Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Burn

Another year and another first.  The Tillsonburn, aka, The Burn, set in Tillsonburg, Ontario on Good Friday each year.  A distance of 50, 100 or 160km. I of course, took the middle ground and did the 100k.  I thought this would also give me the last little push in my training for P2A.

This is a race/ride put on by Jeff and his wife (owner of Indigo Lounge) and there is no fee. Bring a donation and money for chili and you'll be doing your part in helping some well deserving teen with a new bike.  What a great concept.  And, the day was absolutely perfect for it.

On the way there, I'm thinking, this will just be like the D2R2 except on flat; well, everything appeared to be flat leading into Tillsonburg. Gone are the distant memories of randonneuring some 2000m in elevation with some of the hardest roads I had ever climbed.  And just like the D2R2, you cover the course in a self-sufficient manner.  Similarly, it's a mixture of paved, gravel, dirt roads, along with some rail trail and single track.  It didn't take me long to figure out why they call it the Burn.  In full, its not a misprint and to abbreviate it, is not to save room on paper.  My legs were on literally on fire and everyone just kept saying, including the event t-shirts "just one more hill".  Did I mention, I'm slow on hills?  I always get left behind. Definitely, a skill I need to improve.  Back to speaking of hills, haven't we heard that a million times and each time, we know its just plain BS.  There is always another one.  In this case, there was plenty more. 

One section of road, between two paved roads, was this muddy sandy mixture that really kept my focus.  I was being overly cautious not to get dragged into the soft spots.   Now, had it been
quicksand, it may have been a blessing for me, well, as long as no one came along to haul me out.  However, I thought to myself, if I'm going down, as least this seems like a pretty soft landing.  Also, I may get dirty, but, at least I won't be all scraped up.  I usually save my war wounds for mountain biking.  Still go down at least once with every time I go out. 

At 50k, there was a descent down to the lake and there was a public restroom, which would have been ideal had it been open. This is where I found Cornel  He decided to wait for me after losing me some time ago on one of those hills.  To be honest, I had gone down after hitting some loose gravel after turning to talk to someone ascending the hill. I don't think he was impressed that I had a lack of focus.  Okay, so, I like to talk?  I can be very social, especially if it takes my mind off the task at hand.  That was a bitch of a hill anyway.  Its was a good tactic to earn the right to walk the rest.

We hit the 70k mark on the rail trail and although I may have slowed my pace, I still had energy.  At this moment, I felt good about where I was at for the P2A.  This year will be my second attempt at racing that.  I guess for me, its more like a ride as I only averaged 20km per hour.

Soon after, we hit some single track and I lost some time there as I was a little gun shy after my wipe out at Hardwood Hills last year during the Epic 8 hour relay race.  I need to find my confidence again.  Its out on the trail somewhere.  The mixture of the terrain on the course was incredible though.  A good mix and well designed course. Kudos to Jeff on all his efforts in bringing it together. 

Although, I was happy when it was done, I am looking forward to doing this one again next year.  One last note of mention, when the flyer has a caption at the bottom, that declares, "this is no sissy ride", pay heed.

Happy Trails My Friends