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The Purple Haze of Provincials: Western Open BC Cup

Jul 30, 2014
by Danielle Baker  


THE PURPLE HAZE OF PROVINCIALS



Purple haze.
  Hendrix was here.

After a few dry, but chilly, days of practice the sun finally came out and scorched us on Sunday at the Western Open/Provincials this past weekend. While flesh obsessed black flies that swarmed like repellant was a pheromone, the Dunbar Cycles crew taped the course on Thursday morning. By Friday racers were slowly arriving for practice laps and the camping areas filled up while the lift lines began to stretch as far as five people deep. Tippie's voice rang out across the land, or at least over the mic for Saturday, and it really started to feel like a race weekend!

Although there were only four women who showed to compete, they still managed to steal the show. Stephen Exley started the Western Open six years ago in an effort to raise money to help his daughter Lola. At the age of two she contracted viral encephalitis and has since suffered from intractable epilepsy, she is non-verbal and developmentally disabled. It is because of Lola and her family's love for her that the Western Open, and now the Silver Star and Fernie races have come to set the standard in BC Cups. This weekend as the only woman to race in the Elite category, Danice Uyesugi, chose to donate half of her winnings to the Love for Lola trust fund and in doing so she demonstrated the essence of our DH race community and why it is so much more than simply riding bikes fast. A total of $3500 has been raise for Lola from Stephen's two events so far this season.

bigquotesI always enjoy going to Stephen's events. They are well organized, exciting and there is always a lot of free swag! The Western Open is the most challenging course on the circuit and because of that it is the most rewarding one to conquer. This year there was a noticeable shortage of female racers and Stephen did an excellent job of recognizing each of the women who showed up and raced, more so that I have ever seen at any race. It ended up being an incredible race experience despite the lack of competition and I am so glad I got to be a part of it! - Danice Uyesugi

The track was the same as previous years and ran down Pioneer trail with a loamy reroute in the top section to avoid an especially eroded portion that didn't fair well over the winter. Exposed rock faces make up the top of the course before technical and equally steep forest lines take racers through the middle. Loose dry berms and a long sprint lead to a wooden booter at the finish line. It is an aggressive and physical track but it still drew over 130 participants.

On Saturday a kids race was held in the plaza while the Kicking Horse crew put on a Toonie Race down one of the upper mountain trails, Northern Lights. Riders had the option to buck up two dollars and "race" to the top of the Western Open course where practice runs continued. Following the excitement of the Toonie Race and seeded runs, was the spectator friendly long jump contest.

The Elite Men's category had an upset on race day when Adriano Digiacinto, who has the fastest time overall during seeded runs on Saturday, ended up with a flat on his race run. Taking the top step on the podium was Dean 'T-Bone' Tennant with a time of 3:45, Dean also won the long jump competition and the toonie race over the weekend. Second place went to Nick 'Keebs' Grimm (3:47), in third was Guy Gibbs (3:50), in fourth was Aaron Dobie (3:51) and in fifth was Bryden Rigets (3:52).

Taking home Provincial Champion jerseys was Dean Tennant (Elite Men), Danice Uyesugi (Elite Women), Magnus Manson (Junior Expert Men), Kyleigh Stewart (Junior Expert Women) and Colin Yarrow (Masters Men).

Riding from the gondola at the top of Kicking Horse.
  Exposed riding from the gondola at the top of Kicking Horse.

Danice Uyesugi race ready.
  Danice Uyesugi maintained a positive attitude all weekend despite her lonely category.

Danice practicing the course on Friday.
  The course ends with a field of wild flowers that does nothing to take the sting out of the lung bursting sprint to the finish.

Lola the little girl behind the Western Open.
  Lola, the little girl behind the Western Open.

Guy Gibbs drops in at the top of the course.
  Guy Gibbs at the top of the course, midway down the 4,133 feet that is Kicking Horse.

Western Open BC Cup
  That hair.

Adriano rips the new re-routed loam section of race track.
  Adriano rips the new re-routed loam section of race track.

Friday practice laps on Pioneer
  Taking practice laps easy through the peddle section on Friday afternoon.

Brennan Cumming dropping in at the start of the course during practice.
  Brennan Cumming dropping in at the start of the course during practice.

Caleb Mohamed hits the rock drop.
  Caleb Mohamed hits the rock drop into a new section of track.

Lift access at Western Open.
  Racers have the option to take the gondola to the peak and ride to the top of the race course or take the lift and push a short distance to the start.

Colin Yarrow arrived early set up camp and got very patriotic
  Colin Yarrow arrived early, set up camp and got very patriotic!

Track walks.
  Track walks were full of bugs and acting.

Western Open
  Nic Rodgers finding the high lines.

Vollies take a high view of the track from a closed trail next-door.
  Vollies take a high view of the track from a closed trail next-door.

Western Open
  Trevor Thew charging!

Zach Dzuba rails a berm during practice.
  Zach Dzuba rails a berm during practice on Sunday morning.

Western Open
  Logan Johnson traverses just below the rock faces.

