Alberta may provide a different backdrop to some enduro riders, but for Leonie Picton, it provided the same result.
The Whistler resident won the BC Enduro East event in Crowsnest Pass, Alta. on Sunday, winning all five stages to defeat Julie Marshall by 61 seconds and Jennifer McHugh by 63 seconds. Whistler's Jennifer McTavish was fifth.
"I definitely knew it was going to be tough to get on the podium given that there were some very good riders at the race," she said. "I went into the race knowing that I didn't have the fitness so I had to focus on using my skill as an advantage to try to corner properly and not waste any time and energy."
Picton said the trails were beautiful, though they provided some unique challenges.
"The trails are really different over there," she said. "The trails are mainly smooth, flowy, fun trails but they had us climb to the top of one of the mountains, and there was amazing exposed rock. It was pretty technical at the top. It was a mixture of everything."
The race also served as the second stop on the Canadian National Enduro Championship tour, and Picton is chasing that title in addition to the provincial crown.
Though Alberta was a little further afield than many of the other stops on the provincial tour, she won't be heading to eastern Canadian stops in Ontario and Quebec, meaning Picton had to rack up points while she could.
"I thought I best go to this one since I can get to it easily," she reasoned.
However, the bit of extra travel did affect Picton by limiting her time to practice on the unfamiliar trails.
"I only got one run of each trail, (and I was) trying to have a sleep between each practice run," she explained. "I wasn't feeling super confident because it's a pedally course and that's not really what I'm used to. On race day, I was just focused on keeping smooth."
Picton will next see action at the Enduro World Series race in Aspen, Colo. next month.
Being a race at a higher altitude than most, Picton is set on preparing properly.
"I'm going to head up to Whistler peak and do some training up there to get my body used to the lack of oxygen," she said.
Squamish Tri needs volunteers
The Squamish Triathlon is unveiling a new format this year, but needs some volunteer help to make it a success.
The long-running event will go off-road this year at Alice Lake on Sunday, July 16.
The event needs help with tasks such as set-up and tear-down, body marking, timing, parking, marshalling, handling waste and registering competitors on race day. Divers are also needed during the swim.
Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and be invited to a post-event party.
To register, visit https://www.registrationlogic.com/secure/Register.aspx?E=2737.