Whistler riders dominate at GO Enduro

Locals take victories on home turf

Local knowledge of Whistler’s trails offered riders an edge this past Saturday (May 16) at the GO Enduro as part of the 2015 GO Fest. Whistler riders stood atop every podium at the awards and in some cases swept the podium completely.

The Junior Men saw 15-year-old racer Finn Iles take the win in his second-ever enduro with a time of 26 minutes, 33 seconds, edging out Conrad Murdoch by over two minutes. Carter Krasny (30:10) rounded out the podium of local riders in the 13 to 18-year-old category.

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“Most of the guys I raced against this weekend were my friends that I ride with all the time,” said Iles. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure just because I felt like it was good to have fun and just ride with my friends.”

Apart from an injured index finger from training on the previous day, Iles had no problems keeping a strong pace through the stages that would have netted him a top-five finish in the Pro Men category.

“I’ve ridden with Finn for a few years, he’s an amazing rider,” said Murdoch. “It’s kinda fun just to be racing with him.”

Murdoch said he wasn’t riding his best on stages three and four and took a couple crashes, but shook it off for a strong finish in the fifth stage.

“After the crashes I kind of lost my focus for a bit,” said Murdoch. “But stage five went really well. It was a really fun day.”

Despite not having as many racers in the field due to the Enduro World Series (EWS) stop in Ireland approaching, Pro Men winner Jesse Melamed (24:50) was feeling the pressure to perform on his home trails.

“I was pretty nervous, I honestly feel more pressure here than at the EWS because I can actually win here,” said Melamed. “I just knew I wanted to go out and ride clean, ride like I knew I could. My goal was to build a pretty big gap; these are my home trails so I should be fast. I think I was 42 seconds ahead, which is a huge margin in a race with this competition. I’m really happy with how it went.”

The Open Women category saw Whistler downhill rider Claire Buchar (30:17) take the top spot, followed by BC Enduro Series leader Leonie Picton (31:32) and Pemberton’s Emily Slaco (31:53).

“When I saw the start list, I was so nervous,” said Picton, who has raced against Buchar at downhill events in Australia. “A 30 second (start) gap to Claire Buchar? I really thought she was going to catch me on every stage. She has such a big downhill background and she’s a local girl so she knows the trail quite well.”

Picton was also impressed with the equal distribution of prize money between
men and women, which is seldom found at mountain bike races.

“It’s really amazing they were offering that at this race,” said Picton. “The potential to win $1,000? It definitely makes the incentive bigger.”

In the Master 30+ Men, Picton’s fiance Michael Watt (27:59) managed first place ahead of fellow Whistlerites Craig Wilson (28:20) and Richard Bedford (29:01).

“It’s nice to be the bride instead of the bridesmaid all the time,” joked Watt about Picton’s recent slew of wins on the BC Enduro circuit. “I had a good day, but didn’t think I was fast enough to win it. Transition times were lovely. There was no stress; there was enough time getting to the top without killing ourselves.”

The Junior Women category had two racers with local Stephanie Denroche (36:16) taking the win.

For full results of the GO Enduro head to greatoutdoorsfest.com.

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