While hundreds of local mountain bikers queued up for the opening of the Whistler Bike Park this past weekend, enduro racers were busy pre-riding trails near Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast for the first stop of the BC Enduro Series.
A sizable contingent of Whistler riders attended the race on Sunday (May 3), with many managing podium or top 10 positions.
Leonie Picton walked away with the top spot in the Open Women division with a total time of 26 minutes, 30 seconds, more than 100 seconds faster than runner up Laura Battista.
“I think I had a really good day,” said Picton. “I didn’t have any mechanicals, I didn’t have any falls, I got lucky. I wouldn’t say everything went great. I did have some moments of my own, but everything did come together in the end.
It was as clean as it could have gone.”
The Open Women’s field was stacked with competition with last year’s runner up Georgia Astle crossing the line in fourth place with a broken derailleur hanger and Whistler pro rider Katrina Strand, who battled an ongoing mechanical issue that prevented her from pedalling most of the course. Impressively, Strand still managed fifth place.
The popularity of enduro seems to be increasing with female riders; the Sunshine Coast race more than doubled its female entrants from nine to 22 riders over last year.
“The amount of girls that were there was fantastic,” said Picton. “I met a lot of new people and everyone was so fabulous. It was just like every other race. All the girls band together and cheer each other on. It was just an amazing atmosphere. I hope all the (BC Enduro) races are just as fun as that one.”
The Whistler Secondary School team fared well with Neve Abraham and Max Edwards scoring a one-two in the Junior U15 Men division, as well as Conrad Murdoch in second in Junior U19 with Carter Krasny and Ruben Guibert tying for third.
“It was a great event,” said Murdoch. “I love the trails on the coast. I had a bit of a cold the whole weekend, so it felt a little hard pushing the pedals around. But there’s a whole lot of younger kids out at the series this year so it’s fun having them biting at my heels a little bit.”
The Open Men saw Whistler’s Craig Wilson managing a third place finish followed by Quentin Emeriau, who despite having to deal with seven crashes and one flat tire came across the line in fourth place. Emeriau said that in the wet and loamy conditions, quite a lot of racers were having trouble staying on their bikes for the entire day.
“Despite all the crashes, everyone had a good time,” he said. “There was a bit of frustration building up, but at the end of the day everyone had a really good time. What’s good about enduro is that you end up riding with your friends between every stage talking about what happened and how you felt.”
The BC Enduro Series continues this Sunday (May 10) in North Vancouver followed by races in Penticton, Vernon, Rossland and Retallack until early September.
For full results head to bcenduro.com.