In recent years, the Nimby Fifty has been known for baking hot conditions.
They were nowhere to be found in the seventh pedalling of the Pemberton race on May 28.
Competing in cold and rainy elements, riders came over the finish line cold and caked with mud. The first to come in after completing the marathon course was Cory Wallace, who finished in two hours, 17.13 minutes (2:17:13) to beat out defending champion Ricky Federau by roughly 33 seconds. In a dash for the last podium spot, Squamish's Quinn Moberg edged Kris Sneddon by three-tenths of a second.
"At the start, I was doing alright. I just got into a steady pace that I could keep all day because I know the course gets pretty hard toward the end," Wallace, a Jasper, Alta. rider said. "I just kept it steady. Quinn and Ricky got ahead by a couple minutes, but I was with my teammate Kris for the majority of it. I was climbing a bit better, so he followed me up the climbs. He'd send it a bit better, so I followed him down the descents."
Eventually, the four converged and Wallace saw his opportunity to wrest away the lead. With just one climb before a descent to the finish, he had to make his move sooner than later.
"The four of us all came together with about 10K to go," he said. "I knew I had to get ahead of Quinn and Ricky before (the descent). I got my 30-second gap and then held it on the way in.
"Ricky was in the lead but Quinn and I passed him pretty fast. Quinn was hard to shake. There were a couple steep pitches so I just dug deep and got a 10-second gap on him, maybe. I could gap him in the descent, so he was looked after, but I knew Ricky was coming. It's a long descent down and I probably had about 30 seconds on him."
Wallace said Federau kept pushing, narrowing his advantage to just a few seconds, but he regained it on the fire road and was first across the line.
With visibility difficult at times because of foggy and muddy glasses, Wallace briefly rode off-course before recovering and getting back on track. He credited pre-riding the course the day before for helping him quickly realize his wrong turn.
"There are about four or five spots where you want to know where they're coming up, so we scouted it all (Friday), which helped out," he said.
Wallace said with slick conditions, it was important to avoid fighting the bike and instead turn out "autopilot" to essentially take the path of least resistance.
On the pro women's side, Mical Dyck took the win convincingly, but wasn't able to get warm and dry as quickly as she might have liked. Dyck was hampered with a flat tire late in the race and still limped her bike back to North Arm Farm with a 4:38 advantage on runner-up Emily Handford. Bronze medallist Jean Ann Berkenpas, meanwhile, was three seconds behind Handford.
"I flatted in the last hundred metres of single track and when I got out, I asked the guys, 'Is it all road in?'" Dyck said, noting the answer was affirmative. "There's some rough road along there, though.
"I was running scared that whole last bit. It's a good power workout!"
Dyck recalled that her first entry into the race was like riding under a desert sun and she struggled with it, but her previous two wins were hot, though not unreasonably so.
This year's win, however, was unlike anything she'd experienced before."It was way slipperier out there than I thought it would be. There was mud and grease," she chuckled moments after crossing the finish line. "I ended up in the trees a couple times... You just have to take a deep breath and calm down. I find when you're really gunning it, that's when you make more mistakes. Slow it down, it's usually faster. Slow is fast."
Men's age group winners, meanwhile, were: Jamal Hasan (14-19), Blake Ramsden (20-29), Tim Wilding (30-34), Dave Vunic (35-39), Ryan Pannell (40-44), Dwayne Kress (45-49), John Verdonk (50-54), Lawrence Hindle (55-59) and Tony Routley (60-and-up). As for the women, Heidi Manicke (20-29), Charmaine Lightfoot (30-34), Alison Kayes (35-39), Robin O'Neill (40-44), Kim Hart (45-49) and Caroline Lamont (50-54) came through with marathon wins.
On the lite course, Sean Benson (under-19), J.D. Disney (20-39) and Scott Baker (40-plus) won the men's events, while Julia Long (under-19), Julie Phoenix (20-39) and Kathy Malvern (40-plus) did so for the women.