According to bike series organizers, it’s premature to be hoisting riders onto shoulders in a victory celebration.
“Basically, we are building up every week,” said Gilles Menard, the race’s record keeper.
“Even today, if we have one winner, next week someone can show up who has not participated yet, so (this week’s winner) can be pushed into second place. You never know.”
This past Wednesday at Porter Creek Secondary School, 37 riders laid down tracks at the Yukon School’s Athletic Association Mountain Bike Series’ first meet of the season.
Split into five divisions, based on age, gender and type of bike (only one rider rode in the BMX category), Grade 8 riders completed three laps of the 1.3-kilometre course, and the rest of the field rode four.
FH Collins and Porter Creek took the top spots in all of the divisions. Porter Creek had its best results in the Grade 8 division, taking first, second and third.
Vanier, which only had five riders competing, had its best success in the Grade 9/10 category, with Tyler Wynnyk finishing second. Ècole Èmilie-Tremblay was represented by six riders, all of who rode in the Grade 8 category, and in the process took a sixth-place finish out of the 19 riders in that division.
Constantly preoccupied with rider safety, organizers decided to thin-out the stream of riders by introducing a new procedure at the start line.
“We started things differently this year, we used a le mans start from motor racing,” said Chris McNeill, a race organizer and teacher at FH Collins.
“So the bikes are all lying on their sides and the riders run to their bikes and then pick them up one at a time and go. What that does is helps to spread them out and it helps to avoid pile-ups and accidents at the first corner.
“It worked really well; we didn’t have any pileups here.”
Because of low numbers, the girls’ category was open to riders of all ages. However, despite only seven riders in the girls’ division, organizers are pleased with the turnout.
“We’ve got lots of Grade 8 (girls) here today, that’s a sign that it’s growing, which is great,” said Manon Aubert, an organizer and coach for Ècole Èmilie-Tremblay, who said that five years ago in the first series only a few girls participated.
“I would say, because they are more aware,” said Aubert, when asked why the girls’ numbers are increasing. “Now they have a chance and they’re going out a bit more. They’re not afraid anymore.”
Although riders are representing their schools, the focus of the mountain bike series is on the individual.
“We haven’t really run it so one school wins and one school losses,” said McNeill. “There is a first, second, third, fourth, fifth, but it’s not a big ‘rah-rah, this school beats that school.’”
With three more races still to go, there is plenty of opportunity for rankings to change. The next meet will take place next Wednesday at Mt. McIntyre and will be hosted by Ècole Èmilie-Tremblay.
Results School Points
1st Nigel Sinclair-Eckert PCSS 10
2nd Colin Kabanak PCSS 8
3rd Austin Limoges PCSS 6
1st Miguel Rodden FHC 10
2nd Tyler Wynnyk VCSS 8
3rd Andrew Savard PCSS 6
1st Lee Hawkins FHC 10
2nd Nathaniel Rodden FHC 8
1st Kelsey Kabannack PCSS 10
2nd Robin Krug FHC 8
3rd Nahonne Sagar FHC 6
1st Nathan Selfert FHC 10