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  1. #1
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    The "positive" Horseshoe Marathon Race thread

    The other thread kind of went south, so let's see if we keep this one positive and non-political. Riding a bike is fun.

    I'm pumped for this race, and already can't wait for the other races in the series. I really dig the fact that it's going to be a laid back atmosphere - I love the enduro crowd - and look forward to riding with other like-minded racers. I know there will be a fair share of super skinnies (the fast guys that climb like mountain goats) but I hope there is a good sized casual element too.

    I'll be part of the casual element, racing for the challenge of it all, and looking forward to a fun and epic ride.

  2. #2
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    Is anyone coming from the Guelph area? i would love to help pitch in on Gas.

  3. #3
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    It will be so much fun, can't wait to ride the area. Hope there will be a good turnout. Good preparation for the 8hrs Mansfield next weekend. See you all Sunday. Happy that you change your mind superlightracer, hope to see you there and give you the opportunity for revenge

  4. #4
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    I'll just ramble for a bit so as to move the positive thread above the other one. I wish I could do both this and the Niagara Classic, but I can't, so have fun everyone.

    Sorry Dan, that our moral support isn't more tangible, but either my wife (she's the one who bought the Norco Faze from you last year) or I will definitely be at the Ganaraska race (I think we might have 2-3 members of our high school team for the half-marathon)-if we get good babysitting lined up, then maybe both of us- and the Mansfield race is also a possibility.

  5. #5
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    I'm also doing the Niagara Classic, otherwise I'd be in. Good luck everyone!!!
    Dan
    Ontario, Canada

    2007 Cannondale Scalpel 1
    2005 Cannondale Rush 1000
    2004 Cannondale Chase

  6. #6
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    Good Luck, enjoy all the climbing.

    Stosh
    If you happen to see my lungs back there, tell them I've gone on ahead.

  7. #7
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    Good job!

    I'm ready, and plan to 'race' errr. meander through the woods hoping to eventually
    end up at the finish line before I combust due to exhaustion. Nahhhh!

    Weather may make it a bit hard for the fingers and toes to stay warm, and
    thankfully the small stream has a hard bottom and it can be riden dry.

    Plan for the worst. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    It will be mucho fun and one heck of a training ride..

    ciao, wiz

  8. #8
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    I'm really excited for this race and the series overall. I will be one of the skinny guys but will probably toss on the first climb due to a hangover.

  9. #9
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    That's the spirit, get it out of your system on the first climb.

    I know they say to be thoroughly hydrated the day before.....I'm no expert.
    But I don't think they mean booze.... might just be me...

    Have great ride...

    wiz

  10. #10
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    Don't forget - all riders are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the local food bank as part of the registration.

  11. #11
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    Rain

    Boy that was alot of rain last night and lots more on the way today. Looks like Dan has some tough decisions to make.

  12. #12
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    Hey folks, just remember that this is the POSITIVE horseshoe Marathon thread...just in case anybody forgot.

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    Imba

    I am POSITIVE that IMBA says to be kind to singletrack by not riding when the ground is wet.

  14. #14
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    it's stopped raining here and I live 5 minutes from the race venue. Fingers crossed that the rain is done for the day

  15. #15
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    So, what tires should we be running in the snow? (check tomorrow's forecast for Barrie)

  16. #16
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    I'm going to be running my Michelin xcr dry's. Found they worked really good on snow when I was riding on Georgian Bay this winter. Hopefully we don't get snow, the sun is trying to come out now

  17. #17
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    Yeah, with a little snow the switchback climbs will be tough for sure, but the downhill sections will be absolutely scary.

  18. #18
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    Have any of you pre-ridden the course? I'm curious to know what the ratio of climbing to descending will be.

    What's weather looking like in the area for tomorrow?

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=hurricanejoel]Have any of you pre-ridden the course? I'm curious to know what the ratio of climbing to descending will be.
    [QUOTE]

    Well if it starts and finishes in the same place, it pretty much has to be 1:1. Makes the 7000 feet of climbing seem a little more appealing.

