One of the shortest days of the year was filled with one of the longest bike rides in months for some fat-tire bike enthusiasts on Saturday.
Over 25 riders and their donut-tired two-wheelers took part in the sixth annual 5+ Hours of Light bike festival, hosted by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CMBC) at the Biathlon Yukon range.
While some were just out for a ride followed by cookies and hot chocolate, others were out to see how many laps of the roughly nine-kilometre course they could complete between sunrise at 10:07 a.m. and sunset at 3:46 p.m.
Whitehorse’s Ian Parker completed eight laps to win the solo men’s division for a third time.
“‘Won’ might not be the right word. It’s more a celebration of fat biking than a race,” said Parker. “For me the novelty of fat biking hasn’t worn off. We’re mountain biking in December, which is pretty cool.
“Fat biking is so fun. For anyone who hasn’t thrown a leg over a fat bike, a cyclist or non, it’s worth trying. So to have a day that’s a celebration of fat bikes and have a nicely groomed trail, a bunch of fun people and a great atmosphere, it’s just a really good way to spend the day.”
Parker, 43, a multiple-time winner of Whitehorse’s Long Lake Triathlon, nearly completed nine laps but his final one was discounted because he didn’t finish before sunset. He put down about 78 or 79 kilometes of chubby tire tracks, counting the ninth lap, on the day.
“My goal was to do nine. Apparently I missed the cutoff for my last one by a minute or so, but whatever,” said Parker. “I was just trying to do as many as I could.”
Josh de Cloet completed the second most laps with six and John Glynn-Morris was third with five.
Whitehorse’s Sammy Salter was the top solo woman and rode the second farthest on the day with seven laps.
In total she clocked about 61 kilometres. “It was a big day,” said Salter.
“It was great. We had a good turnout, which was nice to see from a club perspective, lots of great food and socializing, and the course was really fun,” she added. “This year I just wanted to challenge myself and see if I could ride the entire time and I was able to do it, which was pretty exciting.”
Salter, 30, who placed second at the Yukon mountain bike championships in 2015, was the only female to ride — or at least officially register — more than one lap at the event.
Five Old Goats — Mike Tribes, Arno Springer, Cindy Breitkrautz, Lenore Morris and Mary Holozubiec — was the top team Saturday with five laps. They rode 16 laps collectively, but often as a group, which only counts as one.
“Thank you to CMBC for always putting on great events,” said Salter. “I do a lot of volunteering with them and there are a lot of people who put in a lot of work to make mountain biking more and more inclusive and more accessible all the time. It think it’s great we have such a great mountain biking community here.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org