This year has seen a number of North American Enduro Tour (NAET) races in the Sea to Sky corridor, the last of which being the Whistler Fall Classic held this past weekend. I was keen to get a bit of redemption after a less than ideal Enduro World Series race in Whistler a month earlier, I wanted to attack the stages rather than become the passenger I had been at the EWS.
The race was to consist of 4lift-accessedd stages spread across the mountain, starting with Top of the World for the first stage. This is a trail I have never seemed to get on with, it’s hard to find flow and always very physical, in essence a perfect enduro race stage. I managed to find that elusive flow at the top and wasn’t blowing too hard up the first short climb (even into a head wind), and still felt good blasting the water bar filled road, which is usually my least favourite section as it really punishes you when you are tired. I kept the flow right down to the bottom turns and finished the stage strong in fifth. Not a bad start.
Stage two was held in the bike park and followed a similar route to the middle section of the infamous EWS final stage. I once again started strong only making a small mistake in a tight turn about halfway down. I tried to keep my fingers off the brakes in the fast open sections and kept my speed up in the turns as much as possible. I was once again happy with how I rode finishing the stage in sixth.
It was then back up and across to Creekside for what many considered the toughest stage of the day, BC’s trail. This is another trail that has been used many times in the EWS and is seemingly tailor made for enduro racing. It’s a great mix of steep tight technical sections and flatter rough section where carrying speed is a must. I knew the key down this trail was not to get ahead of myself and to be smart about line choice while still letting off the brakes where possible. I rode the stage well, nailing some crucial lines I had spotted in practice. I was happy to finish the stage in fifth.
The final stage of the day was a short descent down ‘Big Timber’, a little known trail that starts off tight and fast before getting into some technical manouveres and climbs before firing down into a high speed finish. Other than missing a line at the top I rode this stage well althought felt a little slow when things got tight. I finished the stage in seventh.
All in all I finished the day in fourth. My best result of the year! My goal coming into the weekend was to ride smart and keep air in the tyres and I did just that! My last race of the year is the final round of the BC Enduro series at Sun Peaks, see you there.