I saw this cycling event by MT Adventures in early 2023 and thought why not. Would be a blast to try out. Originally the race organizers offered a 100k ride, or a ‘century’ which I balked at a bit. But a few months before the July 23 race date, a 50k version was offered. So, I was sold then to try it.
Before the event I had no idea that Kick & Push was a brewery in Sharbot Lake (1 hour north of Kingston), and was sponsoring this race, AND was now owned and operated by a running friend I know. Small world!
MT Adventures is run by Tammie and Michelle who are adventure racers themselves having done great events such as Storm the Trent and Wilderness Traverse in Ontario. I was expecting them to create an interesting gravel ride course given their own racing experiences.
For equipment this required a gravel or mountain bike to be successful. The terrain was mostly gravel but as we found out there was a few surprises to make the route interesting. The race started of with pavement for the first 300-400 meters, but then we were greeted by a very sketchy off-road section for another 300+ meters to get to the Central Frontenac rail trail. We then followed the rail trail for over 10km and then had to traverse a completely flooded area of the rail trail for about 300 meters. So flooded in fact, carrying you bike on your shoulders was the best and fastest option.
We followed rail trail for a bit more then started a 20-22km or so loop which was a mixture of pavement, gravel and small rocks. This included lots of climbs and descents to get your heart pumping. Once finished the loop we returned to the rail trail to zip back south to Sharbot Lake and the finish. But you had to do the sketchy 300+ meters off-road section again. Of course. I was tired at that point so pushed the bike through that, almost utterly exhausted.
Finally, the finish at the brewery. It took two hours, eighteen minutes, and a bit to complete (2:18:45) and good enough for sixth overall. I was happy with that result, partly because I had used a heavier gravel bike and was curious to see how that ended up. Definitely will try this event again in 2024!