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Riders set Singletrack course


Pre-registration starts next week

Riders, pick your poison.

Tony Horn, the co-founder of the epic Samurai of Singletrack mountain bike ride, is giving members of the public a chance to design the course themselves for this year’s contest.

"It’s just something new and different," said Horn. "Lots of people have ideas for courses. We kept the course a secret last year, and a lot of people were guessing what the course was going to be, and came up with some neat ideas. Plus, it’s kind of fun."

In its third year, the Samurai is a grueling tour of Whistler’s technical mountain bike trails.

In the first year, the course included portions of 19 bike trails with a total distance of 43 kilometres. Some 91 of the 96 starters in the race managed to finish, which led Horn to believe that it might have been a little too easy.

Last year, he rectified the problem with a course that was 57 km in length, and included some incredibly tough climbs and technical descents.

Most of the competitors finished once again – 97 out of 102 starters – but there were more grumbles about the length and difficulty of the course.

This year’s will probably be longer.

The best Samurai route, as determined by the organizers, will win the designer a free entry into the race, a value of $80.

Anyone can enter. The only restrictions are that the course must be hard, mostly singletrack, and without too much "flow". Minimizing highway crossings and road sections is also a priority, and the safety of riders will be considered when making a decision.

The connector between the North Secret Trail and Foreplay is not likely to be completed in time for the race, which is scheduled for Sept. 13, so don’t include it in your route.

The only other piece of advice Horn is giving is to make sure your route is original. "If it’s the same as last year or the year before, we’re not going to pick it. Use new trails or whatever’s out there and be creative."

The course design contest is open from July 4 to Aug. 1.

Entry into the Samurai of Singletrack is closed to returning riders from last year from July 4 to July 31. After July 31, the race will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, space permitting. The total number of entries is capped at 100.

A waiting list will also be created, should other riders decide to drop out of the event.

Applications and money can be dropped off at Slope Side Supply in Function Junction, or call 604-938-1680 for more information.

The fastest time last year was four hours and 22 minutes, and riders were still coming in at the nine-hour mark. It’s not a race, however, but a test – just finishing is something to brag about.

And some riders go to extraordinary lengths to finish. Last year four riders broke their bikes, and hitched to the village to get the parts they needed. Some riders ran down entire technical sections.

The $80 entry fee (WORCA members only) includes a riding jersey, dinner and drinks at Teppan Village, and some extra surprises. Any proceeds from entry fees go back into the contest.

The course for the Samurai will be announced at the WORCA Loonie Race on Sept. 11.