After a full night of rain, Kelso Conservation Area was soaked through. If you have never ridden off road then you are likely unfamiliar with what happens when mountain bike trails get soaked… instead of biking on firm hard packed dirt, its like riding on wet sand… its work, hard work. When it isn’t hard work pedaling, then its hard work balancing as your bike is slipping and sliding through puddles, muddy turns, over wet roots and rocks.
Gabe raced in the first wave that went off @ 9am. His race was the wet-est as the sun still hadn’t broken through the fog and clouds. Shallow puddles and mud pits marked a few corners, and made uphill climbs challenging. Gabe completed his first ever OCup race and his first ever OCup MTB Provincials placing 5th. Nice! Considering Gabe started biking less than a year ago, to accept the challenge of racing at the premier event for MTB in the province took courage. Congrats Gabe.
Serena and Aimee raced in the second wave that went off @ 10am. Serena in the Cadet Junior Sport girls was staged in a wave a couple minutes head of Aimee in who competed in the Master Sport Women (35-49) category. Both had to complete 2 laps of the 6.1km course. Serena placed 2nd in her category and Aimee finished 5th.
Finally, Mark and MJ took to the trails in the third wave that went off @ 11:45am. Mark had 2 laps to do of Loop B and MJ had to complete 3. With a sprint distance triathlon yesterday (750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run) Mark had his work cut out for him; Mark placed 12th. MJ who decided that the trail signs marking the course needed to be taken down, missing the apex of a turn on Quarry Trail he ended up riding straight into the bushes taking out one sign. Since one fall is not as fun as two, he then decided to test out if the rocks on Rough Trade were as hard as they looked, so he took another spill on the uphill rock garden just before Wide Open. No matter, up you go and back to racing, MJ took 11th place.
Although we all have raced weekly in the Kelso MTB Series all summer, showing up to an Ontario Cycling Association O-Cup event was new and none of us knew what to expect, who we would be racing, nor the quality of the competition. But to do something new… you have to do something new. I think we can all admit that we were a bit anxious going into the event, but once on the trails, once the competition started, everyone focused on the task at hand, had a great time and gained valuable race experience.
The first wave raced on Loop A, second and third waves on Loop B, and the fourth wave raced on Loop C.