Mud marks Iron Maiden race
By: Justin Brisbane
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 06:00 am
Miserable mud-caked faces frozen in various stages of anguish characterized the 2012 Iron Maiden.
Snow-whipped, then rain-soaked, then mud-caked, a small band of riders braved the Iron Maiden mountain bike race Saturday (June 9) at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Graham Torrie of Cochrane won the men’s 18-km elite race with a time of 1:11:38, 22 seconds ahead of Roddi Lega.
“It was a very interesting race. The snow and rain made for some fun. When the weather’s like this, you can’t expect anything,” Torrie said. “But it got more rideable as it went on.”
He won the Kananaskiker at the Nordic Centre last weekend after returning from a series of Canada Cup races in Quebec.
Kate Aardal won the elite women’s race with a time or 1:22:13, more than 13 minutes ahead of her nearest competitor.
“It was like racing on a new trail every lap. One section would get worse, then another section would get better. I was tempted to quit a few times but the plan was just to go steady,” Aardal said.
Matt Hadley was the top Bow Valley elite racer, finishing fourth (1:13:32). He was stoked with the finish and happy to have survived the day.
“It was definitely a hardcore day. My wife called me a wimp this morning, so I had to race,” Hadley said.
The Bow Valley was well represented in the youth races, which weren’t cut short. Liah Harvie finished first in the 8-km sports youth women’s race, 51 seconds ahead of Sara Poidevin. Robin Pollard finished third despite the fact her chain fell off six times during the race.
“It was cold, tired, muddy. You had to walk up every hill,” Pollard said.
“It was hard to keep momentum,” Poidevin said.
“You spun on every hill,” Harvie said.
Canmore’s Peter Hicks was second in the sport youth male 8-km race, followed by Tristan Berendt.
“The cold was tough, mostly. I had to improvise with plastic bags on my feet and latex gloves. I was prepared, but it was sketchy,” Hicks said. “I know the trails pretty well and it was less technical this year.”
Neil Fox finished sixth in the sport category. He rarely races cross-country, and picked one heck of a ride to start.
“This was a character-building race,” he said.
Organizer Ramona Hill said this was the closest she’s come to calling off a race altogether, given the chilly temperatures, muddy track and drop in riders.
“Mountain bike races generally go in all conditions,” said Hill. “We assess the conditions before each race.”
One rider suffered a dislocated shoulder during the race, but for the most part everyone stayed safe.