Charlie’s Angels

Words by Rachelle Frazer | Images by Various
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Charlie puts the call out to the local Angels to participate in an action-packed two-day mountain biking event in Whistler, BC.

Where in the world would you find 240 women riding bikes en masse? Infamous mountain bike event organiser and Charlie extraordinaire Tony Horn answered the call of the women in Whistler two years ago by initiating the area’s most successful ladies-only mountain bike event. [private]

Now in its second year, Charlie’s Angels drew record numbers and pitted bona fide shredders against first-time wannabe racers in a downhill / cross country monolithic mash up.

The girls were split into three teams based on riding strengths, personality and choice of battle weaponry: Jill vs Kelly vs Sabrina. The aims? To find out which Angel team would reign supreme, and to crown the fastest individual of the weekend.

Day one was a downhill time trial in the Whistler Bike Park; day two was a 24km cross country race on some of Whistler’s most beautiful and technical singletrack.

This was no ordinary race event. For a start, all of the volunteers were men. These male vollies – or ‘Bosleys’ as they were soon affectionately dubbed – were encouraged to take their roles with a pinch of cheekiness.

A lack of attire was popular theme, much appreciated by the Angels, but the effort the Bosleys put into their aid stations blew the girls away. Fresh cocktails served à la Love Boat, freestyle raps, disco lights and boom boxes dotted course, as Charlie and every Bosley went all out to ensure the girls had a fun weekend of racing, jam-packed with entertainment.

Here’s the best way to tell the story – with photos.

The hills are alive. Two hundred and forty cross country Angels at the start line. The ladies were blessed with a prayer composed for the occasion by Seb Kemp, who was wearing a dashing leopard print thong. Things turned serious afterwards as the women were led into battle with a compelling Lil’wat First Nations’€™ song encouraging them to ride with power and strength.

Other law enforcers were found during the downhill race, with the Bosleys taking their job as marshals very, very seriously.

The breakaway group wastes no time getting a good lead on the rest of the pack. On a side note, the three women in front here all in the ‘over 30s bracket’.

Fanny Paquette floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee and secured ninth-place in the cross country.

Her name is Brandi Heisterman-Houlding, but ‘Wonder Woman’€™ might be more apt. A few kilometres into the cross country, Brandi starts to put serious time between herself and second place. She took the win with a 10-minute lead. After crossing the finish line with time to kill, Brandi decided to head out on another bike ride.

Quit your noodling, boys! Avoiding being hit by these giant wieners on the downhill course was damn near impossible.

After two punchy climbs and a big descent, and then this road up to Yummy Numby proper, the pack continued to thin. Climbing fire roads is never fun but it’€™s ok when you’ve got some company.

Coconut water, bananas or hard liquor. You decide. While the ‘€˜aid’ station was a welcome respite for some, others chose to pass on the cocktails and focus on the race. But the Bosleys cheered on all the gals, whether they stopped for refreshments or not.

Katrina Strand sucks up the last big jump on the course, taking the downhill win and eventually the overall win as well. Katrina has dominated this year on – the little bike and the big one. Going into the race, Strand had been worried she was too tired from a full-on week of coaching and she had decided not to take things too seriously. Her performance just goes to show what a relaxed attitude can do for your racing. [/private]

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