Bigger, stronger, faster.
That proved to be the theme of the 2013 Banff Bike Fest as many of the top teams brought high-level talent to this year’s competition.
While last year Rundle Mountain Cycling Club dominated every category, their success prompted other large teams to bring out their best.
“The field depth was a lot bigger and deeper this year,” said RMCC veteran Erik Jensen. “That’s a result of how we did last year. They brought more and deeper talent, and it’s a credit to the club.”
Racing for SoulSportif, Chris McNeil was the top local racer, finishing third in Cat 1/2. He won the individual time trial and was 16 seconds back of overall winner Bailey McKnight of Trek Red Truck Racing. Former RMCC racer Robin Clegg finished eighth, while Scot Manktelow was the top RMCC rider in the category, finishing 20th.
“Things have gone well for me this year. The race was hard on Sunday, but that works well with me. I can handle a higher pace versus slower pace with sprint,” Manktelow said.
Aaron Sands was the top Banff rider in Cat 3, finishing fourth overall. He won the prologue and nearly won the crit, but had his chain snap with 20 metres to go in the final lap. He ended up 1:10 behind Dalton Fayad of the Regina Cycle Club.
So many RMCC riders moved up to Cat last year, it left the team thin in Cat 3, however Sands and Matt Neumann both finished in the top 20.
“Sands has been a super stable performer for us. Had it not been for a mechanical, he would have won the crit,” Jensen said. “To graduate as many as we have is the best problem to have.”
In Cat 4, Colin Croston dominated the competition, winning four of the five races to earn a 46 second lead over Kurt Hauser. Houston Peschl of Café Racers finished third.
After winning the crit, Croston was surprised his tired legs carried him to such a strong result in time trial.
“I started off pretty tired because of the TT, I knew I had a good sprint compared to a lot of these guys,” Croston said. “I honestly thought I’d lose more time in the time trial. I didn’t feel good. I thought I might have to go for a break (in the crit),” he said. “I’m really happy with this whole weekend.”
Jensen said the younger riders truly gave the team hope. Poidevin finished 11th overall in the women’s category, including a ninth place finish in the Lake Louise Road Race. Liah Harvie finished 15th overall.
“I’m super proud of the young kids. I could speak all day about the youth we have in the club. One day they might be wearing a pro team or a maple leaf on their jersey,” Jensen said.
Manktelow, who coaches the young riders, said they rode with intelligence, which maximized their potential.
“They’re smart kids, they’re tough kids. They rode with intelligence and class,” Manktelow said.
Their attention now shifts to the RMCC race in Canmore in mid-July, which will act as a provincial championship.