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Cross Country (XC) is a classic style of racing where the event starts and ends usually at the same point. XC courses and trails consist of a mix of singletrack trails, and smooth fire roads. On Vancouver Island, that includes lung-burning technical climbs and exciting swerving descents.
Enduro is a style of racing where the overall race time is the sum of multiple timed stages.  It offers a bit more casual approach to racing as the uphill sections are not timed, only the downhill.  Don’t let that fool you though, there’s plenty of fitness an pedaling required to excel at this discipline. On Vancouver Island, course designers do their best to show off the most fun descents that the riding areas offer.

Follow the Trail Bicycles Racing Team through the season!

 (Most) Photos by Patrick Burnham | @palleus

Maple Mountain Enduro (October 2nd, 2022 - Cowichan)

We pre-rode for the Maple Mountain enduro the day before the race, and it was tough. I was originally going to do the U-19 category but when I rode the course, I decided that it was too much. I did youth instead. It was a good idea because it took my sister Annabelle all day to finish and, in the pre-ride, I found myself walking some features like a loose chute on Upper Maple Syrup.

On race day I was climbing up to a trail called Phloem because it was my first stage. Phloem is a flowy trail  and the main feature was a bridge that would be called a roller coaster. It did not take me too long to make it to the top. Going down, I felt good but turned out to be 11th. After I finished Phloem, I had to go to a trail called Loggers Lane for stage 2. 

Stage 2 was very pedally. The funny thing is that I felt terrible about my second stage, but I got 2nd on it. After the race I felt pretty good about it, and my dad and I got a snow cone. It was very good ;). 

Thank you to Trail Bicycles and all our sponsors and congrats to everyone that raced. 

- Darragh Whitehead

NORCO Canadian Enduro Series (September 24th/25th, 2022 - Whistler)

The Canadian Enduro Series Whistler enduro was one of the hardest, longest, and most tiring races I have ever done, but it was also such an amazing experience, and lots of fun. 

Me and my cousin got up Thursday night so that we could go out and pre-ride all of the stages on Friday. On race day, we didn't start until 3, because I was doing the short course and only had to do one stage on Saturday. Once we reached the top, there was a very long line, and we waited for about half an hour until it was our turn to drop in. 

The first little bit had lots of little rock sections, and soon there was a small road sprint before the trail continued. Once I got back into the trees, it had started to get pretty dark, and my hands were starting to get sore, but I was happy to have a clean run.

On day 2, we started earlier and rode three stages; Microclimate, Baby Snakes/Danimal South, and Golden Boner/Roam in the Loam/Instant Gratification. Baby Snakes stage had lots of tight corners, and a few punchy climbs. Once finished, we headed a long way back to the Sundial Hotel for a quick stop at the aid station, then headed up the long, steep, and very hot climb to Microclimate. The line at the top was pretty long so they started sending people down in 20 second intervals to speed it up. 

When it was my turn to drop in, I was feeling pretty nervous, but once I got riding, my nerves went away. It was going smoothly, until I took a corner a bit too high and found myself hitting a tree, and went over the bars! I quickly got back up, and tried the best I could to make up for the lost time. 

Once I had finished the stage, I quickly went up to the final stage, feeling a bit shaken by the crash. The line went by pretty quick this time, so I had less time to get nervous. 

I was feeling pretty tired by the time I dropped into the last stage, and my hands were very sore. Everything was going well, and I started to regain my confidence after I cleared the section I had crashed on in the pre-ride, until suddenly I started to lose control of my bike through a particularly rocky section, and found myself flying over the bars again! I got back on the bike, and just tried to finish my run clean. I came up on the long road sprint, and was starting to slow down. I rolled down the last trail smoothly, and was so happy to have completed such a long, tough race! 

Thanks so much to eveyrbody who supported me!

- Annabelle Whitehead

Dodge City Enduro (September 4th, 2022 - Cumberland)

The Cumberland Enduro is always a favorite of mine. Racing on home trails, with lots of friends, is always a pleasure, and this year did not disappoint. 

This year there were five stages with all kinds of terrain, from the fast bike park-y turns on Upper Vanilla, to the steep jank of DCDH. A little dose of rain the night before made for some primo conditions. The first stage for the experts was similar to last year's stage three, starting with Roughneck, then a climb to Gingersnaps. This was quite the wake up, some roots and dust, then a punchy minute long climb before more of the same. I had only one minor mistake. I ran into a tree after the rock roll on Gingersnaps, this luckily did not cost me much time. 

