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Mountain bikers soak up the sun in 24 hour race

If there were such a thing as caffeinated Gatorade, it would probably be a hit at the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival.

If there were such a thing as caffeinated Gatorade, it would probably be a hit at the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival.

About 155 mountain bikers fought a mean mix of trail riding and sleep depravation at the 13th annual event hosted by Yukon’s Contagious Mountain Bike Club from noon Saturday to noon Sunday.

Riders from as faraway as Australia, New York, San Francisco, Ontario and Quebec took part in the event held at a new location this year, at the Biathlon Yukon range on Grey Mountain Road.

But the locals cleaned up, topping all but one division.

“I drink lots of coffee and when I don’t feel like biking I get my boyfriend to push me out and make me bike more,” said Whitehorse’s Meagan Wilson. “It’s a fun event. I look forward to doing it again next year.”

With just two hours of sleep, Wilson took first in the solo female division. The 30-year-old completed 20 laps of the 12-kilometre course for the win. Wilson, who is a former Yukon mountain bike champ, placed second the last two years.

“It was fun. It was nice to bike somewhere different,” said Wilson. “It was more tiring because I biked more.”

Roblin, Ontario’s Kim Wood placed second with 16 laps and Abbotsford, B.C.‘s Erika Joubert third with 13 laps, in solo female.

Whitehorse’s Sean McCarron has the race down to a science. The 39-year-old won his third solo male title with 19 laps.

“I think the biggest thing for me is constant fueling and monitoring the bike and body,” said McCarron. “You start feeling pain or spasming or dehydration, you have to get it before it happens.

“Every four laps I clean my bike. I eat before and during every lap - I was eating every half hour for the whole day. And I take a lot of breaks. I got no sleep, but I take a break after every lap.”

It was almost a short night for McCarron. His wife ran home to fetch his old bike after he broke his bike’s fork on his seventh lap.

McCarron also placed eighth in the solo men’s division of the 240-kilometre Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay the previous weekend.

“I’ve never done it back-to-back, so I thought this year why not have a little extra incentive to get training and riding,” said McCarron.

Whistler, B.C.‘s Andrew Reid came second with 15 laps and Whitehorse’s Mario Villeneuve rode to third with 13.

Whitehorse’s Team Moose Knuckles - Troy Henry and Michael Marsh - squashed the only other team in the two-person division with 22 laps.

Calgary’s Maverick and the Billygoat - Jennifer and Karl Tremblay - completed five laps for second.

Terrace, B.C.‘s the Terrace Expendables rode 30 laps to take the four-person division. Smithers’ 5450 placed second ahead of Whitehorse-Courtenay, B.C. split team of Nymph Falls 4 Ever.

Whitehorse’s Harder, Faster, Stronger put their hardy, speedy strength to good use to win the eight-person division.

The team of Finn Matrishon, James Minifie, Dan Reimer, Jonah Clark, Thomas Tetz, Hans Gatt, David Pharand and David Gonda cycled to first with 35 laps. Gonda also rode the fastest lap in the event.

Smithers’ Rock Paper Smithers placed second with 29 laps and Whitehorse’s Duckworth Ducks came third with 28 laps.

Contact Tom Patrick at