Originally, Jesse Melamed wasn't planning on racing the latest stop of the Sea to Sky Enduro Series, but heading down to Wade's Excellent Adventure in North Vancouver last weekend wound up being a good decision for the Whistler rider.
Melamed claimed a pro men's victory in the event after receiving a personal invite from race founder Wade Simmons, and he's now swept the first half of the series, having secured wins in Squamish and Pemberton earlier this season.
"I went into it really relaxed and didn't have any plans to win," said Melamed. "I took it seriously, but they had ice cream and cookies on the course, so I had a really good time.
"It was a really fun weekend, and it kind of made me wonder why I approach other races so serious, because I ended up doing pretty well."
For the second race of the series in a row, there wound up being some controversy with the final results after the fourth of five stages on Saturday, May 24, was pulled because of some on-course confusion. Removing the fourth stage wound up helping Melamed to the win over Drew Pautler, who finished 17 seconds back of Melamed's winning time (23 minutes, 15 seconds).
"There was a little bit of a mishap on Stage 4, some of the flagging was down," said Melamed. "Half the pro field, I think, took the wrong turn... I had a 40-second detour, so it kind of put me to second on that. Once they pulled the stage, that put me back into first.
"I felt kind of bad, because the other guy, Drew, he had a super good race and he was in the lead until they took out all of our detours. It was almost a little bit of a guilty win."
Jamie Biluk (23:57) finished third in the pro men's race.
There wasn't a huge turnout for the pro women's category, but Amy Pryse-Phillips scored the victory in a time of 35:16.
Other division winners on Saturday included Kenneth Perras (open men, 29:54), Deborah Motsch (open women, 41:15), Lars Andrews (masters men, 31:59), Aimee Dunn (masters women, 42:07), Owen Hunter (junior men, 43:42) and Whistler's Georgia Astle (junior women, 37:42).
Visit www.seatoskyenduro.com for full results. The next race on the schedule comes up on June 28 in Whistler.
Meanwhile, Melamed is preparing to return to action on the Enduro World Series, which hosts its second event of the season on May 31 and June 1 at the TweedLove bike festival in Scotland.
"It will be a tough race and a long couple days," said Melamed. "I'm looking forward to it."