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Bike Park goes full-out with Bike Bash ’04

After setting record after record this season, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is ready to go open full-time for the season.

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To celebrate the grand opening (the park has been opening on weekends since May 1) Whistler-Blackcomb is hosting Bike Bash ’04.

On Saturday and Sunday there will be a bike expo at the base of the mountain with booths for local bike shops and manufacturers. The new Garbanzo Bike and Bean shop will also open for the season in the Essentially Blackcomb space opposite the gondola station.

The main event is the third annual Crud to Mud Downhill, which takes place on Monday, May 24. This unique race starts on the snow with a GS race on skis and snowboards, and finishes with mountain bike race down A-Line. You can race as a solo or as part of a team of two.

This year both the ski race course and the transition area are being moved up the mountain, as a warm spring made it impossible to ski all the way down to mid-station.

As a result it’s hard to say how long it might take you, or what kind of strategy is going to win the race. There are a lot of titles to defend, however.

For example, Jenn Ashton has won the women’s title for the last two years running with times of 9:44:05 and 9:23:21. Alexis Vagelatos and Adam Billinghurst won the team category for the past two years with times of 7:30:67 and 7:25:59 respectively.

The snowboard theory – the idea that you can go faster because you don’t have to get out of ski boots – has only panned out once in the junior category, and not since the first year when everybody was still figuring this race out. That’s why they have their own category this year.

Besides, Bike Park manager Tom Prochazka showed everyone that you can still ride A-Line while wearing your ski boots.

Registration is available at Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations in the village, or by calling 604-932-3434. Because of the race logistics you have to register before Monday.

Good luck and don’t let your ski leotard get caught in your sprockets.

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