First provincial road race and TT since before pandemic
Updated: Aug 17, 2021
On July 24 and 25, 2021, Saskatchewan’s East Qu’Appelle Cartel hosted the first road race and time trial to be held in Saskatchewan since 2019.
The Esterhazy-area based cycling club, organized the two-day Saskota Sizzler that saw turn out from Regina, Saskatoon, as well as Esterhazy and other areas of the province. Saskatchewan Juniors also participated in both events. HPL Cycling’s Blair Drader was one of the organizers and helped make Saskatchewan’s only road/TT events in 2021 a success.
Other than the Juniors, HPL Cycling was the only Saskatchewan cycling club that had an official presence at the events with four men and one woman participating in the races.
TT windy – in the wrong direction
Saturday’s 15 km time trial featured 15 competitors and all five HPL cyclists. True to Saskatchewan form, the TT included 30km/hr-plus winds and 50km/hr-plus gusts. These winds were completely unhelpful as they were mostly crosswinds in the out and back course. But they kept the racing challenging, especially with roads open to car, truck and RV traffic!
Regina’s Alyssa Kimber placed first in Cat 5 Women. Saskatoon’s Regan Arendse placed third in Cat 5 Men. Saskatoon’s Mike Gavelis placed first in Cat 123 Men. Esterhazy’s Blair Drader – Cat 123 Men (4th) and Regina’s Terry Lazarou – Cat 5 Men (5th) rounded out the HPL Cycling TT results.
Road Race featured a steady climb
The Saskota Sizzler Road Race on Sunday, July 25th began near Bird’s Point Regional Campground and included an unforgiving climb out of the Qu’Appelle Valley. The race featured an approximately 33 km loop that competitors did once, twice (65km) or three times (98km), based on their categories.
Three groups participated in the road race. Group 1 (3 laps) included the Cat 123 Men. Group 2 (2 laps) included the Cat 4 Men and Women and Cat 3 Women. Group 3 (1 lap) included the Cat 5 Women and Men. In total, there were 17 competitors including four HPL Cycling racers.
Like most bike races, the road race featured dramatic tactics, especially on the climb and descents. In the last 10 kilometers of the Cat 5 race, HPL Cycling’s Regan Arendse had a minor spill that resulted in all three race leaders neutralizing their efforts to ensure that he was okay. These three racers came in together, shoulder to shoulder in what was one of the most heart-warming sights of the whole race weekend.
In Group 1, Saskatoon’s Mike Gavelis came in 4th and Esterhazy’s Blair Drader finished 5th in what was a incredibly fast and tactic-filled 98 km race. In Group 3, Regina’s Terry Lazarou unexpectedly benefited from the race leaders neutralizing their race and came in a solid first place. Saskatoon’s Regan Arendse came in second with the exact same time as non-HPL racers Lawrence Angalot and Rob Howse who deserve praise for their honourable actions.
The Saskota Sizzler was the first and the last road race in Saskatchewan in 2021. HPL Cycling member are now looking forward to MTB events, Cyclocross racing, Centuries and Fondos, whether organized or informal. HPL Cycling is also looking forward to indoor race season on Zwift. See more details coming soon at www.hplcycling.ca
For full race results visit: https://saskcycling.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Road-Final.pdf and https://saskcycling.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/TT-Final.pdf
Special thanks to East Qu’Appelle Carteland the Saskatchewan Cycling Association