Squamish’s Neal Kindree proved he’s almost as good on the pavement as he is on the dirt.
Kindree capped a 2012 cycling season that saw him win the Hell of a Series with a top-10 finish in the RBC GranFondo on Saturday (Sept. 8).
The local standout completed the 122-kilometre ride in three hours, 26 minutes, 56 seconds, just over 2 ½ minutes behind first-place finisher James Scale of Vancouver. Kindree was the fifth rider to cross the finish line, but after time corrections it was determined he posted the ninth-fastest time.
It was the first time Kindree had competed in the GranFondo race.
“It was really fun and such a cool ride,” Kindree told The Chief. “I’m happy with my finish. I obviously wanted to win, but I had a good time.”
Kindree said he was in the lead group just outside the turnoff to the Callaghan Valley when a group of riders broke away. He decided to remain with his original group and didn’t manage to catch those ahead of him.
“The group I was in wasn’t the strongest,” he said. “In order to catch a group, everyone needs to work together and we didn’t do that.”
He added that he will likely take part in next year’s race, as long as he’s healthy and in town.
Meanwhile, 2010 women's winner Leah Guloien came in with a time of 3:28:01 and was the first female to finish by more than seven minutes.
"I'm happy with how I rode. I had good legs," said the Port Moody resident.
Squamish resident Mike Charuk had the nex-best local time, completing the course with a time of 3:39:30, good for 104th overall. The Team Squamish head coach placed 36th in a field of more than 1,100 competitors in his 40 to 49 age division.
The top local female was Rua Read, who placed 326th overall with a time of 3:54:55. Read placed sixth in her 40 to 49 age group and 22nd among all women in the race.
Other strong local showings included Ben Eksteen (138th), Tyler Jordan (215th), Doug Engstrom (256th), Martin Caron (266th), Paul Zuckernick (268th) and Mark Haldenby (286th).
The youth of Team Squamish served well in the race as Rhys Verner finished with a time of 4:08:05, good for 605th overall and fifth in the under-18 male division. Right behind him was teammate Ethan Toom, who finished one second later.
Event co-founder Kevin Thomson said organizers really feel they've found the formula for success with the event now in its third year, and that feedback about the course improvements for 2012 was overwhelmingly positive.
“People who have rode the event before really noticed the difference,” Thomson said, while watching cyclists roll across the finish line. “Every little snippet (of feedback) I’ve heard so far is like a little bit of magic.”
Visit www.rbcgranfondowhistler.com/news/ride-results for a full list of results.
With files from Eric Mackenzie, Whistler Question