Cycling BC’s HP team headed out to central Canada to compete against some of Canada’s top XC athletes in the second Canada Cup of the 2015 season, in Horseshoe Valley, ON. The team is comprised of U17 athletes Hunter Verner, Nick Kleban, Holden Jones and Shane Patterson, as well as veteran team members, Rhys Verner (Junior), Luke Di Marzo (Junior) and Sean Fincham (Junior).
The track was 6 km long, with U17’s doing three laps and the juniors doing four laps come race day. The team managed to sneak in four days of practice, which gave the athletes plenty of time to session sections and really nail down their lines.
The track was really fun–it was technical, no jumps, which was a bit of a bummer. Your position coming out of the start loop was key, as there were no passing opportunities in the first half of the course, which involved a ton of short punchy climbs. The second half of the course had one gravel road climb which dropped you into a fun descent with lots of berms and good single track.
– Sean Fincham
Race day was Sunday with the U17’s getting their day started with an 11:30 am start under clear skies and comfortable temperatures making for some great racing weather. Shane Patterson and Holden Jones both had incredible starts, getting them into the lead pack with Nick close behind and Hunter having to gain some ground to get back into the mix. Holden, who is a first year cadet and was competing in his first National level event, had an exceptional race, holding Quebec off to take his first (and certainly not last) Canada Cup bronze medal.
The juniors started minutes behind the pro men and pro women at 1:30 pm, with clear skies and some heavy gusts starting to kick up through the open areas. Rhys Verner and Luke Di Marzo both started in the first row thanks to some valuable UCI and CC points earned earlier this year, and first- year junior Sean Fincham was just one place away from joining on the front lines. All three had great starts putting them in the lead pack coming out of the start loop and into lap one. Rhys Verner managed to stay at the front of the pack playing leap frog with second and fourth throughout the race, making for an exciting race. Sean Fincham was a mere 20 seconds back from Rhys (even though he had an altercation with a tree and seemed to be missing his right arm sleeve), and Luke Di Marzo was also 20 seconds back from Sean, both holding any chasers back from making moves on their teammate, Rhys. Rhys managed to secure a bronze medal, with Sean Fincham in fourth and Luke Di Marzo in fifth place. BC dominated the podium at Horseshoe Valley and proved they are a force to be reckoned with this year.
I had an awesome start, getting the whole shot off the line and leading out the race up the start loop. After a minute or so, I settled into a pace and was passed by Quinton Disera and Raph Auclair. I stuck with them for the first half lap before drifting back a few seconds. Liam Mulcachy and myself then caught and passed Raph Auclair towards the end of the first lap. The two of us then rode together for a half lap before he launched an attack that I couldn’t respond to. Over the next two and a half laps, I tried to be smooth and consistent and ended up finishing third place. It was a good race for me and I felt pretty good throughout the whole race.
Today we had an excellent showing with some solid racing, showing that we’re on track for Nationals in St. Felecien, QC. We’ve got six more weeks to get some hard training in and work out a few kinks to fine tune our race execution, to put more BC athletes on the podium and on the National team.
– Mike Charuk
View results from the weekend’s races here.
Swipe to view more Images