July 7/02 5:43 am - Grouse Mountain
Posted by Editoress on 07/7/02
Grouse Mountain - Junior Expert Men's Race
This report made possible by Snowcovers and Rocky Mountain.
Unlike the brilliant sunshine we had on Saturday for the Women's WC XC, the Junior race took place under clouds with a cool breeze. Even a few drops of rain fell, but fortunately not enough to cause any difficulties on the course. As well, two difficult sections of the WC course, Boneyard and Peak Plunge, were not included in the junior race. Still, it was still a difficult go.
Establishing himself as a racer to watch was the event winner Max Plaxton. Plaxton is originally from Tofino on Vancouver Island, but for the last 3 years his family has been living in Spain. Plaxton took up mountain bike racing in Spain and has shown great climbing ability here in the races in Canada. Last week he was 2nd at Mont Ste Anne and this week he rode home to victory in 1:26:15, 1:14 up on 2nd place Adam Coates (Gears Racing).
Coates thought it was a difficult race. "It was really tough. I actually would have preferred that they had have left Boneyard and Peak Plunge in as technical trails are good for me. The climbing hurt. I'm from Saskatchewan so I'm not used to this! As well Max (Plaxton) was climbing so well." This result represents a return to form for Coates. He had a sinus infection all winter that led to an operation. He has only been riding since April and has been working hard to get back to the shape that saw him win a Gold medal in the team relay at the World Championships in 2001.
As we await the start of the Men's WC XC the wind has increased, but the rain has held off. The worry is the prediction of a thunder storm later in the day. Besides the obvious concern of lightning, heavy rain would make the already tough course truly treacherous. The start list has been finalized and we are now at 90 competitors. For the Canadians, home town favourite Roland Green will be the one to watch, along with Ryder Hesjedal. Seamus McGrath has also been riding very well of late. Based on his dominating race of last week, Filip Meirhaege must be considered as the overall favourite. Christoph Sauser is also riding very strongly. He was at the front at Mont Ste Anne until a mechanical forced him out. Next report will be just after the 2pm (Pacific) start.