By Andrew Mitchell
For the third year, Whistler Secondary School is fielding a team at the B.C. High School Mountain Bike Championships, which take place Saturday, May 26 on the Sunshine Coast.
The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Associatoin (WORCA) youth director Sean Bickerton and teacher Miriam Bride will be accompany the team of 10 riders to the championships, several of whom have solid chance of finishing on the podium. For others it will be an opportunity to gain experience, and a rare opportunity to represent their high school at the provincial level.
“Because of the snowpack we got off to a late start this year, but we’ve been riding after school on Fridays and the kids do the Loonie races on Thursdays as part of their race training,” said Bride.
Bickerton and Eric Crowe have helped coach the team, which could include a dozen riders. WORCA is using their youth fund to rent a van to transport kids and gear to the race, as well as to cover team travel costs and buy the riders jerseys.
Leading the team will be Tyler Allison, the Under 15 national and provincial champion, and Jesse Melamed. The crew also has several promising Grade 8 riders in Max Horner, Brandon Lee, and Mackenzie Patterson, who went to the coast last weekend to pre-ride the course. Other riders include Toria Whitney, Deborah Bayliss, Nadine Crowe, Connor Halliwell, Connor Warnock, Luana Auer, and Heidi Ray. There is also a possibility that other riders may join the team.
The race includes a heavy bike category for kids with heavier bikes, but otherwise the students will race against youths from around the province in their age categories.
The course itself is intermediate, taking place on a selection of trails outside of Halfmoon Bay Elementary School.