Finn Iles' transition from junior to pro has been a little bit bumpier than anyone could have imagined, as he posted just a single top-20 finish through the first three races of the UCI World Cup downhill season.
But after a few weeks away from the World Cup scene, the 18-year-old responded with a vengeance, hitting the top 10 two weeks in a row.
First, he placed eighth in Val di Sole, Italy, on July 7, putting up a time 4.71 seconds back of champion Amaury Pierron of France. He continued the ascent a week later, taking a fifth-place finish at Vallnord, Andorra, finishing 4.58 seconds back of winner Loris Vergier, also of France. In Andorra, Iles was also the top Canadian in the pro men's event.
"My first top 5!!!! Stoked to be able to share the podium with these boys! Happy to be heading home after a few great weeks racing and a 9 week trip in Europe," he posted to Instagram after the race.
Meanwhile, Pemberton's Lucas Cruz took 16th in the junior men's event in Italy.
Local DH riders shine at provincials
Numerous riders from Whistler and Pemberton travelled to Sun Peaks for the BC Provincial DH Championships on July 7 and 8, and they certainly made it worth their while.
A pair of Pemberton riders won their respective divisions, with Samuell English topping the UCI U17 sport men's event and Kolt Hoyle emerging in the UCI senior men's category. Fellow Pembertonian Tegan Cruz took second in the UCI U15 men's event.
Meanwhile, Whistler's Matthew Griffith captured second in the UCI junior sport men's race, while Sterling Christenson won third in the open men's race and Colby Gordon was also third in the UCI master men's competition.
Elsewhere, Whistler's Michael Robinson topped the men's 40-to-44 division at the Stomp BC 60-kilometre cross-country marathon race at Stake Lake on July 8.
Locals to represent at BC Summer Games
Sea to Sky country will be well represented at the BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley from July 19 to 22.
Pemberton leads the way with three canoe/kayak athletes, Alexis Balsamo, Anna Beaudry, and Landon Drain, joining assistant coach Marie Rousseau-Demers. Whistler will send soccer players Sabin Feagan-Dixon and Ryu Takaishi, and Mount Currie will be represented by three-on-three basketball player Carmine Sam-Finlay.
All the local athletes will suit up for Team Vancouver-Coastal.