Every year, many of the best riders in Western Canada challenge the speed and endurance of local mountain bike racers at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin.
Seemingly, every year they come up short at the hands of Banff and Canmore’s best.
The five-person Rundle Mountain Boys proved to be the fastest team at 24 Hours of Adrenalin, finishing 23 laps in just over 24 hours, followed by two more Canmore squads.
The team of Stan Magee, Mike Norton, Darren Freeman, Kevin Cohen-Wallis and Gary Brown blew away their competition, relying on consistent lap times at blistering speeds to keep their opponents at bay.
“Our aim was always for first overall,” said Norton. “Everyone was within two or three minutes of one another. We didn’t have any superstars, just solid racers.”
“If you have a few guys around an hour and a few more around 1:10, you’re done,” Cohen-Wallis said.
Riding clean and smooth is necessary to win the 24 Hours race, and the Rundle Mountain Boys seem to have perfected that skill.
The mud and cold did not unduly affect lap times for the top team, who actually preferred this year’s conditions to last year’s dusty race.
“It started off pretty rough, but once the sun came out the laps got faster. It was night and day in terms of speed,” Norton said.
“We were due for a wet one,” Cohen-Wallis said.
Within the close-knit Canmore mountain bike community, the RMCC team knew they were a target heading in. Having won the overall title before, several teams were gunning for their yellow jerseys.
“There’s definitely a rivalry out there and that pushes us,” Freeman said. “That helps us move a lot quicker. There’s never any letting up. After three or four laps, you know who’s hunting you down.”
Finishing second in the five person category 200+ age category and third overall was another Canmore squad – the Assless Chaps. Allister Darichuk, Darren Anderson, Murray Oshanyk, Pete Neff and Brent Bittner finished 22 laps, placing third overall. Anderson clocked the fastest time for the squad at 56:54.
Deadgoat Racing 1 finished third.
Rundle Mountain is remaining mum on their plans for next year.
“We have a secret plan,” Norton said. “There will be a lot of yellow.”
The women’s podium was also full of Canmore riders. The Petal Sisters, last year’s runners up, took top spot in the five-person female race, defeating last year’s winners the Double E Dirt Divas.
Sisters Sarah Owen, Holly VanderMeer, Amy Gagnon, Melanie Schultz and Michelle MacDonald claimed victory by a narrow 35-minute margin over their local rivals the Dirt Divas (Liza Pye, Martha Handford, Liana Appelt, Frances Vice and Nadine Delorme).
Fifteen minutes behind second place was Zach Attack, consisting of Valarie Trouilot, Margie Smith, Christine Stoneman, Cathy Cowan and Sandra Mergler.
The Petal Sisters said the win proved to be ‘friendly revenge.’
“You’re never sure in a 24 hour race how it’s going to go. We had really strong competition,” said Gagnon.
The team rode clean, with no technical problems and several strong night laps that led them to victory. Owen recorded a 1:14 night lap, which proved to be the fastest women’s night lap of the competition.
The girls didn’t take their win for granted, stating there was no time to let up.
“You never know, not even on the last lap. It was close enough you couldn’t let up. You don’t know until your rider crosses that line,” Gagnon said.
Another Canmore team won the men’s 150-199 age group and finished second overall with 23 laps in 24:26. Phil Puurnun, Brent Rosvold, Colin Croston, Torben Jensen and Ian Murray – the Bromance Legstrong Foundation – reclaimed their five person title.
“It was a really good victory. It comes down to riding through the night with no issues,” Croston said.
“Smooth riding. There were small margins for the top guys. There wasn’t the big leadout that was going to help. Everyone had to ride smooth,” said Puurnun.
The team learned from last year it needed to minimize mechanical issues in order to contend.
“Due to mechanical issues, we had to claw back from 30th to finish fourth,” Murray said.
“This year, four of the five bikes were new,” Jensen said.