About 15 minutes before the start of the 2013 Just Another Bike Race (JABR), Squamish's Neal Kindree was making his way up The Boulevard in Garibaldi Highlands on his bike.
Kindree cruised to the start line just before the race got underway, picked up his third straight JABR win in Saturday's (Aug. 17) race and then cruised back down The Boulevard.
But it wasn't that easy – Sechelt's Kris Sneddon had been in the lead for the majority of the race but a wrong turn by Sneddon gave Kindree the lead and he never looked back.
“Finished my first race since June today and won by default,” Kindree tweeted after the win. “Sneddon had it but took a wrong turn.”
The win gives Kindree another his third straight Hell of a Series title but the win comes off a rough July for the local biking champion. He had to bow out of the B.C. Bike Race after stomach issues and also missed the Gearjammer, Transrockies and Nationals. According to his blog, he lost nearly 20 lbs.
Despite the difficult July, Kindree had a great rest of the summer, winning the Orecrusher in May and the Test of Metal in June. He took the JABR title with a time of 2:10:12, beating out Squamish resident Greg Day, who was 29 seconds behind the leader.
“It was a great race out there today,” Day said. “I had a fast start and a group of four of us broke away.”
Day said that Kindree, himself, Sneddon and German rider Lutz Baumgartel were ahead of the pack. He said that he and Baumgartel were battling for much of the race.
“We went up Legacy and those European legs of his just blew by me,” he said, laughing. “But I rode steady and rode my race. I was able to catch him in Poop Alley.”
He said he was surprised to finish second because he assumed Sneddon had already finished well before he and Kindree.
“I came in just behind Neal and I was under the impression that I was third,” he said. “He missed the Powerhead Connector and took a wrong turn. It's unfortunate but that's where me and Neal have an advantage because this is our hometown and we know these trails.”
Baumgartel placed third with a time of 2:11:36, while Sneddon ended up in sixth at 2:21:17. It's been a good summer for Day, as he won the B.C. Bike Race's team of two open men division with Kevin Calhoun in July and also placed fifth in the Orecrusher and seventh in the Test of Metal.
Day added that he's now done for the season and he can relax for the rest of the summer. Other local males with strong showings included: Eric Goodwin (eighth), Matteo Abel (14th), Joel Harwood (21st), Chris Bishop (23rd) and Jordan Tesluk (25th).
Relaxing is exactly the opposite of what three-time JABR women's champion Sandra Walter is going to do in the coming weeks.
Walter three-peated at the JABR to cap off a dominant year on the Squamish trails. She also won the Orecrusher and the Test of Metal earlier this year.
“It was super fun,” she said of the race. “I was feeling awesome all day and with that little bit of rain out there on the trails the conditions were perfect.”
She posted a time of 2:27:53, 17 seconds faster than her winning time of last year. Walter will next head to South Africa at the end of August as part of Team Canada in a team relay event and then to Bhutan for the Tour of the Dragon event. Walter won an entry for the one day 268 kilometre race in Bhutan after her win at the Test of Metal and she won the random draw that will see her head to Asia in September.
Walter beat out second place rider Brandi Heisterman from Brackendale, who finished with a time of 2:35:34. Jennifer Schulz from Kelowna placed third.
Other local women with good showings included: Rua Read (75th) and Sarah Greenwood (76th).
For complete results from the race, visit http://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=3319.