Welcome to the new Blog section of the Victoria Chapter of OrganicAthlete!

Our first entry will focus on the Vancouver Island Cycling Festival, in which three of our members participated, Marty Machacek, Evan Guengerich and Dave Shishkoff.

Friday - Harbour Sprints #1

The first in a 3-Part race series of pairs of drag races right in front of the legislature! Both Marty and Dave made it out to race this 'open' event without categories. It comes down to those who can sprint the 300 meters fastest for the win!

Marty made it 4 (of 6) rounds before being eliminated by the speedy youngster Derek Brain. Dave made it one round further, but was eliminated by Canada's top downhiller Jamie Biluk. Dave made it far enough that it wasn't quite over yet, and one more race against local fixie speedster Parker Bloom for 'Bronze' (3rd & 4th). Parker started quick, but Dave dug deep and overtook him halfway down the strip, and punched it for the line, earning him the 3rd step on the podium for the night!

Here are a few of the fantastic event photos courtesy of Jon Lake Photo, click here for more of his event photos:

Dave racing Travis B 

Marty motors down the course to victory 

The podium

Brian Park also produced an excellent video of the event:
Saturday - Tour de Victoria

Perhaps the biggest cycling event ever seen on the island, hundreds of cyclists signed up for either the 90km or 140km route, in celebration of Victoria's cycling hero Ryder Hesjedal (who finished 7th in the Tour de France last year!) Evan was up to the task, despite minimal training time this year, and completed the 90km trip, commenting on Facebook:

"Tour de Victoria--90k version! Anticipation, rolling enclosure, closed roads, being undertrained, riding fast in a bunch, fighting to stay in contact, hills, being dropped, rain, soaking wet, drying out, great volunteers and spectators, digging deep till it hurts just cause, meeting Simon Whitfield, being passed by Ryder Hesjedal, post ride debrief with Cal, remembering why I love cycling. What a great morning."

Evan with Olympic gold medalist, sports hero and OA Victoria friend Simon Whitfield

Another brand new event, this short but intense 5.3km race against the clock with the Juan de Fuca Straight and mountains as a backdrop up and down a blustery Dallas Rd.

Both Marty and Dave were signed up for the Category 3 race (bike racing is broken down to 5 categories, Cat5 being beginners, and Cat1 the level of professionals), but Marty was stuck on the water on a Swiftsure boat, as the day wasn't very windy (unlike the evening!)

The route was tough and technical, but Dave carefully considered the route, and executed his plan, starting off with a bit less gusto, and saving it for the very windy, uphill stretch after the Moss St corner to Beacon Hill, leaving very little gas for the downhill section back to Clover Point. Dave's time was 8 minutes 16.9 seconds, which placed him 6th out of about a dozen people in his category. Given that he was very close or beat his regular competitors in other local TT events, it was a solid finish for him. (Full results here.)

Dave charges at the start, photo: Duane Martindale

Dave powers into the the wind approaching Moss St, photo: Geoff Robson

The crown jewel in this weekend of racing, the Bastion Square crit, a 900m loop in downtown Victoria, is one of the most famous races in BC, and hotly contested!

Dave and Marty lined up for the Cat3 race, which would doubtless be fast and intense. Dave has had a top finish on this course in the past, earning a 3rd place in the Cat4 race several years ago, but this was Marty's first time racing the course. At 9:45am they were off to a quick start, hitting 50kph in the first 40 seconds! Things leveled out soon after, but the field of 19 racers was very evenly matched, and despite numerous attacks over the 51 minutes of racing and averaging 39kph, no one could escape or solo away, leaving it to a bunch sprint finish.

Dave had spent most of the race up front, responding to attacks, and not allowing any to escape. The efforts were felt in the final laps, and while he hung in with the pack for the finish, he didn't have any gas for the line. Marty, however, took over, and in the end got himself up near the front and passing other sprinters just missed the podium with 4th place in this hotly contested event! Dave sneaked by a few on the final stretch for 11th. (Cat3 results.)

Dave leads for a lap, photo: Duane Martindale

Marty takes a corner, photo: Duane Martindale

Dave and Marty both watching the front of the pack in the final laps, photo: Duane Martindale

Marty (far right) sprints for the line, Dave (middle) is further back, photo: Duane Martindale

A big thank-you to team sponsor Purica for lending us their tent, providing some appreciated shade for our warm-up and cool-down, and a thank-you to the rest of our sponsors for helping us get this far!

More local races are in our near future, with the Harbour Sprint series continuing the next two Fridays, and much more racing will be underway with the re-opening of the Juan de Fuca Velodrome! Dave, Marty and others will be regular faces at the weekly and big events there.

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May 31, 2011, 6:44 PM