Home Forums Race 2016 Steaming Nostril – Race Reports

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    Looking forward to reading your reports! Here’s mine 🙂

    Yesterdays race was epic!

    Arrived at the community center about 40 minutes before race time and saw a sea of racers warming up, chatting etc. The weather was quite nice considering the forecast and everyone was pumped for the first race.

    I chatted with a few folks from different teams I hadn’t seen since last year and went about getting a quick warmup in.

    The lineup for the wave 1 start was beginning about 20 minutes before race time so I lined up directly behind Igor and the Pedal Harder guys. Phil, Patte and a group of other WCC folks were directly behind.

    I really had no idea how I’d do in this race. My training has been decent over the winter (but low volume at 5-7 hours a week) and the few race sim rides I did were good so I was hoping I wouldn’t get completely smashed out of the gate.

    Malcolm gave the safety briefing, introduced Gaelen as last years winner (to much applause) and then we were off.

    We had a neutral start for the first ~2-3km or so and it really helped get some warmth back in the legs after standing in the cold for 20 minutes. Things were rolling along at a comfortable pace with a few surges…there were 1-2 riders dangling off the front already but the group was content to let them flog themselves.

    The pace started picking up strongly and the group was stringing out 1-2 wide and pinning it up the hill. Phil was just ahead and Patte and I were together with Alain and other folks behind.

    Suddenly a yell from the front “Crash!” and the sound of everyone slamming on their brakes. I braked hard and swerved left and passed by what looked like four or five guys sprawled out across the road. I thought I saw a WOB jersey in the mess and at the time wasn’t sure if it was Bruce or Aaron. (Turned out to be Bruce)

    As a result of the crash We were gapped from the front group so I chased to get back on with Patte. We closed the gap and tried to recover. I started to notice I was having trouble with my breathing here. My legs felt ok but my lungs felt crunchy. I was on antibiotics about a week before for a sinus, throat and upper respiratory infection so maybe things weren’t 100% yet.

    We passed over a brief pavement section which was fine and then hit gravel again. The road was a little sloppy with ice filled potholes and some slippery sections here and there. It was also starting to get a bit wet. There was lots of spray but overall the gravel was fine.

    Before Hackbart there were additional attacks. Gaelen made multiple attempts and the pace was up and down like crazy. There was a rough section of gravel and another gap was created. I bridged across and looked back but Patte wasn’t with me. I stayed on the rear of that front group looking to see if he’d catch up.

    When we hit hackbart hill my gearing choice (1×10 with a 48 front and 11-28 out back) impacted my ability to really attack the hill. It went ok but I had to grind quite a bit at low rpm to get up. I ended up geting gapped here and bridged up to Mike Edmonds, Peter Shirk and a Novo rider (I think Scott?)

    I was hurting pretty good here and tried to recover. The next group ahead was about a minute up the road but we were going into a head/crosswind. Mike Edmonds looked strong and was doing a lot of work along with Peter. I knew Patte was fairly close behind so I thought I’d attack, force Peter and the Novo rider to work to catch me and give Mike a free ride. When Patte joined us we could jump and go.

    I recovered (somewhat) and jumped off the front getting a gap of about 30 seconds. I held it at ~threshold and waited for the group to reel me in. They closed the gap and then shortly after that I saw Patte motoring up behind.

    Once Patte joined us he set a mad tempo on the front. We hit a crosswind section and I did all I could to hold his wheel in the gutter and we dropped Scott and Peter. (and unfortunately Mike)
    We motored along with Patte driving the front (He is REALLY strong) and picked up another rider who we subsequently dropped. We came upon Scott Nevin and he joined our Patte train.
    The three of us motored together and came upon another crash. This was the most sketchy part of the race for me. There was a slowly moving oncoming car coming up the wrong side of the road, a few riders in various states of dissarray on left side of the road and a single rider standing on the right side.

    Mike yelled to the rider on the right side as he was blocking us and driving us toward the car. I pulled on my brakes and they were frozen! I sandwiched myself between the car and past Patte and we bumped shoulders as I went past. We were lucky we didn’t go down.

    After that we came to the farmers field and this is where I made my big mistake.

