Sammy Salter, CMBC president, said approximately half of the teams in this year’s festival were in the new family category. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Riding through the night at 24 Hours of Light

‘For the teams that get really competitive, they all go out and try to do a bunch of bonus laps’

The annual 24 Hours of Light mountain bike festival was held at the biathlon range in Whitehorse on June 23 and 24 with 117 participants taking part.

Hosted by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CMBC), participants had 24 hours to complete as many laps of the course as possible.

Sammy Salter, president of the CMBC, said while the traditional format is to have one team member do a lap then pass off the timing chip to the next rider, the event is laid back and flexible.

“What a lot of people end up doing is they’ll do a lap and then everybody will take a break and hang out and enjoy the social atmosphere,” said Salter. “Sometimes people will go out on laps together and they’re on the same team.”

While those laps only count as one per team, Salter said the focus on fun means riding with friends isn’t frowned upon.

In addition to the adult and youth courses, this year’s festival included a run bike and mini bike course for kids participating in the new family category.

Salter said the competition in both the eight-person and solo categories was intense near the top of the leaderboard, with bonus laps coming into play.

Bonus laps can be taken between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and count for two laps, but the rider must be completely naked.

“For the teams that get really competitive, they all go out and try to do a bunch of bonus laps to add up their total,” said Salter. “It’s pretty fun.”

Also adding to the excitement of the festival was the presence of a sow and three cubs near the course — a family that has been seen many times on Grey Mountain this year.

Although spotted a few times the day before the race, Salter said there was just one sighting during the race, and the bears quickly ran off when confronted with noise.

“Thankfully, (they were) really good bears (that) didn’t cause any trouble,” said Salter. “It’s not unusual to have some visitors.”

The festival is the club’s largest fundraiser, supporting trail building and maintenance efforts, hosting other events and holding skills clinics.

In the eight-person team category, Winning Streak finished first overall with 25 laps and nine bonus laps. All Hail Rikki, Eh! was second with 21 laps and five bonus laps and Early Light Riders were third with 23 laps and two bonus laps.

The top four-person team was Ski Patrol, finishing with eight laps and two bonus laps.

The two-person team competition was very close at the top, with Nonthewiser finishing with 19 laps, Tom Cruisers with 11 laps and four bonus laps and Slater Squared with 11 laps.

Karl Blattmann was the winner in the solo male category with 21 laps. Gabriel Savard was second with 14 laps and four bonus laps and Rob Cohen was third with 11 laps and four bonus laps.

Charlotte Kerjean was the top solo female with 10 laps and four bonus laps, Kristina Givens was second with nine laps and three bonus laps and Kay Cahill was third with eight laps.

In the youth category, Green Squad was first with 19 laps, No Adults Allowed was second with 13 laps and Midnight Shredders were third with 11 laps.

The fastest male lap was Kelly Servinski, completing the course in 33 minutes and 53 seconds. The fastest female lap was Meagan Wilson with a time of 42 minutes and 38 seconds.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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