2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap

May 17, 2017
by Ernie Kliever  
Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Mike Levy deep in the suffer fest. Photo: Scott Robarts

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Plan: let’s resurrect a bad-ass race from the 90’s, cultivate a bunch of sweet single track, and get people fired up on mountain bikes. End result: the “Vedder Mountain Classic”.

As always the goal of these events is to bring people from the mountain bike community together, have them ride some of the best trails Chilliwack has to offer, and get them absolutely stoked about a big day between the tape.

Whether you raced the Vedder Mountain Classic, BC Enduro Series, or both, volunteered, our just hung out in the beer gardens, one thing was clear, it was a pretty damn good weekend for hanging out and riding bikes.

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
A packed pit area is always a good thing. Photo: Scott Robarts

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Racers getting ready for the race meeting. Photo: Phil Jones

2017 Vedder Mountain Bike Festival Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Photo: James Lissimore


The Vedder Mountain Classic was once one of the oldest, and most continuously run mountain bike races in Canada. This year marks the second year since its return, and it's safe to say that XC is back in a big way.

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Each year our vendor list keeps growing. It's really exciting to see local businesses and the biking community excited about these events. It is their support that really makes this event as spectacular as it is. A huge thanks to all our supporters from 2017. See you again next year! Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Vedder Mountain Bike Co's shop dog Fern sporting a wicked bandanna. Photo: Scott Robarts


2017 Vedder Mountain Bike Festival Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Photo: James Lissimore

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Retro water bottles paying homage to a rad race and it's history. Photo: Phil Jones

An unusual amount of snow, combined with a usual amount of rain, kept the trail crew working around the clock to prepare the course for the past weekend’s festivities. If you rode Vedder in early Spring you would have been amazed at the muscle that the FVMBA crew put into these trails to make them ride-able again after the beat down that was this year's Winter.

A huge thank you to the FVMBA crew that worked tirelessly to make this course as amazing as it is. Hats off to Gareth, Kirk, Fred, Kerry, Andy, Meghan, Bob, Kelly, Matt, Pat, Ernie, Ali, Hamish, Max, and the rest of the trail crew. These guys and gals like cold beer, so feel free to drop them a 6'er next time you roll through the WACK.

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
She's a wet one. Photo: Phil Jones

2017 Vedder Mountain Bike Festival Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
The odd puddle on course to keep you well hydrated. Photo: James Lissimore

Sometimes the best laid plans can take a detour… sometimes this might even mean a trip off course into the cabbage, but this year it was the weather that really put the literal dampener on things.

In the days leading up to race the heavens opened up, letting down a deluge from the sky, giving the course a nice soak come race day, and boy was she soggy in sections!

Riders compared sections of the course to peanut butter, noting that you had to fight for each pedal stroke on the climbs, and hang on for dear life on the downs. #peanutbuttersandwich
But hey this is mountain biking, and a little rain with a side of mud didn’t deter these riders from having a great day on the bike. #putthefunbetweenyourlegs

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
A little snippet of track conditions on race day. Greasy! Photo: Scott Robarts

This year’s Vedder Mountain Classic saw a stacked field from Bronze Medal Olympian-Catharnie Pendrel, Two-time US Olympic Long Team Member-Spencer Paxson, 4 time National Champion-Evan Guthrie, Team Canada World Championship Member- Sandra Walter, Kona Endurance/Adventure Team Member-Kris Sneddon, Kona Endurance/Adventure Team Member-Rhys Verneer, Rocky Mountain Cross Country Team Member-Greg Day,Former Olympian and National Champion -Andreas Hestler,as well as local boy and 4 time National Champion-Ricky Federau.... just to name a few...

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
"Such an amazing race! Those trails are the best ever. It's going to be really cool to see this event grow. What a savage course."- Ricky Federau. Photo: Chris Friesen

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Riders in the start gate, waiting for the race the start. Photo: Phil Jones

This year the Vedder Mountain Classic was the kick-off to the new Cycling BC Premier XCM Series.This year the series includes the Sunshine Coaster, Vedder Mountain Classic, Nimby 50, and the Spakwus 50.