    I first tried riding down that gigantic mud hill and promptly the bike just stopped. Mud and leaves were completely jammed in the crank, chain catcher front and rear canti’s. I dismounted and tried running/walking down the mud hill with the bike beside me but that only made it worse. I stopped at the bottom and tried to pick the mud out, slamming the bike up and down to no avail. Patte and Scott were long gone and I was at the first bridge! I then shouldered the bike and soldiered on across the bridge. I tried unsuccessfully a second time to get all the mud out and ended up picking it up again and walking / jogging all the way to the grassy section. I managed to ride the bike about 30 meters before a stick I picked up in the mud got jammed in the crank.

    Getting pretty frustrated now I slammed the bike up and down again and picked some of the mud out, shouldered it and headed for that gigantic mud hill. Getting up that hill was tough. You were constantly sliding, trying to carry/hold your bike in place and grabbing trees etc to help yourself up. I started to get quad cramps here but kept slogging through it. Once at the top I slammed the bike up and down again and managed to get the mud cleared enough to ride. I couldn’t clip in for a bit but eventually managed to get going again. That debacle on the farmers loop literally cost me 8 minutes in the race.

    After that I just rode as best I could through to the stairs. I climbed the 69 steps with the bike shouldered and then couldn’t clip in again due to the mud. I pedaled the bike as best I could and came across the line 24th out of 131 for Masters.

    It was a great and challenging race. Looking back I should have immediately shouldered the bike and walked/jogged all of the muddy sections on the farmers loop. That mistake cost me a lot of time and places.

    Couple of interesting data points from the race:
    – Averaged 33kmh for the first ~55km
    – Average HR of 170bpm for almost 50km (That’s threhold and around 300 watts)
    – The 1km mud trail took me 14 mins and 9 seconds to complete lol (and I had bike mud issues after the trail section too)
    – Mike Patte is a beast, watch out for him this year!
    Thanks Cycle Waterloo for the great race and congrats to everyone who competed. Also thanks to Jamie and the crew at McPhails for servicing my bike before the race. It worked flawlessly this year.



    Seems appropriate for me to “draft” in behind Chris’s Race Report as he and I like taking long pulls on these posts. Plus, I was drafting his wheel for the first 10 minutes of the race, until the crash. He went left and I went right.

    I rolled into the ditch and to the other side and quickly back onto the road, but that put me on the chase. After 10 minutes on the rivet, I managed to get back into a “Group 2” that had formed after the crash. By then we were on Lawson and could see Group 1 up the road. But being spent and at the back, I eventually got snapped off during an acceleration on one of the rollers. So, I spent a bunch of time on my own into the wind waiting for the next group behind. Eventually, Lee, Matt and a bunch of friendly faces came up and we formed “group 3” on Laverly.

    That didn’t last long as we strung out on Hackbart with Aaron H.having recovered and caught up from the earlier crash, he was now pulling at the front. We hit the Hackbart hill and after a few failed attempts to shift, realized the front derailleur was frozen. So, that meant kicking at the crank a few times until it slammed into the little ring. By then I was already off the back and spinning up hill. Couldn’t quite catch back on, and after the second bump after Lobsinger they were 100M ahead. So I was on my own with forearms on the bars all the way down the second half of Hackbart and up Hessen Strasse into the wind.

    I was eventually caught by a small group, including Vance Lai on his FatBike as we turned left onto Hutchison. (Vance would go on to win the FatBike category). At that moment, Erik Box and a few other BIG names caught in the earlier crash blew by us as we turned right onto Streicher. Some of us tried to ramp up to whatever speed they were going? Mach 1.0??? We hung-on for dear life for most of Streicher, sucking wheels. Eric finally yelled, “Waterloo Pull Through!” I did so for about 10 seconds…I swear I was spinning 50-12 ? They made up a tonne of distance. We were only 20M away from a large, fast group ahead (Groupetto 3?). Erik’s group made a huge effort and bridged…I detached. I was one pull away from the comfort and safety of a large group, where I could hide from the crosswinds all the way up Chalmers Forrest. But, we’ve all been there. When you are so close that you can almost feel the draft of the group ahead, but the distance isn’t closing, and you are at your max and you realize that you only have another 30 seconds of power left, so you dig really deep.

    Now, President’s are not supposed to swear. But, let’s just say that was a long 30 seconds during which I was not very Presidential. I watched them pull away and turn up Chalmers Forrest.

