Pulling away from the pack is the aim of any competitive mountain bike racer.
With the completion of the second race in the high school mountain bike series, some riders were not only leaving the pack behind on the paths, but in the standings as well.
In four out of the five divisions of the race hosted by Ecole Emily Tremblay at Mt. McIntyre Wednesday, winners from last week’s race at Porter Creek high had repeat success, adding another 10 points to their totals and putting more distance between them and their competition in the four-part series. (To be fair, however, in the BMX division, Nathan Seifert was again the only racer in the division.)
“It’s a very fast course,” said Gilles Menard, the race’s record keeper, speaking of the roughly one-kilometre course. “There’s one big hill over there, and that’s it.”
In the race, high school level boys completed six laps of the course, while the eighth graders and girls cycled three.
“Last week was a hard one,” said Manon Aubert, a race organizer and coach for Ècole Èmilie-Tremblay. “Because, first it was the first one, but this week it’s a fast one. That’s why we made it a few more laps (longer).”
The only division that had a new name at the top of the list was in the 9/10’s. Logan Roots from FHC, who did not race last week, was awarded 10 points for the top finish, tying him with last week’s winner Miguel Rodden, who was absent from the race Wednesday.
With three-out-of-five divisions welcoming new competitors, the race grew from 37 to 46 over the first two weeks of races. The Grade 8 division — the largest this week and last with 24 racers in total — had the most newcomers with five.
“It was pretty difficult, considering I haven’t been training for a while,” said first-time racer Alex Dunham from Vanier, who raced in the grade 11 and 12 division, but failed to finish because of a back injury suffered earlier this year.
“The easier bits were the flats and the downhill — I love downhill,” said Dunham.
At the end of the downhill section of the course was a hairpin turn that robbed many riders of their momentum as they reached the flat section.
“I wish the turn was a lot wider,” said Dunham. “If they can make a wider turn next year, then that would be great.”
“You have to really break,” said Chris Greek from Vanier, who picked up two points in his first race Wednesday, putting him in a nine-person tie for seventh in the Grade 8 division. “I tried to drift the corner.”
“I think I could have done a lot better,” added Dunham, who withdrew with one lap to go. “It’s sad.”
Despite the setback, Dunham has high expectation for the remaining races because of the layout of the courses.
“But I’m going to finish on the last two, because the last two are flats and downhill,” said Dunham. “And I’m really good at downhill.”
Dunham is the only 11/12 division racer from Vanier, which leads him to say: “I’ve got to represent.”
Next Wednesday FH Collins will be hosting the third race in the series, which will take place near the fish ladder in Whitehorse.
“Next week it’ll be another challenge — and longer,” said Aubert. “We’ll see the difference.”
The final race of the season, hosted by Vanier, will take place near to a course called Roller coaster on Grey Mountain. Although, technically a downhill course, organizers have chosen a route that is not too steep for the riders.
“We don’t want to advertise it like it’s a Mt. Sima downhill event, because people will kill themselves,” said Chris McNeill, a race organizer and teacher at FH Collins. “So it’s just more downhill than the others … The difference is that there’s no laps in the FH race, it’s top to bottom.”
“It’s kind of technical, but it’s fairly simple,” said Dunham, referring to the Vanier racecourse. “All you have to do is coast it, gain speed and turn … There’s two hairpin (turns) that you have to be careful of.”
Standings/ School/ Total Points
1st Nigel Sinclair-Eckert PCSS 20
2nd Colin Kabanak PCSS 16
3rd Austin Limoges PCSS 10
1st Miguel Rodden FHC 10
1st Logan Roots FHC 10
3rd Tyler Wynnyk VCSS 8
1st Lee Hawkins FHC 20
2nd Nathaniel Rodden FHC 16
3rd Alex Dunham VCSS 0
1st Kelsey Kabannack PCSS 20
2nd Robin Krug FHC 14
3rd Rebecca Gaetz VCSS 12
1st Nathan Seifert FHC 20