Whistler's 4 Kings: The Perfect Finale to a Near Perfect Series

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After having raced DH, XC, Enduro, and everything in between this summer, we at Straightshot decided the best way to wrap up another great summer was Tony Horn’s third effort to crown the best overall rider in the land—The Four Kings.

The weekend left all who attended with aching bodies, beating bikes and best of all, great memories. Memories that I’ll take away from yet another great weekend riding and racing with friends both old and new:

Stage 1: King Tubby “Dub In The Dark” Time Trial

Prior to the first stage, racers had to weigh their bikes, declare tire choice, and receive their seeding for the first event. “Dub In The Dark” was a first for Tony’s recent races, in that the stage took place in the dark. “Tunnel vision” does no justice to this particular race. The course was a great blend of twisting and turning trails, that let riders hang it out in the dark, without being terrified.

On course, racers were constantly encouraged by ghetto blasters, glow sticks, and lingerie… not to mention seeing competitors’ lights shining through the trees and dust, in front and behind, as a constant reminder to pin it. After a few high fives came chocolate milk, Kraft Dinner, and a hot tub… like all elite cyclists.

Stage 2: Elvis “All Shook Up DH”

Aj hits the Schleyer drop mid 4 Kings race run.

For those who haven’t ridden the Whistler Bike Park, Schleyer and Detroit Rock City are pretty rough… on an 8-inch downhill bike… at a casual pace. Racing these trails was going to be interesting. I have two thoughts with regards to this stage:

  1. How unreal are today’s trail bikes? Suggesting that racing a brake jacked, eroded, and technical DH track on a 5-inch bike might actually be enjoyable, seems unlikely. It was! All I can do is pay tribute to bicycle engineers, carbon fibre, and soft rubber.
  2. The average rider in the Sea to Sky corridor shreds. Even knowing that this race attracted the technically gifted riders more than most conventional races, I was still impressed at just how skilled everybody was. Any given day in the bike park you can see riders with $50 lift tickets, $500 Troy Lee kits, and $5000 sleds riding these trails cautiously, or not at all. Several Four Kingers rode the stage blind, on their trail bikes, at pace. Impressive.

Stage 3: “The Yummy 500”

Our third stage was as much strategy as it was skill and fitness. A short, technical climb up Yummy Numby was timed separately from our descent down Foreplay, a “downhill” that rides like an uphill. Yummy Numby and Foreplay are trails that reward smooth riders, and truly punishes any hackish manoeuvres. I was lucky enough to begin the stage with a couple of locals that were kind enough to show me the way, and I managed to put down a decent time—unfortunately the same cant be said for other Straightshot members. Day 2 complete. Chocolate milk, Kraft Dinner, and a hot tub… like all elite cyclists.

Stage 4: “The Kong Endur-X”

Chromag's Julian Hine getting the riders pumped for 4 Kings, day 4

Stage four was a great day of riding. The final day started with somewhat ominous looking clouds hanging over Whistler Peak, a poem from Chromag’s Julian Hine and flowers being stuck in helmets and packs, in memory of a lost member of the Whistler cycling community, Duncan MacKenzie. The latter two elements must have replaced the ominous skies in peoples minds, as smiles were everywhere and we set off for what was to be a full day of riding and racing—a day that would see us begin from the Top of the World, to the infamous No Flow Zone.

Nine stages total from one end of Whistler, all the way to the other were what made up the day. A blend of fitness and skill to give each type of rider a chance to shine. The first stage set the tone for the day: 20 plus minutes of fast, fun trail. Riders were stopped left and right, not as a result of mechanicals, but as an opportunity to shake out the hands and relieve some arm pump. Most managed to pry their hands off the bars for a high five at the end of the stage.

4 Kings, Duncan MacKenzie MemorialImagine the feeling of riding this stage, repeat eight times, and you can begin to understand the fun that was had. Again, impressed by the skill of the racers, and just how rad our little bikes are.

Any race worth it’s salt needs to have some kind of après for riders to rehydrate (thanks for the coconut water), dehydrate (thanks for the many beers), and tell lies (I totally sent it). Thanks Tony.