Three women from Whistler travelled to Squamish for the Gearjammer and at the end of the mountain bike race they took ownership of the podium.
Petra Tlamkova opened up an early lead over the rest of the women in the event on Saturday, July 20 and maintained her dominant spot right to the end of the race. She finished with a time of two hours, 57 minutes and 12 seconds in 45th position overall and more than 10 minutes ahead of Chloe Cross, the second woman across the finish line. Cross, who raced as an age group competitor, finished in 3:10:50 and she was followed by Fanny Paquette with a time of 3:12:23. Paquette also rode as an age group competitor.
Neal Kindree didn't enter the race this year. With the defending male champion absent from the start line, three men quickly jumped to the front and shared leads throughout the 45-kilometre course.
Kevin Calhoun of North Vancouver was first across the finish line with a time of 2:27:57. Bowen Island's Colin Kerr was right behind Calhoun at the line and Sullivan Reed, who has moved from Prince George to Burnaby, was just behind Kerr. The three top males all rode in the Pro-Elite category.
Calhoun said keeping hydrated was the key in the hot weather. Kerr, Reed and Calhoun rode the race together right to the end.
"We were jockeying position all day and just at the end here we gapped Sullivan on the road and it just came down to a sprint between Colin and I," said Calhoun, still breathing hard from his sprint finish. "He let it out and I just got around him."
The women's winner in 2012, Sandra Walter, chose to skip Gearjammer this year to compete at the national championships in Ontario. Tlamkova rode in the Pro-Elite category and completed the course 23 minutes faster than Rua Reed of Squamish who was the second fastest cyclist in the category. Pam Frentzel-Beyme of Whistler was the third fastest female Pro-Elite.
Tlamkova said the weather was a bit too hot but thought the race was awesome overall.
"I started pretty fast and I had to slow down a little bit because it is too warm," she said after the race.
Water became an issue for Tlamkova as she ran out of fluids ahead of the second feed station.
According to Cross, Tlamkova quickly got out of site after the start.
"It was hot and really hard but it was good," Cross said at the finish line.
She said she locked into second place and didn't see Paquette.
"I knew that Fanny would be right there," said Cross. "She's always super strong so I always had an eye open over my shoulder for her the whole way."
Cross also rode the Test of Metal in June and used Whistler toonie races for training in advance of Gearjammer. She spent four months recovering from injury.
"I was off for four months with a herniated disk doing nothing then I was indoors training with Tag Cycling and I only just got back in the game in time for the Test but I've been riding really strong thanks to my amazing coaches," Cross said after the Gearjammer awards ceremony.
Other top finishers included Austin Reith of Whistler in the Male 14-19 category. He finished in first place with a time of 2:33:11 and eighth overall. Squamish's Dwayne Kress was fourth overall and first amongst men 40 to 49. Eric Goodwin or Squamish was ninth overall and second in the 30 to 39 age group while Squamish resident Nathan McKay finished in 10th in same age group as Goodwin.
Rick Reid of Whistler raced with the men between 60 and 69 and he placed second in his age group. Whistler's Rick Lee just missed the podium with his fourth place finish in the 50 to 59 age group.
A group of Sea to Sky men in the 20 to 29 age group rode the course in less than three hours. Quentin Emeriau of Whistler placed fifth in the age group and he was followed by Squamish's Cameron Sylvester, Adam Ward of Whistler, Dylan Smith of Squamish and Hayden Drygas, who is also a Squamish resident.
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