Bearded Man leaves the mud behind and starts to enjoy some manicured single track. Part 4 in our 4 part special following the Bearded Man around Crank the Shield.
Day Three: Camp White Pine to Haliburton Forest 58km and 1,138m climbing.
Today was the complete opposite to the previous two days – it was almost like a full day of riding. The start line was 10km from Camp White Pine and so after a great breakfast (and Kicking Horse coffee) we made our way through the mist and chilly temperature to Sir Sam’s ski resort where the start was. This was the first ‘trail centre’ riding that we had the opportunity to experience over the three days and it was a lot of fun, with a mix of berms, drop offs and manicured single track. It was a nice change from the previous two days.
Once again we were put on these trails pretty quickly which meant that there was some congestion, but nevertheless by the bottom of the second run everyone had big smiles on their faces. After a short road ride we were onto another ATV trail called Hydrocut. Surprisingly this was a lot dryer than we had all been expecting, partly down to the kind of gravel which made the drainage system more effective. This trail weaved through the power lines and was never flat, undulating all the way which made it pretty quick and fun.
After feed station 1, we had a short spell of double track that made our way to the Krista Trail, which is singletrack with continuous boggy sections of mud with some great technical descents (wet roots and rocks). Three quarters of the way through this trail was feed station 2, which was at the bottom of a slight incline that had a thin layer of mud covering the trail all of the way to the top. This made for tricky traction and completely killed any power generated. This section is part of the well-known Poacher’s Trail.
10km from the finish and we were on smooth hard pack forest track again and it was a pleasure to ride after what we had just been through, so we hoped that this would see us to the finish. It didn’t! We had 5km of the Normac Trail to deal with, which again was relentless with some good bits and some muddy bits.
58km and we crossed the line to complete Crank the Shield 2010 – my time was 3 hours and 41 minutes.
The riders that completed this ‘epic’ challenge were rewarded with a Crank the Shield cap, and all received endless Wellington Brewery beer and a BBQ that would make an Australian proud.
Best time of the day: DerekZandstra & TysonWagler (team) 3RoxRacing 2:41:23.59
My Experiences and Event Round Up
The event was organised very well. There is no doubt that as an experience, the organisers had thought about all of the elements that are required to make a successful event. Basics including food, accommodation and rider support were outstanding, partly because of the facilities available in Canada (i.e.summer camps) and the fact that the race organisers have been around the block and have great support from local sponsors and shops.
Although weather is unpredictable, it is very clear that the areas we rode in do not hold up in wet weather and therefore, although we had a great adventure, it felt less about mountain biking and more about gritting your teeth and dealing with each kilometre as it came. Day three was the exception because we were challenged on our bikes with varied terrain that included some mud but was mostly dry.
It should also be noted that the closer you were to the leaders the less churn occurred and the fewer rider bottle necks you encountered – so ride this when your fitness levels are good! It was an excellent weekend. Would I do this event again? Definitely. Would I do things differently? Yes I would. Firstly I would arrive in better shape than I was this time around, with my own bike and with everything I need to make my ride more fun.
If you are up for a challenge and don’t mind a bit of mud, this is a great experience for anyone to go through.