Friday, June 15, 2007 - Zuga Challenge
Gosling, Roycroft Take First Zylberberg Invitational of the Season

On a clear, crisp June morning with hard surface, 14 runners showed up to take part in the first Zylberberg Invitational Race of the season. The early morning began with Tasha Betcherman of INDi2010 time trialling the new course before work. Chief of course John Jaques moved the start, finish and lap lines further back in the stadium, adding 10-15 seconds to the course in each direction or between 40 and 60 seconds all told. Betcherman posted a respectable time of 36:40, given the extended course, solo effort and early season.

She was followed by a women's mass start with Sarah Daitch of RMR and Brooke Gosling of x-c.com. Gosling took off from Daitch early with her elegant stride and running background. She also did the best job pacing the course of anyone and opened up a sizable lead on the second lap to smash the old course record, despite a longer course, with a time of 34:19.

Then came the eagerly anticipated men's race with 11 hardened competitors. David Zylberberg, Erik Carleton, Luke McGurk, David Johns and Bryon Hughson of RMR, Phil Villeneuve of x-c.com, Dan Roycroft, Skeets Morel and Gord Jewett of INDi2010, Kevin Sandau of Foothills with Canmore bricklayer and local hardman Heath McCroy rounding out the field. Zylberberg took the early lead with his characteristic fast start and Hughson followed. Soon after they were caught by Roycroft and Villeneuve to form a lead pack. As soon as the climbing started Roycroft went to the front and ran at his own pace. His breathing was noticeably quieter than the other 3 leaders and they individually dropped off, with Zylberberg being the last one to hang on.

Over the first lap, Roycroft used his superior aerobic capacities to pull away from everyone else. Hughson then proceeded to be caught by different competitors for the remainder of the race. On the long downhill of the Centennial, Carleton caught Zylberberg, dropping him in the stadium, with Villeneuve nearby, followed closely by McCroy and Hughson. Then came McGurk and Morel with Sandau, Jewett and Johns coming in individually farther back.

On the Olympic loop, Roycroft held his gap to Carleton, with both posting the exact same fastest lap times. Villeneuve caught Zylberberg at the high point of the course and they battled down the hill until Villeneuve took off for 3rd place. McGurk caught McCroy and they had an extremely tight battle with McCroy winning the sprint by one body-width. Hughson held off Morel for 7th, with Sandau coming in 9th, Johns 10th and former course record holder Gord Jewett in 11th.

Overall, times were about 1 minute slower than October (largely accounted for by the extended course), and faster than the earlier editions. The event also benefitted from a tighter field and harder racing than last year. The introduction of the race leader's bandana's should go well, when Roycroft and Gosling defend their overall leads in August. All involved were also critical of the lack of honour shown by Robin Clegg in not responding to the challenge issued forth in the race notice.

Results
Early Morning Start
1. Tasha 36:40

Women's 7.5km
Centennial Finish
1 Brooke Gosling 16:59 (1) 34:19
2 Sarah Daitch 18:49 (2) 38:47


Men's 7.5km
Centennial Finish
1 Dan Roycroft 13:48 (1) 28:27
2 Erik Carleton 13:59 (2) 28:38
3 Phil Villeneuve 14:13 (4) 29:08
4 David Zylberberg 14:04 (3) 29:32
5 Heath McCroy 14:26 (5) 29:57
6 Luke McGurk 14:39 (7) 29:57
7 Bryon Hughson 14:29 (6) 30:29
8 Skeets Morel 14:42 (8) 30:35
9 Kevin Sandau 15:05 (9) 31:09
10 David Johns 15:37 (11) 31:49
11 Gord Jewett 15:21 (10) 32:08
Brooke races to the finish and the women's course record.
Brooke races to the finish and the women's course record.

Sarah came in with her PB on the difficult course.
Sarah came in with her PB on the difficult course.

Zug charms the women's champion with his chivalry.
Zug charms the women's champion with his chivalry.

The men's field heads out at the gun.
The men's field awaits the fun and pain.

The men head out of the stadium off the start.
The men head out of the stadium off the start.

Dan leads the way through the lap with the field strung out behind him.
Dan leads the way through the lap with the field strung out behind him.

Phil on one of the courses many climbs.
Phil on one of the courses many climbs.

Bryon leads Skeets home for 7th place.
Bryon leads Skeets home for 7th place.

The vicious sprint for 5th between "local hardman" Heath and Luke.
The vicious sprint for 5th between

Bryon leads Skeets home at the finish.
Bryon leads Skeets home at the finish.

Kevin, the races youngest participant, hammers home for 9th.
Kevin, the races youngest participant, hammers home for 9th.

Dan will take the leaders bandana into the next event.
Dan will take the leaders bandana into the next event.


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