It felt like Christmas morning at the start line of MooseDuro 2021. After a long 2-year hiatus we held an in-person Enduro Race on Moose Mountain and it never felt so good! Alberta 66 MTB organizes the race to raise money for Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society, and founders Laura and Jeff were stoked at the opportunity to bring the community together, celebrate an amazing year on the mountain, and to contribute towards MMBTS 2022 projects.
Racers listening intently at the briefing, keen to find out what Stage 3 will be - Photo by Caroline Keats
After a few years of racing in snowy and cold conditions, the racers were treated to summertime temperatures and amazing fall colors. Except the trails were still slippery.. because of dust not snow! Stage 1 was especially ruthless on Upper Family Guy, and notoriously tight and rooty Toothless trail.
Newlyweds Amy and Connor going to the MooseDuro Beach and Ebiker Erik Larson kicking up dust on Toothless - Photo by Simon Pinto
Local ripper and coach Anne-Marie Chantal convinced a group of friends to race in moose onesies and they were sweating so much they ran the risk of dehydration on the long climbs. Costumes were highly encouraged at the event, and some racers got creative.
Anne-Marie, Suz and several others sweated it out in this great onesie. Maggie's butterfly wings helped her fly down the stages - Photo by Caroline Keats
To add in an element of proper Enduro “Blind Racing”, the team at MMBTs and Alberta 66 MTB put in a SECRET stage for Stage 3 of the race. We only revealed that Stage 3 would be a blue level trail and it would be announced on race day. Of course, this caused rumors to spread like wildfire! The leading conspiracy theories were Pistolero, Flo’s Diner or Sidetrax on the shoulder of Prairie Mountain, and racers tried to ride all of them before race day. AB66 tried to confuse riders by posting photos on Pistolero two days before the race.. but in the end the secret stage was Sidetrax! The new MMBTS trail was completed the week before the race, with building led by MMBTS legend Reg Mullett. We used our racers to burn in the track and discover any corners that need re-working. Thank you (and sorry?) racers.
Photographer Jason Fischer captured the concentration faces of riders pushing themselves on the longest stage of the day, Sidetrax
Our aid station, sponsored by Heather Cleveland, had to get creative in COVID times. Her team put together thoughtfully packaged treat bags to keep riders fed on course. Local rider Tutu helped hand out goodies at the aid station, and found time to interview riders, volunteers, sponsors, and even a dog during the day. We can’t wait to see the highlight reel of “Tutu-TV” – stay tuned to @Alberta66MTB
Next to our feed station was the Inside Line team of bike mechanics – they wrenched on bikes, cheered on racers, and Iced a few unlucky participants who fell for “my hands are full – can you grab me a tool from that box over there?”
The aid station at a quiet point in the race - Heather Cleveland and the Inside Line team ready to keep riders refreshed and bikes running! Photo - Caroline Keats
We had brought in even more bike mechanics than usual this year – in past years with snow or wet conditions the racers had mechanicals at every point in the race. Ridley’s Cycle set up two locations on course, and helped riders keep their gears running and spirits high at the start/finish and at the top of Stage 4, a MooseDuro classic – Brakeless.
We also brought in a body mechanic this year, with Evan Baldwin of Versa MC Physiotherapy set up in the finish line to help racers assess aches and pains and discuss winter treatment after a summer of neglecting our injuries and riding anyways.
Allison Korent shredding Stage 4 - Photo Andrew Murray. The Ridley's team stationed at the climb to Brakeless. Photo - Caroline Keats
Riders were grinning ear to ear as they crossed the finish line after a wonderful, sunny day on bikes with friends. They were treated to a cold “Racing Moose Pale Ale” brewed especially for MooseDuro by Calgary brewery - Born Colorado Brewing. Born Colorado generously donated a large amount of beer to MMBTS for the event and if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s now on sale in their taproom!
We usually do a BBQ at the finish, but to reduce COVID risks we worked with Ignite Collaboration to order delicious boxed lunches for all race participants and volunteers. Ignite’s managing director Rommell Mendoza is usually seen crushing huge climbs on his “analogue” bike but purchased an ebike this year to cover even more ground. He managed to take the title of first ever MooseDuro Ebike Champion - edging out stiff competition Paul Gascon by only 2 seconds! After tending to Paul’s bleeding arm at the finish line, we realize ebiking has its own set of hazards. He forgot to turn off the turbo mode on the downhills, it kicked in while he was pedaling out of a corner and caused him to wash out his front wheel! Paul also held a fundraiser with the “Filipino Mountain Biking crew” the day before the race with all proceeds going to MMBTs. Our community is the absolute best.
