Connor White kicks off the road racing season in style
Connor White enjoyed the perfect start to the Bermuda Bicycle Association road race season by claiming victory in the BRCC Individual Time-Trial yesterday.
After last week’s original scheduled season opener — the VT Construction Time-Trial — was postponed owing to poor weather, riders eagerly got back on to the start line to take on the course starting from Clearwater Bay car park at Southside and finishing with a punishing climb to St David’s Lighthouse.
Competing in the Open (19 to 39) division on the longer 20 mile course, White crossed the line in 44min 27sec to take top honours, more than 4 ½ minutes ahead of nearest divisional rivals Brian Steinhoff (48:59) and Caitlin Conyers, who crossed the line as the top female in 49:08.
While it was satisfying to finally start the season in the best possible fashion, for White, the real success proved to be the opportunity to compete again, having seen his entire first season with the X-Speed United Continental Cycling Team in Canada cancelled, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It felt amazing to be back out racing again. This was my first since September, so it was great to be back out on the bike in a proper competition,” said the 21-year-old.
“Last season was completely cancelled because of Covid so it’s nice to be back home and have the chance to race again. I’ve trained so much, which will pay off this year, but it’s great to be competing again.
“Hopefully this is the start of many more races to come on island. Obviously we have May 24 next week and more time trials scheduled which is fantastic.
His sentiments were echoed by Conyers, who welcomed the possibility of having consistent competition on island once again after finally getting the road race season under way.
“I was so excited to get back out and race,” said Conyers, who finished fractionally less than six minutes ahead of the next female competitor, Nicole Mitchell, who clocked 55 seconds flat. “Things have certainly seemed to conspire against the race season but thankfully we’ve finally got it started.
“It’s great to have routine back as well with proper racing. It’s very easy to lose that when you’re just training and don’t really have to think about race preparations.
“Hopefully all the external factors stay under control because I know the BBA have a really good schedule of racing planned out. It’s about following the guidelines and hopefully we can get some good racing in throughout the year.”
There was also an impressive start to the campaign for Liam Flannery, who finished the long course in the second fastest time overall on the day, just more than a minute adrift of White in 45:38, to claim a comprehensive victory in the Junior (17 to 18) division ahead of nearest divisional rival Liana Medeiros, who crossed the line in 1:02:00.
“It was a good opening time-trial and a bit longer than what we normally do which was a little bit tougher,” said Flannery, who was left to rue too fast of a start which ultimately proved costly in the lead up to the final climb to the lighthouse.
“Pacing is so important normally and unfortunately I went out a little bit too hard at the start and then faded. It was made so much harder by finishing with the climb to the lighthouse. We had 40 minutes of pushing through pain and then had to face one last climb.
“I think I did well though and I was pleased with my average time, so all in all it was a good start to the season. It will be great to have more consistent racing coming up over the next few months now.”
There was a battle in the Masters (over 40) Division where Steven Millington claimed victory in 51:06, pipping Geoff Smith, who finished fractionally adrift of his rival in 51:15. Fabian Schonenberg, completed the top three, who crossing the line in 52:44.
In the Junior (15 to 16) Division, Cameron Morris clinched the honours in a time of 57:16, narrowly ahead of Thomas Quarterly who completed the course in 57:47.
Competing on the shorter 2.4 mile course, Jackson Langley claimed victory in the Youth (13 to 14) Division as well overall, crossing the line in 8:37. Tyler Coleman recorded the second fastest time of 9:03, fractionally ahead of Ollie Hayward who clocked 9:04.
In the Youth (11 to 12) Division, James MacFarlane clocked the fastest time of 09:49 ahead of Zachary Moniz, who finished in 10:30, and Kelsie Wade, who crossed the line in 10:32.