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No snow, no problem for Crud 2 Mud racers

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With snow conditions soft and the snowline all the way up at Expressway on Whistler Mountain Crud 2 Mud participants had their work cut out for them during the annual race May 26.

For some, like Rob Melvin, that meant bringing out his superpowers — painted from head to toe in green, this Incredible Hulk had hoped his new alias would power him down the mountain.

But, he said, at the bottom, "I got a pretty bad time...so I'm trying to make up for it with my costume."

To the cheers of on-lookers he bellowed and tore off his shirt — a scene made famous by the movies and the cartoon character.

Melvin added that the course this year was great and tipped his hat to the organizers.

"The course was amazing... Sebastian Fremont from Whistler Blackcomb does an amazing job of organizing it. The biking component of it this year was absolutely massive."

In all about 110 participants took part in the event, which has come to symbolize the move from the ski season to the mountain bike season.

The big snowmelt recently meant the transition had to take place higher up the mountain than usual, said Freemont. That made for some logistical challenges moving bikes to the transition area the morning of the race.

Overall, he said the race went well with good snow conditions and a great, longer-than-usual bike route.

"The snow melted quickly early May (as well) so we had to go up to the Expressway containers," said Fremont.

But the feedback he got from the racers indicated everyone had a blast.

"A lot of people said they were out of shape," said Fremont. "That was the biggest comment I heard."

Many of the Crud 2 Mud participants had also raced in the Nimby Fifty in Pemberton the day before the Whistler race, he added.

Skiers and boarders coming out of the start gate got off to a slow start with snow conditions what they were — the choice of wax in this part of the race was all important and key to fast times.

"The snow hadn't been groomed in about a month so we groomed it three times prior to the event," said Freemont.

"It settled, but with a little bit of new precip and a lot of moisture. If you didn't wax the skis properly it would have been slow."

The fastest team of the day cleared the course in 11 minutes and 58 seconds.

Trevwah Burke and Ken Young worked together to secure the win with solo racer James McSkimming crossing the finish line in 12:03. McSkimming won the category two years ago, but had the misfortune of crashing on the snow section last year.

This year he was followed by Robin Courcelles and Shane Gayton.

The top solo skier in the female category was Julie Mountfield in 14:21, followed by Lula Darquier and Paola Ricci.

The team of Jim Montrose and Sarah Hogg posted the third fastest time of the day at 12:08.

A total of 12 people finished the course in 13 minutes or less, including the team of Ben Hoffmann and Robert Mitchell, which placed second in the open male team category behind Burke and Young.

The Squamish team of Luke DiMarzo and Mikayla Martin won the Open Junior Team event with a time of 12:38.

Ross Dunlop was the top male solo snowboarder with his time of 12:54, while Wendy Robinson was the top female solo snowboarder in 15:24.

Other category winners with times over 13 minutes were Isaac Marangoni, Daniel Shaw, Sean Holmes, Rob McSkimming, Wendy Robinson and the team of Marie VonBusse and Karen Wareham.

For a full list of results go to http://bike.whistlerblackcomb.com.

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