While the mountain biking in Pemberton is not exactly a secret anymore, Pemberton has been a lot less focused on hosting events than Squamish and Whistler in recent years.
The launch of a huge new climb last year - the 101-switchback, 11.2 km Big NIMBY - got a group of local riders thinking that it was time for that to change.
Enter the NimbyFifty, a 50 km cross-country marathon that will take place on Saturday, May 29. The route is still being finalized, but it will start with a short fire road climb, followed by Radio Tower and Happy Trail before hitting Big NIMBY. From there the trail descends Overnight Sensation, climbs back up to Spyncter and on to Econoline (backwards) and No Err. Other trails include Ramble On, Smell the Glove and Dark Forest.
"Russ (Wood) and I both do a lot of cross country racing together, Dean Linnell as well, and living in Pemberton it seemed like everything was happening in Squamish and Whistler," said Terry Evans, who is organizing the race along with Wood and Linnel.
"Last year when Big NIMBY opened up we were riding it and the first thing we thought is 'this could be a race course,' which is where it all came from."
The goal of the event is to have as much singletrack as possible, and aside from a few dirt road climbs they've succeeded. Overall the trail is quite technical, and Evans says it's not something that will appeal to beginner riders and many intermediates.
"It's not like the Test of Metal where beginner and intermediate riders can do it and maybe walk the Power Plunge, it's going to appeal a little more to riders who like the GearJammer or Four Jacks races.
"We tried to cover the key riding areas, Mosquito Lake and the Happy Trail area. The first half is going to be the toughest with the Big NIMBY climb, but the second half of the course has some punchy climbs and some fun, rolling singletrack. By that time people should be getting pretty tired. They'll be challenged but at the same time will have smiles on their faces."
The organizers capped the entry limit at 200 and at press time the race was about one-third full. Most of those entries are from Vancouver and North Vancouver after the race was profiled on NSMB.com. Organizers want to see riders from Squamish to Pemberton sign up as well.
The timing of the race was deliberate, three weeks before the Test of Metal and a week after the North Shore cross country marathon. As well, conditions for riding in Pemberton are usually best before summer, when the woods get dry and dusty.
"We thought it would be cool to start the (marathon cross-country) season in North Vancouver then come up to the other end of the corridor for the next race before all the races shift to the middle of the corridor as the season progresses," said Evans.
The goal is to make it an annual event, says Evans, with a portion of the proceeds going back into the trails through the Pemberton Valley Trails Association.
Online registration is available for $50 until May 26. Day of race registration will be available for $60 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the start/finish line at Ravenscrest. The race gets underway at 11 a.m. Registration includes food and a refreshment at the finish.
For more information or registration visit www.nimbyfifty.com.