Nelsonite Greg Munby is seen ascending Milford Ridge in the 50 km Milford Mountain Marathon. Munby finished first in his 30-39 age class in 6:00:53

Mountainous Sufferfest gaining momentum

West Kootenay hamlets Kaslo,New Denver,and Nakusp played host to a mountain marathon, mountain biking, cyclocross and duathlon.

The sixth annual Kootenay Sufferfest filled West Kootenay hamlets Kaslo, New Denver, and Nakusp as they play host to a mountain marathon, cross country mountain biking, cyclo-cross and duathlon this long weekend.

The event began in Kaslo Saturday with the 50 km Milford Mountain Marathon which is anything but flat. The cold wet weather tested athletes as they pushed their endurance with an elevation gain of 2535 m as well as an elevation loss of 3160 m to the finish.

A taste of the 50 km Milford Mountain Marathon as runners approach the summit with the assistance of  Joel McBurney from the Summit Mountain Guides crew rigging the course. David Lussier photo

Summit Mountain Guides helped direct marathoners through a complete white-out due to a snow storm at the Milford Mountain summit. In the end it was Andrew Brisbin of Canmore and Alyssa Shaw of Coeur d’Alene who finished first in the men’s and women’s divisions in 5:37:02 and 7:13:43 respectively. Kaslo also played host to 10 other trail running events such as a 6, 10, 12, and 25 km routes.

The weather improved making it perfect for racing as New Denver took the torch on Sunday as various cross country races cycled through.

Erik Bee  from  Greenacres, Wash. won the 100 km cross country bike race in 6:05:11 which began in Kaslo and finished in New Denver. In the women’s division, Ali Wilson from Kimberley won for the second year in a row in 7:38:08 — a doubly impressive feat as she managed to catch up after falling behind due to a flat tire.

Start of the 40k cross country bike in New Denver. Jeff Pilsner photo

The Sufferfest finale took place in Nakusp on Monday with cyclocross and duathlon events. The Furry Forty cyclocross (mix of trail, dirt and paved roads) was won by Erica Pataki and Karl Severa. Named for the tradition of road riders shaving their legs, participants do not shave and many don excessively furry costumes.

With more than 300 adults registered and more than 40 children for youth events, the three day annual event boasts stunning lakeside towns for the hundreds of athletes with a strong appetite for dirt trails.

Race organizer Janis Neufeld said the flagship event brings in athletes from all over the world, from countries like New Zealand, Holland, Australia and the US, because it offers three days of multiple events ranging from a 50 km trail run to mountain biking.

Neufeld said the 100 km point-to-point all-trail mountain bike race is the only one of its kind in North America.

If you missed participating in this event, Neufeld is planning an expansion of the Sufferfest series to include a winter triathlon at Summit Lake in early 2016.

For full results or more information, visit kootenaysufferfest.com.

Nelson’s Tom Dool along Milford Ridge during the 50 km Milford Mountain Marathon. David Lussier photo

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