Sea to Sky riders quick at cross-country nationals 

Tyler Allison, Tony Routley, Neal Kindree on podium

By Andrew Mitchell

Sun Peaks hosted the Canadian Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships this past weekend, hosting the top riders from across the country. The course itself was short at 5.4 km, but with two big climbs and technical descents it was a challenge for many riders.

The pro women made four laps of the course, while the men made six.

The overall women’s title went to Olympic silver medalist Marie-Helene Premont, who was defending her title. She took the lead early, according to the report at Canadian Cyclist, then dropped back to fifth when she made a wrong turn. After that she managed to work her way back to the front by the last lap, and finished with a three-minute lead on the rest of the field.

Alison Sydor showed her strength and experience, battling younger riders to the finish and grabbed second place. Kiara Bisaro of Courtenay placed third.

For the men, Victoria’s Geoff Kabush crashed on the first lap while in the lead position, and was in 12 th when he rejoined the race. With a minor concussion and a sore shoulder he moved up into fifth by the halfway point, and by the end of lap four was in second place. On the last lap he managed to catch Ricky Federau on the climb, despite a 35 second lead, and defend his title with a strong ride into the finish. Federau was second, and Squamish’s own Neal Kindree third. Kindree also took the overall Espoir (Under 23) category, ensuring himself a place with Canada’s world championship team.

Neal’s older sister, Meaghan Kindree, also raced, finishing 13 th overall among women, and second among Espoir riders. That result guaranteed Meaghan her own spot with the Canadian team.

Several local riders competed in the age categories, either following Saturday’s pro races or on Sunday.

In the Under 13 category, Alexander Geddes finished second behind a rider from Ontario, while Kerry-Anne Hamilton raced unchallenged to take the women’s Under 13 title.

In the Under 15 Men, Whistler’s Tyler Allison destroyed the competition on three laps of a shortened course, edging out Dylan Musselman of Ontario by 1:23 with his time of 27:11. Nicholas Geddes was eighth in that category, 5:39 back of Allison.

“It was a really fun course, but it could have been a lot longer. There were lots of passing spots, which was good, and a lot of fun singletrack,” said Allison.

Not that he needed the passing spots — “I led right out of the gate. A few riders tried to stay behind me but after the first five minutes I lost them, as soon as I hit the singletrack.”

Allison may race in the Canada Cup this weekend if organizers add an Under 15 category, or he may decide to race against juniors as old as 18. He’s also planning to take part in Crankworx races, the Super D and the Air Downhill, and possibly the Garbanzo Enduro Downhill if he doesn’t go to the Canada Cup at Mt. Washington.

Trevor Hopkins raced the Master Expert 30 to 39 category, finishing 13 th .

Bob Allison, Tyler’s Allison’s father, just missed the podium in the Master Expert 40 to 49 group, coming in fourth.

Tony Routley placed second in the Master 50-Plus group, but was the top Canadian as first place went to a rider from California.

Many of the riders taking part in the nationals are expected to remain in B.C. to race in Whistler this weekend in a Canada Cup event. The Canada Cup could be more challenging than Sun Peaks, with an 8.5 km loop, and no sustained climbs or flat sections for riders to rest. A course map is available online at www.crankworx.com , as well as registration.

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