Sunday, June 13, 2010

Iron Lung in beautiful Canmore

This weekend was Back-to-Back mountain biking event at the Nordic Center in Canmore. Both events were put together by one of the largest cycling team in the Bow Valley; Cyclemeisters. The event brought together many other race teams from Alberta for a total of 300 riders. Saturday was the XC race event with Sports, Novice, Elite and Expert Categories. This race was part of the Alberta Cup Series. Sunday was the Organ Grinder 5 hours enduro race. I only enter the Saturday race since there is a big event coming next weekend…I am so excited already… but more about this race first!

It’s always such a treat to go to Banff/ Canmore. Friday, as pre-riding the course, which was a bit soft not to say greasy, it was really hard for me to focus on the single track ahead. The mountains around the Nordic Centre and to view from across the valley were simply amazing. It’s funny how we often forget how lucky we are to live in such a gorgeous set up. I completed a few laps of the course with a local as the sun was setting on the strong and impressive rocky peaks.

Saturday, race day, each category had a different start time and of course, they kept the experts and elites last. We gathered at the start in the heat of the day (2:30pm) and it was hot!!! The Elite mans started with over 20 racers. Two minutes later, the expert mans were next with over 40 really competitive racers. Then the elite and expert woman followed. The laps were about 6 kilometers in length with a mix of double tracks, single tracks, steep ascents, a few technical sections in the descents… for the people who biked at the Nordic Center before, how fun is the Devonian Drop!!!! It’s just a bunch of dirt jumps and berms followed by a few sharp turns in a steep bank…loads of fun… and of course that’s where most of the spectators were so it was a bit of a no fall zone. They also had the racers go through a pretty good drop just before entering the stadium at the cross over point…another place where you definitively did not want to hit the ground! In all, it was a really fun 20 kms race. With such a short distance, it’s like a sprint for runners, no room for recovery… It was my first time doing a provincial race and I’ve never raced in Alberta before so it was all new to me. I have to say I was a bit intimidated by the head to toe sponsored racers lining up right next to me. But in the end, we were all there with the same goal in mind, … well maybe not but mine was to do my best, push the limits, have an amazing time and give it all and so I did! We all started the first climb really fast and then the pack started to spread out. 2 Girls took the lead but I managed to keep them close enough that I was able to pass then both on the descent and away I went. I kept the momentum all the way to the finish line knowing that a really experience rider was just at my tail. This was a great experience for sure and so much fun to ride somewhere different with different a crowd. Congrats to Marty who did his first race in a while and ranked 11th in Sport Category. Congrats to Don as well, great work with a 20th place in the most competitive category. Don also did great at a XC race in Merritt last weekend, coming in 3rd place. God I wish I could be that fast!

This was a leg warm up also for a totally different type of race going on next weekend in Squamish: Test of Metal, 67kms XC race. I have been looking forward to riding this event for at least 3 years so this should be a lot of fun!

Thank you very much to Skookum’s Steve and Adam who gave some well-deserved love to my light blue beast just a few days before the race. It made a great difference. Pictures of the race to come soon!

Full race results at:


  1. nice work Mel, congrats on your win!

  2. Great work and the site looks awesome!

  3. Thx you guys! Good to see you this weekend Alex, Elements was awesome by the way!!!!
    See you guys soon!