Canada Cup DH Round 2 - East Coast Open Blue Mountain, ON

May 29, 2017 at 22:42
by Andy Vathis  

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

After last weekend's big race in Mont Tremblant, which saw the start of the racing season here in the East, racers met in hills of Collingwood, Ontario to do it all over again. The Blue Mountain Resort hosted the East Coast Open last year at the end of June with temperatures will into what you'd consider summer. That may have been the difference between the dust bowl experienced then and this year's pudding fest. The clay dirt doesn't do well when wet as it takes a good while to dry out after the winter melt. Skis would have been good for either brown pow or mud slush but this is mountain biking and that would have been ridiculous, right? Well just ask the many who tried to slide their way down the track as if they were strapped in.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

The driest, least sketchiest part of the race course. Within 20-30 feet of the start gate, bikes and kits were getting a little dirty. Anything past the first woods, everyone was the same color brown.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

This is was what the upper section of the track looked like. Eventually, the decision was made to divert this part of the course into the neighboring segway trails for obvious reasons. There was just no getting through it.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
If it wasn't a swamp, it was a slick pudding mix. I hope you brought flat pedals and mud spikes!

Practice

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Practice on day one was first delayed to noon before being moved to 3pm in an effort to preserve the track's integrity but even the course inspectors knew there wasn't much anyone could do at this point. The show had to go on.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
This happened all too often. The thick ground was taking riders out left and right.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
27.5+ downhill bike? Nope, just mud.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Steering one way while trying to go the other was also quite common.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Racers were either hating it or embracing the total lack of grip. Jonathan Lefrancois was all smiles in the lower woods.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Feet were always sticking out in ruts. Scooting through them was the only option when the derailleur pulleys stopped moving.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Audrée Vaillancourt relieved to see the blue of her bike again.

Race Day

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

The sun was up and excitement was in the air for finals after Saturday's seeding runs. Blue Mountain usually won't open a trail if it looks anything like this or even if it's raining out because of the clay. Surprisingly though, the course was looking decent in certain sections of the track, especially those in the open on race day. It was time to see who would fare best in the worst conditions.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Samuel Thibault took the win last week in Quebec. He's looking fast and hungry for a second win.

Easr Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Catherine Harnden trying one of many ruts forming in the roots.

Easr Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Easr Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Easr Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Railing ruts on a hardtail, Adrian Camposilvan was on his bike as much as he was off but was easily one of the most entertaining to watch.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Condition check...yep, still gross.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Tight corners in the segway trail.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
A leg out for Sarah Konefal, tripodding her way into third place on Sunday afternoon.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Audrée coming in hot about to splash into the slop. She held on tight enough for a solid second place.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Ella Skalwold was having a blast all weekend slipping and sliding around the course. She would stand on top of the podium after Sunday's final, conquering a track that was looking to catch anyone not careful by surprise.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Women's Podium.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
BC's Daniel Shaw dancing around trees to stay on line.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Phil Ricard #Stoked
East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Alex McAndrew making shapes around the greasiest of corners.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
The G-out to the final open towards to finish. Just when you thought you were safe...

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Blair Fraser dropping into the steep bit. He was putting in work on practice days trying to figure out the ruts and finishing in third on Sunday.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Curtis Kennedy riding through the rutted tight woods. He was in control enough for second place when the racing started.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Sunday's Junior Expert winner was Kolt Hoyle and it was pretty obvious he had the mud figured out. He was one of few who would manage to keep both feet on the pedals in the slickest of sections. Impressive stuff by the youngster!

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Junior Expert Podium.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
The saga continues.

Easr Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Adam Robbins knows this track well but couldn't find his pace in these conditions.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
James Frost in the bog.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Phil Ricard was having the time of his life playing in the mud. When it came down to racing in it, he was looking confident and landed in third.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

Jonathan Lefrancois was chasing points this weekend in order to be eligible for the Mont Sainte Anne UCI World Cup. He would need to repeat his second place performance in Mont Tremblant. He did no less than that in Sunday's final, missing the win by less than a second!

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Last man on course was he who won it last year as well. Hugo Langevin was pinned every single practice run and aiming for the number one spot.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Hugo came in hot across the line and into first within a half second to take the win once again here at Blue.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
Men's Podium.

East Coast Open CanCup 2 2017
The King of Blue.


