There’s something to be said for leaving the party while it’s still thumping – that way you are left with all the positive vibes without the letdown of the last call and the lights coming on. But sometimes the party is so good that it’s worth jumping to the final beat of the last song, and when it’s done, you’re not sad that it’s over, you’re happy because it happened. In the case of the NIMBY 50 marathon cross country race in Pemberton, British Columbia, the party was that good, and it carried on for ten solid years until its final round on May 26, 2019.
Team Kona landed itself across the podium and five of the top-10 spots. Spencer fought a tight battle with eventual winner Ricky Federeau (2004 Canadian XC National Champ), Michael Van den Ham (3x Canadian cyclocross National Champ), and past Nimby winner Quinn Moburg, with the win coming down to a handful of seconds in a dogged sprint across the fields to North Arm Farm. Cory put together an amazing ride for being the fastest rider on a hardtail (on a decidedly NON-hardtail course) with the Cinderalla story Mark “Donny” Allison nipping at his heels in a sprint across the line for 5th. Barry rocked in aboard his Process 153 Carbon in 6th as the fastest person on a 6″ trail bike, while Rhys spun out his enduro skills and XC roots for 9th.
Some six hundred racers plus their families and friends showed up for the last call and the most rowdy and rad rendition of the Nimby so far. Rain had soaked the already technical course for the prior two days, which may have even amplified peoples’ spirits, for it meant an even greater challenge lay ahead. That’s what the “BC-XC” vibe is all about. Dedicated community, awesome terrain, and superb trails. In all it added up to as good a “valedictory” edition of the Nimby 50 as possible. And to fit the occasion, the spectrum of Kona team and alumni in attendance made it even more special: Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon, the original “BC Bike Racers”; Cory Wallace, ultra-endurance and 2x 24hr World Champ; Spencer Paxson, ex-World Cup XCer and recent dad-strength convert; Rhys Verner, XC-to-enduro sensation; Sean Babcock, ex-Kona Factory Cyclocross and Team S&M tough guy; and perhaps most remarkable of all, Mark “Donny” Allison, a Kona Bikes staff Product Manager and unofficially latest inductee to the “working class” elite roster of hairy-legged Kona hammer smiths.
Photos by Patrick Means