When the XTerra Mine Over Matter event held at Kelso in Milton, ON had to be cancelled, our family waited and waited in hopes that it would be restarted, or that another XTerra event would come into being (and more local than Thunder Bay where the only other XTerra Ontario event is held). When earlier this year it was announced that there would be an event in Sudbury, we planned immediately for it to be our family summer race-cation.
Knowing that MTB race courses require review, and often times additional training to deal with the obstacles and/or terrain specific to the course we headed up early to get a few days of riding in before the event. Good thing we did… as MTB riding in Sudbury ain’t anything like MTB riding in S.Ontario. Imagine coming across a massive rock and realizing that how you get across that rock is entirely up to you. If you are in S.Ontario rocks don’t come in any size that would offer multiple lines, but when you are on the Canadian Shield, rocks don’t come in boulder size, they come in car, bus or house size. When you aren’t riding across exposed granite on ridgelines, you are either on trails that are littered with rock after rock or intertwined birch tree roots that seem woven together that either make you want a dual suspension or glad you are on a dual suspension bike. In short, the bike course was technical and presented us with riding that we never experienced at Hardwood Hills, Kelso or anywhere else in Southern Ontario.
Results… the kids were entered in the short course triathlon: Serena took top overall female and placed 5th overall; Mark unfortunately DNF’d within the 3rd km of the bike course. Tire pressure was key to avoiding a pinch flat, so afterwards when he took his tire apart… after finding not one but 4 separate cuts in the tube we realized just how key proper tire setup is to successfully completing the event. After a wet spring and summer in Southern Ontario where many of the MTB races we rode in required low tire pressure, we didn’t anticipate how much air tires needed on this terrain. In the long course triathlon, Aimee placed 3rd female overall and 1st in her age category resulting in her qualifying to go to XTerra World Championships in Hawaii this October. MJ took top spot and also qualified to go to XTerra Worlds.
We cannot be happier that we made Conquer the Crater our family summer trip, it was an amazing experience both training and racing and best of all we met an amazing group of people devoted to a cause of helping families who are dealing with juvenile cancer. The event raised more than $40,000 for Miles for Cancer, a charity devoted to providing families financial assistance as there is no local cancer treatment centre in the north. Families with children diagnosed with cancer have to travel to receive treatment either in Ottawa or Toronto and you can surely imagine the strain that that can make (as if a diagnosis of cancer is not enough).
We are already looking forward to returning to Sudbury next year.