Canada Games medalist wins season opener

Local mountain bikers got a taste of what it's like to ride with a Canada Games medalist at the Boogaloo to Boreale Race, put on by Contagious Mountain Bike Club and hosted by the Boreale Mountain Biking on Friday.

Local mountain bikers got a taste of what it’s like to ride with a Canada Games medalist at the Boogaloo to Boreale Race, put on by Contagious Mountain Bike Club and hosted by the Boreale Mountain Biking on Friday.

In this case, “with” means far behind.

Whitehorse’s Daniel Sessford, who won the Yukon’s second ever Canada Summer Games medal in 2005 for mountain biking, was the first across the finish line with minutes to spare, completing the 18-kilometre course on the Grey Mountain trail system in 51 minutes, 24 seconds.

“I don’t really train anymore, but it’s fun to get out and ride a bike,” said Sessford. “It’s about 20 minutes of climbing to the highest point and then it’s kind of fast on the way down.”

Sessford recently moved back to Whitehorse after racing in the Canada and North American Cups for Blue Competition Cycles, based in Atlanta, Georgia, the past few years.

“Then I decided I wanted to do something else, so I moved back up here,” said Sessford. “So I’m here now, and I’m coaching the Yukon Cycling Team with Bruce Thomson.

“It’s nice to ride these trails again – that’s partly why I moved back up here. The trails are just so much fun to ride.”

Taking second in the male division was Tristan Geisel, followed by Ian Parker in third.

The top female rider was Tamara Goeppel, ahead of Sierra van der Meer and Michelle Christensen in third.

“It was very aerobic; it’s the kind of race where there isn’t really a rest period,” said Goeppel. “It’s an interesting race to do on a Friday afternoon after a full week of work.

“This is such a great event. There’s so many people here, young kids, older generation, and everything in between. There’s such diversity it’s hard to look at it as a race – it’s more an event.”

The previous weekend Goeppel broke her own record at the VeloNorth Skagway Hill Climb event in road cycling, and tied for first in the expert women class of VeloNorth’s Jakes Corner to Whitehorse 75-kilometre race on Saturday.

“A lot of us are riding out there, and we don’t know everyone else that is riding out there,” said Goeppel. “So this is a great venue to network.”

About 75 riders came out for the race, which was the first in the Contagious season, and were greeted at the finish line by a barbecue, beverages and performances by the band Sunnyside of the Ditch.

It is another busy season for the Contagious club this summer. In addition to “Dirt Girls’” rides every Tuesday, and races and group-rides on alternating Thursdays, Contagious has added three new downhill races.

“That’s a new thing,” said van der Meer, president of Contagious. “There are a lot more people riding bigger bikes now, so we’re doing some events for them.”

The three new additions will be the Teslin Midnight Showdown in Teslin on July 2, Icycle Sports’ Super-D down Grey Mountain on July 17, and the Montana Madness Weekend down Carcross’ Montana Mountain on August 6.

Other races on the schedule include the ever-popular 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Race starting at noon on June 25, the King of the Canyon Race on August 20 and the Yukon Singlespeed Championships on August 27.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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