The national championships in Downhill and Cross Country left no question that British Columbians, and Sea to Sky riders in particular, are among the country's fastest mountain bikers.
The Cross-Country nationals in St. Felicien, Quebec July 12 brought a first-place finish for Squamish rider Lauren Rosser in the Under-17 Expert Women category, while Team B.C. Riders Mo Lawrence and Nicholas Geddes came first and fifth, respectively, in Under-17 Expert Men.
Team B.C. Rider Evan Guthrie took the Junior Expert Men's category while Whistler rider Tyler Allison followed him at second.
"I'm extremely proud of the results," Richard Wooles, a mountain bike coach with Cycling B.C., said in a news release. "We struggled with funding issues this year and I have not been able to support some of the teams to the extent that I would like and they deserve, but through all that, they have still come up with the goods."
The Elite women's race was won by Kamloops's Catherine Pendrel, who finished two minutes, 51 seconds ahead of Marie-Helen Premont. Ontario's Amanda Sin was third.
The men's Elite race was won, for the fifth year in a row, by Geoff Kabush. Max Plaxton was nine seconds behind Kabush, while Ontario's Derek Zandstra was third, 42 seconds behind Kabush. Seamus McGrath was fourth, giving B.C. three of the top four places.
The Downhill nationals, July 16-19, also saw some dominance by Sea to Sky cyclists. The nationals took place in some small communities around Massif du Sud, a ski hill about an hour south of Quebec City, a place so remote that you could only get cell phone service at the top half of the mountain and limited Internet access.
Riders had to take a 20-minute lift ride to the top with their bikes sprawled across their laps. Wet weather didn't make the race any more comfortable.
Rosser again came out on top, taking the Cadet Under-17 Women's title, while Whistler's Max Horner came second in the Cadet Under-17 Men. Nicholas Geddes, also from Whistler, came in third place while Sunshine Coast riders Linden Feniak and Harrison Duxbury-Sleep rounded out the sixth and 13 th places.
Allison took sixth place in the Junior Expert Men's category, followed immediately by Whistler rider Alex Prochazka at seventh.
Whistler riders also figured big in the Women's Elite category, with Claire Buchar coming first, Rebecca McQueen second and Katrina Strand fourth.
Cycling B.C. supported a total of 15 riders and 11 of them wound up in the top 10 of their categories.
"B.C. should be proud of the talent that its association is growing for the future," Cycling B.C. Coach Dustin Adams said in a news release. "There are some very fast young athletes. They are eager to learn and become faster each day. It really opened my eyes to the promise we have here."
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