Whistler Blog

The NIMBY Fifty: Pemberton’s Infamous XC Race

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“This is not your typical XC race.”

So says the NIMBY Fifty official website. Anyone who has competed in this grueling 37-kilometre long cross country mountain biking race will tell you that this might be the understatement of the year.

On Saturday, May 30, 2015 – which, if you check your calendar, you’ll see is just around the corner – mountain bikers will gather right here in Pemberton to explore some of the region’s most challenging and rewarding terrain.

The course features no less than 101 switchbacks of true single-track trails. In other words, this most definitely is not your average XC race. You can expect to encounter some seriously technical terrain along the route (roots, rocks, and loose dusty sections are all part of the fun). You’ll also get the blood flowing with some hearty ascents: in total, you’ll climb about 4,556 feet, or 1,388 meters. In fact, the ride kicks off with a steep gravel section (one of the parts of the course that isn’t single track) – this is where the rider seeding really takes place.

nimby 50 pemberton

The NIMBY Fifty is not easy, but then again, nothing truly rewarding is. If the weather cooperates – and in hot and sunny Pemberton, it often does – you’re in for a ride that you’ll never forget. There are other rewards, too: money, for one, with a prize purse of $2,800, and a killer after party at North Arm Farm featuring live music, drinks, and a well-deserved BBQ.

The fastest men conquer the course in just under 2 hours and 10 minutes, while the 2014 female winner clocked in at 2:44:37 – in other words, don’t expect to breeze through the NIMBY Fifty. Some of the 350 or so participants take as long as five and a half hours to complete the race – and a few post that dreaded “DNF” (or “did not finish”).

Taking part in the NIMBY Fifty

So why take party in the NIMBY Fifty? The reasons are almost as varied as the number of riders who participate. Many simply thrive off the challenge of completing something that they know won’t be easy. The fitness aspect motivates others, who spend months in advance getting into peak physical condition. Others still do it for a love of XC mountain biking: what better way to spend a day then exploring some of the best terrain in the world?

Still not sure why anyone would subject their legs to this? Talk to any member of the 5 Year Club. Since this year’s NIMBY Fifty is the fifth annual edition of the race, a few riders will become part of the 5 Year Club, meaning they have participated in the race every year since its inception. It takes a certain kind to sign up for a race like this; it takes a whole other type to do it five times!

There are a few ways to get involved in this race (and trust us, you do want to get involved). One, you can race the course yourself. Two, you can support a buddy who is brave enough to be a racer – there are designated areas along the course where you can meet up with your friend with some fresh water, a snack, and a cheer squad. Third, the NIMBY Fifty is always looking for volunteers – contact the organizers to see how you can help!