    Vance Lai bridged up to me at the corner and we all found our comfortable individual paces up Chalmer’s Forrest. We’d hook up every so often with riders and we all started to collect around the right turn onto Schummer. With the wind are your back, and going downhill, everyone feels like a PRO.

    I met WCC racer Jacob Mitchell along that stretch, and complimented John Howison again on his Single Speed prowess (He came in 2nd BTW). But after a too long pull at the front…I slipped off the back. I could see the unique shape of Vance on his fatbike in the distance, so was able to keep him in my sights for the entire stretch of Boomer. Now, my GPS watch says I hit 60kph on that section, and still couldn’t catch that Fatbike. I’m convinced those things are deceptively fast and agile. Vance and I eventually hooked up again on Kressler and pulled along Hawkesville road to enter the farm field together.

    I saw Robbie Samide and Scott Nevin coming out. I thought huh, can’t be that far off the front? Little did I know it would be 15-20 minutes until I was at that same point in the race.

    At this point, perhaps it’s easiest to just LIST the common experiences we all felt during that lovely section on/off the bike, and let you pick the memories that you remember most fondly:

    A) Started to ride the mud slide like a hero
    B) Stopped 10 seconds later and walked instead
    C) Made the “Carry vs Push” decision
    D) Crossed Bridge #1
    E) Started running. Gave up, realizing walking was faster
    F) Picked up a stick to poke the mud out of the brakes/frame
    G) Wondered how the mud had turned to concrete?
    H) Slammed your bike up and down. Once, twice, thrice.
    I) Bashed cleats onto pedals hoping to knock off some mud
    J) Rode grass section without clipping in.
    K) Crossed Bridge #2
    L) Opened thermal bidon & drank a hot cup of coffee
    M) Started to walk up that “soul-crushing-boot-destroying-mud-sucking-hill-climbing-farm-bogging-slip-sliding-tree-grabing-thigh-cramping-vimy-ridge-reenacting-horror show.”
    N) Realized that it was better to throw the bike up hill, than drag it behind.
    O) Watched both quads convulse involuntarily, in unison.

    The funny thing is I later overheard two people talking and one said, “that hill killed me!” while the other said, “that hill saved me!”.

    And so it goes in course design and spring classics.

    I think the Steaming Nostril has become known as THE Tough Race. Do you remember coming back over that Rail Trail in year 1? Do you remember the frozen water bottles and feet during that -20 degree race? Do you remember that mud hill 24 hours ago, where you looked up the hill…and back down the hill and wondered which way it was going to be?

    Any race…that has you questioning the choices you’ve made in your life…is a good race.

    Now for the finale…

    Coming out of the farmer’s field I stopped on the road to bang the bike up and down once more to futilely knock off some mud. Gary C. passed me at that point. I hopped back on the bike just as Kelly was coming out of the farmers lane. I remember providing her with some feedback for her husband about that farmers field. Then my quad’s started singing in unison again, I went limp, and looked up at the sky. It was a nice blue.

    For most of Durst road I was pedaling with one foot…then the other…trying to trick one leg at a time that I was coasting. Neither was falling for it. I kept Kelly in my sights and I winced as she got out of the saddle going up Reitzel. I tried to make up distance by railing it through the corners of the farmers lanes with one foot down and hoping the glue on the tubulars would stick. By luck, I managed to catch her on Three Bridges just before heading onto the trail back to St. Jacobs. During that short section next to the stream, I thought the advice of Race Director, Adam Poll, was perfect for my set up. 57 psi front and back. Rolled over the gravel roads smoothly like I was riding on a sheet of glass all day. Then I saw Dawn at the end of the trail taking pictures and I knew we were just about done.

    What’s left to say? Like every one of you, I rolled up to the bottom of those 69 stairs and shouldered that blessed bike up every forsaken step to the cheers of all the families, friends and fans. I high-fived the Zunic family along the way, and with no small chain ring available, grinded it out to a spectacular 99th place finish out of 238 racers that day.

    I turned around and quickly watched Kelly, Graham, Joel, Anthony and Kari cross the line. This picture was taken 90 seconds later.

    Never have I seen a happier bunch.

