Bonrad Willric tops Peak to Valley 

Titus' Jack Crawford cracks five minutes

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Conrad Pridy completes his Peak to Valley Race run on Feb. 21.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Conrad Pridy completes his Peak to Valley Race run on Feb. 21.

Bonrad Willric entered the 36th-annual Peak to Valley Race with its eyes on the prize.

And despite a test from a national team ringer, the squad emerged from the two-day contest with exactly what it came for.

The team, made up of Conrad Pridy, William Goneau, Britt Tilston and Enric Guerra Cusi, posted four remarkably consistent times to finish with a combined 21 minutes and 12.97 (21:12.97) seconds to edge out Titus by 17.54 seconds.

Pridy led the way, as his 5:04.27 stood as the weekend's second-fastest time, while Tilston (5:25.23) was second-fastest among women for the weekend. Both raced Friday, but the major difference came on Saturday as Goneau (5:15.55) was Saturday's fastest skier while Guerra Cusi (5:27.92) was third.

Titus held the early advantage after Friday with the fastest men's time from Jack Crawford (4:53.62, see more below) and fastest women's time courtesy of Madison Irwin (5:19.40). While Meg Cumming was Saturday's quickest woman and Roman Torn finished fourth among men, Bonrad Willric was quick enough to sneak by. In third place was The Clubbers, made up of Max Peiffer, Harry Armstrong, Sofia Leroux and Austin Llewellyn as the top three teams all came from the 150-and-under age category.

"We picked our team based on who we thought gave us the best shot at the big W, and it was nice to see everyone pull through and have fast runs," said Pridy, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club's (WMSC) lead coach for the U18 and U21 teams. "We did a staff time trial a few weeks ago and got all the new and old faces out to ski some gates and picked the teams based on that."

Guerra Cusi is one of Pridy's assistants while Goneau and Tilston instruct with the U16s.

Entering with the hopes of winning, though he didn't get a chance to inspect the course, Pridy acknowledged there was some weight on his shoulders.

"I definitely put some expectation on myself to go fast. It was my first time doing it, so I didn't really know what to expect. I had a lot of friends and family give me horror stories and some strategies tips," he said. "I was definitely nervous in the start gate."

One of the new considerations for Pridy was passing fellow racers on course. Though the competitor immediately before him chatted to him about the possibility beforehand and they handled it smoothly, some miscommunication toward the bottom resulted in some difficulty.

"We were in a bit of an off-rhythm. He kept trying to give me a space and I'd be in the wrong place," he said.

Pridy noted that a shift in the BC Alpine schedule this season opened up the Peak to Valley Race weekend for himself and his fellow coaches, and he hopes it works again in 2021.

The age group winners were: NZ Foundation Team (150-to-174); Karen Crescent Cruisers (175-to-199); Gentle Drifters (200-to-224); Blue Ice Wrecking Crew (225-to-249); and 3 Vets and a Virgin (250-and-beyond).

Full results are at https://tinyurl.com/s42wk8g.

Crawford cracks five minutes

Chris Kent was hanging out at the race's Creekside finish on Friday afternoon, checking in to see if his course record, set in 2000, was still safe.

It was close, but no one passed the 4:52.03 that Kent threw down 20 years ago on the course that has a 1,443-metre vertical drop, 180 gates and five-km length.

However, current national team member and Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnae Jack Crawford put his best foot forward, coming down in 4:53.62 for Friday's best time.

Crawford opted to do the race fairly last minute when the Titus team needed a sub. The team ended up with quite the ringer.

"They asked me and it's something I've always wanted to try," Crawford said. "It wasn't the smartest thing to do midseason, but I'm kind of surprised that I still went a little bit easy and I'm not quite as tired as I was expecting, but it's still the most tired I've been on a pair of skis."

Crawford said that he didn't get the chance to get a handle on the course before dropping, so he might be able to trim the necessary time to take another run at Kent's record in the future.

"I didn't inspect, so [with] all the blind rolls, I almost missed a couple gates," he said.

Even though he put down one of the best times in the race's 36-year history, Crawford acknowledged that he was still hoping for a greater margin (25 seconds) on one of his competitors.

"I was hoping to beat my friends by a little more than I did so he would owe us all a beer, but sadly, that didn't happen," Crawford said.

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