More race details!

We’ve had a few questions come in about the race, with a few duplicates.  In the interest of putting good information out there for all, here are some answers.

What’s the deal with this gear check?

On the Friday before the race, from 3-7 p.m., you’ll need to bring all your required gear to the Belgian Club for our head race official (Mr. Colin Antaya) to inspect.  He’ll lay it out on a table, we’ll take a photo of you with it, and you’ll sign a copy of his checklist that says you have passed the gear check.  You don’t need to bring your bike, but if you have stuff that is a pain to detach (like lights that can’t be clipped off) we’ll need to see it on Saturday morning at the start line.  The gear check is serious – the stuff on the list is there because it could save you from serious harm.  So if you have questions, please ask.

Helmets – what kind?

Cyclists have to wear helmets, in conformance with Canadian Cycling Association rules.  The actual rule states:

1.3.031 N) At all times when participating in or preparing for an event held in Canada, all licensees who are mounted on a bicycle shall wear a securely fastened helmet that meets a recognized cycling standard for specific discipline. Riders shall provide documented proof of this, such as a manufacturer’s label, upon request by event officials.

I’m not a helmet expert, and I don’t know the certifications of every model of helmet, but odds are if you bought a helmet from a bike shop, for cycling (not for hockey, not for alpine skiing) in the last few years it is acceptable.  If you’re not sure, check with the manufacturer or the retailer.  Note that this has been clarified slightly in the race bible, with a reference to the rule above.

What are you looking for as far as a “windproof, insulated (down or synthetic), hooded jacket (not softshell)?”

This item is on the list as an emergency layer.  You don’t have to wear it; it’s just there in your backpack or your pannier bag in case you need it, a very light emergency shelter.  If you have a mechanical problem or some other issue that prevents you from progressing, the jacket would be there while you (a) walk to the nearest checkpoint or other safe place or (b) wait for help.  Either of these options could take an hour or two, so you might want a warm jacket to put on.  Options here include a heavy fleece with a windproof (hard) shell, a down or synthetic “puffy” jacket, or what people call a parka (a rather vague term, I know).  If you can’t come up with a jacket with a hood, a windproof toque that covers your ears is an acceptable substitution in lieu of a hood.

A red blinky light on the front? 

Yeah, I know, it’s weird.  This item (like most of the rules) was copied from successful races elsewhere.  Let’s just go with it for 2012 and we’ll look at switching to white next year.

What are my options for getting to the start line/what about spectating?

Because the bike race is part of a festival, there will be things going on all along the route.  We’ll be putting together a spectator map that has some info about good places to watch the race as well as stuff to stop and see/do.  Perhaps you can convince a friend or family member to take you to the start, and then check out the local attractions while watching your progress?  If not, you can leave a car overnight at the start line (parking details are being confirmed), or we have a limited number of spots in a couple of vans leaving from downtown Winnipegat 6 a.m.  There will be a small charge (<$10) to cover gas, and priority will be given to out-of-town racers traveling solo.  Let us know if you are interested.

Will my [INSERT TYPE OF BIKE HERE] work for this race?

Yes.  Well, probably.  As of today, just about any kind of bike will work – fatbike (including recumbents), mountain bike, cross bike, touring bike, even BMX if that’s your thing.  But it could snow tomorrow and things might favour one kind over another.  And the day after that, all the roads could be packed by a few cars (or be plowed) and we’d have a third answer.  One thing is for sure: there will be sections where everyone has to walk, regardless of the bike they are on (which is worth considering when you choose what you will wear on your feet).  And the lighter/skinnier your tires are, the more you might be walking (although you might have an easier time on the roads).  A few people have asked what I (Ian) will be riding – I’m not sure that my answer should bear too much on how you plan your own race, but for what it’s worth: I’m planning to ride a mountain bike – I just haven’t decided on whether I’ll use wider tires or narrow ones; have to wait and see if we actually get some snow.  I’d encourage you to use what you’ve got and what you like riding – adjust your tire pressure to suit the conditions and be resilient.  Odds are there will be some parts of the course that are perfectly suited to your machine.  And odds are also there will be some really tough parts.  …I like those odds.

Posted in General Information.


  1. You may want to re-think using a mountain bike. The long range weather forecast is predicting snow for 3 days just before Feb. 18. But, on the other hand, can we trust long range weather forecasts ??

  2. Thanks for the info Ian. Would love to own a fat-bike myself, however it’s going to take some saving before it’s affordable. I’m certain my mountain bike will be up to the task.

  3. Thanks for the info! I own neither a fat or a mountain bike , still I’m thinking me and my touring bike can hack it.

  4. How about a unicycle? I saw a guy yesterday riding the snowy side walk on a 29er unicycle, he was flying too. He also had a clown hat with lots of spikes. He was crazy fast like right out of the circus!
    I think I will stick to a more conventional approach. Some of those decisions will have to be made the one or two days before the start.

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