    Finish 1



    Chris and Alain…those are beauty race reports! Felt like I was in the action!



    Here is a shameless rookie report. Let me tell upfront that my primary goal was to finish the ride, not to race. And I am very glad I did accomplish this goal.
    This was my first ever Steaming Nostril. And, yes, I am the guy who signed up to ride the 69Km course on a full suspension mountain bike (mistake #1). I rode P2A for 3 years on my mountain bike before so I thought SN would be no different (mistake#2). By the way, this was also my first time ever riding at temperatures below the freezing mark.
    Although my clothing choice worked well for me and i was able to endure the weather, my lack of experience prompted me to use a camelback (mistake#3), which Alain and Thiago were kind enough to warn me about it freezing up during the ride. Well, with only a few minutes left before wave 2 to take off, I tried to tuck the camelback underneath my jersey to try to prevent the freezing but that didn’t work so I pretty much rode the whole course with no water, except for half a bottle I grabbed on the rest stop on my way back from the west block at Boomer.
    I rode at my own pace and mostly solo, since I really couldn’t keep up with any group with a MTB. Luckily, I found a group of about 6 to 8 riders right at Hackbart hill and rode with them all the way to Schummer Line, when I got dropped off.
    Being dehydrated caused me to start cramping at Boomer and I was so glad when I made it to Kessler Rd because I thought the worst was behind of me (mistake#4). Well, i need to admit that i did not enjoy that 1Km muddy, unrideable – or whatever not so classy adjectives I called it- loop. Carrying my heavy MTB with cramped legs was painful but the vision of the mud hill and the extenuating effort to climb it made me swear I would never ride SN again. It cost me 20 agonizing minutes to complete it. After that I just carried on with one pedal stroke at a time to the final stairs, where I once again cramped so badly i could not bend my legs to continue climbing. A very supportive lady on top of the stairs kept on cheering me up and I could somehow find the last drop of energy to get to the top and ride to the finish line. I thank her for the encouragement and support. As for riding SN again….I can’t wait for next year! However, I guess my biggest challenge will be to convince my wife of how badly i need a CX bike….it might be tougher than SN16.
    Hoping for a not so painful P2A in 3 weeks 🙂



    Ha, I was the one who was saved by the farm but we’ll get to that in a minute.

    I woke up Saturday morning in Calgary, Alberta with a forecasted temperature of 21C. We hopped on the plane and white knuckled the 401 at 70km to get home. It was a bit of shock, to say the least.

    Since I had been away all week, I didn’t have the time to dial in my set-up on my single-speed and agonized over what ratio to use, with unknown road conditions and and unknown “farmers field along the river”. Ultimately I decided that a lower ratio was more appropriate, but mostly influenced by some recent missed training.

    The race got off to a comfortable start, with a large group cruising along. I was able to stay with the group until a split formed along Bricker School Line. I realized then that I was undergeared and didn’t make the split.

    I settled into a strung out group that seemed to shrink and expand as we went along. After losing some ground on the pavement, I caught back up to Kari on Lawson and we ended up working together for quite a while. We picked up a few guys and sat on for a bit before getting into a good rotation. We worked together until Hackbart Hill, where I was unfortunately forced to attack because of my gearing. We had worked our way up to Allison who worked with Kari, until I finally faded back to them after a too long solo cruise through no man’s land along Streicher.

    I promptly got dropped by everyone once we hit the tail wind going back East. I got passed by 3rd and 4th place single speed, who started in wave 2! That meant he had 5+ minutes on me.

    Turning into the farmers lane, I clearly missed the memo on “STAY LEFT!” because I nearly collided with a guy as I struggled to understand that I shouldn’t stay right.

    I was feeling good as we headed down the lane way, this felt like more my style and more suited to my gear ratio. I rounded the corner and saw the muddy downhill, with 3-4 racers walking down. Perfect, I thought. I started bombing down, but quickly got caught up in a rut. I remounted and was able to pass 3 or 4 of the walkers. Just as I hit the bottom, I caught 4th place SS, walking his bike. I remounted and rode everything but the bridges until the uphill. Luckily my cramping didn’t start until after the top of the hill because I came up the hill rather quickly. I saw Kari at the top, cleaning off her bike. I smugly remounted my simple, no-fuss single speed and rode away from another 3-4 riders.

