Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) and Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) won the women’s and men’s elite titles at the Hansen Industries 2013 Canadian cyclocross championships held in South Surrey, B.C., on Saturday. They won their respective races with commanding leads over their nearest competitors under wet and muddy course conditions.
The championship race was held for the second straight year at the South Surrey Athletic Park. The course included long muddy straightaways, three sandpits, a staircase run-up and a set of barriers. Rain poured for most of the day causing the already challenging course to be covered with thick mud.
The elite women’s 40-minute race kicked off with a small lead group that included Pendrel, Mical Dyck (Pro City Racing-VAC), Wendy Simms, Sandra Walter (Liv-Giant Canada) and Natasha Elliott (Rare Vos Racing-Stevens).
Pendrel opened a gap on her rivals during the second lap. She crossed the finish line 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Dyck, who won last year, and an additional 10 seconds ahead of Wendy Simms in third place.
Mike Garrigan led a series of title-worthy contenders at the start of the elite men’s 60-minute race including Kabush, Evan McNeely and Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory), and Aaron Schooler (Team H&R Block).
Garrigan, Kabush and McNeely gained a few seconds on Schooler, who crashed through a slick corner on the second lap.
Kabush put pressure on the group until he opened a small lead on the third lap. Schooler recovered from his crash enough to catch and pass Garrigan and McNeely, but Kabush was already 10 seconds ahead.
Not too far back, Kabush’s teammates Cameron Jette and Derek Zandstra worked together to close the gap to Garrigan and McNeely, and eventually found themselves riding for third place.
Kabush finished the race by a minute ahead of runner-up Schooler and nearly two minutes ahead of Jette in third place and Zandstra in fourth.
Michael van den Ham (Cycle-Smart) took charge of the under-23 men’s 50-minute race. He started with Connor Wilson (Team AB-Juventus) but quickly opened a gap that Wilson couldn’t close. Marc-Antoine Nadon (Scott-3Rox Racing) caught up to Wilson and the pair raced for second place.
Van den Ham soloed to the win 35 seconds ahead of Nadon in second and Wilson in third place.
“I feel absolutely amazing, to be out here, this course is so great,” Van den Ham said. “It’s a goal that I barely imagined was possible even a year ago, two years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed about it. To actually cross the line first . . . it’s great, it shows all the support I have from my coach Shawn Adamson, Cycle-Smart and all my sponsors. It feels awesome.
“On a course like that, the worst part is often the best part too, the most fun. There are a lot of sections on this course where you have to choose whether to run it or ride it. Riding it might be faster, it might be safer. So all those spots where you had to make decisions really shows the quality of the course and it really made me think.”
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