The cycling season got underway for another year when the U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its first race of the year on May 1 in Whitehorse.
Ten riders took part in the criterium — a type of cycling race involving several laps around a circuit road course — held on Titanium Way in Marwell. Nearly half the field were racing the format for the first time.
Being so close to the beginning of the season, the race was an opportunity for riders to shake off some of the winter rust and get in quality training laps under race conditions.
Coach Trena Irving said the race was a good start to the season.
“Everyone looked super, super strong,” said Irving. “The highlight for me is (for) at least three or four kids it was their first crit.”
The three riders in the under 17 girls category raced up front with the two riders in the expert men category, picking up tips and tricks on how to ride fast and hard in a criterium race.
Mara Roldan was the fastest of the three girls, followed by Ava Irving-Staley in second and Aisha Roldan in third.
The Roldan sisters are already high-level mountain bike racers but new to the road racing scene, and Irving said this race bodes well for the Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games this August.
“It’s great because those girls, Ava, and Veronica Porter — who wasn’t able to be there — are all going to be likely qualifying for the Western Canada Games team,” said Irving. “That’s very exciting. Just to see how strong they are right now at the beginning of the season, because we’ve got until August and we’re going to be racing our hearts out until then.”
The two male riders who also rode in the main group were Marc Lapointe and Denny Bohmer.
While adult and advanced riders rode for approximately an hour, younger riders rode approximately 30 minutes.
Tori Vollmer, racing in the under 15 girls category, rode with the main group her entire race and was the fastest of the youth riders.
Other youth riders were Johna Irving-Staley in under 13 boys, Thomas Vollmer in under 11 boys and Alex Laberge in the novice category.
Rounding out the field was Dawn Lammer, who won the sport women category while riding solo despite strong headwinds.
The club alternates between criterium and time trial races each Wednesday, with the first time trial of the season set for May 8 starting at the Carcross cutoff.
The season only gets busier from here for riders, with the Tour de Haines Junction and Tour de Skagway both later this month – May 12 and May 18 to 19, respectively – as well as the Hayman Classic in Penticton, B.C., from May 24 to 26.
Irving added that any male cyclists between the ages of 14 and 18 interested in competing at the Western Canada Summer Games should come out to the club’s upcoming races.
“If there are some guys out there who have a bit of bike experience but they just haven’t formally come out to races, they should be coming out to these races because we’d be very interested in their results and we’d be very interested in talking to them about trying out for the team,” said Irving, explaining the team could have as many as six males on it but currently has none.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org