been contemplating how to write up a positive race/ride report for Crank The Shield that I just took part in this past weekend up in and around Haliburton. I've been reading the past couple days the forum over on MTBR.com and was a bit surprised and shocked . . . . everyone was glowing at how great Crank The Shield was.
Now if there is a guy to throw a wet blanket on a circle jerk of "wasn't that fun!", then I'm your fella. I don't get it . . . . what was SO "awesome", "a great day on the bike", "another fun day", "funnest time yet" ?????? HELLO?!?!? Was I at the same race?!?!?!
Don't get me wrong . . . I did have fun (alot!) seeing old friends and meeting new ones, hanging out at the cabins, lolly gagging and the tomfoolery. The social aspect of race/ride events keeps me coming back for more and keeps me searching for new events to go to. But the two things go hand in hand - riding my bike AND socializing. If I only wanted to have an "awesome time . . . . the funnest yet" then I might consider renting a van, throwing all my buddies inside, driving to Montreal, eat a shit load of poutine, and go stuff loonies and toonies down strippers g-strings (not that that is my idea of fun.....hmmmm, or is it?!?).
Yes, fun is paramount to me when it comes to riding my bike, and socializing is right up there in priorities for a bike event, BUT I AM GOING TO THE EVENT TO RIDE MY BIKE . . . . not push it through mud. A bike race/ride should be just that - I should be riding my bike.
To me, the photo above sums up Crank The Shield.
What about the "rock'on single track" you ask? There was awesome single track? I must have blinked and missed it while trying to wipe the mud out of my eyes. Okay, okay . . . keep your panties on. There was some single track, and some of it was indeed fun. But for a race of this distance, I was disappointed at the amount and the quality.
I perhaps should have considered this as a weapon of choice for Crank The Shield.
Just a few notes leading up to the event.
1) Course Conditions
Realize going into this event that course conditions are far from optimal (Northern Ontario has had record rainfall July/August). Haliburton has been hit with a ton of rain in August with no reprieve for September. This is a wilderness mountain bike experience, so the less than ideal conditions are just part of it. Come in with a positive frame of mind as it is part of mountain biking.
Stage 2 has the most difficult conditions and will require you to dismount to cross puddles and a few swamps. There are lines marked around some of the puddles, as well as re-routes where possible, to help you.
The weather was the biggest culprit. To be fair to race organizers, it rained a shit load this past month and as recent as Thursday evening the Haliburton area got a 20-30 mm dumping of rain. Every Chico Racing event that I have taken part in since beginning to race in 2002 has been nothing but stellar. It's a shame that they had such bad luck with Mother Nature.
Despite the horrid conditions, I finished . . . feeling a little dumbfounded nonetheless.
Yes, I poached this from Race Day Rush, but I am buying it for my Christmas card this year.
I was hoping to wrap up my thoughts and experiences in one blog post but like the mud and silt that still lingers in my clothing (even after soaking it and washing it twice) I think I have some more ramblings left in my head about my first, last and only CTS experience. More to come in the next couple of days, then I can get back to my Colorado trip.
Peter delivers the goods to CTS.
Keep laughing . . . you have no idea of what mud infested torture that awaits.
My fuzzy warm kiss blanket wasn't used to keep me cozy at night so much as it was used for a gas mask to filter out Dickie's stink ass farts which permeated every square inch of our cabin the first night.
"Dear Diary, I am having and awesome time . . . the funnest yet. Hugs and Kisses, Peter."
My shoes on the "driest" day. Pffftttt. My shoes were wet the entire race.
My bike on the "driest day". Pfffffttt.
Kenny Rogers (Guy) and Kim. Me and Kenny Rogers were duk'in it out . . . the old 'Guy' had legs.
Mark eating some post race food or a mouthful of mud.
There were good look'in people (Kari) everywhere.