Stacey Hutton (Mighty Riders) on the run-up. © Sven Sturm

Stacey Hutton (Mighty Riders) on the run-up. © Doug Brons

by Sven Sturm

The 2011 edition of the Vanier Park Cyclocross was another successful chapter in the longest running ‘cross race in British Columbia.  Presented by WestCoastRacing and TREK-RedTruckRacing, the second round of the BC CX Cup series took place in a prime location overlooking the Vancouver skyline and the North Shore mountains.  The course was a variation of the previous year: fast and grassy including the usual man-made interruptions like barriers and stairs.  The only thing out of the organizer’s control was the weather (and we are talking about Vancouver, BC)  but there was sunshine and a mild breeze.  How you do that – we don’t know … but everybody loved it.

Thanks to the weather people were coming and coming.  All categories were stacked and by the end of the day there were 195 official racers and nearly 40 kids registered for the kids’ events. While not quite like races in Belgium or the U.S. ’cross hotspots, the Vanier Park Cyclocross is now one of the biggest events in Canada.

The first start was at 10:30 a.m. with the citizen classes and Cat 3/4 Men race on the line. This was grassroots racing at its best, and we saw some pretty amazing efforts. Unfortunately, there are some uncertainties with the results, and the officials are still working on them.

In the second start, the Cat 3/4 Master Men were racing together with the Open & Master Women and the bookkeeping improved.  Solid fields provided a great spectacle and some intense racing, especially in both women categories, where a few new faces mixed up the event.

In the Open Women category, Jean-Ann Berkenpas (Local Ride Racing) managed to repeat her win in Vanier Park from last year after she broke clear of her teammate Sandra Walters.  Hard chasing Leah Guloien (Team Missing Link Coaching/Specialized) couldn’t make it past the ’cross specialist Kelly Jones (Sugoi) while Jenny Lehmann (Mighty Riders) took the last spot on the podium.  In the Master Women category multi-sport athletes dominated the field where Kelly Wilcox distanced teammate and marathoner Heather King (both Active Life Multisport) for the top spot on the podium with Barb Zimich finishing third.

Tyler Trace (Trek-Red Truck) on his way to the win. © Sven Sturm

Tyler Trace (Trek-Red Truck) on his way to the win. © Doug Brons

The Men’s Elite category was yet again a fast affair.  Lining up were Tyler Trace (TREK RedTruckRacing) who hasn’t been seen on a ’cross bike since his winning ride at the provincial championships in November 2010.  His competition, like last year, was mountain bike standout Evan Guthrie (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), ’cross specialist Kevin Noiles (Sportique) and not-yet-retired road pro Andrew Pinfold (United Health Care), as well as fast man Kevin Calhoun (Rock Mountain Bicycles).  Taking the holeshot was Guthrie closely followed by a duo of Trace and Pinfold and behind them the two Kevins.

The fast course took its toll and the years on the road paid off for the Trace – Pinfold tandem as they managed to break clear from Guthrie on lap 2.  The two rode together for the better part of the race.  The same was true for Noiles-Calhoun who put in a solid effort to get rid of Guthrie in the last quarter of the race and to end up 3rd (Noiles) and 4th (Calhoun).  Recent winner of the Giro to Whister Zack Garland (H&R Block) tested the robustness of barriers on the first lap and was left with a cut on his knee and race director Sven Sturm (TREK RedTruckRacing) on his tail.

After trading pulls Garland would ride clear to settle for 6th.  And just like in the previous four editions of Vanier Park Cyclocross, Tyler Trace wanted to take something home for coming all the way from Vancouver Island, and that was nothing less than the win.  So he used his legs and experience on the ’cross bike to break clear of Pinfold and solo the last few laps home alone.

As always, the race – no matter how small or big – would not happen without a team of dedicated and hard working volunteers, supportive staff of the City of Vancouver, and generous sponsors like John Henry Bikes as a Title Sponsor, Ryder Eyewear, Sharkies, Honey Stinger, Active Life Physio, Schwalbe Tires, Island Farms, TREK Bicyles, Sugoi, Uprising Breads, Steeds Cycles for the Kids’ event and Vancouver Bike Gallery for neutral support.  Thanks to everybody who came and contributed, on and off the bike.  Hope to see you next year at the 2012 edition of Vanier Park Cyclocross.

Full Results Below Photos

Photo Gallery

Full Results

Elite Men - 1 - 100     
158.1718TylerTraceElite Men
258.2716AndrewPinfoldElite Men
359.1510KevinNoilesElite Men
459.196KevinCalhounElite Men
51.01.0323EvanGuthrieElite Men
61.02.0611ZackGarlandElite Men
71.02.179SvenSturmElite Men
81.02.1919MikeBerkenpasElite Men
down 1 lap15JohnPerkinsElite Men
down 1 lap17SteveDevantierElite Men
down 1 lap25Wai-BenWongElite Men
down 1 lap26MikeSidicElite Men
down 1 lap27PascalWehrElite Men

Open Women - 101 - 150     
1121Jean AnnBerkenpasOpen Women
2124SandraWalterOpen Women
3106KellyJonesOpen Women
4120LeahGuloienOpen Women
5113JennyLehmannOpen Women
6119AnnYewOpen Women
7115NicolaMannOpen Women
8109StaceyHuttonOpen Women
9122KristineBrynjolfsonOpen Women
10116AlisonBeamishOpen Women
11110HannahNeubeckOpen Women
12117JuliaGarnetOpen Women
down 1 lap108HaleyMousseauOpen Women