Close finishes, near death experience at Canyon Mountain Crusher

Whitehorse’s David Pharand overcame adversity to win his division of the inaugural Canyon Mountain Crusher. He prevailed despite tough trails, fierce competition, oh, and falling off a cliff.

Whitehorse’s David Pharand overcame adversity to win his division of the inaugural Canyon Mountain Crusher on Saturday.

He prevailed despite tough trails, fierce competition, oh, and falling off a cliff.

On the final stage of the enduro race, along the clay cliffs in Whitehorse, Pharand was bucked from his bike and went head-first over the edge.

Amazingly, he was not hurt. The fine clay made it feel like landing in baby powder, he said.

“I was coming along the ridge and it was beautiful and sunny, trail conditions were perfect – we couldn’t have asked for a better course,” said Pharand.

“The next thing I knew I was going head-first over the cliff, down towards downtown in a very fast, direct route.”

Pharand’s first thoughts in free-fall was to halt his descent before he picked up too much speed and tumbled all the way down to 7th Avenue through the Whitehorse Community Garden.

“The first thought was: stop as quickly as possible,” said Pharand. “The folks in the communal gardens in that area work really hard, and I was really concerned about destroying raspberry bushes or any vegetables.”

Pharand was one of 23 riders to take part in the enduro race, a type of race gaining popularity in North America in which sections of downhill are raced with non-timed transition sections in between.

Despite having to do a little rock climbing on the seventh stage, Pharand was the fastest male rider on B Course with a time of 56 minutes and eight seconds.

Paul Burbidge rode to second place at 57:46, ahead of Dan Bedard at 1:18:01.

“Today was just phenomenal,” said Pharand, who is a coach for Boreal Mountain Biking. “The little bit of rain yesterday made for some of the best trail conditions you could ask for. It started off brisk

in the morning, which made great racing conditions. Once you get moving everything was fantastic.

“I had the best ride of my summer today … It was the most fun I’ve had on two wheels all year, for sure.”

The enduro race featured three stages on Grey Mountain followed by four stages on the west side of the valley, including Mount McIntyre.

Strung end-to-end, the race sections were about 30 kilometres long. Racers rode roughly 55 kilometres through the day, with the transitions from stage to stage. They also tackled about 1,600 metres of climbing.

After all that, only 19 seconds separated the top three male riders on the tough A Course that began with Money Shot, a double black diamond run on Grey Mountain.

Michael Abbott slipped into first at 1:05:46, just 14 seconds ahead of second place’s Massey Baker, who competed in mountain biking at the Canada Summer Games in Quebec a year ago. Ben

Gilbert was edged into third at 1:06:05.

“There was some good competition. I didn’t think I had it, but I was pretty consistent all day and it worked out,” said Abbott. “I just showed up to have fun and have a good ride with everyone, and it just worked out.”

Martina Knopp, the only female rider on the A Course, finished with a time of 1:28:54.

“This is honestly my first real race, but I’ve been mountain biking since I was a kid – the past 15 years, at least,” added Abbott. “This event seemed like a fun event so I decided to go for it.”

It was a close one on the female B Course as well.

Kristen Magnusson placed first at 1:06:32, ahead of Kendra Murray (1:08:27) in second and Christine Kirk (1:17:16) in third.

Magnusson went on to win the women’s Yukon mountain biking title the next day in the King of the Rocky Canyon championship.

“It’s been a great weekend with the enduro yesterday and this today,” said Magnusson on Sunday. “It was a pretty awesome weekend of mountain biking in Whitehorse, I’d say. I’m pretty sure we’ve covered a very significant portion of Whitehorse single-track in the last two days.”

The Canyon Mountain Crusher, which takes its name from gold rush-era name for Grey Mountain, was the second of three events that make up the inaugural Yukon Dirt Rush.

The Dirt Rush opened with the two-day CarCranked Festival in Carcross the previous weekend, which also featured enduro races. It wrapped up with the King of the Rocky Canyon – the Yukon mountain bike championship – on Sunday.

“It went well considering it was a pretty crazy plan to try to put on a race that spans both sides of the Whitehorse valley, and all courses where it’s point to point, not loops like a typical cross-country type race,” said Canyon Mountain Crusher organizer Jonah Clark. “Everything, pretty much, went as planned…

“It was a good test of the idea – proof of concept – and we’ll see how we can make it happen again next year and potentially grow it a little bit. There’s talk of making a series of the two (weekends) in future years, attracting people from out of town and things like that.”

See coverage of the King of the Rocky Canyon championships in Wednesday’s Yukon News.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon youth being extorted online Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read