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Gallery: A shivering wet and cold 2019 Steaming Nostril

Participants of the spring gravel event in the Waterloo Region faced the usual mud but exceptionally treacherous conditions

After last year’s Steaming Nostril during which participants faced ice, snow and mud, riders were probably hoping for a fairer weathered edition of the spring race this year. Unfortunately for the participants of the 65 km Steaming Nostril and 40 km Runny Nose in the Waterloo Region of Southern Ontario, conditions didn’t improve much for 2019. On a cold and wet day, nearly 300 riders still signed-up for a treacherous and cold day of riding. Only about 150 riders showed up and finished because of how tough the riding was on Sunday.

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The event uses sections of gravel, farm paths and features the longest kilometre through a Mennonite farm in Waterloo Region of southern Ontario. Facing wet and cold conditions that chilled the everyone to their bones, the riders tackled the courses various surfaces getting covered in mud and coating their drivetrains in gunk.

A field of UCI level riders, recreational athletes and serious enthusiasts set out on a variety of cross, mountain bikes and fat bikes for a day of riding in the tough conditions. Over 50 riders and their bikes had to be brought back to the start/finish in SAG vehicles. The conditions kept most spectators away. Upon reaching the finish, many riders were so cold, paramedics needed to help remove shoes and gloves to start the long warming process.

As riders shivered on their bikes, Lauren Daniells braved the cold conditions to capture some amazing pictures. “Trying to get to my normal spot on Mud Mountain, I took a couple of good tumbles and after two of the leading elite men kinda fell into me, I decided to amscray up to the top of the hill,” Daniells said about the challenging conditions for taking photos. “My hands were freezing from falling in the mud and as the hill got worse, I put the camera away to try to help lug bikes up.”

Despite the generally miserable conditions, Canadian under-23 cyclocross champion Gunnar Holmgren (Hardwood Next Wave) won the 70 km race while Allison Sauders (Faction – Smile Tiger) was the top women’s finisher. Robin Horsfield (Hardwood Next Wave) and Holly Clarke (Toronto Hustle) were the top finishers in the Runny Nose.