The Velonorth Cycling Club has held its 7th Annual Gravel Growler and first-ever Yukon Gravel Championships.
The Oct. 1 events at Winterlong Brewing in Whitehorse saw 60 cyclists from across the territory compete on the 60-kilometre long course and 40-km short course categories.
The club said the Yukon championships is about racing bikes across gravel. While the annual growler championships had cyclists from other parts of the country, the Yukon championships is for cyclists living in the territory.
The cyclists started at 11:15 a.m. at Winterlong Brewing, where they also finished their individual courses.
Minty Bradford, a Whitehorse resident who won the 40-km short course with a time of 1:45:50, said it was a fun ride.
“The course is the same as every year,” said Bradford, who is participating in the race for the third time.
Bradford started cycling at age three and has been doing that for fun ever since. She said her primary sport is cross-country skiing. She told the News that she will be representing the Yukon in December during a cross-country skiing event in British Columbia.
Second and third place in the 40-km short course were Johanna Rockenstein with 1:57:08 and Anne-Marie Leblanc with 1:57:43, respectively.
David Gonda finished the 60-km long course with a timestamp of 2:23:42. Second place was Willie Bell at 2:26:45, and Mathias Burdon in third place at 2:32:11.
Joel Macht, president of Velonorth, who finished the 60 km in about three hours, said the race was wonderful.
“We had the most riders we have ever had. The weather was not terrible; it was cold and windy, but it wasn’t too cold or windy, and there was no snow on the road at the top of Fish Lake,” he said.
“The race met my expectations. We are happy with how it went because we had people who have never done an event with us before participate in this race,” he said.
He added that one of the things they tried to achieve with the race was to make sure that it was welcoming to people who are new to cycling.
“We don’t want to scare people away with fancy bikes and super intense events. We want people to be having fun and smiling on their bikes,” he said. “It’s a race for some people, but for other people, it’s time to ride their bikes with their friends and meet new people. That was our priority. So, we wanted to encourage as many people as possible to come out and to try it.”
Six prizes were available for riders who finished in first, second and third places on the two courses.
Steven Biss, a director on the Velonorth board, said the bike championships marked the club’s final season-wrap-up event of the year.
“For us as a club, we wanted to see racers have an amazing time and be able to swap some stories. It’s intended to be hard for everyone at some point,” he said. The point, Biss noted, was to “push yourself and have a good time and a couple of laughs and enjoy your beer at the end.”
Contact Patrick Egwu at email@example.com