Well, everyone knows that the bike season started a long time ago, but for a lot of students in Ontario, they’re starting to dust off the cobwebs, ride more often, and get focused for the University Cup Mountain Bike Race Series. The U-cup series is a series of 6 races over 4 weekends that starts as soon as the school year starts and continues for 3 nonstop weekends thereafter. The cool thing about the series is that it has the power to bring new people to the sport (with both an A and B category), as well as bring riders from a school together with each other and with other schools. You just can’t beat the friendships and friendly rivalries that exist at this series. This is my first year mountain bike racing for Queen’s University (having been a member of the exec on the University of Guelph team in the past and starting my U-cup career in the fall of 2008), and it was great to be back.
One unique part of this race series is the full weekend event at Mansfield Outdoor Centre. This event is unique because it features a Mountain Bike Criterium (quite similar to a modern eliminator race), a time trial, and a mass start race. The races span both Saturday and Sunday, and teams camp out in a field by the race course together. University of Toronto supplies a banquet of food Saturday night, and each year a legendary fire and hilariously good times are had. The weekend is a great time that combines the best aspects of clubs, teams, bike racing, and camping. For more info on the U-cup race series check out their website.