Sept 27, Whistler Phat Weekend Enduro Race

Race participant ride/push up to the starting gate, below the summit of Whistler's peak chair.
I have always thought it would be interesting to do an enduro race.  Enduro is the latest mountain bike racing format.  It's popularity has been surging, due to it being very much like regular mountain biking.  Typically it is a multiple stage race, with only the downhill sections timed.  The difference from a regular downhill race is that the rider is expected to ride to the top of each stage.  This requires a bike that not only excels at the downhill, but that the rider is willing to ride to the top of the course.  This being held in the Whistler Bike Park we did get to ride the Gondola to start the day.   From the top of the gondola we rode out of the clouds and up towards the top of the Peak Chair.   In the winter, the access road is called Pika's Traverse

Riding past the top of Harmony chair


Not a bad spot for a start gate
First racer gets ready to attack the course

Dropping in - Top of the World Trail

Kevin enjoys the view, before getting geared up to race.
Slightly below the summit and after about a half hour of pedal/pushing we reached the start of the Top of the World trail.   We had a fairly small race group of only 32 riders.  Riders were sent through the race gate with approximately a 1 minute gap.   The first stage took 13-16 minutes, and my legs were burning.  Unfortunately, I had a flat tire about two thirds of the way down.    I started running with the bike, hoping the first stage finish was close, but soon gave up and got to work fixing my flat tire.  I had recently purchased a new mountain bike with 29" wheels.  I had not purchased any extra tubes.  Luckily I was able to stretch a 26 inch tube around the rim, and with much cursing, levered the extremely tight tire back on the rim.  Stage one:  31minutes.  I was definitely bringing up the back of the pack.   The first stage was quite rocky and quite technical.  Just as I got my flat tire, the trail was finally turning into nice smooth dirt.  The next stage was started from the Ravens Roost lodge, generally downhill from the first stage finish.

Stage 2 was all on technical black diamond trails.  I had actually ridden a couple of these trails back in August, but I certainly was at a disadvantage throughout the race, due to the fact that most of the trails I was seeing for the first time, and did not always take the correct line.  On stage 2, I was riding a rock slab, on Up In Deep, when I clipped a small stump on the side of the slab, sending me in a flip over the handlebars.  I think my helmet took the brunt of the fall.   I quickly got back on the bike and continued on.   Stage 2 time was 4;40.  I actually beat a few people on this section.  After this stage it was a 1.2km pedal up an access road to the last stage.  I finally caught up with the end of the field of riders.   Stage 3 was more techy, rocky sections that were nice and slick from the overnight rain.  I managed to slide through without any more wipe-outs and made it to the finish.  Stage 3 time of  5:13.  Total time:  41:16.  The winning time was 19:09.   Even if I took out the 16 minutes that the flat tire cost me, I was still near the back of the pack.   All in all it was a good adventure, and I got to ride some new trails.   It's not every day that you get to ride Whistler from the Peak chair all the way to the village.

Race started out pretty steep, Top of the World Trail

Race course:  Stage1 - Top of the World trail - finish gate at access road.  Stage 2 - Start Raven's nest, No Joke, Up in Deep, Little Alder.  Stage 3 -  Duffman to Golden Triangle.

Phat Weekend Enduro Results

Phat Weekend Enduro Results

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