The snow started falling in Peterborough shortly after Saturday’s championship racing concluded and rarely let up through the following days racing.
A strong field of women returned to the start line Sunday for another try at the course, now covered in even more snow than the previous day. In the absence of Maghalie Rochette, who was off to Europe for her next block of racing after winning the elite women’s national championship on Saturday, the women’s race was wide open.
On Saturday, Ruby West rode up through most of the elite women’s field, passing all but the top four riders after starting a full minute behind them on her way to winning a second straight Under 23 national title. Many were wondering what would happen when she had the chance to start even with the elites. Sunday was West’s opportunity, as the under 23 and masters women’s field were all on the start line together.
West wasted no time answering that question. Early in the first lap the Specialized-Tenspeed Hero rider, started pulling away from the field. She rode solo for the entire 45 minute race.
Behind her, a constantly changing battle for the final podium spots kept the crowds on Heckler’s Hill entertained.
Jenn Jackson (AWI Racing) and Sandra Walter (Liv Cycling Canada) jumped out to the early advantage. Before a rematch of Saturday’s medal battle could unfold, Jackson pulled away from Walter, only to be joined by a surging Catherine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team).
After getting caught up in the early traffic, the Canadian Olympian moved her way through the field, picking off rider after rider until she caught the young Ontario rider.
The final lap, the two were locked wheel to wheel. Pendrel started pulling ahead, with Jackson doing her best to follow the Olympic mountain bike medallist’s lines.
In the end, experience and tactics won out over power. Jackson’s accelerations across the flats and up hills were matched by Pendrel, who get ahead of the younger rider over the final features, to take the silver behind West.
Jackson held on for third, with Walter closing near behind in fourth. Mical Dyck (Naked Factory Racing) repeated her fifth from Saturday.