Driving downhill till dawn
by Blaine Meller
At first glance, it might seem weird: a stream of lights cutting through the night sky at Canada Olympic Park. On closer look, you realize that steam of lights is made up of dozens of moun- tain bike enthusiasts taking part in the inaugural Red Bull Dusk ‘Til Dawn challenge.
The Dusk ‘Til Dawn challenge began Sept. 3 at 10 p.m. with riders completing as many laps of the 1.67 km downhill moun- tain bike course at COP. The event continued until 5 a.m. the next day with the top individual and team participants winning cash prizes and 2011 season passes to COP.
“We were challenged by the management of Red Bull International to come up with new events,” said Pete Andersen, Red Bull’s field marketing manager for the prairies. The event was restricted to 100 riders, with only 75 being allowed on the course at a time. Fifty individual competitors and 25 teams of two took part. As of 11:30 p.m., the average lap time was between seven and nine minutes, including the time it took to ride the chair lift to the start of the course, with riders facing a 400-foot vertical drop, rock gardens, berms and steeps.
Although it did sell out, Andersen said there were lessons learned from a planning standpoint; lessons that will go into planning next year’s event. “We sold out this afternoon (Friday), but we would like to get word out earlier next year,” he said. “This was originally planned for June 21, so next year we would like to have it as close to that day as possible, likely on the closest Saturday.”
Andersen said June 21 was the target date because that is- the summer solstice, where sun- set is around 10 p.m. and sun- rise 5 a.m.