The Wild Willies/Longhorn Saloon Loonie Race on Thursday, May 18 was designed to be a true Lost Lake epic expected to take the top riders over an hour to complete two laps. Then the unthinkable happened.
A person or persons moved at least six signs, two of which were found buried under a log, creating confusion and some danger as the course was lapped back on itself. At least some of the signs were changed between an inspection at around 4 p.m. and the race which got underway at 6:30 p.m.
One of the course marshals estimates he saw about nine people all night, and that none of the riders passed by on the right trail. Most participants made two laps of a much shorter course before heading back to the après at the Longhorn Saloon.
Matt Ryan was the first male across the finish line for the shortened course, but given the circumstances he donated his $50 winnings back to WORCAs youth program. Joanna Harrington won for the women, while Tyler Allison was the top junior.
This is not the first time a course has been tampered with. Last season someone switched around a sign pointing riders onto Bobs Rebob, sending them up the 27 switchbacks of the Alpe dHuez. Riders then had a choice: keep riding to Alpine Meadows, or ride one of the expert descents from the top.
Tonights race (May 25) leaves from the Calcheak area, near the Whistler Bungee bridge, about 12 km south of Function Junction. The highway is mostly downhill with a good shoulder for people riding to the start. The sponsor is Brent Harley and Associates.
Comfortably Numb near to selling out
The third annual Comfortably Numb Trail Run, scheduled for Sunday, June 25, is close to selling out with one month to go.
As of press time over 149 registrations have been accepted for an event which was capped at 150 racers. Because of the number of no-shows last year, organizers will accept up to 170 names.
"Last year we had about 15 people not show up, and we want 150 people to run the course this year," said David Higgins, one of the event organizers. "This year were going to assume some attrition and were going with 170."
The run takes place on Whistlers longest continuous singletrack trail, Comfortably Numb, which starts near the Wedgemont parking area and winds up in Lost Lake Park before following the gravel roads back to Spruce Grove Park. The total distance is approximately 25 km, about 23 km of which is singletrack.