Epic Racers road trip takes in the Brodie Rat Race 

350 for first in three-leg Hell of a Series

Racers jumble together at start of Rat Race. Photo submitted
  • Racers jumble together at start of Rat Race. Photo submitted

Finally the first real big mountain bike race of the season had arrived and we were all looking forward to test our legs against the best riders from all over B.C. The Brodie Rat Race is not only a huge event in itself attracting over 250 XC & 100 DH riders (both events sold out), but is stage 1 of the three-leg Hell of a Series. The second and third legs consist of the Test of Metal and the Gearjammer, both held in Squamish.

We jumped in the Epic Riders shuttle wagon with the knowledge that not only was this one of the hardest, most grueling races of the season, but the threat of rain was also a certainty for the 48 km XC marathon. The Friday we arrived we were given fair warning that although this race is 20 kilometres shorter than the TOM it was every bit as hard due to the almost 5,000 feet of relentless climbing involved. We were advised not to go out too hard at the start. This sentiment was also echoed by the Epic Ride sponsored Team Whistler riders and Rat Race veterans: Trevor Hopkins, Dustin Gordon and Mike Churak, who all agreed they found this race harder than the Test.

The youth racers had a much smaller loop to complete, probably too easy for the top junior under 17s, becoming more akin to a short track race. Once the mud had settled, Whistler and Squamish had proved it was indeed one of the top breeding grounds for XC racers with Epic Racer Kerry-Anne Hamilton not only winning the under 13 category (she is only 11) but actually being the first junior female across the finish line.

Our other Epic Racer, new boy Mason Protter, put up a great rookie race performance finishing sixth in a highly competitive boys under 13 category. Mason found out the hard way that the lame and tame XC image was simply not true by being beat up and eventually run over in the mass start jostle for position going into the single-track. The always strong Tyler Allison also easily won his under 15 category.

These youth riders had finished their racers before the adults had even completed the first big climb, a grueling 45-minute grunt up the legendary pumpkin patch, and those who had not warmed up effectively (like me) paid the price. That climb set the stage for the entire race, a very non-technical climbing fest with super-fast downhills, mainly on logging roads. That meant over 80 per cent of your time in the saddle was spent going skyward. With the heavy rain some of the real nice single-track climbing was reduced to hike-a-bike because of the killer wet roots.

Team Whistler Racers put up some admirable results with:

Dustin Gordon finishing 15 th in Male Elite time 3.11

Joshua Stott finishing 4 th in Male 20-29 a time of 3.13

Dustin Gordon finishing 15 th in Male Elite time 3.11

Mike Charuk 11 th in Male 40-44 time 3.18

Craig Hamilton (Epic Racers) 27th in Male 40-44 time 3.57

The XC was dominated by Team Squamish racers with the Kindreas cleaning up: Neil winning the men’s elite in an amazing 2 hrs 28 minutes and his sister Meghan in 3 hours 15 minutes.

Onto the Sunday and the DH, which is one of the very rare races that actually caters for the youth of B.C., kind of strange when you consider the depth of talent in the province. Again the heavy rain had made the course very tricky with a bunch of killer wet roots just waiting for you to break, over-turn or over-weight your front tire. It also wasn’t all gravity fed adrenalin, with various places where pedaling efficiency would be the difference between winning and losing.

The Epic Racers youth were some of the few Whistler riders to ride both events. After a coaching pre-ride run with local veteran and legend Chris Armstrong (Patent Pending, Kona & Tantalus) to scoop out the best lines and jumps it was time to put the pedal to the metal. Up first was Epic Racer Kerry-Anne and she set a time of 5 minutes 45 that not only beat every under-15 female but also many of the boys.

Mason was soon afterwards and despite a couple of big slams came through in a very respectable 6:51. Epic Coach Chris Armstrong came down in a strong 4:09. Whistler owned this event with Tyler Allison (Nike/ Trek) joining Kerry-Anne as the only double gold of the weekend with a win in the under 15 male category with a blistering 3:36. Alex Prochazka (Rocky Mountain) took the under 17 Expert title with a 3:26.

Epic Riders will be offering a comprehensive youth development bike camp summer program both in Whistler and throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor — call Craig at 604 932 EPIC (3742) or email

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