Silver Star 24 Hour Race vs. The Elements|
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Tucked away in the Okanogan Valley, Silver Star Mountain Resort was the host to the 4th annual Kokanee 24 Hours of Adrenalin on the weekend of September 4-5. The elements were definitely a factor as the week began with two days of snow leaving a foot at the top of the mountain. Fortunately, the weather turned for the better and by Thursday there was only snow at the summit. At least for a while!
The event attracted 700 mountain bike lovers, up from 400 riders in 1998. They began arriving Friday quickly filling camping areas ready for 24 hours of mountain biking and lots of fun. The event started noon Saturday and ran through the night until noon Sunday. Riders participate in Solo, 4 Person-Elite, 5 Person-Open Age, 5 Person-All Female and Corporate-6-10 person categories. Each rider takes a turn riding the course similar to a running relay. At the start riders began by running 700 meters from the start up the mountainside and then back down into the expo area where they hopped on their bikes and headed out onto the 18 km course. Starting in the heart of Silver Star Mountain Resort at 5280 feet, riders began climbing the long, gradual 8.5 km trail 1000 feet to reach the summit and that is not where the climbing stopped. The long gradual climbs were followed by fast downhills and singletrack. Participants raved about the course saying, it was challenging, fun and fast.
Dubbed as the Woodstock of Mountain Biking, it did not take long for new comers (approximately 50% of participants) to figure out why. Teams such as "Kwitchyerdam Beliakin" from Surrey, dressed in kilts, blue painted faces and bodies and a wooden castle facade stretching 12 feet in the air. "Hairy Palm and the Coconuts" from Vancouver brought a blender that had been reconfigured and powered by a small gas engine, they set up fake palm trees, wore grass skirts, coconut bras (over their clothing) and fake shiny palm trees on their helmets. "Cranking Kitties" from Burnaby dressed in leopard-patterned outfits making them look as if they were cats on mountain bikes. These teams and many others symbolize why festival style events are fun and exciting and why they are growing so rapidly throughout the West Coast and North America.
With the weather forecasts looking good for the weekend the 700 riders plus friends and family gathered Friday ready for anything knowing how ugly it had been earlier in the week and that is exactly what they got. Friday was cool with bright sunny skies however come Saturday morning clouds blanketed the area and rain began to fall. This pattern of poor weather would start to clear but it would only be a matter of hours before temperatures began to drop and rain turned the course into a mud pit. At 3:00am the rain turned to snow at the summit leaving riders battling a completely different set of elements from the base of the course. Riders found themselves under dressed and cold. Hot chocolate and coffee were hot commodities as riders and the many volunteers tried to keep the bodies warm.
Participants of the Kokanee 24 Hours of Adrenalin mountain bike team relay climbed over 40,000 feet throughout the weekend and were entertained by trials rider Rob Healy from Calgary. He stunned spectators with his bike tricks and jumps that left jaws dropped. At Midnight, Mike's Famous Corn Roast began as riders and spectators filled their bellies with sweet corn on the cob. The event wrapped up Sunday at noon in pouring rain making the course the muddiest it had been all weekend. Riders would cross the finish line and the only thing on their face not covered in mud was their eyes. Once cleaned and dried off they gathered at the local Saloon at Silver Star to eat a hearty serving of pasta.
The events Solo category draws World Class endurance racers such as BC natives Chloe Lanthier, World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Champion and Greg Blackwell. Both won the Solo category adding another impressive victory to their resumes. Other Solo riders on hand were Silver Star legend DAG (58 years old) placing seventh and Alex Nilsson from Bournaby (65 years old) placing ninth.