It's not often you hear a top-tier athlete acknowledge that one event was significantly more taxing than others on the schedule.
But the DC Hit & Run held in Whistler April 1 and 2 is a different animal than some of the others, according to pro men's winner Mikey Ciccarelli. The Ancaster, Ont., native was competing in the combined speed and style event for the first time, and said he quite enjoyed the difference from pure style.
"It was fun. I had actually never really done an event like that. I usually ride slopestyle. It was cool because it's so tiring. I had never been so tired at the bottom of a course before," he said. "It's basically like a full boarder-cross course into a halfpipe. By the time you're done, your legs are just screaming at you."
Ciccarelli, 20, said he approached the contest differently than a typical slopestyle jam. He knew speed was essential, but knew to throw in some tricks in the hopes of earning time deductions as he eked out the win over Derek Livingston and Ryan Manning.
"(It was) a combination of the tricks because the tricks help take time off your overall run. It was just trying to go harder tricks on all the features and try to go as fast as I can," he said. "You kind of have to pick your battle as to whether you think the trick's going to be good enough to get you a good score, or if you can just play it safe and keep your speed up.
"It's a really cool concept for a contest because it's really fun. You have to put a lot of strategy in it in that you have to be as fast as you think: 'Maybe I can do a better trick here.'"
His approach was successful, as Ciccarelli won not only the overall title, but the day's best trick for his cab 9 indy as well. His idea to go big paid off in the end.
"There's definitely a risk and reward and you had to play the game a little bit," he said.
Noting he liked the course, especially the hits, Ciccarelli was thrilled to get to have a day cruising around, though the $1,500 for the win and $500 for best trick are nothing to scoff at.
"I just wanted to have some fun. No pressure or anything, just good homies and everyone was coming out," he said.
Ciccarelli also plans to compete in the Gibbons Style Session on April 15 before heading south to do some filming.
On the pro women's side, Brooke Voigt got past Gillian Andrewshenko and Mutsumi Ido for the win, while Jadyn Chomlack shared the podium with Darren Smith and Rodney James in the men's 16-plus amateur event. Lastly, Tosh Krauskopf, Zakk Harman and Brendan Keuling were the three medallists in the male 15-and-under event.
Full results are online at www.whistlerblackcomb.com.