This past weekend was one of Trek Canada’s biggest (and most successful!!) weekends of racing so far this year. After several weeks of training on the course and learning all of it’s features, we were all prepared to test our fitness and chase the Maple Leaf Jersey.
Under perfect racing conditions, the weekend started off with Soren and the Junior Expert women. After a great race in Sudbury, and countless hours on the course, Soren had a race plan in mind and stuck to it. A strong start got her to the first piece of singletrack in second position, and she quickly took the lead on the following climb. After gaining a small gap, Soren laid down the power and started to build her gap to what would end up being well over a minute by the end of the race. Crossing the finish with her arms in the air and a huge smile on her face, Soren not only won the National Championship in her first year as a Junior, but also qualified for the World Championships in Norway this fall. One quick day of celebrating is all she can afford… there’s still a lot of work to do!!
In the Elite Women’s race, it became quite clear quite quickly that Emily and Catherine Pendrel were the class of the field, getting a gap on the remaining ladies. Pushing a pace that Emily described as a “top 5 World Cup pace,” the 2 riders matched each other’s attacks until Emily let a small gap form with a lap to go. Still chasing valiantly, she came across the line in second place, to the loudest cheers of the day.
The field of women also included Trek Canada’s Karlee Gendron, who had a great start to be in contact with some World Cup racing women throughout the first lap. Unfortunately, washing out on a downhill corner before a rock gap sent Karlee tumbling through the trees in a crash that made spectators gasp and hold their breath. As a testament to her committment to racing, Karlee picked herself up, brushed herself off and clipped back in, doing her best to clear the fog from hitting her head and work through the battered muscles. In the end though, Karlee made the wise choice to abandon the race to prevent further injury after being unable to re-focus and ride safely.
The Elite Men’s field contained more than a few World Cup racers, and all of them were eager to display their power and skills on the challenging course. Right from the start, small groups were formed while other riders made alliances to bridge the gaps and get back into contention. All the riders in the top 20 were giving their all, planning tactics and throwing caution to the wind. Adam Morka was stuck in No-Man’s-Land for much of the race, chasing down two groups of 3 riders just ahead of him. After leading out much of the first lap, Adam settled in to a pace that did not get him closer to the leaders, but kept him away from any chasers. At the line, an exhausted Adam came across with a strong 6th place finish.
Peter also found himself in a chase group behind the leading groups, and was the driving force for much of the race, catching riders that had faster starts before dropping them from the group with his ruthless pace. Starting the second lap outside the top 15, Peter worked hard to bridge up to a larger group before working his way to the front and riding them off his wheel. Only one other rider was able to stick with Peter during this onslought of power and skill, and it was a race to finish for the pair. It’s always impressive to see Peter race, and we can all learn from his skills, consistency, focus and execution of a race plan. Congratulations to Peter for finishing up in 10th position.
Just behind the Elite Men were the U23 men, and this year’s group contained many very fast racers who were in their last year of the category. With Mitch defending his Jersey, and many other wanting to take it from him, the race had a very fast start. Again, it was very clear that Mitch and Leandre Bouchard were the 2 to watch, with the pair of rivals (and friends) battling hard as they took turns at the front. Several other talented racers tried to chase, but they were no match for the two leaders. With a lap to go, Leandre made the decisive move, getting a small gap on Mitch that would eventually be the difference between the riders. Never one to concede a race, Mitch fought hard right to the line to keep the gap small, finishing a very exciting race in 2nd position.
With the Big Dogs done their races, the Sunday races featured the Relay and Master racers. Several Trek racers took part in the fast and exciting relay before Jon hit the trails for his chance at the Jersey that eluded him last year. With an aggressive plan in mind, Jon survived the usual Faster Master Start to come out of the first singletrack and take the lead, and never looked back. After getting a small gap on his main rivals, he focused on staying strong and fast, attacking every hill and saving nothing for later. A small gap extended into a large gap, and Jon had to use the field of 30-39 Masters, that started 2min ahead, as motivation for his chase. To cheers from all around the course, Jon caught all but the winning 30-39 racer, coming across the line over 3min ahead of second place. A great race from start to finish lead Jon to regain his National Champion title.
With one of the Team’s major goals now complete, Trek Canada is now looking at the rest of the year, which includes World Cups at Mont Ste Anne and Wyndham, as well as a few more Ontario Cups, road races, Crank the Shield, Ride for Karen… and probably a few Cross races in there too!!!
We would all like to thank not only the fans that came to support us along the track, but also those who could not attend. We appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.
We are very proud to represent the Trek Store, Trek Bikes, 2XU Compression, ClifBar and ESI Grips. Keep posted for a Nationals Picture Party coming soon!!