Nimby Fifty competitors contend with heat

Federau take the win, Squamish junior Rhys Verner in third place

With temperatures soaring to almost 30 C on Saturday (May 30), it turned out to be the hottest Nimby Fifty mountain bike race on record.

Now in its sixth year, Pemberton’s signature mountain bike marathon registered more than 400 riders, from locals to regional competitors from as far as Yukon Territory.

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“Yesterday when I was marking course I came across two guys from Canmore and there’s loads of guys from Prince George and Williams Lake,” said Russ Wood, one of the Nimby Fifty’s organizers on site at the staging area set up at North Arm Farms.

One of the biggest reasons people love racing the Nimby Fifty is the amount of singletrack they get to ride, as opposed to the long fire road climbs typically found on big cross-country courses.

“It’s a true mountain bike course,” said Team Whistler rider Mike Boehm, who placed 29th with a time of 2:42:33. “It takes a super well-rounded rider and there’s more singletrack than any other race I can think of.”

Boehm beat the heat of the race with the help of a frozen water bladder in his backpack, helping to keep his skin temperature and hydration in check over the marathon distance.

While plenty of Sea to Sky locals were registered in the race, the top spot went to Chilliwack’s Ricky Federau in his fourth time racing the Nimby Fifty.

“I’ve been third every year, so to win today is pretty awesome,” said Federau. “It’s very raw and it’s a real mountain bike course. That’s why I don’t do a lot of the other races because it’s all based on fitness.”

The win means Federau now has free entry into the Nimby Fifty for life, which he intends to make good use of.

“It’s a riot out here, so I’ll be back as long as I’m able,” he said. “The backdrop (of Mt. Currie) is just awesome, it’s great out here.”

Rhys Verner — one of the Sea to Sky’s emerging juniors — came across the line in third place overall, just metres behind Quinn Moberg with a time of 2:19:28. It was a different course to the shorter cross-country circuits he rides in Canada Cup races, but he said it was a great warm up to his season.

“I could see Quinn every now and then in the Mosquito Lake area and could see his dust, but I just kept in my own groove,” said Verner. “I ended up catching him on the last climb and just tried to sit on his wheel and conserve energy and make a plan for the final (sprint). I’m just trying to get my fitness back. I was sick for a couple months in the winter so I’m trying to build myself back up. Today was a huge confidence boost for me.”

The Nimby Fifty course remains the biggest attraction for most riders, who travel far and wide to sample Pemberton’s finest singletrack.

“When we designed the course, one of our visions was to keep it on the trails as much as possible and try not to use logging road connectors,” said Wood. “That’s what makes Pemberton unique actually. Here we have amazing singletrack climbs.”

While popularity of the event remains at its peak, Wood said the organizers want to keep the event capped at around 400 riders to keep the level of experience that returning racers have come to expect.

“We have no desire to make it bigger,” he said. “Because we try to go with so much singletrack there’s only so much room, and it will bottleneck. We couldn’t do 800 (racers) like the Test (of Metal).”

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