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Mountain bike championships in Whistler this weekend

400 racers from 80 schools

The Whistler Secondary team has been set for the B.C. High School Mountain Bike Championships, which take place Saturday, May 27.

More than 400 teens from over 80 schools are expected to participate, with awards for the top boys and girls in four age groups. In addition, the top riders from each group will be given spots on the Cycling B.C. Junior Provincial Team.

This is only Whistler’s second year in the championships, which have been running for the past eight years. There is also a series of high school events on the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast, but Whistler does not have a formal school team to take part.

The Whistler team will include current B.C. Champion Tyler Allison, Jake Balzarini, Patrick Taillefer, Jesse Melamed, Connor Warnock, Toria Whitney, Deborah Bayliss, Annika Anderson, Patrick Duval, Connor Halliwell, Alex Prochazka, Jasio Smazynski, David Kolvek and Oskar Salonen. Prochazka was the only rider to take part last year, finishing third in the big bike category for bikes over 35 pounds.

The race starts and finishes at Spruce Grove Park, with the first categories starting their race at 11 a.m.

The course is a six km loop through the Lost Lake trail network that includes gravel roads, doubletrack and singletrack, and was designed by WORCA and the municipality.

The senior boys will go first, making three laps of the course. They are expected to take about an hour and a half.

The junior boys and senior girls will start five minutes later, and will do two laps of the course.

The largest field, bantam boys, will leave at 12:30 p.m. followed by bantam and juvenile girls. The juvenile boys, Grade 9 students, will go after a short interval. All will do one lap of the course.

Last up are the Grade 10 boys, who will leave at 2:30 p.m. and do two laps.

Organizers scheduled the event to be spectator friendly, with one group finishing as another group gets underway.

Awards for each group will be presented 30 minutes after each race is completed.

The top five racers in each division and category will be recognized, as well as the top-three students on big bikes. It’s also a team effort with a banner for the team winner and trophies for the top five teams overall.

Whistler-Blackcomb is the official sponsor of the event and will be hosting a coaches’ and sponsors’ reception at the GLC on Friday, May 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. On Saturday the staging area at Spruce Grove will have refreshments, first aid and technical support for the racers, as well as an expo featuring sponsors and local bike shops, including Evolution, Fanatayk Co., Whistler Bike Co. and Snow Covers among others.

The organizers are still looking for other sponsors to help out. If you would like to be part of the event e-mail Les Van der Roest at B.C. Secondary Schools Mountain Bike Association,

Organizers are also looking for a few more volunteers to help out at the staging area as well as on course as marshals. If you can help out contact WORCA youth director Greg McDonnell through or by calling 604-938-9893.