Just back from a wicked few days of racing in Banff. I'll try to post some highlights, but I can barely keep my own shit straight, so I can't really do everyone's awesome performances justice. Comment or edit corrections and additions, please.
We had a great turnout for Thursday's hill climb on Hwy 93. 6.5km of undulating uphill. A great turnout of cat 5's, considering they weren't racing the following day. Stephen and Thomas had standout performances, coming 2nd in the cat 2/3 and cat 4 races, respectively, with Dennis also picking up cash for his 6th in 2/3. Frankie had the top ST performance in the invited cat with a 27th (out of 84), with Rod taking both the tail gunner award and nastiest sounding cough award. Trek Red Truck came out in force, taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th!
Friday started off pouring rain, but the sun came out in time for the start of the 80km "sprint" road race, on a majestic stretch of 1A from Lake Louise, almost to Banff, and back. First the invited race went, and at the turn-around, an attack went off with our man Keith, but was caught immediately, then another without ST representation, and that stayed away. Alex made a strong bid to bridge, but came back after a few km in the wind alone. In the end the break was caught with 1km to go, except for one rider, GC leader Jamie Sparling, who took the win. Frank again had a strong showing to be first ST home. In the combined 2/3/4 race, Stephen ramped up the pace for many a kilometer, and Mike G was in a break with a giant from H&R (photos will be posted), but otherwise the pack stayed together until the final kilometre of ascent to the finish. Dennis was just out of the money on this one with a 7th.
Saturday morning's ITT was littered with various herbivorous and carnivorous wildlife, and many STists had great races. Mr Kenny snagged 3rd in cat 2/3 (but still claims he shouldn't move to cat 2), while Thomas (2nd) and Handsome Rob (4th) picked up cheques for their wicked work in cat 4. Alex had a smoking 28:40 for the 21km course, but Kyle turned his bike into an orange missle to get a 28:03 and lead the invited ST crew. TRT again showed dominance with top three in the invited cat to retain GC.
Saturday evening was the criterium, and the organisers had a fantastic, safe course, with a big U-turn across 6 lanes, that saw a ton of action and pack separation, but kept almost all crashes to low-speed, single rider variety. Clarke led for ST in cat 5 to finish with the 7-man pack. Larry worked hard in cat 4 to help Thomas get to the podium in cat 4, Ryan was doing well in 2/3 until it was cut short by a solo H&R effort, and Sandra held her own in the women's cat. Another blistering pace this year in the invited men's race, and unfortunately we didn't have any ST men in the final pack of the invited boys, but Paul Tichelaar laid the hurt down for triathletes everywhere to finish in a 4 man break.
Sunday brought the women's and invited men's road race, held on a 13km circuit: through the edge of town, out on Banff Ave, over some solid rollers and down big steep descents. Marilyn represented in women's RR to finish despite chilly wet weather. In the men's invited race Alex traded pulls with the pro's to bring back a breakaway, while Frank showed great staying power to keep with the pack for 8 of the 9 laps. A TRT rider took the win, and Cyrus of H&R came second, while Jamie Sparling of TRT won the overall GC.
All in all, I think everyone had a great time at the stellar race. Clearly this is a gem on the racing calendar, and hopefully the success will bring more support and a full 4 day buffet of stage racing for all categories. Thanks to Trev for his support of the team throughout the weekend, and also for the support of Darcy & Godfrey on their non-race days.
Sat. 9am Calgary Wheelers Ride | Thurs. Night Skills (TNS) Start up after Penticton| Wed. 6:30pm Wed. Night Series (do this!) | Tues. Crits start May. 6th