On Saturday May 28th a fleet of Muddbunnies arrived in Pemberton to tackle the The Nimby 50 cross country marathon race www.nimby50.com
35 km in length, boasting a lung busting 101 switchback long pristine single-track climb. You getâ€™n the picture? This ainâ€™t your typical XC race. The Nimby Fifty is what we refer to as a technical marathon xc bike race which means it is absolutely loaded with incredible single track.|
It wasn`t a typical cross country race by any standards and here are the thoughts of Muddbunnie racers Isabelle DeGuise, Crystal Lambert, Jaclyn Delacroix, Diana Walker and Aimee Dunn. We all lived to tell the tale but I think we all agree it was a super tough race but extremely rewarding for all!
Please note: MB racer Vanessa Voss also competed in the Nimby 50 and did awesome…so awesome she was speechless 😉
Plus, the fact that Isabelle arrived on the start line was already an act of courage since she was still under the weather but determined to give it a go…this has only fuelled her fire so watchout, she is gonna rip it up this summer!
Q: Why did you want to conquer the Nimby 50?
Iz: Iâ€™m always looking for new challenges and ways to push myself beyond what I would do normally. The Nimby 50 seemed like a great way to force myself to do lots of climbing, something Iâ€™ve never been good at but hope to get better. The race was also a good way to explore new trails, one of the things I love the most about mtn biking.
Crystal: A personal goal I suppose. It is part of the series I want to complete.
Jaclyn: It seemed like a good idea at the time! But seriously, I always like to find new ways to cha llenge and push myself. Now I have a time, next year I can attempt to beat it!
Di:Â Honestly i didn’t realize it was going to be as tough as it was… i just thought i was signing up for another regular old race!
Aimee: I have never ridden in Pemberton and didn’t think it would be feasible with my family obligations. The course sounded epic which really peaked my interest so we made a family weekend out of it so I could see what the trails are like!
Q: What was your impression of the trails in the race?
Iz: Challenging! The Nimby Climb (combined with Happy Trails right before it) was the most prolonged and technical climbing Iâ€™ve ever done. When I tried to describe it to friends after the race, I compared the Nimby climb to riding Comfortably Numb uphill the entire way! Ok, maybe not that bad but still very technical. I probably spent more time hopping on and off my bike than actually riding. You really had to keep your speed up (or be going fast enough in the first place!) to get over all the roots and rocks and around the switchbacks. Very very tough when youâ€™re not a strong climber. Sadly, I donâ€™t remember much about the descent because by that point, I was so out of it that itâ€™s all a blur.
Crystal: The trails were amazing! Would have been spectacular if we weren’t climbing up a downhill trail. 😉 I kid, they were a super fun and well maintained network.
Jaclyn: love the trails in this race, I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time riding Pemberton so there wasn’t too many ‘surprises’
Di: Steep – either in the up direction or the down direction!
Aimee: What an awesome network of trails for smaller bikes! I loved how technical and challenging they were. However, it was tricky to ride them in a such a tight line, especially for the first time. But thats racing!
Q: What did you learn about xc racing from this event? I think you should add â€œmarathonâ€ here â€“ from what I heard this race and course are like no other XC race out there!
Iz: On most days, I feel like I am in good shape and physically fit. But after being destroyed by this course (specifically the climbing) and seeing how well others did, I feel so inferior. I canâ€™t believe that people could finish that course in under 3 hours, it just completely blows my mind. Some people are clearly made of a different cloth because even if I trained every day, I doubt Iâ€™d be able to reach the level they are at (and to think a lot of the top finishers, if not all, do have full-time jobs and raise kids).
Crystal: That it is a mental test as well as a physical. The Nimby is a course where negativity can get the best of you. I had moments of telling myself, “this is fun, this is fun, you are having a blast, smile Bunnie!”
Jaclyn: I need a lighter bike!
Di: It takes some serious training to be successful. I have just barely touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to training… but I can definitely understand why it is SO important.
Aimee: Baby cookies are not good race fuel! (wasn’t my plan but my gels leaked everywhere!)Â Also, tire pressure is important and if you can, aÂ preride ofÂ the course would definitely help.Â Â Oh and getting ahead of the crowd before the single track is a good plan if you are capable!Â I think other than the leaders most riders lost time getting off and on their bikes when riders bunched up on the tight terrain….but thats racing!
Q: What was your funniest, most challenging, most memorable moments of the race?
