Almost 230 riders were at the start line Saturday for the 2008 GearJammer, a 47-km race through some of Squamish’s most challenging trails. There were no cut-offs on the course and times ranged from roughly two and a half hours to more than six hours.
The overall win this year went to Colin Kerr from Bowen Island, racing in the Male Elite category. He was first across the finish line in two hours, 22 minutes and 54 seconds.
Just 22 seconds back was Whistler’s Matt Ryan in 2:23:16, placing second in the Male Elite group for the second year. Matt Green of Vancouver rounded out the podium, well back of Kerr and Ryan in 2:30:46.
Both Kerr and Ryan broke the course record set last year by Neal Kindree, Kerr by almost four minutes.
Ryan had hoped to win after beating Kerr up the first climb, but was passed on a technical section by some aggressive riding for the sometimes loose conditions.
“I attacked on the climb to see what the other guy had, and I think I shot my bullets a little bit early,” ‘said Ryan. “I shut down for a brief moment, I had a few twinges in my legs, and he got me on the descent (Middle Power Smart). He was riding the downhill slightly better so I let him by. He really threw caution to the wind, he was either going to crash, flat out or win, and unfortunately for me it was the third option. It was still a fun race, and he was a fun guy to ride with.”
Ryan caught Kerr again at the top of the Powerhouse Plunge, and managed to shadow him on the descent until Ryan’s front tire was kicked sideways around a corner and he went over.
“I jumped up and he was already gone, I totally lost contact,” he said. “It’s hard to chase after you’ve just fallen so I just took it easy and tried to make up time in the Crumpit Woods but it was too late. Five more minutes in the race and I would have caught him, and he knew it. I talked to him at the finish and he was definitely feeling a little punched by the end while I’ve just come off the B.C. Bike Race and I’m used to longer rides.”
The rest of Ryan’s season is casual. He’s planning to race the Ken Quon Ride On, the West Side Wheel Up and possibly the Cheakamus Challenge.
At the finish line Ryan was surprised to have broken the record.