In addition this year was our "KIDS Classic". The race was 500 m of windy, bending trail with some variety of terrain which included grass, gravel and loam. We kept it classy by ensuring it was taped off like our Classic race, and ensured safety of raking the course. We had incredible support from the community with 30 participants who competed in 3 different categories: Run Bike, 16-18" wheels and 20-24" wheels. Our little shredders competed for cheers, photos, and smiles; concluding with their very own water bottle (like the racers in the Classic) and cookie to refuel. We want to spread the stoke of mountain biking and hope that this will further support that dream!

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Evan Guthrie putting the hammer down during the opening lap. Photo: Phil Jones


2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Photo: Phil Jones

Races are meant to test us, they test us mentally and physically, and often they push us outside our comfort zones. It's that challenge that we seek, a chance to conquer something. Talk to anyone that finished the race this year and they'll tell you that it was damn hard, but one hell of a wild ride!

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Racers fought their way through mud, lots of mud, greasy roots, steep chutes, drops, jumps, and endless flow over a 34 km course with close to 1700 m of climbing. Couple this with 50 mm of rain in the few days before the race you can be certain that this year's course was definitely a challenge.


Short course here.

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Dwayne Kress of the Spawkus 50, being chased down by Justin Mark, and Chris Johnson of the Nomads. Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

The Director of "Good Times”, Brett Tippie was hanging out in the pit making a ruckus and getting riders and crowd members fired up for a big day on the bike. Tippie managed to even sneak in a few shuttles after the race with the Enduro Bros.

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Kris Sneddon of the Kona Adventure Team dropping into one of the gnarly descents on Vedder Mountain, this was one burly XCM course. Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Chris Johnson of the Santa Cruz Nomads in full attack mode dropping in at the top of "Skidder". Chris would go on to earn a podium spot in the "Pro Men" in the BC Enduro race the next day #beastmode. Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Colin Cromarty in form on the descents. Colin did the full course fresh off the couch, what an animal!! Photo: Scott Robarts

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
There was no shortage of "motivational signage" this year keeping racer's sprits up. Photo: Phil Jones

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

A huge shout out to those making the race happen outside of the tape. The volunteers this year killed it. This dude in the purple hat at the top of Kerry'd Away was just what the doctor ordered to bring the stoke level up after a grueling climb. Cheers "Daryl in the Purple Hat", you killed it buddy.

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Sharp elbows coming off the road section into Skidder. Photo: Phil Jones

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Catharine Pendrel was out supporting the local race scene this year. We caught up with her post-race and here's what she had to say about the Vedder Mountain Classic.

bigquotesThe Vedder mountain Classic is everything a bike race should be: great trails, great atmosphere, and great competition. I love a race that showcases the best of its local trails and creates an atmosphere where people want to stay and hang out afterwards. - Catharine Pendrel

2017 Canadian Enduro Series Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Catharine Pendrel stoked on earning some green for her efforts. Photo: James Lissimore

2017 Canadian Enduro Series Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Spencer Paxson leading the charge during Sunday's Enduro. Photo: James Lissimore

Spencer Paxson, Evan Guthrie, Chris Johnson, and Dylan Wolsky were some of the riders that took on the challenge of riding both races over the weekend. Paxson made the trip across the border to take part in this year's events, he went on to claim the top spot in the XCM.

bigquotesDuring the post-race interview on Saturday, I was asked what is special about racing in this part of the world. My on-the-spot answer spoke plainly to the sense of fun, community and great trails that are so abundant in BC. After the interview I had a further thought. I’ve only been racing mountain bikes since 1998, around the time when the Vedder Classic went on a 16-year hiatus. That said, I’ve raced all around the world since then, and have grown up with this sport and lived and breathed its evolution as a core participant. What’s special about racing in this part of British Columbia is that there is no nostalgia around it. The heritage and the heroes are still here, some are still fast as hell, all are still stoked, and some even share podiums with their children. There’s no pretense to riding or racing here, no matter your skill level, and no need to waste time on reflecting on how it used to be, because in BC, mountain biking and racing just is. It’s a f*@#% good time! - Spencer Paxson.

