NimbyFifty turns 3 and invites Red Bull, Brett Tippie to the party

A “savage” mountain bike event billed by organisers as a “technical marathon xc bike race”, and scheduled to be the perfect pre-race for the Test of Metal, NimbyFifty returns to Pemberton’s switchbacking singletrack on May 26, 2012, and to celebrate turning three, the organisers have amped up the prize money, invited Brett Tippie to MC, Red Bull to host a race within a race, and all little rippers to take part in a kids’ race at North Arm Farm as part of the After-Party.

Registration to secure one of the 400 spots opened February 15.

Having checked in with the organisers, the three masochisteers Terry Evans, Dean Linnell and Russ Wood, after the first race, we followed up to find out whether they’re feeling older and wiser these days, or just older.

So, 2012 vs 2010. Easier or harder?

DL: It’s always hard. We haven’t made it any easier. In fact it might be just a wee bit tougher since we’ve just built a brand new piece of singletrack linking the top of the paraglide launch down to the road that leads up to Overnight Sensation. It’s a rolling XC type of trail but you’ll be pegged from having just climbed Big Nimby so you’ll need your wits about you.

What are your personal favourite training trail link-ups/rides?

DL: Hmm… anything made of dirt really but I really enjoy climbing Big Nimby and linking it up with Middle Earth which is the extension from the paraglide launch that continues much higher up to the cell tower. Such an incredible climb. There’s really nothing like it anywhere – it’s massive!

How many hours do you guys put into putting this event on?

DL: I’d say at a minimum we are doing at least 200 hours in total. It’s a huge undertaking but we’re getting better at planning every year and we’ve gotten a nice head start on things this year already.

How many hours do you put in the saddle, riding one bike or another?

DL: I actually lean a bit more toward the road bike for most of the year but I’d say on average I do 60% road and 40% mountain. When the season is in full swing I’m in the saddle about 8 to 10 hours per week. As always, I wish it were more though.

Is there a golden ratio? Where, if organising over-rides pedalling, you give the organising away?

We are control freaks.

DL: We are control freaks so we have a hard time delegating. I’d say to get the race put together the way we want to see it done we end up organizing a bit more than riding in the 2 week lead up to the event in May. We can still sneak off for rides when push comes to shove, of course!

How have you defined success? When did you know that you’d hit it?

DL: Well, I think given the huge volume of support we’ve had from our racers over the past 2 years we’ve already been a big success. We’re not trying to be Crankworx or the Test of Metal. We just wanted to put on a cool race that showcases the amazing riding that Pemberton has to offer and takes all the good pieces of bike races we’ve done over the years while avoiding any of the bad bits.

What are the best 3 pieces of feedback you’ve had about the event?

DL: Our event is downhome, laid back, and great value. Compare all the pain, suffering, Pemberton beef burgers and beer we dish out for $65 (for early registrants) to riding the Whistler Gran Fondo for $275 and you get the picture.

In what way has this event put Pemberton on the map?

DL: I think we’ve really been able to show folks from all over the Pacific Northwest that the killer singletrack doesn’t end in Whistler. You just have to drive an extra 25 minutes and the riding is unbelievable.

The killer singletrack doesn’t end in Whistler.

I’ve heard a lot of XC riders actually shoulder their bikes and run down hill? Is that for real? What’s that about?

DL: I heard a rumour about that but if we ever catch anyone doing that on our course we’d have to give them a stern lecture (in front of 400 fellow riders on stage at the apres at North Arm Farm.)
TE: We also heard a rumour that people are braiding on the NIMBY climb (ie cutting off switch backs by walking off the trail) and we’re going to crack down on that this year with secret spies in the woods and anyone who gets caught has to wear a wig with braids on it called “the braids of shame”.

In the first year, the bloodshed tally was a busted collarbone. Is that the best scar so far? 

RW: I think that’s the worst of it – we did have another shoulder injury last year on radio tower as well as a guy who wacked his head pretty good, broke his seat post, got his ^&$%^ together and kept riding. At the bottom of Happy he knew one of the volleys’ who gave him his seat and he finished the race… in a pretty good time actually

TE:  Luke Garside has a pretty good story though about his injury…

How many people come to ride Pemberton in the lead up to this race?

