A bunch of youth skiers more used to swooshing down slopes were cycling up them over the weekend.
Seventeen junior cyclists, many who are members of the Yukon Alpine Ski Team, took part in the Yukon Energy Tour de Whitehorse hosted by U Kon Echelon May 26-28.
“We have all these fantastic kids out,” said U Kon coach Trena Irving. “Hats off to Stefan Gladwin, the downhill (ski) coach, because he brought all of his downhill skiers and now they’re joining our team and some of them are really, really good.
“Mollie Fraser started it off last year, but now I have like nine or 10 downhill skiers.”
With a large presence of youth riders, a total of 28 cyclists took part in the 18th annual three-stage event that featured a criterium in the Marwell Industrial Area Friday, a time trial on the North Klondike Highway Saturday and a road race from Jakes Corner to Miles Canyon Road on the Alaska Highway on Sunday. All three stages doubled as the Yukon championships for the respective disciplines.
“It’s nice to see a lot of youth coming out,” said Whitehorse’s Marc LaPointe. “Trena has been a tour de force in that. She’s doing a whole lot of work and is really passionate about this stuff. She really gets the kids motivated and I think in a couple years we’re going to see a lot of kids doing really well in cycling.”
LaPointe won his first expert men division over the weekend. The 44-year-old, who placed second last year, placed first in the criterium, finished the 20-kilometre time trial in 1:49:20 and the 75-kilometre road race in 2:21:44.
“It was a good race from the beginning. We had a good tailwind on the way out and relatively pretty good weather,” said LaPointe of the road race. “We had five in our group and we kept attacking each other and eventually it whittled down to Micah (Taggart-Cox) and I at the end, sprinting it out for first and second.”
LaPointe used to ride at the semi pro level in Ottawa, from where he moved to Whitehorse from three years ago.
But he wasn’t the fastest in each stage. Whitehorse’s David Jackson clocked the fastest time in the time trial (out of those who did the 20-kilometre distance.) The 20-year-old, who won the U23 men division, finished it in 31:21.
“I beat my personal best from the Skagway tour by a few seconds and I was also a kilometre (per hour) faster than both the Skagway and Haines Junction tours,” said Jackson. “In Haines I was going for 35 kilometres an hour average, Skagway was 37 and this one was 39.”
Jackson also won the expert men’s division the previous weekend at the Tour of Skagway and the weekend before that at the Tour de Haines Junction.
He’s hoping to make it on Yukon’s cycling team for the upcoming Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
“I think it’s going really great,” said Jackson. “I’ve been breaking every personal record I’ve ever made.
“I think this weekend was really awesome,” he added. “I had lots of fun competing against everybody and breaking personal records. I hope the season continues going well like this.”
Irving, who will be Yukon’s cycling coach at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, won the expert women title.
It’s not too late to make Yukon’s cycling team for the Games, she said.
“If someone is super fast but haven’t come and shown us what they can do, we’d still be open to (adding to the team),” said Irving. “We want to see that people can race and they should be coming to a southern race to show they can race safely.”
“David is doing fantastic this year, Mollie is doing fantastic this year — there are a lot of kids who are. Just looking at improvement from last year to this year, that stands out for me,” she added. “It’s just a solid group of kids and a pleasure to work with.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com
General classification results:
1st Asha Newman Dar — 1:06:05
2nd Anna Potvin — 1:08:23
3rd Atlin Potvin — 1:24:41
1st Lucas Taggart-Cox — 1:05:56
2nd Kaden Gregory — 1:06:57
3rd Johna Irving Staley — 1:30:54
1st Mollie Fraser — 2:06:18
2nd Veronica Porter — 2:07:32
3rd Ava Irving Staley — 2:09:04
4th Greta Gladwin — 2:54:30
1st Clayton Chapman — 2:07:57
2nd Orin Gladwin — 2:47:27
1st Micah Taggart-Cox — 2:23:23
Under-17 boys (short distance)
1st Noah Wright — 2:44:23
1st Denny Bohmer — 2:25:29
2nd Mike Setterington — 2:41:02
3rd Malcolm Taggart-Cox — 2:54:19
1st Trena Irving — 2:55:15
1st Marc LaPointe — 2:21:44
1st David Jackson — 2:21:50