Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

TAKING THE CORNER – Massey Baker quickly rounds the opening bend on the Loam and Behold trail during the second leg of the SlamFest 2019 Enduro race on Saturday at Mount Sima.

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Photo by John Tonin

PEDDLING FORWARD — Zoe Westerby travels over the rocky terrain on the Sluice Box trail during the first leg of the SlamFest 2019 Enduro race.

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Photo by John Tonin

MAKING THE DESCENT – Matt Monod races down the Sluice Box trail.

Mountain bikers compete in Enduro, downhill races

The long weekend didn’t stop the mountain bikers from strapping on their helmets,

By John Tonin on September 3, 2019

The long weekend didn’t stop the mountain bikers from strapping on their helmets, taking the chairlift to the top of Mount Sima and competing in SlamFest 2019. The weekend festivities included two races, Enduro on Saturday and downhill on Sunday.

The Enduro races used three trails, Sluice Box, Loam and Behold, and Drop the Clutch, all starting at the top of the mountain. In Enduro, the competitors start from the top of the hill and ride down, once they reach the end of the course they have to ride back to the top before the next stage - the ascent is not timed.

“It was really good,” said organizer Josh de la Salle. “The first two stages were really short and over before you knew it. The climbs up were relatively quick. The third stage, Drop the Clutch, is a long descent trail. I think people were exhausted but really excited.”

Enduro racing is a newer addition to SlamFest.

“It’s relatively new,” said de la Salle. “We’ve done it a couple of times in the past where riders would peddle from the bottom but you can’t really peddle up this mountain because it’s too steep. We tried to keep most of the peddle sections at the top.”

Between each downhill portion of the race, the riders would be all together again at the top of the mountain. Talk about the peddle back up the hill and the burning in the calves was the major topic of conversation.

The mountain bikers would take to the course one at a time in 30-second intervals.

De la Salle believes Enduro racing is gaining steam in the territory and at SlamFest he wanted to give the athletes a taste of both races.

“It is,” said de la Salle. “With Enduro, we are trying to invite different types of riders. There are specific downhill riders and specific Enduro riders. We tried to get a bit of a mix so everyone could experience the whole thing.”

Peter Wotnar was the overall Enduro race champion posting a cumulative time of nine minutes, 41 seconds, on the three trails.

Massey Baker came second in 10 minutes, 17 seconds and third place rider Matt Monod came in three seconds behind Baker.

Zanny Vener was the top finishing woman with a time of 12 minutes, eight seconds.

Sally Stanier was the runner-up in 12 minutes, 37 seconds and she was followed by Jinny O’Donovan.

Jake Tipton, was the only rider in the youth category to complete all three legs of the Enduro race.

The downhill race on Sunday was held on Lefty Loosey, which runs along the southern boundary of Mount Sima. It starts at the top of the mountain as a double black diamond extreme rating but finishes at the bottom with a single black diamond difficulty rating.

Baker, the overall winner of the downhill race, said Lefty Loosey, is a proper downhill trail with steep and techie areas.

“It offers a little bit of everything,” he said.

It was Baker’s third time winning the SlamFest downhill event but his win this year took him by surprise.

Baker explained that he crashed while nearing the bottom of the hill.

“I flipped over the handlebars and had a stick in my tires,” said Baker.

About 10 seconds before his crash Baker said he took a corner to fast and was unable to regain traction leading to the accident.

“You have to get right back up and shake it off,” said Baker. “It is always nice to win although I’m surprised that I did.

“I think there was a fair bit of crashing and bad luck on the trail.”

Before the race, any race, Baker said he will do a full practise run of the trail while timing himself. He said his training run was 22 seconds faster than his winning time.

Baker’s winning time was 4:02.93. The top three overall finishers in the downhill were all close. Second quickest was Aidan Uiterwaal, in 4:04.18 and de la Salle was third in 4:05.76.

Cole Germain, 4:46.13, was the fastest youth rider on the day. John and Jake Tipton rounded out the top riders in the category.

Stanier, 5:46.85, was the top finishing woman in the downhill race. She was followed closely by O’Donovan and Martina Knopp came third.

Before the weekend, de la Salle told the Star earlier in August that he wanted to continue to grow SlamFest. The weekend drew a handful of Outside mountain bikers.

“Some of the people got invited from down south, there were people from B.C. and Toronto,” said de la Salle. “We’ve invited riders before but we invited more to spread the word a little bit more. There was some B.C. cup Enduro riders.”

Baker said he thinks the guys from B.C. really enjoyed the mountain.

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