  20. #20
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    That's good to hear. Now I need to man up and brave the bad weather.

  21. #21
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    Have any of you pre-ridden the course? I'm curious to know what the ratio of climbing to descending will be.
    ------------------------------------------

    I rode about the last 35k of it last weekend. No idea what the start loop is like.

    There is about 20k of constant "expert" climbing right in the middle of the course, before the singletrack flattens out and eventually re-joins the xc ski system. By expert, I mean constantly up and down in steep, twisty singletrack. This will test your fitness, but also your bike handling skills. This is a course that "mountain bikers" will absolutely love.

    For those new to the area, it will be mentally tiring as you're constantly on the look out trying to see what's coming up around the corner or over the hills, especially when descending she singletrack. The singletrack will keep you on your toes, that's for sure.

    It's a good old epic day of old-school mountain biking. The climbing is tough, and the descending is tough...but it's all a blast.

  22. #22
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    Weather is looking better now...sunny and a high of 9 on Sunday.

    Yay!!! No snow.
    Yay!!! No rain.
    Boo!!! 4 degrees at race start - still damn cold.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    I am POSITIVE that IMBA says to be kind to singletrack by not riding when the ground is wet.
    I'am now positive that you are a T-R-O-L-L.

  24. #24
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    Who's ready to build some character!?!

  25. #25
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    Well the sun is out, it's windy and it's showing plus 4 at my place. Dress warm boys and girls

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth
    Who's ready to build some character!?!
    you sound like Oggie now... don't you mean grow hair on your chest?
    "I became a member of Team Misfit Psycles because of the free coasters"

    diSSent 29er SS
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  27. #27
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    I think Dan did a great job today. Course was in fantastic shape. I'll have my race report up on my site shortly.

  28. #28
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    Well, the weather looked poopy, and I was too lazy to get up at five in the morning, having to pack a feast for my family and drag my two dogs into the car, one of whom never fails to puke on my feet due to motion sickness. So I slept in.
    Got my climbing in at Kelso today instead.
    Can't wait to hear about what a great time everyone had!
    High on Life

  29. #29
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    wow, Wow, WOW ! I am all emotional with a big grin on my face !

    Some points to be made:

    1. Dan / Substance Projects

    Thank you so much for bringing back good old classic, hardcore mountain biking. The adventure, the challenge, the unknown, that epic feeling. Fallen trees, mud holes, scary off camber, drop offs, tight trees, nasty switchbacks, …… it was all there! I feel like a kid again. Racers were well behaved, and looking a bit tired .

    2. Locals

    Thank you so much for creating a masterpiece of single-track work, and tolerating this event …. more or less. I know this is not how you want it to go, but your trails are safe as long as you don’t label the trails, publish a map, or make all the trail sections easily connected. I have done many adventure race events in that forest, and have skied there for at least 30 years…..and I still got somewhat lost! Nobody could even think of going in there without doing at least a 2.5 hour ride, then adding at least 1 hour of lost time, and the travel time factor to the trails will keep usage down.

    3. Confession

    I was not planning on racing this event, because I know the elevations all too well. I am still building some base fitness, and a race like this, this early in the season, will force some terrible recovery time afterwards.
    I showed up as a public citizen, just to check things out, and take a leisurely ride to be home for my daughter at a reasonable time. I was shocked to find almost all the single-track was marked for the race. So to prevent myself from being a trail hazard, I ended up riding a good 30km section of the race route (sorry racers). Technically I owe Dan some money….and I acknowledge that.

    4. Suggestion

    Make the Horseshoe Valley venue later in the season, as the terrain demands top fitness form!

    Sweet Day……
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  30. #30
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    It was a great race, finally a real MTB race with steep and long uphill and technical terrain. Only down turn, it was freaking cold standing at the start line waiting for the race to start

    The race did not start to well, a few hundred meters into the race, there is a stick that found is way into my real derailleur and jammed it real good. Clear that up with no damage however lost the lead group.

