In her last race outside of the high school series, Kelsey Kabanak came second in the expert-women class at the Tour de Juneau in August. But when it comes to high school mountain bike series, the top spot has been all hers.
The Porter Creek senior has dominated the girls division over the last two years, winning all four meets hosted by Whitehorse secondary schools last season and the first three this season.
With just one race left — next Wednesday at Grey Mountain — Kabanak is hoping to take one last win so she will finish school with a perfect 8-0 record.
“Yeah, it does, I guess, because I don’t want to mess up,” said Kabanak, when asked if the opportunity for a perfect record will put more pressure on her next week. “Each race I keep winning, it just seems like odds are that I’m due for a loss.
“I only have one to go, and then I’m good.”
Wednesday’s meet, which is nicknamed the “Power Line” because much of the trail runs under power lines, took place near the fish ladder and was hosted by Vanier. Twenty-nine riders, spread over five divisions, participated in the race.
“Vanier has been setting a course like this for the last few years,” said Bill Willoughby, an organizer of the race. “It’s a nice long, flat, fast cross-country course.”
“I feel I did better than I did last year on this course,” said Kabanak, who is also a member of Team Yukon for her cycling skills.
“I like this trail — it’s one of the best — because … this is a lot more like a course for a cross-country race. That’s what you see at the Olympics, the Canada Games and the Western (Canada Games).”
In the boys’ 9/10 division Tyler Wynnyk finished first to leap out of a second-place tie after last week’s race, and into the top spot. Although he managed to cross the finish line first, like many other racers, he ran into some problems, missing two turns and having to backtrack.
“The trail is really technical and it was hard to see the lines (on the ground),” said Wynnyk, referring to the markings on the ground that had mostly been wiped away by other riders by the time the 9/10’s ran their race.
“They finally put someone there to direct the riders,” added Wynnyk, who finished second in the first race and did not participate in the second.
All the racers completed two laps of the roughly two-kilometre course, except for those in the boys’ 11/12 division who did three.
So far this season Nathan Seifert, of FH Collins, has been dominating the BMX division. But there’s an extremely good reason for that: he’s been the only one competing.
However, this past race he did have some competition as Vanier’s Chris Greek put aside his mountain bike for a set of smaller wheels.
“He usually rides a mountain bike,” said Willoughby, of Greek, who finished first in the BMX and is also tied for eighth in the Grade 8 mountain bike division. “He switched to a BMX this week and had a really good race.
“I think Chris is going back to the mountain bike next week,” added Willoughby.