Mud. Sand. Obstacles. Chewbacca. Batman. What a mix.
Participants in the Whitehorse Cyclocross, hosted by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CNBC) at Mount McIntyre on Sunday, thought so.
They don’t get cyclocross races too often, especially ones involving cat and polar bear costumes, among others.
“For me the big win is seeing people out riding cross,” said Kristenn Magnusson.
Magnusson designed the course that, staying in line with cyclocross conventions, had plenty of variety. There was mud, sand and pavement, single-track trails, stairs, a pump-track and wooden structures in the skills park. Even a fenced in “maze” section in the shape of a swirl or “whirly-whirl.”
Magnusson also was the top female and finished second overall in the expert division, completing seven laps of the roughly two-kilometre course in 53 minutes and 16 seconds.
She competed in the Cross on the Rocks Series on Vancouver Island before moving to Whitehorse and is the current Yukon women’s mountain bike champ.
“Cross is a part of cycling that is near and dear to my heart because I enjoy it so much. I think it’s a great sport for people who are not wanting to do a big mountain bike race and the roads are a bit intimidating with the pavement … There’s lots of fun, cheering and camaraderie.”
Sean McCarron also completed seven laps in under an hour, coming in at 51:58 to place first overall in the expert division.
“I guess I could have done another lap,” said McCarron, checking the time. “It was fun. I haven’t done an hour timed mountain bike race like that. You have to be weary of pacing, but it’s also just an hour, so you can’t go slow too long. Especially when you have fast people behind you.
“I had a mountain bike, which I think was an advantage on some of those sections. If I was on a cyclocross bike (with the skinnier tires) I might have been second or third.
“The suspension on the pump track allows you to carry more speed around those corners … So I’m glad I brought that bike instead of one of my skinnier bikes.”
McCarron, who was in his first cyclocross race, also won the solo men’s division at CNBC’s 24 Hours of Light festival in June. On Sunday he decided to toss on a Batman costume.
“There’s an animal theme, and I figure bats are animals,” said McCarron. “It was a fun time to pull it out of the closet. Too bad my kids aren’t here to see it.”
As for the obstacles and stairs that required riders to dismount: “The idea of running with a bike isn’t that appealing, but there wasn’t much of it,” he added.
Former Yukon women’s mountain bike champ Meagan Wilson topped out with seven laps in 54:52 for third. Sam Oettli was half a wheel behind with the same time for fourth.
Chris Rider came in fifth, with seven laps just under the one-hour cutoff.
Josh de la Salle completed four laps in 31 minutes to take first in the sport division.
“I liked it, it was really good,” said de la Salle, who was also riding cyclocross for his first time. “I liked the short course … But the girl that was behind me (second place’s Verena Konig) was catching up to me at the end. She was maybe only 100 feet behind me.
“I tried to go really fast right at the start and probably halfway through my first lap I started slowing down a lot … But it still helped me to get ahead of everybody.”
Konig, who snagged second with four laps in 31:18, had a blast in her first cyclocross experience.
“I love it,” she said. “I hope we’re going to have it more often next year. It’s so much fun. It’s just totally different. You go as hard as you can, because it’s short, and it’s a little bit technical but not too hard. You get on and off your bike, you run upstairs, go over obstacles – it’s super fun.”
Samuel Faber took third with four laps at 36:55 and Skagway, Alaska’s Matt Roda rode in fourth at 37:33.
Sunday marked just the second time CMBC has hosted a cyclocross event. The first was the zombie-themed Dawn of the Tread in September 2012.
“What started it off was, the year before zombie-cross the guys in Skagway started a cyclocross that a bunch of Whitehorse guys went to, so we hosted one,” said CNBC president Sierra van der Meer, who cycled in a less-than-aerodynamic Chewbacca costume. “Now both of us are hosting ones this year.”
Skagway will host the Halloweird Cyclo X Race on Oct. 11 at the Dyea Flats. The event, which promises to be another costumed spectacle, begins at 5 p.m. Contact Matt Roda at
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