Michael Robinson had to come all the way back from dead last to finish first in his latest long-distance mountain bike race.
The Whistler rider captured top spot in the 100-mile (160-km) Capitol Forest 100 race on Saturday, Aug. 23, part of Washington's NW Epic series, after finishing two laps of a 50-mile course in eight hours, 25 minutes, 46 seconds.
Fellow local rider Tony Routley also had an impressive outing, finishing atop the men's 50-plus group and in sixth place overall with a time of 9:03:02.
Moments before the race started, Robinson went back to his car to switch his Camelbak out for two water bottles, but the gun went off before he could return to the start line, putting him at the back of the pack straight away.
"In the panic (to catch up), I'd left the car without putting my helmet back on my head," laughed Robinson.
"So I had to turn around again, and then catch back up. It was a bit of a gong show."
The 38-year-old quickly made his way past more than 200 riders on course before getting back up among the leaders.
"I had to be careful, because you can burn a lot of matches trying to get past people you're not really competing against," he said. "After about 45 minutes, I caught Tony, and he said we were about 10th."
Robinson closed to within four minutes of the leader at the end of the first lap, and moved into the lead for good with about 40 miles left to go. He hung on to win by 90 seconds over Washington's Evan Plews.
Robinson is back in action at the 100-km Kootenay SufferFest on Sunday, Aug. 31.
RESORT ROADIES STRONG IN VICTORIA
Many members of the Whistler Cycling Club put together strong rides in the Ryder Hesjedal Tour de Victoria on Sunday, Aug. 24.
Locals Trevor Hopkins and Mahon Lamont were the quickest on the day, as Hopkins completed the 145-km route in 4:17:08, with Lamont one second behind. The times put the two riders in the top 20 overall. Hopkins was fourth in the men's 40-44 group, while Lamont was second in the 19-24 division.
Robin Willard topped his 65-69 age category by finishing in 4:42:45, while Gary Baker was first in the men's 75-79 group at 5:34:39. Other Whistler riders earning age group-podium finishes were Milo Rusimovich (third, men's 65-69; 5:22:48), Elizabeth Rogerson (third, women's 50-54; 5:32:36) and Tom Thomson (second, men's 70-74; 6:00:01).
Other local finishers included Paul O'Mara (5:30:09), Mike Rogerson (5:32:36) and Phil Chew (5:33:16).
The course also included time trial and hill climb sections. See www.tourdevictoria.com for complete results.
RIDERS GET FONDO FIX
The RBC GranFondo Whistler is approaching quickly, but some local cyclists got their Fondo fix in Banff over the weekend.
Mike Watton was the fastest local over the 150-km ride, clocking in at 5:05:34. Keith and Lee Bennett crossed the line together in 5:53:15, a time that put Lee second in her 60-69 age group.
Melanie Jones and Elliot Salter also reached the finish at the same time, completing the course in 7:38:11.
Whistler's GranFondo takes place on Sept. 6, featuring a 122-km ride from Vancouver's Stanley Park to the resort. See www.granfondowhistler.com for full details.