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Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018
Snapshots of Mountain Bike Tour success
by Randy Pascal

Right place, right time.

That was, in a nutshell, the story of the Sudbury Fitness Challenge Mountain Bike Tour for Corey Brioschi.

In spite of registering for the event quite late on the evening prior to the race, Brioschi picked up the win in the featured 20 km (advanced) distance, as more than one hundred cycling enthusiasts gathered at the Naughton Trails last Sunday.

“I came up here (to Sudbury) because my girlfriend wanted to come up, she has friends in the area,” explained Brioschi. “So it was supposed to be a mini-vacation, and I was fine with that, as long as I was able to go riding one of the days.”

The Bolton native is far more than a recreational mountain bike rider, competing in the Elite category in races across both the province and the country. In fact, he has previous experience maneuvering around this tricky Northern Ontario course, having cycled in three Canada Cup events at the same site in recent years.

A casual ride on Saturday morning would lead Brioschi to learn of the Mountain Bike Tour the next day, and by the end of the evening, he was all in. If nothing else, the Naughton stop would provide some variety to his summer on the trails.

“There’s definitely a huge difference between the types of trails here, and the ones they have back home,” stated Brioschi. “My local trails are Albion Hills, and it’s pretty much classified as a highway, especially when you come up here and ride stuff like this.”

“Because it’s so different, it’s good for my training, good for upcoming races. It’s a bit different scenery, and I think every cyclist likes that kind of thing.” Competitors from previous national caliber races hosted at the Walden Cross Country Fitness Club facility suggested the course is perfect for those avid riders who appreciate the art of negotiating the rough natural terrain of the Cambrian shield, an assessment that Brioschi was not about to dispute.

“I’ve been cycling now for a decade, and put a lot of effort into the technical side of the sport,” he said. “That’s why any time I get a chance to get out to a place like Naughton, it’s just a lot of fun for me.”

With his time of 44:13, Brioschi finished some thirty seconds or so ahead of Manitoulin native Alex Anstice, with WMBC (Walden Mountain Bike Club) veteran Paul Guenette in third place in 47:14. Considering the 25 year-old Sudburian completed an eight hour marathon the previous day at Hardwood Hills, the results were more than acceptable.

“This morning, I was a hurting unit, but I couldn’t let my old training partner (Charlie Reid) beat me today,” said Guenette with a laugh, after the race. Racing with the WMBC Wolfpak team since 2009, Guenette has seen his focus shift in recent years, as he transitions towards the longer distance events.

“I qualified for a race in Colorado, the Leadville 100 – it’s on my birthday, next August,” he said. “The goal for this summer is to focus on next year. It’s a 100 mile race, it’s been on my bucket list for a few years now. If you finish it in under eight hours, you get this really cool belt buckle.” And, more importantly, the bragging rights that come with that sense of accomplishment.

The Leadville 100 will pose some interesting challenges for Guenette and the remainder of the field, including the fact of cycling at altitude, and on terrain that is likely even tougher than the trails in and around the Nickel City.

“Right now, my goal is just to focus on the long distance riding,” he said. “I’ll be doing a lot of gravel roads in the back of Sudbury, trying to mimic the climbing, mimic the trail riding that is down there.”

It will be a few years yet before 11 year old Noah Rioux begins to contemplate tackling a one hundred mile race. On Sunday, he was more than happy to simply worry about his leg in the relay event, partnering with a pair of very familiar faces in Joshua (brother) and Marc (father) Rioux.

“My mom didn’t do the relay, but she cheered us on – sort of,” said the youngster. “My dad works at a hospital, where he fixes computers, so there’s a lot of sitting in his job, so he decided to get out and cycle with us.”

A rider since the age of three, Noah explained how the course was impacted with the shift in weather, from the scorcher than was Saturday to dealing with the intermittent rain on Sunday. “If it’s sunny, there’s basically no mud, and mud is basically what got to my tire in the first place, and I had to stop.”

“But it’s still OK,” he continued. “I still had a good time. I like the wet sand, because on dry sand, it’s really deep in the pits, so it feels like you’re sinking in, and it’s hard to pedal through. But in this, you don’t really have to do much, because wet sand is compacted, so it’s easier.”

Following is a listing of the top three finishers in all categories that were hosted in the 2016 Mountain Bike Tour:

350m – Girls
1st – Kalia Pharand
2nd – Alissa Paquette
3rd – Kai McKinnon

350m – Boys
1st – Aedan Haskett
2nd – Josh Rioux
3rd – Chelsea Godwin

700m – Girls
1st – Kia McKinnon
2nd – Mya Ricci

700m – Boys
1st – Joel Pharand
2nd – Aedan Haskett
3rd – Parker Atherton

5 kms – Women
1st – Alison Godwin
2nd – Trinity Jeffery
3rd – Carol Mourre

5 kms – Men
1st – Ryan Ricci
2nd – Rob Ricci
3rd – Carson Dumaine

10 kms – Women
1st – Laura Bewick
2nd – Nancy Pharand-Coté
3rd – Sue Caverson

10 kms – Men
1st – Josh Tillson
2nd – Al Paquette
3rd – Adrian Marcolini

20 kms – Women
1st – Sheila Geraghty
2nd – Sara McIlraith
3rd – Julie Rathwell

20 kms – Men
1st – Buddy Green
2nd – Todd Withers
3rd – Caleb Parks

20 kms (advanced) – Women
1st – Monika Jost
2nd – Kristin Zazelenchuk
3rd – Linda MacLean

20 kms (advanced) – Men
1st – Corey Brioschi
2nd – Alex Anstice
3rd – Paul Guenette

Relay – 4 X 5 kms
1st – John Lalonde & Tim Tindall

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