On May 11th, 2019 Cultus Lake, BC played host to the 4th annual Vedder Mountain Classic (since its resurrection in 2016). This race has some deep history, with the inaugural race being held circa 1985. For 2019, race organizers focused on the nostalgic roots of this historic event; a theme that was constant throughout the day.
Mother Nature parted the clouds to provide one of the hottest days we've had in some time here at the Lake. The trails were all-time, and the energy in the air was palpable. Whether you race mountain bikes, love ice cold beers, or just want to experience a damn good time, the Vedder Mountain Classic has quickly become a must-attend event for both locals and visitors, and this year was no exception.
Nestled on the shores of beautiful Cultus Lake, you couldn't ask for a more picturesque setting to host a race. The trails at Vedder Mountain are a hidden gem, with single track starting right from the Lake, followed by descents on some super fast and flowy trails!HISTORY
This year we really wanted to focus on the history of this race. We asked our Creative Art Director, Marcia Wood, to help source information about the race's past. Marcia is the one behind the original artwork of the Vedder Mountain Classic. She also painted this year's wicked backdrop and raced in the original Vedder Mountain Classic. After some digging Marcia was able to come up with the following historical timeline:THE INCOMPLETE AND UNSUBSTANTIATED HISTORY OF THE VEDDER MOUNTAIN CLASSIC
COMPILED BY MARCIA WOOD
In 1983 mountain bikers from the "West Point Cycle Group" in Vancouver which consisted of several bike shops mainly West Point Cycles, Bayshore Bikes, and Bikes on Broadway, lead by Peter Hamilton, Pippin Osborne, Jacob Heilbron, Keith Whitaker, Dan Gerhard, and several others began organizing informal mountain bike races.
One of the original events was "The Vedder Mountain Classic". The start line of the original race was in Yarrow, BC by the train tracks, and the course wound its way up and over Vedder Mountain, descending down Parmenter Road to the finish line by the gravel pit.
Rumour has it that the brainchild behind the original Vedder course was Rudy Friesen, a wrench at West Point Cycles at the time, who was originally from Yarrow, BC. Traditionally, the awards ceremony was held at Beethovens Pizza in Cultus Lake.
In 1984 in order to run sanctioned events, the West Point guys founded the Canadian Off-Road Cycling Association (CORBA) and held the first unofficial "Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships" the "Vedder Mountain Classic".
1985 - 1987: The annual race continues to be organized by the West Point Group
1987- 1995: Robson Cycles of Vancouver carries on the tradition, sponsoring and organizing the annual race
1996 onwards: there were some mountain bike races held on Vedder Mountain by various Fraser Valley organizers, but not named the "Vedder Mountain Classic"
2013 - 2015: Vedder Mountain Enduro is a stage of the FVMBA Trailblazer Series
2016: Vedder Mountain Classic XC is resurrected with a different course, and is part of a series along with the “Sumas Smackdown”.
2016 - Present: The Vedder Mountain Classic is alive and wellRACE DAY
Racers lined up in the gates at Main Beach Cultus Lake, eagerly anticipating the start of the race and hoping that all the pre-season training had paid off. The race takes a brief detour through Cultus before heading up onto Vedder Mountain. With close to 35 km of distance and 1500+ m of climbing. It's no walk in the park, and to top it off add temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius and you've got one heck of a challenge ahead.
Returning this year was Catharine Pendrel accompanied by her Pendrel Racing Team. Teammates Emily Unterberger, and Elyse Nieuwold were out on the course crushing, resulting in a full podium sweep for team Pendrel. Catharine Pendrel also won the "No Brake 'Til the Lake" and the "Mountain Goat Climb", once again proving that she's a force to be reckoned with.
Pendrel racing is a development team that has selected some of the top athletes in the country. The team is coached by Catharine and her husband Keith and helps athletes achieve their goals of reaching the highest levels in this sport.
Emily Unterberger leads Elyse Nieuwold into one of the many descents on course. The course really plays to various strengths, if you're a strong climber you are going to want to save energy on the descents and push past the competition on those long grueling climbs. Alternatively, if you just crush the downs you will want to stay in line with the pack, then hammer down on the descents to put some time into your fellow racers. Elyse Nieuwold proved that she is the "Queen of the Mountain", taking on the Canadian Enduro the next day and taking home the overall for both days. Neither of these courses are easy, neither of them are short, and Elyse proved that she is the best all-around female rider of the weekend, getting her name added to the Queen trophy for 2019.
