The Canada Games take place every second summer, bringing out Canada's top amateur athletes to compete in 20 different Olympic sports. This year's games run from Aug. 2 to 17 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, with athletes representing their provincial teams in each discipline.
In mountain bike, Whistler will be represented by Jennifer McTavish. She qualified for her spot with a win at the Sunshine Coaster marathon cross-country race in April, plus another win in the Island Cup series.
She'll be joined on the team by Squamish's Mikayla Martin, as well as three Squamish men — Wayne Charuk, Quinn Moberg and Rhys Verner. Squamish swim coach Janusz Kaczmarek is also headed to the Canada Games to work with provincial team athletes.
McTavish has no idea what to expect when she gets to Quebec, just that she has three events to race in six days.
"We get there Thursday, Friday is for training, Saturday is the cross-country race, Sunday is another training day, Monday we race relay, Tuesday is for training again and Wednesday we race a sprint," she said. "I have no idea what to expect, I've never raced a relay or sprint before but I'm hoping to do fairly decent at the cross-country race because I usually do well in those."
McTavish has been working with coach Chrissy de Vall of Whistler's TaG Cycling to prepare for the event, while riding a wide range of trails to get ready.
McTavish said she watched some video from the course and said it doesn't look that technical, but it could be a different story when she gets there. "It could be entirely different than what I think it is," she said.
The racers will do laps of a four-to-five kilometre circuit, and different age categories will take anywhere from an hour to 1:45 to complete the event.
The relay will have representatives from each team of three doing one lap of the course in whatever order is set by the coaches.
The sprint event is an elimination race, where five or six racers start at the same time and the first two or three to the finish advance to the next round.
For her part, McTavish, 17, is just looking forward to the experience, as well as an opportunity to see whether mountain biking is something she'd like to pursue at a higher level — travelling and racing through the entire summer.
"It's something I really enjoy doing, and this is kind of testing the waters to see if I enjoying going and racing really far away. I've been liking the training and getting ready for the race, but we'll see."
Results from the Canada Games will be posted online at www.jeuxducanada2013.ca.
Kovarik, Buchar top Phat Wednesday
It was hot and dusty, but 211 riders still turned out for the July 24 Bud Light Phat Wednesday downhill series race in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, taking on a course that included Fantastic, Lower Whistler Downhill, B-Line Connector, Afternoon Delight and Detroit Rock City.
Chris Kovarik was the rider to beat once again, finishing the course in 2:34.24 with a more than four second gap. Remy Metailler was second in 2:38.48, followed by George Newham in 2:40.42.
In the top 10 were Shawn Neer, Tyler Allison, Enrique Genova, Amani Mcintyre, Nick Geddes, Craig Evans and — still recovering from a million vertical feet in 58 days of riding — Adam Billinghurst.
Claire Buchar, Kovarik's partner, kept the prize money in the family with a win in the women's race, finishing in 2:54.71, close to 10 seconds ahead of the next racer. Katrina Strand was second in 3:04.51, followed by Jamie Hill in 3:06.30.
Rounding out the top 10 were Leonie Picton, Lula Darquier, Andrea Farias, Rachelle Frazer, Kat Mcgill, Ava Buchan and Michelle Dignon.
Jack Iles was the top junior once again in 2:42.94, a time that would be good enough for top six in the men's category. Finn Iles was second in 2:51.11, followed by Isaac Marangoni in 2:55.38.
The top 10 included Adison Macdonald, Tom Peele, Henrique Mathias, Bracken Camilleri, Brad Jansen, Bowen Irvine and Jackson Bathgate.
More results at www.whistlerbike.com.