By Sharon White
Seven new 2018 Global Relay Canadian Masters Cycling Champions were crowned on Sunday on a day that featured pesky winds and rains, three-year-old tykes to 60-plus year-olds on bikes, and criterium Russ Hay’s Grand Prix excitement.
The women’s Masters racing at this last day of the Robert W. Cameron Law Cycling Series p/b Lexus combined all age groups, mixing a field where anything could happen.
“It was a really close race,” said Pender Racing p/b Bicicletta’s Carolyn Russell, who picked up her second in as many days, 40-49 women’s national titles. “Everyone was really competitive in all the age categories. Anyone could have won today – it came right down to the last corner.”
Edmonton’s Shauna Telford took the 30-39 women’s title, agreeing that it indeed was a tough one. “It was a very tactical race and I worked with Gail (Wozny) throughout the race.” Wozny, also from Edmonton, won the 50+ women’s title.
Indicative of the durability of cycling as a lifelong sport, race organizers had to re-jig the morning’s schedule to split the 50-59 and 60+ men’s field.
Daniel Therer of Saint-Adele, Quebec, won the Masters Men’s 50-59 crit race after taking a bit of a rest at yesterday’s road race. “I’m not much of a hill climber so stopped at 50K so I could focus on the crit.”
Therer, who holds 1983 team pursuit and 2010 crit national titles, said the race was very controlled and he knew the sprint would come at the last corner where he leaned on some other Quebec riders to help.
In the 60+ Men’s race, Lantzville’s Chris Cameron’s strategy was to hang on to a fast pace and make his move. It worked and gave him the win. “I stayed with Andrew (Neale) for the early attacks as he is stronger. But he helped set me up for the finishing sprint.”
This assistance from Neale, yesterday’s 60+ road race champion, helped Cameron make up for a shoe miscue. “I missed the road race yesterday as I left my shoes in Nanaimo,” Cameron explained. “So I was highly motivated to do well today as I would never live that down.”
Langlois Brown Racing’s Vincent Marcotte took a surprise win in the finishing sprint of the Men’s 40-49 race. Pender Racing p/b Bicicletta’s riders controlled most of the race but Marcotte pulled off a wicked move in the last corner to get the win.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to hear that,” he said when introduced as one of the Global Relay Canadian Masters Men’s champions.
Almost 200 kids aged 3 to 10 registered for the Tim Hortons Timbit Challenge. The rain kept some of the kids away but about 130 of the braver ones took to the street for what is increasingly becoming the fan-favourite of the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series.
The afternoon belonged to the non-Masters riders – and the women’s Cat 1-3 event belonged to Broad Street Cycles’ Megan Rathwell.
With five laps to go, Rathwell led a group of three into a cat and mouse game Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes’ Callie Swan and Glotman Simpson’s Janna Gillick in pursuit. With two laps to go, Holly Simonson, bridged onto the end to join her team mate Swan, hoping to steal a win. Trek Red Truck Racing played it perfectly but couldn’t hold off a brilliant surge by Rathwell who ultimately kept her cool and had the legs to broach the win.
Her strategy to hold off such a strong attack? “I saw Holly bridging up so I just kept going.”
This win gives Rathwell five Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series wins in six years – the others being for Metchosin’s Road Race Classic.
The men’s Cat 1-2 elite race was an aggressive one with attack after attack after attack.
The last lap was set up to be a free-for-all but Trek Red Truck Racing’s Alexander Murison kept himself in the crosshairs of all the teams until his last assertive sprint.
“I could see the gaps,” the 2017 Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race crit winner said. “Every team had a rider up there.”
Much of the aggressive play came from breaks from Hewdog Racing’s Brendan Cowley, Langlois Brown Racing’s Nigel Kinney and Patrick Riddell but the real force came from brilliant pressure from some of the young ‘ums – 20-year-old Independent rider Alexander Amiri (second place), and 17-year-olds Cannondale p/b Fortius’s Eric Inster and Cycling BC’s Riley Pickrell, showing that the future of cycling is in good hands.
The weekend ended with the Broad Street Cycles Fixed Gear criterium where no brakes, one gear and nerves of steel gave the crowd their final excitement. Full results will be posted on www.victoriabikerace.com
With more than 500 cyclists, three full days of racing and tremendous support from sponsors, the city of Victoria, District of Oak Bay and Metchosin and an incredible crew of volunteers under Race Director Jon Watkin’s leadership, the book on the 2018 Global Relay Masters Cycling Championships / Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series p/b Lexus can be closed for another year until it all starts again when Greater Victoria hosts this national milestone event in 2019.