We climbed back up all the way to Numbskulls for stage two. There was a bit of a surprise waiting for us, the starting timer had been placed too early, leaving a nice punchy climb in the stage before the real descent started. This did not affect my race much, as I prerode a few times and knew the climb well. I am happy with how this stage went, keeping it clean through all the sketchy parts of Gravity and DCDH. 

After a good refill at the aid station, we climbed back up to the top one more time, for the last three stages. Most of stage three, Hunky Dorey, and Upper vanilla, went very well for me, I held my speed through the berms and put down some power on the road sections. I underestimated how wet the bridges on Thirsty beaver were going to be and took a hard slam. This crash and getting reset after it ate up a solid 20 seconds of my race run. Feeling a bit rattled, I started cautiously down stage four. I found my rhythm quickly and got back into it, which is important for the highspeed forest sections on Truffle Shuffle and Off Broadway. 

The final stage, Scat and Brat is a favorite of mine, and I found no problems letting ‘er rip. Hot dogs, and pop were a wonderful way to end off an awesome day. 

Fantastic job to everyone who raced, and a huge thanks to all the volunteers out there!

Trail Bicycles Team results:

- U19 Men: Gray Tunnah - 2nd | Darragh Whitehead - 25th
- JR Expert Men: Loki Motai - 4th
- JR Expert Women : Annabelle Whitehead - 2nd | Talia MacPhail-McGrady - 4th
- Expert Men: Kip Manktelow - 12th | Tom Skinner - 13th | Justin Wolfe - 31st

- Kip Manktelow

Twelve Hours of Cumberland (June 25th, 2022 - Cumberland)

Early Saturday morning my brother Sam, my Dad and I drove to the Cumberland BMX track. The race started ,but I was the 4th position so I had lots of time. My team name was the, "Trail Bicycles Coaches," We were Scott, Ramon, and Daragh. Five minutes before Daragh finished, I went to the transition. 

When Daragh tagged me into the race, I felt like it started for real! As I got onto "Spanker" it started to feel real hot. The climb up to the start of "4 Pack" was so hot and tiring. After "4 Pack" we rolled into "Bonestorm" and then a road section that led back to the BMX park area where we tagged off to the next rider. After my lap I went straight to the water park to cool off, rested and ate then did that more times. The day felt really long and hot and without the water park it would have been way too hot. My last two laps I went slower on the up and faster on the down. 

Our team placed 8th in teams of 4 men. The race was fun and hot! The other Trail Bicyles riders racing today were Kip, Annabellle, Talia and my brother Sam on "Trail Bicycles Racing" placed first in Teams of 4, U19. Gray was on the "Trail Wizards" and finished third in Teams of 4, U19 and Max was on the "Wizards" and finished 4th in the Teams of 4, U19. Loki rode by himself and rode an amazing 14 laps to get 2nd in Solo U19!

- Nico Schum

Forbidden Gravel Experience (June 19th, 2022 - Cumberland)

On Sunday, June 19th I participated in my first ever gravel race named the Forbidden Gravel Experience. This is a race on gravel roads around Cumberland and Comox Lake that have many hills and fast descents.

There were three different categories for the event, the Piccolo, which was 40km, the Medio, which was a 60km race and the longest, the Epic course which was 100km. I participated in the Piccolo race with 30 other people along with Trail Bicycle’s Race Team members, Talia and Anabelle. 

In the morning, the weather looked promising, it was blue sky, and I was very excited. Around nine forty-five, after a short race briefing, everyone from the short and the medium course rolled to the yellow gate and began the race. 

The first ten kilometres of my race was a gradual hill with a couple of fast descents and one area where we had to walk our bikes across a security pit. The way up was very muddy and wet, but it dried up as the race went on. Nearing the end of the first loop, on the Davis Lake main, there were many steep and rocky descents causing many flat tires. At the bottom of some of the descents, there were lines of people changing flat tires, but I was part of the small percent of racers that had no mechanical problems. 

I was really proud to end up placing first in the piccolo category and it was a awesome event that I am really excited to be a part of next year. Thank you to all the volunteers and organizers that help make this event possible.

- Gray Tunnah

Hornby Island Enduro (June 18th, 2022)

There is just something about Hornby.

