Albalea – Offroad Ontario XC #4 Photo Report

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Today I could not ignore the sheer beauty of the 4th installment of Offroad Ontario’s XC race at Albalea. To view or purchase event photos please click HERE and, if you are on FaceBook please feel free to visit my page at Cecile Gambin Photography for updates.

A little bit of mud was found among spectacular scenery. The raw beauty, lush vivid green plants, majestic trees, moss covered rocks and slabs of Canadian Shield that graciously lined this property reminded me of the infamous ‘North Shore’, BC and I was giddy at having this wonderful opportunity to photograph here. Everywhere it was eye candy – I didn’t know where to begin and realised that another trip here in the future is a must.

This race was both good and bad for racers and myself alike. Good news – if you raced and finished this puppy you’ll end up a stronger and better rider. Bad news – many riders succumbed to the physically punishing mud pits that grew in size as the races progressed. For me the good news was the action and the shooting in a photogs dreamscape. Bad news – I had a equipment malfunctions as my big flash did not want to talk to my small flash which resulted in several misfires and a few flashy pics in the morning class. I suspect there is more than just ‘anger’ issues with my equipment.

I also apologise in advance on the handful of photos I was able to take of the afternoon race as time slipped faster than expected…I got lost while taking a shortcut back to the start line which took me in the wrong direction resulting in much wasted time.

I was lucky enough to pre-ride most of the course as Andrew Ralph and his wife Kelly graciously lent me ‘Lucy’ – her KTM 105. I eagerly jumped on wearing my bicycle helmet and rubber boots as that was all I had with me. With flailing feet I came back grinning ear to ear with what has to be one of my most memorable rides in a long time. Despite the 105 bogging down a bit at lower revs, it was nimble, light, easy to handle and at the perfect height for me. On the pipe the bike sang. If I had a million dollars I would have a few bikes and this one would find a home in my stable quite easily.

Another huge shout out to all the volunteers, BMA, Woodys and OO for another successful race. Alabalea has the reputation of being the hardest race on the circuit and the 2013 edition did not disappoint. In fact, I think it will remain one of the hardest races for a long time as riders at all levels endured fatigue at all stages of the race. A big thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Seniors (grandma and grandpa), their son, and his son Andrew for graciously inviting us to race on their gorgeous property.

Finally, congratulations are extended to all racers for having endured this tough as nails race. Good luck to everyone tomorrow at Free Flow MX – I will not be there as I will be busy prepping for my sons birthday party later that day.

Big hemlocks…lined the forest floor dwaring Elmo Rutnik as he was the first to pass through this glistening puddle.
By the afternoon race the holes were deep enough to swallow front wheels.
By the afternoon race the holes were deep enough to swallow front wheels.
By the end of the race (or during for some) this is what most riders did.
By the end of the race (or during for some) this is what most riders did.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Pro Men Podium: Leonard Loic 3, Brian Wojnarowski 1, Josh Long 2.
Pro Mens Podium: Leonard Loic 3, Brian Wojnarowski 1, Josh Long 2.
Josh Long.






2 thoughts on “Albalea – Offroad Ontario XC #4 Photo Report

  1. Thanks for the lovely words about my Dad and Mom’s property. We love it!
    Andy and Kelly and Tom worked so hard on this years race that the excess rainfall was a wee bit disappointing! However, I think that it will make for a race that will not soon be forgotten. Your photos are beautiful! Hope to see you again.

    1. Thanks Ruth!! There was both a lot of care and work put into creating that course and it showed. Some people love the mud and others not so much. It was a fantastic event that was well organised. A tough race is always needed. Can’t sugar coat everything and yours has all the ingredients for a successful race that belongs in the series. Thanks again for your hospitality!!

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