Could you ride a bike with a spoon between your teeth, balancing a golf ball? And could you ride that bike off road into the Whistler Blackcomb skills park, up and over some of the features and over a practice drop without dropping the ball?
Apparently Remy Gauvin can. The up-and-coming World Cup downhill racer was one of the three challenge winners at Saturday’s (Oct. 12) Chasse au Tresor event in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
The Chasse au Tresor is now a four-year tradition, a fun scavenger hunt in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park to close out the season. This year riders working in teams of two, three and four followed a series of clues around the park. You’d follow clues to one station, take a picture of your team at that station and post it to Instagram. A photo clue at that station would tell you where to go next — and then leave it up to you to decide how to get there.
As well there were three challenge sections. The egg and spoon race that Gauvin won (using golf balls, which are a better choice than eggs during bear season), a team relay loop over and around various features in the Children’s Learning Centre area — riding kids’ bikes with 20-inch wheels — and a guess-your-time race challenge in the Boneyard.
In the team relay, the top two-person team was Joe Bunn and Thomas Giblin, while the fastest four-person team was comprised of Harry Armstrong, Rob Armstrong, George Newham and Liam Woolthornton.
The “Guess Your Time” challenge was hand-timed, but at least three riders came within two-tenths of a second of naming their time, while one rider — Thomas Doyle — came within 0.08 seconds of his prediction.
For Gauvin, it was all about having some fun on the last weekend of the park. He rode with Whistler’s Nick Geddes, and the two riders didn’t hold anything back.
“I said the fastest anyone could do this was about two hours if you were pinning it, going as fast as you can go, and they were almost exactly two hours,” said event director Seb Fremont.
When asked about their decision to race, Gauvin laughed.
“We have the best time in a non-timed race,” he said. “Last year Finn (Iles) beat us to the bottom and it was really close, and this year I wanted to redeem myself. He didn’t even race in the end, but we got to race his brother Jack, so that’s something.”
For Gauvin there were a lot of highlights, and he just enjoyed finding the fastest way to each checkpoint.
“Just running all over the mountain, and trying to find the best way to get to all of these trails,” he said. “Maybe you had to cut through some bushes once in a while, it was pretty hilarious. It helped to know where you were going.”
For Geddes, the egg and spoon race was the best part. “It was just a fun way to end the season, and I really had fun with the egg and spoon. Remi was amazing at it,” he said.
“We just wanted to go fast today. We thought a few other teams might be gunning it as well, but nobody else is in yet and we’ve been (at the finish) for half an hour.”
There was also a best picture competition, with riders posting their photos with the hash tag “#wbchasse” over the course of the day. The team of Matt West, Courtney Watson and Helena Kern put a lot of effort into making different and interesting shots and won that prize.
One of the highlights for riders was the selection of draw prizes up for grabs, plus a season pass for 2014. Nick Geddes won the pass, Sophie Douglas won Rock Shox forks, Isasbelle Jacques won a Sram drivetrain and Ollie Gregory-Jones won a pair of Avid brakes.
The Chasse au Tresor closes out the Whistler Mountain Bike Park season, with the park closing after Monday, Oct. 14. Fremont also gave the riders a sneak peek at what to expect from the bike park next season.
“Think more races and earlier races,” he said. “We’re going to get the Phat Wednesday (downhill series) started in May, we’re going to do an Enduro series n the spring starting in May, and we might be reviving the Red Bull 5000 Down (top to bottom race) with a new name. So keep your eye on the website and Facebook this winter.”