Despite the lack of a provincial race series, the return of Blue Mountain Bike Park’s Blue Cup proved downhill racing in Ontario is alive and well.
With a new format, nearly 100 riders on the start list, and no points or overall championship to chase, the stage was set for a great, low-pressure day of racing bikes. O-Chute was lined up as the race course, and the mix of roots, rocks, berms, flat turns and steep sections were enough to test the skills of the top riders at speed, while still being approachable enough for the first-time racers in attendance. For the first time in a few years, Mother Nature also decided to play nice on a Blue Mountain race weekend, with nothing but sunny skies in the week leading up to the race. This resulted in a few dry and dusty turns on course, but those just kept things interesting as the vast majority of the trail was in prime condition for racing.
A new format also helped contribute to the spirit of the day. The course was open for free practice in the morning, and riders got two timed runs in the afternoon with the fastest of the two being used for the final ranking. This helped turn back the dial on the stress that can sometimes come with a “one and done” format for finals, as all riders knew they had one extra timed run to get up to speed or make up for a mistake. It also meant more riding, which is never a bad thing on a race weekend.
I can’t report on all the events of the day as I was racing myself, but the atmosphere was amazing with riders sharing stories, reviewing lines and offering advice to all of their fellow competitors. By the time everyone made it to Jozo’s for the final results and awards, there wasn’t an upset face in the bar. The cold beer courtesy of Coors Light and hot food didn’t hurt either. Thanks to Erika Langman and her Events Staff, Mike Towers and the Blue Mountain Bike Park Trail Crew, Blue Mountain Bike Patrol, Coors Light, Smith Optics, Fox, Troy Lee Designs, and all the riders who made the return of the Blue Cup one to remember!