Racing Moose Ale by Born Colorado and volunteers handing out boxed lunches sponsored by Ignite Collaboration. Photo by Caroline Keats
The Ebike category was new this year and sponsored by Calgary Cycle. We’ve recently seen an increase of ebikes on Moose Mountain and can see why they are popular. Its not just folks newer to the sport enjoying ebikes, we also see parents who are busy and don’t want to spend too much time away from their kids getting in rides in half the time. We see downhill riders who use ebikes to get more laps in instead of using shuttle trucks. And now we as MMBTS will directly benefit from this trend as Calgary cycle generously donated a new Norco Ebike to the trail society so we can use it to access our extensive trail network for maintenance!
Now MMBTS Trail Crew won't have to work so hard to get to our more remote trails! Ashley Blumhagen, MMBTS President, and Deven Stone, MMBTS Trail Crew Lead, gratefully accept the new Norco Ebike from Derek Lee of CC. Photo by Simon Pinto
The fastest overall race time this year went to MMBTS race director, trail builder and undisputed “Best Mullet on Moose” – Quinn Hepburn. After several good showings at Mooseduro, he finally took the top step. We offered him a prize for wearing a costume to the race, and he just looked confused and said “this is what I always wear to ride fast”. Quinn narrowly beat Alberta 66 MTB Coach Logan Keen by 5.5 seconds – Logan had the right haircut, but we think he lost the time by wearing sleeves. Rounding out the podium was MMBTS trail crew lead Deven Stone. Ever the bridesmaid but never the bride, Deven had finished 4th in the last two MooseDuro’s and we are so stoked he got a podium spot this year!
Fastest woman at the race was U21 shredder Kayla Price – she asked to move into Open Women so she could compete in the bigger field, and had an incredible race. At only 20 years old we know she’s only getting faster, watch for her on more podiums soon! Second place finisher Lauren Lankester has been on the MooseDuro podium before – we suspect she does so well in enduro because she can climb all day uphill without seeming tired, an incredible athlete up and down. Morgan McAdam rounded out the top 3, Morgan can often be found sending massive jumps with ease from years spent racing BMX. This year she has been working on her cornering and speed on steeps and tech, and its clearly working!
Podium winners and several race participants were treated to a host of prizes donated by Tairin wheels, Fox Racing Canada, Ibis, Osprey, 7 Mesh, Icebreaker and the Powderhorn Saloon.
Winners of the Long Course Open Mens and Womens Categories - Photo by Simon Pinto
Several youth riders came out and crushed both the long and short course, and representatives from local mountain biking groups XCBC, YYC MTB, Steedz Enduro, Slaydies MTB, Alberta 66 MTB and more, did awesome in the race!
Incredibly generous photographers Jason Fischer, Simon Pinto, Caroline Keats, Michael Aqueveque, Andrew Murray and Morgan Hepburn came out and snapped pictures at the event. All pictures have been donated, and will be sold at 5$/photo or 20$/all photos one racer, with proceeds going straight to MMBTS. These guys are amazing and grabbed professional quality shots during the day. Please go check them out and consider purchasing your race day images. Full results and photos from the race will be posted at the link below over the next week! https://www.rootsandrain.com/event9482/2021-sep-26-alberta-66-mtb-mooseduro-moose-mountain-ab/results/
Finally, we think MMBTS president, Ashley Blumhagen, captured the MooseDuro feeling the best with her Instagram post at the end of the day:“Today I got to see @alberta66mtb roll into camp at 6:30 am smiling and ready to go. And keep on going (and smiling) for the next 13 hours
Today I got to hear stories and share in the excitement of new racers who finished their first enduro
Today I got to listen as experienced racers shared their tips & tricks with new ones
Today I got to watch as founding members of the MMBTS exec met current ones, and told them what a great job they’re doing
Today I got to watch strangers and friends cheer each other on
Today I got to watch our tireless exec show up, engage, cheer, lead, and crush podiums (some the day after running a half marathon!)
Today I got to see injured riders who couldn’t race show up to help instead
Today I got to watch U15 (12 years old!) riders crush the long course
Today I got to watch a mass of volunteers give up their free time (& ride time) to support all the racers
Today I got to watch local businesses show up to support a great community event
Today I got to meet (& re-meet) so many people stoked on bikes & trails
Today I got a DNF, but I got to spend it with this amazing community, & I’m still grinning”
We can’t wait to do it again next year.
Laura & Jeff – Alberta 66 MTB Founders