Sunday June 17th was the Lake to Lake race, 50km of mountain biking riding from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario in the Niagara region of Ontario.
The race started at 11am in Port Colbourn, it was a beautiful morning! Started out a bit hazy but it quickly cleared up and warmed up. The race started with a few km of road to get to some big hilly fields which are usually used by ATVs so they're extremely rutted. It was very dry so there were a lot of deep hard ruts, and a few steepish climbs. I started in wave 2 but I dropped back a bit in the beginning so I was riding with fast people from wave 3 (waves were 5 mins apart), unfortunately there were a lot of people in this group with very poor racing etiquette, they were walking up hills all over the trail and wouldn't move for riders.
I managed to fall a few times on the ruts, and stopped to help one of the many people with technical problems on the side of the trail. Reached the first feed station, about 25km in, a little over an hour in. It was really nice to get out of those fields, the sun was hot out there!
The last 25km was mostly a mix of gravel roads, nontechnical single track, and a couple little climbs. this went smoothly until my saddle decided to come loose so it was sliding around and I ended up having to sit oddly to try and keep it balanced and centered. The last 5km or so were roads to Port Dalhousie, I managed to get behind a couple of people going pretty fast through this section, the last km or two I dropped them and sprinted in to the finish (passing a few people on the way).
Someone decided that having a pretty steep hill leading into a sand pit was a good way to end the race, so there were lots of volunteers yelling at me to slow down coming up to the down hill.
I finished in 2 hours 58 minutes placing 9th in my category (20-29 women).
It was a really fun race that I would definitely do again but there were a few problems:
-The shuttle for bikes from the finish to the start was frightening, they literally crammed as many bikes into a uHaul style truck as they could, they were piled on top of each other, pedals and handle bars were caught in spokes. This is apparently the first year they've treated bikes so poorly but I wouldn't use the shuttle next year
-There are a lot of first time racers out there who don't know how to handle themselves during a race, sticking with the first wave or two would probably be a good idea as the riders will be more predictable (you are placed in a wave based on your riding/racing experience)