Despite being only the third year for NIMBY Fifty, many are already calling this race a true classic. A mountain biker's mountain bike race. Perhaps this is because the race was created by riders for riders.
The course is loaded with epic single track. A relentless combination of steep rocky descents, fast flowy segments, and one extremely long (11 km) single-track climb (up Big NIMBY - 101 switchbacks). This is followed by a ripping steep descent down Overnight Sensation and a series of red line inducing "punch" climbs. The course has over 4500 feet of elevation gain and loss, wraps up with several sets of super fun rocky descents, then a short pedal down railway tracks before the final push along 2km of pavement back to North Arm Farm.
378 riders were in Pemberton Saturday for the 3rd annual NIMBY Fifty. Conditions were typical for the area - hot, dry and dusty. The start line was far from typical, however, with a deep field consisting of BC's top pros including top World Cup riders Max Plaxton (2011 Canadian Champion) and Catharine Pendrel (2011 World Champion).
This race does not allow for rest and truly pushes the envelope for what is considered marathon cross-country racing. As 2011 Winner Neal Kindree describes it, the course is "savage". While organizers call it a "Technical Marathon XC Race", a subtle message you'd better bring your A-Game if you sign up for this event.
The epic course is only part of the story though. With 360 degrees of mountains surrounding the lush Pemberton Valley, the views are epic too - and so is the after-party. The town's Mayor digs mountain biking and owns a farm where he allows organizers to host the race, which makes for quite the venue. Organizers serve plenty of quality beer, handmade burgers prepared by The Pony, live music by Papa Josh and hire Brett Tippie as emcee. To be sure, this is not only one of the toughest bike races out there, it is one hell of an event.
Current World Cup Champion Catharine Pendrel spent the weekend in Pemberton riding and racing the NIMBY Fifty. Seen here, opening up a gap on the Big NIMBY climb, on her way to a 2nd place finish overall, after suffering two flat tires.
A group of riders led by 2010 NIMBY Fifty winner, Colin Kerr, as they chase the lead riders down Radio Tower. Kerr ended up in 4th position overall, one second behind 3rd place finisher Ricky Federau in a sprint finish.
Reigning Canadian National XC Champ - Max Plaxton, one week after placing 9th in La Bresse World Cup, made his way to Pemberton to race NIMBY Fifty for the first time and described it as "probably the hardest course I've ever raced. It's uniquely demanding. It's a lot different than normal cross-country World Cup courses, extremely tough, but fun, too." Plaxton dominated the field, setting a course record of 2:03:43. Seen here, Plaxton leads Neal Kindree (2 time Jr National XC Champ and 2011 NIMBY Fifty winner) as the two work together beginning early on in the race to open up a massive 10 minute gap on the next group of riders.
Red Bull Downtime - NIMBY Fifty race within a race, was a timed descent down Overnight Sensation. Pictured here, on the women's podium: Sylvie Allen who clocked in at 6:53 for 1st place, a time that would put her top 20 in the men's division. Catharine Pendrel was 7 seconds back settling in 2nd, and Victoria's Mical Dyck landed 3rd.
Brett Tippie chatting with race co-director, Russ Wood, before presenting the much anticipated awards for Overall race winners and Red Bull Downtime.
Organizers set the date for next year's NIMBY Fifty, Saturday May 25th, 2013. The number of riders is capped at 420, and registration opens February 15th, 2013. Although a full year away, word is many riders are already strategizing their races for next year. Top finishers Catharine Pendrel and Max Plaxton, both expected to compete in London this summer, each said they can't wait for next year's NIMBY Fifty - and after watching this video, neither can we.
Blessed with sunny skies, and plenty of adrenaline fuelled riders ripping it up, Todd Hellinga and Amir Shahrestani were out with their cameras catching some of the action on Saturday. These are some of their photos, followed by a video produced, created and edited by Connor Macleod, co-creator of Ultramontane. Commissioned by race organizers due to their respect and admiration for his unique ability to showcase the core elements of a great day's riding, and all that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.
View more photos and read the official NIMBY Fifty race report
, see overall NIMBY Fifty race results
and Red Bull Downtime results.NIMBY Fifty 2012 - Overall Men
1st - Max Plaxton
2nd - Neal Kindree
3rd - Ricky FedereauNIMBY Fifty 2012 - Overall Women
1st - Brandi Heisterman
2nd - Catharine Pendrel
3rd - Mical Dyck Red Bull Downtime 2012 - Men
1st - Chris Johnston
2nd - Arthur Gaillot
3rd - Jesse MelamedRed Bull Downtime 2012 - Women
1st - Sylvie Allen
2nd - Catharine Pendrel
3rd - Mical Dyck
for full details.