Is it that it is sunny here when it isn’t anywhere else? Is it the good vibes that just radiate off the rock? Is it the flowy trails? Not sure probably the combination of it all, but I love racing Hornby. Just walking down to the field and the barn on Tigg’s property everybody is happy and so chill you know it will be a good day. This was the first race I was able to make it to this season and I knew this would be a good one to start with.I did not have high hopes on placing but knew it would be fun no matter what. All the trails on Hornby are fun. I showed up early Friday to pre ride and then off to grassy point to chill by the beach. Saturday was going to be a good day. The race actually did not start until noon so I got to sleep in which I really like to do. 

I raced Jr Expert which was all 5 stages as follows:
S1: Strachan Dual Slalom
S2: Yer Mom
S3: Hot rims/ Osmosis, Lox’s Bagel/ South Spasm/Spasm Chasm.
S4: Purgatory, Bitchin Camero/ Slickrock
S5: Devils Kitchen/4 Dead Aliens/Test Tube/Chris & Brads /No Horses My best time was on stage 

Stage 3 but my favorite stage was a toss up of stage 3 and 4. Stage 5 sure has a lot of peddling and I started to fade at the end. Trail Bicycles had some good representation: Female Junior Expert: Annabelle Whitehead 1st, and Talia MacPhail-McGrady 3rd; Male Junior Expert: Hudson Webster 15th, Loki Motai 16th, and Darragh Whitehead 28th; Expert Women: Eryn Freeman was 7th; Expert Men: Kip Manktelow 14th, and Justin Wolfe in 30th; Masters Men, Brett Whitehead was 4th, Dan Lehton 11th, Scott Manktelow 13th, and Gavin MacPhail 16th.  

Thanks to HIMBA,  Tigg Cross, the Island Cup Series team and all the sponsors that help put on such fun events. Thanks to the sponsors of the Trail Bicycles Team: @hornbyorganic, Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren Realtor, @eatmoresprouts @freshtracksphysio , @nikkeiramenya &  @trailbicycles.  

Photos from Jarrett Lindal and HIMBA

- Hudson Webster

Murderhorn Maiden (May 28th, 2022 - Nanaimo) & Coaltown Throwdown (June 4th, 2022 - Cumberland)

It was so much fun participating in both the Murderhorn Maiden, and Coaltown Throwdown Women’s enduro races these past couple of weekends. It was awesome to see so many women out having fun on their bikes. 

At the Murderhorn Maiden enduro, my cousin and I were both racing in the intermediate category and completed three stages. When we arrived, the weather was perfect for racing. The stages were pretty long, but super fun. We started with Gatekeeper, a stage that had quite a bit of pedaling, then we headed up to Sexy Flanders and Max Power for stage two, which were super fun flow trails, and I was able to gather some good speed. Finally, on our way up to the final stage, which was carnival themed, we were starting to feel pretty tired. At the top we dropped into FTR right away and had a long, fun descent which was very loose, and had some pretty big gaps and features. At the very end, we were both very tired and happy to have completed our longest enduro race of 25km and 1,000 meters of elevation!  

At the Coaltown Throwdown, we headed out Saturday morning ready to race. The weather was very rainy, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. My cousin and I dressed up in Hawaiian shirts and flower leis after seeing all the fun costumes at the Murderhorn Maiden enduro. There were lots of aid stations, and one of them even had s’mores! We slowly made our way up to the first stage, and waited for about twenty minutes at the top of Field of Dreams before it was our turn to drop in. I felt pretty good coming down the first stage. The Vanilla stage went smoothly, and we were on our way up to stage three. I dropped into Rhizome and was feeling confident, but near the end of Woodcutter, I found myself stuck in a line of about five people, and it was hard with there being nowhere to pass on the narrow trail. Luckily, on the last tight corners I was able to take the inside line and get past them. On the last two stages I went as hard as I possibly could to try and make up the time I lost on the third stage and was stoked to take home the win of the “Giver” category.  

Overall, both races were such awesome experiences, and it made me very happy to get to ride with my friends, and to see so many women out on their bikes and having an awesome time. Thanks to the coaches, Trail Bicycles and all our sponsors!

- Annabelle Whitehead

BC School Sports High School Mountain Biking Provincial Championships (May 27th, 2022 - Jordie Lunn Bike Park, Langford)

This was the first Enduro race at the Jordie Lunn Bike Park Gravity Zone, and my second time racing here, after last year’s cyclocross race. I went down the day before with the Isfeld Mountain Bike club.  

