Got a Question? We’ve got the Answers!
Q: Why, after holding Crank the Shield in Haliburton 6 times between 2008 and 2015, are you moving the race location?
A: Though we very much enjoyed our time in Haliburton, we feel like the event needed a facelift. While places like Sir Sam’s, Haliburton Forest, our facilities, and a few members of the Haliburton community were huge proponents, community support was nowhere near as evident as it is in the Sault Ste. Marie area. The town of Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma tourism and other northern initiatives, the Sault Cycling Club and others have made the move incredibly inviting, and already the outpouring of locals wanting to be involved has been unprecedented.
BUT, probably our biggest reason: The trails. We will be passing through 3 huge river basins, all quickly draining the area to mighty Lake Superior. This means drier, faster draining trails and a guarantee this event will not be nicknamed: Crank the Bog! The land itself is remote, dramatic, and is the most epic country in Ontario with the highest concentration of 2100 foot plus mountains than anywhere else. In addition, we have as much or more singletrack at our disposal, with plans on building more.
AND, we get to take a train into the remote backcountry to our start! This event has been in the works for over 6 years, and we are very excited it has come to fruition for 2018!
Q: What kind of shape would I need to be in to complete the epic 3-day journey?
A: Ideally you’ll have some mountain bike race experience, and are in the habit of doing long rides. Those with road bikes that can complete true century rides, in the 160 km range will also benefit from that time in the saddle. Mountain biking these distances is a lot more demanding than road riding, and riders should ramp up their training leading up to the event with long 5 hour plus rides. You should have a minimum of intermediate level mountain bike skills, and do not take this event or its’ challenge lightly, as it will be very tough. The fastest riders should complete the first two stages in 4 hours, and it is expected that the slowest (less fast) riders will have about 8 hours to complete these stages. Stage 3 is designed to be a bit shorter, so you can relax and unwind at our exciting grand finale BBQ!
Q: What kind of equipment should I have?
A: All riders must have certified bicycle helmets, and a mountain bike in good working order to participate in this event. Our suggestion would be a quality full, or front suspension mountain bike as much of the terrain is challenging. There will be some hammer sections, but knobby tires will be needed for the off-road terrain, and wider tires will be less susceptible to flats. Make sure your bicycle is in great working shape, the brake pads are new and the drivetrain is updated or in amazing shape. **PLEASE NOTE: for transport on the incredible Algoma Canyon Tour train, you must have your bike in a bike box. We’d prefer cardboard boxes, available free at your local bike store, go with a 29er or better yet, plus or fat bike box to make sure you have lots of room. Cardboard boxes will be burned after the start, if you have a hardbox it will be picked back up and returned to you at the end of the event. This is the only logical way to transport bikes and keep them all safe, and with large boxes you only need to remove pedals, bars, and front wheel, putting the bike back together should take only a few minutes with a basic multi-tool.
Q: If I’m unsure about my ability to complete each stage, will I be able to complete smaller portions of each day and get a ride to the finish?
A: Though we will provide rides for situations like irreparable damage to bikes, or severe cases of exhaustion or injury, we implore you to be sure of your abilities heading into this event. That said, there will be points along each day that will be labelled “Bail sites”, where you can take a shortcut to the finish, keeping in mind that day you will be a DNF. Some sagwagons will be available but only to those in true need.
Q: Can my family come along and stay with me?
A: We are making Crank the Shield:SSM more family friendly than ever before! We really want to introduce you to the stunning area around Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma Country, so each of our venues is easy to find, accessible and we are encouraging RV’s, Trailers and your loved ones to join you! For the VIP program, if you have a queen bed, your family member can join you for a nominal additional fee, and you can add people to the dinner and breakfast sessions. This will be explained during the registration process. The only thing we can’t accommodate is your whole family in the VIP package – we want as many of these packages available for our riders! There are local RV rental locations if you want to include the kids, or other options include renting a nearby cottage for the family, or having the family stay in the Sault for the 2 nights of your riding, and join you after for a trip up Superiors coast. Look for detailed information on all the amazing things available to you – if you have never gazed upon Lake Superiors rugged shores, this is the perfect opportunity! The organizing body of Crank the Shield have grown up and have a vast knowledge of the area, and promise you a trip north before or after the event will not disappoint!
Q: I would like to come alone with my RV or tent trailer – how could we make this work?
A: We have a group of support staff doing bag transport, and have great support from the local community. If you are stuck in this situation, email us and we will do our best to sort this out for you, if you don’t mind someone moving your RV or tent trailer! Ideally, you should find a friend for family member to move it for you, and enjoy being a part of the event, or simply move it for you then head to the beach! Stunning Haviland Beach is an 8 minute drive from Stokely, or 30 minutes from Searchmont!
Q: If I felt like stopping along the way, and deviating off the course will I be disqualified?
A: If you ride by a lake and feel the need for a swim by all means you can stop, but it is your responsibility to get back onto the course where you left off. Just keep your time limits in mind. We are also striving to have our aid stations at really picturesque locations, such as the top of Batchawana Mountain on Day 1 – and encourage you to take a break, hammer back some gummy bears and get some amazing selfies!
Q: What is this “Shield” of which you speak?
A: The Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier canadien (French), is a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks (geological shield) that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent (the North American Craton or Laurentia). Composed of igneous rock resulting from its long volcanic history, the area is covered by a thin layer of soil. Ok, thanks for that Wikipedia. In layman’s terms, it’s the world’s oldest rock, this is the world’s oldest mountain range that was once higher than Mount Everest (hey, after 5 billion years of erosion and glacial periods, you’d show some wear too)! Basically, it’s a damn cool place to be, and to ride a bike!
Q: If I want to come early and chill on a beach, or stay late, what is there to do in Sault/Algoma?
A: What ISN’T there to do! Click HERE for a comprehensive insider’s guide to the area!
Q: Categories and Awards
A: Crank the Shield will be have two race divisions, Solo, and Two Person. Within those divisions are separate age categories:
Solo Men ~ U30, 30-39, 40-49, 50 and over, and Singlespeed open
Solo Women ~ U40, 40+
Two Person Male ~ U80, 80+ (possible 100+ if more than 5 entries)
Two Person Mixed (1 male, 1 female)
Two Person Female
AND, our NEW Hopscotch category! Split up the race between two riders, so one of you can move the RV and watch the kiddies! More information available at the Accommodations tab on the website!
There are top 3 placings for each age category in each stage. Upon the conclusion of each stage, the winners in each age category will receive recognition and something cool, while the overall winners on day 3 will be high atop the podium brandishing winners jerseys, and overall plaques/medals for top 3!