    Pedal my way back up to the front and had a great race until a few km from the finish line. In the last twisty section, I missed a turn and my handle bar twist and I flipped over. Got up with no body damage, grab my bike and noticed that I had no more air in my front tire, all burped out. What to do...well let's continue my race tradition of flatting close to the finish line and ran. Did loose about five minutes however did not loose any spot and finish with a respectable 8 or 9 place. I am not too sure if I am sore because of the 54km of biking or the 2km of running,

    The trails where in great condition beside the few mud puddles. Great job Dan and see you in Mansfield

  31. #31
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    Great trails...Great race... and a great big hurt put on me with all the climbing and steep up and down. Lower back and upper back behind the collarbones is really stiff. Should have braved the mud and water with the full suspension. Keep up the good work and am looking forward to the next one!!

  32. #32
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    Loved it...

    When I first puled up and saw a ton of cars and roof racks I said man what a turn out. It was for the DH race though. Still a great group of folks out for Marathon.

    I think that same stick found my front wheel as I went for a nice endo in the first few kms. Took me about 15 min to get rolling as part of it jammed in my front caliper. After that it was just mostly solo riding. Tacked on a extra 9 km but all in all I was grinning at the end.

    Can't wait for the next one.

    BTW all of the locals I saw out on both bikes and the 2 horses and a few trail runners where super friendly. Trails did not look worse for wear at all and I saw no litter at all. The sunken ( under water ) double track sucked but the course... Dan the course was well plotted out.

    A big thanks to all the folks who have obviously put a ton of TLC into this network. I hope you where left with a good vibe !

  33. #33
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    It's been a long time since we've had anything like this in S. Ontario, and it went over great. I love the one lap format, though have to admit that doing the start lap twice (once in the beginning and once near the end) was no fun - it got rid of the "I wonder where we'll go next" feeling.

    I think doing this race opened a lot of people's eyes and reminded them what real mountain biking is all about. All to often we get used to the same super-highway singletrack like at Albion or Mansfield, and I would guess that a lot of the OCup crowd would not enjoy this race - it was not only physically demanding, but required great bike handling skills, climbing technique (as opposed to the ability to just giver' up a climb), pacing strategies and those little techniques that you learn only by spending time on a bike exploring the backcountry. There is something to be said about starting a switchback climb and seeing riders above you, and then riders above them, and knowing that you're climbing yet another ridge line. Odds are that at any given point in the course if you looked way up into the forest above you, you would see riders picking their was along the ridges. We did this over an over. This race was all about climb, descend, smile, repeat. Fantastic.

    Did the trails hold up? Absolutely. I raced near the end, and in many sections you could not tell they had been ridden. Any fear about the rain making it muddy was underservedt. The singletrack was in pristine shape, and remained so after the race. Was there mud? Yes, but about 99% of it was on the doubletrack in the traditional mud holes.

    General comments from people were that they were so twisted up, they didn't have a clue where they were half the time (locals included). Should locals be worried about the exposure to riders, and the potential overcrowding? No, for two reasons.
    1. There were maybe 40 marathon racers, and a good half of them already know the area. The 1/2 marathon racers stayed mostly on doubletrack.
    2. People were so turned around, there would be no hope of finding any of the trails they rode today anyway.

    Overall, a great race (challenge) at a great site. Punishing climbs, wicked tech sections, and just the right distance. The course was a real challenge, a real step above the races we're used to. Could the majority of the field handle more distance at this site? I don't think so.

    Things I loved:
    - the course was great, and the singletrack was epic
    - the elevation was punishing, but you sure got a sense of accomplishment at the end of it
    - the atmosphere was laid back - no pretentions racer types, just good old mountain bikers
    - love having the gatorade powder at the aid station, so you could mix your own if need be
    - the course was extremely well marked - a real challenge for a venue that large with so many forks in the trail
    - I did not see one piece of litter on the course, and a lot of the signage was taken down as the last racers passed through areas. Leave no trace racing.

    Things I did not like:
    - I hated repeating the start loop - hopefully the other courses will be true "one lap" events
    - I really did not enjoy the fresh bit of singletrack near the beginning (through the marsh area), and hated it more doing it again at the end of the day
    - aid stations were at 12, 22 and 42 (approximately) - there should have been one coming out of the singletrack (37kish) so we could fuel up for all the doubletrack climbing. I think a lot of people used up their nutrition in the extended singletack and came out on the doubletrack pooped.

