If there’s one thing Yukoners know, it’s how to deal with the cold. Apparently that can be an advantage, not just in winter sports, but in summer sports as well.
Yukon cyclists Mike McCann and Bill Curtis, both members of VeloNorth Cycling Club, were perhaps a little more used to the conditions they faced at the Huntsman World Senior Games in Saint George, Utah, last week than their American competitors.
“The conditions were just terrible,” said McCann. “The time trial, it was almost like riding here. Everyone was standing at the start shivering because it was raining and maybe 50 degrees.”
“Being from the Yukon we able to handle the weather conditions quite well,” said Curtis. “It was a little nippy for a lot of people, but not for us.”
At the Games, both riders cycled through rain, wind and chilly weather to each win a pair of medals.
Competing in the Division 1 for the men’s 60-64 age group, McCann won silver in both the hill climb and time trial. On the third day, which was the first day of nice weather, McCann dropped out of the road race just 20 minutes in because of a broken rear derailleur
“It’s easy for me to now say I was feeling really good,” said McCann. “We were heading up a hill and all of a sudden my back wheel locked up and I had no idea what was happening. All of a sudden I started skidding on the pavement and I just stopped. I just managed to get my foot unclipped on time to get it down before I fell over. Fortunately no one crashed into me.”
Racing in the Division 2 of the men’s 55-59 age group, Curtis won bronze in the hill climb and the time trial, despite having a flat in the later, and then finished with a fourth-place finish in the road race.
“I felt good about my ride, even though I didn’t finish in the medals,” said Curtis of the road race. “I have mixed feelings because there weren’t a whole lot of people in my particular group. However, I compared my times to past years and they’re comparable. In other words, I’m eight years older, but my times aren’t any slower.”
Last year, McCann was the overall cycling champion in the 60-64 age division at the Huntsman Games. For the title, McCann was first in a five-kilometre hill-climb and in a 40-kilometre time trial, and ended with a third-place finish in a 62-kilometre race.
Curtis did not compete last year but has attended the Games on six previous occasions.
“I didn’t feel confident about my cycling last year,” said Curtis. “I hadn’t been racing well. This is a serious event and I didn’t want to be going to it not feeling like I could be competitive.
“I have done well in previous years; I have won a number of medals there.”
Both cyclists also produced strong results at the Tour de Juneau in August.
Cycling in the men’s sport class, Curtis came third in the final 30-kilometre road race, for third overall in the division.
With top-10 results in all his races, McCann came fifth overall in the expert men division.
“If you look at his times, he’s head and shoulders about the rest of us – and he’s in an older age group too,” said Curtis of McCann.
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