Tour of Bronte Dirt Dash 2014

It all began last year when long road rides started to feel a little mundane.  A new cycling season is here and it is time to try something new!  After intensive deliberations, I registered for the Tour of Bronte Dirt Dash for my first ever race on mountain bike, my first race with laps, and my first ride with a dorky camelbak.  The route is 5 laps of 6km (in reality, closer to ~4.5km per lap) on mostly hard-packed dirt with short double tracks and a climb on the toboggan hill in Bronte Creek Provincial Park.  The course is not meant to be technical and is relatively flat for the most part.

Pre-riding the route the weekend before the race scared me.  It confirmed the double tracks are muddy, the toboggan hill is more menacing than it looks, and I am totally out of shape having had no riding time this year until now.  This will be fun ……


I woke up to flurries the morning of race day.  It was a cold Saturday, close to 0°C with high winds and gusts at 60 kph.  With 3 baselayers, a long sleeve jersey, and a windbreaker, I braved the cold outdoors.  The turnout was small with only 23 people in total, and only 16 people riding the same distance as me.  It was a mass start and I started at the front row. Everyone went off hard at the start.  Without much confidence riding on anything unpaved, I carried a slow pace on the dirt road.  The headwind and the cold air entering my lungs were tough to endure and I couldn’t feel my fingers.


Shortly after, the rider in front turned right onto a double track.  Ugh, that wasn’t part of my pre-ride.  I dropped down my gears, sighed, and continued.  The mud section didn’t help me stay upright.  I eventually dismounted until the mud portion was over.  A little more double track and I was happy to be back out on the dirt road.  Several km later, the dreaded left turn arrived for more muddy double tracks, but manageable, until I reached some sort of large sewer pipe.  I dismounted again to get over it and there stood the base of the toboggan hill.  I dropped down to the smallest possible gear and focused on keeping a rhythm, reminding myself to power up a bit whenever I saw uneven terrain and at the steepest portion of the hill near the top.  Gasping heavily at the top, I descended the hill before reaching the dirt road, a short grassy area, and finally back to the dirt road all the way to the starting line.  All that remained was to repeat this 4 … more… times ….

After the 2nd lap, I basically had enough.  I am simply not a big fan of lap rides.  After the 3rd lap, I was told to go for my final lap.  I took that as positive since I wanted the ride to end although it basically meant I was slow.  After the 4th lap, I was partially relieved and headed to the warm cabin.  The provided lunch was decent – unlimited Mr. Sub sandwiches with timbits and coffee from the morning.


And because there weren’t a lot of riders especially females, I scored this ….
Tour of Bronte Awards 002Tour of Bronte Awards 010

One thought on “Tour of Bronte Dirt Dash 2014

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  1. I think you should switch it up and do an interesting bike touring ride –one of the Route Verte rides in Quebec. Velo Quebec organizes a bunch of’ll see what I mean.

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