Top riders tackle Whistlers A-Line
The A-Line run in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is widely touted as the most ridden bike trail in the world, and for good reason its wide, its fast, and its almost impossible not to get air on it, with more than 30 table jumps from top to bottom.
For the second year in a row, the run has hosted the Air Downhill event, featuring World Cup riders who are in town after racing at Grouse Mountain the week before.
The turnout for Tuesdays race was huge, with 50 riders taking part in the mens pro, mens amateur, womens, junior and downhill chair races.
The big change, according to event organizer Paddy Kaye was the number of athletes entering as pros.
"Were not getting the amateurs into the events, and the calibre of riding has gone way up," he said.
He saw a lot of impressive things in the race, but Whistlers Adam Cook, who raced in the amateur mens group, took the cake. His time would have placed him fourth among the pro racers not bad considering that hes still a junior, and spends most of his time racing cross-country.
"Cook totally came out of nowhere to win this thing," said Kaye. "He has a cross-country background, which is why he figures he did so well. He pedaled the whole way down. I asked him if it was the race of his life and he said, Yes."
Kaye was also proud of Whistlers James McSkimming, who finished second in the juniors.
"McSkimming still has a year at least as a junior, while the other guys will be moving up to pro, so he could own this race next year," he said.
Some of the best feedback on Joyride and the Air Downhill has come from the pro World Cup riders who enjoyed the formats, and the laid back atmosphere.
"A lot of it has to do with the terrain weve got and the people around the event," said Kaye.
"The riders cant believe how relaxed and how much fun it is to race."
On Monday and Tuesady top prizes went to French world champion Cedric Gracia, who earned $2,000 on top of the $3,500 first prize he won in the Joyride Bikercross .
Gracias time of four minutes, 10.209 seconds on the five kilometre course gave him the title by less than a second. Bas Debever of Holland was a close second in 4:10.891, and Greg Minnaar of Russia was third in 4:11.664.
North Vancouvers Thomas Vanderham, 19, was the top Canadian finishing in fourth place with a time of 4:13.517.
The top Whistler rider was Adam Billinghurst in 12 th position with a time of 4:16.995.
In the Amateur Mens race, Adam Cook took the win by more than six and a half seconds with a time of 4:13:446. Kyle Ritchie of Garibaldi Highlands was second in 4:20:023, and Kevin Bartowski of Prince George was third in 4:21.033. Grant Laid and Greg MacDonald rounded out the top five, finishing fourth and fifth with times of 4:24.271 and 4:24.471 respectively.
Tracy Moseley of the UK took the womens Air Downhill with a time of 4:31.478. Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands was second in 4:35.326, and Sabrina Jonnier was third with a time of 4:41.503.
Whistlers Claire Buchar was next in 4:43.932.
In the Junior race, Jamie Biluk of Winnipeg was first for the second year in a row with a time of 4:25.091. Whistlers James McSkimming was second in 4:31.838, and Jamie Wakeling of North Vancouver was third in 4:32.924.
Three downhill chair s also took part, with Whistlers Stacy Kohut winning once again with a time of 5:41.189, edging out Brook Desqusnel and Johnny Therien.
Cedric Gracia, France
Bas Debever, Holland
Greg Minnaar, Russia
Thomas Vanderham, North Vancouver
Bryn Atkinson, Australia
Chrris Kovarik, California
Nathan Rennie, Australia
Rich Houseman, California
Bart McDaniel, Washington
Scott Beaumont, UK
Tracy Moseley, UK
Anneke Beerten, The Netherlands
Sabrina Jonnier, France
Claire Buchar, Whistler
Michelle Dumaresq, Vancouver
Jennifer Ashton, Whistler
Kathy Pruitt, California
Jo Johnstone, Whistler
Katrina Strand, Vancouver
Annie Bisson, North Vancouver
Adam Cook, Whistler
Kyle Ritchie, Garibaldi Highlands
Kevin Bartkowski, Prince George
Will Clifford, Australia
Grant Laird, Whistler
Greg MacDonald, Whistler
Drew Neilson, North Vancouver
Jordan Giesbrecht, Prince George
Connor McLeod, West Vancouver
Paul Smail, Edinburgh
Jamie Biluk, Winnipeg
James McSkimming, Whistler
Jamie Wakeling, North Vancouver
Scott Spence, Penticton
Jamie Mangan, North Vancouver
Rupert Walker, Coquitlam
Cameron McCaul, California
Ross Measures, North Vancouver
Justin Terwiel, Haffrey Creek
Geoff Gulevich, North Vancouver