    From that point on, I suffered through a few close-call leg cramps before feeling re-energized and flying through to the stairs. I walked the stairs, without too much of a rush and was thankful the extra loop wasn’t at the top this year. Crossing the line, I saw a large group of WCC’ers and posed for the above photo.

    A great way to finish a fun race!

    As it turned out, I managed to make up over 6 minutes on the 4th place rider in the farm and took 4th place for myself.

    A big shout out to all the volunteers, I saw many WCC faces out there and it’s great to see.




    Great reports thanks for sharing!



    Largest Club Participation by a Mennonite Mile. #Pride


    Runny Nose – 38km (39 Finishers)
    3 WCC Racers

    13. Brian Legge 2:03:07
    16. Krystian Kufresjski 2:08:53
    21. Steve Shikaze 2:17:40 (FatBike)

    Steaming Nostril – 70km (238 Finishers)
    34 WCC Racers

    27. Mike Patte 2:14:43
    28. Phil Sheffield 2:14:49
    34. Robbie Samide 2:16:10
    38. Scott Nevin 2:16:33 (3rd Place, M50-59)
    42. Oliver Farla 2:17:44
    48. Mike Edmonds 2:20:23
    61. Chris Pippy 2:24:23
    63. Rob Daniells 2:24:40
    73. John Howison 2:27:08 (2nd Place, Single Speed)
    74. Jacob Mitchell 2:27:40
    82. Sam Weichel 2:29:03
    90. Matt Gallagher 2:30:17
    99. Alain Francq 2:35:47
    100. Kelly Ellis 2:36:25 (3rd Place Overall, 1st Place Masters Female)
    103. Graham Dunn 2:37:05
    111. Joel Lee 2:39:07 (Single Speed)
    114. Anthony Williams 2:39:30
    115. Kari Hueber 2:40:10 (4th Place Overall, 2nd Place F30-39)
    132. Allison Sauder 2:47:27 (5th Place Overall, 2nd Place F20-29)
    140. Andrew Gateman 2:50:54
    141. Blaire Gateman 2:54: 10
    164. Kevin Gibson 2:57:19
    169. Chris Roberson 2:59:22
    172. Lee Fitzgerald 3:00:53
    174. Todd Stahley 3:01:20
    181. Mark Weymouth 3:06:31
    182. Susan Gaudreau 3:08:29 (2nd Place, F40-49)
    192. Bob Abell 3:16:18
    204. Vince Balge 3:24:51
    206. Bill Frier 3:25:48
    215. James Parkin 3:28:18
    219. Ana-Maria Bogatan 3:29:37 (3rd Place, F40-49)
    221. Gabriel Caridade 3:24:21
    231. Rick Vandermey 3:53:40


