The Lake to Lake Classic has been going on for the past 12 years, and it’s a mountain bike race from Port Colborne ON (on Lake Erie) to Port Dalhousie ON which is just north of St. Catharines on Lake Ontario. It’s a 50km +/- ride consisting of single track, double track, gravel roads & trails, and a little asphalt. Field size varies year to year but there’s alway between 500-1000 riders, and this year was no exception with 680 riders.
Having never mountain biked before, I saw this as another opportunity to expand my repertoire of ways to improve myself & try new things. The fact that a couple of my buddies from the Burlington area that are avid mountain bikers challenged me to enter also added fuel to the fire. I went ahead & signed up thinking I would just use my father’s bike, but then a coworker offered me his mountain bike that had some decent components, so I took him on the offer.
I got the bike only a couple days prior to the race and didn’t really get to “try” mountain biking not knowing where any of the trails were in my area. Somehow I didn’t feel to nervous knowing that my current bike fitness was pretty good, but I didn’t know how technical the course would be.
Come race day, I prepped the bike by adding 60 lbs of air in the tires (1st mistake), packed 2 water bottle on the bike and waited for Mike & Ian to show up.
Once the guys showed up, they quickly prepped their bikes, and we were off to the start line which was only 2 kms down the street from home. We arrived & registered, installed our number plates, and got ready to roll.
We were in the 3rd start wave, and once the horn blew, we were off. We stuck together for the first few kms, but then I dropped the hammer & lost contact with them.
The first 1/4 of the race consisted mostly of roads, gravel paths and double trail so it gave me a chance to get use to some maneuvering with the bike. Some single track was introduced a little later, with significantly more further in the race. There were some challenging spots, especially for a rookie, but manageable. I did dismount for a few of the very steep climbs, but I did try few of them but it was obviously my weakness. There were a few “tip overs” because I couldn’t get out of the clipless pedals fast enough, but nothing major.
One thing was obvious, I did not bring enough hydration. Most people had hydration packs on their backs, but I only had 2 standard water bottles on the bike,
one had Gatorade. There aid stations were far & few in between but when I did hit one, I took advantage with some water & bananas.
The last 2-3 kms of the race is mostly on City roads with a final steep descend onto the beach in Port Dalhousie. When I crossed the finish line, I felt spent but still good. I felt I had pushed myself to my max & was extremely happy, especially considering I had beat some experienced riders.
For the entire race, my nutrition & fluid intake consisted of 1 banana, 2 GU gels, 1 litre water, and 700ml of Gatorade. After the race there was a race meal which was very delious.
But in the end, this only served to plant the seed….the seed of mountain bike competition. I can’t wait to do this race again in 2011, except this time I’m shooting for a 2:20 time goal.
- Official Time: 2h 45m 42s
- Overall: 299 of 680 competitors (44%)
- Age Group(M30-39): 64 of 135 (47%)