CANMORE – Rubber was burned on more than 9,000 kilometres of pavement by cyclists Sunday (June 4) during the stiffest endurance test at the Rundle Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) Road Festival.
During the 10th annual road race in Canmore, which ranges from 46 km to 112 km depending on racing levels, cyclists had plenty of time to strategize, make bold moves, and try to outlast the pack in the final competition of the two-day event.
"My best chance was to stay in the pack and hope it was a pack finish and it kind of ended up like that," said Canmore's Connor Howe, who placed sixth in the men's Cat 1/2 race.
Last season, Howe won three medals following a fifth place at the Olympics in the 1,500m long track. The speed skating world cup gold medallist is a regular at RMCC Road Festivals; however, finding the podium this year was a bit tougher for the soon to be 23-year-old.
"I maybe don't feel quite as strong as last year at this time," said Howe. "I think we have been a bit later with our intense cycling training, so I didn't feel quite as strong, but I was in there and had fun."
Adam Smith of Manitoba finished first in the top men's race at a time of 3:04:45 in the 112 km race, and Banff's Finn Borstmayer was 12th.
Competing in a triathlon in Drayton Valley the day prior, Canmore's Kahlen Anderson didn't show any signs of fatigue when she cruised to victory in the junior women's race at a time of 2:04:44.
A top junior triathlete in Alberta, Anderson prefers the swimming and running dynamic whenever she bikes, but the Grade 11 athlete said the solo cycling adventure was good experience.
"It was my first road race ever," said Anderson. "We all worked together as a group and I just attacked at the right spot at the end and was able to hold the gap. In my last lap, I knew I was going to be strong up this one hill and I just went a the bottom and sprinted as hard as I could and pushed hard the rest of the lap. I didn't know how fast everyone else is, but once i got into the race, I was like I was feeling good and I'm going to try for the last lap."
RMCC's Ashton Thomson finished third in the junior women's 63 km race after coming into the road race with two victories under her belt. However, early in the race, the local cyclist hit a bump that caused way more damaged to her tire than expected and she fell back from the pack.
"It twisted my rear tire and it was rubbing on my frame for the first 10-K until I figured out what it was and then I had to stop and fix it, which is where I lost a lot of time," said Thomson. "I worked my way out of last and into third, so I was happy with the comeback, but definitely not with the circumstance."
In the 96 km women's cat 1/2/3 race, Olympic cyclist Leah Kirchmann completed a golden sweep at the RMCC Road Festival, crossing the finish line at a time of 3:01:44. Finishing second was Anabelle Thomas, a 2022 national junior champion, and in third was Olympic speed skating gold medallist Ivanie Blondin.
In women's Cat 4 63 km race, Olympic speed skating gold medallist Isabelle Weidemann finished first.
In the U15 girls 46 km race, RMCC cyclists Sophie Chubey was first, Ella Eidsvik was second, and Charlie Pittard was third.
In U17 boys 46 km race, RMCC's Larix Hallet took home silver, Bjorn Eidsvik was seventh, and Emmett Macklem was 10th.
In the 96 km men's cat 3 race, RMCC's Jared Geravis finished ninth.
For full results, visit www.zone4.ca.