Approximately 3,000 cyclists braved the cold, rain and gusting wind for the 24th annual Paris to Ancaster Race.
Those who biked the 70k, 40k or 20k courses dealt with unfavourable weather. Most riders were nearly caked in mud by they time they crossed the finish line.
The conditions resulted in four kilometers of the course being removed because of deep mud. Even with the adjustment participants said they still took much longer to complete the race than usual.
“One of the participants said they were 15 minutes slower than last year’s time,” one rider explained. “Mainly because they were riding into a 30-50 km head wind the whole way here.”
The treacherous hill right before the finish line put cyclists’ strength and stamina to the test. Many riders chose to walk up instead and some had to stretch out leg cramps mid-way.
Seventeen-year-old Gunner Holmgren finished first on the men’s side with a time of two hours and eight minutes. Even Holmgren said he trudged up the hill with his bike.
“It’s pretty steady and there’s a muddy part that I had to get off on,” Holmgren said.
Rebecca Fahringer, the fastest woman at two hours and eighteen minutes, said the race gave her one challenge after the other.
“I had some technical difficulties,” Fahringer said. “I lost my saddle bag, my number fell off. I was over dressed but there were a lot of good people around me and the camaraderie really got me through the tough times on the windy course.”
As one of the largest bike races in the country, riders from as far as South Africa and Australia participated in the race. And despite the challenging weather, organizers say there were roughly 300 more riders registered than in 2016.