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SMOOTH SAILING – From left, Ava Irving-Staley and Mollie Fraser compete during the Hayman Classic in Penticton, B.C. last weekend. Photo by CHRIS STENBERG/HAYMAN CLASSIC

Yukon youth riders battle for experience at Hayman Classic stage race in Penticton

When first-year cyclist Veronica Porter bridged a gap over 30 seconds during the criterium race at the Hayman Classic, U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving was understandably excited.

By Marissa Tiel on June 16, 2017

When first-year cyclist Veronica Porter bridged a gap over 30 seconds during the criterium race at the Hayman Classic, U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving was understandably excited.

“Veronica took that end group and bridged them right up to the middle group,” said Irving. “She is super strong and shows tons of potential.”

As a coach, Irving is more interested in skills and setting personal bests than seeing athletes compare themselves to others on the podium.

“It’s all about learning and building,” she said.

So when the four teenage athletes she took down to Penticton, B.C., to compete at the Hayman Classic showed they could make moves in race situations and stage sprints ahead of the finish against Outside athletes, she deemed the trip a success.

With the skills, the results also came.

In the event’s first race, the hill climb, Porter tied for seventh while Ava Irving-Staley was ninth and Mollie Fraser was 11th. In the boys U15, Oscar Setterington was 19th.

Stage 2 saw the athletes treated to pristine pavement and a closed course at the private Area 27, a race car track designed by Jacques Villeneuve.

Setterington finished 17th in the boys’ race.

Porter was 6th, barely behind fifth, while Irving-Staley was ninth and Fraser was 10th.

In Stage 3, the criterium, Setterington was 17th, while Porter was sixth, Irving-Staley was 10th and Fraser was 11th.

For the final stage, the road race, riders were challenged on a course that Irving compared to the Skagway hill climb, but “not that long.” After a long climb, they got a steep, sandy and gravelly downhill where some youth riders were clocked at speeds upward of 80 kmh. Porter was ninth with Irving-Staley 10th and Fraser 11th. Setterington was 16th.

With the hopes of fielding a full cycling team at the next Canada Summer Games in 2021, Irving is hopeful this crop of athletes will continue developing.

Their next Outside race will be B.C. Provincials at the end of July.

The Hayman Classic and B.C. Provincials used to be serviced by the same series of races, so with the events split up, it will give the Yukon riders another chance to race against their B.C. counterparts.

“All the kids are going to have a few more miles under their belts,” said Irving.

Fraser may have walked away from the event with the most memorable prize.

After a room-sized game of heads-or-tails, the teen chose tails as the three remaining participants chose heads and won herself a pair of racing rims worth between $1,000 and $1,500.

“I think for a small team, we made the loudest cheer in that room,” said Irving.

The athletes will contest the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay this weekend and return to regularly scheduled training next week as school gets out for the summer.

Comments (1)

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Trena Irving on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Great article, thanks Marissa! One correction: Ava Irving Staley finished 6th in the criterium, or stage 3, and Veronica Porter finished 9th.

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