Whitehorse’s Ava Irving-Staley doesn’t often get to race girls her age in Yukon. But that didn’t stop the 11-year-old from being one of the fastest in the bunch at B.C.‘s junior road championships over the weekend.
Irving-Staley raced to a second place finish in the under-13 girls general classification at the Hayman Classic in Penticton.
“I feel really great. I feel like I did as well as I could,” said Irving-Staley. “It was really fun riding with other girls, because in the Yukon there aren’t girls who are at my level and the same age and the same speed. It is really fun riding with people … I normally don’t have a chance to race with people.”
Irving-Staley, who cycles for the U Kon Echelon cycling club, kept it close in all three stages. After an eight-kilometre individual time trial, a 25-minute criterium and a 21-kilometre road race, Irving-Staley was just 11 seconds behind the first-place finisher, Alisha; Lilley of Vancouver’s DEVO pb Fortius club.
Irving-Staley placed third in the time trial, just 11 seconds behind Lilley, and all but tied Lilley in the next two races, finishing second both times by under a wheel’s length.
“They were crossing over the line with one inch between them,” said U Kon head coach Trena Irving. “She was fighting for that spot.”
Irving-Staley, who placed third in the general classification (GC) last year, was one of eight riders with the U Kon Echelon club in Penticton.
U Kon’s Annie Cable placed sixth in GC in the eight-rider U13 girls division. She took sixth in the time trial and crit, and fifth in the road race.
Teammate Mollie Fraser finished 10th out of 13 in under-15 girls with 10th in the time trial and road race, and ninth in the crit.
“Mollie and Annie, that was their first time at a competition like this and both of them absolutely held their own,” said Irving.
“(Cable has) been sick and injured a lot, so she hasn’t been able to train as much.”
U Kon was also represented by Marsh Lake’s Taggart-Cox brothers, who are speed skaters in the winter season.
Lucas Taggart-Cox placed sixth in GC for under-13 boys with movement up the standings each race. He came eighth in the time trial, seventh in the crit and sixth in the road race.
“It’s super impressive. Lucas is only 10 years old and has a couple more years of U13,” said Irving.
Caius Taggart-Cox posted a 14th place in GC out of 21 riders in under-15 boys with 17th in the time trial and crit, and 16th in the road race.
Micah Taggart-Cox finished 16th in under-17 boys – the largest field at the championships.
He took 26th in the time trial, 22nd in the crit and 18th in the road race.
“We had lots of comments from lots of the coaches down there. They were really impressed by everybody, so that was really nice,” said Irving. “I see a lot of potential in the kids. Micah placing 16th out of 35 riders, that’s a damn good result for U17.
“Caius has a very, very tough group there. There’s a kid in that group who is sponsored by Norco (Bicycles) and the kid is at a super high level. So it’s super competitive and is wonderful to watch all these kids who are at that high level.”
Despite being only eight years old, U Kon’s Johna Irving-Staley took part in the time trial in under-13 boys – the youngest age group.
Johna finished the eight-kilometre route in a respectable 26:05.55 for 12th.
“I asked if he could compete in the time trial because it’s fairly safe to do that with someone his age,” said Irving.
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