The Whistler Off Road Cycling Association’s (WORCA) second annual Back Forty race went off without a hitch last weekend, according to president Dale Mikkelsen.
“I would say it all ran smoothly, other than we couldn't access the higher parts of the third stage just because of what kind of year it’s been,” he said. “But we did a course modification, and everybody said, ‘while it may have been shorter, it sure wasn't easier.’ So I think that was the goal.”
The three-stage, approximately 30-kilometre race started in Function Junction and ended with an aprés at Meadow Park, with each stage featuring a big climb, a lengthy descent and a cross-country traverse.
With a $1,000 prize purse for both the Men’s and Women’s Open winners, the Back Forty has one of the highest prize purses in Canada, which Mikkelsen said attracted some really high-level riders, who all praised the challenging nature of the event.
“They were punching out stories on their Instagram saying it's certainly one of the hardest, most challenging cross-country races in Canada, if not the world, and that they'll be back next year,” he said.
The overall winner of the day was Lief Rodgers, who finished with a total time of 1:35:59.53 and managed to snag the top time in both the first and third stages. Coming in less than a minute behind him was Geoff Kabush, who had the top time in the race’s second leg and a total time of 1:36:33.77. Rounding out the top three in the Open Male category was Patrick McNeely with a total time of 1:47:48.50.
On the women’s side, with her top-ranked finishes in the second and third leg of the race, Mandy Rousseau took the top spot in the Open Female category with a total time of 2:30:38.33. Following closely behind was first-leg winner Alex Jessett, who finished with a total time of 2:38:12.95. Rounding out the top three was Zoe Morris with an overall time of 2:43:15.81.
Find full results here.
WORCA plans to once again hold the event in June next year, as it lines up perfectly with the Pemberton 50 virtual event and is a good lead-in for the enduro and cross-country racers' seasons, Mikkelsen said.
The only changes they hope to see next year is more favourable spring weather and hopefully opening it up to 200 riders instead of this year’s approximately 140.
In total, the event raised about $7,000 for WORCA, 75 per cent of which will go towards the construction of new trails in Whistler with the other 25 per cent going to the Indigenous Life Sport Academy for mountain bike programming.