    Mathew Gallagher

    Reading all the stories has inspired me to write. To say I was a little nervous about this race and what it had in store for me was an understatement. No matter what was going to happen, pony up and get on with it. With reading the chat going around on how to prep and with what tire pressures to use I got my steed ready with 52/55. Bikes ready…am I? Got to the community center in good time, got the legs moving and was releived to see so many WCC riders and familiar faces. I still don’t know everybody well and forget some names (so bad with that) but always feel welcome. Started to warm up with Alain who had to stop to make some adjustments early. Went around the block and was feeling ok. Climbed the stairs just see how that was going to go. I knew it was going to hurt at the end but was prepped. At the start line it felt good to be surrounded by a sea of Green. I hoped to stick with some of these people as long as possible. We are off. It was all nice and comfortable till Hemlock when it started to bunch up but I was still with the pack. Ok good I thought. On Steffler I said to Alain, “Is that Pippy in front of us?”. He confirmed and I was like, Ok, still doing ok. Hell broke loose on Temperance as a crash just to the right front of me happend and got pushed wide. Mass sprinting and got separated from the main pack. Tried to bridge that gap and catch the front pack. Could see Alain up there but just knew I would blow up if I tried to catch them. Came close with working a couple guys but on Lawson I had to let that idea go. Worked with a few guys and got caught by a small group that helped with the work up Lawson. Picked up Alain on that stretch and got to say was seriously impressed with that guy. We continued to push on Hackbart with Alain still taking solid pulls on the front and working with some other WCC folk. I, on the other hand sat back a bit more with shorter pulls trying to conserve what I had. All I could hear in my head was “cramping was from not training hard enough” and wishing I had more to give and trained more. On the first hill of Hackbart our group started to splinter. I saw them starting to go and wondered….should I go? Alain then said you better stay with them….well he is the “el presidente” and I better do what I’m told…so off I go. No little ring as front derailer had seized/frozen so well… make the grind. To be frank….there is a lot of blur after that for the middle section. Turn left, turn right, chase, lead, sit back, hope for the best. Smile and wave at the spectator’s and thank everyone at the marked road closures. Somewhere on Schummer I hear the hum of fat tires. You got to be kidding me…. there is Jeff Shikaze. Did we catch him or did he catch up I honestly don’t know but holy cow what a machine. The group broke up again and it was down to three. Shikaze, another power house and me. As the speeds grew on Boomer, Jeff fell off as we were pumping along in the mid 40’s but up to 57 on that stretch. Then two was down to just me on the turn to Kressler Rd as the last climb on Boomer took my legs and I was left behind. Knowing what was coming was starting to set in but I know these roads. I can do this I said. Oh helllll no….the private section was more then I expected. I see the Dawdy’s cheering me on. They know what I’m in for…I thought I did. Turn right around the barn… I see some people walking…. why would I walk…I’m a mtbker.. I ride….over the bars I go… shit. Should have walked…. I shoulder the bike after getting my legs untangled from my bars. Get to the bottom of the hill and realize my chain has come off. Spend 5 min getting my chain back on as the chain keeper won’t let me get it back on the chain ring. Insert profanity here. Look up… start running if that’s what you want to call the shuffle I was doing. Legs tired. I have now been passed by so many that I was ahead of. That sucks. Legs cramping. Gaelen’s words running through my brain “cramping is not training enough”..Crap.. because he’s right. I didn’t. Running is helping. I hear Alain yelling at me from the bottom of the hill to shoulder the bike or something. I’m dazed and confuzed. How much time did I really lose. I start riding till the next creek. I’m thinking “how do we go up again??”. I realize moments later it’s not good. Vance passes me before we go up. Was glad for it as it gave me hope. Here’s a guy with a fat bike clawing his way up. If he can…I can. Legs are screaming but I’m doing it. The top eventually comes and continue my shuffle to the gravel drive where once again I’m encouraged by the Dawdys. So good to hear the encouragement when you are feeling the pain. Doug says only 7k to go. I got this. No way I’m catching Vance. Bike feels a million pounds but everything is rolling. Next up is around to Bo De Lane. Crap…bad line around the tree line. Almost crash cause I can’t see through my glasses. Cramp in left hamstring…ride it out. Almost there. Pace myself. There’s Dawn just before the Bridge. So close. The stairs are coming. I approach CX style and jump off the bike and start running….or so I had planned. Legs cramp….I say no to that and begin my slow climb to the top. Hoots and hollers are abound and I see my family. I see my buddy Mike who came out to cheer. I hear Malcom. The finish line is near. Glad I got the right gear before I got off the bike. I get back on the trusty steed and cross the finish line. The statisfaction is overwhelming. What a race. Truly left it all out there. Blake comes over and we chat and how it was. Loved it….truly… and I will be back. While visiting my my family it was great to see more friends cross over then line. It felt so good to cheer them on. Proud of myself for what I did and proud of all my fellow team mates and rideres who chose to ride or volunteer for this amazing event.

    26th in 40-49 age group 90th overall in 2h30’09.




    Mike Edmonds

    I’m glad everyone seems to have made it through intact, despite a few crashes. I saw Aaron and Peter both take pretty hard falls, so I was glad when they both crossed the finish line later intact.

    Nicole also saw a few hard spills on the narrow bridge at the end of the rail trail where she was a marshal. Apparently Gaelen was the first of many to slide out, and one fella took quite a hard fall there. Luckily for me, I had no trouble on the bridge because I had already buried myself out on the course and was going quite slow by then. haha!

    My race report (48/238):

    – Cold as hell and shivering on the start line.

    – Oliver provides me with the perfect ride up through the field, and we make up about 50 places after starting quite near the back.

