The B.C. School Sports Mountain Bike Provincial Championship is held in Burns Lake for the first time.

The B.C. School Sports Mountain Bike Provincial Championship is held in Burns Lake for the first time.

Burns Lake hosts provincial championship

The B.C. School Sports Mountain Bike Provincial Championship is held in Burns Lake for the first time.

The 2014 BCSS Mountain Bike Provincial championship was run in Burns Lake this past weekend, May 23-24.

It was the first time that Burns Lake has held the mountain bike provincials, despite the fact that Burns Lake offers more that 60 kilometres of groomed trails, and a thriving mountain bike community.

There were two separate events run during the weekend, the cross country race and the endurance race, otherwise known as the enduro race.

The cross country race was ran first, in the morning, on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.

There were two separate courses, the first was for students in Grades 8-9, which was approximately five kilometres, that started at a trail called ‘The Runt’ and took the riders around Kager Lake and back to the start.

The second course for the cross country event, was for participants in Grades 10-12, and was approximately a 10.5 kilometre course that finished at the same spot as the five kilometre course. The cross country race for the older students was considerably longer, the run started the same as for the younger racers but veered off onto the Kager connector, then loop around a trail called the ‘Pork Grind’ trail and came down the ‘Porcupine’ and ‘Learn from Experience’ trails.

The run ended with riders looping around Kager Lake to the finish, just as the younger riders had done for their race.

The second event, the endurance, or enduro race was ran Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.

The endurance race featured one course for all riders.

The race started at ‘When Pigs Fly’ trail at the top of Boer Mountain, and featured a number of unique challenges to riders, including a little over one kilometre of boardwalk, known as ‘Water Lew’ and finishing by having riders come down ‘When Pigs Fly’ and ‘BTweaked’ trails to the finish line.

According to Guy Epkens-Shaffer, president of the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association, these runs were used at last year’s ‘Big Pig’ mountain bike event in Burns Lake.

Other high school provincial championships have been held in the region before, most notably the ski and snowboarding championships were held in Smithers, but the mountain bike provincials have usually been held in more Southern B.C. communities, such as Whistler, Salmon Arm or Kelowna.

Last Wednesday, two days before riders from B.C. high schools began to show up, there was more than 65 registered participants.

Riders from across B.C. began to arrive Friday, and used to opportunity in the evening to take the shuttle up to the top of Boer Mountain and practice for the enduro race Saturday afternoon.

There was also fun, four cross options for riders not wanting to take the shuttle up.

Epkens-Shaffer said that the mountain bike association and other volunteers have been hard at work getting the trails prepped for the provincial championship.

“Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association` has been cutting and hauling fallen trees off the courses, doing maintenance, such as draining wet areas, clearing new growth and picking up fallen branches or rocks in the way, inspecting routes for dangerous trees or new conditions after winter, as well as performing regular clearing and maintenance to ensure that riders and their families can explore the area beyond the boundaries of the race courses,” Epkens-Shaffer said.

Points were awarded the top five racers in each grade, or if there were not enough competitors, the top racer.

The fastest riders in the cross country event for the boys were, Matt Shipley, Grade 8, KLO Middle School, Shane Patterson, Windsor, Grade 9, Seth Vanvarseveld, Salmon Arm, Grade 10 and John Connor, Salmon Arm, Grades 11-12.

In the cross country event for the girls were, Gianna Ragsdale, LDSS, Grade 9 and Hannah van der Roest, Mt. Baker Secondary, Grades 11-12.

There were no riders in Grades 8 or 10 for the girls.

In the enduro race the fastest riders for the boys were Matt Shipley, KLO Middle School, Grade 8, Daniel Repko, Fort St. James, Grade 9, Darian Griffin, Valemount, Grade 10 and John Connor, Salmon Arm, Grades 11-12.

For the girls, the fastest times in the enduro were Gianna Ragsdale, LDSS, Grade 9 and Elise Dube, LDSS, Grades 11-12.

Salmon Arm High School would end up taking home the provincial championship after all the points were added. They finished with a total of 920 beating out LDSS who finished second with 850 points and KLO Middle School, which finished with 510 points, on the backs of their twin riders Matt and Ben Shipley, who finished 1-2 in both the cross country and enduro races for the Grade 8 boys.