    All in all, I really hope this series succeeds. The distances may be a bit too much for a lot of racers, and today did tend to attract the enduro crowd, but it also gives riders something to train for besides the traditional lap enduro races (8hr, 24hr). I would think that the Mansfield races especially will be a lot more tame and enjoyable for a less hard core crowd - the 70 there will no doubt feel way easier than the 55k done today.

    I;'m tired, sore, and even have some scrapes and bruises from some small crashes. That's a good day in the saddle.

  34. #34
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    p.s. the singlespeeders that did this race are a crazy breed. I think one did the marathon - pure respect for you, man.

  35. #35
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    Ya Craig is crazy. My race report is up. It was a marathon race so it deserves a marathon report. It won't take as long as the race, honest,.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcr1
    It was a great race, finally a real MTB race with steep and long uphill and technical terrain. Only down turn, it was freaking cold standing at the start line waiting for the race to start

    The race did not start to well, a few hundred meters into the race, there is a stick that found is way into my real derailleur and jammed it real good. Clear that up with no damage however lost the lead group.

    Pedal my way back up to the front and had a great race until a few km from the finish line. In the last twisty section, I missed a turn and my handle bar twist and I flipped over. Got up with no body damage, grab my bike and noticed that I had no more air in my front tire, all burped out. What to do...well let's continue my race tradition of flatting close to the finish line and ran. Did loose about five minutes however did not loose any spot and finish with a respectable 8 or 9 place. I am not too sure if I am sore because of the 54km of biking or the 2km of running,

    The trails where in great condition beside the few mud puddles. Great job Dan and see you in Mansfield
    Great finish JC. It sounds like one heck of a good mountain bike race.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  37. #37
    the original big ring
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt 24 solo
    Ya Craig is crazy. My race report is up. It was a marathon race so it deserves a marathon report. It won't take as long as the race, honest,.
    "crazy" and "stupid" are close cousins . . . .

    Tough course to do on a ss. There was one other ss'er who started the race, who I I tailed for a while and managed to pass him when he stopped for a mechanical. Don't know what happened to him.

    Thanks Dan for an excellent event!

  38. #38
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    I'm glad to hear the first race went so well especially considering how sketchy the whole thing seemed to be at first!

    With only 40 or so riders, did many women race?
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster
    With only 40 or so riders, did many women race?
    Since I hooked in and out of the race course at various stages, I saw about 5-7 women of various fitness levels, including one sporting her Crank the Shield jersey of last year. Most pushing a steady pace.
    SUCCESS - To be able to spend life in your own way

  40. #40
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    Dan

    You missed picking up your signs and garbage on the singletrack that leads down to the rail tracks. Also the trail along the pond, which was a very poor choice to include when wet, now needs a reroutes or corduroy wood. There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits. When does your group/ company repair the damage?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    You missed picking up your signs and garbage on the singletrack that leads down to the rail tracks. Also the trail along the pond, which was a very poor choice to include when wet, now needs a reroutes or corduroy wood. There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits. When does your group/ company repair the damage?
    Ummmm, really, what about this comment made it necessary to post publicly on the forum instead of an email? Especially in the "positive" thread?

    How much trail maintenance do you think you could have done in the time you spent aimlessly b!tching on mtbr?

  42. #42
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    Here we go again. Mr. Phat Tyred whyning and complaining. Just for your info Dan and Substance projects have their own email address so you can actually email him directly without once again loosing people's time.

    "There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits".

    Are you admitting riding wet area? Here is also one of your last post

    "I am POSITIVE that IMBA says to be kind to singletrack by not riding when the ground is wet."

    I think you should just move on and be quiet.Get on your bike and go ride your beautiful trails. .

