Squamish Quest alumnus tops at RBC GranFondo

Brendan Armstrong and Megan Rathwell victorious with Trek Red Truck Racing squad

Brendan Armstrong captured both individual and team honours at the RBC GranFondo Whistler on Sept. 7.

The Vancouver resident won the St. Regis Cup division of the 122-kilometre road cycling race from Stanley Park to Whistler Village, crossing the line two minutes and 16 seconds ahead of a pack of riders led by runners-up Alexander Murison and Nigel Kinney.

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In a race where the winners are in a tight pack more often than not, Armstrong was thrilled to be able to have the spotlight to himself coming in across the finish.

"It felt great. I've got a lot of friends and family from the Sea to Sky Corridor and a lot of them are here today, and to come into the line solo like that is a really special way to do it," said Armstrong, who attended Squamish's Quest University.

As well, with Armstrong and Murison both part of the Trek Red Truck Racing squad, the team handily walked away with the men's title in the St. Regis Cup chase.

With seven of the top 19 riders coming from the Trek Red Truck team, the opportunity was there to create a winning lane for one of the riders, and Armstrong said it just happened to break his way.

"We've got a really strong team here and the thing we went into with today was really good depth in our team. We've got strong riders the whole way through our roster, so we really needed to play off that," he said. "For me, today, it just ended up being me in the break, so it turned out well for me."

Armstrong explained that he was part of a trio for much of the latter half of the race, but managed to break away with the finish nearing.

"I followed an attack coming out of Squamish with two other riders. We rode together pretty much all the way to Whistler, and just coming into Whistler, the attack started going and I rode solo pretty much all the way to the line," he said.

On the women's side, Trek Red Truck also came away with the St. Regis Cup team title, with Megan Rathwell leading the way to the win. Rathwell came in more than five minutes ahead of runner-up Claire Cameron and was more than seven minutes up on third-place finisher Grace Menning. Lotus Cycling, meanwhile, took home the mixed team honurs.

Whistler residents in the St. Regis Cup contest were: Justin Homewood (41st); James Hallisey (159th) and Marla Zucht (160th), while Pemberton's Trevor Hopkins was 132nd. Hallisey, Hopkins and Zucht all helped Team Fun Hog to third in the mixed division.

Squamish's Brandi Heisterman, also part of Trek Red Truck, was 203rd.

Meanwhile, in the GranFondo event, Missouri City, Texas's Jaco Cronje and Seattle's Laura Matsen Ko were the top men's and women's finishers, respectively. Numerous Sea to Sky locals took part. Those in the top 500 were: Jack McKillop (18th); Kelly Servinski (31st); Dave Heisler (68th); Mark Haldenby (102nd); Brennan Covey (121st); John Hyatt (154th); Dwayne Kress (161st); Jason Louttit (184th); James Hyndman (199th); William Geddes (215th); John Axsen (219th); Ron Enns (300th); Alex Hinkson (303rd); Julian Wells (338th); Matthias Shorter (348th); Thomas Legg (365th); John Legg (366th); Michael Legare (396th); Jeff Riemer (398th); Melanie Levesque (399th); Phil Beauregard (465th); and Benoit Reneault (483rd).

In the 152-km Forte event, which includes a climb up Cypress Mountain, Vancouver's Michael Matthews and Quebec's Laurence Baril were the top men's and women's finishers. Finishers from the Sea to Sky were: Bob Barnett (30th); Ken Chaddock (55th); Kris Duncan (68th); Sabrina Larose (89th) and Shannon Susko (190th).

In the 55-km Medio, Karine Gosselin of Montreal was the first rider in while David Rosen of Saanich was the top men's competitor. Local finishers were: Theresa Eriksson (14th); Claudie Simard (47th); Tom Honey (48th); Embyr-Lee Susko (94th); and Chris Susko (95th).

For more, check out racedaytiming.ca.

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