Ontario’s Quinton Disera (Angry Johnny’s p/b Norco & Garneau) held court in the Junior Men’s race and Emily Handford (BC) Rocky Mountain Factory Team battled to victory in the Junior Women’s competition.
While the weather may have made riding at Hardwood Ski and Bike a bit more challenging racers were undeterred by the sometimes-brutal wind as riders pummeled their way around the rocky, rooty and wickedly technical blend of singletrack, short, punchy climbs, and grueling stretches of doubletrack.
More than one racer was overheard saying that the course offered no recovery, and judging by the pain faces during and long after the races, this was a course for the record books.
In the 36km elite men’s 6-lap race, last week’s winner at Horseshoe Resort, Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team), had some bad luck on the first lap, flatting early. But his teammate Guthrie was taking no prisoners as he attacked from the start, creating an early separation between himself, Scott-3Rox’s Derek Zandstra and Guthrie’s two teammates, Evan McNeely, the series leader, and Andrew L’Esperance.
As the tension mounted announcers questioned whether Guthrie had the strength to hold his gap for the duration of the highly technical race. But Guthrie had is own ideas and continued to power smoothly around the course. Despite Zandstra’s efforts, he was unable to close the gap.
In the women’s field, it was admittedly almost a forgone conclusion that Batty was unstoppable. The seasoned Pro also knows the the Hardwood trails which is arguably her “home course”. She grabbed the holeshot at the start with Cindy Montambault (Équipe du Québec : Trek GPL) following her wheel. By halfway mark of the first lap, Batty had opened a gap, and Montambault was battling for second with Jena Greaser (Women’s Project Pedal) just behind.
The junior men’s 4-lap 24km race was dominated from the opening lap by Quinton Disera who also calls Hardwood home. Trying to contain him were Sean Fincham (Cycling BC) and Quebec’s Felix Longpré. But Disera’s lap speeds were impressive enough to move him into the top 20 men in the Elite men’s field before his race was over, despite starting two minutes behind them.
Longpré and Finchamp dueled in the beginning, but by the end of the fourth lap, Finchamp was able to comfortably cruise in for second with a wide gap to third. Fellow Hardwood local Tyler Orschel (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team) trailed behind them in fourth for much of the race, staying comfortably away from the rest of the pack with Victor Verreault (Vélo 2 Max St. Félicien) in 5th.
The junior women’s 18km race featured the tightest battle of the day as Handford, who has been leading the Canada Cup series and has been described as a bit of a phenom, met a valiant challenge from Dana Gilligan (Angry Johnny’s p/b Norco & Garneau), a local from the Hardwood area. Gilligan steadily worked her way through the group over the three laps and moving into position behind Handford with half a lap to go.
When the dust settled the leader’s jerseys remained unchanged. Next stop is round #5 in St-Felicien on July 23 and the series wraps up in Whistler on Aug. 12-13 – full results here.