I Just Completed My First Mountain Bike Race in over 5 Years!
Photo: Justin Ross
Back for its third year, the Ganny Enduro is the third of four stops in the 2023 Ontario Enduro Series. While our focus at Minii Adventures is not on racing, we had a rare Sunday off (with incredibly nice weather) and wanted to support this local grassroots race series that offers a friendly and welcoming environment for all levels of racing experience.
The day kicked off bright and early at the Millbrook Fairgrounds, which served as the race base camp, including the race start, finish, and expo. Many great sponsors were on sight, including those of Minii Adventures, Batemans's Bike Co, Shimano and Lazer Helmets.
There were two race options: The Compact Course and The Adventure Course. Riders, including myself, who signed up for The Compact Course, were challenged with a three-stage race over 22 km through Millbrook Valley's Trails in the morning, while those who signed up for The Adventure Course mustered the energy and to head back out after lunch for an additional three stages and 22 km, totalling six stages and 47 km for the day. While I would have loved to complete the full day's course, these coach legs were in no shape for that!
The course was marked the day before in true enduro racing style, meaning there was little opportunity to pre-ride. While some may have opted to pre-ride, I was busy running Private Lessons instead. Fortunately, I've been able to ride the Millbrook trails often and am familiar with the terrain we were heading into.
Photo: Justin Ross
Enduro is my favourite discipline of racing because they are very social events, and the races are composed of multiple timed stages, predominantly downhill, over the course of an adventurous ride. It mimics a group ride - riding with your friends to the stages, which is not timed, and individually racing the clock through a stage, then regrouping at the bottom and repeating. At the arrival of a stage start, racers will cue up, waiting for their turn to get into the starting gate. The stage starts when the racer taps the timing device with their timing chip, and the clock begins! At the end of the stage, racers must be coordinated enough to ensure they again tap their timing chip to the timing device to end their stage. Participants will get a final time, which is a combination of all their stage times. Race winners are determined by the overall time.
Despite being a race, that was some of the best fun I've had on my mountain bike in a while. I even snagged first place for the Open Women in the Compact Course - I guess I've still got it! The race organizers created a fun and challenging course I enjoyed while chatting and connecting with the other racers. Not to mention, it was a perfect fall day, making being outside all day even more enjoyable. If you're local to Ontario and have ever considered joining a mountain bike race, we highly suggest adding this event to your calendar for next year. We promise a fun and unforgettable day on bikes!