The U Kon Echelon club is all about getting cyclists to the next echelon.
The Whitehorse-based developmental club for all ages and abilities is just beginning its second season and has plenty in store.
The club, which is dedicated to improving skills in road cycling and mountain biking, is holding races twice a week this season.
“I’m really looking for youth,” said club founder and coach Trena Irving. “I have kids from the school I teach at, at Porter Creek, but I have none from Vanier, none from F.H. (Collins), none from Wood Street, none from Ecole Emilie-Tremblay. I’d love for them to come out.”
“I’m hoping to put on a few handcycling races,” she added.
U Kon Echelon held its first race ever on Wednesday. The time trial featured an 18.5-kilometre course, 9.25 kilometres south down the Alaska Highway from the Carcross Cutoff and back. The club hopes to hold time trials every Wednesday and road races on Sundays over the season.
During its first season last summer, U Kon Echelon cyclist competed in Yukon’s VeloNorth Cycling Club races and a pair of Outside events with some great success.
At the Tour of Juneau last August U Kon Echelon riders captured a number of divisions. The club’s Melanie Tait won in sport women, Shea Hoffman won in youth men and Darryl Tait won the handcycle division.
At the Alberta Youth/Paralympic Road Championships in Edmonton a week later, U Kon Echelon cyclists came away with five medals.
Hoffman, who placed second on Wednesday, also represented the Yukon in cycling at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops.
He and Melanie Tait currently consist of Yukon’s entire cycling team for the upcoming Canada Summer Games this August in Sherbrooke, Quebec, though there is enough room for five male and five female cyclists.
“Shea can go to another Canada Games, this is just his first one,” said Irving, who is also Yukon’s road cycling coach for the upcoming Games. (Anthony DeLorenzo is the coach for mountain biking.)
Melanie is currently training with a cycling team in Calgary.
“She is staying down there because she’s coming to Canada Games with us in August,” said Irving. “She’s training with a very high-calibre club that is training her very hard.”
U Kon Echelon’s name comes from the phrase “U kon do it!” often heard from Yukon supporters at major events, such as the Canada Games.
Whitehorse’s David Gonda, a multiple-time Yukon mountain biking champ who cycled for the territory at the 2009 Canada Summer Games, won Wednesday’s race.
Gonda came out to show his support of the club and could be heard giving encouragement to the younger athletes as they cycled in the race.
“Having David here was awesome,” said Irving. “David and Troy Henry (another former Games cyclist) … are totally supportive. Whenever Troy is home he takes us out and does clinics with us.”
For a schedule or information check out the club’s website at ukonechelon.weebly.com or contact Trena Irving at 393-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st David Gonda – 26:06
2nd Shea Hoffman – 30:17
3rd Phil Hoffman – 31:04
4th Mathew Knaack – 32:28
5th David Jackson – 33:31
1st Trena Irvin/Cayla Jackson – 40:16
Contact Tom Patrick at