DL: That’s a great question. I think that if we have 400 or so racers then each of them comes to train on the course at least one and possibly twice or more. That’s easily 1,000 riders in the couple of weeks prior. Seems like The Bike Co. is going to be doing a bit of business selling tubes and gear this spring!

TE : I can’t say everyone comes to ride the course at least once. Pretty sure there are those who show up totally green to the scene. But there are others who come numerous times so it probably averages out to something along the lines of what Dean’s estimating.

Where are those 400 riders most likely to be sighted the night before NimbyFifty 2012?

DL: In bed watching the inside of their eyelids.

What is your favourite part of the event?

DL: Definitely the apres at North Arm Farm. It’s just so great seeing the whole thing come together, mingling with everyone and listening to the war stories from out on the race course.

What’s the division of labour between the three of you? 

DL: Because of my real estate sales background and community contacts, I’ve been more of the venue and food coordinator guy. Terry Evans is a graphic designer and web developer so he’s been instrumental in getting our marketing material and web presence as polished as possible. Russ Wood really focuses in on our logistics with respect to getting the registration process dialled in as well as making sure our timing is flawless. He also makes sure we have plenty of vollies for the day of the event and coordinates Pemberton Search & Rescue for our first aid needs on the race course. However, we all cross over and do a bit of everything.

I heard that many hard core XC riders were shocked at how technical the riding is here… how many return registrants do you get? 

RW: So far out of 160 registrations we have about 90 who have never done it before, the rest have competed in either both years or just one year. That is one thing that will always limit our race – there will be people out there who will be over their head. They may sign up one year, have fun but just get a little to punished to come back the next year.

What are the vital stats? Fastest speed on course? # volunteers? # flat tires per year? 

RW: Vollies about 30, fastest speed  I’d guess about 60k coming back down the road from radiotower, total length of the course is 37km and there is 4525 feet of climbing (and descending) on the course.

When did registration start and when do you expect to hit 400?

DL: We opened up registration on Feb. 15th and we’re now at 160 just 4 days later. I’d say we’ll be full by early spring which will be much faster than in our past 2 years where it took us until the day of the race to fill up.

So, would you ever run a downhill down Mt Currie? I’m sure that would be right up Red Bull’s alley?

DL: Might need to up our insurance for that one!

How did the Red Bull thing come about?

DL:  Terry, Russ and I spoke last year about maybe doing the “race within a race” thing this year with some separate timing down Overnight Sensation just to give the riders that lean a bit more to the gravity side of things something to shoot for. This past summer I was having dinner with Scott Jewett, the National Event Manager for Red Bull. His son is one of my son’s buddies. I mentioned our race to him and just kind of threw it out there that it might be something Red Bull would be interested in being a part of.

What are you most stoked about for this year?

DL: Definitely having Red Bull working with us and the buzz that generates for our event is huge. Also having  industry legend Brett Tippie as our MC  is going to take a massive load off of us.

TE: We’re also stoked to be offering $1000 to each male and female overall winner, making the NIMBY one of the highest prize purses for an xc bike race in BC, if not Canada. We do this because it helps attract a higher calibre rider, and helps give back to those type of riders who are out there training really hard to compete on the provincial, national and even world stage.

How did starting things off at North Arm with the big peloton along the highway work out?

DL: That was a big worry for us initially but it turned out perfectly. The highway was closed off by the fire department and we had flaggers at all the intersections and it was smooth like a baby’s bum.

What’s the best time and place for people/spectators/supporters to come and take in the vibe?

DL: The start/finish at North Arm Farm.

There are also some great spots to watch all along the course. You can drive to Mosquito Lake or the intersection of Reid Road and Linda Road. You can also walk down Waco Connector to the start of Big Nimby to catch the start of the death march.

TE:  There’s a nice little trail that you can hike up from Reid Road which would allow you catch the last chute of Overnight Sensation without having to obstruct the course at all.

Anything else you want to mention?

DL: Yes, we’re having a kids race again this year at North Arm Farm during the apres. Come and watch – it’s gonna be bonkers!!

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