Whistler riders go solo this weekend 

A pair of local mountain bikers will be representing their hometown in this year’s World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin on Saturday and Sunday.

Joe Maika has never entered an Adrenalin race before, but has been active – and very successful – in two and three-day adventure races.

"What happened with me is that they called me up and said I would be a good candidate (for the World Solo Championships) based on my experience in adventure racing, and qualified for the elite division based on my experience," said Maika.

Maika has been training for the event, and will draw on his experience in adventure racing and mountain biking to support him through the race.

"I’ve been going for lots of long rides, and I have a lot of experience with nutrition and long days racing at a high level of output. I’ve done the work and I feel ready," he said.

His pit crew includes a friend who will act as his mechanic, and his sister, who will be providing him with food and encouragement throughout the race.

"My goal is not to finish last," joked Maika. "Seriously though, with eight of the top 10 (solo riders) in the world in Whistler, it’s going to be a great field out there, very competitive. I’m just excited to be a part of this."

In the days leading up the race, Maika ate, slept, and took a few easy rides to keep his bike legs warm.

"To me, this is a mental challenge as much as it is a physical challenge. I can’t wait for the race to start," he said.

Alex Cogger once worked for Trilife Sports, which organizes the Adrenalin Series, but only did his first solo event last year, in Snoqualmie, Washington. Although an injured IT band cost him several hours, and he pedalled the last six hours with one leg, Cogger still qualified for the World Solo Championships.

He did not commit to entering until he found out that the championships would be held in Whistler this year. Once that was settled, Cogger committed to spending as much of his time in the saddle as possible, putting in some long rides.

"I’m about as ready as I’m going to get, so I’m basically just eating and sleeping until race day," said Cogger.

Cogger has also ridden the course several times, so he knows what’s in store.

"I used to work there so I know that this is probably one of the most technical 24 Hour bike race courses I’ve ever seen, by far," he said. "One of the organizers from California came up and he couldn’t believe it, so he actually cut out one section of the downhill, dumbed it down a little bit. Still, it’s going to be pretty interesting racing this course in the middle of the night."

Cogger believes the local riders will have an advantage because they’re used to biking on more technical terrain. His own concerns are the dust and the possibility of rain.

Cogger’s pit crew consists of a friend from Colorado who has experience in the 24 Hours of Adrenalin Series. Mike Watton, the president of WORCA, will serve as his mechanic.

"It’s all coming together, and I’m starting to get excited. Whatever happens, it’s going to be amazing," said Cogger.

The race runs from noon on Aug. 30 to noon on Aug. 31 around the Lost Lake trail system and Blackcomb Mountain. For more information, visit www.24hoursofadrenalin.com. Registration closes on Aug. 30.

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