Cycling clubs gearing up for busy road season

U Kon Echelon and VeloNorth Cycling Club are ready to hit the road. Together the two Whitehorse cycling clubs have an extremely busy season lined up.

U Kon Echelon and VeloNorth Cycling Club are ready to hit the road.

Together the two Whitehorse cycling clubs have an extremely busy season lined up for local cyclists, including group rides, races and tour events inside and outside the territory.

Having hosted only a few races last season, VeloNorth is hoping to get back on the cycling community’s radar this summer.

“We’re trying to re-establish a presence,” said incoming club president Mike McCann. “We’ve kept this schedule fairly simple to start building at the volunteer base again and to put on some consistent events that people can come out to. We’ll just see where it goes from there.”

VeloNorth has six events, including the Tour de Whitehorse, on its calendar beginning with the Carcross Cutoff Time Trial on April 29.

To make its events more appealing to cyclists, the club is not charging a membership fee this season, though there might be an entry fee for the Tour de Whitehorse, a three-day stage race.

“We’re trying to attract people and make it easy,” said McCann. “VeloNorth has some money in the bank, so we decided this year we won’t charge a membership fee. You still have to fill out a membership form and you need to get insurance from the Cycling Association (of the Yukon). But in terms of joining us, you just have to fill out the form.”

“We’re still taking a look at the Tour de Whitehorse, but any charge for that event would simply be on a cost-recovery basis,” he added.

As for getting insurance through the Cycling Association of the Yukon: “They have it online and they’ve done a very good job with that,” said McCann. “They have a link on the website and people just have to follow the link … It’s really, really simple.”

With VeloNorth at the helm, the Tour de Whitehorse will once again be home for the Yukon Road Championships, which were instead hosted separately by U Kon Echelon last summer.

This year’s Tour, to be held July 17-19, will feature a prologue, followed by a time trial (the Yukon Time Trial Championships) and a road race (The Yukon Road championships).

VeloNorth has also added a team time trial to its calendar to help prepare cyclists for the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska.

A week before the relay on June 14, VeloNorth will host the Icycle Sport Team Time Trial from Jake’s Corner in Tagish to the South Access on the Alaska Highway.

“So get your relay team – the folks you’ll be riding with in the Haines-to-Haines – and come out for this event the week before,” said McCann. “It’ll be good practice riding in a pace line.

There’ll be no drafting between teams, so they’ll be individual starts, and the team goes off and rides together as a team and finishes as a team.”

U Kon Echelon, founded by Trena Irving in 2012, will hold some favourites from last season and some new events as well.

The club is set to host a second annual 88-kilometre Haines Junction 88 Race and a second annual Tour de Skagway, a three-day stage-race, in May.

It’s also planning to host a series of criterium races throughout the season.

“One of our members is on the cycling association board – Marc Lapointe – and he’s going to organize a criterium series,” said Irving. “So we’re going to have one every second week, but

I’m still working that out with the City of Whitehorse.”

U Kon Echelon is also holding weekly group rides, including mountain bike rides beginning in May.

“I’m gearing kids up to race at (Western Canada Summer Games) and they have to race both disciplines,” said Irving.

Irving plans to bring teams to the B.C. Junior Provincials in May, the Tour de Fairbanks in June as well as some training camps down south.

The club is also hosting a cycling camp for road and mountain biking in July with Houshang Amiri, the head coach of the Pacific Cycling Centre, in Haines Junction. The camp will end with the Tour de Haines Junction stage race – a new addition to the calendar.

U Kon will cap the season with a series of six mountain bike races in September and October.

For more information visit the clubs’ websites at ukonechelon.weebly.com and www.velonorth.org.

Local events (subject to change)

April 29 – Carcross Cut-Off Time Trial (VeloNorth)

May 6 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

May 9 – Haines Junction 88 road race (U Kon)

May 13 – North Klondike Time Trial (VeloNorth)

May 16-18 – Tour De Skagway (U Kon)

May 20 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

June 3 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

June 6 – Southern Lakes Bike Relay

June 10 – Carcross Cut-Off Time Trial (VeloNorth)

June 13 – Run, Walk RIde for Autism 

June 11-14 – Tour de Fairbanks

June 14 – Icycle Sport Team Time Trial (VeloNorth)

June 17 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

June 20 – Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay

July 1 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

July 11-12 – Tour de Haines Junction (U Kon)

July 15 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

July 17-19 – Tour de Whitehorse (VeloNorth)

July 29 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

July 30 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Aug. 7-9 – Tour de Juneau

Aug. 12 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

Aug. 26 – Titanium Way Crit (U Kon)

Aug. 29 – Skagway Hill Classic (VeloNorth)

Sept. 10 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Sept. 17 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Sept. 24 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Oct. 8 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Oct. 15 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Oct. 22 – Mountain bike race (U Kon)

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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