Local athlete tackles rocks and logs

Local endurocross enthusiast Florian Willer tackled the Red Bull Rocks & Logs course in Calgary, placing 5th overall in the vet class.

Endurocross athlete Florian Willer placed 5th at the Red Bull Rocks & Logs course in Calgary.

Endurocross athlete Florian Willer placed 5th at the Red Bull Rocks & Logs course in Calgary.

Last month, local endurocross enthusiast Florian Willer tackled the Red Bull Rocks & Logs course in Calgary, placing 5th overall in the vet class.

The 41-year-old has been racing endurocross — a hybrid motorcycle competition where riders race over obstacles such as hard rock sections and wooden sections — for a short period of time. In fact, he said this endurocross competition was his first.

“I’m pretty happy about fifth place,” the rider, who is used to racing cross-country said. “It’s a lot tougher and a lot more exhausting.”

He went on to say, “You fall over a lot, especially in the beginning.”

But practicing regularly at dirtbike trails near Lake Koocanusa and the Crowsnest Pass helped Willer get accustomed to riding the bike and tackling different obstacles.

He noted that several local riders continue to use mountain biking and hiking trails not designed for motorized vehicles.

“It’s really putting a bad reputation on dirtbiking,” he said, adding that he would really like to discourage any riders from using those trails in order to avoid tension between motorized and non-motorized recreation.

As for the race, Willer noted that the competitions had spectators right next to the action, watching as riders fell off their bikes and got right back on them to complete the challenging obstacles.

“It’s great to watch,” he said.

Ghostrider Motorspots, Snowy Peaks RV and Park Place Lodge sponsor the local athlete; sponsors he said make races like the one in Calgary possible.

“It’s really nice to have some local support,” Willer noted.