McCann hard to catch in Utah

Whitehorse's Mike McCann admits that he can't recall how many medals he's won over the last decade - there are that many of them! And it's getting harder to keep count by the day.

Whitehorse’s Mike McCann admits that he can’t recall how many medals he’s won over the last decade – there are that many of them! And it’s getting harder to keep count by the day.

Competing in his 10th straight Huntsman World Senior Games in Saint George, Utah, after three days of cycling, McCann has secured two gold medals and a fourth-place finish.

“I seem to race better later in the season and I’ve had some pretty good results here,” said McCann.

Just last year, McCann won three cycling medals at the Games and a few years ago he was the overall champion in the 55-59 age group.

Now competing in the 60-64 division, McCann has had some close finishes thus far.

On Tuesday in the five-kilometre Hill Climb event, McCann outpaced Gary Minor of Washington by just one second to win with a time of 14 minutes and 35 seconds.

Although shorter than the Skagway Hill Climb race, organized by Whitehorse’s VeloNorth Cycling Club, of which he is the president, McCann said Utah’s race is tougher because the short course allows little room for error.

“At the Skagway Hill Climb you can really get into a rhythm ‘cause you’re racing for close to an hour,” said McCann. “And if you pace yourself well, you can actually find yourself climbing better towards the end.

“With this one it’s so short, it’s like a sprint. You really had to hit that right mixture of going really hard at the start and saving something. It’s a bit of an art getting it right. You can overcook yourself in the first few kilometres and struggle to finish.”

From short to long, McCann won gold again on Wednesday in the 40-kilometre individual time trial, beating second-place Minor by 3:02 with a time of 54:17.

“It’s one of those times where everything seems to come together; everything just worked,” said McCann. “I felt good for about 35 kilometres, but then there’s a significant hill coming back and, after that, I was struggling to get to the finish.”

McCann took fourth in Thursday’s criterium, a closed-course race with lots of short laps, but was not disappointed because his strengths lay in races with individual starts.

“For the first two (races) there’s no tactics, you just go as hard as you can,” said McCann, referring to how the first two races had individual starts.

“Now it’s you and a bunch of other people trying to figure out a way to beat each other, and I don’t do well at that.

“In a criterium it’s not necessarily the best rider that wins – often it’s the smartest.”

Because of a bad line going into the final turn, McCann was forced to squeeze his brakes, which may have cost him a podium spot, missing third by half a wheel-length.

“So I just lost a little bit there and tried to get back up to speed,” said McCann. “Other than that I think I raced pretty smart for most of it.”

On Friday, McCann will finish off the Games with a 62-kilometre road race.

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