Samurai of Singletrack redefining ‘epic’ 

Ride promises 19 Whistler trails in one day

The good news is that there are no swords to fall on and you won’t have to commit seppuku if you fail.

The bad news is that to become a samurai, you’ll have to ride 19 of Whistler’s most challenging singletrack trails in one day.

Tony Horn, director of trail maintenance for WORCA, and Ru Mehta of Teppan Village are taking entries for the first annual "Samurai of Singletrack" trail ride, scheduled for Sept. 15.

"We’ve talked about it for years, that there was no real technical race around here where you actually had to ride the technical stuff," says Horn.

"There’s the Cheakamus Challenge, the (Joyride) Bikercross, the Test of Metal, but there’s no epic race for the guy who just likes to ride Whistler trails. He or she’s not necessarily all about throwing down big air in the park, or grinding up 67 kilometres of doubletrack, they’re just about going for a big ride."

Although Horn and Mehta have yet to ride the entire course themselves, they estimate that it will take most riders between five and eight hours to complete. The goal of the event is simply to finish. Those that do will be annointed as "Samurai’s of Singletrack" and those that don’t get to try again next year.

Although the course itinerary could change before race day, the tentative route runs as follows:

From Function Junction, riders head up Flank Trail then cut off on Industrial Disease. After that it’s Lower Sproat, followed by 99er, Danimal, Beaver Pass and Whip Me, Snip Me. Then it’s back to the Flank Trail, followed by Binty’s, Rebob, Mel’s Dilemma, the Alpine X-Cut, Shit Happens, Big Kahuna, Section 102, and Kill Me, Thrill me. Riders then make their way back to the village via a vigorous climb up the Green Lake Loop, followed by Poler’s Road, Mainline and Rolo Coaster into the village.

"It’s a long, epic ride that is also really technical," says Horn. "It’s sort of like a combination of riding to Warner Pass in Spruce Lake and the (North) Shore. The Whistler riding community likes to play hard and this ride is hard.

"It’s also to promote trail maintenance. We’ve been talking about hosting an event to show people the trails, and how hard we’ve worked on them over the years."

Following the even there will be a Samurai dinner at Teppan Village for all participants. There will be prizes, and a ceremony for the successful singletrack Samurais. After dinner there will be a Samurai Dance Party to raise money for WORCA.

Entry to the Samurai is limited to 100 riders to reduce wear and tear and the trails, and also because that’s all that Teppan Village can hold. If the interest level is high, Horn says he might consider expanding the number of entries next year.

The cost is $50 to enter, or $45 for WORCA members. The price includes a Samurai T-shirt, dinner at Teppan Village, admission to the dance party, and a $5 donation to WORCA’s trail maintenance program.

Entry forms will be available at upcoming Loonie races, at local bike shops, and by e-mailing Horn at anthony_horn@hotmail.com. Only the first 100 entries are guaranteed a spot in the race.

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