The Wild Willies/Longhorn Saloon Loonie Race on Thursday, May 18 was designed to be a true Lost Lake epic expected to take the top riders over an hour to complete two laps. Then the unthinkable happened.
A person or persons moved at least six signs, two of which were found buried under a log, creating confusion and some danger as the course was lapped back on itself. At least some of the signs were changed between an inspection at around 4 p.m. and the race which got underway at 6:30 p.m.
One of the course marshals estimates he saw about nine people all night, and that none of the riders passed by on the right trail. Most participants made two laps of a much shorter course before heading back to the après at the Longhorn Saloon.
Matt Ryan was the first male across the finish line for the shortened course, but given the circumstances he donated his $50 winnings back to WORCAs youth program. Joanna Harrington won for the women, while Tyler Allison was the top junior.
This is not the first time a course has been tampered with. Last season someone switched around a sign pointing riders onto Bobs Rebob, sending them up the 27 switchbacks of the Alpe dHuez. Riders then had a choice: keep riding to Alpine Meadows, or ride one of the expert descents from the top.
Tonights race (May 25) leaves from the Calcheak area, near the Whistler Bungee bridge, about 12 km south of Function Junction. The highway is mostly downhill with a good shoulder for people riding to the start. The sponsor is Brent Harley and Associates.
Comfortably Numb near to selling out
The third annual Comfortably Numb Trail Run, scheduled for Sunday, June 25, is close to selling out with one month to go.
As of press time over 149 registrations have been accepted for an event which was capped at 150 racers. Because of the number of no-shows last year, organizers will accept up to 170 names.
"Last year we had about 15 people not show up, and we want 150 people to run the course this year," said David Higgins, one of the event organizers. "This year were going to assume some attrition and were going with 170."
The run takes place on Whistlers longest continuous singletrack trail, Comfortably Numb, which starts near the Wedgemont parking area and winds up in Lost Lake Park before following the gravel roads back to Spruce Grove Park. The total distance is approximately 25 km, about 23 km of which is singletrack.
Its a challenging run with over 800 metres of elevation gain, most of it gained steadily over the first two-thirds of the race, before a long, technical descent.
Comfortably Numb is also the second race in the Sea to Sky Trail Running Series, which includes six events the Squamish Thunder, Comfortably Numb, STORMY, Loop the Lakes, Rubble Creek and Lumpys Epic.
Higgins is expecting the event to sell out. Although there will be event day registration, he says theres no guarantee any spots will be left. As a result he encourages people to sign up in advance at www.comfortablynumb.ca .
The current number of advance registrations sets a new record for the event, which is in its third year.
"Id mostly say the word is getting out there. Weve sent out a lot of pamphlets but its mostly word of mouth," said Higgins. "In our survey last year most people were really happy, they thought it was a good race, they liked how it was run, the food, and we sent out those results to people who sent them on to their racing buddies."
About half of all registered runners are local, while the rest are generally from around the province. About a dozen runners have registered from the Kelowna area.
Valley Trail Run on Sunday
The 15 th annual Valley Trail Run will take place this Sunday, May 28 with 5 km and 10 km routes available.
The event gets underway in the parking lot opposite municipal hall at 9 a.m., and will follow a mix of gravel and paved trails to Lost Lake before heading back to the village. The 10 km runners will then turn aside to make a lap of the Whistler Golf Course, while the 5 km group will continue on to the finish line in Skiers Plaza at the base of Whistler Mountain.
For parents of young children, the Westin Resort and Spa will once again be sponsoring the Kids Drop Zone. Parents who sign up in advance will be able to get free onsite babysitting for children aged 3 to 8.
Kids also have a chance to be involved in the run through the third annual Teddy Bear Trot. Kids 10 and under are invited to come out, bring their favourite stuffed animal, and make a short lap in the area. All kids will wear bib number one, and will receive a prize for their participation. The Trot takes place at 10:30 a.m., following the Valley Trail Run.
You can sign up online or download the entry form at www.whistlervalleytrailrun.org . You can also register on the morning of the race from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Mountain Adventure Centre / Nike Store in the Pan Pacific.
The cost is $25 for solos and $50 for families, with all proceeds going towards the Community Foundation of Whistler.
Ken Quon Memorial Ride planned for August
Friends of the late Ken Quon are planning a fun memorial ride and race in Lost Lake Park on Aug. 20, sponsored by Kwons former employers at IGA and organized by his fellow Wild Willies Ride guides.
Quon passed away on Sept. 5 while guiding a Willies Ride as a result of a congenital heart condition. According to witnesses he simply fell over and died, despite the presence of several first aid-certified riders who attempted resuscitation.
Over 200 riders turned out the following week for a memorial ride, a testament to Quons popularity at work and in the local mountain bike community.
More details will be announced over the course of the summer, but the goal is to host a race and family ride involving the local mountain bike community.
WestJet to sponsor Symmetrics
The Symmetrics Cycling team, which includes Whistler rider Will Routley, signed a new sponsorship deal with WestJet, which will provide the team with transportation to races and training across Canada and into the U.S.
"The Symmetrics Cycling team travels weekly to various destinations in North America and around the world," said Symmetrics Cycling co-owner Kevin Cunningham. "Just these past few months weve been to El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico, California, Australia and across Canada for various races and sponsorship commitments.
"The travel fees are what take a good portion of our budget each year. With WestJets commitment, it means more race exposure for Symmetrics riders and sponsor companies. Having WestJet aboard is one more step to our long-term commitment to the development of Canadian cyclists."
In recent years Symmetrics has established itself as the top road cycling team in Canada, as well as one of the top teams in North America with strong results at western events.
The team is currently in Ireland for the FBD Milk Ras stage race, which wraps up on May 29. You can follow the team online at www.symmetricscycling.com .
Rugby players still wanted
Practices have been taking place the last two weeks, but its a long season and the Whistler Hoary Marmots Rugby Football Club are still looking for a few good men and women, all levels of experience, to fill out the squad.
Practices are every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. at Whistler Secondary, and prospective players are welcome to come out and meet the team.
The club is also having its first social and fundraiser on Saturday night, May 27 at Merlins featuring Kostaman and friends . The festivities get underway at 7 p.m. and there will be prizes and giveaways over the course of the evening, as well as a Casino night in the upstairs level.
For more information on the team drop by a practice or contact John Gideon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-935-4966.