Arduum Challenge 2009

Photos Phil Mowatt

What a difference a day makes…

Martin Newman sends the rock drop during his race run.

The Arduum Challenge downhill race, already in its third year, took place over the weekend in Mission, B.C. Hot off the heels of the rocky chunderfest of the Seymour Smackdown, Arduum served up some heaping doses of steep and techy. The renlentless onslaught of steep and techy challenges the best of riders, even when the weather cooperates.

Rain was in the forecast all weekend, in varying degrees and it seemed that with the sprinkle on Saturday and the recent dry trend in the Lower Mainland, a light sprinkle is all we were going to get. Then the deluge of rains hit on Sunday, pouring, no, dumping gallons of the wet stuff on a tinder dry trail. Chalky dust turned to slick mud as riders tried to manoeuvre their way down the track.

Deon Gibson navigates the double rock at the start of the track. Many of the virgin riders asked if the hard stuff stopped here when starting their practice runs.

Arduum is easily the steepest, most technical track on the Cycling BC Cup circuit. With the Toilet Bowl, known in the past for its ability to dump riders over the bars and off the trail to the large rock drop that’s a slight hip, Arduum tests the racers ability to pick the right lines and stay on their bikes in the best of conditions.

For the practice runs on Saturday, the racers had to contend with a track that hadn’t seen rain in days. The conditions were so dry that comparisons to Race the Ranch in Kamloops were heard as the day progressed. Watching the course change over several hours as riders lapped their practice runs was amazing. If riders waited too long between runs, any line that they had chosen was wiped away by the next riders.

Kevin Tafts cleans the steep with ease on his way to the top of the podium finish.

Never the less, 192 riders tried their luck at throwing themselves down the mud chute. When the rain did stop, and yeah it stopped at the end of the race so the awards could be shelled out without a tent overhead, this is how the riders faired.

The Elite Men’s podium.

Tyler Gorz came out on top and threw a very impressive 3:47.35 run, a nine-second lead over second place rider Justin Terwiel’s time of 3:56.14. David Camp, Dan Skogland and Adriano Digiacinto rounded out the Elite Men’s podium. team rider Curtis Robinson was charging hard all day. || Photo: Dave Mackie

Tyler shared some thoughts when asked how he managed to hold it together for his race run, dealing with the difference in track conditions from his practice runs: “I was waiting for it to rain all weekend and when it did, I got my bike ready. The first thing I did was make a ghetto fender for my bike. Skogland hooked me up with a tube and I got it set up. To make one, you zap strap a piece of an old tube from your arch to your crown.

“The next thing I did was chuck a couple new Minions onto my wheels. I saw a lot of other pros putting Maxxis Wet Scream tires onto their bikes before their runs but I chose to stick with the tire that I usually run. The biggest thing I did was I come into corners a bit slower and I really tried to stay off the brakes on anything rooty or off camber. I let the suspension on my Gambler handle all the bumps and I was set!”

The Elite Women’s podium

Not to be overshadowed were the Elite Women. In first was Bethany Parsons with a solid 5:51.32, followed by Miranda Miller and Seana Wright.

Heckler’s Cabana was revived after the dust bowl of Kamloops Heckler’s Ridge. Unfortunately, weather soured the hearts and minds of many hecklers and as a result, only a few brave souls made the trek. But never the less, we made sure that the riders knew we were watching… even if they ended up deaf.

Heckler’s Cabana Arduum 2009! Even through the rain, the cheers, jeers and cowbell could be heard!

Huge thanks goes out to all the volunteers, the organizers Greg and Denise and the trail builders, Ewan and Taylor for allowing this amazing event to happen.

For all the results go to the Cycling BC site. Next up is the Mad Trapper race in Panorama this coming weekend.

Dunbar Cycles Super 16” Race

Late Saturday night, under foreboding skies and down by the Mill Pond, the freelap race of champions took place. A level playing field was created with the use of a 16” BMX bike.

Curtis Robinson is as fast on the DH as he is on the grass. || Photo: Oliver Kristevic

Riders were required to weave their way through a series of pylons, unsuspecting tents and even navigate around the dreaded no-swimming sign down by the Mill Pond.

Kevin King looking well… I think maybe his “2 week” trip back to Aus has had repercussions on his speed. Pedal! Pedal! Pedal! || Photo: Oliver Kristevic

Qualifying heats were run and after some spectacular crashes, one of which included a scorpion to face plant – the rider will remain nameless… Shannon – it was onto the finals.

Rob Venables from Dunbar Cycles offered up this sweet prize to the winner. || Photo: Oliver Kristevic

A few bruised egos, a pile of grass stained clothing and massive amounts of cowbell, Curtis Robinson came out on top with an impressive time of 19.46.

Curtis Robinson in 1rst, Nick Geddes in 2nd and Max Horner in third. || Photo: Oliver Kristevic

Sound like fun? Want to know what it takes to set up your own heckler’s gallery? Take it to the boards.

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