U Kon cyclists medal at Alberta championships

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club is still in its first summer, but the newly formed Whitehorse cycling club has already compiled a lengthy list of accomplishments.

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club is still in its first summer, but the newly formed Whitehorse cycling club has already compiled a lengthy list of accomplishments.

Just a week after posting strong results at the Tour of Juneau, U Kon riders were tearing it up at the Alberta Youth/Paralympic Road Championships over the weekend in Edmonton.

The U Kon club sent five cyclists to the championships and returned with five medals.

Included in the medal count is a gold won by Caleb McPherson in a time trial on Sunday.

McPherson won the 15-kilometre race in the U13 category with a time of 26:53.4, 1:14.5 up from the second-place finisher, Anthony Kende of Calgary. Capturing bronze in the race was McPherson’s brother Jacob.

“Both Caleb and Jacob’s times were very fast considering they did their times in under a half an hour,” said U Kon coach and founder Trena Irving in an email. “This was Jacob’s first time trial and he was very pleased with the fast result…

“Caleb celebrated his 13th birthday today (on Sunday) so it was extra special to come first and still be part of the U13 category. He said he felt sick and his legs were heavy to his effort, but the work paid off with a first-place finish.”

Whitehorse’s Brace Lemphers won a medal in both of the weekend’s races, and by tiny margins too.

Racing in the U15 boys division, Lemphers took silver in Sunday’s 15-kilometre time trial, just 1.6 seconds behind first place.

In Saturday’s 32-kilometre road race, Lemphers cycled to bronze, posting the same time as the gold and silver winners – 1:16:42 – but was just slightly back from them.

“Brace hung on in the race nice and tight to the end and a sprint decided who came first,” said Irving. “He ended up attacking in the races with two laps to go, figured it was a bit premature and then saved it for the end.”

Cycling in the same division was Whitehorse’s Mathew Knaack. Knaack placed fifth in the road race on Saturday, just 10 seconds behind the winner, and sixth in the time trial on Sunday.

“Brace and Mathew both said they thought it was great to be competing against people their own ages,” said Irving.

“As this is Brace’s first season and he beat out several kids who have been racing for a few years out of Alberta, he is somebody to watch for.”

Also representing the U Kon club and the Yukon territory was Ava Staley. The 11-year-old placed second out of two riders in the 15-kilometre time trial for U13 girls with a time of 44:05.8.

At the Tour of Juneau the previous weekend, U Kon riders won four divisions. Melanie Tait topped the sport women division, Shea Hoffman the youth men, Tanicka Reeves the youth female and Darryl Tait the handcycle division. (Whitehorse’s Troy Henry, who is not a member of U Kon, won the expert men’s division.)

The new U Kon club has received support from the territory’s most famous cyclist: Zach Bell. Bell and his family have donated plenty of cycling gear and even a bike.

“U Kon Echelon would again like to thank Zach Bell and his family for all of their help and the other Yukoners who have helped with bikes, clothes and support,” added Irving.

Bell placed eighth in the men’s omnium event at the London Olympics two-and-a-half weeks ago.

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