It was a perfect ride for 20-year-old Surrey resident Kyle Buckosky on Saturday, as he finished a good four minutes ahead of his closest competitor to win the Giro class of the 2014 RBC GranFondo Whistler.
And to hear it from him, that's just how he'd like it.
"Everybody wants to come in alone," Buckosky said with a smile, shortly after crossing the finish line.
"(Then you) have the time to put your arms up and all that stuff."
Buckosky had extra cause to celebrate, as his first-place finish earned him an $8,200 payday.
"It feels great. I was in a break right from the start with two other guys," Buckosky said.
"Then around 35 kilometres to go I attacked and it just stuck. I kept the pace hard."
Buckosky finished the 122-kilometre race in a time of three hours 17 minutes 58 seconds.
Four minutes later, Vancouver's Dylan Davies, David Gerth and Craig Richey crossed the finish line, with times of 3:21:49, 3:21:50 and 3:21:50, respectively.
Leading the pack for the women was Vancouver's Sara Bergen, who finished with a time of 3:30:55 to clinch a $1,800 payday.
The difference between the men's and women's prize earnings was due to the proportion of each gender registered for the race.
"It's fantastic. It's probably my biggest payday this year," Bergen said after the race.
Bergen's finish wasn't quite as comfortable as Buckosky's, coming in just one second ahead of fellow Vancouverite Denise Ramsden's 3:30:56.
"It was a sprint finish. I think I got her by like a foot or so," Bergen said.
Bergen is relatively new to road racing; her first-ever race was in last year's GranFondo Whistler.
"Last year I came fourth," she said. "That kind of got me stoked for riding, and so I joined a local team and just started hitting the season hard."
Even with just one year of racing under her belt, Bergen said she found little in the way of setbacks on the course aside from the heat and the hills.
"Like they just never, ever end pretty much," she said with a laugh.
"Once we got to Squamish it was like, 'OK, now the hills begin.' It was pretty much just head down the entire time."
Close to 3,500 cyclists finished the GranFondo in four different classes.
Whistler's Justin Homewood was the highest local finisher in the Giro, crossing the line with a time of 3:51:36.
If not for some mid-race misfortune, Homewood likely would have finished much higher than the 85th place he wound up with.
"I was doing well, but I hit a tack in the road, which pretty much ruined my day," he said.
"I went from (being) in a pretty nice position to having a flat and just cruising home."
Despite potentially missing out on one of those giant, novelty cheques handed out at the end of the day, Homewood didn't let the bad luck dampen his spirits.
"I was annoyed for about 15 seconds, and then I was like, 'Well, it's out of my control,'" he said.
"There will be another race, and you just move on to that one."
In the inaugural 152-km Forte class, which featured a climb to the top of Cypress Mountain before continuing up Highway 99, Whistler's Ted Battiston placed second with a time of 4:39:50, finishing 7:20 behind top finisher Max Power.
Whistler's Luke Dolan also finished in the top 10 with a time of 4:57:58, good enough for ninth place.
In the GranFondo's main 122 km ride, Trevor Hopkins of Team Whistler Question was the highest local finisher, placing 20th with a time of 3:42:49, followed closely by teammates Chloe Cross (3:42:50), Tony Routley (3:42:51), Cathy Zeglinski (3:47:27) and Joshua Stott (3:55:58).
"We rode very strong as a team," Hopkins said.
"We stayed in the front pack the whole way up."
Team Whistler Question took home the honour of Best Mixed Team, while Chloe Cross finished as the top female among non-Giro riders.
The strong result came as somewhat of a surprise to Cross, as she was taking part in her first-ever road race after finishing a "crazy" season of elite mountain biking just three weeks earlier.
"(I was) feeling pretty burned out from that, so I pretty much just stayed off the bike for three weeks, and Monday morning found out that the team had entered me," Cross said with a laugh.
"The Fondo was something that I had always wanted to try, so I said yes... it turned out that three weeks of rest does wonders for the legs."
Even with a set of fresh legs and some excellent support from her teammates, Cross said the victory was completely unexpected.
"I realized probably around about Brandywine that there was only one other girl in that first group, so then I started thinking about the sprint and the possibility of crossing the line as the first woman," she said.
"It feels amazing. It's an unbelievable way to end a crazy season for me."
Whistler's Ken Chaddock (3:55:35) and Derek Rhodes (4:00:45) also finished in the top 100 overall.
In the Medio 55 km class, Whistler's Laurissa Stebeleski came 55th with a time of 3:04:13.
Jamie Armstrong was the King of the Mountain, making the quickest ascent of Furry Creek Hill at 4:00. Stott was fifth at 4:31. The 500-metre Squamish Sprint at Mamquam Road saw Bradley Dean post the fastest time — 40 seconds.
In the first-ever Pursuit Challenge on Sunday — which pitted riders against each other on a short loop along Blackcomb Way with an elimination format — Vincent Marcotte of North Vancouver took first place, while Bailey Mcknight of Calgary took second and Whistler's own Otto Kamstra finished third.
For full results go to www.granfondowhistler.com.
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