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B.C.’s downhill cyclists take to Whistler for practice

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The day after Canada Day was an extended party for Cycling B.C.’s downhill team, who had the Whistler Bike Park all to themselves as they practice for the national championships.

Starting at 7:30 a.m., 10 lucky riders had almost the entire mountain to themselves as they primed for the national event to take place July 13 at Mt. Ste. Anne, Quebec.

Richard Wooles, Cycling B.C.’s head coach and performance director, came from Vancouver and met up with Shuams March and Dave Hord of Mad March Racing as the team went to the limit on nearly empty hills. They had two hours of access before spending time on skills development.

Riders rode against the clock for one practice session, an exercise that many downhill riders don’t get a chance to train for before race day. It’s a good way for cyclists to to practice “racing” and was even more so with the watchful eyes of the coaches.

After the timed runs, the team had to do some laps of the park together and develop themselves into a team for the nationals. The team feels that there is a sense of “camaraderie” that has developed among them. Many of the team members have known each other for years, but they are quickly making new friends and partners.

Though the team is starting to develop into a tight whole, Wooles admits it is difficult to bring them together from around the province.

“It is a real challenge,” he said. “We have a couple of very talented riders from the Interior on the team.

“It is, obviously, very hard for them to come from Castlegar or Kamloops for a training session.”

The training however, has been “Sick!” according to one young rider.

“It was like being on top of the world,” he said. “Just us, the mountain, the clock and some awesome coaching tips.”

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