The Contagious Mountain Bike Club’s 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival has gained popularity outside the territory. Arguably, it has become too popular.
Yukon teams were unable to win any of the event’s five divisions, but still made the podium in each at the endurance event held between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum.
A total of 45 teams took part, including riders from Alaska, B.C., Alberta, Newfoundland and Ontario.
“I asked the person from St. John’s how he found out about it and he said the Internet,” said race director Isabel Lindemann. “We do very little advertising for this race.
“I think what’s attractive about it is it was $90 per participant versus the 24 Hours of Adrenaline in Canmore, which is $400. People from Canmore came up and they said it was cheaper for them to come up here and participate in it than to participate in Canmore.”
Alaskans from Anchorage, most of whom were in the event for the first time, won four out of the five divisions, completing the most laps of the 13-kilometre course in the 24-hour period.
Anchorage’s Anthony Berberich won the solo men’s race with 23 laps under his belt.
“It was fun. It was actually a beautiful trail,” said Berberich, who has competed in other 24-hour races. “That whole ridge line is absolutely beautiful. The trail is fun, the trees smell nice, the flowers smell nice.
“My first three laps are always really too fast and then I calm down and I just try to go at a pace I think I can go the whole night.”
Alberta’s David Swift finished second with 20 laps.
There was a three-way tie for third with three Yukoners each posting 18-lap performances. Last year’s solo winner Sean McCarron tied with Steve Brewis and Karl Blattmann, the winner of the Whitehorse Triathlon over the last two years.
“You can’t count anything out until the end, so you have to keep going,” said Berberich. “I thought I was ahead, but I did one more lap just in case.
“I did 22 laps, but one of my last laps was an underwear lap because, apparently, I get a bonus (for doing a lap in my underwear) and that was really painful.
“It was a great event and I hope to come back again.”
Anchorage’ Darcy Davis and Jill Valerius, also of Alaska, tied for first in the solo women’s category, both completing 18 laps.
“Strategy – I just wanted to keep going,” said Davis. “So I tried not to push super hard. It sort of worked I guess.
“I thought it was great. It hurt a lot, but it was fun. I liked the course, it was great.”
Whitehorse’s Meagan Wilson placed third with 13 laps completed.
Alaskans also captured the top two spots in the two-person team event.
Petra Davis and Janice Tower won the event with 21 laps, three laps more than second place’s Chuck Mangold and Vastyl Mangold in second.
In third was Whitehorse’s Reid Seal and Peter Hanson with 17 laps.
In the four-person division B.C.’s Ferris Fast Cycles snagged first with 31 laps, making it the only non-Alaskan squad to win a division.
The second-place finisher was a B.C.-Yukon mixed team featuring Jenny George from Whitehorse plus Victoria’s Tanya Gadsby, Cam Maysmith and Kenyon Campbell. They completed 27 laps.
Yukon teams Cadence Fast Twitch and DanRobThomasRich each competed 22 laps to tie for third.
Alaska’s Afternoon Sockeye Delight topped the eight-person division with 30 laps, ahead of a three-way tie between Whitehorse teams with 26 laps apiece.
Tying for second were Feelings Talkers, Les Cuisses de L’enfer and Alkan Air.
On board Feelings Talkers were Paul Burbidge, Dustin Rainey, Eric Marcoux, Matt Ball, Mark Nelson, Land Pearson, JM Tetrault and Roddy Ward.
Putting Les Cuisses de L’enfer in second were Gilles Menard, Manon Aubert, Annie Cloutier, Nathalie Dugas, Chris Schmidt, Marc Pronovost, Dan Shier and David Hildes.
Allowing Alkan Air to take off with second were Dave King, Paul Colleran, Ron Limoges, Ray Rothlisberger, Chad Winhold, Dave Hambly, Dave Sullivan and Blake Rowsell.
This year’s race featured a new trail, about a kilometre shorter than last year’s.
“Thanks to the City of Whitehorse that continues to pay for trail (additions),” said Lindemann. “We had new, beautiful single-track. We had a lot of comments from people saying it was the best trail yet in 13 years.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com