Whistler riders on podium in MTB nationals 

Over the last two weekends the top mountain bikers in Canada competed for national championships titles, first in downhill at Panorama Mountain Resort, then at the cross-country centre in Canmore.

Athletes from Sea to Sky attended both events, posting some solid results.

The 2010 Downhill National Championships took place on a long course with several drops, some steep technical sections and a few tough pedal sections.

Whistler's Nick Geddes finished second to fellow B.C. Team rider Remi Gauvin in the Junior Expert category, with times of 3:28.51 and 3:31.83 respectively. Max Horner was a solid fifth in 3:37.02, while Tyler Allison was eighth in 3:41.60.

Micayla Gatto of the North Shore was first in Elite Women in 3:55.13, followed by Miranda Miller of Squamish in 4:03.28. Casey Brown was third in 4:08.26.

From Whistler, Rebecca McQueen was fourth in 4:13.14. Jaime Hill of Pemberton was 10 th in 4:31.51.

In the Elite Men's race, Andrew Mitchell of Nanaimo regained his national title in 3:27.97, while part-time Whistler resident Jamie Biluk placed second in 3:29.84. Dean Tennant was third in 3:30.38, just 0.18 seconds ahead of Thomas Vanderham.

Alexander Geddes placed sixth in Under 17 Expert Men in 3:53.44.

Cory Leclerc of Squamish was first in Master Expert 30 to 39 Men.

In cross country, Geoff Kabush earned his seventh national title in eight seasons to win the men's race while his partner in the B.C. Bike Race, Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops, won the women's race by a long margin.

Brandi Heisterman also raced in the elite women's category and placed seventh out of 17 racers, ahead of riders like Wendy Simms and Jean-Ann McKirdy.

"I went out fast and I tried to stay within the lead group with Jean-Ann and Wendy ahead of me," said Heisterman. "I caught them both on the second lap, and I was just feeling awesome and just trying to pick off other riders. I had a line on fifth and sixth place after the third lap... and then the pros put the boots to me, and I just tried to hang onto seventh.

"It was tough - a lot of climbing, which is usually pretty good for me, but it wasn't technical enough to let me gain any time on the other riders. And there was really no place to rest, it was really unrelenting with four laps and no courtesy fire roads where you could catch your breath."

Heisterman currently lives in Squamish, but learned to ride in Whistler - something she says gives her an edge on more technical trails. And while she only started riding a bike in 2004 - and had children in 2006 and 2008 - she has been a fast learner, drawing on her experience as a competitive athletes in track and field, and cross-country running.

Although it's been hectic with two kids at home, Heisterman says she has been able to keep in shape for riding.

"It is tough, but I have a very supportive husband who knows I like to get out and ride, and I do a lot of training with the Chariot which is pulling 80 pounds behind you," she said. "Going for one-and-a-half to two hours has helped me to maintain some strength and a bit of the cardio, and I sneak in a ride whenever I can."

Heisterman says her recent results have also opened her eyes to the possibilities.

"I do want to see how far I can go at this point, and yeah, I do want to try and get into some World Cups if I can in the next year or so. I've got people that have approached me about coaching, so it's definitely there," she said.

Heisterman's race calendar for this season includes the GearJammer this Saturday and the B.C. Cup championships in Whistler during Crankworx - also billed as the Ken Quon Ride On. If she has the points she'll also consider a few World Cup events at the end of the season in Canada and the U.S.

In the Master Men 30 to 39 race Trevor Hopkins of Whistler placed 18 th out of 31 starters, 14 minutes back of the leader.

Dr. Cathryn Zeglinski placed second in the Master 40-plus women's race, just over a minute back of first place and two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the next racer.

Quinn Moberg of Squamish placed third in the Under 17 race, just 1:41 back of the leader.

Lauren Rosser of Squamish placed second in the Junior Women's race, 53 seconds back of the win. Kristin Drygas of Team Squamish was 11 th in that category.

Mo Lawrence of Squamish was ninth in Junior Men.



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