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Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2019
Paul Guenette tops Summer Solstice Relay solo classification
by Randy Pascal

Sudbury cyclist Paul Guenette would take on all comers and stand tall at the Summer Solstice 24 Hour Relay hosted at the Albion Hills Conservation Area last weekend.

Competing as one of 19 entries in the solo category, Guenette completed a total of 17 laps of the 10 km circuit, completing his endurance event in 20 hours, 26 minutes and change.

Racing right around the clock, Guenette and his fellow riders endured a veritable atmospheric potpourri, dealing with extreme warmth during the day, giving way to cool and damp night air, and topped off, perhaps fittingly, by a heavy morning downpour that forced organizers to wrap up the relay roughly two hours ahead of plan.

Guenette was not only the sole individual competitor to fully complete 17 laps, but he did it roughly 12 minutes faster than second place finisher Joel Nankman wrapped up his 16 lap adventure.

A veteran of the Walden Mountain Bike Club Wolfpak Racing team, Guenette was joined in Caledon by the five-person grouping of "Alice in Bike Chains", a quintet comprised of Marc Rioux, Tim Kingshott, Chris Lill, Jaret Blowers and Daniel Tambur.

The Sudbury-based entry found themselves in the five man 200-249 years division, the largest bracket of the day, with no less than 34 teams taking part. The locals slid into eighth place overall, pounding their way through 18 laps, along with five other teams, but doing so in the fastest overall time of 20:29.09.

The divisional champs featured the J-Team (Johnny Guenther, Jack Powes, Johnny Klassen, Joe Fallon, Jason Vms), a mountain bike crew that recorded a total of 21 laps (one of only two teams in this division to do so) in a time of 20:38.58.

In total, the Summer Solstice would attract more than 1500 athletes, taking part of the 18 different race classifications that were offered. The relay, which is organized by Chico Racing, is North America's largest and longest standing 24-hour MTB relay event.

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