The United Riders of Cumberland (UROC) held a great Island Cup XC event this past weekend. It was a real treat to ride the fun new course in dry weather after last year’s event was overshadowed by a downpour of rain. I always love going to Cumberland; it’s an eclectic town with a great vibe and awesome trails.
The race started with a neutral start which, thankfully, actually managed to stay pretty neutral. In my experience, they are not always so neutral. Once we got the go ahead the pace quickly picked up and before I knew it, there were pace lines forming on the dirt road up to Sykes Bridge. There was a good deal of climbing on this course but it seemed to go by quickly without extended single track climbs. I like big climbs and my legs felt good, but my lungs weren’t so happy and showed their discontent with the race effort (and maybe abundance of pollen in the air right now) with a mild asthma flare up that lingered throughout the race.
At the top of the climb, the fun single track descent began (new trails!) but unfortunately I am still lacking speed on the descents and I soon got passed by Wendy Simms. She managed to pull away and by the end of lap one she fell out of sight and continued to put the hammer down. Mical Dyck was speedy off the start as usual, but unfortunately a broken derailleur took her out of action, but not before putting the hurt on many of the expert men in the race. Oak Bay rider Dawn Anderson had a good first few laps but later DNF’d; she is definitely on track for a great cyclo-cross season, her big focus for this year. At the end of the day, super-mom Wendy Simms took the win in the Expert women category, while I finished second behind her. Good friend and fellow OBB rider, Glenowyn Carlson wound up third with a strong showing.
Great to see so many Oak Bay Bike jerseys in Cumberland for the race. It was awesome to see such a great overall turnout and more female riders taking up the sport. The Island Cup action continues this weekend with the Hammerfest race in Parksville. Guaranteed fun.
A big thanks to the Cumberland volunteers for putting on such a great event and to Amanda Wakeling for the photos.
First and foremost, I cannot say enough about how fun it is to race a mountain bike up in Cumberland. The way the town embraces riding and supports grass roots mountain biking makes a biker feel pretty special.
The course was changed up from last year’s island cup race, with a solid two kilometer fire road climb right off the start followed by single track. And more single track. The trails were in excellent shape but oh so bumpy. Even on a full suspension bike I felt like I was given a preview of the kind of back pain I’ll no doubt experience in old age.
Oak Bay Bikes jerseys were out in full effect, and in the expert men’s race Tom Skinner and I were representing. The fire road climb at the start winnowed things out a bit and although I hit the single track fifth just behind Tom, the top three riders – Cory Wallace, Craig Richey and Steve Noble – to my mind were just that slight notch above. I had my usual bike mishap or two, dropped back a couple spots and rode my way back up to fifth, content with the days exploits.
A big personal thanks to OBB for all their support and to everyone in Cumberland for putting on a great event.