For those like our mayoralty candidate Rob Ford, that think that we should do marathons in parks, the better answer is to do bike races in parks (by the way every major city in the world hosts marathons on the city streets, Toronto should just embrace the idea - editorial is over).
So for my first time ever, I participated in a cyclocross race - what an experience. It is too bad that you really need a different setup for your bike in order to participate in these, because otherwise I would suggest that everyone do one of these races. They are a huge challenge - why?
- the full 40 minutes is max heart rate, just like a criterium.
- If you fall, the grass is soft, road rash doesn't happen here
- the are all kinds of technical tight turns, hairpins, hill climbs and obstacles
- you need to jump off and then jump onto your bike, hopefully without hurting yourself
- you need to clip into pedals on the fly with dirt and mud on the bottom of your shoes
- there is no drafting, at least not in my race (could have been where i finished!)
- it is rare to ride on pavement, mostly grass, mud, and sand - not the traditional environment
Well, I still don't know where I finished, but I found out a couple of things. I have a hard time clipping out of eggbeater pedals on the go (three times I tried clipping out, once I went down, twice my bike became airborne although i managed to hang onto it). Getting onto the bike was easier than it was when i was practicing, not once did i hit the saddle square (guys you know what i mean!). Clipping in on the fly was different again, no doubt my speed suffered as I was constantly challenged to get my feet anchored with mud and grass on the bottoms. My bike handling was solid, i had no problems with the quick climbs or the hairpins although the large hill was a menace. I find looking at the training peaks graph very interesting as I will not look at Christie Pits the same way again. Riding across hills, up and down little crests following hairpins, and double hairpins up the side of a hill all made it a challenge.
I will likely do these again, once I get my rear wheel trued given it took the brunt of one of those airborne late clip out experiences.