By Andrew Mitchell
The Whistler Secondary School pulled off a coup at the B.C. High School Mountain Bike Championships Saturday, May 26, placing third out of all schools with a small team of just nine riders and a run of bad luck.
Tyler Allison, reigning Under 15 provincial and national champion, repeated his high school championship title against a strong field of riders in the Juvenile Boys division.
The week before the race Allison crashed in the dirt jump park, almost ripping his lower lip from the bone and requiring 50 stitches on the inside of his mouth. The injury didn’t bother him while racing, but it did add another element to Allison’s ride.
“I felt a little bit nervous riding some of the trails, I didn’t want to fall and open everything up again,” he said.
“I was leading when I came through on the first lap, and the guy who was in second tried to sprint past me but I outsprinted him and got to the singletrack before him. He dropped off, he was tired out after trying to pass.”
Allison’s main focus this year will be the national championships, as well as some of the downhill events in Crankworx. He’s also racing the Test of Metal in June, as well as a few other races around the province.
Jesse Melamed finished fifth in the Juvenile category, while Luana Auer was fifth in Juvenile Girls.
Three top five results was good enough to place Whistler’s three-person juvenile team second overall in the category.
In the Bantam Boys race, Max Horner pedaled his way to third place overall out of 48 racers.
“The hole shot (onto the singletrack) was really important from the start, but after that it was a fun and flow-y course,” said the Grade 8 student. “I was fourth getting onto the singletrack, but I passed the kid ahead of me as soon as I had a chance. I tried to catch up to the other kids but they were too far ahead.”
Horner says he is starting to get back into cross-country after focusing on riding downhill for the past few years. He is coming out to the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association’s (WORCA) Loonie Races, and enjoying being out on the trails.
“I’m just starting to get back into the whole cross-country thing again, and it’s been tons of fun. It was great finishing third in one of my first real races in a few years.”