MENTIONS: @bluemtnbikepark / @andy9
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26 Comments

  • + 7
 Please stop calling Ontario 'east coast'. There are four provinces to the west (BC, AB, SK, MB) and five to the east (QC, NB, NS, PEI, NFL). It couldn't be more centrally located.
  • + 4
 That's always been a weird thing about how people refer to Ontario. It's like 700km to the nearest coast facing the Atlantic, yet it's east coast? It's eastern, but it's certainly not coastal.
  • + 3
 @jayacheess: And its make more sense to you manitoba is in the west coast? Winnipeg is 2300km from Vancouver. First time I heard Manitoba is west coast.
  • + 8
 Yeahhh boys !!!! Good job Hugo, John et Phil !
  • + 5
 @atrokz looked like a sick race? Are you just not stoked it was muddy? Canada cups aught to be early in the season to give elites the best chance of getting points for WC..
  • + 2
 WC points make total sense. Blue doesn't roll well in the wet, as I'm sure you experienced. It's pretty fast dirt when it's tacky or dry. No, stoked isn't me anymore, I had my fill. haha. Just brought it up since it has a historical relevance to us that raced there through the 2000s, back when you got shuttled up. The rain made for some interesting times, lawsuits included...
  • + 1
 @atrokz: fair point! Hard to compete later in the season with west coast venues.. last year this time blue and Tremblant were sunny the whole time! Lucky!
  • + 3
 DH racing will push you out of your comfort zone and make you a better rider. Although it was challenging race weekend, I think it was an awesome experience.
  • + 1
 Kudos to the racers. The soil in that area is as thick as pottery clay when wet and just as slick. You can't fairly call it mud, more like earthen snot.
  • + 1
 Ouch, only 29 elite men in a Canada Cup race. The demise of an Ontario Cup series has killed the DH scene in Eastern Canada. If it wasn't for the Quebec riders, there would be no need for an eastern Canada Cup. Thanks FQSC for hosting a provincial series
  • + 4
 Great work as always, Andy!
  • + 1
 I dont understand the Mont Saint-Anne reference ... how does he have to place in the 2 canadian cup to have enough point to run in the MSA World Cup ??
  • + 2
 UCI points are up for grab in certain national and provincial events. You need a certain amount of UCI points to qualify for a WC
  • + 1
 @Ride12: thank you Smile ! i wish i had those point ! MSA Is in my backyard
  • + 2
 Adrian's washed up.
  • + 2
 sick andy !
  • + 1
 le sketch.
  • - 2
 Curious who thought a CC at Blue in May was a good idea.
  • + 19
 Travel within Canada, especially airline travel, isn't cheap. Lining our event up to fall on the weekend immediately after Tremblant's Canada Cup was done in an effort to make it easier for riders from across the country to attend both events. Obviously, weather in May can be a bit hit-and-miss, but we made the most of it and the show went on despite the wet conditions. We're massively thankful to all the riders who made the effort to attend, and who persevered through the challenging conditions. Best of luck to all the racers at the final stop in Whistler!
  • + 5
 @bluemtnbikepark: it's pretty surprising that it continued, I remember races being held off because of rain back in 2005 or 6 when that accident happened. Makes sense, but unfortunate that the true speed of the courses couldn't be seen. Hopefully next year can push it out a bit further into the summer. This season's been so wet maybe it would be more of the same in June?
  • + 5
 @bluemtnbikepark cheers for hosting again this year, last year was a great course. I was impressed with what you packed into the modest elevation! I had tickets booked to race this year had I not broke my leg at the first NW Cup. Whoops! I'll be back next year!
  • + 3
 @atrokz: If this would have been an O-Cup or grassroots race, it may have been held off as well. Since the East Coast Open now falls under the Canada Cup banner, we become a hosting venue. We have some input about schedule adjustments in the interest of rider safety and trail longevity, but the UCI and CCA Commissaries make the final call about whether or not the race goes on.
  • + 3
 @bluemtnbikepark: maybe next year the schedual can take into account the wet season we have here, at least in QC it rolls well in the rain for the most part, blue, not so much. Remember back in 2002 and 2003 down highway, mud flying everywhere. I think I've got some old pics of that. was wild. Before that injury happened and rain would force you to shut down things.
  • + 1
 @bluemtnbikepark: just get a few truckloads of rocks and roll them down the course. Then everyone can stop complaining of mud and then whine about slippery rocks instead.
  • + 2
 @cottonmouthdug: I guess youve never ridden blue in the wet? Also, rocks are great in the rain.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: actualy, have.Snow too but that was a while back. Thanks for your helpfull tip on wet rocks.

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