Mountain bike racers cheer for provincial championships 

By Sue Tiffin

Published August 29 2017

Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride was bustling with the energy of mountain bike racers competing in the O-Cup No.7 as part of the Ontario Cup Series noted to be one of Canada’s premier XC mountain bike racing series this past weekend. The provincial championships were held Aug. 26 and 27 at the Eagle Lake course.

Riders on the trails took the attention but fellow riders trekked up the hills to cheer them on and take in the action first hand shouting out where riders were in the line and reminding them to keep their head up and breathe during the race.

“We’re all part of the community” said Tamara Agar of Barrie who was cheering on her fiancé before her own race. “I know when I’m racing when I feel like I’m gonna die it helps me so that I can keep going.”

Agar was calling out to riders from the trail next to Christian Struthmann of Horseshoe Valley who noted that they hail from a bike mecca but that the trail at Sir Sam’s is liked and unique. The Sir Sam’s trail with a long upward climb prior to a technical down is different from the hilly courses most riders from their area are used to taking on.

As the riders were encouraged from the sidelines some shouted out a “thank you” to spectators despite focusing on the tricky trail at hand.

“It’s trail etiquette” said Mark Derrick of Collingwood. “It’s nice to see the young kids doing that.”

The soon-to-be 60-year-old rider was cheering on his wife Lynn who was participating in the 50+ ladies race. Derrick said he’d met her in a bike shop. A lifelong athlete his own interest in biking was only piqued when he was 39.

“I went off-road and I fell I got lost it was slippery and slidey and I fell in love with it” he said.

Eleven-year-old Tilson De Haan said despite a strong finish he didn’t feel he did very well during his race which he took in alongside his twin brother Cooper.

“I had a lot of difficulty in passing people in other categories” he said. “Otherwise it’s a fun course and I did OK for all the hold-ups and stuff.”

De Haan of Oro-Medonte said the feeling of being on the trails is exciting.

“I was really nervous at the starting line but once you get going the adrenaline’s rushing through you and you’re ready to roll.”

For more information on the Ontario Cup visit