Sea to Sky riders picked up two of Canada's three medals at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland last week with Squamish's Lauren Rosser - the reigning champion from 2010 - placing third in the junior race this year and Whistler's Clare Buchar placing third in women's downhill - her best result in 10 years of World Championships and a decade racing World Cup.
Buchar finished the long, wet course in 5:21.96, holding of French riders Myriam Nicole and Sabrina Jonnier for the third step on the podium. Emmeline Ragot of France was first by a long margin in 4:54.01, followed by British rider Rachel Atherton in 5:09.30.
Other Canadians in the race were Casey Brown (Revelstoke and part-time Whistler), Miranda Miller (Squamish) and Katherine Short (Sunshine Coast), who placed 12th, 13th and 15th respectively.
Buchar took an unusual route the top this year, forgoing her usual World Cup tour to stick closer to home and save money. She kept a low profile until Crankworx, where she placed second in the Canadian Open DH against a World Cup-calibre field, and first in the Garbanzo DH. A week later she was on top of the podium at the national championships, securing her a spot racing for Canada in the worlds.
"I didn't race any World Cups this year because we didn't have the budget," Buchar told Canadian Cyclist. "But I came here with great motivation. A good friend in Canada, Nick Geddes, is in the hospital with leukemia, so us Canadians wore yellow shoelaces to show our support. And every time I thought it was tough out there I thought of Nick. So this one's for you. Nick for the win!"
The men's team was without Nanaimo's Steve Smith, who finished his season ranked fifth overall after injuring himself in training at the last World Cup event of the season.
Danny Hart of Great Britain was the top rider in the men's race with a time of 3:41.98. Damien Spagnolo of France was second in 3:53.68 and Samuel Blenkinslop of New Zealand third in 3:54.98. Reigning champion Sam Hill of Australia placed seventh on the day.
The top Canadian was Olympic ski cross racer Chris Del Bosco in 44th overall, with Rob Fraser in 47th and Remi Gauvin 64th.
In the junior women's DH, Lauren Rosser struggled a bit but still made the podium with a five second gap over the fourth place finisher. Manon Carpenter of Great Britain was first in 5:11:54, followed by Agnes Delest of France in 5:26.00 and Lauren Rosser in 5:28.79.
Rosser was okay with the result, given the number of crashes she had on the muddy course.
"I had a lot of crashes because it's really slick," she told Canadian Cyclist. "But it's a good course and it's really challenging. I think only the top riders will be able to go with no dabs and it's really starting to rain up there so it'll get even slicker. It's about who can hold it together and take a safe line. I had three crashes at the top and probably three down at the bottom. Smooth is fast and fast is smooth; that's what I had in my head."
For more on this story read Thursday's Pique.