Tippie gets loud with event organizer Stephen Exley.
  Tippie gets loud with event organizer Stephen Exley.

Dropping in to the toonie race.
  Dropping into the toonie race.

Veteran racer Dexter Robinson charges the Toonie race course Northern Lights.
  Veteran racer Dexter Robson charges the Toonie race course, Northern Lights.

Tippie and Louden take a break to check out the toonie course on Saturday.
  Even Tippie and Louden took a break to check out the toonie course on Saturday.

There were varying styles for the long jump competition on Saturday.
  There were varying styles for the long jump competition on Saturday.

Dean Tennant taking the win at the long jump competition.
  Dean Tennant taking the win at the long jump competition by hitting the 49.5ft mark.

This little guy along with his mom and brother were tearing up the mountain all weekend. He also had the smallest pair of Five Tens I ve ever seen
  This little guy, along with his mom and brother, were tearing up the mountain all weekend. He also had the smallest pair of Five Tens I have ever seen!

Kid s race.
  Pin it to win it.

Game face.
  Game face.

Finally we got sun.
  Finally we got sun.

Western Open practice runs.

Western Open
  Rob Venables gets camouflaged.

Pioneer Trail.

Western Open BC Cup
Western Open BC Cup
  Bike themed shirts were all the rage.

Pedal section at the bottom of the Western Open track.
  Pedal section at the bottom of the Western Open track.

Sprinting to the finish.
  Sprinting to the finish.

Aaron was giving himself a pep talk as this photo was taken it worked he took fourth place in Elite Men.
  Aaron was giving himself a pep talk as this photo was taken, it worked, he took fourth place in Elite Men.

Magnus Manson on his way to winning Junior Expert Men and a Provincial Champion jersey.
  Magnus Manson won the Junior Expert Men category and a Provincial Champion jersey.

Dean on his way to the top step on the Elite Men s podium and a Provincial Champ jersey.
  Dean on his way to the top step on the Elite Men's podium and a Provincial Champ jersey.

The only Elite Woman rider to compete Danice still put in a killer race run and donated half were race winning back to the charity it supports.
  The only Elite Woman rider to compete, Danice still put in a killer race run and donated half her race winnings back to the charity it supports, the Love for Lola trust fund.

This ladies were the only four women to race the Western Open course and provincials Kyleigh Stewart Danice Uyesugi Darlene Paranaque Angie Lowen.
  This ladies were the only four women to race the Western Open course and provincials; Kyleigh Stewart, Danice Uyesugi, Darlene Paranaque, Angie Lowen.

The Intense M9 Frame that was up for grabs.
  The Intense M9 Frame that was up for grabs.

Winner of the Intense M9 frame.
  Winner of the Intense M9 frame.

Western Open medals thanks to North Shore Billet.
  Western Open medals thanks to North Shore Billet.

Kylie in her Provincial Camp jersey.
  Kyleigh Stewart in her Provincial Camp jersey.

Danice on the podium.
  Danice on the podium.

Crotch shots on the Elite Men s podium.
  Crotch shots on the Elite Men's podium.

The Elite Men s podium.
  The Elite Men's podium: Dean Tennant (3:45), Nic Grimm (3:47), Guy Gibbs (3:50), Aaron Dobie (3:51), and Bryden Rigets (3:52).

From now on Dean Tennant will only respond to the name T-Bone.
  From now on Dean Tennant will only respond to the name T-Bone.

With the Western Open behind us we now have a month until our next and final BC Cup of the season in Fernie. It was one of the favourite courses of the series last year, so don't miss out this year. Register now!

Gondolas at Kicking Horse.
  Until next time Kicking Horse.

Full results:




16 Comments

  • 15 0
 Awesome pics and write up Danielle. Thanks for spotlighting the women in racing! We need more girls out there!
  • 2 0
 I think it's because all the women are racing Enduro now! In Squamish, we had 18 out at the first race in May, and then 15 at the second race. I should know, they all passed me....
  • 3 1
 So I guess the better question is; why are all these women showing up to race enduro and no one will race DH? There are plenty of women out there that shred!!
  • 1 2
 Enduro is chill init.
  • 8 0
 I'll bet Tippie won that battle against the megaphone! Wink
  • 5 0
 Danielle, always fantastic photography from you.

Really sad to see only one girl in the elite category. Maybe next year I'll come out and race with you, Danice, and proudly take last place. Smile
  • 5 1
 Danice is an absolute inspiration. Love shredding bikes with her and very proud to have her on the OGC team!
  • 4 3
 Also, it's Dexter Robson, not "Robinson".
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the correction.
  • 2 0
 Holy crow - what a great bunch of photos! So many different styles and angles and all great!
  • 1 0
 Someone wanna let me know what tld kit danice is wearing? Its like the beta from a couple of seasons ago but different?
  • 1 0
 Wow incredible shots Danielle of my home mountain. Great shooting, great shredding. Y'all come back now...Tippie too!
  • 2 0
 zack dzuba is too rad!
  • 1 0
 So dreamyWink
  • 1 0
 Amazing shots and great article!

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