Jonah Clark retains crown as King of the Canyon
Jonah Clark defended his throne this past weekend, capturing his second consecutive win
Jonah Clark defended his throne this past weekend, capturing his second consecutive win in the annual King of the Canyon Yukon Mountain Bike Championships.
The event, hosted by the Contagious Mountain Biking club and sponsored by Yukon Brewing, featured a short and long distance course of 27.5 and 48 kilometres.
Competing in the long course, Clark crossed the finish line two hours, 25 minutes and 49 seconds.
His closest competitor, James Minifie, arrived twelve minutes later.
It was a fitting victory for Clark, who took the crown from two-time champion David Gonda in last year’s event.
In that race, Gonda, who had been leading for the majority of the distance, fell to the back of the pack when he broke his rear derailleur.
Clark rode his way to victory, but it carried the asterisk of mechanical failure.
This year, he made sure there was no confusion surrounding the throne.
Clark and Minifie were riding together for the first six kilometres before Clark kicked it up a gear.
By the halfway point he had a six-minute lead over Minifie.
“You know when Jonah shows up, you’ve got your work cut out of you,” Minifie said after the race.
Clark averaged just a shade under 20 kilometres per hour over the course that started and ended at Schwatka Lake and featured a climb up Grey Mountain of over 900 metres.
The course featured some amendments this year, reducing the overall length from 52 to 48 kilometres but increasing the elevation gain.
Clark, who competed in the B.C. Bike Race this past July along with Minifie, said his experience from that race helped with the additional climbs.
“The B.C. Bike Race made it feel a lot easier than in the year’s past,” he said.
“I was climbing up some of the steeper hills thinking ‘normally I can’t climb this fast in a middle of a race like this.’’
Competing in the solo men’s Epic Division of the B.C. Bike Race, Clark placed 14th out of 119 finishers while Minifie finished 24th overall.
The King of the Canyon wasn’t without its challenges for Clark though, who toppled over his handlebars early on in the race while cutting into the trail by the Hidden Lakes.
“I was going too fast and not paying enough attention,” said Clark, whose handlebars clipped a tree and sent him flying down the narrow path.
For Minifie, it was the first race of the season where he didn’t crash.
“Maybe I’m finally starting to figure this out,” he said.
Minifie made his return to the King of the Canyon after taking several years off and he said he was happy with his results.
“I’ve been riding in races with Jonah all summer and I haven’t beat him yet so didn’t really expect to do much better today but it’s good to have somebody to chase,” he said.
“I don’t like riding in the front, it’s good to have someone to try and track down.”
Rounding out the top three was Aaron Foos, who crossed the finish line in 3:03:16.
While Clark retained his crown, the royal court was granted a new Queen.
Meagan Wilson outpaced Bobbie Wilcox and Sierra van der Meer to lead in the way in the female division of the long course with a time of 3:34:45.
Wilcox arrived four minutes later and van der Meer completed the race in 3:43:42.
The royal court also received a new Prince and Princess in the short course.
Mark Nelson was the first to cross the finish line, burning through the 27.5-km course in a time of 1:43:15.
Shea Hoffman placed second in 1:54:09.
Christine Kirk dethroned Julie DesBrisay to become the Princess of the Canyon, completing the race in 2:01:05.
In total 29 cyclists took part in the race.
The King of the Canyon marks the end of the competitive mountain biking season for the local club and with only a few weeks of riding left before the frost returns to the trail, Clark said he’s ready to make the most of it.
“It was a great season. The only thing now is I have to defend the title next year,” he said.
“I’m just going to enjoy the awesome trials we have here in Whitehorse for the rest of the summer and then get ready for some winter races.”
King of the Canyon 2012 Results:
Short Course Male:
Mark Nelson 1:43:15
Shea Hoff man 1:54:09
Guillaume Levesque 2:08)3
Jon Heaton 2:08:51
Finn Matrishon 2:35:47
Christine Kirk 2:01:05
Kirsten Hogan 2:09:04
Veronica Huggard 2:12:47
Kris Gardner 2:30:32
Carrie Burbidge 2:39:13
Heather Leduc 2:49:47
Valeri Girard 2:49:52
Long Course Male:
Jonah Clark 2:25:49
James Minifie 2:27:43
Aaron Foos 3:03:16
Karl Blattman 3:06:52
Chad Bauld 3:08:50
Tim Hogan 3:15:46
Dan Reimer 3:18:09
Geof Harries 3:31:51
Mario Villeneuve 3:36:12
Wade Larson 3:36:12
George Pollock 3:43:04
Chuck Mangold 3:54:42
Dean Eyre 4:14:12
Meagan Wilson 3:34:45
Bobbie Wilcox 3:38:16
Sierra van der Meer 3:43:42
Volunteers: Ian Parker, Mario Villeneuve, Monika Melnychuk, Jane Perapalkin, Anthony
Delorenzo, Rory Schalko, Paul Gowdie, Joel and Amelia and Xavier Macht, Dylan Stewart,
Derek Endress, Kate White, Kris Gardner.