For 2017 all registration is online. Ontario Cycling (OCA) has made it mandatory for all clubs to use their online registration system. We will still be collecting signed waivers from ALL riders before their first race. If you need any assistance registering please contact us.
If you’re under the age of 19, bring this waiver to your first BS event! Click here to download the 2017 OCA Waiver
|2017 BLACKSHEEP MOUNTAIN BIKE CLUB MEMBERSHIP AND RACE FEES:||BEFORE April 30, 2017||AFTER May 1, 2017|
|Student (18 and under)||$26||$36|
|Second Adult member of a family||$36||$46|
|Pay As You Go*||$16||$16|
|Club and Trail Supporter**||$20||$20|
An additional, mandatory OCA insurance fee of $40.00 per rider will be added to every membership as part of the online registration process (except for the Club Supporter membership).If are a member of Thunder Bay Cycling Club or any OCA affiliated club/ license holder, the online registration will provide an option waive the $40 OCA fee.
*Pay-as-you-go allows a rider to participate in all fun events and social rides. If a rider wishes to try and race the fee is $10 per race.
**The Club and Trail Supporter membership is for individuals who are not interested in racing but still want to support the mountain bike community in Thunder Bay. Individuals who hold this membership will be able to take part in trail building activities, but WILL NOT be able to attend Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club races and fun events. They will also know that the proceeds of this membership are being used to help the expansion of mountain bike related activities and opportunities in Thunder Bay.
New Member FAQs
The following are some questions we typically hear from new members and of course . . . the answers!!
Q. Why does the Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club exist?
A. Blacksheep is a not-for-profit bike club to provide members with a series of events through the season, create opportunities for riders to grow and develop, and help expand mountain biking in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Blacksheep is affiliated with the Ontario Cycling Association. For information about our history and the Executive, check out our about page.
Q: What types of events does the Club offer?
A: We typically run four types of events: cross country (XC), fun events, social rides and trail development.
Q. How do fun events work?
A. These are opportunities to ride as a group, learn new skills, try new venues, race in a fun team format, etc. In addition to the ever popular “Race for the Cheese” (team relay followed by cheezy prizes), we’ve been trying out some new events and of course, we’re always open to new ideas.
Q. How do social rides work?
A. Social rides are a chance for riders to come out and experience the trails in a non-competitive environment. The rides are meant to be fun, offer opportunities for rider to learn skills, and develop a sense of community with other riders. On these rides nobody is dropped.
Q. How do trail development days work?
A. Trail development days are a chance for riders to put a little ‘sweat equity’ back into the trails. These days are work days for completing maintenance on the current trails, and developing new trails to ride. The work is led by the Trail Development Committee. Those looking to participate should bring work gloves, water and clothes they don’t mind getting a little dirty in. The club provides a number of tools.
Q: What is XC?
A: Participants race on bike trails comprised of wider double-track and/or narrower single-track, and require climbing, descending and cornering. The courses can be fast and open, slow and tight, relatively flat or quite hilly, or any combination. If you’ve hiked at Centennial Park, Shuniah Mines or the Cascades, you probably have a good sense of the typical terrain.
Q. How long do races last?
A: Generally, early season XC races are shorter and later season races (as people are fitter) are longer. Typical XC times:
|Class||Early Season Average Duration||Late Season Average Duration|
Typically, Elite class races are 3 – 4 laps and from 1.0 to 1.25 hours in duration. Advanced class races are 75% of the duration (2 – 3 laps vs 3 – 4 laps) of an Elite race. Sport class races are 1/3 the duration (1 lap vs 3 laps) of an Elite race, and are typically run on a different course with less technical requirements. Lambateur class races are intended for our youngest members and they are often accompanied by parents.
Q. What classes exist for racers?
A. for XC. There are 4 classes of racing and a number of age categories. The classes are Lambateur, Sport, Advanced and Elite. There are no age groups in Lambateur. The age groups for Sport and Advanced are 0 – 15, 16 -20, 21 – 35, and 36+. The age groups for Elite are 16 -20, 21 – 35, and 36+. Results for females and males are tracked separately. As a result, there are quite a few categories.
Q. How will my race class be determined?
A. Racers identify the default class in which they wish to compete and confirm it when registering for each race. For XCs, they are automatically put in the correct age group. Typically, new racers start in Lambateur or Sport as it gives them an opportunity to learn racing in a less competitive group and how to ride with others (trails can get narrow at times and good etiquette is both encouraged and expected). However, some racers who are fit and ride a lot may start out in Advanced class. Racers usually figure out when they need to move into a higher category although sometimes their fellow racers need to tactfully “remind” them. As a general rule, if you’ve finished consistently in the top 3 of your class for an entire season and you’re still getting faster, it is time to move up to the next class. If you consistently finish top 3 in Advanced or Elite class, it is time to try some Ontario and Canada cup events.
Q. What kind of bike do I need?
A. You can (and some do) spend a lot of money on bikes but all you need to get started is a reliable and affordable bike. If you’re not sure whether your bike is in good shape, take it into one of the local bike shops (Fresh Air, Petrie’s or Rollin Thunder) for a check-up and/or tune-up. If asked, the shops will usually give you an honest assessment of whether your bike is suitable for your size, skills, abilities and intended riding. Local shops won’t try to sell you a new bike unless there is a safety concern (i.e. bike way too big/small, cracked frame, etc), the bike is totally unsuitable for you (i.e. is a road bike and not suitable for off-road riding), or if they think you’ll end up spending more fixing/maintaining a bike than buying a new one.
Q. What other equipment do I require?
A. A certified bike helmet is mandatory for all Blacksheep events. If you’re not sure about your helmet, bring it into one of the shops and they can ensure it both fits and is adjusted properly. Other than a helmet, you should dress appropriately in appropriate active-wear such as lightweight and breathable shorts and short or long-sleeved shirt or jersey. Gloves are not required but some prefer them. Some like to wear sunglasses (clear or tinted) to keep dirt and branches from hitting their eyes but these are optional and not usually required until a racer gets quite fast. Don’t forget to bring some water for all events. Although not mandatory, you may want to carry a spare tire tube and chain link, a hand pump, and some tools so you can complete any minor repairs without having to walk/run back to your vehicle.
Q. How does the Blacksheep Club Membership work?
A. As indicated earlier, Blacksheep is a not-for-profit bike club. Every member of Blacksheep must also be a member of the Ontario Cycling Association which means payment of a mandatory annual fee ($40 for 2017), the majority of which covers insurance and a small amount for OCA affiliation. In addition, the membership and race fees we charge cover the costs of insurance, organizing and running races and events, trail maintenance, and award and prizes.
Q. How can I get involved and give back?
A. First and foremost, join the Club and attend events. Also, consider volunteering . . . the Club runs and succeeds based on the efforts of volunteers. Helping out with trail maintenance, race timing and course marshaling (making sure people go the right way) is a great way to meet other members and parents. Visit our volunteer page to find out how you can help the club succeed!
See you on the trails!!