Beatty takes the Lumpy 

Lumpy would be proud.

Over the past season, Whistler’s Jeff Beatty, 17, has established himself as a competitor to be reckoned with in the downhill, with both the provincial and national downhill mountain biking titles to his credit in the junior expert category.

He was only one of three junior expert downhillers chosen to represent Canada at the world championships, and finished in 15 th place out of 51 qualified competitors.

While he lacks the bulk that most of the top downhillers have, Chris Colbeck – Beatty’s coach at STORMBC and a former World Cup competitor – says that Beatty is consistently one of the smoothest and most technically proficient racers on the course.

Off the course, he’s friendly, funny, and "a tremendous ambassador for the sport," says Mark Beaton, director of youth for the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association.

That’s how Beatty won the annual Geoff "Lumpy Leidel Award," which is presented by Lumpy’s parents to the top junior in the valley each year, based on their achievements and their enthusiasm for the sport.

"There are so many strong juniors, it’s never an easy decision to make," said Beaton, presenting the award to Beatty at the Disorder 2 premier on Oct. 6. "I went to all of the bike shops in town, and talked to the coaches and other WORCA directors to get their input… One name kept popping up and that was Jeff Beatty."

Other strong contenders were James Crowe, 14, the Under 15 provincial and national champion, and provincial junior expert woman Brook Baker.

"It feels good to be recognized by the community and all the bike shops for having a positive attitude and making a contribution to the sport, and for putting a lot of effort into it," Beatty says.

"It makes me want to represent the community better, knowing that I’m doing something for the sport. I know I’ll be more pumped for the years to come.

"When I first started, every season I’d ask myself if I wanted to continue to work on my biking or spend more time playing hockey. Now I know that this winter I’m going to train hard and try to do better."

At every stage of his development, Beatty has set goals by focusing his attention on the downhiller who’s currently at the top of his competitive category and training to beat him.

"I’ll think about the person, and I’ll think about how hard they’re training, busting ass and making sacrifices to get to the top, and I’ll try to work harder."

Beatty is aiming higher next year, setting his sights on Australian Michael Hannah, a junior who has been competing as a pro at the World Cup level and finishing in the top ranks.

Lumpy Leidel was a local mountain biking legend who died in a backcountry avalanche in January of 1998.

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