The U Kon Echelon bike club had so much fun at the Gunner Nielsen and Mickey Lammers Research Forest trails that they had to host their second cross-country mountain bike race this weekend at the Porter Creek Secondary School trails.
In non-COVID-19 years, U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving has held Yukon Schools races at PCSS as part of a school cross-country mountain biking initiative, including F.H. Collins, École Émilie Tremblay, and Porter Creek. The tri-school races could not happen this year so Irving took up the charge of holding community races to keep the youth and community members out racing.
It’s not the first time the club has used the PCSS trails this year. In July, U Kon Echelon, founded 12 years ago, held a mountain bike stage race.
This race had a few challenges, a new section of the racecourse was added and flagged and ready, but before the race, a trail user took down some of the flags and rerouted them going the wrong way. Irving said this disoriented some of the riders.
In all, 23 participants competed. There were a few mechanical issues and minor crashes which ended some of the riders’ days early. But, Irving said all-in-all, everyone found the new section to be fun “as it involved some fast downhill sections and some drops.”
Other challenges included some steeper uphill climbs and rocky and sandy sections.
Cole Germain and Ava Irving-Staley posted the two fastest times in the team race. Throughout the race, the pair were neck-and-neck. Germain finished in 30:11 with Irving-Staley 18 seconds behind. Both won their U17 categories.
Germain and Irving-Staley are two athletes who had been eyeing a chance to earn a spot on the Canada Summer Games 2021 for Team Yukon. The Games have one week of cross-country and a second week of road biking.
The Games, supposed to be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, were postponed until 2022. It is Irving’s hope to keep eligible athletes interested by having local races and fat biking, spinning to keep cycling going throughout the winter.
In the novice youth race, the fastest male time for one lap was posted by U11 Kai Gibson-Tyler, with a time of 10:46.
For females, Rose Preto set the pace with a time of 13:25.
Rylan Morris was once again the youngest competitor on race-day. At only four, Morris did her one lap, 2.5 kilometres, in 16:45.
Rowan Evans won the U7 boys race posting a 16:47 time.
Callum Fischer placed second.
Roger Luxemburger outpaced his fellow mountain bikers in the U9 boys division. His time was 10:47, only six-seconds ahead of Oskar Luxemburger. Sam Boucher placed third.
Alex Lebarge topped the U13 boys category at 37:49. Johna Irving-Staley was the runner-up.
The U15 boys bracket, who rode nine-kilometres, was won by Taiga Buurman at 34:42. Trustan Boulanger and Gallagher D’Abramo placed second and third.
Weather permitting, the next race will be Halloween themed. Irving said for the mountain bikers to stay tuned, and be ready to wear a costume or something “Halloweeny” to race in.