The third annual NimbyFifty bike race in Pemberton this Saturday, May 26 is close to selling out all 400 open spots, which is 100 more spots than were offered in 2010 or 2011 editions.
Organizer Russ Wood confirmed on Tuesday that the event was about 95 per cent sold out.
That says a lot about the type of riding out there, as NimbyFifty is no picnic.
The race starts with a roll out from the North Arm Farm and quick up and down loop of Radio Tower to split up the field before climbing Happy Trail to the Waco Connector. Next up is the punishing 101-switchback Big Nimby climb to the Paraglide launch area. In total, it adds up to about 1,300 metres total climbing in the first third of the 37km race.
The descents are technical. There's a new descent to the top of Overnight Sensation, which is a black diamond trail on its best day and gets even harder if conditions are dry and dusty.
The Overnight Sensation section is part of a race-within-the-race, with Red Bull sponsoring Downtime. This trail will be timed separately to the NimbyFifty, and the fastest male and female to the bottom will win $250 cash prizes, plus a team entry to Red Bull Divide and Conquer in Vancouver. To contend for the prize you have to be at the top of Overnight Sensation by 2 p.m., three hours after the start of the race.
After Overnight Sensation the selection of trails gets a little more intermediate, including Sphincter, Econoline, No Err, Ramble On, Moby Dick and Dark Forest before the sprint to the finish.
The race is recommended for strong intermediates and expert riders.
Online registration is available through the website for $75 and day of race registration, if there are any spots remaining, is $80 plus insurance, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the start line. After 9 a.m. no registrations will be accepted because of the computer timing system that is being used.
The race itself gets underway at 11 a.m. The fastest time last year was two hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds, posted by Squamish's Neal Kindree, while the fastest female was Kelowna's Jennifer Schulz in 2:53:06.
Both riders will be defending their titles this year, and contending for the $1,000 first prize for the fastest male and female racer. Second place finishers will earn $250 and third place $150 — a total prize purse of $2,800. As well there are two cash primes on the course for the top male and female to the top of the climbs, $100 per prime for a total of $400. The first will be awarded to the fastest male and female to the top of Radio Tower, and the second to the first riders to the top of Big Nimby.
All-in-all, it's one of the biggest prize purses of any local mountain bike events this year.
The defending champions will have some tough competition this year. World Cup racer Max Plaxton from Victoria is on the start list, as is World Champion Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops — the winner of the women's category in the first Big Nimby in 2010.
For more, visit www.nimbyfifty.com.