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    You missed picking up your signs and garbage on the singletrack that leads down to the rail tracks. Also the trail along the pond, which was a very poor choice to include when wet, now needs a reroutes or corduroy wood. There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits. When does your group/ company repair the damage?
    wowza !
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    Just so we do not spam them... I emailed dan@substanceprojects.com and renee@substanceprojects.com this morning about the dozens of signs that I came across as of Monday at Noon. I have not heard anything back yet. I expect that they had just not yet been back in to clear them.

    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth
    Especially in the "positive" thread?
    Would you suggest that a 'negative' thread is created to track follow up questions?


    Quote Originally Posted by jcr1
    "There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits".
    ...and just since I am also guilty of hitting this area of trail on Monday, I would like to explain that they were not mud pits last week and so when I headed there it was with good intentions, it was only when I arrived I saw the current state of the area and choose to walk my bike thru the area to minimize impact that one could see it will be a 'do not enter' area for a while to come.

    all the replies are funny except to the people that were riding there on Monday, in the aftermath. Anyone who felt that Sunday was 'Leave no trace racing' should do another loop. (unless Dan's guys have been thru late Monday!)

    I will watch my Inbox for messages from the Substance Projects people and I will be out riding again this week and in the spirit of a 'positive' thread look forward to reporting on some positive follow up.

    Dan sounds like a real stand-up guy so I am sure he will get it cleaned up, and I will be more patient than some others... but it was a difficult weekend (make it difficult spring, since yes, the horses did also do a number on the area a few weeks ago) but please do not make light of the sadness felt by the people that regularly ride the area, I understand 'public' and 'permits' but all the same, Monday was a somber loop. Losing trail is losing trail whether you lose it to bureaucracy or evolution.

    <--- I know, I know... drama queen
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  45. #45
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    Well I was going write nice long race report which dove into my mental struggle with the race and but figure most people don't really care. Thus I will give you the exact race report I sent to my mother. She doesnít know anything about mountain biking so I tried to keep it simple.

    The race on Sunday was really tough. It was actually the hardest ride that Iíve even been on. Iím not sure of the standings but I know I didnít come in last this time (yeah!). Actually I didnít go to ďraceĒ I just went to ďrideĒ. Itís nice forest up there in Horseshoe Valley. The course was really twisty with exposed roots, logs and rocks to ride over. Not to mention the steep climbs and the steep drops. A few make you gasp as you go over the edge but in the end you just end up smiling because itís so fun.

    It was cold and windy despite the sun shining. It did not rain or snow like they were calling for the day before but I had to wear a head band over my ears, a long sleeve jersey/jacket and pants.

    The steak for breakfast was great but I was hungry about 30 minutes into the race (race took me about 5 hrs total). I ate two bananas at each feed station. Needless to say, Iím sick of bananas. I also used something from the bike shop called Perpetuem, its powder that you mix with water and drink throughout the ride. Itís essentially liquid food that provides carbs, protein and helps prevent cramping. It really worked well and I was hungry now and then but survived ok.

    The ride up and back worked out. Itís much better to travel with somebody and much better to not have to drive home when youíre tired. Well worth the $20 gas money. To let you know a portion of the b-day money from you went to pay for the race so thank you for that.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedumbopinion
    Well I was going write nice long race report which dove into my mental struggle with the race and but figure most people don't really care. Thus I will give you the exact race report I sent to my mother. She doesnít know anything about mountain biking so I tried to keep it simple.

    The race on Sunday was really tough. It was actually the hardest ride that Iíve even been on. Iím not sure of the standings but I know I didnít come in last this time (yeah!). Actually I didnít go to ďraceĒ I just went to ďrideĒ. Itís nice forest up there in Horseshoe Valley. The course was really twisty with exposed roots, logs and rocks to ride over. Not to mention the steep climbs and the steep drops. A few make you gasp as you go over the edge but in the end you just end up smiling because itís so fun.

    It was cold and windy despite the sun shining. It did not rain or snow like they were calling for the day before but I had to wear a head band over my ears, a long sleeve jersey/jacket and pants.

