It took Whistler's Adam Billinghurst exactly 58 days of riding to log a million vertical feet in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, averaging over 17,000 vertical feet every single day and posting at least two days over 30,000 feet. He took just two days off of riding from the bike park opening on May 17 until the day he reached one million vertical, Monday, July 15.
The last run was a big deal. Billinghurst headed up the Peak Chair with eight friends, and hung out in the alpine enjoying the afternoon sun before making a top-to-bottom run over 4,000 vertical feet. That put him over a million by 1,588 feet.
"I feel good," said Billinghurst on Tuesday. "I don't want to say it was easy, but it was easier than I thought it was going to be. And I'm tired. And my hands hurt."
His biggest day was 33,730 feet. While he's stopped counting his total vertical at this point, he says he may try to break 40,000 feet in one day this season, just to see if he could do it.
Billinghurst has no doubt that someone will try to break his record and reach a million vertical feet in fewer days — maybe as soon as next season.
"I say go for it, it's definitely beatable," he said. "I know I could beat it, but life gets in the way sometimes. And I wanted to do runs that were fun, too — if I'd focused 100 per cent on riding the quickest way down the mountain I could probably have gotten it done faster. But it would just be so boring.
"I'm sure someone is going to go for it, whether in Whistler or in another bike park somewhere else in the world. I wish them luck."
Billinghurst is a professional parts tester for RockShox and Sram, and said he came up with the idea about a decade ago as a way to test parts. He says he's happy with the way his bike and bike parts handled the load, although there were a few repairs here and there — and he went through six sets of tires.
The epic descent isn't quite over. Billinghurst captured a huge amount of footage from the mountain, and Anthill Films and Sony — which provided Billinghurst with a helmet-mounted Action Cam — will be putting together a film that should be ready in August. There's also some math to do — Billinghurst's GPS says he covered 2,325 miles (3,743km) of ground, but he has to subtract the length of his chairlift and gondola rides from that total.
To get a sense of how much vertical a million feet is, the vertical from the base of Whistler Mountain to the peak is just under 5,000 vertical feet — you'd need to do the full drop to the bottom over 200 times.
Burke back on Canada Cup podium
Whistler's Felix Burke placed third at the third Canada Cup cross-country mountain bike race of the season in Sudbury, Ontario this past weekend, less than two minutes back of the top spot in the junior expert category.
Burke now has podiums in all three Canada Cup races, placing second in the first event at Mont Tremblant and winning the second event at Baie Saint-Paul.
This coming weekend he'll also be looking for a national title at Hardwood Hills, Ontario.
Burke wasn't the only Sea to Sky rider in Ontario for the Canada Cup. Whistler's Mahon Lamont also raced, placing 12th overall in junior expert, while Squamish's Quinn Moberg was a DNF in the men's elite race.
In the pro category, B.C.'s Sandra Walter was first overall on the women's side, followed by Mikaela Kofman and Andreanne Pichette. Catharine Pendrel is injured and did not race.
For the men, Geoff Kabush placed fifth after a flat tire, with Derek Zandstra, Cameron Jette and Antoine Caron finishing in the top three.