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Female cyclists more than hold their own on MTB trails
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Of the 90 cyclists who competed solo at the 2021 Ionic Mountain Bike Tour last weekend - another 44 formed part of 11 different relay teams - almost half were women and girls of all ages.

Small wonder then that female only cycling teams should emerge on a local level (The Hex Pistols), that female riders might band together to tackle 24-hour relay events and the like, and that winter fat bike camping excursions might be at the core of a girls night out.

"Stacey (Greene) organized a night ride out to Crawley (Lake), with backpacks and blankets and hot chocolate and tea," detailed Monika Jost, the 51 year-old first place finisher in the women's 20km advanced bracket recalling a recent excursion, when snow still covered the ground.

"We blasted out to Crawley in the dark and had a big bonfire, just fun girl stuff."

When it comes to mountain bike racing in Sudbury and area, there is plenty of fun girl involvement to be found. Interestingly enough, fairer sex participants come from a whole swath of different backgrounds, cycling-wise and athletically speaking, in general.

Heading off to races with Marc Rioux as far back as 15 years ago, helping round out mixed relay teams and tackling a few adventure events along the way, Jost acknowledged that getting out on her bike with a furry friend provided much of the early push into what is now a very important part of her life.

"I could take my dog out when I was mountain biking," she said. "Every day, my dog and I would go off to the Laurentain trails and ride. It was just really fun to be in the bush with him. That's how it started."

Thankfully, throughout the pandemic, Jost and so many others have remained as active as ever.

"It's been wonderful," she said. "All of my friends have fat bikes, so that keeps us active - and we cross country ski. We've been lucky that the sports that we have did not get totally shut down, that we could distance with our masks on and still keep active."

And while simply getting out to train for the sake of staying active and fit is clearly a very good thing, there is no denying that little extra push that comes with adding actual races to the mix - something that had not been seen often in the past 12 months.

"It's like little mini goal setting," suggested Jost. "We train for a race and it gives us a little bit of a carrot to chase. If you don't have anything to look forward to, it's too easy to say no to training."

"We always feel better after the workout," she added. "I think it's the one thing that helped get us through COVID, because we were allowed to do the things that we love to do. I feel sorry for the swimmers or anybody that required anything indoors."

Racing was not at the top of the list of reasons to get involved when Stacey Greene first started mountain biking with her boyfriend (now husband) a little more than a decade ago.

"He's athletic, but I really don't have much of an athletic background," she conceded. "I wasn't an athlete growing up, so I guess I'm making up for lost time now." Many regular MTB riders will cite the social aspect of their weekly sessions as key to their interest in the sport, and for Greene, in particular, it was part of what led her eventually to racing.

"I had some friends from our Monday night group ride that raced, some good friends of mine and they needed someone for a team once, so I said I would give it a shot," said the 38 year-old native of Elliot Lake. "It was a lot of fun."

And though Greene was tackling the 20 km advanced circuit as well in Walden, finishing second to Jost in her division, she also acknowledged that, as a general rule, her prefernce is towards team racing.

"It's a little more relaxed on a team, just because you get a break," said the woman who recently completed a four hour solo event. "And it's fun to hang out in the pit area between laps with your teammates and friends."

Following is a breakdown of the top finishers in all of the divisions:

20 km Advanced - Men
1st - Marc Larochelle - 59:51
2nd - Dan Whalen - 59:59
3rd - Mike Banks - 1:02:03
4th - Marc Rioux - 1:04:27
5th - John Lalonde - 1:06:26
6th - Shawn Mailloux - 1:06:40
7th - Kelly Thompson - 1:08:21
8th - Joe Lonsdale - 1:08:53
9th - Noah Rioux - 1:09:10
10th - Caden Sutton - 1:09:23

20 km Advanced - Women
1st - Monika Jost - 1:12:19
2nd - Stacey Greene - 1:15:43
3rd - Sara McIlraith - 1:16:08
4th - Wanda Dewulf - 1:16:34
5th - Carol Mourre - 1:17:43

13 km Advanced - Men
1st - Kerry Abols - 47:21
2nd - John Oberthier - 50:17
3rd - Colin Pegues - 51:36

13 km Advanced - Women
1st - Allison Tate - 59:05

10 km Advanced - Men
1st - Kaeden Ward - 31:12
2nd - Nick Head-Petersen - 31:52
3rd - Robbie Gervais - 33:19

10 km Advanced - Women
1st - Cathy Heffernan - 38:26
2nd - Helen Dyke - 38:50
3rd - Anita Masuskapoe - 40:17

5 km - one lap
1st - women - Miranda White - 18:37
1st - men - Casey Crowe - 18:49
1st - women - U16 - Emma Mourre - 19:42
2nd - women - U16 - Alexis Nicholls - 22:43
1st - men - U16 - Nick Pegues - 19:08
2nd - men - U16 - Kallaghan Marcolin - 20:33

Relay - 4 X 5 km
1st - Hatch Associates - Wayne Harris; Ben Paille; Robbie Kidd; Gary Norvall
2nd - Patrick Mechanical - Doug Patrick; Gilles Bolduc; Marc Boissoneault; Rob Poulin

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