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Riders put themselves to the test this weekend at the third stop of the Tuf Rack Ontario Cup downhill series at Blue Mountain Resort in beautiful Collingwood Ontario.


Oppressive heat and humidity combined with extremely dry, dusty conditions pushed riders to their physical limits. While thunderstorms could be heard all around throughout Sunday’s race, only a few drops fell on the bone-dry track at Blue. Practice and race day temperatures reached 35° with record level humidity. Staying hydrated and moderating exertion was key to a successful race on Sunday.


The track at Blue was nearly three times longer than the ones raced on previously this season. Blue and Tuf Rack worked hand and hand to put together the best course possible for riders. The top portion of the course used existing trails with little to no changes while the lower half of the track had Tuf Rack’s signature moto inspired feel to it. The upper terrain was familiar to riders from races such as the Ontario Provincial Championships and East Coast Open. The now famous shale rock entrance followed by steep singletrack, tight berms and a nice little rock garden are just some of the traits found in this segment. A wide open pedaling section across the hill led riders into a double/triple jump line then into a fade-away left hander that had riders and marshals on the edge of their seats all weekend. The finish line stretch had a few big booters and a nice hip before crossing the line.


Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC /Tuf Rack Racing) took home the honors in the Senior Elite (19+) category in a time of 2:40.816. Sid has always been one of the fastest and most talented racers around but his recent time spent with World Cup level riders has really helped him focus and learn how to lay down winning runs. Sid is clearly managing what some riders simply cannot, which is to be fast and loose but know how to put it together come race day. ‘Squid’ also won the Hardtail (19+) race… by 15seconds! Long time series ripper Matthew Nielsen (Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle) rolled across the line in second place, his best finish this season. Matt is a serious contender and it’s only a matter of time before he rocks the top spot on the box. Another local legend and one of Canada’s fastest riders, Justin Brown, made a guest appearance and pulled out a third place finish. Not bad for a guy who races one race a year. Will we be seeing Justin at the East Coast Open? This could very well be what the podium looks like next weekend as well.

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Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC/Tuf Rack Racing) dropping in for his hardtail run


"For me, while times were very tight, putting together a race run and taking the win helps re-establish confidence going forward into the East Coast Open and the world cup race in France. BIG thanks to all volunteers and Tuf Rack for pulling off another great O-cup event, without their hard work there wouldn’t be a Provincial race series this year!" – Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC /Tuf Rack Racing)


Kristen Courtney (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) absolutely dominated her category winning by a margin of over 10sec. Kristen is obviously on top of her game and time spent on big courses like MSA has obviously paid off. A staple on the circuit, Jennifer Valentine (Kamikaze Spider Riders), raced hard to a second place finish and Jenn LeBlanc (Team BTG : Barrie Cycling Club) rounded off the podium in third place. The women racing our series are some of the best in the country and they are flying this year.

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Kristen Courtney (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) pinning her last practice run on Sunday before the race


"Had a fab weekend at the third O-Cup of the season thanks to Tuf Rack and the crew! Blue Mountain is a super challenging track because of lots of tight corners that can send you swiftly into a tree if you make a mistake, but I found putting in lots of practice runs helped me get them nailed down. The trail crew made a remarkably long track for Ontario, with a super fun end-section that allowed you get some speed up and hit some jumps. Locals Jenn LeBlanc and Jenn Valentine were looking fast all weekend though, and definitely gave me a run for my money! Again, it was awesome to look back at the starting gate and see a huge line of ladies waiting to drop in!" – Kristen Courtney (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels)


Minimee rider Adam Robbins (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) won by an impressive 4 seconds even after a crash in the top section of the course with a slow time getting back on the bike. This kid is so fast! Cycle solutions team rider, Oskar Andersen, continues to post impressive results with a 1st place finish in Junior Sport (17-1. The entire community was stoked to see Nick Outram (Eastside Cycle Racing) take his first ever win in the massive Senior Sport (19-29) class. Brock Reinhart (Cressman / Cove Racing) also had a best-ever finish in 4th place just out of the podium spots behind Michael Reid and Jason Bayens (Total Sports the Bike Shop). Bradley Turner (Bikezone Racing) bested series frontrunners Colin MacIntosh (Eastside Cycle Racing) and Derek Abraham (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) in the über competitive Master (30-39) category. This is shaping up to be an epic battle! Paul Meiklejohn (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) managed to edge out teammate Greg Karges and Tuf Rack Racing’s John Danyluk to win the Master (40+) race. Rob Carmichael (Silent Norco Racing) continues to ride strong placing 1st in Senior Expert (19-29) and Graeme Duff “Duffman” (Primary Sweet Pete`s) was number one in Junior Expert (17-1

The next stop on the tour will be the Downhill Provincials at Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Québec. This course is one of the best out there and only riders with time on a rocky track like this will prevail.


Thanks to Jon, Shane and all the crew at Tuf Rack. Huge thanks also to the marshals a.k.a – “the dads” for doing such an amazing job keeping everyone safe and the runs flowing. Thanks to Dak, Chris, Erika and the crew at Blue. Major props to the wicked group of fans that were shouting out encouraging words to all the racers at the top of the course. What an awesome sight! Here are a few images from the great weekend at Blue.

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Brad Zdriluk (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) working the bike in this banked turn just above the final woods section

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David Klaver (Silent Norco Racing) with teammate Rob Carmichael in tow

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John Danyluk (Tuf Rack Racing) charging through the tech at the top of the course

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Fast girl, Diane McCullagh (Kamikaze Spider Riders), slicing through the shale at Blue

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Radney Pritchard (KHS Bicycles) flying high after a nasty crash during the last race at Sir Sams

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Vasily Sokolov getting a closer look at the course


Senior Elite (19+)

1 Sidney Slotegraaf (Lapierre POC : Tuf Rack Racing) 2:40.816

2 Matthew Nielsen (Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle) 2:41.426

3 Justin Brown 2:42.898


All Female

1 Kristen Courtney (AdrenalineRacer / ToWheels) 3:12.906

2 Jennifer Valentine (Kamikaze Spider Riders) 3:22.933

3 Jenn LeBlanc (Team BTG : Barrie Cycling Club) 3:23.124


Complete results can be found here: www.ontariocycling.org


Words and Photos courtesy of Marc Landry
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