2017 Canadian Enduro Series Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Spencer Paxson chatting with Brett Tippie about his Jedi skills and how he used the force to navigate the Vedder Mountain Classic course. Photo: James Lissimore

2017 Canadian Enduro Series Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Evan Guthrie sending Sunday's enduro on his XC bike. This guy is a beast, XCM Saturday, and Enduro Sunday, on the same XC bike.

It was great to see some riders out this year that do this on the world stage, and for them to be genuinely stoked on this year's events. When you spend the majority of your season on the road its nice to come together and remember what it is all about. Talking with Evan after the race, he had this to say.

bigquotesComing to Vedder Mountain for the first time was nothing short of spectacular. After racing in SoCal and Arizona for the last five weeks it was incredible to come back and spend a weekend with friends doing what I love; sharing stories and experiences on the bike. A weekend of racing like that is what defines mountain biking for me and I look forward to being back next year! Thanks to everyone from the FVMBA and BC Enduro Series who made it such a special weekend! - Evan Guthrie

Read more about Evan's account of the race here.

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Got muck? Photo: Phil Jones

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
All high fives and smiles at the bottom. Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Can't complain with Old Yale on tap, and sunshine on your face. Photo: Scott Robarts

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap
Some custom medallions for the podium. Photo: Phil Jones

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Short Course Women's Podium. We ran into Annie on the Friday before the race, she was running XC tires and concerned about the mud, and all the slippery wood on course. The trail crew worked some magic, and it looks like it helped to land her on the top spot. Way to go! Photo: Scott Robarts

Short Course Women
1 // Annie Roy // 1:46:11.0
2 // Erin Bruhns time: 1:47:51.6
3 // Kate Whitley // 2:09:59.5


Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Each year these kids keep getting faster, Hamish Graham with a smoking time. Photo: Scott Robarts

Short Course Men
1 // Hamish Graham // 1:13:26.9
2 // Shane Patterson // 1:14:38.6
3 // Hunter Verner // 1:22:52.5

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Junior 18 and Under Men
1 // Tate Haugan // 3:03:16.8
2 // Breckin Nowak // 3:07:46.0
3 // Evan Russell // 3:11:39.0

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Check out that retro Vedder Mountain Classic shirt from Andrew Jackson on the third step. Solid showing from the 19-20 men. Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Senior 19-29 Men
1 // Simon Szoke // 2:55:23.8
2 // Robert Whishaw // 3:00:24.7
3 // Andrew Jackson // 3:20:02.8

Long Course- Master 30-34 Men
1 // Katharine Carter // 4:03:19.0

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Trevor Howard of Nobl Wheels on the top spot. Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Master 30-34 Men
1 // Trevor Howard // 3:19:33.3
2 // Sylvain Pithon // 3:21:48.5
3 // Matthew Hornland // 3:34:23.9

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Local ripper Kelly Jones in the number 2 spot. Kelly is part of the race committee that puts on the Vedder Mountain Classic. Not only can she plan a bad ass race, she is also fast as hell. Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Master 35-39 Women
1 // Elissa Lok // 3:44:47.7
2 // Kelly Jones // 3:52:29.7
3 // Crystal Lambert // 4:12:54.9

Long Course- Master 35-39 Men
1 // Travis Hauck // 2:44:02.4
2 // Mikalai Panasiuk // 2:47:03.7
3 // Dave Vunic // 2:53:41.9

Long Course- Master 40-44 Women
1 // Tara Miller // 4:05:08.1

Long Course- Master 40-44 Men
1 // Michael Robinson // 2:51:45.6
2 // David Dorrans // 3:03:51.7
3 // Michael Johnston // 3:07:13.8

