Whistlers Clare Buchar on top in downhill
While some of the top names in Canadian mountain biking were either racing in the Commonwealth Games or training for the World Cup, last weekends Kokanee Canada Cup Mountain Bike Series Final at Fernie showed just how deep the talent pool is in this country.
As the fifth and final races in the Canada Cup series, both race and series champions were crowned in the dual slalom, downhill and cross-country events. National team were also watching the races closely to fill in the remaining spots for Team Canada at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria at the end of August.
The freeriders kicked off the first day of competition with downhill and dual slalom races on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The downhill attracted more than 150 riders in 15 different race categories. Whistlers Clare Buchar, second in the recent mountain bike nationals, blew the competition away in the Senior Elite Womens category to finish first overall. She cleared the new downhill course in five minutes 22.37 seconds, almost 12 seconds faster than the next competitor.
Michelle Dumaresq of Vancouver was second in 5:34.05 and Sara Lindman-Porter was third in 5:34.76. Dumaresq also claimed the Canada Cup title.
The mens Elite title went to Geoff Pendrel of North Vancouver is 4:16.00. Mathieu Laurin of Ste-Adele, Quebec, was second in 4:18.06, and Rob Hewitt of Quesnel third in 4:20.53.
In the Junior Expert Men category, Whistlers Jeff Beatty missed out on the gold medal by 0.26 seconds with his time of 4:26.03. Thomas Vanderham of North Vancouver was first in 4:25.77. Tyler Pighin of Cranbrook was a distant third in 4:44.07.
The dual slalom that evening went to local Fernie riders, with Martin Chabot, Alan Haley and Serge Chiasson finishing first, second and third.
The cross-country competition on the following day was a challenging one with each lap consisting of a gruelling uphill followed by a technical descent.
Kiara Bisaro of Courtenay, B.C., ran away with the event and the womens Canada Cup title in the Senior Elite category, finishing 2:33.50 ahead of Sandra Walter of Coquitlam. Finish times were not posted. Tannis Banks of Cranbrook was third, 5:07.50 off the lead.
Whistlers Angela Teng competed in that division, finishing 16 th overall.
Youth ruled the Senior Elite Men category, with 21-year-old Ricky Federau of Mississauga, Ontario, taking the top spot. Roddi Lega of Edmonton was second by 2:35.30, and Jesse Jakomait of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, was third by 5:13.70.
From Whistler, Will Routley finished 10th overall, just over eight minutes back of the lead.
"I was pretty stoked to finish that well, it was a great weekend for sure," said Routley, who received confirmation that he would be part of Team Canada in the Under 23 Espoir category at the World Championships in Austria at the end of August.
"It was an excellent course, definitely built for mountain bikers with steep climbs and steep descents. It wasnt easy."
The leaders broke up into packs early during the race, and Routley found himself in a group with Kris Sneddon and Jamie Douglas, two B.C. Espoir riders who were also competing for a spot with Team Canada.
"It was kind of weird. Everybody was watching everybody else, kind of daring somebody to make a break for it," said Routley. While he is friendly with the competition off the course, during the race he says it can get intense at times.
In the Junior Expert race, Whistlers Tyler West was eighth overall by a gap of 5:52.70.
Complete results are available at Canadian Cyclist at www.canadiancyclist.com .