Despite cold and rainy weather, dozens of cyclists were out for the 12th annual Southern Lakes Yukon GranFondo on June 1.
Starting and finishing at the Marsh Lake Community Centre, the 170-kilometre loop took riders from Marsh Lake to Tagish to Carcross to Mount Lorne and back to Marsh Lake.
Peter Heebink, who organized the event alongside Dana Eisinger this year, said the 54 registered cyclists was a bit lower than usual but understandable.
“Well, it was a success, I’d say, considering that the weather report wasn’t so good and that usually dictates the numbers,” said Heebink. “It was a good number for the conditions.”
Of the riders that took part in the race, all but five solo riders and one duo finished the race.
Heebink explained the cold is tougher on solo riders because they don’t have the chance to warm up once they cool off.
“Often they can’t stop and get warm,” said Heebink. “A team can get in a warm car.”
In past years, the race has had four distinct timed legs, but this year’s race format was slightly streamlined.
“We decided to simplify things and open it up a bit,” said Heebink. “We only (did) a split time at the halfway point, which was Spirit Lake Lodge, and at the end. Teams were allowed to make exchanges anywhere on the course at any time and as many times as they wanted.”
Eleven solo riders, two duos, two youth teams and eight teams of three to five members started the race.
The winner of this year’s race was William Coleman of Juneau, Alaska, with a total time of four hours, 48 minutes and 13 seconds.
“He was exceptionally far ahead of everyone else,” said Heebink. “Usually you have a group coming in at the end; he came in 12 minutes before the next rider. … He broke away from the pack way early … and managed to keep ahead of them, which is a hard thing to do.”
Next to finish was Stephen Ball with a time of five hours and 17 seconds. Third for the solo male category was Michael Marceau with a time of five hours, seven minutes and 22 seconds.
The fastest solo female was Jenn Baardseth with a time of six hours, 20 minutes and 13 seconds. In second was Gemma Sleik just two seconds behind Baardseth.
First in the duo category was the team Mush with a time of five hours, six minutes and one second.
Celery Generals were the fastest three to five person team with a total time of five hours, 56 minutes and 51 seconds. The group was followed by Setterington in second and We’ll Figure it Out at the Finish Line in third.
In the youth category, Two Bros Pumping Iron were first followed by a group of U Kon Echelon club riders in second.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org