Speedy descent: Marc-André Daigle from Montreal races downhill during the first stage of the Singletrack 6 mountain biking series near South Canoe on Sunday, July 26. More than 280 races from 16 nations are taking part in the six-day mountain biking event. Daigle and his teammate Patrick Chartrand finished as the fastest team.

Speedy descent: Marc-André Daigle from Montreal races downhill during the first stage of the Singletrack 6 mountain biking series near South Canoe on Sunday, July 26. More than 280 races from 16 nations are taking part in the six-day mountain biking event. Daigle and his teammate Patrick Chartrand finished as the fastest team.

Mountain bikers descend on Shuswap

International event: Close to 300 cyclists from 16 nations to take part in Singletrack 6 races.

On a cool morning, at precisely 7:30, 10 kilometres east of Salmon Arm at the Rubberhead trail network, more than 280 mountain bikers set off on a six-day bike race.

Stage 1 of the 2015 Singletrack 6 mountain bike event got underway with racers from 16 nations tackling tough climbs and technical descents on trails that were in super shape on the Rubberhead and Larch Hills trail networks.

“We were in search of an authentic biking community, and the support of the community for the race made it an easy decision to come here,” said Aaron McConnell, race director for the event.

The event has been in existence for 15 years and was rebranded last year.

Every year, the six-day event moves to  various Western Canada destinations showcasing premiere biking destinations.

This year is the first time the event has come to Salmon Arm, and McConnell said the reception they have received was beyond what he expected.

With a significant amount of precipitation falling Saturday morning the super dry trails got some much-needed moisture.

The rain and cool temperatures were followed by the perfect amount of sunshine in the afternoon.

The challenging course was put together by the brains behind Skookum Cycle & Ski, The Shuswap Trail Alliance and Shuswap Cycling Club, showing off the best the Shuswap has to offer.

Conditions were prime for some enjoyable riding by the entire field.

Cory Wallace of Team Kona dominated the entire stage from the first climb to the final descent and was the first of the men across the line.

Despite his aggressive approach fellow Team Kona rider Kris Sneddon was close behind along with Team Rocky Mountain Europe’s Anderl Hartmann, who followed in third place.

Also riding in the three-day event was Catharine Pendrel of Team Luna.

She was the first female across the line, followed by Kate Aardal of Ridley Cycles. Team Deadgoat Racing’s Trish Grajczyk was third.

The top local rider was Richard English, who completed the course in 2:46:24.6.

The racers headed to Vernon for the next two stages, before travelling to Kelowna and Penticton, where the event will end.

 

Salmon Arm Observer