We got there around noon and were ready to pre-ride by 1pm. We started by testing out the incredibly important jump trails (not part of the course), before going up the new climbing trail to the top. The climbing trail is a masterpiece of machine-built curves flowing up the mountain...maybe more of a hill? We pre-rode “Goldrush,” then “On the Rocks” twice, and finished with “Berm Reynolds.” The trails were all very well built, and you could carry immense speed through the bike-park like berms of the second and third stages. “On the Rocks” was a bit trickier, with some exposed rock slabs and lots of sneaky stones waiting to flatten your tire. 

The XC course was very similar to last year's cyclocross course, with some minor tweaks that resulted in a nice section on “Berm Reynolds.” It was fast and smooth but would become greasy if rain were to fall.  

Two burgers, some shenanigans at the hotel pool, and a good sleep later, I was all fueled up for a big day of biking. 

Riding to the venue in the morning was our warmup, then we did some sprints to get our legs going. The course started with an extremely fast concrete stretch before a slick turn on the cement. This turn had taken out a few riders in the prior races, so we were all on the lookout, and knew a front-line start was important to avoid a pileup. I started fast, trying to stay ahead of any carnage. Luckily, there was no first lap carnage. The rest of the course wound up a pump track, down some walking trails, then up again to my favorite trail, “Berm Reynolds.” By the time we got to Berm Reynolds, I had made my way into the lead. This lead grew for the rest of the four-lap race.  

Next up was the enduro. The grade 10-12's were released first, we wound our way up the short and smooth climbing trail to “On the Rocks,” our first stage. There was quite a bit of waiting around at the top, because there were about 150 kids in our race. My run was solid, I went off course once, but didn’t lose much time. At the end of the two-minute trail I caught up to the kid who had started ahead of me, which slowed me down a bit. We climbed back up to the top for “Goldrush,” a fast, flowy trail that only took the fastest riders one minute. My run was smooth, hitting almost every berm perfectly. We climbed up once more to the last stage “Berm Reynolds.” Another high speed machine-built trail. My run wasn’t perfect, I got a bit squirrely at the top, because I didn’t clear a double, and almost slid down the rock face, but held it together.  

Altogether a very fun day, and some amazing performances from the Trail Bicycles team: Gray Tunnah – 3rd XC, 4th Enduro Grade 8 Boys | Max Bathurst – 17th XC, 22nd Enduro Grade 8 Boys | Annabelle Whitehead – 1st XC, 1st Enduro Grade 8 Girls | Sam Schum – 6th XC, 17th Enduro Grade 9 Boys | Kip Manktelow – 1st XC, 17th Enduro Senior Boys

And a huge thank you to our sponsors!

- Kip Manktelow

BC Provincials XC (May 22nd, 2022 - Glenridge Acres)

The race was my first provincials race and it was different than Island cup races because the terrain was harder and longer. The weather was pretty hot. It took place at a farm in Abbottsford, it had tall grass and some of it was mowed for the start loop. Only for two of the races they shot the gun at the start, one for the U17 women and one for the expert men. The first time I was talking to the person next to me and when they shot the gun, it scared me so badly that I almost jumped out of my skin.

I cleared a patch out of the gravel and put my back wheel on it, so I didn’t skid out at the start. The start loop was pretty much just a loop around the field of grass. And then there were these stairs that you had to bike up (or run up) and those were fun. Then you would start the climb. The trails were flowy with lots of corners and it felt more downhill than it did at Hammerfest.  When the race started, I was in fourth for a while but then people started passing me. I remember this fun optional skinny bridge on the downhill and if you rode it, you would be ahead by a bit. I took the skinny and it was my favorite part of the course. I ended up in 6th out of 8 and overall I was proud of myself. Annabelle also had a good race and finished 4th in the U15 category.

Thank you to Trail Bicycles and to all of our sponsors!

- Darragh Whitehead

Victoria Island Cup XC Finals (May 22nd, 2022)

For the last Island Cup XC Race, we woke up at 4:30 to ensure we had a guaranteed parking spot at Hartland and extra time to register and pre-ride. It was my first time at Hartland. We pre-rode the first climb and came down on Who's Your Daddy and Night Shift. I went down on a rocky technical section during the pre-ride. We also came across three riders with flat tires, so I knew I should probably take it easy on this one.

