The first ever RDS Invitational was held last Friday, September 5th, in Whistler BC. With only 16 guys and 3 girls racing, it was a small group of mostly locals out to pin it down one of the funnest and gnarliest trails I’ve ever raced on. I was told it would be like a mini Psychosis. Well, if you’re comparing a race to Psychosis, you know you’re in for an exciting time! And it did not disappoint…The race was put on by Whistler local Adam ‘Smokey’ Wright, one of the 3 guys responsible for fixing up the trail this summer. Himself, Kenny Smith, and Ryan Bolland had put in approximately 100 hrs of labor each smoothing out lines, building numerous bridges and creating a trail that flowed from the top aaaallll the way to the bottom (yes, it’s a long trail). I’d ridden the trail once last summer, before all the work had been done to it, so I decided it would probably be a good idea to get a practice run in before the race. I met up that morning at 11 with Smokey, Chris, and Jesse and together we made our way to the steep 20 - 30 min hike to the start of the trail. While we were hiking I asked the guys if there was anything I should know about the course before dropping in. They kind of shook their heads and told me “just hang on!” Yes, that reminded me of Psychosis alright! Well, one practice run down a long fairly challenging trail the day of the race is probably about the least prepared I’d like to be, but it did help me remember that this race was purely for fun! The Course
Well, the words steep, rooty, and slick are first to pop into my mind. Roots crisscrossed the trail at all angles the whole way down, and with the thick mud that was still trying to dry up from rains early in the week it was interesting to say the least. The top section had a couple of good steep sections with spider-vein roots and sharp corners tossed in along the way, and although I managed to stay upright in my practice run I felt as though I’d tossed the dice and gotten lucky more than a few times!
The rest of the course was still quite technically difficult because of all the slippery roots, but was incredibly fun! Pumpy and flowy sections, another sustained steep section, a few bridges, some shorter steeps, and little drops off logs. The guys had done a fantastic job fixing up the trail! It was a constant battle trying to stay upright and balanced while the roots had their way with my tires, but sometimes I think it’s more fun that way! The course finished with some tight nicely bermed corners and then out onto a dirt road. Practice time with stops: about 25 minutes. We headed back to the base of Whistler to meet up with the rest of the crew and get our race on!The Race
We met at the bottom at 3pm and headed all the way up to the peak of Whistler. This was my first time going up the Peak chair, and it was a little chilly but absolutely breathtaking. We had lots of time to enjoy the view too, since we could only load bikes onto 8 of the 80 chairs. From the top we had a nice windy descent down a gravel road which eventually took us to the trail head. Smokey had the 2-way radio out in no time, making sure the timer keepers, Jane and Laura, were stationed and ready at the bottom. Dominique was in charge of timing at the top - it was the good old-fashioned stop-watch system, but the girls were on it and everything went flawlessly.
By 5pm everything was in place and the race was about to get underway. With such a small group of racers the atmosphere was relaxed, and there was a good deal of heckling going on. It was ladies first, and since I wanted to hike up after my race and take pictures of everyone else I was first in line. The countdown began: 2 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, 15, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! I was on my way, down and around the first right hand corner where suddenly the trail split – what??? Where do I go? I didn’t remember this at all? I could either stay high on the right or go quite a bit farther down on the left. They branched so far apart from each other that I thought one of them must be a different trail altogether. It must’ve gotten me a bit too flustered because instead of picking either one of them, I somehow ended up sliding down the long wet grass hill between the two trails on my stomach. I haven’t been on a slip and slide for years and had forgotten how much fun it was… but this was not exactly the time for that kind of fun. In any case, I was laughing as I climbed back towards my bike. Not much else I could do really! Turns out the trails merged farther down anyways, so either way would’ve worked.
The rest of my race run… well soon after that incident I basically landed on my friend Baker, who I’d convinced to come along and take pictures of the race. Then it was a lot more stop and go as the slippery roots pushed my tires around, and by about the half way mark my legs were starting to protest. I was still having fun, but definitely not feeling the smoothest or fastest I ever have! By the time I crossed the finish line I was more than ready to be done. What a crazy trail to race down! A couple of minutes later the next girl, Casey, popped out of the woods, and a little while later Jess emerged as well. We exchanged high fives and crash stories, and other than the bit of skin Casey left somewhere on the trail we were all pretty much intact!
After a quick breather Casey and I hiked back up the trail to snap pictures of the guys and cheer them on as they neared the finish line. They all looked like they might’ve been just a little tired, but thankfully everyone made it to the bottom in one piece! By then it was getting close to 7pm, and food was definitely becoming a priority. Smokey had it covered – everyone was invited to his place for post-race burgers and beer. Why don’t all races end like that!The Results
This race could’ve been anyone’s to take. It was long enough and hard enough that a couple of mistakes here and there were almost a given, and it was more about staying clean than knowing all the lines. Everyone was in suspense until Smokey finally made the announcement:Women
1st: Casey Brown 13:05
2nd: Danice Uyesugi 13:21
3rd: Jess from Quebec 18:14Men
1st: Tyler Morland 8:53
2nd: Curtis Keene 8:56 **with a 0.5 second penalty for leaving early!
3rd: Adam Wright 9:09
4th: Jack Readings 9:28
5th: Kevin Bartowski 9:29
Tyler, Curtis, and Adam all walked away with a bit of cash for their fast times - $250, $100, and $50 respectively.The Sweetest Trophy Ever
Hand made in Whistler the day before the race, with brand new never been used rotors and springs donated by SRAM, this is the coolest looking trophy around. It was designed by Smokey and Chris Polley - not only can these guys ride fast, they've also got a bit of creative talent going on!
This was an awesome race, and I hope it happens again next year! Thanks to Smokey for organizing everything, to SRAM for donating prizes for the girls, to the time keepers, to Baker for coming out and taking pictures, and to everyone who came out and raced!Keep the tires and the good times rolling
-dancie.pinkbike.com Danice and the rest of the Pinkbike.com/Devinci DH are proudly supported by
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