Sea to Sky Enduro Series Round 4 – Whistler

Fresh trail in Whistler for last weekends Enduro

Welcome to Whistler, Land of the Superhuman Grommet

Whistler, a name synonymous with mountain bikes, was the location for the fourth stop of the Sea To Sky Enduro Series. This was by no means the first race for this discipline in town, but the first of the new series. Whistler actually ran its own schedule of enduro races during the 2013 summer, many of which focused on the burl factor of the local trails. In an attempt to give the towns youth something to get excited about, this 4th round of the Sea To Sky Enduro series would focus on some of the more intermediate trails of Function Junction.

After watching tomorrows pinners own it down the latest addition to the Whistler trail network, riding it blind no less, it was immediately evident that there was no need to soften the day for them. They rode the lower section of Stage one—which consisted of See Colours & Puke into Highside—like someone 10 years their senior. Confident, styling and fast, one by one the juniors blasted through the fresh trail, grabbing some serious attention along the way. The future continues to look bright for riders in the Sea to Sky, if these whippersnappers are anything to go by.

Juniors were ripping all day, but Highside was where they left lasting impressions
Needless to say, the simpler trails of the second half of the day may have granted riders a bit of a break, but to be honest, the young boys and girls of Whistler didn’t need it after what we witnessed in the morning. For the older, more (life) experienced crowd, the morning meant a lot of fun, while the afternoon was more of a slog. Most still had fun, but there’s no denying that sometimes more ‘buff’ trails take away some of the excitement and those that like to speculate would point the finger here as largely responsible for the small turnout.

Simpler Trails, But Usual Suspects

Realistically, those that opted not to race lost out, with the event seeing some close times and more importantly, smiles on dials. Jesse Melamed did what he does, won. Riding incredibly controlled in the tight pea gravel turns of Stage Five (Lower Riverside) and possessed where it counted. Did we mention he won every stage too? There wasn’t a lot of breathing space for Jesse though, with two world cup downhillers hunting their first piece of enduro glory, despite one such rider playing it down every chance he gets. Remi Gauvin came in second with fellow Perform X Commencal team rider, Kyle (the tallest downhiller alive) Sangers a bees hair behind him. Not bad for his first ever enduro! Davis English put the pressure on, finishing just 10 seconds off Sangers after almost 30 minutes of racing.

Katrina (#Strandlife) Stand did enough on every stage to take the win for the day, 23 seconds up on second placed Carrie Meltzer. Open Men was a different story, with a number of folks winning stages, but it was Quentin Emeriau that did what it takes, riding consistently to take the win when all was said and done—just 3 seconds up on second placed Nick McLeod. Adam Price followed, thirteen seconds back. Open Women saw 2 ladies (and friends) battle it out, but it was series leader, Simmone Lyons who took the win, thirty-six seconds up on fellow compatriot, Rachelle Frazer.

Katrina Strand putting in work for the win

In Masters class, it was Seb Kemp that took the win, despite an unfortunate flat at the end of stage one (which he still won). He proceeded to sweep the stages the rest of the day, and in the process won every one of them—maybe there is something to the sweeping business? Following him was Keith Ray, 28 seconds back and improving upon his first two stages as the day went. Craig Wilson followed in 3rd, on the same minute and just 15 seconds back. In the women’s, Tina Plumb, who began the day with a blown up derailleur only moments into the very first transition—luck that would have seen most pull out of the race—toughed it out as the only master women’s competitor to take a well deserved stand on the podium, smiles included.

Junior mens was taken out by Felix and Neve Abraham, with Felix beating out his bro by 33 seconds. Evan Mant held it tight in the top three, finishing behind Neve by just 11 seconds while in the junior women’s, Emily Johnston took a convincing win from Stephany Denorche and Keeley Wentzel.

Rough & Raw. Highside was a treat for all

It’s great to see such a depth of talent among the grommets in the Sea to Sky area and with cycling specific programs in each town, driven by strong demand from parents I might add, it really is no wonder. Despite this, it continues to surprise many when we get a glimpse of the skills the young bucks have developed at such an age, and events like this, where the kids are encouraged to get amongst it, are a great showcase of what we have to look forward to in the future. Just like we heard of Jesse Melamed and Nick Geddes, what seems like eons ago now, getting impressive results from early on, we will no doubt continue to hear the names of the young racers from this race.

Next up, Squamish hosts the fifth round of the series, in the second back to back weekend of Sea to Sky Enduro racing of the season. Hopefully the weather holds and we can work out a way to shoot the course, with a pretty good spread of terrain on the menu and some of the classic Squamish trails laying the challenge out for racers and media alike.

Jesse Melamed remains undefeated in the series!