E-MTB bikes are a relatively new category in our sport, and we had a hunch that this new ingredient had the potential to create something amazing. This past weekend kicked off the first-ever MEGA VOLT festival; a fully-charged E-MTB experience produced by BC Bike Race and the Cowichan Trails Stewardship Society.
The MEGA VOLT took place in the incredibly beautiful and stunning Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. Cowichan Valley takes its name from Quw'utsun, an Indigenous word that means warm land. The first-ever multi-day E-MTB Festival (in North America), was unanimously approved with three thumbs up for the shape, style, camaraderie, and wicked fun trails!!
Rewind to 1976 - it was a small group of people that went out to race klunker bikes down some of the steepest hills in Marin County - the first ever Repack Downhill. I wonder if they knew what they were starting? Thank you guys for doing what you believed in!!
With a schedule packed full of fun and different flavoured events, the MEGA VOLT was aiming to curate a unique experience. From start to finish this event would provide a platform for E-MTB bikers to gather, test terrain, different conditions, and share those thoughts together in an open forum.
Remember though – this MEGA VOLT (an ode to 80’s metal music) - is all about FUN and good times on bikes, e-bikes! The format was truly taken to heart by all the participants who spent much of each ride in a large group talking and laughing before the terrain broke the party up. RESULTS
STAGE 1, Friday Afternoon - Presented by DLD FinancialThe Consistency Trial - 13km, Results
- 3 laps with the least differential being the winner.
The day started out pretty laid back. With all of the beautiful fall colours and the perfect dirt conditions some people were doing pre-laps, while others were simply exploring the scenery of Maple Mountain. As the start time approached everyone was jazzed to get going. This first event was different, and a bit of an adjustment for those with a history of racing. However, after the super fun Consistency Trial was complete, many groups headed up for another casual lap, taking the opportunity to explore other trails, to pre-ride some of the upcoming courses, and to explore the lay of this amazing land. The people wanted more, and the weekend was going to deliver. Open Men
Terry McKall 00:53.1 Differential
Jared Hicks 01:37.1
Tor Pedersen 03:26.3 Open Women
Elladee Brown 00:43.8 Men 40+
Glen Houle 00:17.0
Graham Fox 00:30.3
Jeff Pilkington 00:48.6 Men 50+Brent Hill 00:04.2 Overall Stage Winner
James Durand 00:31.3
Zenya Kasubuchi 00:37.6
STAGE 2, Saturday Morning - Presented by BC FerriesThe Tech-gnar Challenge - 16km, Results
- A mini-epic on the classic loop of Maple Syrup on Maple Mountain.Open Men
Terry McKall 1:10:41
Alex Cogger 1:15:57
Jesse Melamed 1:20:59 Open Women
Elladee Brown 1:11:16 Men 40+
Glen Houle 1:11:12
Jeff Pilkington 1:13:17
Jon Bula 1:13:29 Men 50+Gary Jackson 1:04:38 Overall Stage Winner
Scott Hedlund 1:10:43
James Wilson 1:11:02
STAGE 3, Saturday Afternoon - Presented by Harbour AirThe Flowmaster 3000 -13km, Results
- Tony's Arbutus Ridge with a full rip on the new Phloem trail, on Maple MountainOpen MenJesse Melamed :43:38 Overall Stage Winner
Chris Johnston :44:48
Alex Cogger :47:07 Open Women
Elladee Brown :47:02Men 40+
Jon Bula :48:04
Glen Houle :49:58
Dave Drummond :57:35 Men 50+
James Wilson :46:14
Scott Hedlund :47:01
Kurt Flaman :47:03
STAGE 4, Saturday Afternoon - Presented by Fox and Race FaceRedBull Downtime - 5km, Results
- A Race within a Race on the Phloem section within the afternoon route.Open MenJesse Melamed :09:36.6 Overall Stage Winner
Chris Johnston :10:49.5
Terry McKall :12:38.1 Open Women
Elladee Brown :12:56.3Men 40+
Jon Bula :13:10.9
Glen Houle :13:37.7
Dave Drummond :14:29.2 Men 50+
James Wilson :12:13.5
Gary Jackson :12:14.6
Kurt Flaman :12:53.6OVERALL
Four Stages, All Timed plus the Consistency TrialOverall ResultsOpen Men
Terry McKall 297
Jesse Melamed 294
Chris Johnston 293 Open WomenElladee Brown 300 Overall Points WinnerMen 40+
Glen Houle 299
Jeff Pilkington 293
Jon Bula 292 Men 50+
Scott Hedlund 291
James Durand 289
Gary Jackson 287
STAGE 5, Sunday Morning - Presented by Rocky MountainThe Poker Challenge - 22km
- 2 Laps of Tzouhalem (The Tzoo) First Lap gets a hand dealt, 5 cards. The second Lap gets a Draw of 1-3 cards - simple right (No timing today, just cards).
With the weather looming large and in charge, a storm was brewing on the west coast of Canada and it looked to be a doozy. The rain came but certainly didn’t dampen the athletes’ spirits on this day. Stage 5, the Social Ride, would take place on Tzouhalem Mountain which is just across the valley from the previous two days of Maple Mountain. Known for its perfect symbiosis of both jank & flow, the “Tzoo” never disappoints.
A pile of riding, beer, charging, and amazing singletrack was all wrapped up with a very casual and enjoyable last day. The storm intermittently thrashed and threw furious waves of torrential rain, but everything came out Aces.
There’s something special about the bikes these days. What’s more, the terrain and trails we have access to today are a far cry from those early Repack DH days and the bikes they rode. We now have trail builders and local organizations that are creating amazing networks of trails that the early pioneers of our sport could never have dreamed of. The smiles seen this weekend speak volumes to the gratitude we all share, and the appreciation for all the opportunities that lay before us. This truly is the golden age of mountain biking. MEGA VOLT, OUT (till next year)!!
The Cowichan Valley is stacked with World Class Trail Networks