By Andrew Mitchell
A record number of riders turned out to the first Phat Wednesday race of the season on June 20 in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, a cruise down the surprisingly long and tiring B-Line trail.
It may not have the jumps, drops and stunts of other trails, but it’s long, bumpy, and heavy on the pedaling.
Some 175 riders took part, almost doubling last year’s record of 90 participants for the first race. The male field was the largest, with 130 men at the start gate. Some 25 women and 20 juniors also signed up.
It was a challenge to register riders and organize the race, but crews managed to get the racing underway close to the scheduled time and the racing finished up just after the lifts stopped running.
The Phat Wednesday series is co-hosted by the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA), and it costs just $2 to take part with a WORCA membership — with all the money going into a prize purse for the top athletes.
Adam Billinghurst was one of 15 riders that chose to go chainless, and his top time of three minutes and 50 seconds held with less than 20 riders to go. Sam Reed, with chain, pulled ahead to win the race in 3:46. Tom Grezik was third in 3:51.
The top junior was Ian Morrison, who also broke into the top-10 with his time of 3:53. Max Horner was the second junior male in 3:59, and Colen Prevost was third in 4:04.
Angela Teng was the fastest female rider in 4:15, followed by Jen Ashton in 4:17 and Kathy Pruitt in 4:19.
Matteo Able won the draw prize for the Sram X9 drive train, and other draw prizes includes Hayes Nine disk brakes, WTB tires and a Nintendo DS game system.
The next Phat Wednesday race of the season is on July 4, and will include Angry Pirate, World Cup Singletrack, and Ho Chi Min. Angry Pirate has its moments, but otherwise the course is quite friendly to less-experienced downhillers. Registration starts just after 5 p.m. at the village base of Whistler Mountain, and the first racers should start at 6:30 p.m. Get to the start early if you still require a WORCA memberships.
All participants require memberships, valid bike park passes and $2 for the entry fee.