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Baker, Cook endure


When this year’s Max Vert Enduro got underway at 9 a.m., it was minus three degrees Celsius at mid-station on Whistler Mountain, and a thick blanket of frost covered the course. The only creatures didn’t seem to notice the cold, according to the volunteers, were the black flies.

By the time the race wrapped up at noon, it was about 18 degrees in the sun, and the nip in the air was replaced by the usual clouds of dust.

It was not an easy race, but that was never the point.

In its second year, the WORCA Max Vert Enduro on Oct. 13 challenged riders to see how many laps of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park they could complete in three hours, plus a final lap if they were at the finish before noon rolled around.

From Olympic Station, 55 riders rode up and around Dirt Merchant and Rippin Ruttabega, down A-Line, and through the biker cross course back to the gondola station.

The total vertical drop was approximately 344 metres (1,132 feet) per lap, spread out over approximately five kilometres of track.

The men’s category went to Rob Cook, who was the first to complete his 12 th circuit of the course. That’s 4,138 vertical metres of descending and nearly 50 kilometres of mountain bike trail in just over three hours. One average, a lap took him just over 16 minutes, including the gondola ride.

"It as a lot of fun, but much more like a cross-country race than a downhill – all legs and lungs," commented Cook.

Cook started the day with a group of strong riders, and gradually managed to hammer his way to a lead of close to two minutes when an ill-timed gondola stoppage evened things out again.

"I could see the people behind just five gondola cars back, and then we were all caught up. You had to race the whole time, you couldn’t relax for a second because your lead would be gone," he said.

Physically, Cook expected his arms to be sore, but said he had some cramping in his legs from ridingthe uphill section of dirt merchant with his heavy downhill bike.

When he reached the finish line just before the noon cut-off, he wasn’t expecting to take another lap of the park.

"I was pretty tired by then, and I really thought I was done after the eleventh lap. It turns out that there was still time left, so they made three of us go up again. That hurt," said Cook.

Dave Burch was a close second in the race, finishing a minute-and-a-half back of Cook. Vincent Maicette was third, squeaking his way onto the gondola just before the noon deadline, and finishing about four minutes back of Cook.

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