Numbers up at 24 hour bike festival

Plenty of sunshine, few bugs and a good course helped make the 10th annual 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival a success on the weekend. The festival, which ran from midday Saturday to midday Sunday starting at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum, saw 38 teams participate.

Plenty of sunshine, few bugs and a good course helped make the 10th annual 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival a success on the weekend.

The festival, which ran from midday Saturday to midday Sunday starting at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum, saw 38 teams participate – including 13 from outside the territory – up from 29 last year. The festival also saw an increase in overall riders, going from 130 last year to 160 over the weekend.

“We had guys from England, a woman from Newfoundland, a guy from Colorado, folks from Ontario, Vancouver, Alberta,” said Devon McDiarmid, organizer and president of the Contagious Mountain Bike Club, the host of the event. “So we had a good spread of people.

“At least 30 per cent of the people were from Outside the Yukon. It’s a little bit more than usual.

“That’s just word-of-mouth mostly. We don’t really advertise too much Outside.”

The course ran about 13 kilometres, using a combination of snowmobile trails, the World Cup 10-kilometre trail, the Sarah Steele Trails and the Bouncing Bunny trail in the Mt. McIntyre area.

“People really liked the route,” said McDiarmid. “I think most people found it a little challenging at first, but when they got used riding the trail, they actually really enjoyed it.”

Although the team events were won by Outside riders, the two solo divisions went to locals.

In the solo women’s division, Sierra Van der Meer took the title with 13 laps completed (cycling about 169 kilometres).

“I went home until about 11:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. – so I went home and slept for six hours,” said Van der Meer. “I’ve done it in the past on teams where we stayed up all night and I think it was nicer to have sleep in the middle of it.”

Van der Meer narrowly beat out second-place women’s finisher Kealy Sweet, who finished 11 laps, thanks in part to riding the “Africa Bike” (a.k.a. the Vomit Comet), getting awarded an extra lap for riding the less technically advanced bike.

“This year it was a Cruiser, a bike that Kona (Bicycle Company) has been sending to Africa for aid workers,” said Van der Meer. “It broke after about a kilometre, so it was good because at least had a kilometre of it being functional.”

The solo men’s winner James Minifie, who moved to Whitehorse last August, did ride for almost the full 24 hours, completing 23 laps (about 299 kilometres).

“I tried to (ride for 24 hours), but you had to have your last lap done by noon and it was 11:15, and I knew I couldn’t get one done in 45 minutes,” said Minifie. “That was my first time – I’ve done some seven- and eight-hour rides, but never that far.

“I made sure to keep a good pace and not over do it at any point and it seemed to work – and eat a lot and drink a lot. I ate and drank as much my body would let me.”

A team out of Vancouver called Innovative Fitness won the four-person team event, completing 30 laps.

Taking the eight-person title was Hooked on Spawnicks out of Skagway, Alaska.

“I just moved up here last August and it was great to see such a vibrant biking community,” said Minifie. “It is a great event, for sure.”

Full results were unavailable at press time.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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