The start had a long road climb that helped spread the racers out. I stayed with Eloi Batista, who I believe was a local and knew the course reasonably well. I followed him for the first lap and we did not get off course unlike some other people. The first lap was surprisingly difficult due to all the tight switchbacks and many technical climbs that just never ceased to end. The downhill was significantly technical which did not give me a lot of rest; thus, my hands started to suffer. Eloi probably went too hard on the first lap, so I pushed past him on the second lap road climb.

The second lap was gruelling but I kept up the intensity and gained a lot of ground on the other racers. Then I started to take it easy, until I heard Travis Field's electric derailleur a dozen meters back on the trail. I went full throttle through the course's tech climbs and was drained when I reached “Who's Your Daddy”. I then made some very questionable line choices while descending but managed to pull ahead.

I finished first and managed to capture 2nd overall for the series, right behind Phil Pharand. I was pretty happy with these results considering it was my first year of XC racing. Trail had a strong showing with teammates Talia MacPhail-McGrady and Tom Skinner placing second in Intermediate women and Expert men, respectively. And it was nice to finish the last race with a pizza party from Romeos.

Huge thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, and marshals that made the Island Cup Series possible. Thanks to my teammates and coaches for supporting me through the season. Huge thanks to our sponsers: @hornbyorganic, Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren Realtor, @eatmoresprouts zfreshtracksphysio, @nikkeiramenya, and of course Jeff and @trailbicycles.

- Loki Motai

#comoxvalleysbikeshop #supportyouth #grassrootsracing #islandcup

Cumberland XC (May 15th, 2022)

This was probably the wettest race I have ever done. After a small warm up we gathered around the start line. I was still cold from the pouring rain and did not want to take my jacket off. Soon after the start of the race I forgot all about the cold rain and focused on the trails. Right off the bat Loki was leading the pack and I was a few positions behind. The entire time I was on the course big chunks of mud were flying in my eyes. My favourite part of the course was going down Scat and Brat although on my first lap I was held up by a few racers ahead of me. At the end of the last lap I passed 5th place around a big puddle but got passed back on the final stretch to the line. I had a great time racing and enjoyed helping set up the course.

- Sam Schum

We had a great (if muddy) showing yesterday at our hometown race in Cumby with almost the entire team racing. Many thanks to Brett for designing a course that was loads of fun and never let up. Congratulations to Nico, Max, and Darragh with 4th, 5th, and 9th in beginner men. Annabelle and Talia were 3rd and 8th in intermediate women, with Sonja putting down some Mom-power for the win. Loki continued his winning ways in intermediate men, with Sam in 6th, Gray 15th, and Gavin 22nd. In expert men, Brett was 10th, Kip 12th, and I was 20th. Congrats also to team alum Erik Ashton with the win.

- Scott Manktelow

Hammerfest Enduro (May 1st, 2022)

The 2022 Hammerfest Enduro was my first ever Enduro Mountain Bike Race and it was a ton of fun to be a part of. My dad and I drove down to Errington from Merville early race morning and were able to park in the main parking area at Englishman River Provincial Park day use area where the race was being staged from.

All the volunteers, from those directing traffic in the parking lot to those who helped in the registration process to the countless people out on course, they were all so amazing and made my race experience exceptional.

I raced in the U19 category which had riders compete in stages 3 and 4. After a racer briefing meeting I left with the large pack of riders heading up to the starting points for the various stages in the Hammerfest riding area. The climbing trails were well marked with flagging tape and there was a water station at a central location near the start of the the stages. I had no problem finding the start of stage 3 which was at the trail head of “Dirt Farm’.

Stage 3 consisted of the trails Dirt Farm and Down Under. Dirt Farm is a fast, open trail weaving down a clearcut. After crossing an access road the trail turns into “Down Under” which brings you into the forest. The riding was much the same on this lower section with wide sweeping turns that allowed you to carry good speed.

The climb back up was re-routed from the pre-ride I did a couple days prior and after a little detour I was able to find the climb trail back up to start of Stage 4. The water/aid station near the top was a huge help and allowed me to refill my water bottle and grab a snack of gummies to set me up for the final stage.

Jughead and Scooby Doo are the two trails that made up Stage 4. These trails made all those practices of flat cornering worthwhile as I put into practice those lessons learned and maintained good speed and flow throughout this stage.

After completing Stage 4 I headed back to the staging area which was about a ten minute pedal away and enjoyed a burger and cold drink. Overall, I really enjoyed my race experience at Hammerfest. Thank-you to all the volunteers and race director for such a great race.

