Phat Wednesday turns up the gravity 

Chainless downhill wraps up six-race series

click to enlarge And Down Will Come Baby... Riders went all out for the last Phat Wednesday downhill race of the year, a chainless rip down A-Line.
  • And Down Will Come Baby... Riders went all out for the last Phat Wednesday downhill race of the year, a chainless rip down A-Line.

A lot of downhillers take their chains off their bikes to practice letting their bikes run, and fine-tuning the art of pumping through corners and ditches to increase speed. For the Phat Wednesday Downhill Series, it’s also mandatory for the last race of the season on A-Line. As well, it’s become an annual tradition for riders to dress up, costumes are getting crazier by the year.

The last race took place on Wednesday, Aug. 29 with a field of more than 130 racers.

Adam Billinghurst posted the fastest time to win the men’s category, letting gravity carry him from top to bottom of A-Line in three minutes, 34 seconds.

Just 1.27 seconds back was Mathieu Hebert, followed less than a second later by J.S. Therriou.

Rounding out the top-10 in a category of 90 riders were Kevin Bartkowski, Adam Wright, Karl Rogne, Chad Hendren, Robin Potvin, Sam Reed and Chris Young.

In the women’s race, Beth Parsons placed first in 3:56, followed by Leana Gerrard in 3:59 and Kassie Strshin in 4 minutes.

Rounding out the top-10 were Lisa Mason, Sara Hulse, Teresa McGeragle, Claire Ardis, Stacey Vanderwaft, Jessica Lajoie and Beatrice Jacob.

The junior category had 21 riders, with Alex Prochazka taking the top spot in 3:36 — good enough for fourth overall including the men’s category. Justin Dale was second in 3:42, and Max Horner snapped up the third spot in 3:43. Rounding out the top-10 were Simon D’Artois, Tyler Allison, Michael Goldstein, Nick Geddes, Ben Porteous, Cameron Porteous, and Aaron Dobie.

Kerri-Anne Hamilton was the only Junior Female, finishing in 5:45.

Some riders went with fun costumes over speed. Some of the highlights included the men in Speedos, the rider with the attached baby seat, the guy on the kid’s bike, the guy in the wedding dress, the pimp, and all the wetsuits.

The overall series awards were also presented. Tyler Allison won for the top junior male and Kerri-Anne Hamilton was the best junior female. Beth Parsons won the female category, while Adam Billinghurst literally edged out series leader J.S. Therriou to take the overall title by just 11 points.

The series set records this year with two events drawing more than 180 racers, and an average of more than 125 riders per event. The previous record turnout was 135 riders in one event last year, when the series had far lower average participation.

Sponsors provided dozens of draw prizes to each event, and Whistler-Blackcomb provided timing, safety, refreshments at the GLC, and the venue. The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) also co-hosted the events to provide Cycling B.C. sanctioning and insurance.

According to organizer Seb Fremont of Whistler-Blackcomb, it was a season to remember.

“It was just a great season, and I’d like to thank everybody who helped out and made it our best year yet,” he said. “We’ll definitely be back next year. There won’t be any changes, but we’re looking into maybe adding more races.”

The last downhill race events of the year are at the annual Harvest Huckfest, which will take place Oct. 5-7. The details are still coming together, but proposed events include a team race on A-Line, a jump jam at the Air Dome, and an amateur slopestyle. WORCA is also looking into the possibility of hosting a cross-country race that weekend.

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