OUR FIVE WOMAN > SINGLE SPEED > 24HOA TEAM
By – Martha Handford
Tell us a little about your team?
Well, we are a group of friends, some of us are Moms, all of us are professionals by day, and addicted endurance athletes in our free time. Here’s the team:
Liza Pye – physical therapist, adventure racing expert, from Canmore
Luwanna Douce – massage therapist, Mom of two boys, from Canmore
Sarah Nossiter – lawyer, originally from Australia but now from Calgary
Francis Vice – pathologist, Mom of two, from North Vancouver
Martha Handford – technical writer and cycling coach, Mom of one, from Canmore
All of the team members volunteered as ride leaders for the Fast and Female women’s ride event a few days before the race. It is always good to get out with a big group of women on MTBs and encourage and inspire them to ride more!
“I LIKE SS RACING BECAUSE YOU ARE VERY “PRESENT” ON ALL PARTS OF THE COURSE; YOU CAN’T SIT BACK AND SPIN UP A CLIMB IN AN EASY GEAR.”
What was the best part of the event for you?
The night riding! Riding at night is a special part of this race that everyone on the team was looking forward to. The course looks different and the atmosphere on the trail is so peaceful and quiet, despite all the riders you are sharing it with – it is very hard to replicate this experience,
even if you do some training at night prior to the race.
Why ‘single speed’?
Ahhh, the most frequently asked question! Well, single speeding is a very “pure” or simple experience on your bike – you really just pedal! For me, that means that I see the trail based on the gear I am riding
and how much strength I have to push that gear. You get really good at looking ahead and anticipating what is coming next.
Momentum is truly your friend and you keep it close, as often as you can.
I like SS racing because you are very “present” on all parts of the course; you
can’t sit back and spin up a climb in an easy gear, you have to be on top of your gear all the time.
And yes, it is harder work to ride a single speed, but all of us on the team are fit, skilled mountain bike racers, so we willingly accepted that challenge. Oh, and if you can push the gear, you are usually faster on a single speed because you are typically using a bigger gear than a geared
rider would, depending on the course. The Canmore 24 hour course is a great single speed course (mostly up on buff trails and down on technical stuff, not a lot of flat terrain – perfect). And yes, we were able to ride up Long Road to Ruin on one gear – definitely the hardest climb on the course for us.
How did you prepare for the event?
Well, we basically spent most of June training on our single speed bikes, often
on the Canmore Nordic Centre trails. All of us are experienced MTB racers who
had other races planned, so we all were spending lots of time on our MTBs anyway (geared and single speed). Fran spent July riding around the North Shore on her geared bike, but stayed in one gear the whole time – this is way harder than riding a single speed! Liza’s SS bike wasn’t ready until the
week of the race, so she relied on her superior fitness and strength from all her other athletic pursuits to be ready for the effort. Liza was first in our rotation, so she also did the Le Mans start – she was the fastest female runner which set us up for a wide open first lap (getting caught behind slower, geared riders is really hard work on your single speed, especially climbing, and you lose all your “big gear” advantage, so we really wanted to get ahead of any congestion early in the race). I pretty much do 99% of my MTB races on a
single speed, so I spend tons of time on one gear and, of course, I know the trails at the Nordic Centre really well.
What is one piece of advice that you’d give to those doing their first 24HOA?
Well, I actually have two pieces of advice:
1. Have a plan for everything! A plan for keeping hydrated and fueled, a plan for if a team member can’t do a lap, a plan for if it rains, a plan for your race order, and a plan for setting up your site and tearing it down afterwards.
2. Have fun! The 24 Hours of Adrenalin is all about the experience of racing on a great course, with lots of like-minded people. It is accessible to all levels of riders and it feels that way when you are out on the course. It really does generate the best kind of MTB vibe – so get out there and be a part of it!