Like the weather in Fernie, which changes month to month, (although of late seems to have been stuck in a rather damp rut), this month we move from one popular Fernie sport to another. July it seems it’s all about biking, and in fact has become a month that promises a plethora of biking events all over the map, with just a hint of sunshine. Or at least we can hope.
Fernie has long been a biker’s paradise, showcasing experienced long-timers, a constant new round of inspiring trickster kids, but also an increasing number of starter-up’ers of all ages and backgrounds. So this month we learn about how three Fernie ladies – Erin Leahy, Jenny Mitchell and Shannon Takacs – have taken their hobby to a new and somewhat furious level…
Out of all the bike race options, why did you pick Furious 3?
(E): “I wanted to do a race that would be a big challenge, there are so many seriously talented female athletes in this town I felt inspired. This early in the season I’m feeling fitter and stronger on my bike than ever before.”
(J): “It felt like the most local and achievable, with a good local vibe.”
(S): I never had a desire to enter a mountain bike race EVER! But joining a team of like-minded individuals, training together, learning about nutrition, encouraging one another, moaning about the cost, and ultimately just crossing the finish line, it really has been about the journey and not the destination. We were un-officially named, "Eat Sugar, Pedal Fast" but after the Giv'r 8 race in Calgary, we’re going with, "Drink Beer, Lie on a Sectional".
When did your love for biking start and how has Fernie helped it grow?
(E): “My first time on a mountain bike was on the ski hill on Honey Bee, since that day my love for biking has grown.”
(J): “It all began when I was captain of my cul-de-sac bike club at age nine. It then somewhat plateaued until I moved to Fernie and I started exploring Ridgemont…” (Jenny is from the UK, where weird things like this aren’t uncommon.)
(S): “I started mountain biking back in the early ‘90s in Victoria where wet roots and rocks elevate your technical game real fast!”
What’s your favourite bike trail in Fernie?
Swine Flu gets big thumbs up from all ladies…“Downhill bang for your buck… super fun and flowy switchbacks…but a technical enough climb to make you work for it.”
What’s going to be the biggest challenge for you?
Again this one’s unanimous. The prospect of a multi-day venture…
(E): “I have a tendency to get excited and go out hard and I’m not sure I can keep that up for three days - but I guess we will find out soon enough!”
(J): “Getting back on my bike on Day 2.”
(S): Linking three hard riding days together in a row.”
Favourite and least favourite things about biking?
Post-bike beers seem to be unanimously pivotal to these ladies enjoyment, along with…
Faves: “Getting to the top of a gruelling climb and looking over this amazing town with the excitement of the up-coming downhill.” Least faves: “Winter spells the end of biking season. Wet roots. And bike washing.”
Humour and fun are clearly high on their agenda, along with camaraderie, the love of the Fernie outdoors and discussing the day’s adventure over a cold beer – sounds both very balanced and very Fernie to me. Best of luck ladies, we’re rooting for you and hope your three days are more fantastic than Furious!
June Flashback // The Real Housewives of Fernie
In June we learned about a collection of enthusiastic women running their way from Banff to Jasper. Rumour has it, it was quite the adventure and Fernie was perhaps put on the map once again, but for entirely different reasons.
Jana Wenzlawe sums it up, “It was a fabulous weekend with a fun group of women. Lots of laughs and definitely a few stiff legs and I’m pretty sure the ‘Real Housewives of Fernie’ will not soon be forgotten within the Banff to Jasper crew!” Of course, if you know these women, you won’t be remotely surprised. Congrats team! Question is, what’s next on the agenda, Tears & Gears? Registration now open…