Cyclists love enduro’s Three Blind Mice

Penticton's Three Blind Mice part of six-day Trans B.C. Enduro through the Interior and Kootenay region

THREE BLIND MICE was among the mountain courses selected to be part of the inaugural Trans B.C. Enduro six-day race.

THREE BLIND MICE was among the mountain courses selected to be part of the inaugural Trans B.C. Enduro six-day race.

Rene Damseaux of South Africa topped day two of the inaugural Trans B.C. Enduro race held at Penticton’s Three Blind Mice trail Tuesday.

Damseaux, among 120 cyclists signed up, completed the seven-stage race in 38 minutes and two seconds in the master 40-plus men. Rounding out the top three were Penticton native Terry McWhirter and Dave Pfaffengerber at 38:16 and 38:24, respectively. Penticton’s Dave Foot also entered and placed 19th with a time of 46:13. In the open women category, New Zealand’s Meggie Bichard took first in 40:55, while American Sonya Loonie in 42:58 and Canadian Mical Dyck at 43:25. In open men category, Jamie Nicoll of New Zealand took first in 34:36, while American Scott Countryman came in five seconds later in 34:41, while fellow American Botsy Phillips clocked in at 35:10.

Megan Rose, who runs the B.C. Enduro Series and handpicked the locations for Trans B.C. Enduro, wrote on Pinkbike.com describing Penticton as a “quaint local town in the very northern hip of the Sonoran Desert. Filled with myriad of eco-systems, the Sonoran Desert runs the length of North American from Mexico to British Columbia, and in the Okanagan Valley, this creates the perfect location for mountain biking, wineries and water sports to converge.”

She wrote that, unlike the locals, visiting riders were not used to the slippery terrain and found the conditions to be challenging and deceptive in the Three Blind Mice trail network — the primary and oldest trail system in the area housing over 100 different trails.

“The word is getting out about the (Three Blind) Mice and the huge variety of trails we have in a very small area. It started with Vancouverites looking for dryer conditions and more grip, and people from the Canadian Rockies seeking a change from their straight up, straight down routine,” said Hugh McClelland, cycling advocate for the City of Penticton on pinkbike.com. “We have a variety of terrain — cross country, technical, flow and drop trails, and really great rock.”

Laura Harp, president of the Penticton Area and Cycling Association, said everyone had a good time. She said they felt the course gave the true essence of B.C. mountain biking.

“I kept hearing that comment go around. The course took in a huge area of Three Blind Mice. They were given everything that we had to offer. Lots of big smiles, mechanical issues and flats. People were definitely going out with a race mentality, but others were just going along for the experience of having a catered course marked out for them, which is really fantastic.”

The opening stage sent riders down Beer Run, a trail with wooden features and covered rocks. The last stage popped the riders out from the “mousterpiece” like a pinball, ending with an expansive view of vineyards as far as the eye could see, up and down Lake Okanagan, wrote Rose.

Trans BC Enduro is a six-day event that started in Vernon on Monday, and goes to Rossland and Nelson for two days each. Riders represent 11 countries on four continents and will have ridden 12,200 metres.