August 08, 2017 (Lac-Delage, Que.) – Emotions were running high for racers and the local trail crews as a dramatic change in the weather took us from 30°C sunshine to 20°C and rain overnight. With over 20mm of rain in a very short period over night, the local organizing committee had to make the call to re-route the stage. The original plan was to have us ride a brand new route named the Kamasutrail, however, because it was only recently built, sending a bike race down it in the pouring rain would have caused significant damage.
Riders were very understanding about the requirement to shorten the stage by three kilometers. In fact, there was quite a loud cheer from the back of the pack when it was announced.
The trails that we did race had many fun sections that included some grassy double track climbs now super slick from all of the rain. Once we were in the single track the organizers did a great job of getting us on trails that were less impacted by the rain. The route looped around as they maximized the available singletrack. Due to the change, the timed downhill was run on a trail called WiFi. This was not an ideal DH trail for my style of riding, but the good news was that most of the riders suffered equally. I was very pleased to be able to hang on to my 2nd place position in the M50-59 timed descent category.
In what was one of the most amazing trail side attractions this week the local organizers staged an airplane crash complete with smoke and wounded passengers. Hanging in the trees above was the actual fuselage of an airplane! There were children screaming and the orange smoke was so thick that I had to slow down to make my way through. They received full marks for creativity.
For me today was about the people, the new friends made on the trail, at the breakfast table, and on the busses. It was very emotional for many of the riders as they crossed the finish line, as they received their medal and officially earned the title of “Que-Biker”.
The event wrapped up with a fantastic banquet under the big top at the hub. Photos of the stages were played on large TV screens throughout the evening. Awards were given to the top three teams and riders in each category and every racer received a finisher’s T-Shirt to wear proudly from this day forward.
The night ended with a video review of each of the seven stages and when it was done there was a standing ovation for all parties involved. Emotions of joy were also evident in the eyes of the organizers. Countless hours of preparation had gone into this event and they had done it. They have created a world-class mountain bike event in the City of Quebec that will forever put them on the list of “must do” stage races.
I’m proud to call myself a Que-Biker and look forward to coming back again.