If, on one of winter’s many subzero days, you’ve driven past a cyclist and yelled, “Get a car, it’s freezing,” perhaps you’ve underestimated the hardy resolve of the Waterloo Region cyclist. As winter draws to a close, Elmira will welcome Cycle Waterloo’s Steaming Nostril race for a second year, where some of these tough sportsmen will get a jump on the real cycling season.
“People who come out to this really like the tough conditions, they don’t mind the colder weather, and they really are excited to get back on their bikes outdoors again,” said Malcolm Stephen, organizer with Cycle Waterloo.
“They’re more your serious competitors – people who ride and race cross bikes – and because it’s the first one of the year, that’s why they like to come out and do this.”
Beginning at the Woolwich Memorial Centre, the event will send cyclists through the gravel roads of Woolwich and Wellesley for the first race of the Ontario Cycling Association’s calendar.
“It really is on all-gravel rural roads,” said Stephen. “It’s a good train. We don’t take them on some of those single-track trails, so it’s safe for their bikes as well. It’s got police support, mechanical support, and first-aid support, and we pride ourselves on that.”
A portion of funds raised will go towards the Kissing Bridge Trailway, and Cycle Waterloo will be welcoming the Spring on the Trail for a post-race bike wash. For $5, you can get your muddy wheels polished. “They’re going to have a power-wash right next to the arena, and that’s going to raise money as well for the local trail,” said Stephen.
But does Stephen mind the cold? “I don’t mind the cold, but I’m not as hardy as many of the racers out there,” he laughs. “I haven’t ridden outdoors this winter for quite a while, because it’s been brutally cold.”
The Steaming Nostril kicks off at the WMC on March 23. The 39km race begins at 10:40 a.m., with two cycles of the 69km main event at 11 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. Riders will be in store for $2,500 in cash prizes.
Participants can register for $70 at cyclewaterloo.com, or for $99 at the event itself beginning at 9 a.m.