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Joyride Huckfest wraps up downhill mountain biking season

Bike Park to close Oct. 10

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Whistler doesn’t mark the change of seasons by leaves changing colour, but by the ceremonial swapping of gear – bikes go into storage and the skis and snowboards come out. But not before one last epic ride.

For Whistler’s hardcore riders that epic could be the Joyride Huckfest, an amalgam of past end-of-year events held since 2001 to mark the closing of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Huckfest runs Oct. 8-10 and includes three competitions, a movie premiere and a few end-of-season parties.

Paddy Kaye, who organized Joyride events in the past, is back heading up the Huckfest festivities.

"I guess the theme for this year’s Huckfest is participation, getting people out," he said. "It was such a successful year for the bike park, everybody was so stoked, so we’re keeping all events open for an entry fee of $10. We have amateur categories, and a Super D event that includes climbing as well as downhilling to get more people involved. The more the merrier."

The Super D will be followed by a slopestyle event in the Boneyard at the base of Whistler. The number of features in play and tricks allowed will be limited to encourage more riders to take part.

"Our goal is to show the talents of all the great riders and youth, and what these guys are doing," said Kaye.

The last event is the Joyride Downhill, an expert race on one of the Bike Park’s most technical trails, "for the more hardcore riders," said Kaye.

While this year’s Huckfest is bigger than in the past, Kaye says that reflects Whistler-Blackcomb’s commitment to the bike park and the fact that the park is bigger and better every year. "I got involved to boost the event a bit, get more exposure and grow it, but at the same time it’s still geared to grass roots and local riders, the whole mountain bike community," he said.

Saturday, Oct 8

Super D – New to Whistler, the Super D discipline is a mix of downhill and cross-country riding that is becoming increasingly popular at NORBA events south of the border. The basic format is downhill, but the course includes a few uphill sections as well.

The course starts at mid-station, and climbs Expressway to Too Tight. From there it descends through Upper Angry Pirate and After Atlantis before climbing Easy Does It. From there riders will head down Golden Triangle, World Cup Singletrack, and a new downhill trail called Devil’s Club. Riders will climb another section of Easy Does It to North West Passage before the final descent on Lower A-Line and Heart of Darkness. The finish will be on the service road after another short climb.

According to Kaye the uphill sections are mellow, and most can be climbed in the middle ring and with heavier downhill bikes. The downhill sections are intermediate and moderately technical, but can also be ridden on cross-country bikes.

It’s estimated that the top riders will be able to complete the course in under 15 minutes.

Registration for the Super D is at 9 a.m. at the base of the Bike Park, and the course will be open for training from 10 a.m. to noon. The first racers will get underway at noon.

Joyride Slopestyle – Local riders will have a wide selection of jumps, stunts and drops to incorporate into their runs, which will be judged by other local riders. This event is open to all riders, with amateur and youth categories.

Registration is once again available at the base of Whistler Mountain, and the training runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., when the finals get underway.

The awards for both the Super D and Slopestyle will be at 5 p.m.

NWD6 Unchained premier – Once again Freeride Entertainment will showcase its latest New World Disorder mountain bike movie at Huckfest. This year’s movie, Unchained , features local rider Richie Schley, as well as B.C. riders Darren Berrecloth, Robbie Bourdon, Aaron Chase, Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, Thomas Vanderham and Dave Watson.

Saturday’s premiere is an all-ages show at Millennium Place, which organizers expect to sell out. The show starts at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 9

Joyride DH – Registration for the Joyride DH is at 9 a.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain, and mandatory training starts at 10 a.m. The final event gets underway at 1 p.m., followed by the awards at 4 p.m.

The course includes Upper and Lower Joyride, which are rated as double black diamond trails.

End-of-Year Party –  Arthur Funkarelli is returning to Whistler to headline the festival’s end-of-year party at the Garibaldi Lift Co. The evening will also feature a second screening of NWD6: Unchained .

Early registration for events is available at Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations, and is encouraged to keep things moving on the morning of the competitions. Waivers and race plates will be handed out at registration table.

Race organizers are also looking for a few volunteers to help out with the events in exchange for schwag. Anyone who wishes to volunteer should call 604-905-2237.

For more information on the Joyride Huckfest visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com/bike

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