A rider gets some air as he rounds a corner during the Mount Tzouhalem Enduro on June 9. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Maple Bay’s Tzouhalem Enduro draws top talent

Enduro World Series rider and Cowichan Valley resident Trevor Thew won the elite division at the Mount Tzouhalem Enduro presented by Cowichan Cycles, edging out Cobble Hill’s Elijah Barron for first place.

Thew, who races for Orbea, finished 16 seconds ahead of Barron, who is sponsored by Cowichan Cycles in the June 9 race. Third place went to John McKinnon, two seconds back of Barron. Other local finishers in the elite category included James Rolfe (Cycle Therapy) in eighth, Dexter Robson (Cowichan Cycles) in 12th, and Kevan Shaler (Cowichan Cycles) in 21st.

This was the second year for the Mount Tzouhalem Enduro, part of the Island Cup Series, and it sold out all 200 slots.

“I thought it went really well,” Cowichan Cycles owner Grant Lestock-Kay said. “The feedback was good.”

It’s no surprise that the race attracts so many top-notch competitors, due to the calibre of riding on the Island.

“There are quite a few high-level riders on the Island, a couple on the world series and a few who compete all over B.C.,” Lestock-Kay said. “This is a great place to ride.”

You don’t have to be an elite cyclist to enjoy the terrain, either.

“It’s really accessible to new riders as well,” Lestock-Kay said.

Events like the Mount Tzouhalem Enduro have been possible since the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society adopted the pathways on the slopes, and local government has also helped make it happen.

“North Cowichan has been supportive of these events and getting things like this to happen,” Lestock-Kay said.

The expert men division was won by Curtis Leblanc (Oak Bay Bikes), just six seconds ahead of Landen Conville, another local rider. Tyler Leech placed seventh, and Emlyn Pacholuk (Cowichan Cycles) placed 12th.

Emmy Lan (Trail Bicycles Racing) won the expert women division, finishing 29 seconds ahead of second-place rider Jessica Dulong.

Other winners:

Intermediate men: Devin Fawkes (Rock City Cycles)

Intermediate women: Joanna Bach

Beginner men: Matthew Jeromkin

Beginner women: Michele Hawes

Youth: Kaeb Spearing

Youth U12: Ollie Thibault

Cowichan Cycles plans to bring back the Mount Tzouhalem Enduro next year. Discussions are underway with the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society about holding events under their umbrella instead of individual cycle shops. The Enduro Series returns to the Valley on Sept. 15 for the Maple Mountain Enduro.

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