Pender Racing p/b Bicicletta had a bit of a ringer en route to winning the men's division of the brand-new St. Regis Cup at the RBC GranFondo Whistler on Saturday.
In his first race with the team, Alex Fraser-Maraun posted the fastest time of the day in three hours, 14 minutes and 31 seconds (3:14:31), helping Pender Racing to the victory. In the team event averaging a squad's five-fastest times, Pender nicked The A-Team by 13 seconds and Jukebox Cycling by over three minutes. In the individual battle, Fraser-Maraun bested The A-Team's Alexander Murison by 67 seconds on the 122-kilometre course from Stanley Park to Whistler Village.
"It was a real pleasure to race with these guys today," he said. "We didn't want to have such a long day. (Teammate and third-place finisher) Nigel (Kinney) was a little bit crazy and attacked 20 kilometres in and we just carried it through to the end. It was a fun day, but a hard one."
Fraser-Maraun, a member of Hewdog Racing, said he wasn't planning to strike when he did, but when another rider got aggressive, he had to kick it up a notch.
"My teammate was bonking with about 12 km to go, at which point one of our competitors attacked. I managed to counterattack and stay away with about six km to go," he said.
Pender Racing also took the mixed title while WOWrideTaG scored the win in the women's category, bolstered by top women's finisher Esta Bovill, who bested runner-up Sharon Armstrong by over 15 minutes and third-place finisher and teammate Grace Menning by over 16 minutes.
Team member Andrea McDonald noted the squad defended its team title from 2017.
"I'm just really proud of everyone who steps forward and does it for us," she said. "Whether it's their first Fondo or they're a seasoned pro, it's a real success for everyone and a really big accomplishment."
McDonald said, especially when conquering the tough, primarily uphill course, the team placed a strong emphasis on lifting one another.
"We just tried to stick together, support each other and stick together," she said. "We've got some really strong riders on our team and we just really wanted to push forward and do the best we could and just have fun doing it as well."
Full results are online at www.racedaytiming.ca.