Last chance to ride at Harvest Huckfest 

Max Vert Enduro, Junk Bike Wars highlight bike park closing weekend

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park will wrap another season at the end of the day Oct. 13, after five months in operation.

It’s been a good year. While the actual numbers are still being crunched, the park managers at Whistler-Blackcomb are estimating that rider numbers for 2002 will be up by 50 per cent over the previous years’ record total of almost 30,000 rider visits. That’s a 250 per cent increase in visitors since the bike park’s first season in 1999.

At the same time, the park itself has grown with the opening of several new trails, including the challenging Schleyer and Clown Shoes, and the regular use of the Fitzsimmons Chairlift.

The bike park also hosted a number of events, including WORCA Loonie Races, the Joyride Bikercross and Big Air, the Whistler Air Downhill, an independent downhill race, and the B.C. Freeride Championships.

To celebrate the end of another epic year, the park will once again be hosting the Harvest Huckfest on Oct. 12 and 13 before closing for the season.

The first event on Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., is part obstacle course and part smash-up derby – if a rider’s hands come away from the bars, they’re out of there.

"We originally wanted to have an event where people would build and test bikes from a pile of parts left over from the end of the season, but in the end we decided that this would be a lot more spectator-friendly," says Paddy Kaye of Joyride Events.

"Basically we’ll have people riding around in an enclosure trying to knock each other off their bikes, while spectators gather around and watch. It’s not serious, we just want to put some smiles on peoples’ faces."

That evening, Freeride Entertainment will premier the third sequel of the New World Disorder series called Freewheel Burning at Millennium Place, with shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The footage includes World Cup riders as well as freeriders in a wide range of locales. Riders include Bender, Cedric Gracia, John Cowan, Timo Pritzel, Anne-Caroline Chausson, Jeff Lenosky, Ryan Leech, Richie Schley, Greg Minaar, Joe Schwartz, Wade Simmons and others.

On Sunday morning, the WORCA Max Vert Enduro will return for a second year.

Between 9 a.m. and noon, competitors will see how many round trips they can make through the bike park.

They will be able to use the gondola for the race, while other park riders will use the Fitzsimmons Chair. The course has not been set yet, but Kaye believes it will be A-Line for the first half of the race and the downhill course for the second half.

Last season the top enduro rider made 11 laps of the course, or dropped more than 3,735 vertical metres, in the three hours.

"The event was a success last year, and this year we’re expecting it to get quite a lot bigger," said Kaye. "People really enjoyed the format, and for the bike park and the organizers it was a good promotion for lift-assisted mountain biking."

The event is open to everyone, including junior riders, and the cost is $10 for park pass holders and $20 for everyone else. All of the proceeds go towards WORCA.

For more information on the Harvest Huckfest, visit www.whistler-blackcomb.com

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