Vaea Verbeeck made it a clean sweep in the dual slalom as the CLIF Crankworx Summer Series continued Wednesday.
After more than two weeks of racing, the Coldstream mountain biker had already won the dual slalom events at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort and Golden’s Kicking Horse, and said the win at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops to complete the hat-trick was “definitely welcome” heading into the last two days of competition.
“It’s definitely getting to the points where we’re so tired, it’s a bit of a weird thing to process now,” said Verbeeck, who along with the other racers in the series has now completed 10 races in the past 16 days.
“It’s not something I’ve dealt with before. This kind of tiredness. Usually I try not to stress mentally and just flow with it for fun, and now I’m so tired and beat that I just stress about that too.”
With the series nearing its close, the focus on the overall title has heightened. The athlete with the most points over the course of the series will earn the CLIF Crankworx Summer Series Champion title, along with a $10,000 prize.
Verbeeck currently leads by 70 points.
“That’s something I’d usually like to have out of my mind,” she said. “I’m stoked to race each race with those girls, and I’m stoked to see them perform really well. So usually I try not to think about it and it just turns out how it turns out but, right now, I don’t know why, I’m just so tired, I keep stressing about losing that edge that I have. I think today’s win might help me a bit to go back to my usual ways of just going with it and hoping for a good end to the week.”
Whistler’s Georgia Astle finished a close second behind Verbeeck. Astle appeared to have a slight lead heading into their first finals matchup, but after missing a gate in their second matchup she wound up trailing Verbeeck by an overall margin of 1.51 seconds.
Meanwhile on the men’s side, Coldstream’s Bas van Steenbergen earned his second victory of the series, fighting his way back up from a fourth place finish in last week’s dual slalom in Golden.
In a word, van Steenbergen said he was “stoked” to beat out Finn Iles by a margin of 0.34 after two.
“It was good redemption from last week where I felt like I made some dumb mistakes. I felt a little more on it today.”
The win didn’t come easy. Fighting for a place in the finals against Kasper Woolley, van Steenbergen pulled through after taking a spill at the final flag, after which a re-run ensued.
Iles had plenty to be happy about Wednesday, as the points he earned push him to the top of the Elite Men’s overall standings by a large enough margin to clinch the overall CLIF Crankworx Summer Series Champion title.
“I wasn’t sure I could win or what I could do, but I’m happy to have come out and have done what I’ve done to clinch the overall,” said Iles, who has won four golds, four silvers and one bronze throughout the Summer Series so far.