Riders find redemption at Rundle's Revenge
The Bow Valley bursts with racing bibs and timing chips at this time of year. A glut of challenges with catchy names offers up severe physical tests for all sorts.
And then there are races that beg the question – why?
Rundle’s Revenge challenges endurance athletes to a 100-kilometre technical mountain bike, followed the next day by a 50-km strenuous trail run. Each 12-km lap contains 400 metres of elevation gain and June monsoons kept everything wet.
However a handful of athletes took on the 150-km challenge, feeling the pain of the Iron Donkey. Jared Green finished first, completing the bike in 7:56:36, and the run in 5:17:52. That gave him a 35-minute lead on Banff’s Steven Miller, who was fast on the bike (7:43:39), but struggled on the run (6:06:12). Matthew Clark was third and Greg Wickenheiser was fourth.
“The weather was a challenge. The run got pretty slick on the single track. I was doing the Looney Tunes run, feet whipping out the back for a lot of it,” Green said.
The 36-year-old recently completed his first ultramarathon in April and is signed up for the TransRockies later next month.
“I like doing crazy, long races to challenge myself and my ability to get through things,” Green said.
Last year, he competed in the 50-km mountain bike at Rundle’s Revenge and knew he could do more.
“Last year I did the 50-km mountain bike and I was jealous of the guys continuing on for another four laps.”
With only a handful of participants in the 100-km race, there were lonely hours for the top riders at the Nordic Centre.
“By the time it’s whittled down, you’re into your groove and you don’t notice it,” Green said.
Miller, 45, has turned into a respected long-distance runner. He said he hasn’t entered a mountain bike race in 12 years, but found it easier than the run. Relying on local’s knowledge helped put him ahead.
“Being able to ride here on bumpy tracks is something people in Calgary don’t get the chance to do. Also knowing the route helped,” Miller said.
According to the Banff Centre employee, the older he gets, the farther he has to run and ride.
“This was right in my wheelhouse. I like running and I like long distances,” Miller said. He said his legs definitely were tired going into the run, however he’s accustomed to surviving long distances. He recently completed the ‘Tor des Geants’ in Northern Italy, a 330-km multi-day running race over the mountains near the French border.
“That was the toughest thing I’ve done in my life.”
Murray Barker won the men’s 40-plus category with a combined time of 16:13:09.
There were no women entered in the full challenge.
Not all competitors tried both races. Fourteen-year-old Sara Poidevin won the open women’s 25-km mountain bike race, completing the course in two hours. That was a minute faster than her soon-to-be 24 Hours of Adrenalin teammate Megan Dalrymple.
“I had no idea what to expect today.” Poidevin said. “My plan was to stay light in the conditions. There were lots of rooty sections.”
She’ll ride with Dalrymple and several young races at 24 Hours on July 21.
Other winners included Mike Cabigon (50 km bike, 25 km run: 5:30.08), Megan Dunn (50 km bike, 25 km run: 6:40:29), Alaric Fish (40 plus 50 km bike, 25 km run: 5:33:04), Evan Weselake (25 km bike, 12.5 km run: 2:53:15), Monica O’Gorman (25 km bike, 12.5 km run: 3:29:47), Annie Quinnett (40 plus 25 km bike, 12.5 km run: 7:11:32), John Groeneveld (40 plus 25 km bike, 12.5 km run: 2:53:44).
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