Jikke Gyorki, a Fernie career mother of two, talks about her participation in the Fernie Lucky 7’s.

What category are you riding in the Fernie Lucky 7’s and why?
I’m riding in the Women’s 40+ Solo category because I like the challenge and to be able to do it on my own terms. To me it’s a big goal to achieve by myself.

How old are your kids’ and are they riding?
We have two boys aged 7 and 4. Both boys have been riding since before they were two. We are fortunate to live in a place that is a true mountain bike destination.

What is your experience with mountain bike racing?
My first race was the bike segment of Tears and Gears Duathlon in Fernie in September 2015. I decided to start racing casually to give me the push I needed to get on my bike more regularly and get fit. A friend of mine did the running segment. Doing your first race as a relay team is great because you then have ‘team’ support and excitement.

When you’re a career family with little kids life is busy so making a commitment to a race is a great motivator. My first race was awesome. Though you are nervous to start, once you get going a new mental mindset comes on that pushes you to do your best. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush. I finished and was happy with my result, and it felt great. All the event organizers and race support that is set up really makes it fun and supportive all around.

After my first race it was the end of the season so I planned for 2016. I looked for other races that were nearby and within my means and entered Round The Mountain in Kimberley in June. This was another super fun yet challenging race that I then got hooked to try more. In September 2016 I did Tears & Gears again, then 2 weeks later did Six in the Stix in Cranbrook. The Cranbrook race was a different format with a shorter route and the objective of riding it as many times as you could within a 6 hour period. Given the route didn’t include any big ascents or descents I wanted to try it. I didn’t know what to expect. Would I get through only 2 laps and be too tired to continue? The great thing about any race event is that the people around you are super supportive and that alone is a great motivator. In the end I managed to do 5 laps!

Fernie’s Lucky 7’s race will be my 5th race.

What do you like about the Fernie Lucky 7’s format?
Having experienced a similar format with Six in the Stix race in Cranbrook last September I found I enjoyed the challenge of a longer race that’s on a course with no major technical ascents or descents. It really tests your endurance while not requiring more than a full day commitment, such as multi-day races. If you want to do it as a relay team to try it out or have fun in a team format you can choice that option or do it solo and see how many laps you can do. You can always cut it short or try to do another lap. The other thing I like about this longer duration format is the laps aren’t too long (10-15km) so you can determine when you’re done versus being stuck out on a long course km’s from the finish line.

How much are you training?
I’m happy if I can get a ride in 3 times a week, even if just for 45 minutes. My time is extremely limited and we don’t have family around to take care of the kids to get out for a ride easily, and babysitters can be hard to access. I never have a goal of winning the race since I don’t have that level of time to train, but being in a race gets me out riding, which in turn gets me fairly fit and makes me happy.

Is your family supportive of your mountain bike racing and how?
Yes they are. My husband is also a rider and having supported me the last 2 years he’s now starting to race too! Having your family at a race cheering you on and being at the finish is a great feeling. For longer endurance races you definitely need a support person to help you each lap with fuelling up, giving you encouragement and pushing you to continue. My kids enjoy the environment as well and if there are kids fun races or activities that can make it more fun for all of us.

Will any other family member be racing in the Fernie Lucky 7’s or other bike events?
No, I’ll need my husband to be my support person and babysitter during this race. Not sure yet about the kids events yet. My husband will be racing the next day at Kimberley’s Round the Mountain then we are travelling in August to Kaslo’s IDidARide race. Currently my husband is racing in this event unless we can find a babysitter to come with us to help with the kids then I can race too!

What is your advice to other moms who are considering mountain bike racing?
Just try it. Take your time. Have fun. No one is judging you, everyone is supportive, especially parents that are racing. You’ll be amazed at what you can do in a race environment with the added push and motivation. Then being in an environment where there is so much support if anything happens such as a flat, crash or anything. I luckily haven’t had any of those yet!

What is your favourite mountain bike trail in Fernie?
My favorite riding area is Ridgemont. My favorite trail/route would probably be Sidewinder – Eco-terrorist/Boardwalks – Deadfall – Oh Deer

What is your favourite family activity in Fernie?
Hiking, biking and camping