    – I know the uphill on Hemlock Hill rd & Steffler rd is coming up, so I make up a few places on the downhill at the start of Hemlock. A few people get really rattled by those bad pot holes on Hemlock Hill and I am happy that I remembered to stay to the left through here.

    – Just after turning onto Temperance, a bomb goes off about 4-5 riders up in the field. I swerve hard to the left and it’s full on emergency braking. I’m briefly stuck in traffic. It doesn’t look like anyone in the crash is too hurt as I go past.

    – I put in a 2 minute solo effort to get up the hill on Temperance trying to reach the lead group. I am again happy to know the route ahead as I was able to really rip the downhill on Temperance and rail the hard left onto Hergott to catch back up. In fact, I used the momentum to move up a bunch of places over the bridge and turned onto Lawson.

    – Everything goes better than expected up Lawson. I survive a few surges with ease.

    – My glasses become my biggest problem. They are completely opaque by the time we hit Lavery, and I’m having a lot of trouble seeing.

    – I lose the race on Hackbart. I am still in contact with the front group at the beginning, but the cross wind and rough road is making the field surge. I tuck in behind Philip for a little while, but then he accelerates like crazy in advance of the hill and I am left exposed and doing more work than I want to. I am suffering up the first roller but keeping in contact, when I look back and realize a large gap had formed behind me. I am at the back again! shit! Then a gap forms ahead of me on the radio tower hill and I am caught detached from the main group with 6 or 7 other riders, some of whom are going backward quickly.

    – I work with Peter Shirk, Chris Pippy and Scott Weldon for a bit along Hessen & Streicher, but we are not really gaining ground on the group ahead, although we can still see them just up the road.

    – Mike Patte catches us and brings a few other wheel suckers with him. He tows us for the last stretch of heavy head wind on Streicher before we turn up Chalmers into the cross wind.

    – In the crosswinds, Patte attacks up the right side of the road, and Chris Pippy hangs in there with him. I am getting no draft and had just done a pull. Suffering. Our group is decimated by the move and Peter Shirk and I are out there the two of us for the next ~10km.

    – Miriam Brouwer catches us on Boomer line, bringing along Mr. Twitchy Wheel Sucker. We work with her for a while (she is strong!).

    – Twitchy Wheel Sucker buzzes my wheel (inattention?) and takes Peter out in a crash at about 35kph. I can hear Peter swearing when I look back and I can tell he is more or less ok.

    – I enter the farm section and almost have a head on with a crazed CX rider who is yelling “WHICH WAY!?!!” at no one in particular. It all seems clear enough to me!

    – “that muddy farm path looks fine to ride”… but then my front wheel sticks half way down the hill and I am going over the bars in slow motion.

    – I collect 10lbs of mud and pack it into all the worst places on my bike.

    – I get to the bottom of the mud climb and I can see Oliver at the top! I am thinking “awesome, I caught Oliver!”, but then I realize this hill is one hell of a bitch and I’m not anywhere near Oliver.

    – I come out of the farm section and have to spend more than a minute pulling shit off my bike before the wheels will even spin.

    – I ride the rest of the way more or less solo, with my bike making a grinding noise and no front brake.

    – Nice lunch.

    – Full on headwind blizzard for the ride home.

    – 5 minutes with the power washer at the car wash.



    Love the race reports guys. Well done!

    My write-up is on my blog:


    I’ve added two entries: one for the Runny Nose that I entered on my Fat Bike, and a second entry that describes “The Longest Kilometre” – the farmer’s field of doom. Complete with quotes from some of you!




    Nice Report, Mat.

    Isn’t it amazing that we started next to each other, blew apart after the crash, found each other again on Lawson, blew apart on Hackbart, found each other again at the bottom of that mudslide, blew apart up the hill…and finally came together again for that finishing line picture up above. All over the space of 2:5 hrs on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

    I now remember that my chain also fell off just after Bridge #1 which is when I saw you. I think I yelled, “GET ON THAT BIKE…this isn’t a Triathlon!”

    I probably shouldn’t have stopped to drink that coffee at Bridge #2. But, it did give me the opportunity to look across the course and see Joel starting to run down the mudslide. I managed to yell at him too, I think I said, “GET on that bike…it’s NOT going to PEDAL ITSELF!!!”

