Dusty Nostril race reports and stories

Dusty Nostril is done and dusted (see what I did there :roll_eyes:) Let’s hear some stories.

See below for Race Reports for @SloRider and @SeanBossie.

To echo Sean and Adam, I was surprised at how much the front group stayed together, including several solo racers, and the crazy pace the first lap. (I was the first rider for my 4-person team, and I couldn’t hold the front group’s pace, even though I was essentially just doing a 35 minute interval. I figured for sure other tag or relay team racers would zoom off, but I was amazed at the pace set by even the solo riders in that lead pack.)

Adam’s Race report:

Dusty Nostril 8hr Race…Report

Huge thanks to Cycle Waterloo and all of the volunteers for putting on another wonderful (maybe mid race I would’ve said “grueling”) cycling race! What the organizers tirelessly do for racing in our area is greatly appreciated. Thank you Blake Ellis and Malcolm Steven! My race ended up with a lot of ups and downs throughout the event and I’ll see if I can recap some of it. I raced in the solo category.

Three weeks ago a group of us pre rode the race course. On my second lap I kept my heart rate in the target zone that I thought I would go by on race day. At least that was the plan going into it?! I’ve done plenty of long rides to know roughly what pace I can hold for an 8 hour duration. But, I’ve never raced for 8 hours. I didn’t want to go too hard early because I figured I’d pay for it at some point? Kelly Ellis asked me before the race what my strategy was, and I said I was hoping to do a negative split, where I would get faster as the race went on.

Everyone lined up and we got the countdown to the race start. I clipped in and took off like it was only a one lap race. We left the complex and got out onto the first paved road, and everyone was hammering it. The first lap was a full out effort. Oops! Definitely not going to my pre race plan! But what happened was that I found myself in a smaller group with 3 other solo riders and some 2 person and 4 person relay team members. Everyone was working well together and there was no one in sight behind us. Our second lap was almost as fast, and again the group was flying along. Starting out so fast was sitting in the back of my mind and I was seriously wondering how long we could keep that pace going for?

And then the first hiccup for me occurred. Just after our group started the third lap I got a rear wheel puncture. I had to drop out of the group and pull over to change it. Took me about 10 minutes to get it pumped and back up and running. But there was no one in sight, either in front or behind. I set off chasing, hoping the front group would slow enough so I could get back to them. I knew it was a long shot because I assumed they were still working well together, and there is no way I can match that pace solo. Off I rolled in pursuit telling myself they were slowing anyways?!

When I made it to the rest stop, Cory (the volunteer working the aid station) shouted out the gap, 10 minutes to the front! I can’t thank Cory enough, he gave me time gaps on every lap and they proved to be very motivating at the end! But a lot did happen in between!

I soon had company that caught me from behind not long after going by the rest stop. The two of us were working well together when I hit my second hiccup. I got stung on the ear by a bee just before we hit the rail trail. I shouted some profanity, but tried not to let it bother me. Because of my quick pumping of the flat tire, I decided I needed to pull in to the pit and get it pumped up to the correct pressure. Thankfully McPhail’s was on site and they pumped me up, gave me spare tube and I was back on my way. I lost the rider I was with when I pitted, so back to soloing it until others caught up.

I made it to around the 3 hour mark before I need my first bottle swap. At that point the hard racing and then chasing was starting to hurt my legs. The time gap updates were heading in the wrong direction, I think they had over 15 minutes at one point. My motivation was turning to “just keep the pedals turning and see what happens after a few more hours”?! I was banking on and telling myself that everyone was feeling the same as me. My hopes were that the front solo group would split up and slow down.

I think on lap 6 I suffered the biggest bonk during the race. I had one of the young K/W Cycling Academy riders let me sit in their draft while I died a thousand deaths. I told her a huge thanks and that I just needed to get back to my cooler because I was desperate for a snickers bar and coke. I was very appreciative that she was willing to slow down and help me out! I made it back, chocked down the chocolate bar and drank the entire 710ml bottle of coke before I slowly rolled out for another lap. Once it kicked it in, about halfway into lap seven, I was back rolling at a good speed and felt reborn!

The time gaps were staring to come down and I was told the group was splitting up. That gave me the motivation I needed to keep the pedals turning over. But then the cramps started. My right leg would lock up and I’d have to stand up and stop pedaling until it released. I jammed a gel down and hoped it would keep the cramps at bay. It was a temporary fix. But I knew I needed to stop and get more gels and electrolytes in my bottle to keep them in check. I stopped on lap 8 a put another electrolyte tab in my bottle, grabbed a fresh water for when I would take the gels and took three more gels with me. I downed another gel as soon as the same leg started locking up again. It would suck, because I’d be with a great group or great rider and have to sit up while my leg felt like it was tearing the muscle apart. At certain points I was pedaling with just the left leg and not putting any pressure on the right!