    The steak for breakfast was great but I was hungry about 30 minutes into the race (race took me about 5 hrs total). I ate two bananas at each feed station. Needless to say, Iím sick of bananas. I also used something from the bike shop called Perpetuem, its powder that you mix with water and drink throughout the ride. Itís essentially liquid food that provides carbs, protein and helps prevent cramping. It really worked well and I was hungry now and then but survived ok.

    The ride up and back worked out. Itís much better to travel with somebody and much better to not have to drive home when youíre tired. Well worth the $20 gas money. To let you know a portion of the b-day money from you went to pay for the race so thank you for that.
    For what its worth, I like your detailed race reports. This one was nice too though.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  47. #47
    Gears, beers and slices..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    When does your group/ company repair the damage?
    Once again Phat Tyre, I assume you actually communicated with Dan directly instead of publically denouncing him yet again?

    And just in case...though I love hearing from you every time I mention one of your "secret trails", please don't bother sending me yet another private message. Don't get me wrong - I really enjoy them, especially the messages where you use that magic little word...you know, the one where you replace the "f" with a "ph." It's awfully clever, really it is. It's phantastic. It's phunny. Actually, it's downright unphorgettable. I actually get overwhelmed with pheelings of emotion every time I read one of your private love letters.

    Oh, did I post that publically? Oops...not very classy, is it? Ooh, I suddenly have this strange feeling now...I feel like...well.....like you....

    You want private trails? Go buy some land. Otherwise, enouph is enouph. (did you catch that? It's that clever little "ph" thing again.)

  48. #48
    Team NFI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phat Tyred
    You missed picking up your signs and garbage on the singletrack that leads down to the rail tracks. Also the trail along the pond, which was a very poor choice to include when wet, now needs a reroutes or corduroy wood. There are 6 spots which were wet but still passable. Now they are mud pits. When does your group/ company repair the damage?
    And the infantile behaviour continues. I swear my 22 month old daughter is better behaved.

    Signs and litter. I take it from your post that you simply rode by it all and then sniveled and whined online again. Hmm, for someone who claims to care so much about his self entitled sacred trail area. You would think you would have been a big boy and simply picked up the trash. And made a polite quiet email with the race director about the situation.

    So far you are doing a stand up job of giving the impression of being a Trail Nazi.

    And you pm's are now on ignore.

  49. #49
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    Great race Jeff. You did not even look tired after all that time on your bike,.Glad you decided to do the full marathon.

    Ryan, I expect you to be at the next race on June 14th in Mansfield. 70km of pure pain and pleasure. If it's anything like last race in horseshoe, you will love it.

  50. #50
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    because it has been publically asked...

    yes, I did email Dan and his team yesterday morning... I have yet to hear back, but I am really holding out hope that he simply tells me that they have taken care of it.

    and yes, I did stop my ride multiple times to collect signage on Monday...until my pack was FULL. It is not my job to collect that CRAP! we are not talking about one to two signs that got overlooked... at one intersection I stopped at, I saw no less than 5 signs from one position... on Monday.

    Everyone must agree that it is not too much to expect that crew to clean up the mess, is it? those that will not be back for another 364 days, I can see not caring but what about the race participants that will be back frequently...surely you want to see them follow-up?

    Quote Originally Posted by substanceprojects

    ....Any damage done from the ride will be repaired....

    ....I hope that if any local rider has any concerns they will email us and we will discuss the issue with them....

    keep riding.
    Dan
    I did not want to end up in a pissing match, I was hoping to passively voice my displeasure before the event and then be proven wrong and shown that I over reacted... it has not worked out that way yet and if you need further discussion and require a new target for your witty posts, send some my way because I also intend on seeing this group follow up on their promises. Phat Tyred is not alone, (just the most vocal) there is a large contigent of riders quietly waiting and watching to see how this turns out, understanding what we can and can't change but hoping for the best and expecting the same from future organizers.

    I am also not enjoying this thread or the tone and agree that we should all be sticking together... but I will see it thru and I guess a phone call to Substance Projects will be my next step but I am really hoping for a nice, simple pleasant email in the next day or two.

    ...hey maybe it is already fixed and the email is forth coming?
    "an inch an hour...two feet per day..."

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