Baker joins the big leagues 

A few summers ago Whistler’s Brook Baker was one of the top junior cross-country racers in the country.

Back in 2001 she was fourth in the national championships and second in the B.C. Cup series.

The following year she tried racing downhill for the first time at a B.C. Cup, encouraged by her coaches and teammates at STORMBC. She borrowed a bike from teammate Jeff Beatty, the junior national downhill champion in 2001, and went on to win her very first race against a field of five more experienced girls. Two weeks later she won the junior women’s category in the very first Whistler Air Downhill, finishing with a time that would have placed her in the top-10 of the elite category. After that she was hooked.

She went on to win the national junior downhill title for two years in a row, qualifying to represent Canada at the World Mountain Bike Championships.

She had low expectations heading into her first summer racing as an adult, but went on to win her first B.C. Cup downhill to qualify as an elite level racer. Now she’s well in the running for the overall B.C. Cup title, despite the fact that her points from the first race as a senior expert won’t count towards the senior elite category.

Racing in Whistler two weeks, Baker went a step further in establishing herself as one of the top downhillers in the country, finishing second in Air Downhill and winning the senior elite category of the first ever B.C. Downhill Championships. Last weekend she placed second in a B.C. Cup, moving closer to claiming that series title.

With over a month of competitions still ahead of her, Baker is feeling confident.

"I’m really happy with the way that my season is shaping up so far," she said. "I still have the B.C. Cup series and some Canada Cup races ahead of me, so I’m going to try and keep going at the same level I am right now, and maybe even step it up a bit.

"Every time you do well in a race it helps your confidence. There were a lot of strong girls (at CrankWorx), but I tried not to focus on them, just to run my own race.

"I always just try to go as fast as I can. There’s no point in slacking off just because someone is here or isn’t here, because someone is always stepping up and you want to know at the end of the day that you did everything you could."

Baker came into the season still recovering from a training injury last fall. Rather than take some time off her bike, she’s been riding more to get stronger.


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