Guest post by Thomas Skinner
This past Canada Day weekend I did one of the coolest mountain bike races I’ve ever done. The Furious 3 is a three day stage race that starts and finishes in Fernie, BC. Each day the trails, organization, atmosphere, and riders were all top-notch. Riders can sleep in the same bed each night, but the trails and courses are different each day. I was surprised at how much diversity there is in the network of trails there, and I can’t describe the things I felt and saw. On multiple days we climbed to the tops of mountain peaks, and it felt like we were riding in the sky. The descents were long and flowy, with a little mud on day two to add a different dimension to the bike handling skills. Some people finished in 2 to 3 hours, and some finished in 7 or 8. There were families with kids cheering on their dads and moms, and there were kids selling lemonade on the street corner just up from the finish. I think they must have made at least $50 even though they were twenty feet from a fully stocked table of finish-line refreshments.
As far as the atmosphere goes, Furious 3 has one of the best. There are lots of riders out there just trying to complete the challenge of finishing each day, but at the same time there are racers ripping the descents full tilt. On day two, when I managed to start in the second wave of riders (5 min behind my actual starting time) I actually had fun chatting with some riders (while panting), as I was passing them and trying to make my way back to the front of the field. The riding was different from coastal BC, because most of the climbs were at least 15-20 min so you had to just settle in at the bottom, as opposed to attacking them hard and waiting for the places to recover.
Each day it was nice to ice the legs in the local river, hit a solid nap before 3pm, and then go to the same grocery store to pick up dinner ingredients for the evening. Each morning you could drop off bottles before the start, and they would be waiting for you in the two aid stations on the course.
I ended up finishing 5th overall which was a little shy of where I wanted to finish, but I guess that means I’ll have to come back next year to try to better my performance! My Norco 29′er was definitely the right bike for the course, being nice and light for the climbs but still allowing me to (just barely) hang with Jeff Neilson on the descents…. who’s a local downhiller.
Thanks to OBB for all the help in getting me here, and congrats to Glenowyn Carlson who made the road trip with me, and represented OBB Westshore finishing up strong in the women’s category!
Next up is the Gear Jammer in Squamish, followed by Provincials up at Mt Washington! Wish me luck!