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BC’s Simon Harrington earns podium finish at Redlands Bicycle Classic

It was a successful stage race for BC’s Simon Harrington who recently returned from the 27th Redlands Bicycle Classic in sunny Redlands, California.

The opening day saw 33 Para-cyclists battle it out on the grueling 5km hill-climb time trial. With an elevation gain of 700 feet, this climb was sure to test early season fitness levels. Carlos Moleda, two time Kona Ironman champion posted the fastest time of 19:04. Harrington finished in 20:59, earning him a 3rd place finish in the H3 class.

Day two moved to the near-by city of Beaumont for the 31.5k road race. Competition was fierce with notables such as US Paralympic Team member Matt Updike in attendance. Updike recently cumulated his 2011 season with silver in the road race at Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Fortunately the Para-cyclists had an early start and therefore were not subjected to the strong winds that developed later in the day, for which people aptly refer to as “Blowmont”. A sprint finish saw Carlos Moleda winning over Matt Updike and Will Lachenauer. Harrington was dropped early in the race, causing him to put out a solo effort but managing to hold a 4th overall finish, two minutes back from the leaders.

Day three moved back to downtown Redlands for the long course Criterium. A fast and technical 1 mile lap course with 9 turns suited those with good bike handling skills and strong accelerations. Thirty five riders were set for the 30 minute race. The race was dominated by four riders including Harrington, who managed to hold onto the wheels of the US racers for a majority of the race. In the end Updike used his superior cornering strength to carry him across the finish line for an easy win. Only five riders where not lapped by Updike. Harrington was able to carry himself over for a 4th place overall finish and 2nd in H3 class. “I was a little nervous going into today’s race, being this was my first crit. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew handling the bike well was going to be key. I had a great time and I am totally hooked on crit racing now!” says Harrington after the race.

On the final day a number of corners were removed from the long course criterium to make for an even faster .65 mile lap short course. Just as the 30 minute clock started, the rain also started. Even on the three-wheeled handcycles the corners were slick. Updike and Moleda held their position up front for the entire race, with Updike out sprinting Moleda at the finish. Harrington and Mike Postell worked together for a portion of the race attempting to catch the leaders, until Harrington, feeling the effects of the previous three days of race fell back.

In the end Harrington was able to secure a third place finish for the Omnium H3 classification. Harrington reflects on his experience stating that “Redlands was just what I needed at this time early in the season. It provided me with a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to test out my new bike. The organizers and athletes were super welcoming and friendly. I know I will be returning next year!”


Redlands podium

Full results can be seen here