This weekend will see Alberta’s top Mountain Bikers compete for the title of Provincial Champion. The Moustache Madness Cross-country and Muck Yeah Marathon championships will be happening in Hinton, AB on August 27th and 28th, respectively, while the Downhill championships will be in Red Deer on the 27th and 28th. Riders from across this vast province, from the flat parts and the bumpy parts, to the river valley parts and the Rocky Mountain parts, all sorts of folks from all sorts of parts, will be converging on these small towns to show once and for all who can ride their bike the fastest. Of course all the fun is not reserved for just the fast people out there, it’s open to all speeds and steely steeds. To keep these races legit, the good people at the Alberta Bicycle Association sanction them. To keep the XC and Marathon races going, thanks to Freewheel Cycle in Jasper.
The organizers of the Marathon are working with Zone4 Systems and their chip timing to bring an exciting new racing format to Alberta. Within the Marathon race, two of the long, mostly descending sections on the course will be timed. Times and ranks for the combined times of the two downhill sections will be included in the results of everyone who completes the Marathon. This format is similar to the French style Enduros or like having two Super D courses within the Marathon. This will be a separate race within the Marathon race, where everyone who enters the Marathon is automatically entered. This format tests riders' bike handling skills and gives an advantage to the riders who don’t have XC specific race rigs, but more well rounded trail or all mountain bikes.
The Marathon course is a cloverleaf design with three different loops ranging from about 9 to 16 kilometers. There’s a 40 km and a 64 km option. The hills are big in the foothills of the Rockies and the trails go from the top to the bottom and back again and again. The constant ascending or descending combined with ample single track makes for a big day on the bike even if the distance may not seem like much at first. The timed downhills are about 260 to 280 vertical meters (850-950 feet) of descending each. There is some of the finest single track in the province hidden out in these hills. Last year was quite a shock for most participants. The course follows what seems to be an animal path through remote wilderness, which leads to an opening through the forest to a high viewpoint of the Rockies to the west. From here is where things get surprising, the trail descends back into the forest where riders are greeted by a fast, flowing trail that speeds over ground through a series of berms on every corner. Riders who know the trail can float along with little braking, letting the trail guide the way to pure exhilaration. Definitely worth checking out if you’re up for the challenge.Some course previews
- (Yes this is on the XC course):
The Moustache Madness XC takes place on Saturday starting at 2:00 pm. Be sure to bring you best moustache, real or fake, for the best stache contest.
The Muck Yeah Marathon takes place on Sunday starting at 9:00 am. No moustaches necessary.
For more information or to register in any of these races, check out the Alberta Bicycle Association website
.More pics from last year's event