Defending Firecracker 50 Champion, Heather Irmiger, to race with Mom

The defending champion of the Firecracker 50 for the past two years, Heather Irmiger, will be doing this years race with a race partner, her mother. Heather had not originally planned on racing the Firecracker 50 given a race scheduling conflict as she is up in Canada today racing the Mont Saint Anne World Cup tomorrow. Her mother had signed up to do it this year with a friend but that person bailed out leaving Heather to fill the spot. In Heather's words, "I saw how hard my mom had been working to do this, so decided to help her make it happen". They will be in the "Maverick" category with Heather taking the first lap leaving Mom to clean up after her daughter (bet she has been there before). Heather has won this event for last 2 years

We asked Heather to tell us a little bit about this up coming opportunity.

[303cycling] Is this the first time you and your Mom have done a competitive cycling event together? How excited are you and what was her reaction to you asking her to do it?

[Heather] This will be the first race I've ever done with my mom - it's actually only her 3rd mountain bike race. She just won her category at the Yeti Beti Bike Bash a few weeks ago. I'm so, so excited. My mom was registered with a friend of hers and I was super excited to see her aim high and push herself to reach a great goal of doing a full 25mile lap. When her friend decided the big loop was too daunting of a task she was left hanging. When I mentioned becoming her new partner, my mom was a bit surprised since I race a World Cup just 2 days before, but then she was excited. We asked the promoter if I could become her new partner and he was super supportive! We'll be competing in the Maverick category. This race is one of my favorite courses of all time and to do it with my mom is really, really special.

[303cycling] Do you think this experience with your mom will create one of those Hallmark moments of mother/daughter or will the competitive spirit be high and tense?

[Heather] I know the competitive spirit will be high for both of us - when we each head out on our lap we're going to want to "chick" as many guys as we can! My mom is a great technical rider and will crush the singletrack! I think it will be a Hallmark experience as well - who knows, maybe we can make it a tradition and inspire others to compete as mother/daughter teams?

[303cycling] What advice are you giving your mother? Has she been taking training advice from you?

[Heather] My mom is a huge winter sport guru so didn't get back on her bike until the end of May. I've been coaching her since then to get ready for this event as well as the Yeti Bike Bash. She also works big 12hr days as a nurse so I've been helping her balance the lifestyle of a working woman with that of an athlete. My biggest challenge has been getting her to cut back on some of her gardening - she has a tendency to spend long hours moving flagstone and planting trees on her "rest days"! I hope we've found good balance - this is the biggest challenge for every athlete.

[303cycling] Any thing else?

[Heather] My mom will be racing her Gary Fisher Hi-Fi and I think she'll be wearing a Subaru/Trek jersey - she will, after all, be my teammate for the day :)

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