Yukon’s premier cycling club began a new season on a brand new course on Sunday.
VeloNorth kick-started the race season with a criterium on Titanium Way in Whitehorse’s industrial area at the end of Tungsten Road.
It was the first time VeloNorth has used Titanium Way – a roughly 750-metre loop – for an event. It was also the first time in recent history that the cycling club opened the season with a criterium, a race in which riders collect points by winning certain laps.
“We used to do criteriums up in Copper Ridge and it’s been years since I’ve done one,” said racer Ian Parker. “You learn so much from this kind of racing because there are so many tactics, bike handling, and trying to read the body language of the guys you’re riding against. It’s fun.
“Even though there were only a few of us out there, there’s always no shortage of guys willing to inflict some suffering on their buddy Sunday morning.”
Parker eked out a win over second place’s Joel Macht in the expert men division.
Parker and Macht, who are both former Whitehorse Triathlon champions, were neck-and-neck for the whole race until Parker dropped Macht midway through the final lap.
“I didn’t fancy my chances with him in the sprint (to the finish), so I figured I’d take a shot,” said Parker.
Jillian Chown, who was last year’s winner of the open women’s division in the Tour de Whitehorse, was first in the expert women’s division.
The next scheduled VeloNorth race is the 17-kilometre Carcross Cut-off Time Trial on May 22 followed by Miles Canyon Road Race on June 2.
This year’s Tour de Whitehorse will begin with a prologue on June 28. The prologue will consist of a three-kilometre hill climb on Fish Lake Road.
“It’s not the best pavement, it’s pretty rough chipseal,” said VeloNorth president Elijah Buffalo. “But it’s a good hill to start, to start off (the tour).”
The Tour will then continue with the Yukon Road Race Championships, using Miles Canyon Road and the Alaska Highway on June 29, and the Yukon Time-Trial Championships at its usual location on the North Klondike Highway on June 29.
Titanium Way will be back in use to close out the Tour with the Canada Day Criterium, which was not held last year.
The Canada Day Crit has usually been held in downtown Whitehorse, but Titanium Way, which was constructed in 2011, is much easier to block off for the race with very little through-traffic on Sundays.
“I was on Google maps looking for a great alternative to the downtown route,” said Buffalo. “I was hovering over town and saw it – you can recognize its new pavement from the satellite.”
Expert men (40 minutes)
1st Ian Parker
2nd Joel Macht
3rd Elijah Buffalo
4th Shea Hoffman
5th Geoff Harries
Expert women (30 minutes)
1st Jillian Chown
Sport men (30 minutes)
1st Tim Sellars
2nd Jon Heaton
3rd Chris Rider
Novice men (30 minutes)
1st Mathew Knack
2nd David Jackson
Tandem (30 minutes)
1st Trena Irvin/Cayla Jackson
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com