Canadian mountain bike champion Catharine Pendrel leaps across obstacles as she tries her hand at Cycle Cross during the competition held Sunday at DND Field.

Canadian mountain bike champion Catharine Pendrel leaps across obstacles as she tries her hand at Cycle Cross during the competition held Sunday at DND Field.

Cyclo-cross storms Vernon

Cyclo-cross makes its debut in Vernon.

  • Oct. 14, 2011 10:00 a.m.

A few more newcomers to the sport now truly understand what a cyclo-cross race is about as they participated in Vernon’s first event Sunday.

Participants came from all over the Okanagan and the Lower Mainland, from beginners to world champions, to take part in the short-course race that lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

Vernon’s Mat Hewitt comfortably won the ‘A’ race. The women’s winner was Catharine Pendrel, the current mountain bike world champion. Pendrel and Hewitt have been instrumental in getting people involved in the sport in the Okanagan and hosting the race in Vernon.

“It’s gaining popularity because of the social nature, it’s spectator friendly, and it’s not a huge time commitment,” said Hewitt. “I’m really pleased with the turnout we had today.”

Cyclo-cross (CX), as paraphrased on the Interior Cyclocross website, is “ridiculously fun bike racing. Races take place typically in the autumn and winter, and consists of many laps of a short course (2.5–3.5 kilometres), which may include pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount and carry their bike while navigating the obstruction and remount in one motion.”

The Vernon course included twists and turns mapped out by flags, knee high wooden obstacles, and short hills.

“It’s really fun,” said Vernon’s Alex Lane. “It’s like a steeple chase, except on bikes.”

“It’s a sport where you see a full range from beginners to elite,” said Marta Green, who won the women’s ‘B’ race. “The course was super fun. Short but sweet. You could see people ahead of you on the course.”

“It was great to have a world champion give out the awards. She’s fast.”

After completing his first race, Lane was happy with his result.

“Starting the race I thought ‘My goal is not to be lapped.’ By halfway through, top-10 seemed in sight. I got 11th, but the turkey dinner will still taste good,” he grinned.

The next race in the series goes this weekend in Kelowna. For more information, visit www.knoxcross.com.

Locally, visit the North Okanagan Cycling Society website www.okcycling.com or the local bike shops.

Results: Men’s ‘A’: 2. Joe Wessel. 3. Trevor Pearson. 4. Keith Wilson. 5. Greg Johnson. 6. Manuel Zuppiger. 7. Aaron Weiss. 8. Peter Holzhuter. 9. Will Pratt. 10. Trent Smith. 11. Alex Lane. 12. Jack Van Dyck. 13. Darrin Caruso. 14. Gary Giampa. 15. Matt Cameron. 16. Malcolm Lane. 17. Jamie Skinner. 18. Jeff Bujas. 19. David Nelson.