Whistler’s Trevor Hopkins made the podium two days in a row at back-to-back B.C. Cup cyclocross events this past weekend, the fifth and sixth stops of the provincial tour.
The finals take place this Saturday in Coquitlam, after which the overall series rankings will be finalized — and Hopkins is in the running for the overall title.
Hopkins’s first race was at the South Surrey mountain bike park, where he placed third out of the more than 25 riders in the B category, just 20 seconds out of first place.
On Sunday, he raced the Pumpkin Cross in Maple Ridge, when the skies opened up and turned the course into mud.
“It was my kind of course,” said Hopkins. “Muddy, technical and super-slick. Lots of guys were crashing and going down on every lap.”
Hopkins kept his rubber-side down and came out with first place in the field of 30 riders in B grade.
“I had a comfortable lead and soloed in for the win about 30 seconds ahead of second place. I feel like I’m starting to find my form and peaking for the end of the season.”
Other Team Whistler riders competing in cyclocross this season — Tony Routley, Mike Charuk and John Wong — opted to give the weekend a pass to prepare for the upcoming La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica this month.
Last week Hopkins and other members of Team Whistler took part in the B.C. Cyclocross Championships, followed by the Canadian Cyclocross National Championships in Kamloops the next day. The rain held off for the weekend, but the course was still wet and slippery and there was frost to contend with in the morning.
In the provincials, Hopkins placed ninth in Master Expert 30 to 39, while Mike Charuk and John Wong were 12 th and 18 th respectively in Master Expert 40 to 49. Tony Routley placed second in the Master Expert 50 to 59 category while racing cyclocross for the first time ever.
In the nationals the following day, Hopkins placed 11 th overall and sixth among all riders from B.C. in the 30 to 39 category. Routley placed second once again, this time a fraction of a second behind the leader.
Mike Charuk was 18 th in Master 40 to 49 category, and John Wong was eliminated after being lapped.
Ontario’s Mike Garrigan won the elite men’s category by one second over Greg Reain of Ottawa. Max Plaxton placed third overall.
In Elite Women, Wendy Simms of Nanaimo placed first, one second ahead of West Vancouver’s Alison Sydor. Lyne Bessette of Quebec was third in 38:40.
Cyclocross combines elements of road racing and mountain biking, and is popular with riders from both sports. Participants race on modified road bikes with more clearance for the cranks, and slightly fatter, knobbier tires. Laps are generally short, flat, and can feature everything from paved roads, to gravel, to dirt. As well, there are obstacles along the course that require riders to get off their bikes and run.
The championship course was particularly difficult with four places where riders had to dismount, and more than 80 riders on the course at the same time in the Master categories.
“I think almost everyone crashed somewhere on the course,” said Hopkins. “It was total chaos going into that first hairpin corner.”