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Kings (and queens) of the hill



Jones, Dumaresq take Whistler downhill; locals quick

Covering four kilometres of dirt and rock on Whistler’s challenging downhill course is no mean feat.

With several large drops, tight tree sections, rock gardens, and a straightaway where riders were bombing in excess of 70 km/h, riders put it all on the line at the Tim Hortons Mountain Bike National Championships on Saturday, July 19.

When the dust finally settled, a relieved Mike Jones was still sitting in the hot seat at the finish line. Jones was the first of 58 men in the Elite category to ride the course, and none of the riders managed to best his time of three minutes, 29.65 seconds. He had a top speed of 68.69 km/h on a straightaway section the announcers were calling the Autobahn.

Jones, who hails from Victoria and was the provincial champion last season, said he knew he had a strong ride from top to bottom, aside from a few minor mistakes, but didn’t count out any of the other riders until the very end.

The rider that came closest to Jones was Trevor Porter of North Vancouver. The top Canadian on the World Cup circuit this year, Porter finished the Whistler course in 3:32.64, three seconds back of Jones.

Eric Goss of New Brunswick, one of the top racers on the Canada Cup circuit this year, was third in 3:33.19.

A pair of Whistler riders, Chris Dewar and Tyler Morland, finished sixth and seventh respectively with times of 3:36.32 and 3:37.67. Morland won gold last year in the nationals at Sun Peaks resort, competing in the senior expert division.

Dewar said he didn’t know what time he had to beat at the start gate – just that he was up against the top riders in the country, and was racing a familiar course.

"You don’t know what’s going on when you’re up there at all," said Dewar. "You just give’er, go as hard as you can all the way down. Do your best."

If he was given the day back again, Dewar says there were a few things he would have done differently.

"I made a few little mistakes coming down that cost me a little, but you can’t have a perfect run all the time," he said.

"Top 10 is great. I’m pretty happy with the time I made. If I had to go back and do in again, I probably would have done some more training leading up to this, and ridden the course more last week, but everything went pretty well. It’s a fun course, and that’s the way I rode it."

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