June 11, 2009 (Maple Ridge, B.C.) – Local Ride Racing’s Laura Brown sprinted to victory in the elite women’s road race of the TNA Westside Classic in Vancouver on Sunday, the season’s first race in the BC Cup Series. She got goosebumps as she approached the finish line first, knowing she had it in the bag, and ecstatic Brown said after.
“It feels so good to win, after I’ve been so close all season,” said Brown. “I couldn’t have done it without my team mates, who drove the pace all race.” Through teamwork and tactics, Local Ride Racing’s riders helped secure the win, and won the first lap prime prize as well as the Queen of the Mountains classification.
Despite their hard efforts to control the pack throughout the 84km contest, the rest of the women’s team, Jean Ann McKirdy, Chelsea Bilsbarrow, and Shoshauna Laxson, all cruised into the top 10, finishing fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
“This is probably the biggest win in our short three-year history as a team. It was a great overall team effort from the mechanics to the feed zone crew, to the women working together on the course,” said Barry Lyster, Team Manager.
After her win, Brown now holds the lead in the five-race series, which gives her the privilege of wearing the green and white BC Cup leader’s jersey. Local Ride Racing’s elite women will fight to keep their ringer in the series lead as they contest the second race this weekend in Kelowna.
Brown has been on the podium numerous times so far this season, but never on the top step. She finished second in the three-event Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race in Enumclaw, WA, May 30-31, third in the Tom Binnie Criterium on May 24 in Surrey, BC, and third in the Wenatchee Omnium in Washington State’s Wenatchee Valley, May 16-17.
Local Ride Racing also had a strong men’s contingent in action on Sunday, with Mike Berkenpas (Maple Ridge) and Steve Devantier (Pitt Meadows) contesting only their second race in the top men’s category. The talented up-and-comers held their own in the 126km competition, with Devantier taking a gutsy risk by participating in an early breakaway that was later reeled in. Berkenpas duked it out in the final sprint to finish 30th of 77 starters.
Roy McBeth (Maple Ridge) and Andrew Kerr finished in the main pack of the Master’s A and Category 4/5 men’s races, respectively. Local Ride Racing had a full support crew, with a mechanic and tent, complete with a steaming pot of delicious Kicking Horse Coffee. The squad also had several helpers in the feed zone who kept the riders hydrated and motivated.