Riders find their way in series finale

Not only is a practice lap a good way to warm-up for a race, it's a good way of learning where to go once the race has begun.

Not only is a practice lap a good way to warm-up for a race, it’s a good way of learning where to go once the race has begun.

A lot of riders learned that lesson the tough way on Wednesday as the high school mountain bike series wrapped up with its final race starting next to Chadburn Lake Road up from the fish ladder.

“We got lost so that kind of messed everything up and we burned a lot of energy,” said FH Collins’ Audrianna Antilla. “We turned off by one of the powerhouses and went off on one of the trails down there. I was following some guy and he went down there so I thought, ‘Let’s go down there then.’”

Antilla won the series’ first and third girls division races, but a fourth-place finish in Wednesday’s race bumped her down to second overall behind schoolmate Sara Burke-Forsythe, who won the second race and finished second in the other three.

Finishing first for the girls on Wednesday was Vanier’s Rebecca Gaetz, putting her third overall in the series.

“I’d be happier if it was warmer, but it was still fun,” said Gaetz.

“I think everybody got lost, so it was still fair. I was following (Antilla) at first but I don’t know what happened.

“We didn’t get lost on the second lap because I tried a different route.”

Point-spreads were close in the Grade 8 and the 9/10 divisions going into the final race.

One has to wonder what the Grade 8 outcome would be had Porter Creek’s Shea Hoffman competed in the first race of the series. Hoffman finished second overall in the standings, winning the last three races, but missed the opener because he was unaware of it.

“I didn’t get permission to do it until the first race was already done – if they gave more notice I could have done the first race,” said Hoffman. “I was happy with the ones I did.”

Winning the first race and taking second in the remainders, Ecole Emilie Tremblay’s Aiden Allen finished on top in the Grade 8 series.

“I was pretty surprised that I was still overall winner,” said Allen. “It feels pretty good I guess.

“I did it last year, and it was almost the same course, so I knew it all. But I think if I didn’t do it last year, I probably wouldn’t known and probably would have got lost.”

With two firsts and two seconds, including Wednesday’s race, Tremblay’s Simon Geoffroy won the 9/10 division.

“I loved that race, it was really fun; there was less downhill than the other race (last week), but it’s single-track all the way, so I liked it,” said Geoffroy.

This is the third year Geoffroy has raced in the mountain bike series, improving each season. Two years ago in the Grade 8 division Geoffroy finished the series in third, and then second in the 9/10 last year.

“Three years ago I had a really bad bike, but then I got this Kona Blast,” said Geoffroy.

Porter Creek’s Nigel Sinclair-Eckert, who won the first and last races including Wednesday’s event, was absent from the second and third race, leaving him in fifth overall.

In the series’ only tie for first, Porter Creek’s Jason Zrum and Vanier’s Donald Fortune shared top honours in the 11/12 division. Interestingly, with no-first place finishes, consistency buoyed Fortune’s standing, putting him in the shared-first-place spot with a second- and two third-place finishes. FH’s Malcolm Boothroyd, racing in his first event of the series, won Wednesday’s race.

Only FH’s Alidas Jamnicky, competing in the small, two-person BMX division, had wins across the board for a first in the standings. Conversely, last year’s BMX champ, Nathan Seifert from FH, had seconds in each of the four races.

About $500 worth of cycling gear was donated by Icycle Sports and Philippe’s Bicycle Shop for the series winners and to be raffled off. Among the prizes was an iPod donated by Trevor Mead-Robins from Media Solutions, which was raffled off between those who competed in three or four races in the series.

“We’re going to do a draw (for the iPod), which is encouraging for kids to be here for every race,” said the hosting school’s coach Bill Willoughby, from Vanier Catholic Secondary.

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