20 May, 2008

Life$tyle$ of the Rich and Famou$ 24h

As mountain bike events go in Ontario, this would be just about as different as one could be from the usual sort put on by Chico Racing. W.O.W puts on smaller scale events that focus on a more relaxed atmosphere, but still attract some very fast riders and are able to satisfy both those who come to race and those who come to drink beer and put a lap or two in while they’re at it. Participants in this race are encouraged to come back each year, having about a month to decide before the remaining few spots are opened up to the public. I was lucky to get one of about 4 teams that opened up this year, and I’m very glad I did.

The field was a very comfortable size: 23 teams (of 5 officially, though a few were running only 4) and 19 solos. Taking advantage of the accommodations at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre, about half of us were housed in the Field Centre with each team in a room with 6 bunks, and a large common room with a wood stove, couches, kitchen, etc. The rest of the teams were in individual cabins near the chalet, and solos shared space in the Chalet again with their own wood stove, etc. Needless to say, everyone was comfortable. Meals were provided, and for the most part were delicious except for the sausages at breakfast. Eating those 1h before heading out for my morning lap was a big mistake and I nearly lost them before I even got going. Lunch after the race was especially good with some very tasty chicken, potatoes, vegetables and salad.

In the end, our team (which included a few UWCC members) finished 4th of the mens teams, a result we were quite pleased with. Some friendly rivalries developed around midnight when the teams set to contend for 4th-6th place began to switch around with every lap or so. By morning we’d secured our place and were able to finish our last few laps at an easy pace, which was good considering they turned out to be the only ones in the rain. 1st and 2nd place were just flying on every lap, but 3rd does not seem an unreasonable goal for next year.

One last notable part of the race was the solo rider who was only 8 years old – he completed 4 laps! I love seeing kids off to such a great start in our sport at that age.

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