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Clark, Allen take Samurai titles

Two-day race wraps up year six of seven-year mountain bike series



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Kevin Phelps was the first rider on a hard tail, placing 10 th overall in 10:35:35. He was also the only rider to clean the final bridge on the double black diamond Gargamel trail on day two.

The top woman was Sylvie Allen, who finished the first day in 6:02:35 and the second day in 6:34:20 for a total time of 12:36:55, 22 nd overall. She also cracked the top-20 on the second day, placing 17 th .

“I’ve really been looking forward to the race for over a year,” she said. “The last Samurai I had the summer off with a knee injury and I was sad I couldn’t ride. I’ve been riding a lot this summer with Samurai as the goal. It worked out, I was fit enough, and I had lots of support and encouragement of friends.

“It was also a good course, I love those and ride them all the time. My training is basically riding technical trails, because I knew it was going to be pretty exhausting for the upper body and road riding doesn’t really cut it for that kind of course. Downhilling also helped, as well as dirt biking, but I’ve been mostly dong cross-country this summer.”

Allen, a former national downhill champion, took her lumps on the course. She went over her handlebars three times on the first day, and snapped her brake lever on the last fall. Luckily it was on the last section of 102, and didn’t affect her ability to ride up to the campsite.

“I think the Samurai gods were looking out for me there, it literally happened on the last little bit of singletrack and J.J. at the campsite was able to fix it for me so it didn’t slow me down at all. If it happened anywhere else it could have been a pretty serious problem.”

Joanna Harrington, the 2005 Samurai champion, placed second in 13:48:10, while third went to Lesley Clements in 14:28:15.

At the awards ceremony organizers Tony Horn and Ru Mehta also presented seven special awards in different categories.

The Last Samurai Standing award went to Jack Hurtabies, the last person up at the campsite and the last person overall in 23:23:51.

The Strongest Samurai award, presented in honour of the late Chris “Beeker” Romeskie, went to Kira Cailles who missed the last Samurai and is still recovering from a back injury sustained in an avalanche. She still has rods in her back, which slowed her on the climbs, but made up for it with her solid skills riding technical terrain.