Corridor riders podium in Mexico 

Pemberton's Slaco, Whistler's Wilson among the medallists at TranSierra Norte

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - MEXICAN CREW The women riders and members of the trail crew at the TranSierra Norte in Mexico.
  • Photo submitted
  • MEXICAN CREW The women riders and members of the trail crew at the TranSierra Norte in Mexico.

Enduro riders from the Sea to Sky corridor performed well at the TranSierra Norte race near Oaxaca, Mexico earlier this month.

In the four-day stage race, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, Pemberton's Emily Slaco took second to former Whistlerite and current Squamish resident Andreane Lanthier Nadeau in the women's division, completing the four-day race in 153 minutes and 6.79 seconds (153:06.79), 5:19.7 back.

Slaco explained that the course provided plenty of variety for the riders.

"It was kind of wet and jungle-like, and then as we got lower and lower, the trails got steeper and steeper, rockier and tighter," she said. "It was a fun mix of stuff."

Though the race was a bit of a longer one, running over four days, Slaco said she's become more comfortable with stage races and felt confident heading in. She wasn't necessarily expecting to land on the podium, though.

"I was just hoping to have a good time and check it all out," she said.

Slaco added that there was also a hodgepodge of weather conditions throughout the four-day contest.

"It was kind of cool and rainy, and some days, as we got lower and lower, the temperature fluctuations would get hotter. All in all, it was a nice mix of cooler temperatures and some warmth, too," she said.

Slaco was drawn to the race because she had never been as far south as Oaxaca, so she was excited to see that part of the country, especially during Day of the Dead celebrations.

"All the vibrant colours and culture added to the whole experience, and then you had a race on top of it," she said.

Craig Wilson of Whistler, meanwhile, ended up third in the men's open 40 division, finishing in 152:51.91. For being more than 4,000 kilometres from home, Wilson felt in many ways like he was riding in his own backyard.

"It was pretty surprising that it was the same weather that we're having here in Whistler right now," he said, noting it rained all four days. "It was comparable to what a Squamish or Pemberton enduro would be, and we did that four days in a row.

"Some of the descending was longer than we have here, which was somewhat surprising. For the people that live and ride around here, it wasn't extremely challenging, but the people that don't have Whistler as a resource definitely were struggling," Wilson added.

Wilson noted that the riders set up camp at an altitude of roughly 2,900 metres (9,500 feet) and achieving a maximum of roughly 3,350 metres (11,000 feet).

"It was a different Mexican experience than everyone expected, but it was pretty amazing at the same time," he said. "It was quite challenging, and reminded me a little bit of riding in Lillooet. It was very variable. You'd start out and it was very similar, muddy and slippery conditions up high, and as you descended down closer to the valley, it changed to a Lillooet-style trail.

"The lowest parts were where it was actually Mexico, but we never got to see a whole lot of that. We stayed pretty high for the majority of the event."

Wilson joined the race as other friends of his had completed other races by the same organizer over the last several years. He decided he didn't want another year to go by without him doing one.

"This year, I didn't want to miss out. I wanted to experience it," he said. "It was word of mouth that it was really good, so we went for it, and it was an amazing experience."

He added that because there was no cellular reception, the race provided a welcome reprieve from devices.

Other local riders finishing the race were Jaime Hill (eighth in women's) and Davis English (11th in pro men).

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