There are a lot of reasons why event planners pick September to run some of the biggest races in Whistler: the weather is good, the holidays are over, people are feeling fit after a summer of activities. In 2006, looking at all of the events taking place, Tourism Whistler officially promoted September as the Month of Pain.
That name has stuck among locals even if the official promotion has stopped. This month there are three bike events and three runs over three weekends — not counting the Samurai of Singletrack, which was closed to the public this year, and regular events like the WORCA Loonie races. The annual Sea 2 Summit adventure race has been cancelled this year, but another mountain bike event has been added to the calendar to round out the month.
It’s possible, if difficult, to do all of the races, and participants in multiple races will be recognized by Pique at the end of the month.
West Side Wheel Up — Saturday, Sept. 8
This is the 14 th annual West Side Wheel Up bike race, a classic race that is about twice the length of a Loonie Race and follows a selection of trails on Whistler’s west side.
The race starts at the entrance to Function and follows the Millar Creek Road to Alta Lake Road and the entrance to Lower Sproatt trail. From there the course circles Beaver Lake trail, then climbs back up through Kadenwood to Upper and Lower Beaver Pass. After climbing back up Whip Me Snip Me, riders will make their way on the Rainbow Trail to Bob’s Rebob, and the full length A River Runs Through It.
The fastest riders generally finish in around an hour and average times are roughly an hour and a half.
The highlight of the event is the post-race barbecue and party, with food and refreshments for participants.
The cost is $20 to enter, which includes the party and a ticket to the raffle. Once again the top prize is a season pass donated by Whistler-Blackcomb, with other prizes donated by local hotels, restaurants and retailers. Other raffle tickets will also be available at sign-on and at the after-party.
The event is a fundraiser for the B.C. Disabled Ski Team, which is coached by West Side Wheel Up event director Phil Chew.
The Wheel Up is one of Whistler’s oldest races, started by Les Clare to wrap up the riding season on a high note.