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Landing on the top spot in the Master 45-49 Men is Dwanye Kress of the Spawkus 50 in Squamish. Dwayne is a big part of bringing this XCM Series together. Here he proves that he is pretty damn fast too! Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Master 45-49 Men
1 // Dwayne Kress // 2:49:27.5
2 // Andreas Hesler // 2:54:49.0
3 // Greg MacDonald // 2:54:49.0

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Local favorite Harv Bergen taking the 50+ category. Harv is the owner of Lifecycles Bike Shop in Abbotsford, a big supporter of the local scene, and a veteran of the Vedder Mountain Classic. Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Master 50+ Men
1 // Harvey Bergen // 3:08:31.3
2 // Ken Olson // 3:09:47.7
3 // John Verdonk // 3:10:07.0


Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Great showing today in the Elite Women's category. Catharine Pendrel with the win, followed by Sandra and Jena. These ladies ARE waaaay faster than you! Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Elite Women
1 // Catharine Pendrel // 2:52:12.0
2 // Sandra Walter // 2:55:32.5
3 // Jena Greaser // 3:09:57.6

Vedder Mountain Classic 2017. Photo Scott Robarts Photography
Word was it was an all out battle for first place in Elite Men. Spencer took the climbs and Evan would catch him on the downs, but in the end Spencer managed to hold on for the W. Photo: Scott Robarts

Long Course- Elite Men
1 // Spencer Paxson // 2:24:33.8
2 // Evan Guthrie // 2:25:41.7
3 // Rhys Verner // 2:31:56.3

FULL RACE RESULTS HERE

A big thank you to all the volunteers that came out this weekend. In total between the 2 races we had 80 volunteers on hand to make this all happen. Hats off to the volunteers, we all appreciate your help, and we hope to see you back next year.

2017 Vedder Mountain Bike Festival Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Volunteer briefing on Saturday AM. Big hand for these folks waking up early, and hanging out all day to make it happen for the racers. Photo: James Lissimore

We want to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors and supporters this year. Without the generous contributions from local businesses, and the bike industry this event could not take place. So on behalf of the FVMBA and the BC Enduro Series crew , THANK-YOU! You rock, and you played a key role in putting on an awesome race weekend for over 500 race participants!

A massive thank-you to our race sponsors and supporters for 2017. Your contributions are what allow us to host these great community events.

Odlum Brown I Via Sport I Doc's Auto Body I CBI Health Fraser Valley I Old Yale Brewing I Specailized Bikes I Innovative Fitness Abbotsford I Canadian National Enduro Series I Inmist Media House I Simpson Notaries I Race Face Performance Products I Vedder Mountain Bike Co I Lifecycles Bike Shop I Pedal Sport I Kona Bikes I James Lissimore Photography I Tourism Chilliwack I Toursim Abbotsford I Swagman I Kintec I Whistler Performance Lubricants I Orange Sport Supply I Clearbrook Coffee Company I Fortin's Home Hardware I Shimano I Envision Financial I Cycling BC

2017 Vedder Mountain Classic Recap

2017 Vedder Mountain Bike Festival Vedder Mountain Chilliwack BC May 7 2017
Photo: James Lissimore

Cheers folks, we will see you all again next year!

More Race Photos HERE


9 Comments

  • + 7
 What a fun event! People were stoked with a great vibe and cool venue!! Loved sampling the trails later that night!! Vedder rocks!!
  • + 3
 Haha, funny that #153 got caught cutting the tape coming back off the road.
  • + 1
 Incredible weekend by the organizers and fellow racers. Highly recommend this event!
  • + 1
 @ekliever things look like they went awesome again! keep killing it boys!
  • + 1
 Awesome job FVMBA and all that helped put this amazing event together!
  • + 1
 Correction: Short Course Women 2nd place is Erin Bruhns
  • + 1
 Applogies. working on it
  • + 1
 @ekliever: Another correction: Short Course 3rd Place Jolene Rizzalli
  • + 1
 This looks amazing. Congrats to the riders and organizers.

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