Cana­dian 2017 MTB Pre­view

Cana­dian 2017 Scene Rocks

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by San­dra Walter

anada's moun­tain-bike com­pe­ti­tion cal­en­dar is packed with some awe­some events this year, some new and others tried and true. From short and in­tense to multi-day epics, the coun­try con­tin­ues to live up to its rep­u­ta­tion as a moun­tain-bik­ing des­ti­na­tion for all ages and skill lev­els.

The pil­lar of the Cana­dian rac­ing scene that has aided in the devel­op­ment of Olympic medal­ists, World Cup win­ners and World Cham­pi­onship medal­ists such as Marie-Hélène Pré­mont, Catharine Pen­drel, Ge­off Kabush, Emily Batty, Lau­ren Rosser, Finn Iles, the late Steve Smith and many more is the Canada Cup Series.

For the sec­ond straight year, the Canada Cup launches with the Bear Moun­tain XCO at Bear Moun­tain Re­sort near Victoria, B.C. on March 4. The re­sort's owner, ECOASIS, is a ma­jor spon­sor of the Cana­dian MTB squad, and will be host­ing the team dur­ing its of­fi­cial two-week train­ing camp lead­ing up to the event.

The na­tional DH series starts with a bang at Mont-Trem­blant, Que., along with XCO #2, May 20-22. Then it's off to Baie-St-Paul, Que. for XCO #3, while the grav­ity ath­letes de­scend the slopes of Blue Moun­tain, Ont., May 27 for DH #2. On­tario hosts #4 and #5 of the XCO Cup on June 11 and 18 at Horse­shoe Valley and neigh­bour­ing Hard­wood Ski and Bike, re­spec­tively. Both series wrap up in Whistler, B.C., but the XCO event on June 24 is no longer part of the mas­sive Crankworx festival. The Down­hill Canada Cup fi­nale, slated for Aug. 19, re­mains a sta­ple on the Crankworx sched­ule, how­ever.

Rac­ers will vie for the cov­eted Maple Leaf jer­sey at three dif­fer­ent events in July. July 15 holds both the Cana­dian XC Marathon Cham­pi­onships in East Here­ford, Que. and the Cana­dian Down­hill Cham­pi­onships at Panorama Re­sort, B.C. The Cana­dian XCO Cham­pi­onships fi­nally re­turn to the West on July 22 in Can­more, Alta.

It's Canada Sum­mer Games time again! The na­tional Games hap­pen ev­ery four years, and 2017 will see Canada's top young ath­letes con­gre­gate in Win­nipeg, Man., in­clud­ing moun­tain-bike teams from ev­ery prov­ince and ter­ri­tory who will con­test XCO, XC Re­lay and XC Elim­i­na­tor events. The Games run July 28-Aug. 13.

Aug. 4-6 will see the Vélir­ium moun­tain-bike festival back at Mon­tSte-Anne, Que. Crankworx Whistler is again an­tic­i­pated to be the hottest 10 days of moun­tain bik­ing in Canada, Aug. 11-20.

Aug. 13's En­duro World Series (EWS) stop in Whistler, B.C. is a tes­ta­ment to the strong En­duro scene in Canada. The Cana­dian Na­tional En­duro Series is com­prised of six stops in four prov­inces, cul­mi­nat­ing at Sun Peaks Re­sort, B.C., Sept. 16-17. Three of the events boast qual­i­fier sta­tus for the EWS.

Speak­ing of “en­dure,” there's a stage race hap­pen­ing in B.C.'s Koote­nay re­gion, July 10-15. The first edi­tion of the Trans BC En­duro was held last year with 126 rac­ers, and re­turns in 2017. Pro­ceeds from the event go di­rectly into the trails and com­mu­ni­ties that par­tic­i­pants will be rid­ing dur­ing the event.

July 5-13 sees BC Bike Race (BCBR) take rid­ers from North Van­cou­ver to Whistler for its 11th edi­tion. BCBR is sold out, but Sin­gle­track 6 still has spots avail­able for rid­ers aim­ing to crush a moun­tain-bike stage race this year. The event of­fers three-day and six-day op­tions and will treat its rac­ers to the sweet trails of B.C.'s West Koote­nays, July 29-Aug. 3.

For rid­ers who don't have an en­tire week free to ride bikes in B.C., there are many one-day events to choose from across the coun­try, start­ing on Feb. 18 with Manitoba's 130km Ac­tif Epica – not for the faint of heart. April 30, the fa­mous Paris-to-An­caster un­of­fi­cially opens the On­tario sea­son with 70km, 40km and 20km op­tions. The Nimby Fifty in Pem­ber­ton, B.C. of­fers rac­ers 37 kilo­me­tres of chal­leng­ing

B.C. rid­ing with its famed 100+ switch­back climb – and that's just the be­gin­ning – on May 20. On­tario has a Spring Sin­gle­track Clas­sic of its own at Hard­wood Ski and Bike on May 27 with 44km or 22km dis­tances. And ris­ing from the ashes of the leg­endary Squamish Test of Metal, which held its last chap­ter in 2016 af­ter 21 years, comes the Spak­wus 50 on June 17.

Re­lays are still pop­u­lar across the coun­try, the big­gest be­ing May 13's Opus Spring Epic 8 Hour in Mans­field, Ont., May 14's Salty Dog 6 Hour in Sal­mon Arm, B.C., July 15's Sum­mer Epic 8 Hour Re­lay at Hard­wood Ski and Bike, Ont., and Sept. 23's Fall Epic 8 Hour Re­lay, also at Hard­wood.

The Golden Two-Four is back, June 17-18. This 24-hour race in only its sec­ond year is held in the rel­a­tively undis­cov­ered moun­tain-bik­ing mecca of Golden, B.C. and also of­fers eight-hour op­tions. Par­tic­i­pants of White­horse's 24 Hours of Light, June 24-25, have the lux­ury of rid­ing with­out bike lights, even in the mid­dle of the night – af­ter all, it is the Land of the Mid­night Sun. The same week­end hosts a long­stand­ing favourite on the 24-hour cir­cuit – 24 Hours of Sum­mer Sol­stice at Al­bion Hills, Ont. Then it's time to celebrate on July 15-16 as Can­more's 24 Hours of Adrenalin cel­e­brates 20 years.

In 2016, Bear Moun­tain Re­sort near Victoria, B.C. hosted the Canada MTB Cup sea­son-opener for the sec­ond straight year.

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