As I write this blog entry, It’s now 7 days, 4 hours and 21 minutes until Steaming Nostril 2017 (you can check the online countdown at cyclewaterloo.com ). If you haven’t heard about Steaming Nostril, it’s an Ontario spring classic gravel cycling race, now in it’s 5th year.
Yesterday, I rode much of the shorter course (termed the “Runny Nose”) with some friends to check out road/gravel conditions. I started my ride in Elmira, where I had enjoyed some local snacks with my family while battling the crowds at the annual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. With a tail wind from Elmira, I hustled down to St. Jacobs. Car traffic was slow, so it felt good to whiz by cars in the wide bike lane, past the many horses and buggies that were selling maple syrup (tip: if you’re buying maple syrup at the festival, these road-side carts sell a lot cheaper: $12/litre compared to $18/litre at the festival. As I passed these carts, I was tempted to hold out my hand like they were a feed zone…). In St. Jacobs, I met up with my friends and we headed out on our ride. Here’s the route I took (click on the photo to see the video of the ride from relive.cc):
and here’s my brief report:
- There was no snow or ice on the course (GOOD NEWS)
- Gravel roads were either (a) hard packed and fast (GOOD NEWS), or (b) soft and slower (NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS).
- Pavement sections were paved (NEWS) (watch for pot holes and sand/gravel on the pavement – BAD NEWS)
- I didn’t ride any of the rail trail, but it has been brought to my attention that that trail is soft (still a week to dry more, but … potentially BAD NEWS)
The long-range forecast is calling for a mainly sunny day, high of 13C with a 15 km/h wind from the northwest. That forecast, of course, could change (and probably will). I’m a bit of a weather junkie and the so-called “experts” are pretty good at predicting weather within 3-5 days, but a lot can can change in 7 days.
There are a lot of details about the race on the Cycle Waterloo website, including a list of people who have currently registered. There are over 220 signed up for the 62 km longer course, and another 40+ for the shorter 43 km course. I quickly scanned the list of registrants. Female runner up in 2016 Jenn Rodgers is signed up, as is 2013 and 2015 winner Kelly Ellis. Last year’s top male Matt Surch is listed (check out his blog about the 2016 race here). 2015 winner Gaelen Merritt isn’t listed, but he’s told me he’ll be racing, along with his teammate Bruce Bird, who can be expected to be in the mix.
If you sign up by midnight on April 6 (that’s this Thursday), you’ll save $15 off the day-of registration. I’ll remind you that there are singlespeed and fatbike categories for both the short and long courses. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be riding my fatbike (it’s not the heavy steel bike I rode last year, but it’s not a superlight bike either…. come have a look at the race!). And I’ve heard a rumour that past-president of the Waterloo Cycling Club Alain Francq has been secretly training all winter on a singlespeed so watch for him in that category!
Finally, I’ve blogged about other Steaming Nostril teasers and hints. Jump back to the main page of my blog here, and scroll down to find the relevant articles. If you have any questions about the race, leave me a comment. See you next Sunday!
Oh yeah, on FB yesterday, I posted that I bought a new electric mountain bike. Most people clued in that it was an April Fools’ joke. Let the record state that I HAVE NOT BOUGHT AN ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN BIKE! 🙂