MTB Doubleheader: Iron Lung and Organ Grinder

This past weekend, Joe and I made our way to Canmore to participate in what can only be described as a smörgåsbord of mountain bike racing.  After a cold, rainy week of weather, the skies cleared on Friday night, and we were treated to a dazzling weekend of riding in the mountains. On Saturday, we both rode in our respective categories in the Iron Lung XC race, and on Sunday, we joined forces to represent the Fiera Race Team as a mixed team in the Organ Grinder Enduro race.

For those of you who have never mountain biked in Canmore, you don’t know what you’re missing.  The Canmore Nordic Centre truly has some of the best riding around – killer climbs, technical descents, and fast flowy singletrack.  What else could you ask for?

Iron Lung Elevation Profile

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the race after we pre-rode the course on Friday night.  It had rained for the better part of the previous week, and most of the aforementioned technical descents were pretty slimy and slippery, adding to the challenge of staying up-right and not landing on one’s head.  Fortunately, by the 10 am start the next morning, the course was mostly dry, making for almost perfect riding conditions.  The race started with a 1.2 km uphill climb, which quickly tested everyone’s legs, and left most asking, “Why do I voluntarily do this?”  Well, as Joe always says, the uphills are just “fun in the bank”, and there was plenty of fun to be had this day. At the end of the race, I found myself in 5th place, just 6 seconds back of 4th, and missing 1st place by two and a half minutes. Joe had a good race too, finishing 24th out of 51 in the enormous Sport men category, and just two and a half minutes shy of a top ten finish. Hmmm, apparently we both have to get two and a half minutes faster…

On Sunday, we decided to join forces and entered the Organ Grinder enduro race as a mixed team. Basically, the rules of the enduro race were this: go as hard as you can for 5 hours and 10 minutes, and who ever has the most laps, and the fastest time, wins. Well, we were in tough, racing against 16 other teams, with the “Roders” (Dave Roberts and Bridget Linder) definitely pegged as the favorites going in (all the bookies had them at 10:1 odds of winning). The race course included most of the previous day’s Iron Lung course, with the addition of approximately 4 km of uphill pain and suffering.

Transition zone: Shari heading out, Joe coming in

Joe coming in from a lap: feeling the pain

Banana in transition: Joe trying to make pain go away

In the end, the Roders put on a clinic and whooped all the other mixed teams by an entire lap.  The Fiera Race Team managed a respectable 4th place finish, only 1 minute out of 3rd.

For the record, the dude who finished first in the solo men’s category did the same number of laps as the team of two men that finished first. Oh, and did I mention that he did those laps FASTER than the team of two men? Wow. You can read his blog here.

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