Sometimes all a new trails needs to get worked in is a few riders, and the Aug. 1 Phat Wednesday race was happy to oblige by sending over 200 riders down a new section of trail that will be featured in the Canadian Open DH during the Crankworx Whistler freeride festival.
The selection of trails included Upper Whistler Downhill, Lower Canadian Open and a new section of Joyride. The chance to ride the course earlier — and contend for $10,000 — drew World Cup star Steve Smith, who won the Men's Open category, almost four seconds ahead of the next rider in 2:12.82. Jed Rooney was second in 2:16.51, followed by Ian Morrison in 2:20.22; the top 10 also included Remi Gauvin in 2:22.21, Naoto Kato in 2:22.74, Nick Geddes in 2:23.04, Berend Boer in 2:23.07, Simon Buzacott in 2:23.37, Sean Faulds in 2:23.50 and Tyler Allison in 2:23.79.
Casey Brown took the women's event in a solid 2:39.33, followed by Charlie's Angels winner Katrina Strand in 2:47.12. Sarah Leishman was third in 2:51.88. The top 10 included Emma McNaughton in 3:03.23, Annie Bisson in 3:05.49, Trish Bromley in 3:07.70, Pat Moreno in 3:18.62, Kathleen McGill in 3:19.47, Carrie Meltzer in 3:21.34 and Sam Shook in 3:34.65.
Chris Dewar topped the Masters category in 2:24.58, followed by Robin Potvin in 2:27.04, Steve Storey in 2:31.91, Jon Moon in 2:32.25, Ryan Newton in 2:32.58, Adam Dagg in 2:33:65, Luke Radnor in 2:36:84, Aiden Hamilton in 2:36.88, Ben Goff in 2:37.71 and Andrew Gunn in 2:37.81.
Adison Macdonald was first in Junior Male by almost 10 seconds in 2:37.97, followed by Brad Jansen in 2:47.69, Felix Burke in 2:48.85, Bracken Camilleri in 2:50.84, Jesse Merks in 2:51.82, Edi Schreyer in 2:57.04, Mathias Saxton in 2:57.20, Max Buchan in 2:57.88, Spencer Wight in 2:58.92 and Adam Woodhouse in 3:00.04.
Ava Buchan raced alone in Junior Female, finishing in 3:25.92.
There's just one Phat Wednesday race remaining this year, the infamous chainless downhill on A-Line, which is kind of like Halloween on wheels with all the costumes. While it's all about the fun, a few athletes will be racing for overall Phat Wednesday titles.
Only the top seven of eight races will count towards the overall standings, and the competition is tight. In Open Men, Nick Geddes currently has the lead with points in six events, including two second-place finishes. He has 855 points while Trev Burke has 700 and Adam Billinghurst 692. A win is worth 200 points.
In Open Women, Sarah Leishman currently has the lead with 1,020 points, followed closely by Katrina Strand with 980. If Strand wins on Aug. 29 and Leishman places second, they will tie. Maria Darquier is third with 730 points.
In Masters it's a 25-point game with Robin Potvin first with 1,040 and Chris Dewar second with 1,015. Andrew Gunn is still theoretically in the running with 855.
In Junior, Adison MacDonald holds the series lead with 965 points and two wins to his credit. Jack Iles has competed in just five events to Adison's seven, but has three wins and could take the win with another: he currently has 855 points. In third, and still in contention, is Brad Jansen with 790.
Ava Buchan will win the Junior Women's race no matter what happens, missing just one event.
In honour of Nick Geddes's battle with leukemia last year, the final chainless race is now called the F-Cancer Chainless A-Line race, with an auction and raffle to raise funds for patients and BC Children's Hospital.