Despite an early setback in the first stage of the Giant Toa Enduro at Crankworx Rotorua in New Zealand, Whistler's Spencer Wight recovered nicely for a fifth place finish in the Men's Under-21 category.
"(I) started off with a bit of a hiccup on stage one, going down hard onto my chest and knocking the wind out of me," Wight said in an email.
"There were about 50 people heckling there and yelling at me to "Get the hell up!"
But Wight pedalled through the pain, posting a seven-stage total of 41 minutes, 12.51 seconds to claim fifth.
"I'm stoked with fifth," Wight said.
"My goal coming into this race was for a top-10 and I exceeded that expectation. Now that I know what I'm capable of at this level I want to get to as many Enduro World Series events as possible."
Fellow Whistlerites Conrad Murdoch and Edi Schreyer finished 12th and 23rd in the Under-21, respectively.
"Arriving in Rotorua three weeks prior to race day was extremely helpful," Murdoch said. "It gave me the chance to explore nearly every single trail they had to offer. Once the course maps were released I already had a nearly perfect idea in my head for what race day would be like."
Schreyer — who has been living and working in New Zealand for the past five months — said he was happy with his result as well.
"The Enduro went quite well despite the unfamiliar slippery tracks," he said.
"There were a few falls and minor mistakes. Usually when I race I try to keep it consistent, but the slippery mud and roots made that difficult."
The course conditions were different from those found in Whistler in that they had less ascensions and were prone to slippery conditions, Schreyer said.
"Once it rains it gets uncontrollably slippery. You could say the mud is as slippery as crystal clear ice," he said.
"(But) the surroundings are crazy beautiful. The forest we raced in is eternally green, full of red cedars and punga trees that look like giant prehistoric ferns."
Katrina Strand — who finished 22nd in the women's pro field — coaches Wight and Murdoch back in Whistler.
"I'm very proud of Conrad and Spencer," she said. "I have been training those two for awhile now, so to see their hard work pay off with such amazing results in a thick field of competition is definitely gratifying. They are two of the most passionate, hard working athletes I know who both have a bright future."
As for her own race, Strand said it was tough going.
"All the pictures and videos I have seen don't give the difficulty of the event justice," she said. "We were all challenged by the race stages and transition times, most of the riding was greasy and unpredictable and there was some serious hustling to get from stage to stage, which made it tough to feel ready to race. It felt more like survival."
After a few good falls in the first, most difficult stage, Strand said she couldn't find the necessary confidence and aggression to compete.
"I'm sure some would be ecstatic with my result considering a field of around 80 strong women racers, but I just know what I am capable of and where I've been before," she said.
Whistler's Jesse Melamed finished 27th in the men's pro field, posting a time of 37:16.08.
Full results from the enduro can be found at www.enduroworldseries.com/results/.
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