Banff National Park Bike Fest Prologue


Whitten and Kerr Win

June 17th, 2010 (Banff National Park) – Under cloudy skies, some of the top racers from Western Canada and the USA gathered for the Surprise Corner Prologue 1.5km, the opening event of the 3rd  annual Banff National Park Bicycle festival from June 17-20. In addition to the top riders in the Invited Men and Open Women categories, there are also races at the Bike Festival for less experienced racers in Categories 2 through 5 (beginner racers start out in Category 5). In total, 180 athletes are racing at the Banff National Park Bike Fest this year.

The Surprise Corner Prologue starts off unassumingly with a gentle climb up meandering Buffalo Street, parallel with the Bow River, for the first kilometre. But just after the 1km mark, the gentle meander turns mean, and the road throws riders a curve ball in the form of a hairpin turn, called Surprise Corner, steepens abruptly on the way to the finish line. At the start line, riders wait nervously, barely breathing. But by the time they reach the finish line, riders are breathing in audible gasps.

“It’s short and hard!” exclaimed Michael Godfrey, a Category 4 racer from the Calgary-based Speed Theory team, “You probably won’t find anyone who would argue with that!”

Justin Warsylewicz (Team Bicisport), and Mark McConnell (Synergy Racing) won the Category 4 and 5 prologues, respectively. Mike Sidic (Team H&R Block/Norco) won the combined Category 2/3 prologue.

Justin Kerr (Team H&R Block/Norco) stormed his way to the finish line in 2:36, winning the Invited Men category. aaron_schooler1019

“We’re very happy to be here,” commented Mark Ernsting, director of Team H&R Block/Norco (Kerr was unavailable for comment), “With our team roster including riders from both Alberta and BC, this race is a focus of the season. We’re looking forward to the next events – we plan to take the race one day at a time, in hopes of some good results.”

Three seconds behind Kerr was second place finisher, Ian McKissic (Lenovo Cycling Team), with Marcel Aarden (Total Restoration Cycling Team) third.

Tara Whitten (Team Specialized Mazda Sampson) powered her way to a decisive win with a time of 2:59, establishing herself an eleven second lead over current National Road Race Champion, Alison Testroete (Total Restoration Cycling Team), with last year’s Banff Bike Festival overall winner Julie Beveridge (Team Vienne

Futurescope) in third place.

“I was happy with how the race went,” said Whitten, “We have a pretty good women’s field here, and we’ll have some great racing over the next few days!”

The racing continues on Friday, June 18 with the 1A Sprint, 81km, sponsored by Collins Barrow Bow Valley LLP & Eric Harvie Professional Corporation.