This year also marked the return to the top step by local legend Ricky Fedearu; however, this win didn't come easy as there was a full-on battle between the tape. It was cyclocross legend and all around nice guy Michael Van Den Ham that lead the charge out of the gate. Van Den Ham towed the rest of the pack up the climbs but was caught by Ricky on descents. The day would round out with Ricky in 1st, followed by Spencer Paxson, Mark Allison, Michael Van Den Ham, and Quinn Moberg. Ricky and Spencer prove that Team Dad can still school the kids.
The real story of the day was when KONA staff rider Mark Allison, aka "Donny", who took the 3rd step in the Elite Men in what was his first XC racer ever! Donny, you are a legend!
Donny also won the "No Brake 'Til the Lake" timed descent. The dude then saddled up Sunday for the Enduro taking home 13th in Pro Men, and winning the coveted "King of the Mountain" for best overall in both races. This means his name is being etched in beside fellow Bellingham local Spencer Paxson. Hey KONA: looks like you might be adding a name to the roster!
Quinn Molberg on the right, in hot pursuit of cyclocross phenom Michael Van Den Ham.
Trail running legend Gary Robbins recently made the migration to Chilliwack. He's been hitting up a few mountain bike races here in BC, riding the Sunshine Coaster the week before the Classic. It's great to see the crossover here with legends from other disciplines. Having taken on the Barkley Marathon several times (a race where literally no one finishes) Garry is an all-around beast!PHOTOS
A big thank you to Inmist Media House, who was out filming all day for the 2019 race video. Also, another huge thank you to our photographers: Mark MacKay, Scott Robarts and Gareth Paget who were out on course capturing the action. Check out the event photos below:Scott Robarts PhotosMark MacKay PhotosGareth Paget PhotosTHE COURSE:
The FULL course is a biggie. The second lap up Kerry'd Away has a tendency to destroy people's morale and have them asking why they've paid to do this race. LONG COURSE
We don't have a ton of trails on Vedder, so we make the most of them. Sometimes it is quality over quantity, and we're pumped to announce that there will be at least one NEW trail on the course in 2020. SHORT COURSE
The Short Course is a great introduction to racing: it has enough climbing and descending to really test a rider's skills. If you've been thinking about trying the Vedder Mountain Classic for the first time, you might want to consider giving the Short Course a go. RESULTS:
Full Race Results HEREVOLUNTEERS:
To all our volunteers: thank you so much for taking time to help out with the Vedder Mountain Classic. You guys are the ones that make this whole event happen - we could not do it without you!
We also had volunteers out from the Vedder Mountain Motorcycle Club that spent the day at the bottom of the mountain letting dirt bikers know about the race, and suggesting that they ride another Chilliwack area for the weekend. We'd like to extend a big thank-you to David Lock, Ryder Lock and Alison Fenton - thanks for being awesome!TRAIL BUILDERS:
A special shout-out to all our trail builders here on Vedder Mountain, who were out Friday afternoon and evening putting in a fresh new corner just in time for Race Day. This group of guys and gals work their butts off to build some of the best single track here in the Lower Mainland. Thanks to: Gareth Paget, Kerry Frayne, Hamish Baird, Ali Chappel, Ernie Kliever, Andy Jackson, Kirk Nygaard-Petersen, Steven Uruski, Patrick Podolski, Julie Henderson, Scott Simpson and Chris Brown. SPONSORS:
A big thank you to all our awesome sponsors, your contributions help make this event possible. Each year our sponsors step up in big ways to provide some amazing prizes and cash to help us throw this party in the woods.Peak
Odlum Brown – Michael Woods Portfolio ManagerAlpine
Inmist Media House – WeAreOne – Old Yale Brewing – Vedder Mountain Bike Co – Raceface – James Lissimore Photography – Tourism ChilliwackTreeline
Ryders Eyewear – Lifecycles Bike Shop – Simpson Notaries – Pedal Sport – Muc Off – Orange Sport Supply – Chilliwack Sports Medicine Clinic – Avenue Body Shop – CBI Health Centre – Sixth Element – Bike Room Evoc – 100 Percent – Ride Wrap – Innovative Fitness – Kona – Clearbrook Coffee Company – Scott Robarts Photography – Mark MacKay PhotographyGrassroots
OneUp Components – Santa Cruz – Platinum Signs – Chestnut Springs BakeryDesign Sponsor
HiWire Creative2019 RACE COMMITTEE:Your 2019 Race Committee (from left to right): Top: Emma Kliever, Chelsea Cromarty, Gareth Paget, Middle: Colin Cromarty, Mike Boughner, Julie Henderson, Kneeling: Ernie Kliever, Meghan Jackson, Looking Cute: Ted Morton, Missing: Marcia Wood, Bob Jones, Kelly Jones, Andy Jackson.THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT - WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT YEAR!