After 2 years of pre-race snow and wet conditions, MooseDuro 2019 was rewarded with blue skies, sunshine, and tacky dirt at Moose Mountain, Alberta. Race organizers Alberta 66 MTB totally revamped the course this year changing two of the three trails for each the long and short course.
Views from the top of stage 1 and the roots that awaited the riders. Photos by Jason Fischer
Long course riders were sent to the most challenging stage first thing in the morning, a trail called Special K. As they climbed Moose Mountain Road, local freeride crew ‘The Flannel Crew’, drove by cheering, heckling, and handing out "beverages" to keep the riders spirits high. Special K was split into two stages to match its split personality. The trail starts off old-school with steep, tight, and rooty turns then completely changes to fast berms, flow and some pedaling required.
Stephane Pelletier taking the aggressive line on stage 1 on a borrowed bike. Steedz Enduro rider Simon Hirota staying ahead of the competition while navigating the tight trees. Photos Jason Fischer and Michael Aqueveque
The community vibe is strong at MooseDuro – long course participant Stephane Pelletier had flown back from Vancouver to make the race and his bike was lost in transit. His friend and competitor Quinn Hepburn didn’t want him to miss out so lent him a bike to ride. Unfortunately, Stephane had a mechanical on that bike in stage 2 .. but managed to borrow ANOTHER bike mid-race from previous year winner Sean Alexander who was standing at the top of stage 3 cheering on the racers. With two borrowed bikes, Stephane finished the race in an impressive 6th place in open men, unfortunately beating out his generous bike-lender Quinn, who finished in 7th.
After a brutal climb up Moosepackers trail, the long course racers reached the aid station, where they rejoined short course racers who had ridden a local favorite, 7-27 trail, for their stage 1 and all racers headed to the last two stages together. This year the well-stocked feed station was sponsored and run by local riders and previous MooseDuro Masters winners – Heather Cleveland and Louis-Julien Roy. They were set up next to local mountain bike service shop The Inside Line, who was busy reviving bikes before all racers headed down SHAFT.
SHAFT stands for Super Happy Awesome Fun Trail – which we would agree with on a non-race day. In a race the trail is hard work – one of the longest runs on the mountain with dozens of corners requiring the riders to pump and push until their legs are tired out, then use up their last energy on a steep, rocky finish.
Alyssa Bruce eyeing up her next turn on SHAFT and Nick Quinn taking the inside option on a particularly infamous rocky corner. Photos by Luke Marshall
Racers had one last climb up after SHAFT to take on the trail that has been in MooseDuro since its inception, Brakeless. The top starts with great berms, corners and a steep line that sends you rocketing into the woods. The bottom half is a suspension test - rooty and fast to the finish. By this time riders were tired and had to work hard to hold on to their bikes.
After a long day on the trails, the racers returned to the start area to a well-deserved BBQ, provided by local company Ignite CSG, and beer provided by Ridley's Cycle. It didn’t take long to revive energy levels and volunteers and racers were stoked when it was time to win raffle prizes and announce podiums.
The fastest time of the day was taken by former MMBTS trail boss Alex Silverthorne. Alex won the race in 2017, then was disappointed with a 4th place finish in 2018. He drove back from his new hometown of Revelstoke to take back the Moose crown – narrowly beating out his old Tuesday night riding buddies Ryan Silliker and Nick Quinn. The Prairie Girls Racing squad took two of the top steps in the Long Course Open Women, Krista Cook winning the day and Suzanne Winkelmann in third, with Lauren Lankester splitting the two.
Kim Mustard took the top Masters women’s time followed by second place Jill Simek – who had planned a trip from Alaska to ride the Moose area and proceeded to lay down some of the fastest stage times of the ladies. Coach and Spin Sister rider Fiona Mulvenna rounded out the podium. In the Masters men, CNES regular Grant Murray took a commanding lead over Bobby Komer and Josh Moffat.
Youth representation was strong at the race with 24 riders in U21 and U15 categories. We were stoked to see riders and their coaches from the local Bragg Creek club – XCBC as well as Canmore’s Rundle Mountain Cycling Club, Calgary’s Drift Racing, and Edmonton’s Hardcore Mountain Bike Club.
Short course participants still had a long day with over 1000 meters of climbing over three stages, and many racers were first-time enduro participants! We were stoked to hear many of them enjoyed their first race, and for the returning riders it was exciting to race a new course.
Short Course Open Women Andra Andrew and Amy Kraemer had never raced enduro before, both said their coming back for MooseDuro 2020. Photos by Tara Walmsley
Thanks again to our small army of volunteers who made the day run flawlessly, this race would not happen without you and we are eternally grateful. As well, thank you to our amazing sponsors who kept bikes working, fed the racers, and donated awesome prizes. All this generosity and hard work led to us raising several thousand dollars for Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society - the dedicated group of volunteers who build and maintain the trails that we raced on. Full profits to be announced on social media @alberta66mtb and @mmbtsinfo, and keep an eye out as we'll be releasing more photos from the event for purchase on Roots and Rain this week. Photos will be $5 each or $20 for a bundle of all photos of one racer, with all profits again going to MMBTS, thanks to our generous race photographers: Caroline Keats, Jason Fischer, Luke Marshall, Tara Walmsley and Michael Aqueveque.
Long Course Open Men and Open Women
Long Course Masters Women and Masters Men
Long Course U21 Men and U21 Women
Short Course Open Men and Open Women
Short Course Masters Men and U15 Men