The 2017 BC Cup circuit is heating up, literally, stopping this past weekend at the Okanagan's Premier Bike Park for some hot and dry conditions in Vernon's SilverStar Mountain Resort
. Racers poured into the colourful community Thursday night and early Friday morning to sample the trails and the race courses before battling the clock, and the added elevation of the Bike Park provided some refuge from the interior's otherwise smokey air. While SilverStar is no stranger to hosting fully pinned DH races, this summer marked an important return of cross-country racing and delivered a broad range of cyclists riding everything from fully raked-out DH rigs to weight-pinching XC weapons.
Hailing from throughout Western Canada, from Vancouver Island through to east of the Rockies, the collection of tents, campers and improvised RVs clustered in the parking lot betrayed the cyclist's preferred lodging style.
The chairs started turning bright and early Saturday morning for the fifth DH stop on the 2017 BC Cup for those final practice laps before the real deal started at high noon.
SilverStar's DH race course starts right from the top of the Comet six-pack chairlift, dropping into the fast and loose Chainsaw Mullet
that was introduced in 2016, with a few new tweaks to spice things up.
Local UCI U15, Hayden Zablotny launching into third place.
Racers lining up for their final practice runs.
Piper Allman scoping her line through Chainsaw Mullet that scored her first place in the UCI Junior Women category.
Right out of the gates the course features a rocky and exposed start before ducking into the woods where off-camber roots and technical rock gardens didn't seem to slow anyone down.
UCI Senior Men, Nicholas Barreau not wasting any time.
Chainsaw Mullet tests your mettle right from the start.
Roll it or send it, but commit to one. A smooth transition awarded the courageous making the leap, and an abrupt case was in store for those brake-checking at the last moment.
Kootenay boy, Josh Solman had a DNS for his UCI Elite Men class, but some rad air time on his final practice lap.
Ben Fischer pedaling hard to clear the haunted ski shack.
Anthony Evans sending it into the double black steeps.
Brandon Douglas from Williams Lake gets loose for third place in UCI Elite Men.
Gabriel Neron is used to dusty conditions and landed himself third place in UCI Junior Men.
Pemberton's Lucas Cruz beat the closest in his UCI U17 Expert Men class by over seven seconds.
Keegan Fry keeping his eyes on the prize through the meadows, for second place in UCI Junior Expert Men.
Ben Byers on his way to gold in Open 17-29.
Tara Meade takes the inside line for first in her Open 30+.
Open 17–29 contender, Ryan Law launching from the deep dark woods into the open meadows.
Freddy Tuckey carving in hard to the deep dust of Dag's Downhill for second place in Open 30+ Men.
UCI U17 Sport Men, Jack Menzies charging into first place.
Open 13–16, Liam Bush pinning it for silver in his class.
Josh Coupal blasting through the woods en-route to his third place finish in UCI U17 Sport Men.
After Friday night's Whip-Off event, spectators knew where to set-up their chairs for the best seats in the house, featuring easy access to major air time just above the village and finish line.
Spectators at the whip-off jump just above the village.
Two options to choose from with the finish line in sight.
Coen Skrypnek from Calgary doesn't ever stop pedaling, even for the big jump.
Jakob Jewett always has time for style, even en-route to his UCI U15 gold.
Meanwhile, back in the village...
Nakusp's Eric Viera crossing the line.
"Bro, I told you I was way faster."
Caleb Harapnuik with the finish line in his sights, en-route to first place in his UCI Senior Men category.
Elliot Jamieson hails from White Rock and took home the bronze in UCI U17 Expert Men.
Bailey Goldstone taking silver in UCI Junior Women for her hometown of Squamish.
UCI Elite Women silver medalist, Michelle Griffiths with her eyes on the prize.
Vancouver Island's John Walker claiming first place in UCI Junior Expert Men.
Fastest time of the day went to Chris Kovarik, clearing nearly four seconds over his closest competition.
Charging through the finish line with the final and, without a question the fastest lap of the day. Whistler local, Chris Kovarik pins it through the final roots of Dag's Downhill
with the top of the Elite Men's podium in his sights.
