It was a combination of talent, commitment and good fortune that helped Jennifer McTavish land the Canadian National Enduro Championship (CNEC) overall crown.
In her first year at the pro women's level, the Whistlerite edged fellow resort resident Leonie Picton by just 10 points.
Picton was generally dominant when she attended with three wins in four outings, including Sunday, Sept. 17 at Sun Peaks, but McTavish managed to wrangle enough points in her five appearances that she pulled out the all-around title, receiving a jersey and a medal for her efforts. Fraser Valley rider Max Leyen earned the pro men's title.
"It's pretty cool. It wasn't something that I expected. I didn't have very big expectations for myself this year just because I was stepping up from the junior category to the pro category for the first year," she said. "Getting it is just kind of amazing and I was really excited about that."
McTavish attended all CNEC races save for the one in Bromont, Que., even travelling to Ontario's Blue Mountain Resort, which proved to be an outlier for reasons other than its distance.
"All the races in B.C. and Alberta have been really dry, so it's been an interesting season. Ontario was completely the opposite. We were going from a bunch of dry races in a row into dropping into Ontario and having it be an absolute mudfest," she recalled. "Then we came back into dust again, so it's been all over the place."
While the change of pace in Ontario was welcome, in its own way, perhaps a little less extreme conditions would have been preferable.
"It would have been better if it had been less rain, but it was really cool to see them getting races out there and having the series be more inclusive of the whole country instead of just B.C.," she said. "It's cool to see the riding in different places."
As a local rider, it's no surprise that McTavish lists the Enduro World Series stop, the Canadian Open Enduro as part of Crankworx, at the top of her list. In terms of the CNEC proper, though, she cited the first stop at Vedder Mountain as a favourite.
"The riding there is amazing," she said. "It's fun to get out that way."
McTavish said she might try to do some smaller, local enduro races in Squamish and Pemberton and perhaps ride less on the CNEC, depending on her employment and living situations.
At any rate, in her first year pro, McTavish exceeded her own expectations and is feeling confident heading forward into 2018.
"I wanted to be in the top half of everything and I just wanted to have a lot of fun because I was in the pro category," she said. "I think I can expect a lot more of myself next year and put a lot more into my riding.
"It's a little bit more motivation."
McTavish keeps busy when she's not racing, serving as a coach for WORCA while she just started her school year at the University of British Columbia where she's taking cognitive systems.
Carter Krasny also podiumed in the overall chase for his division with a third-place showing in the men's 16-to-20 category, just 80 points back of champion Evan Wall.