August 31, 2011 (Hinton, AB) – The Athabasca Lookout Nordic Centre located near Hinton, Alberta was once again the host venue for the Alberta Provincial XC Championships. This was the third consecutive year that Hinton has played host to the championships, and unlike past years, the weather was nearly perfect for the weekend of racing.
The unique course at the Hinton Nordic Centre features a short lap and a long lap. The long lap includes the 10+ minute downhill dubbed “Adrenalin”. This rough fast decent is punishing on the body and when you add in the lung busting climbs, this course is seriously tough on all athletes.
In the Elite men’s race, two time defending provincial champion Cory Wallace (Kona) was challenged by 2010 Winter Olympian & 2011 Alberta Provincial Road Champion Gordon Jewett (Rundle Mountain Cycling Club) and relative new comer Graham Torrie (Bike Bros Cycling Club/TCR). After the fast paced start with a case of beer on the line for the first rider to complete the prologue, these three contenders wasted no time in cranking up the pace up the opening steep climb of the loop and separated themselves from the pack. Wallace was eventually able to sneak away and he was able to maintain his gap as Jewett and Graham tried to work together to bring him back. In the final it was Wallace taking his third consecutive provincial title, 1:33 ahead of Jewett and 2:45 ahead of Torrie. Cody Canning (Trek Red Truck) turned in his skinny tires for his fat MTB but he could not maintain the pace of the front three and had to settle for 4th place by narrowly outsprinting Gabor Csonka (Cyclemiesters).
The Elite women’s field was unfortunately small, as it was a battle between Kate Aardal (Hardcore Cycling Club) and Shantel Koenig (Redbike). In the end it was Aardal taking the win and the provincial jersey for 2011.