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It’s all downhill for masters in Bromont

Three years ago, Bernard Unhassobiscay woke up and knew something was wrongin his chest.  The next day he was on the operating table having twoof his heart valves replaced.This Sunday, Unhassobiscay, who lives in California, rode faster thananybody else in his 40 to 44 age category to win the masters world mountainbike downhill championship in Bromont, Quebec.Unhassobiscay's story underlines what makes the masters worlds so special.Many of the athletes here never had a chance at a cycling career whenthey were younger, and some, like Unhassobiscay, are fortunate to be hereat all."My objective

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By Kris Westwood, Canadian Cyclist

Three years ago, Bernard Unhassobiscay woke up and knew something was wrongin his chest.  The next day he was on the operating table having twoof his heart valves replaced.This Sunday, Unhassobiscay, who lives in California, rode faster thananybody else in his 40 to 44 age category to win the masters world mountainbike downhill championship in Bromont, Quebec.Unhassobiscay’s story underlines what makes the masters worlds so special.Many of the athletes here never had a chance at a cycling career whenthey were younger, and some, like Unhassobiscay, are fortunate to be hereat all.”My objective was to come and have a good time, and maybe medal,” said
Unhassobiscay after winning the title.  Unhassobiscay deliberatelychose a conservative approach to the fast but slippery corners at the topof the course and rode more aggressively at the bottom.The strategy paid off, as he beat both the defending world championGuido Fulgone (Italy) and highly-favored Frenchman Jean-Pierre Bruni.Canadian Barb Haley won the women’s 30-34 race despite adopting theopposite approach to Unhassobiscay’s: Haley crashed twice in the top portionof the course and had to pull out all the stops to finish with the fastesttime by four seconds.”Everyone was telling me, ‘Take your time,’ and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?'”she said at the finish.  “That was harder than I’ve ever gone before.”But Haley still had a nervous few minutes’ wait before the final riderin her category, who had been delayed at the start, completed the course.Haley’s race mirrored her difficult season so far.  Without a bikesponsor at the beginning of the year, the British Columbian raced at firston borrowed equipment, then took some time off until her own bike showedup.  When the Grouse Mountain World Cup was cancelled, she switchedfocus to the masters’ worlds.But Haley’s problems weren’t over.  Unable to afford the trip onher own, friends donated her a plane ticket paid for with their air miles. And once in Bromont Haley’s frame cracked and she had to scrounge a newone from the local bike store.”A big thank you to Eric at the bike shop here,” she said.Joe Lawwill, who won the hotly contested men’s 30-34 category, had nosuch problems.  Lawwill has put his talents to good use as a suspensiondesigner for Trek, and spent the weekend developing new equipment. He even raced in – and won – a separate, regional race Sunday morning.As last rider down, Lawwill’s stunning time of 4:11.23 was eight secondsfaster than his qualifying time and almost four seconds quicker than therunner up, Stéphane Fichant of the French team.”I was a little better everywhere,” said Lawwill, who was racing inBromont for the first time.  “I wasn’t perfect, but I was good enough,””This was a great course, no dumb, dangerous sections,” he said, addingthat he thinks many of the courses on the pro circuit are too dangerous.


Results from Day 2Women 30-34
1. Barb Haley (Can) 5:19.04
2. Donna Fletcher (USA) 5:23.08
3. Dania Magri (Chi) 5:33.08Women 35-39
1. Dawn Bourque (USA) 4:58.34
2. Sugiyama Misa (Jpn) 6:13.84
3. Terri Walton (USA) 6:31.79Women 40-44
1. Kathi Krause (USA) 5:22.87Women 45-49
1. Mylene Kim Fortier (Can) 5:46.27
2. Teres Hill (USA) 7:55.44Women 50-54
1. Kathy Burns (USA) 10:15.93Men 30-34
1. Joe Lawill (USA) 4:11.23
2. Stephane Fichant (Fra) 4:15.86
3. Shaun Evans (USA) 4:19.27Men 35-39
1. Paul French (GBr) 4:19.18
2. Gene Hamilton (USA) 4:34.14
3. John Leslie (USA) 4:35.19Men 40-44
1. Bernard Unhassobiscay (USA) 4:30.72
2. Jean-Pierre Bruni (Fra) 4:34.48
3. Guido Fulgoni (Ita) 4:39.89Men 45-49
1. Tracy Oswell (USA)  4:33.74
2. Scott Smith (USA) 4:43.53
3. Mauro Lovato (Ita) 4:45.49Men 50-54
1. Rolf Von Steinhausen (Swe) 5:01.19
2. Charles  Stander (RSA) 5:37.10
3. Michael Sabine (USA) 5:57.64Men 55-59
1. John Ridout (Can) 5:37.57
2. Pierre Gendron (Can) 6:13.79
3. Augustine Jochec (USA) 6:13.91Men 60-64
1. Peter Hawkes (USA) 10:31.5