Banff Bike Fest
Surprise Corner Prologue
To start off the bike fest it was a 1.5 km hill climb. Tara Whitten set the time to beat and was the only woman to break the 3 minute mark. In a tight race for the top podium spots, Leah was our top rider finishing 16 seconds back in a strong 5th place. Laura was right behind Leah in 6th, 18 second back from Whitten. Jess and Sarah finished 27 and 30 seconds back, respectively. The team was in good shape with Laura, our top time trialist, sitting in a good position heading into the Sprint 1A road race.
In the mens race Marcel got on the podium in 3rd place, a mear 3 seconds behind the winner. Cyrus was 4th only 5 seconds back and Cory 'continuing to make his comback' was 7th.
Stage 1 - Sprint 1A Road Race
Stage 1 of the Banff Bike Fest rolled along a short, fast, out and back course. The race was as expected, very sketchy and we had are first crash within the first 500 meters. Cyrus set a blistering pace for our first neutral kilometer then the race began and the attacks came on. With an attentive and fresh peloton nothing would stick until 20km to the finsh with Marcel and four others forming a break away. With no one other then Marcel and a Lenovo rider willing to put in a 100% effort the break came back with 5km to go. The pack came down to a sprint finish where Cyrus came 7th, and the rest of the team rolling in with the pack.
The women went into the race wanting to be aggressive and protect Laura for GC contention and Leah for the sprint finish. The race stayed together during the entire race, there were some attacks on some of the small climbs but nothing ever came to be. Sarah had one of the best moves of the day, counterattacking and getting into a break. That forced Tara Whitten to bridge and Julie Beveridge to chase, which was ideal. But again the pack came back together. Although we didn't get a podium, Laura and Leah were up in the top 10 with Leah finishing 6th and Laura 8th. Basically maintaining a good position to go into the tt for the next day.
Stage 2 - Time Trial
The morning was sunny skies and light winds – a perfect day for the race of truth. Considering in previous years the 1A sprint and road race ended in group finishes, we knew the time trial was most likely going to be the major time shake-up in GC. A typical battle of the heads of state and once again, it didn’t disappoint.
The TT course is amongst the most spectacular routes you’ll ever ride – if you take the time to look around you’re surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, emerald green lakes, big horn sheep and the odd motorist on the quiet Lake Minnewanka loop. Topping that off you have several good sized hills thrown in, some spicy descents, multiple cattleguards and a flat 3km stretch which you see at the start and finish of the race totaling 21 km.
In the Mens race Mckissick of the Lenovo cycling team was the clear favorite, it was going to take a herculean effort to beat him – but with Cyrus’ hot Iranian blood and Pony’s lighting fast gallup – we believed anything was possible . As usual, the girls started first and came back with pretty standard quotes like “it was really hard’ and “it’s a long hard finish”, so we knew putting your head down and riding fast was all we had to do. While every rider had carrots to catch, Cyrus turned in the 3rd fastest time of the day, Cory slotted in at 10th, Pony in 15th, Zach 35th, Shawn 53rd and Dan 54th. This left us with 3 in the top ten on GC: Cyrus 3rd, Cory 7th, Marcel 10th.
The women's field was stacked with riders such as current Track World Champion and National TT Champion Tara Whitten as well as National TT medalist Julie Beveridge. The TR women were all ready to put out a fast time ride and that they did. Laura rode a strong time trial to place 3rd, just over 30 seconds down from Tara and only 1.2 seconds down from Julie. Jess Hannah was 6th, Leah was 8th, and Sarah rounded out the top 10, just under 2 minutes down from Tara.
Stage 3 – Banff Avenue Criterium
What can be said about putting 84 riders on a Crit course and throwing in a 3-foot radius hairpin corner? The results depend a lot on your perspective…That perspective was ideal for spectators, who were treated to 55 laps of racing, crashing, and the perfect backdrop of the Banff town site.
Things were not so relaxed for the racers, who had GC and skin on the line. The course was dry in time for start, and everyone knew that getting to the front was a top priority to stay upright and follow attacks. Attacks started instantly and behind the top 20, the sound of crashes seemed to ring out every other lap. Cyrus got in a 3-man move with Aaron Schooler and Paul Tichelar, which had established a small gap. Fate and pre-race jitters reared their ugly head as Cyrus went down in the hairpin turn, losing contact with the break. Aaron and Paul continued to build a lead that would eventually lap the field; While TR remained in the front and finished all riders in the top 20 – Dan lead the charge to capture 5th in the bunch sprint. Finishing in one piece was a relief for everyone, and we would live to fight again tomorrow…
For the women the Crit was the final stage in the GC. Going into the crit, we realistically didn't have a good chance of moving up in GC higher than 3rd place, unless Laura was able to lap the field and we knew she would be marked. From the gun, Leah led around the first hairpin and it became clear that girls were going to fall off of the main group sooner than later. Laura and Leah held good positioning throughout the entire crit and marked any potentially dangerous moves. Leah attacked in hopes of getting away; however, it was unsuccessful and she was also being marked by the key players. Jess and Sarah had some mishaps from the gun and were chasing the main pack for the first half of the race. Eventually the two girls bridged up to the main pack and Jess attacked, stirring things up in the field and stringing it out. With three laps to go Andrea Bunnin attacked causing some panic within the field. Sarah got to the front and started to real her in, catching her on the last lap. Leah had good placement in the sprint finish and took second place to Leah Kirchman on Trek. Great teamwork today and another podium for the TR girls with 2nd on the stage and Laura in 3rd Overall GC.
Stage 5 - Tunnel Mtn Road Race
After three fun filled days of racing amongst the wildlife in the national park, The Team was all set for the final road race on Sunday. 11 laps around Tunnel Mountain on a not terribly selective loop. Lenovo rode in defence of their overall lead, riding on the front and reeling back break-aways. A few attacks were launched here and there; the peleton slowly but surely began to thin out the pack.
All the Resto's rode like champs. Team Manager/really good residual fitness racer flatted early on and Zack was there to bring him back with a furious 15km chase. Not fun but they made it up to the pack. Meanwhile, Marcel and Shawn rode in support of Cyrus to try to get him to move up to the podium from fourth overall.
Coming into the final lap, the pace was hot and Marcel just made it hotter. With Cyrus on his wheel, he drilled it up the final climb and led it over the top. Into the final km, Shawn was right there for Cyrus just as Justin Kerr from H&R launched his sprint. Uncharacteristically attentive, Cyrus grabbed that wheel and when Justin began to fade, Cyrus went, gunning for home. 200m, 100m, 50m, he might have this in the bag! Alas, with 40m to the line, super sprinter Tyler Trace from Trek Red Truck began to creep his way forward. His speed was too much for Cyrus to handle and he pipped him at the line. A hard fought second place for Cyrus and team on the stage and just enough to move Cyrus up to 3rd place overall (by 0.1 seconds!). A nice way to close off the third edition of the Banff Stage Race!