The eighth year was a lucky one for the Rundle Mountain Cycling Club. A day after a freak June snowstorm in Canmore, the sky cleared, the snow melted and the sun shone for the downtown criterium races on Saturday, June 8.
“We had a bit of snow yesterday which was a bit of a concern for all the organizers,” Shane Munro, race director, said. “And I got calls from the ABA and from riders and organizers in our group with concerns. We coordinated with the town and pushed the race start back a bit and it’s actually been perfect.”
Races were held for all ages. The Little Critters race started near noon with a pushbike race for children five years old and under and pedal races for kids a little older. Each child was given a chocolate medal wrapped in gold foil.
Then the men’s and women’s races from U17 and categories 3 all the way up to the elite, pro level category 1 and 2 races finished the day. They also had a 10-lap para hand cycling race.
“We have 170 registrants in our main adult field and I think 150 kids,” Munro said. “They collect Alberta Road Racing points and whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins the Alberta Road Racing Cup.”
Evan Burtnik, a 22-year-old professional rider from Edmonton, won the 20 lap Men’s Category 1 and 2 elite race. He sped out in front of the pack and stayed a good distance ahead of everyone else for the entire race, all the way to the finish line.
“I race for X Speed United, we’re a continental team from Hong Kong,” Burtnik said.
“It was to my advantage to be able to pick my own line and pedal as smooth as possible through the course. Back in the main bunch there’s lots of stop, start. I didn’t have to touch my brakes once while I was off the start.”
In the second last lap he even passed the pace motorcycle which was caught behind a group of riders who were getting lapped.
“This is my first year racing continental,” Burtnik said. “After this, I’m getting ready to go off to Grand Prix cycliste de Saguenay in Quebec for a big stage race then on to Nationals. Then on with the rest of my race calendar for the year.”
This was Burtnik’s second year racing in the RMCC Road Festival in Canmore.
“It’s a great venue,” Burtnik said. “It’s nice to do a road race in Alberta. ‘A’, with an urban environment and ‘B’, with some hills. And then the mountains are world class.”
Burtnik is a fulltime bicycle racer.
“In April I was at Stage One of the Tour de Iskandar Johor in Malaysia and was the Best Young Rider for Stage One,” Burtnik said. “And my team mate Ryan Roth won the stage.”
Burtnik is hoping to qualify for track racing at the 2024 Olympics.
Kate Snihur, with the ERTC team from Edmonton, placed third in the 14 lap, Women’s Category 4 and 5 criterium race.
“The course was really fun with lots of turns,” Snihur said. “It was a very mixed bag of women. I don’t think anyone had a team mate, so there was a little bit of games being played.”
RMCC rider Tiegan de Leeuw won the U17 men’s race. Raphaël Couturier with RMCC won the Category 3 Junior men’s race and his teammate Nicolas Hamilton placed seventh.
For all race results, please visit zone4.ca.