There was no avoiding greasy conditions for the resurrected Lumpy’s Fall Trifecta Invitational on Saturday, but if history has proved anything our top local riders seem to be able to handle pretty much anything by now.
The ride is a kind of end-of-year celebration of sorts, featuring a series of trails in the technical Lumpy’s Epic area around Signal Hill. The first lap includes the Lumpy’s Epic grunt to the top of the hill, followed by a descent on K2 and Breakaway to the original Lumpy’s Epic downhill. The second lap is another climb up Lumpy’s to the original descent. The third lap is yet another climb up Lumpy’s to K2, Pioneer, Fizzy Pop and Dog Beach.
Total distance is around 22km, with around 1,200 metres of tough climbing.
“That was hard,” said organizer Russ Wood. “It was tough. I’ve done (the trails) a couple of times before just riding it, but when it comes to racing it, it’s definitely one of the hardest races around. It’s not the longest race, but in terms of how challenging it is for how long you’re out there, it’s one of the hardest races going. At one point I was cramping up and I could barely keep the pedals turning over.”
Despite the wet descents, organizers only reported a handful of mechanicals and crashes on the day. If anything the wet trail affected the climbs more, including the bonus sections where people could get a 30-second time bonus for getting up, over and around some of the harder features on the course. One section was a hard, steep uphill switchback off of Lumpy’s Epic trail. Another was a steep, wet rock on the top of Lumpy’s called “the whale” that only one rider, Todd Hellinga, succeeded in cleaning.
“If the conditions are dry I probably only make it three times out of 10, so it’s very impressive he got it,” said Wood of Hellinga’s climbing skills.
Whistler’s Matt Ryan finished the course in a time of one hour, 44 minutes and six seconds, over 11 minutes faster than the next rider. Davis English was second in 1:55:23, followed by Jamey Levett in 1:57:26.
Ryan said he left first in the time trial format and had no idea what kind of lead he was building. “It was like any other time trial for me, I was running scared the whole time,” laughed Ryan. “I just tried to go at a consistent pace, I’ve never done this event before or all of the trails, and there was a pretty stiff climb to get up to the top.
“I had a blast. This was a total mountain bikers course, and there were all these different areas of the mountain that you were exploring. At one point I was coming around the top of the ride and this big raven flew by right over the edge, and I had a little moment with Lumpy (Leidal, who the course was named for). I felt like he was there watching what’s going on, and would have approved of it.
“The views are so cool up there, and when you come around the corner Mt. Currie is right there in front of you. Everybody should go riding up there because it’s beautiful.”
While the trails were wet, Ryan said some of features actually got easier to ride as the day went on and the sandy dirt got spread around on the rocks and roots.
“It was greasy, but it wasn’t treacherous,” he said. “That Pemberton dirt is great that way, it actually makes things a little grippier.”
As for bikes, Ryan chose a slightly bigger bike — a Specialized Stumpjumper. “It’s a little easier to ride on that kind of terrain when you have a little more suspension and bigger brakes to work with. It was pretty gnarly in some sections, and I was being really careful not to get caught up in the rocks or slash my tires in a rocky section. The old backside of Lumpy’s Epic definitely had its moments where a bigger bike helped.
“Everyone finished with a smile on their face and a story to tell, which is the reason we do it.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Terry Evans, Russ Wood, Tristan Merrick, Carsten Ivany, Scott Pilecki, Stephen Desjardin and Stuart Wylie.
Complete results are on the Lumpy’s Trifecta Facebook page.
Whistler’s Austin Reith was the top junior in 13th overall, while Mahon Lamont was a DNF.
Whistler’s Fanny Paquette, who has been killing all the tough and technical events this year, was the top female rider in 2:41:10, followed by Leah Trudeau in 2:47:11 and Kari Guilotte in 2:59:05.
The ride was resurrected in 2012 from a previous event that was last held in 2009.