For Neal Kindree the start of the 2012 mountain bike race season is looking much like the start of the 2011 season.
The Squamish elite rider completed the slightly revised course in one hour, 51 minutes and 34 seconds. Kris Sneddon of Sechelt crossed the finish line 23 seconds behind Kindree. Greg Day of Squamish was the third place finisher, crossing the line over three minutes behind Sneddon.
Kindree said he followed Sneddon for most of the race.
In the last lap he followed Sneddon for about six minutes letting him do all the work. Kindree drafted off him on the road sections and let Sneddon blaze the trail in the singletrack areas.
"You can read the rider in front of you, which gives you a good mental break," Kindree explained after the race. "It also gives you the advantage of watching and correcting all their errors. You can read speed off other people and pick better lines and take fewer pedal strokes and still go the same pace."
He said he watched Sneddon for an opportunity to pass at the right moment.
"As soon as he showed a little slip that's when I went," said Kindree.
Sandra Walter of Coquitlam was the fastest female of the day and Rua Read of Squamish followed her. Whistler's Ann Yew finished third. Walter's time was two hours and 12 minutes while Read clocked in at just under 2:18.
Jesse Melamed of Whistler placed first amongst the men between the ages of 20 and 29. He said the course was a demanding one requiring lots of pedalling. The new route extended the length of the course slightly. The start line this year was moved from Don Ross Secondary School to the commercial area in Brackendale where the main race sponsor, Republic Bicycles, is located.
Melamed said he was happy with his result and is looking forward to racing in Pemberton's NimbyFifty on May 26, and in the Test of Metal in June.
Michael Boehm was the fastest Whistler rider with a time of 2:04:32. He won the 35 to 39 age group.
Tony Routley of Whistler won his 50 to 59 age group. It was the first time he'd done the Orecrusher in a few years.
"The ups are more in the open and the downs take advantage of the single track," said Routley.
The next race for Kindree is the first Canada Cup mountain bike race of the season in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. He said he plans to come back home to defend his Nimby 50 title in Pemberton, then do the third Canada Cup mountain bike race of the season at Harwood Hills in Ontario.
After that, his plan is to race in the Test of Metal on June 16, but he noted that if he feels really good there's a chance he might go to the Canadian national championships that weekend.
"I might go back there but only if I feel really, really good," said Kindree.
Sponsorship issues early in the racing season last year created challenges for Kindree's attempt to qualify for the world championships last year. He said Specialized is backing him this year, along with EMD Serono, Ryders Eyewear, Corsa Cycles and Squamish Therapeutics.
Full race results are available at www.webscorer.com.