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Lil’wat ‘warriors’ leading the way for young mountain bikers in the community

Eighteen-year-old Quillan Dan-Andrews and his 16-year-old brother Steve competed in last month’s Pemberton Enduro
Eighteen-year-old Quillan Dan-Andrews mountain biking.

Two young Lil’wat “warriors” are ripping up mountain biking trails around their home and further afield—and blazing a trail for the next generation in the process. Eighteen-year-old Quillan Dan-Andrews and his 16-year-old brother Steve are leading by example in the community and showing other kids the ropes.

The duo competed in the Pemberton Enduro on April 27, and are not ready to stop there. The extreme mountain bike race takes place on Lil’wat Nation territory, but the brothers were some of the first Lil’wat to take on the 40-kilometre battle.

Roxanne Joe of Lil’wat Recreation and Leadership congratulated the boys on their massive achievement on Facebook.

“Goals like this sometimes might seem out of reach for our Lil’wat youth; Quillan and Steve are leading by example and providing the possible,” she posted.

The brothers were sponsored and supported by the Pemberton Off Road Cycling Association (PORCA).

Quillan spoke to Pique about his training journey and the race itself.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was such a mental game, but it was fun. I love it.”

The race course was kept under wraps, so the athletes did not know what the trail routes were until they were on them. “I had never ridden most of those trails so it was a real challenge,” said Quillan, “I didn’t even know the first route. I had a lot crashes and I was really cramping. I just got on the bike and rode it off.”

The young men had a later introduction to the sport than most kids in the Sea to Sky corridor, but they were not ready to let that get in their way.

“We’ve been riding trails for about three years now,” said Quillan. “We have been riding bikes our whole lives, but we didn’t start trail riding until three years ago.”

Quillan said the brothers have been spurred on by everyone in the community. 

“One of my old teachers was waiting when I got down to the bottom of Stage 4, the last stage,” he said. “He asked me if I knew I was one of the first Indigenous youth to do it.”

Quillan is eager now to get other Lil’wat out onto their bikes to explore their territory. 

“I have been helping some of the younger ones build their skills,” he said. “I show them the positions and what not. One of the kids has my old mountain bike that I rode last year. He has been riding it pretty hard. It would have been helpful for us to have gotten started on trails sooner.”

The brave young man has also started working as a firefighter, and laughs that his free time is now non-existent. 

Quillan’s mountain biking career is bright. However, he is more than happy to leave the winter sports to other locals.

“They are too cold for me,” he joked.

The boys’ mom, Charlamaine, was ecstatic to see her sons compete at such a high level. She says younger kids contact the family, excited to get involved in the sport.

“I am super proud,” she said. “One of my friends’ kids just got into high school and he always talked about the tricks that Quillan has shown him. There are a lot of available trails around here for them to go downhill on.”