After six days of punishing riding, Justin Lindine was relieved to get off his bike after crossing the finish line.
Lindine won the sixth stage of the Single Track 6 bike race Thursday in Nelson, a result that also secured the overall solo open men’s crown for the Ogden, Utah, native. But in the moments after his race ended, Lindine was still too exhausted to celebrate.
“I had the lead for the better part of the week in the race,” he said. “It’s stressful trying to maintain and not have a bad day and not crash and keep it all together. It’s kinda nice to cross the line for the last day and have it be done.”
The race stretched over six days, starting with three stages in Rossland, a fourth on a track just west of Nelson, the fifth in Kaslo and the finale in Nelson.
Thursday’s 38-kilometre stage began on Baker Street with cyclists riding up to Giveout Forest Service Road, back down to the Morning Mountain parking lot, up to the Trans-Canada Trail and finally descending down to the finish in Rosemont.
Lindine won three stages and never finished worse than second place. He was followed by Peachland’s Evan Guthrie, who also won three stages and was just 0.7 seconds behind Lindine at Thursday’s finish line.
“This race was super physical riding in every way,” said Lindine, 33. “It was really tough climbing but then the descents were not recovery. Really technical, really steep. It kept you on your toes every day. Then the racing amongst the group we were in was tight enough you couldn’t afford to ride too defensively. …
“It was all around pretty hard but awesome riding. I’m blown away. I’d never been up here before. Nelson and Rossland and Kaslo, all of it was awesome.”
The event featured about 200 athletes from 18 countries competing in 10 categories. It also featured one victory for a Nelson cyclist, with Travis Hauck of Nelson and his partner Chris Benson of West Hawk Lake, Man., finishing first in the men’s team open.
Like Lindine, Hauck said he also had to battle hard riding and fatigue to earn his title.
“I felt really bad after day two and three,” said Hauck. “I was getting sick to my stomach on gels and electrolite drinks and hard work. Then I just snapped out of it and felt great. Ready for a beer.”
Other local athletes included: Kaslo’s Steve Doucet, who finished sixth in the solo 40-plus men’s category; Rossland’s John Peachell was 26th in solo 40-plus men; Nelson’s Kate Forbes and Deanna Teichrob finishing fourth in open women’s team; and Con Diamond of Nelson finishing seventh among unclassified riders.
Hauck said he was grateful to the city, the Nelson Cycling Club, volunteers and community members for allowing the race to take over downtown Thursday morning.
“Really big thank you to the city for letting that happen. Otherwise these kinds of events, if they don’t have any of this big town camaraderie, they won’t come back. All our hotels are full. All the restaurants will be full tonight. It’s good to have this every once in a while.”