The mountain biking race season kicked off with the throttle wide open at the annual season-opening event Orecrusher.
Neal Kindree of Squamish was the fastest rider of the day with a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes. Celebrating in style he popped his champagne and sprayed the cheering crowd.
Marty Lazarski of North Vancouver, the winner last year, placed second coming across the finish line 20 seconds behind Kindree. Ricky Federeau of Chilliwack crossed the finish line three minutes after Lazarski to claim third placed.
The race was held in Squamish Saturday (May 14) at Don Ross Secondary School.
The fastest female rider in the race was Team Whistler pro-elite rider Brandi Heisterman with a time of 2:13:34, collecting a bottle of champagne to go with her gold medal. She opted to leave the cork on the bottle, sparing her young son and daughter from being sprayed by champagne. Rua Reed of Squamish was the second fastest female. She crossed the line four minutes after Heisterman and came first in her age group. Team Whistler racer Linda Robichaud placed second amongst the pro-elites.
Michael Robinson was the fastest Whistler racer with a time of 1:59:46. He placed seventh in the pro-elite category.
Whistler's Michael Boehm placed 14 th overall with a time of 2:04:56.
At the finish he said he enjoyed the revamped new course but added that he preferred the start format used last year.
"I'm a fan of the Le Mans start," he said.
This year, new race director Armand Hurford opted to use a rolling start after feedback last year suggested most competitors preferred that format over the tradition of starting the Orecrusher with a short running race from the start line to the bikes.
The race this year also featured a simple three-lap format instead of the various numbers of laps for different age groups in previous years. Hurford created a route featuring a two kilometre start leg followed by a nine kilometre loop then a spin through the spectator area at the school followed by a second four kilometre loop.
Jean-Phillippe Boulais was the next fastest Whistler rider with a time of 2:18. The Team Whistler racer finished one spot off the podium in his age group.
Whistler youth racer Bobbi Douglas placed second in the under 20 division and Whistler Off Road Cycling Association rider Austin Reith placed 12 th in the very competitive under 20 male division.
Squamish residents Lauren Rosser and Quinn Moberg were the fastest youth riders and Moberg turned in an impressive time of 1:57:45 to finish sixth overall.
Whistler rider Cathy Zeglinski described the course as a challenge since racers had to go flat out the whole way. She finished the course in 2:23 coming first in her category.
"This is a very tough race for everyone because there's no rest anywhere," Zeglinski said.
Her strength is in climbing and there wasn't any to be found on the Orecrusher course. The course is covered in roots and that,she said, slowed her down putting her one spot down from where she wanted to be at the end.
Zeglinski is now concentrating on the Canadian Masters Nationals and the rest of the events in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Team Whistler riders Mike Hawes and Dave Thornhill took control of the podium in the 55 to 59 category with Thornhill taking first place and Hawes second.
A total of 145 racers participated in the race held on the trails of Brackendale.
The next event on the local schedule is the second annual Nimby 50 in Pemberton on Saturday, May 28.
Defending Nimby 50 champion Colin Kerr of Lions Bay placed fourth overall at Orecrusher.
Orecrusher and Nimby 50 are the first races in a series of seven races known as Hell of a Series. The other races in the series are Return of the Ripper during the North Shore Bike Fest, Test of Metal, Gearjammer, Gearjammer Flow and Just Another Bike Race.
For complete Orecrusher results visit www.testofmetal.com.