I forget exactly when, but in around lap 9 or so I caught Scott Brubacher (Scott suffered a flat tire around the same spot I did later in his race) one of the 3 solo riders that I was chasing down. So that left 2 ahead still and I heard that one was in the lead quite a ways up still (Sean Bossie), but I was getting closer to the other (Gaelen Merrit). Just keep going, I was telling myself. Another gel later, and the gap was down to 2 minutes. On lap 11 I had Andrew Lambert catch up to me (he was actually lapping me!) just as I got onto the rail trail. It was a welcome needed draft and mental boost to be riding with somebody again. We came through the start/finish and they said there was still time for one more lap and that Gaelen was a minute and a half ahead. Andrew pulled off and his relay partner for the race, Jamie Wagler came out for their teams last lap. We worked well together to go as fast as we could, with Jamie doing long pulls. Cory gave the gap at the rest stop, 45 seconds to Gaelen. I took my fourth gel to ward off anymore cramps. When we turned onto the road that leads to the rail trail, one of the race organizers was in the directors car, Malcolm Steven told us from the car that Gaelen was just in front of the two riders that were in front of us. I peered around the two and I could see him, finally after chasing for 9 laps I could see him! We passed the two riders in front of us and watched Gaelen turn onto the rail trail with maybe a 25-30 second gap. Jaime and I rotated and went hard in pursuit. Malcolm drove over and caught us at the first trail crossing, he shouted 20 seconds! We were slowly reeling him in. At the next crossing, again Malcolm was there, 15 seconds! Then 10 seconds at the next crossing. Jaime shouted, go get him. I took off and made it to Gaelen’s back wheel just before the final crossing of the rail trail! I said to Gaelen when I finally caught him, let’s go, thinking that maybe we would sprint for the finish line. But I think I caught him when his energy had run out. The days all out racing took its toll on everyone out there! He told me to go on, you got this. So off I went doing a speed I thought I could keep till the finish line. I did keep checking behind me, but to my surprise, the gap was growing to Jaime and Gaelen.

I crossed the finish line for the last time for second place overall in the solo category and first place in my age group! Exhausted, dirty and couldn’t ride any further!

Again, thanks to Blake Ellis and Malcolm Steven for organizing a wonderful event and the many great memories that accompanied it for me! Can’t wait till next years!

Adam Myers


Sean’s report:

Hi all. Race report on Dusty Nostril below (as best as I can remember it). Was a great race and really really appreciate everyone who organized and volunteered. It takes a special mix of human to so charitably organize these events for us riders while subjecting us to 8 hours of near torturous gravel racing 😆

My race in numbers:
Distance: 255.6km
Speed: 33.4kph
Laps: 12
TSS: 446
Carbohydrates consumed: ~750g (1.7 pounds lol)

This would be the longest ride I have ever completed and in order to complete this 8 hour event I planned to…

Drink a bottle of mix (80g carb) and some food (30g carb) per hour. If I could manage this amount of carbs then I could be pretty confident in my legs in the final hours of the race.

Stop to resupply as little as possible. I filled 2 hydration packs with mix so I could quickly exchange one for the other and rode with cargo bibs stuffed with food – Since the course was pan flat I didn’t really care about weight

Easily the biggest thing I didn’t account for was the impact that Relay Teams would have on the race. As a solo rider, riding with the Relay Teams meant going way over 8hr pace, but it also meant that we’d be building major time gaps to those behind. This meant that solo riders were stuck in a game of chicken with each other trying to be the last one standing.

As we lined up at the start I looked forward to a smooth start and easing into the 8 hours of riding ahead. This it turns out was optimistic – the race immediately kicked off at a brisk pace and we quickly formed a group of around 15. The pace was high and the group whittled down to around 7 riders over the first 2ish laps. At this point we had Team Faction (Souter/Gale/Pattie/Lai), Team Grime Trial (Wagler/Lambert), and solo riders; Scott B, Gaelen, Myers and myself.

In the first laps Gaelen flatted but was able to get a spare from the car and catch back with the group. The group was motoring though so I imagine that this took a toll.

The Relay Team riders were driving the pace. 300W+ surges would follow each time we picked up fresh legs at the end of a lap. This got very old very fast, but as long as the other solo riders were in the group I knew I would have to hold on or kiss the race goodbye. I did my best to conserve energy but mostly was a passenger at this point in the race. The pace was out of my control and unsustainably high. Thankfully there were few attacks and the Relay Teams picked up more and more of the work load.

On the third lap Myers flatted and was not able to rejoin.

…With Myers out, Scott, Gaelen and I continued riding with the Relay Teams until the 3 hour mark (half way through lap 6). Average pace to this point was 37kph! My legs were starting to cramp badly and it was looking like I’d be the next solo rider to drop… but I was gifted an opportunity to finally ease into an 8hr pace. We entered the ‘single track’ section next to the fresh gravel. I was sandwiched between the Relay Teams in front, and Scott and Gaelen behind… and I decided to let the wheel go. With Scott and Gaelen unable to pass I hoped to fight for a win with the remaining solo riders while sharing the workload and hopefully keeping those chasing behind. On exiting the singletrack section I prepared for attacks from Gaelen and Scott to bridge to the Relay Teams ahead. Gaelen attacked which I was fortunately able to close down… after that things finally settled down. Only 5 hours to go…

…And then there were 3. Dropping from the Relay Teams meant a ~50W reduction in average power which seemed to be a sustainable pace. My strategy at this point was to out eat and drink the others and hopefully have an advantage in the final laps. I was worried going in that I might develop some stomach issues during the race but I actually felt pretty good the entire day. Gaelen, Scott and myself rotated turns and rode an even pace for a few laps.

At the start of lap 9 I heard a hiss from under the steel fender of Scott’s single speed and knew we lost another rider to a puncture.

…And then there were 2. Gaelen and I kept a consistent pace for the better part of a lap and joined Scott Nevin who provided some much needed relief. Pretty soon afterwards Gaelen pulled the chute.

…As the last solo rider at the front I was luckily able to ride with Scott N for ~1.5 laps before riding the final 2 laps solo. The specter of getting chased down in the final meters loomed large – I maintained a death stare 6m in front of my tire and just concentrated on holding 30kph until the finish which I more or less did to seal the win.

Was a memorable event, real type II fun. Glad to be out riding on a Sunday with so many familiar faces. Thanks again to all the organizers! It means a lot to have these events on the calendar.


Love the reports. It was great watching it play out.

For anyone that raced, here are the photos I took while on crossing guard duty.