Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

MAKING THE FINAL PUSH – Bruce Porter pedals uphill toward the finish line of the Porter Creek segment of the Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships stage race on Saturday.

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Photo by John Tonin

Veronica Porter pedals uphill toward the finish line of the Porter Creek segment of the Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships stage race on Saturday.

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Photo by John Tonin

CHEERING ON HER SIBLING – Tori Vollmer meets her brother Thomas on the uphill to offer words of encouragement as he makes the ascent toward the finish line.

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Photo by John Tonin

GAINING MOMENTUM – Taiga Buurman speeds down the path in Porter Creek.

Cyclists ride in road biking stage race

The U Kon Echelon cyclists had a short turnaround from last weekend's mountain bike stage race.

By John Tonin on July 28, 2020

The U Kon Echelon cyclists had a short turnaround from last weekend's mountain bike stage race. Beginning on Thursday, the cyclists changed gears to their road bikes to compete in the Yukon Energy Road Cycling Championships.

The first day of racing began at the Carcross Corner to the Marsh Lake bridge and back. On Friday, they competed at Titanium Way.

Saturday featured two stages, first at Miles Canyon in the morning before moving to Porter Creek, and the trail at the end of Pine Street for a short but epic hill climb.

"The hill climb was short and intense," said U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving.

Sunday was the big day, as the cyclists pedalled from Army Beach to Jakes Corner. Irving said the final day was great.

"There was a big headwind going out, but it is easier to start with a headwind," said Irving. "There was a nice tailwind coming back."

Distances of the races varied depending on the age group.

During the mountain bike stage races, Irving said, she tried to choose courses that offered something different for everybody; however, that thinking changed for the road championships.

"That didn't play into my thinking," said Irving. "I was trying to find places that would be COVID-friendly. I was trying to find creative ways to keep it individual."

Drafting, usually commonplace in road racing, was not allowed.

To qualify for the final standings, cyclists from all age groups had to complete all stages.

"Stage races are an accumulation of fatigue," said Irving. "This is our little local version of the Tour de France."

Thomas Vollmer's accumulated time of 2:39:12 made him the U11 boys top cyclist. Alex Lebarge, U13, posted a total time of 3:14:37 to top his category.

Tori Vollmer secured the U15 girls top spot amassing a total time of 3:35:35.

Best friends Taiga Buurman and Mack Jenner jostled throughout the races to see who would be the U15 victor.

Buurman won the Thursday race and the Porter Creek hill climb. Jenner won at Titanium Way, Miles Canyon and the Army Beach race. However, heading into the last day Buurman was nine seconds ahead of Jenner who could only make up one second during the last stage.

Buurman took the first spot with an accumulated time of 3:35:7.

Ava Irving-Staley topped the U17 girls group with a time of 3:12:45. Noah Marnik, three hours, nine seconds, outpaced Bruce Porter to secure the U17 boys top position.

Veronica Porter, 3:18:12, won the U19 girls division, Irving, 3:34:18 won the master women, and David Jackson, 2:58:08 secure the expert men crown.

As Irving said after the mountain bike races, she always keeps an eye on the future, which is why she is continuing to hold races safely during the pandemic.

"I'm always a big planner and think about where the athletes are going," said Irving. "I hoping they find a vaccine ASAP, so we can take athletes to next year's North American Indigenous Games and Canada Games.

"Next summer will be busy, I hope, but if not, I will organize these races regardless."

The U Kon Echelon cyclists will be back at it again this weekend for their Tour de Haines rides. Irving said they are lucky they can be running these races.

"We are so fortunate because we can do this in contrast to other provinces," said Irving.

Comments (1)

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Trena irving on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:25 pm

One person’s results were missing; Mike Setterington did all races to win master’s men's category. Thanks for the article John.

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