I’ve started term again which means that two nights a week (Monday and Tuesday) I am in school. On top of working and with all the other stuff we try to cram in to our leisure time, this makes for a fairly hectic existence, not that I am complaining. The point of mentioning it is to explain why everything I write about, at least until next summer, is going to be a little bit after the fact as I only really get one or two chances in the week to blog. Hence a report on a race today that I actually rode last Sunday!
The Off-Road Squeezer is a citizens mountain bike race in St Catharines run in conjunction with the Niagara Wine Festival. As a participant you get some tokens you can spend at the food and wine stalls at the end of the race (not that I usually feel like a glass of wine after riding until my lungs burst for 30km, but the idea is nice). I road as a member of five women team called the Hardcore Biz’nitches (a name I cannot take any credit for) along with Mari, Mel, Anita and Amanda. A very fun bunch of women indeed. Mari and I drove down together and got an enviable parking spot right next to the festival site.
I was a bit apprehensive about my ability to ride 30km as I haven’t done much racing this year I was also racing on a single-speed for the first time. Be warned â€“ DONâ€™T RIDE THIS RACE SINGLE SPEED! The course is probably 60% road and double track. So, whilst I was spinning out like mad to keep up my speeds on the flat sections, I was being over taken by riders who, when they got to the single track in front of me, could not maintain their speed. I’d spend the single track sections trying to ride around people who were freaked out by the technical stuff, or not able to climb, only to pop out onto the road again, have them overtake me and start the whole thing again when we got back on single track. A somewhat frustrating experience.
That said, I felt really strong, was a little bit keyed up by the whole experience and so I really hammered round the single track and found out exactly how far I could push the limits of my True North, which was very, very fun. I love my bike (right).
I should also say that the day was absolutely gorgeous, the trail was perfectly dry and I bumped in to a bunch of people I knew, and met a whole load of other lovely people, which, truth be told, is my favourite part about racing anyway. So it was well worth the trip. The Hardcore Biz’nitches won third place in the female team category and both Mari and I pulled in some pretty impressive times, even given our single speed handicap!
The race organizers, gave out plaques that looked like road signs to the winners â€“ photo top left. Much cooler than a medal – it will take it’s place at the chalet next time we are down.