Riding to a championship in Port Hope

After two years of finishing second the Gaels biking team captures the University Cup

Jon Slaughter (L) and James Clarke (R) battle for places against a Guelph Gryphon.
Jon Slaughter (L) and James Clarke (R) battle for places against a Guelph Gryphon.
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Etienne Moreau, one of the top competitors in the Mens A division, races to the finish first at the Mansfield Outdoors Centre early in the season.
Etienne Moreau, one of the top competitors in the Mens A division, races to the finish first at the Mansfield Outdoors Centre early in the season.
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Alison Beamish climbs the Mansfield course to finish third.
Alison Beamish climbs the Mansfield course to finish third.
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The cycling team’s fall season came to an end on Oct.17 at the University Cup race at Ganaraska Forest Cenre in Port Hope. After a successful season that saw cyclists place in the top three in each of their races, the Gaels were able to finish the season winning the University Cup tied with the Guelph Gryphons.

Alison Beamish, who finished third overall at Ganaraska, said the team had a fantastic season.

“The team did really well,” she said. “We had somebody place in the overall classification for all four categories which was phenomenal. We had really strong rookies this year; a couple who have been racing for a long time and a couple people who have never raced before.”

The team’s success this year was because of a different dynamic brought upon by a new rookie class including first-year cyclist Etienne Moreau. Moreau finished in the top three of the season’s first three races and then fourth at Ganaraska in the Mens A division.

Beamish said the environment of the team created a winning attitude that carried over to the races.

“There were a lot of new people this year which brought a whole new dynamic to the team, [different] from what we’ve ever had before,” she said. “We had so much fun with everyone this year. Also the team was a lot bigger this year. … Changing the dynamic and making things really fun was a big part of [doing well].”

The season ended with a tie in the points systems between the Gryphons and the Gaels. Beamish said that both teams had strong seasons and that Guelph was deserving of the title.

“It was a really close season this year between Guelph [and us],” she said. “It was really close throughout the season. Going into the last race of the season we knew that based on our performance that day it would decide the Cup.”

The Gaels’ efforts this year were rewarded with a return of the Cup to Kingston.

“It means a lot, last year and the year before the team came in second and before that for five previous years Queen’s won it,” she said. “Queen’s has always been really dominant in the UCup series. Then the last few years the team has been a little bit smaller with a lot of turnover ... Winning the Cup really just put us at an awesome end of an awesome season.”

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