Emily Slaco isn't planning to mount a challenge for the B.C. Enduro overall title in 2016, and those in contention must be grateful.
The Pemberton rider attended the May 21 and 22 race up in Williams Lake primarily because she enjoys the trails in the region. She came out breaking runner-up Leonie Picton's perfect season in the open women's division, edging the Whistlerite by 14 seconds. Christina Chappetta, who won the first three stages before slipping in the final two stages, placed third.
"I just do (a race) every once in a while. I don't know if I'll even do any of the other ones, but I was really happy to get back up to Williams Lake because it's really great up there and (there's) a really cool riding community. It's nice to win and (there's) a weight off your shoulders after you have a win," Slaco said. "It's really fun up there. I'd ridden there once before... (There's) nothing too technical and it went all right."
With many riders, including Slaco, unable to get up in time to get much riding in before the race itself, they had to contend with unknown twists and turns in the hopes of not getting flung off.
"We didn't get tons of time to pre-ride. I don't think anyone really did, so a lot of people were just riding blind and just trying to stay on and have fun," she said. "It's way different than the coast. In Whistler and in Pemberton, we've got a little bit more terrain and some steeper stuff but out there, it's just getting used to being comfortable going fast on the trails.
"It's dry and loose, too, which is different for us."
The first day of the competition also doubled as an elite enduro on the Desous trails about 40 minutes outside of town. Though those weren't the stages she won, Slaco embraced those two stages as preferable to the ones where she made her hay.
"The trails out at Desous are awesome. I was most excited to ride out at Desous and try some of their trails," she said. "They had some really fun trails off the back side of the mountain down to the river. Those were awesome, a little bit longer and (they had) a little bit of technical stuff in them."
Slaco will continue this summer by dropping in on some Enduro World Series races and tackling the Trans-Provence in Europe in June.
"I'm just trying to get as many miles on the bike as possible and even doing a little hiking, too, because I hear you're hiking with your bike a little bit in the Trans-Provence and getting real long days in. Maybe I'll try to get up in the Chilcotins a little bit," she said.
Young riders earning podium appearances included Conrad Murdoch and Carter Krasny, who tied for second in the U21 men's event, Jennifer McTavish and Keeley Wentzel, who took the top two spots in the U21 women's event and Neve Abraham, who was third in the 15-and-under men's event.
Michael Watt, meanwhile, took third in the men's 30 to 39 event.