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As the 10th season of the Winter Race Series approaches, questions abound. Riders from across North America are preparing to challenge last season’s dominance of Duane Kress (Challenge By Choice, Squamish) and Kelly Knowles (Peak Centre Ottawa).
Defending champion Kress has an opportunity to become the first rider to defend the Men’s GC 3 times since Indoor Race Series legend Roger Lee (Peak Vancouver) won his third title in a row in the winter of 2011. Kress nearly managed a clean sweep of GC, King of the Mountain & Sprint competitions last season but was edged out of the KoM by another series legend and previous champion, Alex Gagnon of Ottawa. Can 2nd place rider Sean Anderson (SBR Coaching, Verona) and 3rd place CBC teammate Volker Schneider step up to take the crown? Or will previous champions Roger Lee (Peak Vancouver) or Alex Gagnon (Peak Ottawa) post a challenge this season? What kind of talent will emerge from the participation of the new centres?
The women’s race was dominated last season by an intense rivalry between defending champion Kelly Knowles (Peak Ottawa) and Rua Reed (Challenge By Choice). Kelly notched 6 stage wins to Rua’s 5 stage wins to take the title by a mere 10 points. Will Summer Ohlendorf (SBR Coaching, WI) or Grace Menning (Peak Centre Vancouver) and the others be able to split them this year?
Last Season Grant Willburn (Challenge By Choice) edged out Peter Kocher (Ride Brooklyn) in the Men’s B category by just 4 points. With the top 3 in the Women’s B category all held by Challenge By Choice riders Jane Pannell, Louise Chamberlain and Mary Betts will other competitors emerge to break the CBC stranglehold?
However, the dominance of last year’s champions is sure to be challenged this season with the introduction of riders from 4 new centres across Canada and United States. This will throw open the competition, and with Stage 1 being the first Original Time Trial on September 25th-October 1st riders are itching at the chance to get a measure of the competition. The current world records for the Time Trial stand at 33:45.9 for the men (Derek St. John, Peak Ottawa) and 37:14.6 for the women (Sue Schlatter, Peak Ottawa); will the records fall before 2013 is over having stood for almost 4 years?
While Stage 1 will give an indication of the challengers for the GC, “experts” have identified some key stages in the coming weeks:
Stage 4 – Net Downhill
This course gives more powerful riders the opportunity to pull out a lead on the climbers ahead of the mountain stage. However, this is not an easy profile, and the climbs have some teeth. Overall, this stage may just allow the more powerful riders to put some time into the climbers.
Reed (Challenge by Choice) and Menning (Peak Centre Vancouver) may be able to take some early season points from Knowles (Peak Centre Ottowa) in this stage.
Stage 5 – Mountain
The second of a key pair of stages midway through the season; This is one for the climbers and is shaping up as one for the history books. It starts with a flat run up and then this climb challenges at the base before it peppers the rider with short sharp steep sections. Those who can settle into a rhythm will do well. With only 1200m of downhill in the entire stage, this will be about pacing and sustained power.
Watch out for Kress (Challenge by Choice) who has been consistently strong on the Mountain stages over Anderson (SBR). Alex Gagnon (Peak Centre Ottawa) could also be a favorite for this stage.
Stage 7 – Plateaus & Climbs
Stage 7 features a lot of prolonged climbs especially in the back half of the stage. This stage will favour the all around rider who can climb well and hold their power on the fast, flat sections.
Look for strong performances from both Reed and Kress (Challenge By Choice).
Stage 11 – Hilly
A final chance for the climbers before the final time trial. With sections up to 9.2% and a final kick up to the line, the climbers will have to take points from the rest if they are going to have a chance with just the time trial remaining.
This will be an opportunity for climbers like Gagnon and Knowles (Peak Centre Ottawa) to bank some points.
Click here for the results of a free stage held at the Peak Centre Vancouver this week!
Racing begins across North America September 25, 2013. Want to find a participating Multi-Rider Centres in your area? Please see our website at: http://www.peakcentrevancouver.ca/winter-race-series/
Natural High Fitness, Okatoks AB
Peak Centre for Human Performance, Vancouver BC
Challenge by Choice, Squamish BC
Peak Centre for Human Performance, Ottawa ON
Leadout Coaching, Squamish BC
McLean Sports Physio, Burlington ON
US Based Centres:
Tailwind Endurance, Ney York NY
Perfect Balance Conditioning, Boston MA
Velocity, Grass Valley CA
SBR Coaching & Training, Verona WI
Have a CompuTrainer and want to race from home? See the Race From Home option on: http://www.peakcentrevancouver.ca/winter-race-