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Cycle Waterloo
#1
Today was the inaugural race in Cycle Waterloo's stable of races, the Steaming Nostril. This was my first year racing it, and it lived up to its name, with cool temperatures highlighted by a northwest wind, but temperatures close enough to the freezing point to make a mess and make some of the off-road sectors very challenging.

The race is a true gravel grinder, 65 km with most of it over gravel roads, with a few small sections of pavement and three significant off-road sectors: the Mill Race Trail from Three Bridges Road into St. Jacobs, 8 km of the Rail Trail from Posey Line to Chalmers Forest Road and "The Hardest Kilometre" (really the hardest 2 km this year) through the farm just north of Durst Rd. and Hawkesville Rd. The rail trail was a tough slog due to muddy conditions and some rutting on the trail. There were a lot of crashes in this sector, and even for those who made it through unscathed, it took a big bite out of their energy.

The hardest kilometre was particularly rough, and right near the end of the race when willpower is waining. This tractor trail through the field was a thick sticky mess of mud that gummed up the forks and seat/chainstays of the bike and eventually made it impossible to move at all. This meant most riders ended up having to shoulder their bikes through the worst sections. There is a relatively easy section of single-track (except for that fact that racers are exhausted at this point), and then finally racers encounter people handing out shots of maple syrup before facing a steep hill up the embankment of the Conestoga River. Fortunately spectators were out cheering us on and giving us a hand up the steepest bits before we hopped back on the bike, thankful that the end of the race was in sight.

Spectating this race isn't particularly easy, and the weather isn't terrible great to be standing around outside, but there are some fantastic opportunities for some great photographs!

[Image: WEB_Steaming_Nostril_-_from_Ines2___Super_Portrait.jpg]

Cycle Waterloo has several other races coming up that are more spectator-friendly and hopefully some on here might find their interest piqued. The next one will be the KW Classic road race on June 3, which is also the provincial championships this year. It normally runs over a loop through Hawkesville, which means that spectators have many opportunities to see racers go by.

Probably the most spectator-friendly events are the KW Twilight Grand Prix in Victoria Park on July 27, and the Fieldstone Criterium in downtown Galt on July 28 - the Region's Speed Weekend. Criteriums are run over short loops around 1-2 km long. They last about 1 hr and are therefore very fast with speeds in excess of 50kph. Prime laps are interspersed throughout the race for riders to race for smaller prizes and encourage aggressive and exciting racing. It's a great way to spend an evening in the summer in downtown Kitchener or Cambridge, so hopefully some of you will come out and support the events.

As for me, I was thrilled with the race, although I crashed near the end of the rail trail and lost the group I had been with. I look worse for wear, but the smile doesn't lie!
[Image: KDDIJzJbdWqafgB1s4O7jCi5rWhyel6wcl2l8yW4...5x2047.jpg]
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#2
Looks like a good time! I know someone that did it on a fatbike a few years ago, he said it was "hard". I'm gonna give the P2A a shot this year; never really been in a big race with lots of people jostling and whatnot, should be fun. I did my first 200k of the season last saturday and I still haven't recovered from it.

I've also watched the downtown crits, they are pretty entertaining and seem well attended, at least the one in the park last year was.
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#3
I'll be at P2A this year too; hopefully spring will have finally shown up by then. Say hello if you see me there!
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#4
I just hope that the weather for P2A is better than last year. Smile 2C and cycling into a strong east headwind the entire way made for my most gruelling race of the year for sure.

See you guys there.
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#5
Looks kind of like my brother's photos from Dirty Kanza!
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#6
Dirty Kanza is entirely different sort of beast, I think!
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#7
The end result looks very similar! Smile
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#8
(04-09-2018, 05:08 AM)jamincan Wrote: I'll be at P2A this year too; hopefully spring will have finally shown up by then. Say hello if you see me there!

I'm excited for it, first time in a big race of any kind. I think I signed up for wave 3. I hope it's warmer than it is now, my clothes are barely adequate for this kind of weather. I'll keep an eye for ya!
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#9
This is what I wore for Steaming Nostril, and I thought it was just about perfect. Fingers were a bit cold for about 10 minutes and didn't notice them after that. Wasn't over-heating, and wasn't cold at any point (until the end, of course).

Light over-shoes, mountain biking shoes, and wool socks.
Thermal tights.
Long-sleeve base layer, light thermal jersey, and vest.
Light full-finger gloves.
Neck warmer.
Light toque.

The long-range forecast is showing that we should be in the teens by the end of April, so I'll likely lose the over-shoes, thermal layers, neck warmer and toque and go with knee warmers, arm warmers and maybe vest instead.
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