A special thank-you to my coaches Scott, Justin, Lauren & Brett for all the time spent preparing us for the race and another bigs thanks to Jeff for making it possible for me to represent Trail Bikes at this enduro event.

- Maximillian Bathhurst

Nanaimo XC (April 30th, 2022)

When we arrived in Nanaimo, the trails were looking a little muddy and slick. I did a pre-ride of the beginning of the course and noticed the course was really hilly. We had to climb 197 meters each lap!

I started at 11:02 just after the experts. I started out strong and passed a lot of people. By the end of on the first lap I was leading in my category. Then halfway through the second lap a woman who was riding behind me got a second wind and passed me. Then it got hard. I was so tired, my glasses were fogging up and I could barely see a thing. Then I crashed on the downhill. My bike slipped from under me and went down the hill quite a ways. I hopped back on my bike, and I saw my teammate, Annabelle, gaining on me. She passed me and then passed the women ahead of me. I had no idea that I was in third at the time, I was sure I was almost dead last. At the end of the race, I was caked in mud. I was so happy to find that I was on the podium with Annabelle!

It was a great race, the wet weather made it bigger challenge and a lot more fun. All the Trail Bicycles Racing Team riders had strong races. Loki Motai and Annabelle Whitehead killed it, giving Trail both top spots in the Intermediate category. Kip Manktelow finished 20th in men’s expert in a wicked long race. Brett Whitehead showed exceptional dad speed by coming in 14th expert. 

- Talia McGrady

Congrats to everyone who came out to race in Nanaimo. I can’t believe that the race season is halfway done. Thank you to Trail Bicycles and all the business who sponsor our race team: @nikkeiramenya , Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren realtor, @eatmoresprouts @ hornbyorganic @ freshtracksphysio.

Mt Tzouhalem Enduro (April 24th, 2022)

The Tzouhalem Enduro was my first race of the season and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The trails were in beautiful condition, the company was unbeatable and the weather was perfect. I spent the day getting used to the race pace again and battling with pro ALN for that top spot. The stages were a nice mix of tech and flow but also pretty pedally which isn’t usually my strong suit. Stage 1, rocky ridge, was a janky short trail which I felt strong on and ended up second behind ALN. Stage 2 was my favourite stage, a mix of fast loamy trail and some techy roots. Stage 3 was the most difficult for me, a super tight and punchy trail with a killer climb right in the middle. Stage 4 and 5 were super fun flowy trails with berm after berm. I felt strong and kept a clean race which was the goal for today. I finished with a 2nd place overall behind ALN and a big smile.

The atmosphere of racing Enduro is one of my most favourite things and today really reminded me why. The Trail Bicycles Team crushed it with Annabelle in 3rd for Youth Women, Eyrn in 7th for Expert Women, Brett in 5th for Masters Men, Justin 36th in Expert Men, Darragh in 4th for Youth Men.

- Emmy Lan

Thank you to @trailbicycles @nikkeiramenya , Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren Realtor @freshtracksphysio @hornbyorganic @eatmoresprout  

Powell River XC (April 24th, 2022)

XC racing came back to Powell River with their iconic "Rise of the Buttersnake”. Though the promised rain did not deliver and the snakes were less buttery than threatened, the organizers put together an awesome event on great trails. The course started with a sweet single track climb up “Aloha”, which featured garden gnomes and a motivational alpenhorn concert. Several laps of flowy downs and ups followed, and I was very pleased to only crash once. We were thrilled with the enthusiastic cheering race volunteers that kept us going through toughest sections - Powell River knows how to put on a race!

Congratulations to Loki Motai  who took the win in Intermediate Men. Kip Manktelow and I were 10th and 8th respectively in Expert Men.

- Scott Manktelow

With buckets of thanks to @trailbicycles @nikkeiramenya, Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren realtor @freshtracksphysio @hornbyorganic @eatmoresprouts

Photo @djm_images

Cobble Hill XC (April 17th, 2022)

This is my second Island Cup XC Bike Race. I joined as an intermediate after my first expert experience at Hammerfest XC was brutal, and I was still recovering from illness.

I was not going into this race completely blind as I had practiced the 2019 circuit the previous week. However, several trails were unfamiliar. The noticeable challenges of the circuit would be the first fire road at the start of the race and the fact that each lap had around 300m of climbing.

