With seven years of competitive racing under his belt, Whitehorse’s Troy Henry understands the fickle nature of competitive cycling.
“I’ve been racing in cycling since I was about 12 and you come to understand that everybody has their days,” said Henry.
However, this spring all race days have been his.
In the most grueling race so far this season, the VeloNorth’s Skagway Hill on Sunday, Henry won his fifth straight race in the expert men’s division, setting a new course record with a time of 51:39.
“I’m really glad with the time I got, it’s really good,” said Henry, who was a little disappointed he failed to break the 50-minute mark. “Sometimes you set your goal high and if you miss by a tiny bit and you think, ‘There’s somewhere where I could have maybe pushed a tiny bit more and maybe got it.’ But I’m really happy with my performance today.
“I knew it was going to be really close.”
The previous record holder was Ian Parker with a time of 52:20.
Fourteen riders participated in the 19-kilometre race from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, climbing roughly 1,000-metres in altitude.
“It’s a challenging race so sometimes people are a little bit worried if they would be able to complete it or not,” said race organizer John Barryman. “So we often get more of the experienced cyclists doing the race.
“But it would be nice to see a wider range of people doing it because no one cares if we have to wait a while (for them to finish).”
The men’s record was not the only to fall.
Janice Sheufelt from Juneau, Alaska, broke her own women’s expert record set in August of 2007, shaving almost four-minutes off with a time of 1:02:35.
“It’s just my favourite kind of race—I love climbing,” said Sheufelt. “I don’t know if I just had a good day or what. The conditions were awesome. It’s unusual to have such a warm sunny day—that always helps. And I’m not tired; I’ve only done two races so far this spring.”
In Sheufelt’s two previous races, both in Juneau, she won the women’s event.
“This is a great women’s turnout,” said Sheufelt. “We don’t have that many women racers in Juneau, so it’s nice to see all the women out—especially the young women—see the future (of women’s racing).”
Heather Enders, who won the first four VeloNorth races of the season in the women’s expert division, finished third behind second place Jillian Chown.
Enders and Henry will be representing the Yukon this August at the Canada Summer Games.
The Skagway race usually takes place towards the end of the season in August. This year VeloNorth Cycling Club decided to hold two Skagway Hill Climbs, one at each end of the season.
“(This way) people can have a chance to compare their times to see if they improved,” said Barryman.
“Of course, you can’t always tell because you don’t know the conditions are going to be like. Today a little more of a tail-wind would have been nice; other than that conditions were pretty much ideal—nice and warm.”
Although the Skagway race is a low-gear kind of event, pushing into higher gears in the scarce flatter sections is vital, said Henry.
“There’s a lot of uphill, but there’s actually some flatter sections (where) you really have to focus,” he said. “You have to make sure you keep grabbing gears and you don’t just get in a rhythm and stay in the same gear that you were climbing in.
“When you get to the flatter sections, you have to keep givin’‘er.”
1st Troy Henry – 51:39
2nd Robert Sower – 59:23
3rd Derrick Hynes – 59:46
4th Ryan Burlingame – 1:01:06
5th Jerome McIntyre – DNF
1st Janice Sheufelt – 1:02:35
2nd Jillian Chown – 1:09:55
3rd Heather Enders – 1:12:10
4th Kelsey Kabanak – 1:18:38
5th Katlyn MacDonald –
1st Brian MacDonald – 1:11:07
2nd Nat Rodden – 1:11:30
1st Laura Salmon – 1:14:15
2nd Shannon Meekins –
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