More than 300 riders were at the start line for the 2010 running of the Gearjammer, a 52-km mountain bike race through Squamish with an emphasis on singletrack riding.
It was a tough day with dusty and loose descents and 30 degree temperatures greeting riders on the exposed fire road sections. Crashes were common and cramping was almost unavoidable heading into the Crumpit Woods trails.
The men's race was incredibly close this year with the top three men - Logan Wetzel, Colin Kerr and Matt Ryan - placing within 30 seconds of each other at the finish line. Wetzel took the win in 2:24:30, Ker was second in 2:24:48 and Whistler's Ryan was third in 2:24:59. Mike Vine was also in the running, 32 seconds back of Ryan.
Ryan, who won the event in 2009 by a full five minutes, said he had some issues at the start line and then cramped later in the race.
"It was pretty close in the end," he said. "Colin was right in front of me, as close as eight metres at one point, but when I tried to ramp up I got the old cramps again and I had to shut down a little and he got away again. I think if the race was a little longer I would have caught up again but I just ran out of trail.
Ryan has had issues with cramping in the past, but this year he had the added challenge of having a poor start compared to the leaders.
"I wasn't with the lead group of the start, and then I was behind a few slower riders on the descent and the technical stuff. I started to pick people off about halfway through the race and gain some time back and was feeling good towards the end, but I just don't have the horsepower off the start line like some of the younger guys."
Ryan says the GearJammer is a hard race because it's so much more technical than other long distance races like the Test of Metal.
"You're always on the gas, you're either climbing or descending technical," he said.
In that sense he says it's important that you keep something in reserve for the end of the race and the Crumpit Woods. But at the same time you can't lay off too much or you could find yourself behind riders that aren't as fast in the technical sections. Someone had to crash in front of Ryan on Saturday for the course to open up.
This season Ryan has been racing with the Specialized Bicycles factory super D team. It's been a tough season with mechanicals and other issues but he is looking forward to the Canadian Open Enduro during Crankworx - an event he placed second in last year to Brian Lopes.
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