A Small Break from CX – Grizzly Ultra MTB Marathon

Looking to squeeze one last MTB race in this season, Josh & I took to Canmore to race the 50 km Grizzly Ultra mountain bike Marathon.  A unique format, the race consisted of 5 different loops of the Canmore Nordic centre.  


Josh Rippin’ some of the Nordic Centre’s Finest Singletrack (Photo: Justin Parsons CRAG  CANYON QMI AGENCY)

According to my GPS, the course climbed over 1200m and featured some of the best trails around.  Matt Hadley & crew have done a phenomenal job building, repairing, and maintaining the trails at the centre, evident by my giggly schoolgirl demeanor as I ripped some of the fun technical trails.

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As a mass start race, I wanted to line up in the front to avoid racing against traffic, and with the mellow laid back feel of the event it was pretty chill at the start line.  Competing against some fast Canmore locals, we took off and set a good pace on the opening, double track and roller ski, first loop.

 Finishing Lap 1

Lapping thru as a group (Photo: Grizzly Events)

Josh was able to sit in with the lead group, and we rode into the stadium to begin loop # 2 as a group of 12 or so.  The 2nd loop wasn’t technical, but it did climb more than the first loop, and I took the opportunity to throttle up the pace a smidge.  My effort widdled the group down to a RMCC rider & myself, and near the top of the climb I laid down an effort to get a gap and pushed it over the top to try to create a greater gap.

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I kept the power on the pedals and tried to get out of sight – which is more difficult with our hi-vis Giro helmets!  Eventually I didn’t see anyone behind me and I tried to keep it smooth on the technical sections while keeping the pressure on and pushing a good tempo on the climbs.  Since I’ve been racing cyclocross the past couple of weeks it was pretty tempting to go for an hour’s pace instead of two-and-a-half.

Post Grizzly Ultra

Mike Post Race (Photo: Grizzly Events)

In the end, I won by nearly 5 minutes, finishing in a time of 02:30:11 – a great way to cap off an adventurous and eventful mountain bike season.  Josh hammered in a time of 02:51:02, which was good enough for 12th place overall.

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Thanks to Dave & Fin for coming out and cheering us on!

Dave  Fin

We even made the local news, check out the Crag & Canyon and the Rocky Mountain Outlook for some good articles about the event.

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Future / Current Singletrack Ripper!

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About Sarns

Cycling is my passion and I love all things bike related including racing MTB & Cyclocross. Driven by what is the lifestyle of a cyclist, my love of cycling is steadfast and I hope I can share my passion with others on the road, the trails, or over a good cup of coffee.

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