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When Marin Bikes asked Les Chèvres to participate in the Wildside Enduro race, we immediately thought it wasn't for us. Why not? Because our vision of mountain biking is to ride for fun rather than for performance. André, our friend from Marin, took the time to explain that "it didn't have to be intimidating. That the Wildside event was a great biker's reunion, that there was something for everyone and that it was an enjoyable atmosphere.

So we formed a race squad: Cami, Stef, Amé and Véro. These four Chèvres Ambassadors from Team BC travelled to Nakusp, BC, to experience Les Chèvres de Montagne's first bike race experience. Oh yeah!

Friday morning, we meet in Squamish, the base camp of the community of the Chèvres in the West, to take the road towards Nakusp. The skewer of bicycles is well threaded on the Thule rack; the tents are piled up in the back of the car. Let's go for nine hours of road under torrential rain. A gal's road trip, there is nothing better! Hours of riding through the incredible scenery of British Columbia while Stef, our most experienced rider, explains to her crew how a typical Enduro event works.

Enduro races are divided into different stages called stages. Each stage usually has an uphill and a downhill, but our time is only calculated on the downhill. For a rider who is not very fast on the uphill, we agree, this is ideal! There are a number of hours to complete the entire circuit. In the case of the Wildside, the gals had 6 hours to complete 3 courses with a total distance of 22 kilometres and 900 meters of elevation gain. Definitely, the longest bike ride we've done so far. It was a good challenge!

Les chèvres tell you about their Wildside experience.

Cami Chalifoux

How did you start mountain biking?

This summer, I am starting my third season of mountain biking. I started sometime after moving to Squamish, BC. It was also through biking that I started the Western Canada chapter of Les Chèvres de Montagne; I needed a community of stoked women to enjoy a new sport with! What keeps me hooked on cycling? The feeling of being transported to a video game in the wilderness. The sensation of hurtling down trails and over obstacles is my way of playing as a kid.

Why register for an event like Wildside?

I never thought I would sign up for a bike race. I don't handle performance pressure particularly well and I hate comparing myself to others in sports because I quickly feel "not good enough." But the Wildside was not a typical competition. The runs are one person at a time, and your time is calculated individually with a stopwatch. You can't compare yourself to other riders during the race. So it becomes a race with yourself, and that's what really allowed me to push my limits without the fear of being judged.

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out on a bike? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

If you think about it, do it! The sense of accomplishment I had after the race was worth all my nervousness and self-doubt! One trick that worked for me was to create personal intentions before I started the race. My intentions were super simple:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Finish the circuit
  3. Don't hurt me

That's it! Regardless of my result, I could be proud of having accomplished my personal goals.

Stefanie Lachance

How did you start mountain biking?

I started mountain biking in Quebec in 2010. Three good friends and I decided to start at the same time. We fell in love with it and very quickly organized trips with this incredible adrenaline sport!

Why register for an event like Wildside?

Races always look intimidating at first but seriously for me it's just the best reason to ride a full day. Enduro races allow you to ride at your own pace on the way up and give it your all on the way down. For me, I think it's the best of both worlds! Also, it's cool to be able to ride with friends and share these moments together.

Other reasons to run a race:

- The best trails in the area are chosen

- No need to take out your phone for directions, just follow the signs

- A chance to win door prizes

- Meet motivated people like you!

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out on a bike? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

I think for a positive experience it's a good idea to sign up for a race in a trail area you know well like a local race near you!

Amélia Haman-Côté

How did you start mountain biking?

I started mountain biking 5 years ago. With my ex who was a big fan. He lent me a bike and I got hooked right away. I loved how the bike took me out of my comfort zone and gave me so much pride after each ride.

Why register for an event like Wildside?

I was very excited to sign up for an event like Wildside so I could get out of my comfort zone. I had never cycled this long before. This race gave me that sense of pride again. For me, the most intimidating part was pedaling so many miles. I was surprised to realize that there were still very few ladies registered for this type of event.

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out on a bike? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?

This is an amazing experience to do with a friend. Trust yourself, your body can

always do more than you think. The pride you'll feel at the end is worth it.

Veronica Roy Zingel

How did you start mountain biking?

Newly moved to Squamish, BC, it was hard to ignore that it was the MECCA of many extreme sports, including mountain biking. I started practicing with my roommate, who would take me on some pretty challenging trails. A few days later, I was walking in the mountains, and by chance I met Cami, one of the Les Chèvres crewmembers, who invited me to the social rides. It was love at first sight with the community and the bike. I went for it at 200%. The next week, I bought a bike and we rode with a group of ten ladies every week in the Les Chèvres bike club.

Why sign up for an event like Wildside?
Simply for the challenge and curiosity. You feel like if you sign up for a race, you have to be a pro. In fact, what I discovered with the Wildside is that you don't have to set the bar high, a race can simply give you more perspective, yes push your limits but also simply bring fun by practicing your sport in another environment.

Any advice for a woman who is just starting out on the bike? or for a woman who might be intimidated to sign up for this kind of event?
Find a partner to try the bike, or to try the race. She can be with you or cheer you on at the side line. It could be someone close to you or even someone on a Facebook group. I think the best advice is to trust yourself and TRY it without expectations.

Our experience in one word: pride!

We all agree that the weekend took us out of our comfort zone. What a chance for us as adults to try something new, to challenge ourselves and test our mental and physical skills. We all knew the Wildside event was going to be something special, but we can truly say that we came away with a greater appreciation for our sport... and our bodies!

Written by Cami Chalifoux, Stéfanie Lachance, Amélia Haman Côté and Véronica Roy Zingel

Events not to be missed

Stay tuned for the announcement of our next events.