Riders hit high gear at Sima Slamfest

Even if you don't like mountain biking, but you like pancakes and beer, Mount Sima was the place to be over the weekend.

Even if you don’t like mountain biking, but you like pancakes and beer, Mount Sima was the place to be over the weekend.

Apart from Saturday’s pancake breakfast and the weekend-long beer garden, mountain bike enthusiasts had all they could ask for at the second annual Sima Slamfest, with clinics, a cross-country race and a downhill race.

“I think it was a great success,” said Marsha Cameron, who organized Slamfest with Justin Mullan. “We didn’t know how many riders to expect for the whole weekend—we have a number of riders that are out of town right now.

“Everyone is having fun, the courses are great and people love the clinics. We had fun events all yesterday—today was mostly just the downhill race—but yesterday it was everything. We had stunts, obstacles for kids, silly things like running into a pile of boxes—fun stuff on bikes.”

For many, the highlight of the weekend was the high-octane downhill race. For the second year in a row, former Whitehorse resident Greg Taylor, out of Vernon, BC, completed the course in two minutes and 42.87 seconds, edging out second-place Joe deGraff by almost nine seconds in the big bike division.

“Basically, you have to ride lots,” said Taylor, explaining the secret to his success. “You have to be pretty confident with the lines that you’re picking, you have to be fit and you have to ride as much as possible.

“Riding is my main sport and that’s what I spend most of my time doing.”

However, as much as confidence and experience is key to winning, Taylor admits that some risk taking is also necessary.

“There are spots on the course where you’re a little bit out of control, you definitely have to push the limit,” said Taylor. “To go 1.8 kilometres in less than three minutes, you have to push things to the edge.

“(Racing) second last, I was racing with worse track conditions, so it was a challenge to try and push it and stay upright.

“It was about 75 per cent the same route—they’ve added two new sections that are excellent. It was a really solid course.”

The downhill course was not the only one to have alterations made. For the cross-country event, which was new to Slamfest, organizers connected nearby trails to complete the 16-kilometre course (26-kilometre for the expert class.)

“That was unique—it kind of levelled the playing field,” said Ian Parker, who took second in the expert men’s cross-country event. “It was a course that had something for everyone; it had a good mix of technical stuff, some narrow, twisty single-track—but no long climbs, which would have suited me a little better.”

The cross-country event was called the Bugs, Bogs and Beer Coasters Race. The “bugs” and “bogs” are rather self-explanatory, but the “beer coasters” refers to how riders completed the race by handsawing a thin coaster-like slice off a tree trunk. This actually affected the results, with the winner, David Gonda, jumping from second to first during the sawing section of the race.

“(Gonda) was a better sawer than me,” said Parker. “He’s coming on really strong—he’s going to the Canada Summer Games.”

The riders were spoiled—not only were the adult and kid clinics free, Contagious Mountain Bike Club had instructors from Mad March Racing flown in from Calgary.

“The clinics that we ran yesterday are the same as the ones we run all over the States, Canada, down in Australia—and we’re going to be going to New Zealand, as well,” said Mark Bunyan, from Mad March Racing. “Yesterday was packed. We had 13 kids in the youth program, 10 adults in the other program.

“This was a basic downhill pre-race clinic. We had the course open for ourselves and we started off in a nice little area with a bike setup, then got them all set up right for whoever’s bike it is.

“From there we start out with a few skills, body positions and effective braking … and then we go implement those skills.”

Even Parker, one of the strongest riders in the Yukon, picked up some useful tips in the adult clinic.

“It was really worth doing,” said Parker. “I developed some skills that I’ll use in my cross-country riding.”

Downhill results

Big bike male

1st Greg Taylor – 2:42.87

2nd Joe deGraff – 2:51.06

3rd Julien Revel – 2:53.32

Big bike female

1st Meagan Roberge – 5:13.25

Little bike male

1st Michael Muller – 3:16.50

2nd Spencer Skerget – 3:36.37

3rd Paul Borbidge – 3:37.93

Little bike female

1st Venessa Hydamacka – 3:58.64

2nd Cat O’Donovan – 5:14.64

3rd Jen Maurer – 5:56.83

Youth male

1st Colin Kabanak – 1:12

2nd Kevin Salesse – 1:15

3rd Aidan Allen – 1:23

Youth female

1st Kenzie Davy – 2:32

2nd Fayne O’Donovan – 3:02

Cross country results

Expert men

1st David Gonda – 1:21:53

2nd Ian Parker – 1:22:04

3rd Marcus Wattreus – 1:25:02

Expert female

1st Heather Enders – 1:54:13

Sport male

1st Jarrid Davy – 57:31

2nd Dave Pharand – 57:35

3rd Benjamin Lochridge – 1:05:42

Sport female

1st Kate White – 1:23:01

2nd Venessa Hydamacka –

1:35:02

3rd Ambre Watt – 2:00:57

Youth male

1st Francis Belanger – 1:42:00

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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