Isabelle’s Blog – Sunshine Coaster

This past weekend was one of my favourite events of the year: the Sunshine Coaster (formerly known as the Rat Race). Not only are the trails on the SSC amazing but we also have the best hosts every time we visit: family friends with an ocean front home. It’s definitely one of my favourite places to be.

I spent Saturday doing laps of the course but also took the time to ride a couple other trails in the Robert’s Creek area. I figured I’d ridden the race run (Mach Chicken) enough times that 3 practice laps would suffice. However, the one thing I was doing differently this weekend was testing out clipless pedals on my DH bike. Am I trying to be more like the pros? No! Am I trying to go faster? No! Am I trying to improve my pedaling? No! I’m sick of scratching up my calves!!!

Okay, the truth is it’s a mixture of all of those things listed above, but the scratches on my calves were definitely the trigger. I figured the Mach Chicken course was a perfect place to test this out (lots of pedaling and not technical). Plus, I’ve been riding clipless for the past year on my XC bike and really enjoy it. Anyway, it worked out really great and I felt very comfortable going clipless on the DH bike. The big test will be on technical trails where I’ll need to put my foot down often – I’ll keep you posted!

So, on Sunday I showed up relatively early to get my mandatory practice lap in and do a couple more as well. Unfortunately, I think I had a little too much wine the night before and was definitely feeling the effects. That, and my legs felt like a ton of bricks! But my race run wasn’t until 3:15pm, so I had some time to recover and take a nap in the gorgeous sunshine. Come race time, I felt much better although there wasn’t much change in my legs. Anyway, I pushed it hard during my run but made a costly mistake about 1/3 of the way down. I just had too much speed going into a tight corner and had to slam on my breaks to avoid a tree. Having to come to nearly a full stop and get my momentum back definitely cost me a few seconds. The rest of my run was clean and I made it to the bottom huffing and puffing. I finished 3rd in my category (Master 30+ Women) with a time of 3:48, only 0.34 seconds behind Lisa H-L! Way to go Lisa, what a tight finish! Overall, I finished 10th or 11th out of the 30 or so women that raced. I’m pretty happy with that because there were some REALLY fast chicks out there: Micayla Gatto and Rebecca McQueen to name two. But the one that really blew me away was Holly Feniak. She is only 1715 and finished with a scorching time of 3:11!!! She was the top female and would have finished in the top 20 of all MALES! Totally amazing!

I think one of the best things that will come out of this race season is having so many amazing photos taken of me (and the other members of the race team). There are always several pro or amateur photographers at these races and they capture amazing photos. Here are some of my favourites from this past weekend.

Thanks to Grant Mattice (click for his site) for the above shot!!

It was also fantastic to see so many Muddbunnies out at the race this past week, and to have most of us reach the podium. Congrats to everyone, you all did so great! There is now a bit of a break before the next race (Bear Mtn in mid-June). I’m going to take the time to work on my technical skills and improve my fitness, which for me is just riding as much as I can! Hope to see you out on the trails.

Keep riding and keep smiling!



4 thoughts on “Isabelle’s Blog – Sunshine Coaster

  1. Great write up Isabelle! (loved the new trend of XC shoes on DH bikes!! Think we’re onto something!).

    Holly – you rock! Look forward to seeing you on the WC podium one day! (and beating all the boys times there too!)

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