From Ali Wilson – My first race of the 2015 season was this past weekend in beautiful Salmon Arm, BC. Rewind a week and I had just noticed a post on Facebook from a friend that was giving away her solo registration for the Salty Dog 6hr Enduro. I remembered other mountain bikers talking highly about the event and knew they sold out every year, so I didn’t hesitate before jumping on the opportunity! I told myself it would be a great training experience and I had yet to travel to that part of BC so heck, why not give it a go! To be honest, I had very little expectations; I hadn’t scheduled any races before June and I knew it was going to be a long and hot day but I just really wanted to have fun and ride as best I could. My goals were to ride the full six hours and to keep up on hydration/food.

When the race started at 10am on Sunday, I was ready to rock it! I had ridden the course the previous day with a friend and knew what to expect- a nice uphill, a long stretch of double-track and then the fun downhill! The first two laps, as usual, were all about finding your position and getting into the groove. During my third and fourth lap, things got a bit frustrating as I had to do a few trips to the mechanics tent. On the other hand, I was so grateful for their help and once we figured what was going on (a loosening back wheel skewer) – I was off again and finished the race strong for laps five, six and seven. I totally feel like I accomplished my goals: had tones of fun, rode strong and didn’t bonk. My Kona Hei Hei Supreme was the perfect bike for the event- so happy to have that full suspension to keep me comfy during those six hours of riding and just perfectly light for the long climbs. My nutrition of choice that day was a few bottles of eLoad, a bottle of coconut water, two bottles of water, four gels, half a dozen of boiled baby potatoes (the savory carbs help balance out all the sweet stuff in my mind) and two stroopwafels (dutch syrup wafers).

The big surprise for me that day was actually winning my age category group and bringing home an apple pie from the Shuswap Pie Company (seriously… best pie EVER!!). I also left with the motivation of coming back next year and definitely wanting to fit in an 8th lap! Salmon Arm is a beautiful town overlooking the Shuswap Lake and it was all up in blooms at this time of the year. The Salty Dog Enduro was overall an amazing event, super well organized with very generous volunteers and marshals. Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!!