Kananaskiker brings the pain
Graham Torrie and Margie Smith came out on top of the annual Kananaskiker mountain bike race on Sunday (June 3), at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Now in its second year, the Kananaskiker saw a significant drop in entrants, possibly partly due to its date, as several riders decided to stay home and save themselves for this weekend’s (June 9-10) Organ Grinder race at the Nordic Centre.
However, those who did participate tore up 40 kilometres of technical, cross-country riding, a tough eight-km time trial and a hill climb competition up Spray Lakes road.
Cochrane’s Torrie dominated the open men’s race. Fresh off a series of Canada Cup races in Quebec, Torrie finished the 40 km race in a time of 2:12:39, well ahead of second place racer Shawn Bunnin of Calgary (2:14:54.)
“The stage race is a neat format. It showcases a lot of the different strengths of cycling in the area,” Torrie said.
He found the race “more relaxing” than the Quebec races, and said his eastern starts gave him an advantage leading into the Kananaskiker.
His season is just getting going, as he plans to have a solid showing at the TransRockies, as well as a good start at the Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships later this summer.
Canmore was well represented in the 40 km race, with Brian Cooke (2:15:43), Alaric Fish (2:29.04), Heath McCroy (2:29:05) and Drew Simson (2:29:30) taking third through sixth positions.
Leighton Poidevin finished first in the 38 km master men’s 40-plus category (1:50:32), followed by Don Robertson and Darren Robinson. Marc Sonntag won the men’s sport 30 km race (1:17:57), followed by Darren Freeman and Brent Bittner.
Smith was the lone female competitor in this year’s race. Coming off bilateral hip surgery, Smith wanted to test her body early on.
“I’m not sure how this season will go, but the body felt good,” Smith said. “It was a good course and the they incorporated some new trails this year. It’s local and it’s a fun race.”
She plans to participate in Banff Bikefest, Sufferfest and Rundle’s Revenge this summer, as well as several other local races leading up to the TransRockies, showing surgery has not slowed her dominant speed.
Organizer Shawn Taylor said he wanted to offer old-school, technical, cross-country stage races for the Kananaskiker, something he feels has been lost.
“I wanted to use a lot of the trails that have been here for a while and show the technical, cross-country stuff you can do. The time trials were more technical and there’s nothing like the old Spray Lakes climb,” Taylor said.
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