    Never say, I wasn’t an encouraging President.

    P.S. I also have to mention that last year during a CX race, I rolled a tubular mid-race, and without even thinking, Matt threw his bike over the fence to me so that I could finish the last two laps on that very bike he rode on Sunday.

    #Life #Racing #WCC



    Many nice reports, so I will keep mine short.

    The weekend before I couldn’t change any gears on my CX bike due to 2 winters of pure neglect. Spent the week (well, mostly nights) cleaning, changing cables, chain, derailleur pulleys and what not. Went Sat for a quick ride to stretch the new cables and things looked fine.

    Started the race in Wave 1, right in front of Mike and Oliver. I knew they were coming fast so I was going to just hop behind them. When they came and I pushed harder on the pedals to hop on, I felt the chain jumping gears and knew immediately that I would have a long, long race filled of mechanical issues.

    In short, I spent the whole race fighting my jumping chain, cleats getting off the pedals, break pads rubbing and what not. Add to that that I am in bad shape and recovering from a cold.

    Finally, on that last hill on Boomer, after some 55K, my bike said enough is enough, and the hub decided to stop working and spin freely (that was happening long before but I was able to eventually “re-engage it”, and it would keep engaged as long as I didn’t coast; which is nice training btw). The race mechanics tried to help me but there was nothing they could do, so they called the van to pick me up.

    So there you go Alain, there were actually 35 racers, with 1 DNF. And I missed all the fun in the mud!

    And when I got home, went to clean the bike and the freaking hub started working again. Current theory is that it got contaminated with water, and the water froze. After it melted, it started working again.

    The lesson here is that you should test-ride your bike properly. And the more extensive the changes, the more extensive you have to test-ride. And of course, this is the first article on my RSS feed the next morning:




    Thiago I’ve had that freehub engagement issue before. It has to do with the grease in the freehub body failing in cold temps. If Jamie sees this he can elaborate more.


    Graham Dunn

    Yeah, I’ve had that happen in the cold before. The grease gets too thick from the cold and the springs can’t push the pawls back into contact with the freehub. The traditional field remedy is to pee on the hub to warm it up enough for the pawls to engage, then never coast.

    Luckily, I didn’t have to do that on Sunday, but did have a front derailleur that was taking about 90 seconds to go from big to little ring.

    Glad I did all that core work to hand-over-hand my way up the saplings on that hill.

    Finish line



    I read your reports and really enjoyed them. There are reports from top finishers, a DNF, a rookie, so here is mine. Just like Gabriel, my goal was to finish the ride. I have ridden 70+ km with the WCC group on Saturday mornings in cold weather so I knew I could do it. But this time things were a little bit different: there were no breaks at stop signs, no frequent refueling or friendly chatting. I guess that’s why after 50km of riding with a group including Susan Gaudreau, Susan Jantzi and Bill Frier, my knees started to hurt, my legs just didn’t want to work anymore. Slowly I got dropped. I started to count every single kilometer. And then we turned left onto the farm. Like Joel, I didn’t get that we have to stay on the left (why left?) so I collided with a guy who probably thought that I was an idiot. I was happy to read the reports and learn that other people suffered as much as I did carrying my bike through mud and water and then climbing that hill. I really like the words that Alain used to describe the hill. Halfway up I asked people to call my husband to come and get me. Tears were in my eyes. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the top. I guess I looked so hopeless that somebody picked up my bike and helped me with the last 2 very long meters of the climb. My tears turned into tears of happiness for making it to the top alive. I didn’t even care about the mud at that point, I briefly cleaned my bike only so the wheels could turn again and I got back on. One of the volunteers told me that there were only 7 more km to go. I knew that there were actually 9 but I knew that if I can ride 7 I can ride two more. Climbing the 69 steps seemed like an easy task now. I was happy to see Steve Shikaze at the top of stairs, encouraging me and congratulating me for finishing the race. There was so much mud on my shoes that I couldn’t clip back in at the top of the stairs but thank God there were only 50 meters to the finish line. Only 19 women signed up for the race and I finished dead last. (216 out of 238 overall) This was my first Steaming Nostril race, my second year on a CX bike so I am pretty happy with my accomplishment: I finished the ride. I might even be back next year.

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