Mical Dyck (NoTubes Elite Women’’s Team) took control of the race early to win her first-ever Canadian cyclo-cross national championship Saturday in Surrey, British Columbia, after slipping away from the field on the first lap with five-time champion Wendy Simms (Kona).
A characteristically gray fall day in the Pacific Northwest enveloped the scene at the South Surrey Athletic Park as steady wind and rain quickly turned the 3.25 km course into a slippery technical challenge by the time the Elite racers battled for the Maple Leaf jerseys at the end of the day.
The women’s 26-rider race started out chasing hole-shot winner and pre-race favorite Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club), who finished second last year and was coming off impressive rides at the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross the week before in Louisville, Kentucky. Simms (Kona) took up the initial chase, followed by Dyck and Julie Lafreniere (Stevens Racing-The Cyclery).
Simms and Dyck used the opportunity to open up a small gap as they approached the end of the first lap. Harlton led the chase, dangling just ahead of defending champion Emily Batty (Subaru-trek) and Natasha Elliott (The Cyclery). The leaders were all within 15 seconds of each other as the remaining field strung out behind them. Harlton powered her way to join the lead group, which stretched its gap to 15 seconds over Batty and Elliott.
But by the end of lap two Harlton had slipped out of the lead group, which she now trailed by 15 seconds, and was hanging just in front of Batty and reigning UCI mountain bike world cup champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team), who had overcome a slow start and climbed back toward the front of the race. Elliot trailed about another 10 seconds back.
Dyck opened a small gap on Simms in the early part of the third lap, while batty and Pendrel reeled in Harlton to form a chase group of three. Elliott continued her chase but was caught and passed by Lafreniere, who was also slowly clawing her way back to the front over the super slick course. As they approached the end of lap three, Dyck led Simms by seven seconds, while Batty, Harlton and Pendrel slipped to 25 seconds off the leader’s pace.
Harlton bobbled a bit on an off-camber section and lost contact with the first chase group, which had dropped to 34 seconds behind the leader. At the front, Dyck was steadily opening up her lead to Simms, who was now 18 seconds behind as Dyck took the bell of the final lap. Batty opened up a small gap on Pendrel as they took the bell but was still more than 30 seconds behind the leader.