Posted by Jan
On Sunday (March 18, 2012), the Devon Bicycle Association hosted the Blizzard Bike Race – the first bike race of the season and the only winter race in Alberta, held in Devon (Bike Town) at the new dedicated Mountain Bike Skills Park. The organizers were promising a lot of fun as they wanted to attract more people to racing. The “fun” consisted of a couple kilometers of mud, deep puddles, deep soft snow and 200m of pavement. I think those beginners who had to run 80% of the course will now be more careful when they see the word “fun” in a race proposition (however I am sure that they are as hooked as I am now and will sign up anyway for the next crazy “fun” race).
The open category was full of elite racers so I started from the back and tried to keep up with the tail end of the field. It was also my first race in such conditions (though I have had some winter racing practice) so I learned a lot. I tried to pass some people typically on a pavement section or when they made some mistake and got stuck in the snow, but eventually I made a mistake and got stuck in snow and ended up exhausted back in my previous position. Finally I found myself behind Jason (Redfern) from Peadelhead who had a reasonable pace that I was able to adjust to. He ran through all deep snow sections (40% of the course) and it turned out to be a better technique than mine (shredding snow on the spot ’till I fell down). So I switched to running too, but regreted that I didn’t race in my running shoes as Peter Knight (Hardcore) who was consequently way faster.
Anyway, my plan was to wait till the last lap and attack after Jason’s eventual mistake. I used my patented and very effective technique of breathing very hard and noisily behind his back while my brain was sending a strong beam of negative mental energy into his head, aiming the cerebellum (part of the brain responsible for control balance and motor coordination).
It worked perfectly; he slipped down in a small muddy downhill before the last flat section and before he recovered I made a solid gap and finished comfortably ahead of him but totally out of physical and mental energy. The victory went to Samuel who was riding a cross bike which makes sense because it is a way easier to run with it (actually I don’t doubt that he stayed on the bike most of the race). To sum it up it was a great race with excitement on each centimeter of the course. Thanks to the Devon Bicycle Association and I hope there will be more winter races in Alberta in the future.
Organizer’s race report and full results here.