Cyclists hit the highway for VeloNorth opener

As each cyclist left the start line in 30-second intervals, cheers from organizers, competitors and spectators could be heard half a mile down the Alaska Highway on Wednesday.

As each cyclist left the start line in 30-second intervals, cheers from organizers, competitors and spectators could be heard half a mile down the Alaska Highway on Wednesday.

Yukon cyclists were clearly pumped to start a new season at the Icycle Sport Carcross Cut-Off Time Trial.

A total of 22 cyclists took part in the 17-kilometre VeloNorth Cycling Club event, nicknamed the “ice-breaker” as the first competitive event of the season.

“It was a good turnout, for sure, and I always look forward to this particular event,” said Elijah Buffalo. “It’s my favourite discipline in cycling, so naturally I geek out and have all the nerdy equipment. I spent a lot of time getting my bike ready.

“At this level all the top guys are all pretty much the same, so it can come down to equipment.”

Buffalo, a multi-time winner on the course, once again took first on Wednesday. The 31-year-old finished in 24 minutes and 48 seconds, beating out second place’s Jonah Clark (25:23) and third place’s Preston Blackie (27:36) in the expert men division.

Last season Clark rode to his third solo men win in the Kluane Chilkat bike relay and Blackie won his third Tour de Whitehorse last year.

Buffalo is gearing up to compete in the B.C. Time Trial Championships at the end of the month. Being so early in the season, he was happy to be just 38 seconds off his personal best on the course on Wednesday.

“It’s rare that the wind is coming in from the north on the way back,” said Buffalo. “So I had the fastest time I’ve done going south – got to the turnaround in 10 minutes and 22 seconds or something. The fastest I’ve done before was like 11:30, or something like that.

“So coming back was just really painful.”

Training with the U Kon Echelon race team seems to be paying off for Sara Burke-Forsyth. The 19-year-old was the fastest woman on the course, winning the open women division with a time of 34:35. Jody Cox placed second at 36:15 and Debra Burgess third at 38:38.

“It was easier than I thought it was going to be,” said Burke-Forsyth. “When we did it as a training ride it felt really long because I was really not feeling good. So I thought I’ll save energy on the way down so I have it on the way back on the uphills, but then I got to the end and was like, ‘Oh, it’s over.’”

Burke-Forsyth has big plans for the summer. She is set to race the 240-kilometre Kluane Chilkat International Road Relay on a two-person team and race at the Western Canada Summer Games in August.

She only started cycling competitively last summer because of her boyfriend Ian Hansen.

“Ian decided I should get into biking because he’s really into biking, so I said that we could do biking if we join a team,” said Burke-Forsyth. “So we joined the U Kon Echelon team last season together.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Results

Youth male

1st Tristan Muir – 37:25

2nd Lucas Taggart-Cox – 38:28

3rd Aidan Hupe – 42:57

Youth female

1st Amelie Latour – 40:30

Sport male

1st Chris Reynolds – 29:51

2nd David Jackson – 31:42

3rd Michael Setterington – 32:09

4th Malcolm Taggat – 33:43

5th Michel Duteau – 36:44

Open women

1st Sara Burke-Forsythe – 34:35

2nd Jody Cox – 36:15

3rd Debra Burgess – 38:38

Expert male

1st Elijah Buffalo – 24:48

2nd Jonah Clark – 25:23

3rd Preston Blackie – 27:36

4th Shea Hoffman – 27:49

5th Hudson Lucier – 27:58

6th Scott Kirby – 28:20

7th Mac Hislop – 28:46

8th Josh Decloet – 28:54

9th Craig Machtans – 29:03

10th Chris Rider – 29:41

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