A little extra pedaling didn’t bother Jesse Melamed one bit during the inaugural Funduro.
The local rider, who has burst onto the enduro scene with a number of great results this summer, added another on Saturday (Sept. 21) by taking top spot in the race hosted by WORCA on the resort’s Westside trails.
Melamed finished with a winning time of 35 minutes, 51 seconds over the five timed sections after adjustments were made for climbing bonuses.
“It was awesome,” Melamed said of his day on the bike. “The courses were all super fun, and we actually did a couple of new trails that I’ve never done before. And (race director) Clark (Lewis) definitely threw a curveball when he threw in so much pedaling.”
Fanny Paquette was the fastest female on Saturday’s course, completing her race in 58:03 to earn the victory.
“It was amazing,” said Paquette. “It was a big day — hard and challenging — but it was a lot of fun.”
The race relied on gravity-fed trails like a traditional enduro but tested riders with some more technical pedaling than most similar races. Competitors also had no advance notice of the trails being used, adding to the difficulty on race day.
“I’ve always wanted to do kind of a blind race like that,” said Melamed. “I think it adds way more excitement for the race and less of getting the lines dialed like on a DH course, so it’s cool.”
Melamed ended up breaking a finger on the final stage, but the injury didn’t end up being much of a setback for the 21-year-old. He beat the field by nearly four minutes, with Paul Stevens taking runner-up honours with a time of 39:50. Junior rider Mahon Lamont grabbed third spot by finishing in 43:09.
Amy Price Phillips finished in second place in the women’s race, stopping the clock in 1:00:33. Robin O’Neill (1:06:19) rounded out the top three.
Melamed said he expects his finger to be recovered in time for him to race the Enduro World Series final, which takes place in Italy on Oct. 19 and 20. He’s been riding for the Rocky Mountain Altitude Enduro Team this year and the squad is sending him over to the event after he put together some outstanding performances this season, including a sixth-place finish in the Canadian Open Enduro at home during Crankworx in August.
“It’s a pretty great opportunity,” he said.
Lewis said Saturday’s race, which saw the several dozen competitors climb up to the Flank Trail four times, may have ended up being a little tougher than he was planning on but feedback from riders was positive.
“It was a lot of fun and everyone had a really good time,” said Lewis.
The Funduro was the third enduro-style race WORCA hosted this year, but whether or not that will be the focus of the local mountain bike association’s race events for 2014 remains “up in the air,” said Lewis. Race formats were expected to be a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s (Sept. 24) WORCA annual general meeting.
The final WORCA event of the season will be the Halloween Toonie Ride scheduled for Oct. 31, but there will be a planning open house discussing trail maintenance, the proposed alpine trail and other topics held Oct. 3 at the Lost Lake PassivHaus.
Funduro Top Finishers
Jesse Melamed 35:51
Paul Stevens 39:50
Mahon Lamont 43:09
Shane Gayton 43:32
Davis English 46:13
Tristan Merrick 46:50
Jamie Levett 48:17
Paulo Valle 48:29
Keven Phelps 48:54
Spencer Wight 49:01
Fanny Paquette 58:03
Amy Price Phillips 1:00:33
Robin O’Neill 1:06:19
Penny Deck 1:06:33
Alison Kayes 1:07:54