As the snow begins to clear after a long winter, mountain bike racing is spreading east from B.C. to the rest of Canada.

In Ontario, the inaugural Turkey Point XCM kicked off the province’s marathon racing series. Back out west, a deluge of rain soaking the Cumberland XCM showed that early season is always unpredictable, even in an unseasonably warm spring.

Turkey Point XCM
Kaitlyn Shikaze charges to the win at Turkey Point. Credit: Ted Anderton / Apex Race Photography
Turkey Point XCM – Ontario XCM series

Ontario’s XCM series started its 2019 season with a brand new event, the Turkey Point XCM. Racers eased into the season with sunny weather and sweet singletrack. The Turkey Point XCM’s first flight was a success, according to Substance Projects Dan Marshall:

“The first edition of the Turkey Point XC Marathon, held in conjunction with the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club’s annual Spring Kicker Festival, saw beautiful weather and perfect conditions. The trails were fast and flowing, with lots of single track and a few punchy climbs. For Andrew Watson of AWI Racing, extended dirt time was the highlight of the course, featuring “essentially a one-hour long single-track section.” Overall, the event provided a friendly start to the season and the Southern Ontario race year.”

Turkey Point XCM
Andrew Watson leads the hunt in the Turkey Point men’s race. Credit: Ted Anderton / Apex Race Photography

Watson enjoyed his ride so much he rode off the front, besting fellow AWI Racing team member Brody Sanderson by just shy of two minutes. Matthew Martindill broke up the AWI podium party, finishing third in 1 hour 49 minutes.

Kaitlyn Shikaze led out the women for Cyclepath Oakville Race Team, followed by Hardwood Next Wave junior Kelly Lawson. Siobhan Kelly followed in third, finishing the long course in 2 hours 13 minutes 58 seconds for Black Dog Racing. All said and done, 175 riders took a bite out of the Turkey Point course, making for a great start to the Ontario race calendar.

RELATED: Oli Asks: Ontario’s Kelly Lawson goes from Craighurst to cyclocross world championships

Turkey Point XCM
Matthew Martindill was the only man capable of breaking up the AWI podium sweep at Turkey Point. Credit: Ted Anderton / Apex Race Photography
Cumberalnd XCM – Island Cup

Back out west, the summery conditions that graced the first few Island Cups as well as the opening Canada Cup round must have felt like a distant memory. 127 racers showed up in Cumberland, B.C. for the fourth round of the Vancouver Island cross country race series only to be greeted by an onslaught of cold spring rain.

Cumberland’s own Carter Woods took a break from the US Cup and Canada Cup series to defend his hometown trails, winning the expert men’s race. Close behind was 16-year-old Erik Ashton and another junior, Hamish Graham, both of neighbouring Comox, B.C. The youthful trio led out

Melanie Gabanna had better luck holding off the rising generation of Comox Valley juniors. The Steed Cycles racer stayed ahead of Comox’s Emmy Lan and Mara Roldan. Both speedy juniors flagging Gabanna on the podium are just 15 years old.

Are you organizing a race this year? We’d love to hear from you! If it were possible, we’d be on the start line at every race, all season, until our legs fell off, but Canada’s a big country. If you have an event coming up, or just hosting something great, get in touch with terry@cyclingmagazine.ca so we can let everyone know! 

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