The fourth annual Samurai of Singletrack put more than 100 riders through the ringer last Saturday, with periods of heavy rain turning the already wet trails into slippery mush. Almost everybody experienced a crash or two over the 51 kilometre epic, and some riders took more than 13 hours to complete the course a record long time, despite the fact that the course was actually shorter than it has been for the past two years.
Still, an amazing 112 of 114 starters finished the Samurai this year, with fewer people pulling out because of exhaustion and bike problems than other years.
The goal of the ride has always been to challenge local singletrack riders to complete an epic course of some of our most difficult bike trails. Mission accomplished, says Tony Horn, who organizes the Samurai along with Ru Mehta.
"This was the hardest race so far, no question," Horn said. "The rain did make it more difficult, but even if it was dry I think a lot of people would have still been walking a lot of sections. The whole Section 102, Gargamel, Big Kahuna, Anal Intruder, section was just tough, any way you look at it those are hard trails. Cheap Thrills was also pretty rough thats a steep trail, even when its dry."
The entire Samurai of Singletrack course included sections of 22 bike trails: Section 102, Gargamel, Big Kahuna, Anal Intruder, Shit Happens, Ricks Roost, Cat Scratch Fever, Mandatory Suicide, Mels Dilemma, Emerald Forest, A River runs Through It, Barts Dark Trail, the Sproatt Flank Trail, Cheap Thrills, 99er, Danimal, Riverside Trail, Trash, Highline Trail, Tunnel Vision, Love Canal and B.C. "Boyds" Trail.
"There were crashes, ripped off derailleurs, chains stuck, flat tires, broken frames we havent even heard all the stories yet, but it was rough," said Horn.
Horn himself finished the course in 10 hours and two minutes, although he started well back in the pack after helping to sweep Gargamel.
After that he said he had a strong ride, at least until he got to the climb up Riverside to the Highline Trail. "That should have been the easy part, but after coming off of Trash I was just punched, and I never recovered for the rest of the way," said Horn.
"It was the funnest day any of us have ever had on a bike, and some people were pretty upset by the end of it, but I thing that people will look back on it as one of the funnest days, once they put it in a bit of perspective."