Rounding a corner in a pack of riders at 40 or 50 kilometres an hour takes a little getting used to.
“It’s something that requires a lot of practice and a lot of skill,” said Marc LaPointe.
Yukon cyclists now have the opportunity to get that practice.
About 15 cyclists took part in the first Titanium Way Criterium Series race, hosted by the U Kon Echelon cycling club, in Whitehorse’s Marwell area on Wednesday.
“The idea behind it is to have a consistent venue for people to get used to,” said LaPointe, the series organizer. “Whitehorse has a really good racing community that’s already here and there’s consistency with the mountain biking but not with the road racing – it’s a little bit all over the place. So having this as something we can build a community around, so we can bring more people here, and if people want to come and see what criterium racing is all about, it’s a great venue.”
Criterium – or “crit” – racing comes in a variety of forms. It is done on a short loop and is usually a timed event, meaning cyclists complete as many laps as possible in a set amount of time. Crits also often have primes (pronounced “preems”) in which riders can earn points by winning specific laps.
Wednesday’s crit did not include primes to keep the race less competitive.
“We’ll leave the racing for the races that happen on the weekend,” said LaPointe, board member in the Cycling Association of the Yukon. “This is to build the community, to have a competitive spirit, but also to engage people in a little bit more camaraderie.
“There’s a big discrepancy between people who have raced a lot … and the people who are up and coming.”
The Titanium Way series is scheduled to take place every two weeks through the summer.
The action starts with a youth crit – 20 minute plus three laps – at 6 p.m., followed by an adult crit – 45 minutes plus five laps – at 7 p.m.
As the series goes on, the time might increase to an hour for adults, and primes may be added, said LaPointe, a “Newkoner” who recently moved to Whitehorse from Ottawa.
“We might do it,” he said. “Primes have the tendency to liven it up, but they also split the pack apart. Considering it’s such a small pack, we wanted to keep it together a little more.”
“This series is about building the amount of talent that comes out of Whitehorse. It’s something, with the consistency of having it every two weeks, that we can work on things together.”
Elijah Buffalo lapped the field to place first for men while Laura Scott took first for women. Ava Irving-Staley won for junior girls and Tristan Muir for junior boys.
The next crit race in the series will take place May 20 on the roughly one-kilometre Titanium Way loop.
Search “Titanium Way Criterium Series” on Facebook for more information.
Contact Tom Patrick at