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by Doug Brons
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA – It was a big weekend of racing in British Columbia with the Canadian National Championships on Saturday and a UCI race at the same location in Surrey, BC on Sunday.
DYCK AND KABUSH CRUSH CANADIAN NATIONALS
The weather forecast for Saturday predicted heavy rain and wind all day but it didn’t get wet until just before noon, turning the fairly dry course into a sloppy and slick challenge for the remaining races. Mical Dyck (Stan’s No Tubes) used her skills and fitness honed to systematically pick through the field on the first lap to take the lead. Pepper Harlton (Juventus) who got the hole shot to the barriers and Wendy Simms (Kona) followed on her wheel. A dozen seconds back was Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) the defending 2011 champion.
Twenty minutes into the race Dyck had shed Harlton with only Simms left on her wheel. Her superior fitness and technical ability would soon help create a gap on Simms. From there she never looked back and would comfortably win her first-ever national champion jersey. Simms would finish second with Batty squeaking out a third place after a late-race kick to pass Harlton.
By the time the men hit the course, the rain had increased and so had the mud. Many of the off-camber sections weren’t rideable except by only the most experienced racers.
Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) arrived motivated to win after missing the last two championships. He moved to the front in the first lap and never looked back. He was joined early on by Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) the defending champ, along with Derrick St. John (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery), his teammate Cameron Jette and Craig Richey (Connected.com). The built a lead of about 20 seconds from this group and continued to build a lead through the 60 minute race. He arrived at the finish with over a minute lead on his next rival, defending champion, Chris Sheppard. Sheppard and chasing partner Derrick St. John split from their group and Sheppard took advantage of a small crash by St. John to open up a gap. St. John would finish third with Richey coming in fourth.
DYCK AND KABUSH DOUBLE UP AT THE DARYL EVANS BC GP OF CYCLOCROSS
On Sunday, on a variation of the Nationals course, the riders were presented with completely different conditions with no rain but heavy winds that would sap their energy on the many false flats and uphills. The course was much drier and much less technical with no run-up and fewer corners.
In the Elite Women’s race, newly crowned National champ, Mical Dyck (Stan’s No Tubes) would move to the front early with her partners from the day before, Pepper Harlton (Juventus) and Wendy Simms (Kona). Catharine Pendrel chased hard to join the group and hung on the group until she got tangled in course tape and crashed heavily. Dyck and her group worked together while locals Sandra Walter (Local Ride/Dr. Vie) and Jean Ann Berkenpas (Secret Cycles) trying to close a large gap. Recovering from her crash Pendrel spent the race chasing back. Dyck finally shed her breakaway partners on the last lap and opened up a small gap. Harlton fought back and set up a final uphill sprint to the finish, Dyck winning by a bike length for her second win of the weekend.
The elite and U23 men took to the course and the racing started almost immediately. A small group including Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing), Evan McNeely (Specialized) the U23 Canadian champ, Andrew L’Esperance (Norco) and US rider, Steve Fisher from Hagans Berman.
As this was a UCI race Fisher and Spencer Paxson (Kona) came up from Washington State chasing points. Aaron Schooler (Norco), Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain), Derrick St. John (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery) and Paxon (Kona) gave chase about half a minute back.
A small crash occurred in the pit lane when Fisher hooked the orange fencing and McNeely jumped on the opportunity to gain a small gap. Kabush, Fisher and Paxson worked together to reel McNeely in, only to have him attack again. Kabush responded leaving the others gasping to hook on. Kabush and McNeely continued on with Fisher chasing and catching the break with about two laps to go. Kabush soon put in another attack that was enough to win his second race of the weekend. McNeely and Fisher would battle it out for second and third respectively.
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