Race report from Dave Shishkoff:
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 on this slightly damp May 12th!
Meet Sandra Hardy and Nick Patenaude - Sandra is more of a mountain biker and adventure racer, 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.
A minute later we're all on our bikes, and at Tillicum, riders are cutting across the red light (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 probably 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 manifest marker, and head for the next stop: Durrance Rd. We take the trails across to Munns, but instead of heading up, we opt to ride down to Prospect 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 get too far from us!
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 big 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..
Two photos nabbed from the Stuckylife Report, to depict what we had to get around!
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 Finlayson Arm Rd, which is a BRUTAL descent on the best of days. 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 Park, 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 Valley 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 heading back to town tho tho, so our lead is now just the other 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 the Goose section, 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 Rd - 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, Nick runs and completes a challenge (getting us some Builder Bars!) and we head up the road towards Colwood - now we're just headed to the final stop, the Esquimalt Gorge Park. 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, just 4 minutes behind the winner! I don't know if there was a Mixed Gender category, but we would have pwned that one. =)
Team Vegan at the finish! Great riding by all, and a super-fun day!
Next team rolled in 9 min later, so it was pretty close for the Top 3! (All men on that team as well.) Apparently out of about 17 teams that started, only 9 finished....!! (6 geared, 3 fixie teams.) Pretty brutal course, so many hills...super-fun day tho!! Read the Stuckylife Report here.
Really happy and proud of our team, Sandra and Nick are superstars, and great to ride with! Also check my Strava page, complete with map.
Eat your veggies, peeps! =)
Completed Race Manifest