Preston Blackie crowned three time champ

When Preston Blackie won last year's Tour de Whitehorse, the victory was accompanied by an asterisk. Blackie was sitting in second place over the first two stages of the three stage event.

When Preston Blackie won last year’s Tour de Whitehorse, the victory was accompanied by an asterisk.

Blackie was sitting in second place over the first two stages of the three stage event, trailing Elijah Buffalo by 16 seconds. When family obligations prevented Buffalo from competing in the final race, Blackie emerged the winner.

“That’s not how I want to win,” he said afterwards. “If I’m going to win something, I want to beat my competitors on their best day.”

This year, he was able to do that.

Blackie, Buffalo and Ian Parker were neck-and-neck over the two-day Tour de Whitehorse, hosted by U Kon Echelcon Cycling and made possible by volunteers from Autism Yukon.

In total, 20 cyclists took part in each stage, with more coming out on Saturday to ride in the road race.

The event began on Friday with a five kilometre hill climb, followed by a 17 km time trial, before finishing with a 53 km road race on Saturday.

Blackie maintained his winning streak in Friday’s first event, the hill climb, finishing with a time of seven minutes and 23 seconds. Just 13 seconds behind him was Parker, followed by Buffalo. In total, just 15 seconds separated the three cyclists.

For the rest of the day, the three cyclists continued their back-and-forth battle.

In the time trial, Buffalo rose from the back of the field to the top, finishing with a time of 24:21, a 35 second victory over Blackie.

Buffalo has had a strong season on his wheels. In June he led the field in a time trail hosted by U Kon Echelon Cycling Club. In that race, a 22.5 km stretch along the Alaska Highway, he battled strong winds to maintain a near four-minute lead over his closest competitor, finishing with a time of 31:36.

Wind would once again be a factor in Saturday’s final event, with cyclists riding into a headwind of nearly 25 km/hr.

Trena Irving, who placed first overall in the expert women category, described the wind as “incredible.”

Despite the strength of the gusts, however, Blackie, Buffalo and Parker, continued their back and forth. By the time the trio had all crossed the finish line, they were separated by little more than a minute. Blackie led the field with a time of 1:22:41.

In total, 11 cyclists came out to compete in the expert men’s road race, with many commenting it was the best road race the event had seen in years, said Irving.

“To have 11 guys come out and compete in that race was great,” she said.

With all three events in the books, Blackie’s total time was 1:54:20. Buffalo was less than a minute behind.

Irving believes the finish bodes well for Blackie in the upcoming Kluane International Chilkoot Bike Relay, just days away, calling him a favourite for a top finish, if not first place overall in the solo category.

Irving, who says road cycling’s popularity has declined in recent years, was optimistic about the future after the strong showing at Tour de Whitehorse.

“I’m trying to build the community back,” she said. “It was encouraging to see this much interest.”

Contact Sam Riches at

sam@yukon-news.com

Results

Stage one

Sport men:

Chris Rider 9:00

Phil Hoffman 9:10

Jon Heaton 9:16

Expert men:

Preston Blackie 7:23

Ian Parker

7:36

Elijah Buffalo 7:38

U23 male

Shea Hoffman 8:43

Spenser Skerget

8:57

U19 male

Dave Jackson 10:12

U13 Boy

Tristan Muir 11:17

U13 Girl

Ava Irving-Staley 14:56

U8 boy on tandem:

John Irving Staley 13:06 with Peter Staley

Expert woman:

Trena Irving 9:47

Stage two

Sport men:

Ken Andersen

28:40

Chris Rider 28:42

Phil Hoffman 29:56

Andy Muir 36:30

Expert men:

Elijah Buffalo

24:21

Preston Blackie

24:56

Ian Parker 25:43

Rob Reese 27:42

U23 men

Shea Hoffman

28: 25

Spenser Skerget 32:00

U19

Dave Jackson 34:26

U13 male

Tristan Muir 36:48

U13 girl

Ava Irving-Staley 49:24

U8 tandem:

John Irving Staley 49:29

with Peter Staley

Para-athlete:

Cayla Jackson 35:37

with Trena Irving

Stage three

Sport men:

Jon Heaton 1:35

Chris Rider 1:36

Phil Hoffman 1:45

Andy Muir 2:06

Expert men:

Preston Blackie 1:22

Ian Parker 1:23:04

Elijah Buffalo 1:23:52

Aaron Foos 1:24:27

Joel Macht 1:24:39

Jonah Clark 1:24:41

Derek Crow 1:24:42

Craig Macta 1:25:54

Bill Waugh 1:26:07

Sean McCartney 1:26:53

Rob Reese 1:34:32

U23 men

Spenser Skerget 1:35:30

Shea Hoffman 1:38:53

U19

Dave Jackson 2:04:56

U8 tandem

Team Irving 1:51:10

Team Ordish 1:52:23

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