| Ride Stats|
Avg Cadence: 75 rpm
Actif Epica 2012
Category: race: endurance -
Terrain: Off: XC
Bike: Giant Boulder SE XC Mtn
||Club: Flatlanders Bicycle Club|
Active Epica 2012 is now in the books! Yay I did it! Not that I thought I couldn't, but there was always that "what if" thing going in the back of my mind leading up to the race. One thing was for sure, Mother Nature had decided to play nice and give us mild temps, winds from the south and minimal snowfall leading up to the big event. Still, there was significant challenges overall and I was definitely glad to see the finish line when it came. Here's a breakdown of all the stages:|
St. Malo to St. Pierre-Jolys - 25km
The race started pretty well on time, however things were a bit shaky shortly after leaving the starting line. It was a controlled start out of the Park, however it soon became apparent that the course leader didn't know where he was going! As it turned out somebody had taken down all the bit's of ribbon marking the route and as a result we had a few turnarounds before finding the way out. On top of that the snow was fairly deep and rough in this area, meaning that much of it had to be done walking the bike.
The first leg included a couple challenging trail sections, one of them deeply rutted and required yet another bike pushing session. Shortly after completing that spot I joined up with another rider Patrick for the ride into St. Pierre-Jolys. We talked about cycling and related sports and it was good to have some conversation along the way.
St. Pierre-Jolys to Otterburne - 10km
I did a fairly quick turn at the St. Pierre-Jolys checkpoint, although I later found out that the course leaders were doing no more than 1 or 2 minutes at each CP; wow! I was glad for the breaks and made sure I topped up on food and extra hydration each time. Patick decided to stay a bit longer at this stop and meet with his parents so I pressed on alone to the next CP at Otterburne. This was a short section and didn't involve anything technical. Otterburne is barely much more than a collection of homesteads and farm-buildings, however it does contain Providence College (the location of this CP) which looked to be a decent-sized institution.
Otterburne to Niverville - 26km
Otterburne was once again a fairly quick stop for me; I was feeling pretty good so I set off again after a few gulps of gatorade and some trail-mix. This stop involve backtracking down a short section of roadway before heading NW. Upon getting close to the turnoff point, I was shocked to see Patrick and another rider up ahead bypassing the Otterburne CP! I think they were confused on the route (signs were sparse and difficult to follow, although the cue sheets were bang-on). I cranked hard to try and catch up, yelling and blowing my whistle along the way. Unfortunately a train was also passing through at the same time which easily drowned out any noise I could make. I catch up with them some time later, but not before they had ridden about 10 minutes or so out of Otterburne. I can't imagine how that would have felt, however both of them rode back to complete the Check Point.
This leg contained a brutal path that ran diagonally though a farmer's field, and although I didn't have to get off the bike it required major effort to make it over the many humps, bumps and ruts. I could see the tandem bike about half a click up ahead of me at this time as well, and ended up catching them later after they had taken a wrong turn and had to back-track. The rest of the ride into Niverville was pretty much uneventful, although the strong cross-wind along Crown-Valley road was quite tiring. I figured I would spend a bit longer at the Niverville halfway CP to get a decent meal and rest up.
Niverville to St. Adolphe - 13km
At Niverville I changed my base layer which turned out to be a wise choice for me; it left me refreshed and dry feeling instead of damp and cold. I also enjoyed a nice bowl of chicken noodle soup here and took a few moments for a call home. I was really impressed with the Volunteers for this event; they really worked hard to make the event as enjoyable as possible for us.
After a while I figured I better get going, and I ended up leaving around the same time as another rider, Colin who I ended up doing the rest of race with. Colin was riding a very similar bike to my own, a Giant mountain bike and seemed to want to do the same kind of pace I was doing which worked out really well. I was glad for the company and motivation of having another rider experiencing the same conditions that I was. Unfortunately it was on this leg that we somehow missed a turn and ended up going about 2km off track; this soon became apparent when we reached hwy 210 which the cue sheets didn't mention. No matter, it simply meant we had to take a slightly longer route into St. Adolphe. We had a bit of trouble finding the CP since it didn't seem to follow the description; neverless the volunteers there flagged us down in short order.
St. Adolphe to U of M - 29km
Besides being the longest leg, this was also the most guelling section. Just prior to the floodway we were treated once again to a roller-coaster track of deep snow and ruts that were virtually impossible to ride through; apparently most of the riders ahead of had also walked as evidenced by the footprints. We also ended up walking through much of the floodway itself since the center channel was filled with fairly rough stones that could do some serious damage to bike and body alike. It was good to see the end of it.
Then there was the second gruelling test; after going through the Maple Grove park area we once again had to get off the bikes; this snow was very deep and slow to get though. There was a short section back on the bike then a tough climb up a short hill to the Perimeter bridge that crosses the Red River. Thankfully the rest of the route into the U of M was smooth and fast!
We found out at this CP that the portion of the Seine River that we were to ride later on was now effectively bypassed; we had been warned before that this might happen due to a water-main break earlier in the week that had spilled into the river and made a bit of mess of it.
U of M to Fort Gibralter (Festival du Voyager) - 20km
This was a very fast leg; Colin and I tore this section up like we had just set out on a fresh ride. It was so good to be back in the city again out of the wind, although the streets were quite wet and sloppy in areas. I actually enjoyed getting on the trails close to the finish line, even with having to duck very low several times due to low branches etc. There was one final cruel test at the end however, not 250 meters from the finish line. A short but very steep and slippery mound was part of the route onto the final path and I had an extremely difficult time getting over it, especially considering my fully-loaded bike. Nevertheless I did it and we sprinted to the finish line shortly thereafter. We had a few volunteers and the Mani-Yeti to greet us at the end, and they presented us with a nice Actif-Epica award which we wore about our necks. Whew! It had been a challenging test and we had our a$$s handed to us by some amazing atheletes, but we finished the race in one piece and in good shape.
My race stats:
Time to complete race: 9 Hours 19 Minutes *edited - official time*
Total distance: 125.1 km
Actual riding time: 7 Hours 36 Minutes
Average Speed: 16.11 km/hr
Maximum Speed: 29.49 km/hr
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