After four years, the organizers of the Samurai of Singletrack mountain bike ride had to rack their brains to come up with a challenging new 2005 course for Whistlers most hardcore riders. Its not that Whistler has a shortage of bike trails to choose from, but when your courses range from 42 to 64 kilometres, you tend to cover a lot of the same ground.
Despite the fact that most local trails have been used and abused in past Samurais, race directors Tony Horn and Ru Mehta still managed to add a few new twists to this years event.
"It gets harder every year. Next year we already know what were going to do, but this year we really had to dig deep to come up with something new thats Samurai-worthy," said Horn. "We had to use some of the same trails, so we wanted to use them in a different way."
One new aspect to the ride is that it gets underway with a loop in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The Samurai has started on Whistler Mountain before, but descended on the Khybers Pass/Babylon By Bike trails rather than riding the park.
This years route starts in the village and goes up B-Line and Expressway, and down No Joke, Duff Man, Golden Triangle, and Lower A-Line, before climbing back up to Heart of Darkness.
From there the course heads up Blackcomb Mountain, almost to the top of Excalibur Gondola. From there riders will begin an estimated 25-minute descent of a technical new trail called Hey Bud. The route will then go through cross-country trails in Lost Lake Park before heading north on the 24 km Comfortably Numb. Comfortably Numb was included in one past race, but most people ride it north-south and not the other way around.
"I think I actually prefer it that way, theres a lot of great rock climbing and a long descent after the halfway point," said Horn. "You have to push your bike up a few sections youd normally come down, but its still a really good ride."
After the bridge over Wedge Creek riders will head down Young Lust, then turn around and head back to Lost Lake Park via the Green Lake Loop.
The last section of the course includes Cut Yer Bars, A River Runs Through It, Bobs ReBob, Whip Me Snip Me, Danimal, 99er, and Danimal again to Alta Lake Road. The finish is a short ride away in Alpha Lake Park.
The course is almost exactly 60 km in length, with over 1,800 metres of vertical gain along the way.