December 31, 2014 (Burnaby, BC) – During the last three days, top track cyclists from around the world have been battling it out at the Burnaby Velodrome in the Burnaby 4-Day running Dec 27-30. Building on the success of last year’s event, men and women have competed in sprint and endurance races in front of record-breaking crowds. Only one more day of competition remains before the champion’s jerseys will be awarded.
Michael Schweizer, half of a team from Germany, said: “I feel great about the races. I didn’t know what to expect from the other teams, but I’m really happy about our position in the standings.” Other competitors this year have competed in the Olympics and the Tour de France, and hail from Canada, Japan, and the USA.
The Burnaby 4Day Bike Race at the Burnaby Velodrome has now grown into a major stop on the track racing circuit in North America. “More and more people are making the Burnaby Velodrome the place to be after Christmas. The racing, beer garden, workshops and kids’ events have something for everyone,” said Kelyn Akuna, Race Director for the event.
“We’d like to thank our visiting racers, our spectators, our volunteers and our sponsors for making this a high point of our year,” added Akuna.
There wasn’t only racing happening: junior riders took part in workshops led by professional racers and coaches; spectators enjoyed the music of River’s Divide; and the craft beer festival, featuring beer from four local breweries, was a hit as well.
The next Burnaby 4Day Bike Race is scheduled for December 27-30, 2015, and will take place inside the Burnaby Velodrome. A full slate of races of different categories for male and female athletes of all ages is scheduled.
You don’t need to be a cycling expert to enjoy the races. The fast speeds and bowl-like shape of the velodrome mean that there’s always something exciting to watch, and the short distances mean that there’s always something new happening.
The Burnaby Velodrome Club also has an Ambassador’s table with information about all of their events, classes, and training programs. The club operates one of only two indoor cycling tracks in Canada and one of the fastest in North America. The track is open year-round for training and racing. Introductory, intermediate, and advanced programs happen weekly.
Takaaki Higuchi, a 19-year-old rider from Japan, met two Canadian competitors at the Japanese Track Cup this year, and was excited to come to Canada to race. “I was nervous at first, but I came 3rd in the Elite scratch race. I am excited to be here, and I can’t wait to return next year.”
Julian Base, a local racer who is competing in both the B and Masters divisions, said “It’s great to see our local racers going head-to-head with the world’s best: World Cup champions, Olympians.”
Zak Kovalchik, a two-time Elite Track National Champion from Portland, Oregon, has been racing in Burnaby since 2008. “There’s a really strong field of Madison teams here this year. It’s hard and exciting to race against guys from all around the world.”
Rachel Canning, a racer who has competed multiple times at the Canadian Track Nationals, said: “It’s great to be able to race this calibre of women in my own back yard.”
Sarah Coney, a professional rider with the Trek Red Truck Racing Team, said “The women here never give up. We’re persistent. Even when it gets tough, we keep coming back for more!”
Zach Bell, a two-time Canadian Olympian, said: “It’s a community here at the velodrome. It’s also where I started my training. The atmosphere at the 4Day is more relaxed than the Olympics. There’s a sense of camraderie where you can chat to your competition. There’s a lot more pats on the back here.” On winning at the 4Day: “It’s always nice to win at home, but mostly I’m here to support the track and the sport.” On what first-time spectators should know:” It’s a lot faster and crazier than you think. You might think it’s just guys riding around on bikes, but it’s more Thunderdome than Biodome.”
Tyler Farrar, a Tour de France stage winner, said “Compared to the three weeks of the Tour, it’s almost not the same sport, but it’s really fun. Zak [Kovalchik, his partner] really knows what he’s doing and it helps to have him racing with me. I won the overall classification here in 2012, but the competition is really tough this year.” On the spectator experience at the Burnaby Velodrome Club: “It’s an evening of intense action. They should come here and have a beer while watching some excellent racing. It’s great to be a spectator here.”
Jasmin Glaesser, a Canadian Olympic medalist and Pan American Champion, is at her fourth 4Day. “It’s an unparalleled experience riding against some of the same competitors that I rode with when I had just started my career.” On riding against her Team Canada teammates: “We’re all working towards the same goal, the Worlds in February, and having some fun here pushes us all to compete at our best.”
Jackson Pickell, a 4-time provincial cycling team member, said “It’s great racing with top North American racers at my local velodrome. My teammate, Alex Amiri, and I are aiming for a top-five finish. I think Team Germany will win overall.”
Jacob Schwingboth, a local who has just been signed to a pro team in Germany, said “I grew up watching races here, and it’s surreal to be here, riding with Canadian Olympic athlete Zach Bell, and racing against other great riders.”
Check out www.burnabyvelodrome.ca for more details.
Day 3 Photos
Find Day 1 photos here.
Day 1 here.
Day 2 here.
Day 3 here.
Day 4 coming soon.