UCI Senior Men: Caleb Harapnuik, Trevor Attridge, and Nat McGrath.
Open 17–29 Men: Ben Bryers, Linden Ladouceur, and Billy Adamson.
Locals dominating the Open 30+ Men podium with Ryan Stocks and Ryan Hein taking gold and bronze, respectively, and Freddy Tuckey from Calgary sneaking into a very close second place.
UCI U15 Men: Jakob Jewett, Drew Mozell, and Hayden Zablotny.
Open 30+ Women: Tera Meade, Edith Bonnette, and Martina Knopp.
With the dust settled and bragging rights awarded, the chairs were halted for the day and SilverStar's patios quickly filled, with pitchers dispersed and calories of all descriptions ordered en masse. DH bikes lined the local establishments while families sampled the nearby XC trails in preparation for the morning's race, and after a long hot day on the mountain, most retired early back to camp or the comfort of a village hotel.
Cross-country riders tend to be early risers and with the first heat of the day starting at 9:30am, there was plenty of morning traffic on the roughly 4.5 kilometer SilverStar BC Cup XCO race loop. The youngest riders set out first with the U13 Men, U13 Women
and U15 Women doing two laps of the course, and the U15 Men tackling on one more for good measure. The U17 categories started shortly after with the first heat of the Women setting out for three laps of the course and the Men for four.
Cam McCallum leading the first heat of the day for the gold in U13 Men.
Jacob Baggott climbing Chakra for third in U15 Men.
Geza Rodgers from Port Moody was the sole U13 Women contender.
Elly Hoskin ascending Chakra for second in her U15 Women category.
Sienna Dickson did two laps to win U15 Women.
Cody Scott chasing for the pass on Chakra for the podium for U17 Men.
By 11:00am, the morning's heats were complete and kids swapped seats in the shade with their parents, taking their turn on the saddle for the afternoon's categories, where three to six laps of the 4.5km course waited in the full Okanagan summer sun. Luckily the resort's towering conifers, fed by decades of moisture from the vast lakes below, provided a safe haven from the sun for most of the course and kept the trail surface in great shape, even borderline loamy in spots.
Nathan Killam from Vancouver on the first of six laps of the SilverStar cross-country course.
Pete Knight took silver for Elite Men.
Prince George's Lynda Foreman on her third lap.
Alex Schmidt clocked six laps to top the podium for Elite Men.
Team members, Aaron Weiss and Edward Lawson took second and third in their respective categories.
Kamloopsian, Karina Lebrun won gold for Novice Women.
Owen Scott may have been the only contender for 50+ Men, but with three laps in about fifty-six minutes, he'd had put up a good fight.
Ryan Pannell took home gold for 40–49 Master Men.
Eric Ouellette was the fastest Novice of the day.
30–39 Master Men winner, Jacob Rodgers leading the train through Crack of Dawn.
Darcy Trevelyan drove in from Lake Country for second place in his 40–49 Master Men class.
Monashee vistas before the last stretch of Crack of Dawn to the finish line.
Groms patiently waiting for awards while sessioning the SilverStar pumptrack.
U17 Men: Elliot Jamieson, Hamish Graham, and Cody Scott.
Elite Men: Alex Schmidt, Pete Knight, and Nathan Killam.
40-49 Master Men winner, Ryan Pannell getting the gold, Darcy Trevelyan on the podium with silver.
Novice Men: Eric Ouelette, John Osborne, and Ethan Whittaker.
30–39 Master Men: Jakob Rodgers, a very young looking Aaron Weiss, and Ian Sherk.
Parents, friends and spouses snapping away as the point leaders show off their new Cycling BC jerseys.
With awards said and done and prizing from MEC and Maxxis distributed, those who were due back at home loaded bikes for the drive down the road, and those staying through the long weekend retired back to hotel rooms and patio beverages. For full BC Cup XCO race results visit Cycling BC here
, and for more information on pedaling the growing cross country network at SilverStar visit the Bike Park here
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