Enduro racers crank it up in Carcross

Dozens of riders took part in the three-day CarCranked Festival from Saturday to Monday in Carcross.


Yukon mountain bikers got a “dirt rush” over the weekend.

Dozens of riders took part in the three-day CarCranked Festival from Saturday to Monday in Carcross.

The mountain bike festival was the first of three events over two weekends billed as the Yukon Dirt Rush.

“We were all really pleased with how it went,” said CarCranked organizer Jane Koepke. “We were calling it a test event, so we were trying out a bunch of different ideas just to see what people responded to. And testing our own systems as well to see what we had capacity to do and offer…

“It was a nice, small, enthusiastic group who came out and supported the event and we managed to test our systems and figure out what we need to do better. I think we’re all really excited to start planning for next year.”

The festival featured bike clinics, guided rides, a scavenger hunt, a mountain bike movie night and barbecues.

But what got a lot of cyclists fired up most was an enduro mountain bike race on Montana Mountain on Saturday.

Thirty-five bikers took part in the enduro, a type of race gaining popularity in North America in which sections of downhill are raced with non-timed transition sections in between.

“I was just out there trying to not crash and ride as fast as possible,” said Whitehorse’s Jonah Clark. “It seemed to work.”

It certainly did.

Clark took first in the open men’s division, completing the four legs in 23 minutes and 32 seconds, just 20 seconds ahead of second place’s Derek Crowe.

“I just got a new bike. I got a hard tail – no rear suspension – so I was quite surprised to be as close as I was to Jonah,” said Crowe. “I thought I’d be fifth or something. I guess I know the trails.”

Clark, a two-time Yukon mountain bike champ, also won the solo men’s division at the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay in June.

Julien Revel, a past downhill champ at the Sima Slamfest, claimed third at 24:24 on Saturday.

“The strategy is you want to get there so you don’t have traffic to deal with on the downhills, but you don’t want to go too hard because you’re still pedaling a lot on the downhill,” said Crowe. “I found it very strategic and I think that’s why I did well.”

“It’s fun. The format is wicked,” said Clark. “You get to ride up and you get to chat. And you can rest up at the top of every timed section and get ready, get psyched up, hangout with everyone for a bit, bomb down the downhill and you’re done.

“It’s a lot more social than cross-country (racing).”

The stages were about two or three kilometres long, give or take, and featured sections that allowed riders to reach up to 60 kilometres an hour.

Whitehorse’s Sierra van der Meer reached high speeds. She took the open female division with a winning time of 29:27.

“It was really fun. I really like those trails and it was a blast to go on them,” said van der Meer. “It was a fun social event. It was great to see everyone out there.

“Because you were only racing the sections, there was lots of time just hanging around talking to people.”

Van der Meer, who is the president of Yukon’s Contagious Mountain Bike Club, also won the women’s title at last month’s Singlespeed World Championships in Anchorage, Alaska.

Miriam Lukszova rode to second at 32:03 and Christine Kirk third at 32:45 in Carcross.

Liam Mather says he’s been mountain biking “almost since I could walk.” It showed on Montana Mountain.

Mather took first in the one-stage youth male division. The 13-year-old finished in 7:21 to place first ahead of brother Sammy Mather at nine minutes even.

Daniel Philips Freedman raced to third at 13:43.

“I really liked it. It was really fun,” said Liam. “I haven’t done much enduro, so I really liked it.

“I tried not to go too quick on the uphill because that didn’t count. Once I started the timed section I just pushed as hard as I could.”

The trails on Montana Mountain are epic, so says the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

In 2011, the association inducted the Mountain Hero Trail on Montana Mountain into its Epic Trails category.

Since 2005 the trails on the mountain have been maintained and expanded through the Single Track to Success Project, a Carcross/Tagish First Nation project aimed at creating and maintaining an extensive trail network on Montana Mountain.

“The highlight of the race for the organizers was to have three Carcross youths (Dominic Smith-Johns, Ryan Jules, and Jade McLeod) enter it,” said Koepke. “That was a big deal.

“They have all worked on the mountain. Two are current crew members and one was a crew member last year.”

“There were three of them racing today,” said Crowe. “They had a choice: getting paid to work an aid station or race. And those three decided to race.”

Saturday’s race was one of the very first enduro races in the territory and it won’t be the last.

This Saturday mountain bikers are invited to enter the Canyon Mountain Crusher in Whitehorse.

The enduro race will feature three stages on Grey Mountain followed by four stages at Mount McIntyre.

Because of the event’s logistics – shuttling riders between Grey and McIntyre – the event has a cap of 40 riders.

Bikers can register at Icycle Sport in Whitehorse or with an email to info@icyclesport.com.

The day after the Crusher it’ll be time to crown Yukon’s king and queen of mountain biking at the Yukon championships on Sunday.

The King of the Rocky Canyon – formerly King of the Canyon – will have a new location this year at Mount McIntyre. More information can be found at cmbcyukon.ca.

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

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read