New stars are able to rise when the usual suspects are competing at the Canadian XC Mountain Bike Championships in Ontario. This was the case at the Gearjammer in Squamish this weekend.
While riders like Sandra Walter, Jean Ann Barkeeps and Quinn Moberg were slugging it out with the best in the nation back east, Whistler residents Petra Tlamkova, Chloe Cross and Fanny Paquette were trying to beat the heat in Squamish at the Gearjammer on Saturday, July 20. The trio of riders struggled in the heat but Tlamkova, who is originally from the Czech Republic, took the women’s lead early in the race and didn’t see another female racer during the event.
Tlamkova was riding in the Pro-Elite category and her time of two hours, 57 minutes and 12 seconds put her across the finish line in position number 45 overall more than 10 minutes ahead of the next female finisher.
Cross raced as an age group competitor and finished in 3:10:50 while Paquette clocked a time of 3:12:23. Squamish’s Rua Reed was the fourth fastest woman in the race and her Pro-Elite time was 3:20:23.
Tlamkova said the weather was a bit too hot but thought the race was awesome overall.
“I started pretty fast and I had to slow down a little bit because it is too warm and I don’t like it all that much,” she said after the race.
Water became an issue for Tlamkova as she ran out of fluids ahead of the second feed station.
According to Cross, Tlamkova quickly got out of site after the start.
“It was hot and really hard but it was good,” Cross said at the finish line. She said she locked into second and didn’t see Paquette.
“I knew that Fanny would be right there,” said Cross. “She’s always super strong so I always had an eye open over my shoulder for her the whole way.”
Cross also rode the Test of Metal in June and used Whistler Toonie races for training. She spent four months recovering from had a herniated disk before bike season started.
Kevin Calhoun of North Vancouver was first across the finish line with a time of 2:27:57 and he was followed by Bowen Island’s Colin Kerr and Sullivan Reed, who has moved from Prince George and now lives in Burnaby. The three top males all rode in the Pro-Elite category and they finished together.
Calhoun said keeping hydrated was the key in the hot weather. Kerr, Reed and Calhoun rode the race together right to the end.
“We were jockeying position all day and just at the end here we gapped Sullivan on the road and it just came down to a sprint between Colin and I,” said Calhoun. “He let it out and I just got around him.”
Neal Kindree, who has dominated most of the mountain bike races in the Sea to Sky area didn’t race. Quinn Moberg, a young rising Squamish rider, competed in the national championships and finished 16th in the U23 Men’s race in Ontario. Mahon Lamont of Whistler placed 11th amongst the Junior Men while Squamish’s Luke Di Marzo placed 30th in the Eliminator Men’s event.
Full Gearjammer results are available at www.webscorer.com/racedetails?raceid=10769. Check back Thursday for more mountain bike coverage.