Stephen Ball was on a roll (pardon the pun), winning the first two VeloNorth road races of the season. However, a third-in-a-row was not in the cards for the Whitehorse cyclist.
After two second-place finishes already this season, Whitehorse’s Ian Parker picked up his first win, beating Ball in the Hamilton Boulevard Extension Loop Race on Wednesday.
“I wanted to have a hard ride tonight and that’s exactly what we got,” said Ball. “I was pretty sure Ian was going to get me on the hills at the end and he did, so it was what I was expecting. He’s definitely stronger on the hills.”
Neck-and-neck for almost all the race, Parker managed to gap Ball on the uphill section during the sixth and final loop of the 35-kilometre course, which ran between Falcon Drive and the Lobird Turnaround near the start/finish line.
“I figured the only shot I had was on the climb on the far end of the course,” said Parker. “Because Stephen is such a strong sprinter – strong everything – I was hoping it wouldn’t come down to a sprint. I figured I was either going to gap him on that climb or blowup trying.
“I got a bit of a gap and then we buried ourselves on the way back.”
Taking third in the expert men division was VeloNorth president Scott Kerby, out sprinting Thomas Tetz to the finish line by two seconds.
A win streak was ended in the expert women category as well. After taking the last two races, Nadele Flynn was outpaced by first-place’s Kerri Paterson. It was Paterson’s first race since the season opening time trial on April 27 in which she, then too, defeated a second-place Flynn.
Capturing the top spot in sport men was Jonathan Lucas, beating Shea Hoffman in second and Phil Hoffman, who flatted on the final lap.
Wednesday’s road race was only the second time the VeloNorth Cycling Club had used the Hamilton Boulevard extension that opened in 2009. It was first used in the 2009 Tour de Whitehorse, before the newly installed boulevard was open to traffic, when riders completed 10 laps instead of six.
“Last summer I tried to organize this race, I came and swept gravel, and it poured so badly the ditches were full,” said race organizer Trena Irving. “So it didn’t happen last year.
“I think it would be good to organize a couples times a season because it’s in town, it’s close.
“I’m hoping this summer some kids training for the (Western Canada Summer Games) will do some races here because there are hills, flats, a roundabout for cornering. It’s a pretty new route and you can’t beat new pavement.”
Aside from smooth pavement and a variety of terrain, the Boulevard Extension Loop Race, the only VeloNorth road race this season with a lap format, has an added bonus, according to Parker.
“It’s neat doing multiple laps like this because you can see what your gap is, you can see where your chasers are, and you can talk smack to them,” he said. “It’s also fun to see the other categories because you can encourage them.”
Parker will be putting his hill-climbing skills to the test this Sunday in VeloNorth’s Skagway Hill Climb time trial, a 19-kilometre race from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, climbing roughly 1,000-metres in altitude.
1st Ian Parker – 53:26
2nd Stephen Ball – 53:56
3rd Scott Kerby – 55:24
4th Thomas Tetz – 55:26
5th Jud Deuling – 57:28
1st Kerri Paterson – 57:30
2nd Nadele Flynn – 1:05:45
1st Jonathan Lucas – 57:29
2nd Shea Hoffman – 1:04:18
3rd Phil Hoffman – 1:09:48
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