The SISU B.C. Cup mountain bike series kicked off in Summerland last weekend with a cross-country, four-cross and downhill competition.
Also this year, Action Quest had a category for the new provincial XC Marathon Series, the second of four races on the calendar which take part on point-to-point courses that are 45 kilometres or longer.
So far the B.C. Cup is off to a good start with more than 150 cross-country competitors and more than 200 downhillers taking part.
More than 20 Whistler riders took part this year, winning four gold medals, one silver medal and four bronze medals.
In the Under 15 Men category, Whistlers Brandon Semenuk was third with a time of 1:16:31 for the 20 km course.
James Crowe finished second among the Junior Expert Men, finishing the 50 km marathon course in 2:37:43. Squamish rider Neal Kindree won that category with a time of 2:20:36.
In the Senior Expert Womens race, Marcy Bennett was fourth in 1:37.52 on a 28 km course.
Tyler West of Whistler and Pemberton was third in Senior Elite Mens gold medal on the 50 km course, finishing in 2:26:48. Matt Ryan, an Aussie-Whistler transplant, was 15 th in 2:37:42 and Lloyd Thomas 22 nd in 2:50:23.
Angela Teng was ninth in the womens Senior Elite group in 3:38:41.
Matt Bodkin was 13 th in the Master 30 and Over Expert Mens category in 2:46.10. Trevor Hopkins was 17 th in 2:49:29.
Marilyn Hellier, racing a 28 km course, finished sixth in the Master 30 and Over Expert group in 1:48:07. Jodie Hopkins was ninth in the category in 2:16:24.
In the womens Marathon Series, Lesley Clements won her second race in a row in a time of 3:10:45, almost seven minutes faster than her closest competition. She says her goal is to race in all four marathon events this year, and to finish first overall.
"I didnt want to race in the B.C. Cup this year because it was a huge commitment, with competitions every few weeks. Going to four races is easier, and one of the races is the Test of Metal, which is something I would do anyway," says Clements, an accomplished racer with strong finishes at the national and international level.
"A lot of riders were getting out of B.C. Cups for the same reason but are coming back for the marathons. Cross-country is alive and well."
She prefers the marathon format to making loops on a closed course because you get to see more of the area and it feels more like a good, long recreational ride than a race. "The scenery changes," she said.
The secret to making a strong finish is to pace yourself at the beginning and build momentum near the end, she says. "Thats about it. Just dont blow up in the middle because you went too hard out of the start. Its a long race," she said.
Eric Crowe was third in the Masters Marathon with a time of 2:43:19, less than five minutes back of the lead.
In the downhill, Whistlers Tyler Morland took the Elite Mens category in 3:44.87, more than four seconds faster than Squamish pro Shaums March in 3:49.22. Jeff Beatty was fifth in 3:52.55, Adam Billinghurst was 14 th in 4:01.03, Chris Dewar was 16 th in 4:02.12.
In the Elite Womens race, Claire Buchar also won gold with her time of 4:20.68.
Squamish rider Kyle Ritchie was first among the Junior Expert Men with a time of 3:57.61.
Brook Baker, in her first year racing as an adult, won the Senior Expert Womens race with a time of 4:31.66, more than 22 seconds faster than the next competitor. Her time was also fast enough to have finished third in the Senior Elite group.
Jeff Leigh finished third in the Senior Sport Mens race with a time of 4:07.72.
Greg MacDonald was 10 th in the Master Expert Men 30-Plus group in 4:19.68.
In the 4X, J.S. Therrien and Tyler Morland were fifth and seventh in the mens consolation final, while Shaums March went to win the pro mens gold medal.
Claire Buchar won the womens 4X, earning her second gold medal of the weekend.
The B.C. Cup season continues in Mission on the June12-13 weekend with the Bear Mountain Challenge, which includes cross-country and downhill races.
For more information visit Cycling B.C. at www.cycling.bc.ca.
Did we miss anyone? If youre a mountain biker from Whistler and take part in races let us know who you are. Call 604-938-0202 ext. 231 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.