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July 31/00 10:27 am - More Canadian Gold!, New Brunswick and More


Posted by Editor on 07/31/00
 

Pan Am Championships - Colombia

Kurt Innes, National Coach sends a report for the road races.

Hello all,

Just a quick note prior to sending this message to all of you. The internet access the last two days has been pretty poor. I haven't been able to log on at all, and had to wait till here in Miami to try and send this lengthy report on the last two days of road racing action.

Here it all is ...

Day # 7 (July 29, 2000) - Pan American Cycling Championships

Women's 75 KM Road Race

1. Erin Carter CAN
2. Sandy Esepeth CAN
3. Yoanka Gonzales CUB
4. Leigh Hobson CAN

17 women took to the start for this women's race this morning. Each 13 kilometre lap contained most of the same challenges as the time trial course. The road race shared the same start/finish line as the time trial, so this meant a very fast finishing straight as well as a fast initial 3 kilometres for each lap. The course then moved off of this 3 lane road into a residential area where the more technical sections were contained. This two lane road was a mix of turns and technical pot hole filled roads with the majority of time being spent on slight downhill or false flats. The major obstacle each lap was a climb of 3.5 kilometres in length. This climb started 7 kilometres from the finish line, so after topping this climb the riders had another 4 kilometres to the finish. Approximately 1.5 km from the finish was another false flat climb that really did a lot of damage to the field as did the major climb.

The racing started off relatively calm, with the first 2 laps being ridden steady and with the 3 Canadians taking turns at the front of the pack. This continued through lap 3 when Leigh Hobson took her turn at the front on the bigger climb. This stretched out the pack, and started to drop two of the 3 Cuban riders as well as three others. This continued each major climb as one of the Canadian riders would take their turn at the front.

With 2 laps to go the pack was down to 8 riders, with all 3 Canadians very much in the hunt for the gold. Interestingly, each lap through on the downhill (where the riders reached 85 km/hr) was where another split in the pack would develop. This is where Erin Carter decided to make her bid for victory during the last time down the hill. With a huge attack prior to the downhill, Erin gained a gap then really hammered on the last major climb. Erin had 10-15 seconds on 2nd place Sandy Esepeth over the top of the climb. Sandy had another 20 or so seconds on the remaining 5 riders in the chase pack with 4 km to go. Both Erin and Sandy held their positions to the finish, and produced a very spectacular Canadian 1 - 2 finish!

Leigh Hobson was situated in this chase pack and was left to duel with a very speedy Cuban in the final sprint. Leigh was caught off guard with 200 - 300 meters to go and was unable to react quick enough to catch the Cuban for 3rd. Leigh finished 2nd in this sprint (and 4th overall).

Day # 8 - July 30, 2000 Pan American Cycling Championships.

Mens 200 KM Road Race

Today's race featured 70 riders from 17 different countries. The race course used was the same as the women's, with an additional 130 KM to make up the 200 Kilometre distance.

Paul Kelly and Mike Barry were our two entrants from Canada. Most other countries entered the maximum 6 riders allowed per country. Although our team size was small, it almost seemed advantageous as the two Canadian riders were able to sit back and let the very competitive rivalry between Mexico and Colombia take its toll on these two stronger and more represented teams.

The spectators were the main story during most of the race. As the riders continued to pound up the 3.5 km hill each lap the amount of spectators continued to accumulate. During the first 7 or 8 laps the crowd was very controlled and seemed to enjoy the racing from the "periphery". Then with the last 10 laps remaining the crowd suddenly doubled or maybe tripled in size! Each time up the climb the crowd squeezed the peloton into a single file row of riders. The noise was also incredible, with tons of screaming and blowing of horns the riders were almost carried up the hill each lap with all of the emotion present. The number of spectators in the finishing straight also increased each lap to the point with approximately 3 laps to go it was absolutely packed all the way down the last 3 kilometre stretch. The people were lining the streets at least 5 or 6 deep, all the way on both sides of the road.

The racing itself was fairly steady for the opening 10-12 laps, with a rider from Panama taking advantage of the pace to establish a 2:30 gap for most of these opening laps. With 8 or so laps remaining the Colombian and Mexican show began. Each of these larger teams would take turns pulling up the large climb, and the lone breakaway rider was reeled in. During the last 8 laps the pack continued to shrink because of the increased tempo up this major climb, and at 3 laps to go the field was under 30 riders in total.

Both Canadians rode very patiently and remained within the first 8 riders each lap up the climb. Both Paul and Mike attempted to break away during the last couple of laps, but were caught very soon after they had left the group. The group stayed together until the last 3 laps when during the last feed zone (on the big hill, with 2.5 laps to go) the eventual winner took charge and blasted off the front of the group. The gap hovered around 40 seconds for the next 2 laps, and as the finish line approached this lone Colombian was cheered to the finish line escorted by at least 8 police motor bikes at his side.

Within this last 2 laps Mike Barry had also escaped the field, and with half of a lap remaining had a 20 second lead on the chase group. The last time up the big hill Mike was caught by 4 other riders and was now in an unenviable position of having to duel with 2 Colombian riders in the very technical and crowd filled last 2 kilometres for a medal. The barriers which normally are set up on a road course for the last few hundred meters were only set up on the last 200 meters here in Bucamaranga. This meant that a lot of people were filling up the streets on the course up until this barrier controlled last 200 meters started.

