Five Whitehorse riders cranked out memorable performances at the Tour of Fairbanks, a five-stage, four-day event, which kicked off on June 8.
The team included three of the city’s finest young riders, David Greer, Troy Henry and Jesse Reams, and two slightly aged and leathered masters, Mike McCann and Bill Curtis.
There had been some concerns that this event would not take place as a result of a raging forest fire just outside of Fairbanks, but the skies were clear and the air breathable.
Impressive performances were put in by the youth brigade as David Greer ended up third overall in the men’s expert general classification and Troy Henry and Jesse Reams each shone in at least one of their five races.
In the tour’s first event, the hill climb (more than 300 metres of elevation gain in just over 5.8 kilometres), Greer finished an impressive second, while Mike McCann and Troy Henry finished in a virtual dead heat to claim third and fourth — all in the men’s expert class.
McCann claimed the number three spot “quite possibly as a result of Henry allowing the older rider to go first,” said McCann via e-mail.
The next night, the expert men tackled the Chena Pump Ridge course by doing two laps. The sport men and expert women completed one.
Under ideal conditions, the course starts with a four-kilometre climb. The race came down to a bunch sprint with Greer grabbing the number four spot and Henry the sixth.
First-year rider Reams, who had been very active on the front for most of the race, finished fifth, between Greer and Henry.
In the men’s sport division, Bill Curtis rode a strong race, but with seven kilometres to go was involved in a major crash that saw five riders go down (one to the hospital). Despite a flat tire and a few scrapes — the tire was repaired — Curtis completed the circuit.
The next morning was a fast-paced criterium race on the university campus. There, Greer moved up a spot and finished third, Reams fifth and Henry eighth.
At this point, Greer was sitting in second place in the general classification.
That evening, racers competed in the 23.5-kilometre time trial in which age, strength, experience and equipment played a factor.
“The younger Yukon riders using their road bikes with aerobars where no match for the older folks with full-on time trial machines and years of experience pushing the limit,” said McCann.
Though Greer was seventh, Henry 10th and Reams 11th, they were over three minutes behind the winner — “In an event where accumulated time determines the winner, these were valuable minutes they could ill afford to have added to their overall time,” said McCann.
The best-placed Yukon rider in the time trial was Mike McCann who averaged 43 kilometres per hour to finish fourth, just one second out of third spot.
Bill Curtis put in a solid performance to finish eighth in the sport men’s category.
The last event of the tour was the 100-kilometre road race for expert men and 70-kilometre for sport men.
With 10 kilometres to go the field was still together.
A dropped chain forced McCann to withdraw.
The race came down to a hard two-kilometre uphill grind with Greer finishing second, Reams third and Henry sixth.
In the sport men Bill Curtis finished sixth.
The final classification saw Greer third, Reams sixth and Henry seventh. Bill Curtis finished second in the sport men.
After some food and a wipe down, it was back in the vehicles for a 1,000-kilometre drive back to Whitehorse.
BMO Bank of Montreal 7
Dana Naye Ventures 7
BMO’s Dylan Sands scored the hat trick, and Ryan Burke and Dahria Beatty both scored two goals in this high-scoring draw.
Kurtis Hill had a great night, scoring five goals for Dana Naye, and Adam Torgerson added a pair.
MVPs were Caleb Steele-Lane for Dana Naye and Anna Smith for BMO.
Rodan Air Maintenance 4
Max Melvin-McNutt was a scoring machine for Wal-Mart, with five goals on the night. Rowan Huggard and Charlie Kedziora added singles, and Kiana Palamar took MVP honours.
Rodan’s Thomas Scoffin, Anatole Tuzlak and Jordon Lindsey scored singles, and Wal-Mart sniper Max Melvin- McNutt put one in for Rodan as well. Dominique Rogers was named Rodan’s top player.