Saturday • June 28, 2014
The official opening day for the 2014 biking season kicked off today in Fernie.
Although weather threatened to dampen spirits it didn’t stop racers in the Fernie 3 giving it their all in tough and greasy conditions.
With the traditional downtown start, 170 riders rolled out to the popular Ridgemont singletrack to set things off with a technical climb.
The muddy conditions made it difficult to keep momentum up however the pointy end of the field showed their true race colors and put critical minutes on the chasing pack, ultimately setting the scene for the rest of the day.
A slippery and challenging Ridgemont loop was followed by the long classic grind that is Hyperventilation / South Castle to Southern Comfort. With great drainage and quality local trial building the second half of stage 1 rode well and allowed for the climbers to peg back a few minutes on others who got caught out with heavy legs due to the tough elevation gain.
Reaching the top of Southern Comfort brought a sense of relief to riders as a long and fast singletrack decent awaited however many let their guard down and came unstuck on the slippery off camber bridges in the top section, resulting in some grazed legs and bruised egos.
The epic decent was a highlight of the stage, finishing it off with a spin back to town to help flush the legs for day two.
Overall consensus was a great first day of racing, challenging at times but rewarding all the same.
Colin Kerr was first to complete the 25 km course with 1050M of vertical in a blistering 1.38.07, closely followed by Shane Keyser. Sandra Walter blitzed the women’s field in 1.46.09 fighting hard to keep Mical Dyck in second place.
As the riders enjoyed a well deserved rest and got to work on some muddy bikes in anticipation for stage 2 tomorrow, the rest of Fernie continued to celebrate our bike culture with the Roll and Sole festival events.
The next generation of racers showed us how it is done in the kids Ferine 3 event and the kids criterion. The Thrashed bike criterion was a popular spectacle and wrapped up the downtown bike activities for day one.
To launch the opening of the Fernie Alpine Resort bike park, the full-face helmets and body armor were donned for a fast paced downhill race, caping off a truly epic day of biking, trails and smiles in Fernie.
Beer gardens and live will music continue to provide entertainment this evening.
Check in tomorrow evening for day two updates and photos of the action.
Jack Viney - Tourism Fernie.