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This is a crazy 3-person team event, with six checkpoints to hit, and i allied with two other OA members and vegans to give it a go!
Meet Sandra Hardy and Nick Patenaude - Sandra is more of a mountain biker, extremely determined and focused, and knows the Highlands intimately; and Nick is a speedy diesel triathlete with a winning spirit! Me - i'm just a goof with a crazy race invite. ;)
We meet at Recyclistas on the Goose, and the start has a teammate RUN to get the race manifest - Nick was the natural one for this, everyone clicking away running in their clipless riding shoes.
We're all on our bikes, and at Tillicum, riders are cutting across the red like (BAD!!), but Team Vegan holds tight, and crosses legally... We work our way up the Goose, catching and passing clusters of riders, and soon find ourselves at the main 'front'. (Craig, Tom and Chopper Dan prolly were WAY away from us all.)
We turn off the Goose up to Thetis, and after a little climbing we find ourselves at the first checkpoint on Barker Rd. We get our marker, and head for the next stop: Durrance Rd. We take the trails there across to Munns, but instead of heading up, we opt to ride down to Propspect and avoid the hills. Apparently most people thought Munns was faster...??!
We were quick to leave, but some fixies rip by us, including Jamie Cameron's team, who were plagued with problems...they lost a pump just before Thetis, then on Prospect a chain was dropped..but that wasn't the last we saw of them!
We rode with our 'main competition' along Prospect, it was Drew Mackenzie, and two riders i'm not as familiar with, but they were also a mixed-gender team, and the only one near us, so couldn't let 'em go.
We made a big gap on them down W Saanich and Wallace, but we stopped to ensure we were headed the right way - it said Durrance Rd West, but the road sign said Durrance Rd, so best check to see if this was it....and it was. They caught back up, and we stuck with them to the next checkpoint, and it turns out we're 1st and 2nd - Craig's team took a bit wrong turn - eeeek!
Then it was back on more trails! They rode away from us, but before the 'Wall', they flatted...sidewall tear i later heard, boo..
That puts us in the lead!!
We get to the Wall, and start figuring out the best way to get around.. It's a near cliff-face we have to scramble around...in our bike cleats...and with our bikes... Just as we're getting started, stacking our bikes at the bottom, Jamie's team arrives, so we all work together - great idea, we made up a lot of time!! We were kind of 2nd again for a few minutes..
We're back on the trail, and the other team is having trouble getting started.....and we're back in the overall lead!! Vegans Are Number 1!!!
The next stop was at the end of Caleb Pike Rd, and the trail spits us out on Wallace - we continue up Ross-Durrance, and at the top, Sandra has a little something up her sleeve - a trail that bypasses the rest of the road, and gets us to Finlayson Arm Rd without any more hills...!!! INCREDIBLE!
We motor along another trail (yes, we're on road bikes, and with fenders no less!) and we get back on the road, and head down the back end of F. Arm, which is BRUTAL. Since it's been raining (and hasn't for a few weeks), the roads are SLICK. Apparently a few people went down. We were very careful.
The next stop was the bridge at Goldstream, and we're still confirmed to be in the lead - holy crap! Next stop is a long-haul, Becher Bay in Metchosin... We get onto the highway, and take the safe route - Goldstream, Jacklin, Sooke, Happy Vally and Rocky Pt. We go down to the Becher Marina, which isn't the stop...next road is what we're looking for, and it's at the start of the East Sooke hiking trails. We get some water there, and are still in the lead! We saw some fixie riders tho, so our lead is now just the geared riders.
As we're headed out of the park, Craig's team passes us, headed for the park...crap! We've only got 5 mins on them now...
We keep a firm pace, back down Sooke, but take the Goose, to try and avoid some hills. Good call. Craig's guys knew the route tho, and halfway through, they rip past us...grrr...no longer winning the race. We keep them in sight until Rocky Pt Rd, and then they're gone...
Next stop is the bridge on Lagoon - we keep up our firm pace, everyone's working well together - yay team!!
We get to the bridge, and Craig's team is just pulling out...what?! Turns out we had to do another running bit...i got our marker, and we head up the road towards Colwood - now we're just headed to the final stop, the Esquimalt Rec Center. We hadn't seen any other teams for some time, so we figured we must be doing fairly well... We motor along Craigflower, and arrive...phew!
So 2nd Overall in the Geared category, and i don't know if there was a Mixed Gender category, but we would have pwned that one. =)
Next team rolled in maybe 5min later, so it was kinda close..! Apparently out of like 17 teams that started, only 4 finished....!! Pretty brutal course, so many hills...super-fun day tho!!
Really happy and proud of our team, Sandra and Nick are superstars, and very fun to ride with!
Eat your veggies, peeps! =)
Awesome race report. I've never raced anything like this before. Local knowledge is definitely a plus. Your track is a lot straighter than ours was. I was with the fixie group you blew past at the Becher bay checkpoint.
Great race report Dave! You were a pretty fantastic leader of Team Vegan!
Thanks everyone!! =)
Here's a short vid of the start: http://vimeo.com/66016833
Nice work! You guys raced smart and it paid off. It's fun hearing everyone's different stories from the day--what am adventure
ha! you guys did the same thing we did going cross country from millsteam lake rd to caleb pike. We thought we were being pretty clever there. We totally had you in our sites after goldstream park until our flat-fest started.
Did you have to chuck your bikes over a fence at the end of Durrance Rd? That way looked Really Closed the last (only) time I've been up there.