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Locals take to the road

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West third in B.C. Road Championships

A group of local mountain bikers took to the roadways around Mission last Saturday, June 14, to compete in the B.C. Road Championships.

The Senior Men’s category, which featured 11 laps of a challenging 15 km course, was incredibly close, with the top-20 racers finishing within two and a half minutes of the lead time of four hours, 32 minutes and 56 seconds set by Gerry Noble of Penticton.

Whistler mountain biker Will Routley finished 18 th , less than two minutes back of the winning pace. Twenty-seven of the 55 starters did not finish, or were eliminated from the race after being lapped.

"It was a really tough race, starting and finishing with a big climb," said Routley.

Routley started the day strong, racing with the lead pack of four racers for almost the entire race.

With two laps to, after almost four hours of racing, he began to cramp up and was eventually dropped from the lead group. He wound up with the larger chase group coming into the finish, and wound up in 18 th spot.

Because of the uphill refuelling area, and the tight pack of racers, Routley was forced to complete several of the laps without water, something he feels may have led to his cramps.

While he hoped for a better ranking on the day, a two-and-a-half minute lag after four and a half hours is not too shabby. "I think with this road race, while the result wasn’t there, that I still put in a solid performance, and builds my confidence," he said.

He hopes to carry that confidence in the road nationals in Hamilton in July, and all the way to the World Championships, also in Hamilton, this August.

"I’m definitely going for it," said the 20-year-old mountain biker, who only started road racing as cross-training for his mountain bike fitness.

Other events on the horizon include the Test of Metal this weekend, and the Tim Hortons Canadian Mountain Biker National Championships in Whistler in July.

In the men’s Category 3 race, which featured eight laps of the course, Whistler’s Tyler West finished a close third, 1:16 back of the lead time of 3:24:35 set by Steve Bachop of Victoria, and 45 seconds back of a silver medal.

West was more than happy with the result, which he had to fight for all the way.

"The race held together pretty well right up to the end," he said. "These two guys broke away on the last lap, and after riding with the group behind us for a while, I tried to get out in front as well. I didn’t get too far away, but I really turned it on in the sprint to the finish and ended up in third."

West credits his mountain biking for his strong climbing on Saturday. "I’m pretty used to riding up mountains," he said.

While Routley focuses on the road nationals, West will race in B.C. Cup events and focus on the mountain bike national championships in Whistler. He will also race in the Test of Metal, which he is hoping to complete under three hours, which would give him a chance at cracking the top-10.

Tony Routley, Will’s father, competed in the same category as West and finished in 14 th place with a time of 3:27:13. Michael Boehm was 17 th , just five seconds back of Tony.

In Category 4/5, which raced seven laps of the course for a total of 105 km, Trevor Hopkins again finished in sixth place in the rankings, the same position he found himself in his last three road race appearances. Lance Brannigan did not finish.

The top road racers will represent their teams and the province at the Road Nationals in Bromont, Quebec, in August.

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