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Junior Nationals Recap

The Junior National Road Championships wrapped up on Saturday with the Crit, after having completed the Road Race on Friday. The women kicked off the day on Friday with an 80 km road race (4 X 2o km laps) through Thetford Mines, QC. The majority of the race was relatively quiet with only a few attacks happening and nothing really sticking. In the last lap, things started to pick up with more attacks leading into the last 10 km that seemed to stick creating a small break. There were several crashes leading into the last section of the race as the pace picked up through the most technical part of the course. Gillian Ellsay and Erin Attwell worked together against Alberta and Quebec to try and take the win. Ellsay and Attwell had both been very active riders the whole race and just didn’t have the power left to take the win. Gillian hammered through the line in second place, with Erin, just shy of the podium, landing in fourth. A job well done ladies!

This was my first time racing road nationals, as I am a second year Cadet (U17). I was nervous about the abilities of the other girls before the start, but once the race started it felt like any other race. The first two laps followed a pretty predictable pattern: one girl attacked, the pace went really hard for a few minutes, and then the pace slowed again while the girls watched each other seeing who would make the next move. Unfortunately, a bit before halfway through the race, my tire flatted. I drafted the team car for half a lap, desperately trying to get back on, but I didn’t have it in me. While I’m disappointed that my race ended as early as it did, Road Nationals was still a great learning experience.

– Margaret Ovenell

The men’s 140 km (7 laps of the 20 km track) race got off to a fast start. A break of five athletes (three Quebec, one Ontario and Joel Taylor from BC) took place within the first 10 km and held for five laps. There were a few attempts to bridge the gap, however, nothing could stick, and the break gained up to a 2:20 gap on the rest of the field. With 1.5 laps to go, the peloton kicked things into gear and reeled the group in, working with the cross tailwind that was giving them a bit of an extra kick. A few more attacks took place, before one stuck created a decent break that held until the end.

Overall the road race went quite well for me, I spent most of the race following moves and focusing on good positioning and staying out of trouble. The most important parts of the course were the descent and the feed zone, both of which have a heightened risk for crashing. Hydration and nutrition were both solid up until the last lap where I dropped my last full bottle. I managed to fight off cramping for the final three km and finished fifteenth.

-John Willcox

The 30-lap men’s crit kicked off Saturday afternoon–again, another fast start to the race which riders averaging just under 50 km/h! Our riders managed to get into some of the big moves again, but just couldn’t manage to hold a spot – we clearly had a target on our back!

I knew going into all the events that I was a rider who was capable of being actively involved in the race, so I rode aggressively and tried to get into some of the moves. The start of the race was a fast one with a break of four of us forming on the first lap and staying out for a few laps. The race continued to be fast with many small moves the whole way through but nothing got away and it came down to a fast final sprint. Having a second experience at Nationals shows the big improvement I have made since last year and I hope that I will see an improvement again next year.

– Fergus Horrobin

The 22-lap women’s race rounded out the day with a relatively quick start. Some attacks took place with our riders having some trouble working together–getting pinned in the middle and unable to react and counter the attacks leaving some more vulnerable than others making for a very tough race.

The crit course was not my favorite, as two of the stretches featured uphill grinds where the pace was always high. There were some early attacks and I tried my best to stay in the front third of the race so as to be able to get on chasing them early. The corners were very fun in the group at high speeds, and I had some good moments in the pack, even once pushing the pace on the front and initiating a small attack on the downhill stretch. Unfortunately I got dropped just after the half way mark of the race. I chased back on once and then was dropped again. I kept my head and continued to go as hard as I could, until being pulled with 5 to go. Although the DNF was disappointing, overall I think it was a very good experience, and I learned a little more about how I need to ride crits to remain in the pack for the finish.

– Holly Simonson


I really enjoyed my time with Cycling BC’s Junior team at the National Championships in Thetford Mines last week. These young racers have great drive and commitment to their craft and it was a pleasure to share insights from my racing days with such a welcoming and attentive crew.  Their professionalism on the bicycle also matched their maturity off the bicycle as their recovery, hygiene and nutrition met the standards of well-trained athletes, who understand the power of routine, health and of course, a family atmosphere among team members.  I look forward to my next coaching opportunity with these rippers!

– Ben Chaddock

A big thank you goes out to all of our generous supporters and funders, including the government of BC, ViaSport, Cycling BC, Haywood Securities, Adera, Brookfield, SplitMango, Jakroo, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factories, and Painted Rock Winery.

For a full list of results, click here.


Gillian Ellsay taking silver, and second medal of the weekend
Gillian Ellsay and Holly Simonson
John Willcox scoping out the pack
Joel Taylor taking a pull in the crit
Gillian Ellsay doing her fair share of work out there
Pre race strategy with Ben and Erin Attwell
Through the tunner in the Road Race