Congrats to OBB rider Tom Skinner for winning this year’s Hammerfest XC. Here’s his race report:
Hammerfest is the longest running MTB race on Vancouver Island, and this past Sunday was the fourth round of the Island Cup Series, held in Parksville on a super tough course. The weather was perfect, and it was actually the first time this year where I was overheating wearing full shorts. The course started out with a long fireroad climb that alternated between long gradual ups, and steeper lose pitches. Once riders turned into the woods, the trail continued to climb all the way to the top of the mountain, and then descended back down through tight bumpy singletrack for the second half of the lap. The course was pretty much like doing hill repeats; 15 min up, then 15 min of technical singletrack coming back down.
Up the climb on the first lap it took a while for riders to settle down and get into a rhythm. As per usual, some riders ripped it off the start hoping to get ahead by the first singletrack section, but I managed to enter the singletrack first with Carter Hovey on my wheel, and we had a bit of a gap to third place. As the climb got steeper and a little more technical, I managed to get a bit of a gap over Carter that stretched throughout the race. A couple times over the next three laps I thought I heard Carter chasing me down in the woods, but as I started to descend for the last time I could see behind me and realized that I just needed to pick smooth (non-rocky, non-flat-getting) lines to the finish. I’m not sure what other people thought as I crossed the line, but I laughed out loud to myself as I did ‘the canoe’ victory salute. If you don’t know what this is, I will gladly show it to anyone on a group ride.
Oak Bay riders had solid finishes in other categories as well, as Karen Trueman and Gwenowyn Carlson came 1-2 in the Expert Women’s race, and Geoff Homer placed 5th after losing a fight with a couple trees on the last lap.
The organizers of the race definitely did an amazing job putting everything together, and I really liked how they started the youth race 5 min before the expert race (although on a different course), so that all of the experts could cheer as loud as they could for the up-and-coming racers. Really cool atmosphere.
Anyways, just wanted to thank Oak Bay Bikes and Norco for their continued support in helping me get to these races, so that I can keep on having a great time, on great trails, with great people.
Nice work Tom!