This year’s Ramble is in the books, and the abbreviated version got great reviews.
Thirty-five riders turned out at Hugh Fletcher’s farm in Errington on Sunday for the long-running Ramble mountain bike ride/race, soaking up the sun and shortened course.
Grant Laird, 29, was the first rider to finish this year’s Ramble, which changes every year, crossing over the finish line at just over two hours. At 40 kilometers in length, this year’s Ramble was the shortest in history, about half as long as last year’s.
“It was the shortest Ramble ever and I’d say one of the best courses we’ve ever had, the most amount of single track for sure,” said Kebble Sheaff, long-time local bike booster and member of Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club. This years Ramble also included a new ‘lower’ loop for those riders looking for more of a level ride.
The rest of the field followed slowly behind Laird, and in one of the closest finishes of the day Mark Wieler from Nanaimo emptied the tank to beat out Parksville’s Kai Theus at the line, and the two fifth-year Ramblers shared a laugh between gulps of air on the other side.
The only female to tackle the full Ramble was 40-something Errington regular Laurie Kalf.
“She told me after she had two crashes and that one of them she flew like Super Man and hit a tree with her body,” said Sheaff.
“The shorter course is better for me,” joked Kai. “It was a lot of fun… it was epic before, though.”
“Shorter than last year, but still awesome — it was great,” echoed Wieler.