Posted by Joseph Litke
Last weekend was the Blizzard Bike Race in Devon. I decided to register and test the fitness I’ve gained over the winter of training with Aerobic Power, and to test my new-found fat biking skills, since having jumped onboard with the fat bike fad last fall.
The Devon Bicycle Association puts on a great event, so I was a little surprised that the race was not all that well attended. I am guessing that people assumed that trail conditions would be treacherous because of all the early melt conditions, and the state of most trails here in Edmonton; however, conditions were great.
The race was held at night, there was a kids race, and for the adults, a self-seeded 4-lap, and 6-lap race. Other features of this event included a Le Mans start (a running start to you bike), a bonfire, and a flaming start-finish line. Also hot chocolate, giant cookies, and a chilli dinner.
I staged well in the 6-lap event, and got out on single track in third place. We three rode together the whole race, with the exception of maybe most of the third lap, when I managed to break away, but couldn’t make it stick. In the end, a well-timed, and dominating final attack in the last 100 m from Marc Ouellette (Devon Bicycle Association) secured him first place. I hung on and rode through the flames in second place. Kieth Thomas was on my heals for third.
This image from Devon Bicycle Association’s Facebook page. Credit to Nancy St-Hilaire
It was super fun, and any off-road worthy bike would have sufficed I think. In fact, I am pretty sure I would have hung in the top three on my mountain bike, and actually might have faired better in the sprint for the finish line.
Big thanks to the Devon Bicycle Association for putting this event on. Check out DBA’s Facebook and “Like” Nancy St-Hilair’s photos; they’re pretty great.
By Lesley Baldwin
This happened last Saturday as part of the Devon Grand Prix road race, just before the men’s Criterium Provincials. Emily Lynes proposed riding out on Saturday evening and trying it out and Travis was super keen. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about shooting a gun, but after 5 minutes of reflection I decided I needed some new and mildly crazy adventure to spice up what had been a long string of weekends spent working and studying. I signed up.
And it was awesome.
Sharp shooter Lesley Baldwin, all smiles after blasting some targets at the bicycle biathlon.
The Race: ride a lap of the 1km crit course, throw down your bike, get down on your belly, shoot 5 targets; repeat 2 more times and finish with a final 1 k lap. Every target missed = 1 penalty lap (a super sketchy tour around 10 or so cars parked in the parking lot – a tight cornered circuit of ~ 150m).
We left a little behind schedule so we had a slightly faster-than-planned 40k ride out to Devon and arrived just as they were handing out bibs and giving a little demo with the air rifles. I tried it out and was really happy with my first round – 4 out of 5 targets! Buoyed with pride, I flubbed the next round – 1 out of 5! Hmm….I may be riding a lot of penalty laps after all.
The field was divided into 5 heats – 4 of adults and one of kids. Most of the ladies (including Emily) were in heat 1 – she put on an impressive show! Some very serious guys went next and then Pepper, her mom and dad and a few others made up heat 3. Laughter, heckling, and entertainment all the way! Both Travis and I were seeded into heat 4 along with a bunch of other Devonites wearing t-shirts and shorts. Clearly, Travis was going to be my main competition. We shot side-by-side on the first round, but he was a sharper shooter than I and got a head start on the second lap. I think I shot 2/5 so I had a few dizzying trips around the cars before heading back out.
The sharp shooters take aim…
I kept things under better control on the second time through (3/5), but Travis was no where in sight! He was reportedly tossing around his beautiful Cervelo with wild abandon and maxing out his heart rate somewhere beyond 180 (a.k.a having the time of his life) and was on his way to lapping the rest of the field. I shot 1/5 on the third round, got myself sketched out on the penalty laps and then rode As Fast As Possible for the last lap. I nearly died as a frequent race organizer (who will not be named) carelessly rode his bike across the course at the last corner, but slamming on the breaks, skidding out and riding over the boulevard I finished the best race in a long time with a huge smile across my face.
Bicycle Biathlon: is the next big thing. Everyone is doing it and so should you!
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).
The author digging deep and unleashing his super powers while racing his mountain bike last summer.
Janbo's patented energy zapping brain beam in action last summer
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.
Janbo: First Mud