The first Bud Light Phat Wednesday downhill series race of the season took place on June 12 with a record-breaking 295 riders taking on the course. All 275 eligible spots were sold and a few riders were turned away at the registration table — something that's also unprecedented. Organizers kept the lift turning an extra hour to get all the riders up to the top of the course.
The course was B-Line and Heart of Darkness, finishing at the bottom of the mountain.
In addition to the main event, a group of riders started a winner-takes-all chainless category, which was extremely popular with some 114 riders throwing $5 into the hat. The prize in the open men's chainless category with its 75 riders was $375.
In the Junior Male race, Jack Iles took the win in a time of 5:36.66, over 18 seconds faster than the next rider while posting a time that would have placed him second overall in the open men's category. Alex Auger and Finn Iles were second and third in 5:54.89 and 5:55.09. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were Adison Macdonald, Isaac Marangoni, Braden Metza, Liam Stevens, Jackson Bathgate, David Symons and Cooper Bathgate. Bowen Irvine edged Jackson Goldstone in the chainless race, 6:09.58 to 7:16.51.
The only female junior racer was Bailey Goldstone in 7:31:51.
In the Open Female race the win in both the regular category and chainless category was Sarah Leishman in 6:06.70. In the regular race she was followed by Jamie Hill in 6:10.30 and Jen Ashton in 6:11:11. Also in the top 10 were Kathleen Mcgill, Lorraine Blancher, Katrina Strand, Keren Wareham, Beth Parson, Leonie Picton and Lula Darquier. Blancher and Strand were second and third in the chainless race.
In Master Male, Richard Bedford was the guy to beat in 5:48.53, followed by Mathieu Hebert in 5:49.39 and Richard Armstrong in 5:50.59. Also in the top 10 were Shane Gayton, Shannon Kingi, Chris Young, Adam Dagg, Andrew Gunn, Austin Ling and Chris Addario. Hebert was the top chainless rider, followed by Chris Young and Chris Addario.
Tyler Allison won the Open Male category, placing first out of 146 finishers with a gap of over five seconds and a time of 5:33.27. Chris Kovarik was second in 5:38.41, followed by Adam Billinghurst in 5:39.00. In the top 10 were Curtis Keene, Shawn Neer, Alex Corbonneau, Zander Geddes, Oliver Cooper, Nick Geddes and Ian Morrison.
Kovarik, Billinghurst and Keene all rode chainless.
The biggest winners, as always, were in the prize draw. Prizes handed out after the first event include two pairs of Rock Shox Boxxer forks, a Sram X0 drive train, a Kali helmet, bags of swag from Garbanzo Bike and Bean, Bud Light gear and Truvativ bars and cranks, among others.
The second Phat Wednesday race of the season was on June 19, with results to follow in next week's issue. The third race is on June 26.
To take part you need to be a member of WORCA, have a valid lift pass and chip $2 into the pot. Registration run from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on race day, and the first riders start at 5 p.m. For more, visit www.whistlerbike.com.
Smith podiums again
Nanaimo's Steve Smith now has podiums at the first two events of the 2013 UCI downhill mountain bike season.
At Fort William, Scotland, on June 9 Smith finished third, which he followed up with a silver medal at Val di Sole, Italy, on June 16. He had never earned a podium at either race.
Gee Atherton won the first two events, and in Italy he finished the dry, dusty course in 3:12.18, followed by Smith in 3:13.18 and Greg Minnaar of South Africa in 3:13.43.
"It's a bit of a letdown to get second, but at the same time I'm really pumped," he told Canadian Cyclist. "It's one of my top results, and it was really good for the point series. Gee is riding well and this track is tough — it's just powder and roots, you're drifting and hitting roots the whole time so I was really happy to hit that last corner."
In the women's event, Canada's Casey Brown placed sixth overall while Micayla Gatto was 10th. Rachel Atherton, Gee's sister, is also two-for-two on the circuit, and in this race she was followed by French riders Emmeline Ragot and Floriane Pugin.