Ali Wilson reports from the top step at the Butte100

Firsts are definitely a thrilling part of life; first pedal without training wheels, first trail ride, first race… For me, these events involved some level of fear and a lot of anticipation. Well my most recent “first” was nothing less than this. I can’t remember what was going through my mind when I decided to sign up for my first 100 miler this past winter. Probably something like:

“Oh! Look!!! Butte 100, the “toughest mountain bike race in America”, 100 miles and 16 600 Ft of elevation gain… Hmmm. Sounds like a blast!!!”

No really, WHAT was I thinking!?

Well I can’t say that it was a blast but thankfully, I can say that I completed my first 100 miler this past weekend.

After a lot of anticipation from myself, friends and family, race day finally came in beautiful Butte, Montana. I lined up at the start at 6 am, my belly churning from a mix of excitement, lack of sleep and indigestion. The course and weather that day was nothing less than epic. It was sunny but had rained for the previous days; the track was settled, tacky and so different from anything I had ridden before in BC. The first 50 miles were mostly double-track, huge boulders, granite riding and some deep sandy cornering to keep things interesting. I’ve been enjoying riding the local Kimberley pump track recently which came in handy on some of those bumps and berms! On the second 50 mile loop, I caught up to another female racer and we started chatting – we both had never ridden the distance before but she mentioned that “the second part is more like… riding”. I remember thinking “well that’s nice… I’ve been waiting for that!” before she explained that the level of difficulty was going to be much harder and to expect more single track and way more climbing. Boy was she right!! Long steep’ish switch-back climbs, perfect after your legs have already grinded through 100 km (Not!!). Gratefully, riding the legendary continental divide trail, the fun downhill sections and jaw-dropping views made it all worth it!

Once again, my Kona Hei Hei Supreme was the perfect ride! I was able to lock out the fork/suspension for most of climbs and road sections and then open them up for the rocky technical sections, which was perfect! Kept me as comfortable as possible for the 11 hours 43 minutes of riding I did! Considering a few mishaps including getting a bit lost after Aid Station 4, I was proud to finish on the top step of the podium! So thankful for Kona Bikes and Kootenay Mountain Works for the perfectly tuned bike- really makes my job that much easier!! Would also like to thank friends and family for their unconditional support, you are what keeps my mind at ease when all I want is to listen to my legs and quit.