The problem with this was that during the last 1000 meters or so the riders were absolutely flying coming down a gradual downhill to the finish line. The crowd was so excited that they spilled onto the streets in front of the riders. The riders had to shoot through the narrow corridor the fans left open, and then begin their sprint with only 200 meters remaining. Just before this crowd opening 3 or 4 riders were involved in a crash - I believe because of all of these people on the street! Luckily Mike was not one of these riders, and he was left to sprint against 2 Colombian riders for the silver medal. With 200 meters remaining Mike was left in 3rd, and was able to muscle his way past one of these Colombians to capture the bronze medal. The lead Colombian (who had approx. 20 seconds lead at the finish) was stopped by the immense crowd right after the finish line. This meant that there was no room for the group containing Mike and the other 2 Colombians to go. Mike totally plowed into the crowd, and knocked over a photographer before coming to a stop in the arms of 3 or 4 other fans who helped him back to his feet.

Paul Kelly was in the 2nd chase group 15 seconds or so behind Mike, and sprinted in to take 10th place overall. As the riders, and support vehicles continued to funnel into the very narrow corridor after the finish line the scene turned into a total zoo. Fans screaming for autographs, photographers snapping pictures and all along both Canadians totally in the middle of all this. It was truly an amazing scene to see. Thousands and thousands of people all so close to the action. The day was capped off by our last medal presentation of the 2000 Pan American Championships. Mike Barry was our last podium visitor, and received his bronze medal in front of a very appreciative crowd. As the medal presentations begun, it seemed that neither Colombian was going to be able to cut through the crowd to approach the podium. Then they started to come, not on foot, but on top of a pickup truck with the horn blaring and Colombian flags waving. It was like being at a rock concert, these two Colombians were given the most incredible ovation when they finally were lifted onto the stage to receive their medals!

As these 3 riders received their prizes, Canada also received a small crystal bowl for placing 2nd Country overall in the Pan American Cycling Championships. Colombia was first, Canada 2nd, and Cuba 3rd. Canadian riders collected a total of 12 medals in these championships, including 5 gold medals.

I would like to thank the Canadian Cycling Association for the opportunity to attend this championship, and would also like to thank Mr. Houshang Amiri who was an incredible Manager for this trip. Also I would like to thank Sebastian Gagnon, who made his first international journey with us as our Canadian team mechanic. Thanks to the riders, Doug Baron, Jim Fisher, Lars Madsen, Lori-ann Muenzer, Mandy Poitras, Erin Carter, Sandy Espeseth, Leigh Hobson, Paul Kelly , and Mike Barry for your efforts, desire, and patience during this very incredible journey.

Kurt InnesNational Team Coach


New Brunswick MTB Championships
(courtesy Dave Macfarlane)

The NB Provincial Mountain Bike Championships in Cross Country and Downhill are coming up at Poley Mt. near Sussex, August 5th and 6th, 2000. Event information and registration forms for these championships, to be presented by the Kings County Wheelers in association with Poley Mountain Resorts Ltd. is available on the Velo NB web page at www.velo.nb.ca.


Subaru Adventure Racing Series

August 5, COLLINGWOOD, ON: The Subaru / Hi-Tec Adventure Race Series presented by Old Spice Red Zone is once again coming to Collingwood, ON. The Collingwood mountain range, and the rough waters of Georgian Bay will serve as the perfect backdrop for the 200+ participants in this 5-7 hour adventure race.

Adventure racing is a competitive team event involving mountain biking, canoeing and trail running. Teams of three travel together over a multisport course that tests team dynamics and physical stamina. And if that's not enough... teams are also expected to complete special tests that are located throughout the course. Designed to challenge and confuse: these events could include rope work, wall climbs, mind games and mud pits.

Nestled in the valley, the Collingwood Enduro race will start at the Toronto Ski Club where 70 teams of 3 will sprint to the shoreline to begin the challenging 10-km canoe voyage on Georgian Bay. Next, teams will wind their way up the technical single track that Collingwood is famous for to the top of the ski hills. Interspersed throughout the race will be orienteering sections and special tests.

"Collingwood has always been one of our favourite locations. The terrain is steep, but the trails are well-groomed and fun to ride", says Steve Menzie, race director. "Also, the support of the community is unsurpassed, we have spectators that come from all over to watch the days’ activities."

There are numerous local teams, as well as local favourites, such as Tanya Rouse and Ian Sullivan, competing this weekend. Two teams are using the race as their last pre-Eco Challenge training session, however the majority of teams are just out to have a good time and test their limits.

The Subaru / Hi-Tec Adventure Race Series presented by Old Spice Red Zone is hosting 10 adventure races this season in four Canadian markets. From Vancouver to Montreal, the Series is the largest national adventure race series in Canada. Over 1000 athletes will compete throughout the season for the title of national champions, to be determined in Muskoka, September 2000.

Call 1- 877-976-7223 or (416) 444-3899 for more information.

 


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