Early in the race, I pushed hard to get near the front of the pack. The short fire road climb was brutally steep, and I was relieved to reach Salamander Trail. This trail was flowy in the beginning and provided some rest before a short climb to Snake Trail. During this climb I got around the remaining racers to position myself behind the leader.  
After a short downhill on Snake trail, we proceeded to the main climb of Rabbit and Turtle trails. The climb was relatively chill, with ample room for passing and still fast paced. Once we started to go downhill, I began to lose the race leader as the trails were quite unfamiliar, so I was braking harder in the corners. I also ended up bashing my shoulder on a tree on Buck trail. I did not crash but it was painful, and I lost my focus for some time.  
The second lap was harder than the first and my legs were hurting. I did not see any riders behind me, so I kept a steady pace up the hills and caught sight of the leader. But once again he pulled away from me on the descent as I took it easy.  
I ended up placing second and was happy with the result. The trails were fun and flowy, and conditions were ideal for racing. After the race, food was not a problem. There was no need to stop for lunch on the way home. They had pizza for everyone, even Gluten-Free pizza so that my brother and dad could eat. They also had Sparkling Water and Soda for drinks. 

The podium was well organized, and the race organizers had a good assortment of draw prizes. I ended up taking a Bontrager XR3 tire home. Even the little things count.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next race in Powell River and shout out to our sponsors @trailbicycles @nikkeiramenya, Wedler Engineering, Rob Nygren realtor @freshtracksphysio @hornbyorganic @eatmoresprouts,

- Loki Motai

Victoria XC (April 3rd, 2022)

This was my second time racing at the Hartland trail network, and it was a goodie. The forecast had been predicting rain for most of the day, and we drove through a downpour enroute. 

Sadly, I could not make the Hammerfest XC last weekend, so this was my first race of the season, and my first XC race in almost 3 years! I was feeling nervous but after a short pre-ride of the course, I realized it was going to be a fun one. The descents were fast and loose, with random wet rocks placed all over. The climbs were either washed-out fire roads, or steep, punchy, off-camber death traps. 

My dad and I almost missed the start but made it to the back of the field in time, where I was able to push my way forward through the crowd to get a better starting spot. The race started fast, straight up a steep fire road with plenty of spots to pass. Then, sketchy singletrack wound up and down the steep hillside. The race spread out quickly as the faster riders pulled away and the rest were left behind. By the end of the first lap, I was ready to put a stick through my spokes just to stop racing, but the shame of being caught by my dad was enough to propel me forward.  

On the second and third laps, there were people strewn everywhere with mechanicals due to the jankiness of the course. The rain had been threatening for most pf the day, and finally decided to show itself after the first lap, luckily not the expected downpour, just enough to keep the rocks and roots slippery. I survived the race and most importantly, stayed ahead of my dad. 

Congrats to everyone who raced! 

Trail Bicycles results:  Darragh Whitehead - 6th beginner men | Annabelle Whitehead - 10th intermediate women | Kip Manktelow - 29th expert men | Daniel Lehton - 16th intermediate men | Brett Whitehead - 22nd expert men | Scott Manktelow - 35th expert men 

- Kip Manktelow

Hammerfest XC (March 27th, 2022)

Hammerfest was my first XC race in such a long time. I was feeling nervous on our drive down down, and the rain pounding on the windows didn’t help. We did a quick pre ride of the course, and before I knew it, it was time to head to the start. People had started to gather at the start line. The turnout was huge and the start was packed.

Someone lead us out through the gates. After they pulled off everyone turned on the jets up the long gravel climb that led all the way up to first trail. After that, it went uphill for a little while, then it was a mix of ups and downs. The trail conditions were pretty good at the start of the race, but near the end it was starting to get very muddy, and slippery.

I got passed a lot on the hill, but then once we got into the trail I started to catch up. By the end of my second lap, I was starting to get pretty tired and didn’t mind when I had to pull over to let people pass. Once I crossed the finish line, I felt so happy to have completed my first race in the intermediate category.
Although the race was hard, everyone was crossing the finish line covered in mud, with smiles on their faces. There was a great turnout from the team. Congrats to everyone who came out to race Hammerfest. I was so happy to be back racing and I can’t wait to continue the season. Thank you to Trail Bikes and all the sponsors.
- Annabelle Whitehead

Stay tuned for more race reports!

Race Schedule and more: Island Cup Race Series - XC

 (Most) Photos by Patrick Burnham | @palleus