U Kon Echelon athletes travelled for their first Outside competition since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In Mission, British Columbia, four Yukon cyclists competed in the BC Provincial Road Championships on Aug. 15.
The four competitors were Alex Lebarge, Mack Jenner, James McCann and Ava Irving-Staley.
Irving-Staley, the lone female athlete on the trip, persevered through nagging injuries leading into the race, said U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving.
Irving-Staley competed in the Junior Women division. She had a strong finish to her race and came fifth out of five. Depsite the fifth-place finish, Irving said the Junior Women category has strong riders.
“The top three finishers are climbing the competitive ladder with Lily Ujfalusi and Isla Walker going to the Junior Road Worlds in Europe and Ana Large going to Spain following the race,” said Irving.
The junior women were paired with the Masters Women category in their respective races and formed a good-sized peloton giving all the women a chance to ride together.
Lebarge, Jenner and McCann participated in Category 4/5 men – this was the largest division with 79 cyclists registered. Sixty-two started the race and over 20 did not finish due to time cuts.
The time cuts were in place, Irving said, to ensure the race is finished and the elite races could start on time afterward.
The three Yukon riders had to experience “sweltering “ heat conditions and smoke from the nearby forest fires which nearly got the race cancelled.
McCann was the quickest of the three who rode with a group who were impressed by his riding ability for only being 14.
All three were competing in their first sanctioned race Outside the Yukon. Although they did not make the time cut, Irving said lots of learning took place.
There were no U15 or U17 categories for the men’s divisions, but Irving said the “kids still had fun, learned lots, especially racing in the heat, and enjoyed the experience.”
“They are eager for racing to get back to normal next year and all three have their eyes on the Canada Games road cycling team for 2022,” said Irving. “Hopefully youth events will be on the calendar for next year as well.”
The 2022 Canada Games will be held in the Niagara region of Ontario.
Contact John Tonin at email@example.com