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Selo trail lives up to expectations

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Throughout the development of a competitive mountain biking trail system at Selo Ukraina, those spearheading the Dauphin Derailleurs Cycling Club project thought they were on to something special.
Now they know for sure.
At a Manitoba Cycling Association (MCA) sanctioned race on the trail Sunday, MCA officials rated the facility as probably the best competitive trail in the province.
“So it was very positive,” said race organizer Chris Wolfenden.
“It was all big smiles and high fives last night (after the race.) It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. As long as people come and have a good experience, that is all we really want.”
And come they did with 72 racers registered in a variety of divisions.
“It seems low compared to Mud Run and stuff, but for a mountain bike race it is actually very good,” Wolfenden said, adding on top of a division for elite racers, the competition featured U11, U13 and U15 races, along with a My First Race category for newcomers to the sport.
“Which was a lot of fun. Because usually mountain bike races are full of people who, that’s what they do, race mountain bikes all of the time. So we wanted to include as many people as possible, because we just wanted people out having fun and using the course.
“So we basically covered all of our bases, people who are new to the sport, kids, youth and then elite racers in the end. So it was a very inclusive race, which was our goal.”
As well as providing a competition for racers, the event was used as a 2020 games primer for organizers and volunteers to learn how to work with MCA commissaires within the bounds of a course developed and prepared in conjunction with international rules.
“Because many of our volunteers are just as new to mountain bike racing as the My First Racers. It was about getting everybody out and educating them as to how it works,” Wolfenden said.
“The nice thing is a lot of our volunteers have been helping with build nights, so they are not as uninformed as you might think. A lot of them knew what was happening. There were a few newbies, but like all Dauphinites in a volunteer capacity, they just jumped right in.”
Even more importantly, the race was a chance to validate that the course was everything they hoped it was, Wolfenden added.
“The initial intention was, ‘let’s do a test event, so we know if our course is ready and designed well’,” Wolfenden said, adding that question was answered unequivocally by MCA officials
“So the course is actually, from their comments, the most internationally rule abiding course in Manitoba.
“Because we designed it for the (2020 Manitoba Summer) Games, it had to be very, very proper. So not only did Alex Mann design a proper course, the Derailleurs and all of us were able to work with the commissaires to put together a properly marked course.”
It all translates into more action for the course, as the group has already partnered with MCA for a Cup Series race next year.
“So that is the big series that happens in Manitoba and that will be late May or early June, we are not exactly sure yet,” Wolfenden said.
“They (MCA) were so impressed, they said ‘this has to happen’.”