Iz: Sadly, there was nothing funny about my day. Still fighting a cold, I gave it a shot but just didnâ€™t have the energy to get through the entire thing. The most challenging moment was definitely the end of the Nimby climb which by then I was already bonking and was getting so frustrated â€“ I just wanted to have a nice smooth section so I could spin my wheels and rest a bit!
The most memorable moment was coming down Overnight Sensation. Although Iâ€™d already decided to abandon the race at that point, I was givenâ€™r and ended up taking a big tumble down a technical section. I went over my bars and my bike started tumbling down the steep cliff to my right. Thankfully, it got caught on some branches, or else it was long long gone!
Crystal Funniest: At the beginning of the Big Nimby climb I caught up with a very friendly British fellow who was stumbling with the technical parts of the trail but he was faster in general than me. So he would fall and I would pass him and so on it went. However every time I passed him he would push me on the back to get me going. He meant well but he would push me hard and sometimes into things like rocks and trees! Eventually I asked him to please lay off as nicely as I could. Throughout the race I was also with another friendly rider who we eventually crossed the finish line together. The next day he sent me an email saying that the British pushing wonder was also “helping” him up the trail. Haha, very helpful fellow!
Crystal Most Challenging: Finishing. Haha, but seriously the Mosquito Lake portion of the race was my most challenging. For every solid, hard climb I successfully made it felt like I was only rewarded with a hike a bike. Mentally that was a challenge. I’m used to making it up a tough section with the reward of carrying on… while still on the bike.
Crystal Memorable: When I hit the pavement and knew for sure I was going to cross the finish line (with a time I was very pleased with) I just started crying. Like blubbering uncontrollably. I crossed the finish with another fellow and we were hugging like we had just climbed a mountain or something and not just finished a silly race! Too funny.
Di: When i made it to the top of the last climb – when i knew it was all downhill – i shrieked! I was so happy I made it!
Aimee: When I wiped out a 4 foot wide bridge was definitely not my best moment! I just passed a few riders and got a little overzealous and lost my front tire as I cut the corner way too tight. Luckily, my bike and I were fine…just a bit embarassed.
I also loved the last descent once I knew it was all downhill from there…such an amazing feeling.
It was also great to have riders who maybe weren`t too comfy on the downhill trails (and were walking) cheer you on!
Q: Who would you recommend this race too?
Iz: Definitely only skilled riders in good shape! Or the average rider looking for a goal to train for.
Crystal: Anyone looking for a super fun, easy-going vibe but still a very challenging mountain bike race!
Jaclyn: Anyone with a slightly masochistic side, I don’t care how fit you are, this race is challenging!
Di: Anyone who likes pain and torture 😉
Aimee: Definitely to a skilled all around rider who has some decent fitness. You don`t need to be a pro by any means but having some cross country and downhill skills would make it a more enjoyable experience.
Q: Are you keen to do more ? (I have been told this is the toughest course around!)
Iz: Yes! I need to confirm that I can race XC and do OK (ie finish!). I do plan to try this race again next year (if healthy) because I hate that I didnâ€™t finish it. I need to prove to myself I can do it.
Crystal: I hope so since I am signed up for the entire Hell of a Series set of races! Please let the Nimby be the hardest!
Jaclyn: I may just sign up for the GearJammer now!
Di: I’m considering signing up for a couple more xc races – I figure if I made it through the Nimby alive, I can likely do anything!
Aimee: Absolutely! I am excited for the Test of Metal and the BC Bike race.
Q: Anything else you want to add??
Iz: Aimee, you rock! You are such an inspiration â€“ raising a beautiful boy and still finding time to get involved with the Muddbunnies and train for races. Keep up the great work!
Crystal: It was a really fun weekend and great atmosphere. Even though it was super tough it was totally worth it.
Jaclyn: What a fun race and an amazing group of people to ride with. The more XC & Super D’s I ride in the less interested i am in racing Downhill
Di: Congrats to the Muddbunnies 🙂
Aimee: I want to thank my wonderful hubby for his support! He had Cooper, and our dog Skya, while I raced and also tried to z scout out spots to take some race pictures. He has been an amazing support throughout my training as well…without that these experiences wouldn`t be possible.
I am sooo proud of all of you ladies! The Muddbunnies have come a long way since 2005 and I am sure we had the biggest female team turnout!! YAY Bunnies!