By Chris Stanford
Kelowna’s Owen Harrison had the ride of his career and earned a gold medal Tuesday in the men’s individual time trial event in the cycling competition at the Canada Summer Games in P.E.I.
Harrison covered the 23 km. course in 29 minutes, 32 seconds, a full 30 seconds faster than silver medalist Gulliaume Boivin of team Quebec and almost a minute faster than Boivin’s team mate Hugo Houle who finished in 30:30.13.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Harrison from P.E.I.
“It was short enough that you got up to your limit right away and you just had to hold that threshold. It was just a matter of mentally dealing with the discomfort,” Harrison told Kelowna.com. “Right away I knew I was onto a good day. I was feeling super fast.”
Harrison previously was road race champion at the 2007 Western Canada Games and placed fourth in the junior national championships that same year. After spending the best part of two seasons hampered by injuries, the 20-year-old UBCO student returned to good health this year and attributed the medal win to hard work and some good fortune.
“I felt really good coming into the games. In the last month my training’s been pretty focused and I right away I knew I was onto a good day. Everything just kind of clicked.
“You don’t know about mechanical (failures) happening along the way . . . There was a lot of wind coming off the ocean and that was really a factor in the race. The conditions were changing throughout the day and that was really something you had to pay attention to.”
Evan Guthrie, also of Kelowna, and a team mate of Harrison’s on the locally-based Total Restoration Cycling team, who won a silver medal in the mountain biking event earlier in the week, finished 30th overall among the field of 62 riders. Cycling has been a part of the Canada summer Games since their inception in Halifax-Dartmouth in 1969.
In the womens time trial Harrsion and Guthrie’s B.C. and Total Restoration team mate Gillian Carleton won silver, finishing behind gold-medalist Denise Ramsden of Ontario.
Both Harrison and Guthrie will compete in Thursday’s 130 kms. road race and Friday’s criterium events at the games in Summerside, P.E.I. while Carleton will compete in the same women’s events.