Loonie course puts riders to the test 

Volunteer Terry Phillips prunes back a tree that was encroaching on the Ridge Trail in the Whistler Interpretive Forest on Sunday

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After a couple of short, low intensity Loonie Races to start the season, Lee Harrison of Wild Willies went to town last week with a Lost Lake course that included every challenging climb in the park, some long-lost sections of challenging singletrack, and a final climb up Blackcomb to Roam in the Loam before descending to the after party at the Longhorn Saloon. There was a one-hour cutoff before the last climb, and the majority of the field was turned back.

On the women’s side, Joanna Harrington made the most of her first Loonie of the year to finish the course in 54 minutes and four seconds. Lindsey Burch was second in 56:05, and Sylvie Allen third in 56:08.

Dave Burch won for the second time in three weeks on the men’s side, with a time of 42:15. Matt Bodkin followed up in 43:12, and Matt Ryan took third in 43:33. The top junior male was Jesse Melamed in 55:18. No junior females finished before the cutoff.

Some 263 people registered for the race, so a special thanks to the sponsors for the refreshments.

Tonight’s race (Thursday, May 24), is the annual Tour de Trash, sponsored by Brent Harley and Associates, Cascade Environmental and Millar Creek Café.

The best way to do the course is to park in Function Junction and take the highway south to the Cal Cheak camping area. Follow the main road until you come to the sign-in. The course heads back to the Function Area on a mix of backroads and trails, including the notorious Trash trail.

You must be a member of the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association to take part. Memberships are $40 for adults, $25 for youth 18 and under, and $90 for families including two adults and up to two children. For more information visit www.worca.com .

WORCA vollees get trails ready for the season

A group of 26 volunteers turned out on a rainy Sunday to clean up Whistler’s bike trails for the season.

A lot of the most intensive work was concentrated on pruning and raking the Interpretive Forest Trails and Tunnel Vision, but crews also gave some attention to Bob’s Rebob, Sugar Cube Hill, the lower part of Billy’s Epic, Emerald Forest, Mel’s Dilemma and North Secret.

The average volunteer day was around four hours, although a few stayed to work longer.

As a result of the volunteer day and earlier clean-up efforts by the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) trail contractor Chris Markle, most of the lower valley trails are now cleared. There is still snow at the higher elevations of some trails.

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