Having missed the chance to ride in one late-season race he's traditionally dominated, Matt Ryan was pumped to take a victory in another, winning the revived version of the Lumpy's time trial.
The Whistler rider took top spot in the race now known as the Lumpy's Fall Trifecta Invitational, taming three laps of the Pemberton-area course in record time to earn the trophy.
"I was a little bit bummed to miss the 20th anniversary of the Westside Wheel Up," said Ryan, referring to the September race he's won each of the past five times he's entered it. "So this is kind of a nice way to finish off the season."
"(The organizers) put on a great show and it's a great little community event."
The course featured three laps with varying routes off the Lumpy's Epic trail, and Ryan finished them in a time of one hour, 44 minutes, six seconds after a one-minute climbing bonus was applied. He clocked in more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Davis English (1:55:23). Jamey Levett finished in third spot at 1:57:26.
"It's definitely not an easy course, that's for sure. I really like it because it's quite challenging, especially with the time-trial format," said Ryan.
"It's pretty relentless. There's no relaxing — it's technical up and technical down. It's a mountain biker's course and I loved it. I had a blast."
Fanny Paquette posted the quickest women's time on Saturday, placing 24th overall at 2:41:10. Leah Trudeau was the female runner-up at 2:47:11. Pique was unable to reach Paquette for comment.
The race took a hiatus after 2009 but was brought back in 2012 by organizers of the Nimby Fifty cross-country race held in Pemberton each spring. About three-dozen riders came out for Saturday's race, and the ugly weather that was forecast for race day didn't end up being much of a factor.
"The day was awesome. The rain held off — just a few sprinkles in the morning — and it was perfect race conditions," said race organizer Russ Wood. "But really, it's such a challenging trail that it can be five degrees and rainy or 10 degrees and misty and it's still short-sleeves and shorts kind of riding, because you're just going for it the whole time. The trails were in good condition, a little slippery, but it was great."
Wood (1:58:05) and fellow race organizer Terry Evans (1:57:41) were among the group of five riders who managed to break the two-hour mark in Saturday's race. Todd Hellinga finished back in 17th place but was the only cyclist on the day to complete the gruelling climb known as "The Whale."
Part of the day was also spent reminiscing about the man for whom the feature trail is named.
Geoff "Lumpy" Leidal was killed in an avalanche in 1998 and remains fondly remembered by the Sea to Sky community, and Saturday was certainly no exception. Part of the après-race festivities included the screening of some old videos that brought back memories of Leidal for many.
"Lump, I think, is a little bit in all of us here in Whistler so it was kind of cool ... to ride for Lumpy," said Ryan.
Wood thanked the half-dozen volunteers who helped keep things running smoothly on Saturday and said organizers were pleased by the turnout, which was both manageable for the race and an improvement over last year's initial revival.
"To be honest, we don't really ever want to get more than 50 but it was great to get all of those people out," said Wood. "Everybody had a good time and hopefully next year we can get up to around 50."
Matt Ryan 1:44:06
Davis English 1:55:23
Jamey Levett 1:57:26
Terry Evans 1:57:41
Russ Wood 1:58:05
Tristan Merrick 2:07:55
Carsten Ivany 2:10:50
Scott Pilecki 2:12:34
Stephan Desjardins 2:14:50
Stuart Wyllie 2:14:56