Grand Prix Erik Tonkin Series Begins-Hot Start for Les Femmes


Quick Draw Tonkin

Quick Draw Tonkin

Our beloved leader of all things cyclocross and mountain bike went and got an entire race series named after him, the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin.  Erik has put in the time with close to 20 years racing professionally and has been running Sellwood Cycle Repair since anyone can remember, so he has more than earned the “legend” status in the world of cyclocross racing. So why the sasquatch? In Europe, Erik was dubbed  “The Caveman” for his non traditional hairy legs and beard.

These days, Erik sightings are very common at Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters in Sellwood, and you may spot him providing neutral support at some of the GPET races.

22 women for the first race

22 women for the first race!

Race #1 started August 31st at David Douglas park in Vancouver, Wa. The course combines flat grass sections, gravel, playground bark chunks and two steep climbs. In the middle of the course is a single-track descent that backed up riders since passing here was impossible. The climb out of the descent was a runner for the less powerful rider, but the remainder of the course was dry and fast. With temps reaching the high 80’s, it was a hot start to the season.

Beth Ann with Sue behind her

Beth Ann with Sue right behind her

Beth Ann and Remy took on the A women at what felt like the hottest part of the day and raced for over an hour in the baking sun.

This from RemyWe were all chattering and smiling, who is ready? Who’s not? It’s just a warm up race right? No pressure…READY SET GO!  F@&* an obstacle! Totally forgot I could carry my bike. Too much triathalon“.

Remy flanked by Jon Meyer/Team S&M

Remy flanked by Jon Meyer/Team S&M

Beth Ann and pro Sue Butler/River City broke away from the pack early leaving the chase group nothing but the sad taste of dust in their mouths.  Sue, riding a 34 chainring, was able to conserve on the climb out of the woods and spin, while Beth Ann powered through on her 38 tooth chainring. Each tried to drop the other, both were hurting, but continued to trade blows lap after lap. At one point Beth (without a bottle on board) even begged Sue to give her some water but Sue declined.

Remy shook her head at me as I ran along side her, shouting “supportive” things after the run-up. I think she was wishing there was a transition to a swim on the course somewhere.

Beth Ann and Sue up the hill.

Beth Ann and Sue up the hill.

After lapping slower women and some of the men, the race came down to the 8th and final lap holding a good 2+ minute gap over the remaining chasers. Beth Ann stood up and tried a big sprint on the pavement before the barriers, Sue holds on and slides past as they come into the final barrier.

The Final Barrier Before The Finish!

The Final Barrier Before The Finish!

Sue is able to remount before Beth Ann and finish the last tiny section in the playground bark chunks before they both sprint for the line. Sue won the day but just by seconds.

Remy-wishing for a cookies at the finish

Remy-wishing for a cookie at the finish

Remy shared her thoughts about the end of her race , “FINISH LINE! Oh yeah, that pukey feeling….But hooray I get to eat cookies again!”

Tonkin Family-Gus, Rhonda and Cori enjoying sno-cones at the race

Tonkin Family-Gus, Rhonda and Cori enjoying sno-cones at the race

For the full GPET schedule check out the link

Coffee that is strong enough for the Caveman? Stop by Blue Kangaroo!


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